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NFL 'dress rehearsals' up next

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

It’s Power Ratings Tuesday! We sneak a peek at the NFL, CFL, and English Premier League. Plus, a recap of Giants/Browns and MLB notes.

NFL: Browns win Monday Night yawner 10-6 over Giants; plus early “dress rehearsal” point spreads

Very scary night for Giants fans as both Odell Beckham (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (shoulder) left the game with injuries. The Big Apple exhaled when they saw Beckham walking well on the sideline in the second half. Look for updates on Marshall’s status throughout the day Tuesday on VSiN programming. 

Cleveland (plus 2) 10, NY Giants 6

  • Total Yardage: NY Giants 212, Cleveland 242
  • Yards-Per-Play: NY Giants 3.7, Cleveland 3.9
  • Rushing Yards: NY Giants 65, Cleveland 108
  • Passing Stats: NY Giants 23-35-1-147, Cleveland 22-29-1-134

Awful game. Neither team could even reach 4.0 yards-per-play. Only Miami, Pittsburgh, and the Chargers were worse this past weekend…and Roethlisberger and Rivers didn’t play for the latter two. Let’s throw in a combined five turnovers as well. Three on consecutive plays of hot potato in the fourth quarter when bettors were still sweating the spread. (In Vegas, you even watch BAD games until conclusion!)

No reason for concern in Gotham if the injury news is good. Eli Manning showed tonight that he’ll be ready to go in September. If Manning gets hurt…well, Geno Smith reminded everyone why he’s no longer a starter in this league. THAT would be bad news.

QB Passing Lines

NY Giants: Manning 10-14-0-80, G. Smith 11-17-1-79, Johnson 2-4-0-6

Cleveland: Osweiler 6-8-1-25, Kizer 8-13-0-74, Kessler 7-7-0-50, Hogan 1-1-0-7

Another disappointing night for Osweiler, because any giveaway against a preseason defense is a flunked litmus test. Yes, 6 of 8 “seems” sharp. But that’s a fraction over three yards-per-attempt on very safe, short stuff. “Dinks and Dunks” are designed to avoid interceptions! His two-game passing line of 12-22-1-67 is extends “a fraction over three yards-per-attempt” to absurd levels for August football. No case that he should be a starter…beyond the fact that he’s really tall and scouts will wait forever to see if a tall QB can get thing figured out. Kessler didn’t see a pass hit the ground, but that was against the worst Giants defenders as a third-teamer. 

Cleveland is 2-0 straight up, with only 4.6 and 3.9 yards-per-play, with 27 incomplete passes amidst a quarterback war. 

Felt like the six teams that had to play on Sunday and Monday were boycotting! Games ended 17-13, 13-7, and 10-6, with non-offensive scores in the first two games. 

Early lines are up for the dress rehearsals…


Miami at Philadelphia (-3.5/42.5)

Carolina at Jacksonville (pick-em/43)


New England (-1/44) at Detroit

Kansas City at Seattle (-3.5/43)


No line yet as of late Monday on Jets/Giants because of MNF

Buffalo at Baltimore (-3.5/39)

Arizona at Atlanta (-3.5/44)

No line yet as of late Monday on Browns/Bucs

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (-5.5/41)

Houston at New Orleans (-2/5/44)

Oakland at Dallas (-3/44.5)

LA Chargers at LA Rams (-2.5/42)

Green Bay at Denver (-3/42.5)


Chicago at Tennessee (-3/43.5)

Cincinnati at Washington (-3/42.5)

San Francisco at Minnesota (-4.5/42)

If you’re only going to watch one week of the exhibition slate, this is the week to watch!

NFL: Estimated Market Power Ratings

With the dress rehearsal games now imminent, this seemed like a good time to play around with our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the regular season. If you’re new to VSiN City, this is our estimate of how “the market” has all 32 teams rated on a point scale based on the Week One pointspreads. We use a standard three points for home field advantage. Then, we create “couplets” based on each game. Finally, we arrange those couplets on the scale in a way that makes the most sense. After a few weeks, we should be pretty well locked in. 

Quick example. New England is currently -9 over Kansas City in many stores in the regular season opener. The Pats are at home…so that equates to SIX points better on a neutral field scale. We have to make sure those teams are six points apart on our scale. Given New England’s perceived clearance from other top contenders, went with New England 88, Kansas City 82. Here’s the full estimate. 

88: New England

84: Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, Green Bay

82: Kansas City, Oakland, NY Giants

81: Minnesota, Carolina

80: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, New Orleans

79: Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Tennessee

78: Houston, Denver, Washington, Detroit, Indy with Luck

77: Jacksonville, LA Chargers

75: Miami, Buffalo

74: Chicago, LA Rams

72: Cleveland, San Francisco, NY Jets

We’re not going to pretend that we’ve nailed it this far in advance of the season. Seattle is plus 3 at Green Bay. That suggests they’re dead even. But are they dead even on the 84-line? Maybe they both should be on the 85-line. Or perhaps it’s just 83 because potential weaknesses won’t be exposed until the regular season. 

Atlanta’s -7 at Chicago, which is ten better on a neutral field. We went with 84 and 74. Maybe it should be 83 and 73. 

How about Buffalo -6.5 at home over the Jets? We won’t go with a four-point differential because the market doesn’t believe a full seven is appropriate. Are the Jets now the worst team in the league, and we’re talking 75 and 72? Or is Buffalo up at 77 and the Jets aren’t yet the worst team in the league?

To beat the market, you have to make better reads than the market. This exercise of trying to figure out how the market sees things is a great way for you to find possible edges to exploit once the season begins. 

Should you use these to handicap the dress rehearsal games? No! The starters aren’t going to play all four quarters this week. Some head coaches don’t prioritize results even in dress rehearsals. These will at least help you visualize expectations moving forward. Updating them on a weekly basis will be a priority for us during the regular season. (We’ll wait until midseason to get serious about college football because there’s so much early-season volatility in a sport with high pointspreads.)

CFL: Updated Power Ratings and other notes

Betting lines have had a chance to settle for Week 10. We’ll use those to update our Canadian Football League market Power Ratings…

This week’s schedule…

Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET): Winnipeg (-1, 54.5) at Montreal

Friday (9:30 p.m. ET): Saskatchewan at Edmonton (-6.5, 54)

Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET): British Columbia at Ottawa (-2, 55)

Saturday (9 p.m. ET): Toronto at Calgary (-10, 55)

CFL Estimated Market Power Ratings 

Calgary 84

Edmonton 82 (dealing with injuries)

Winnipeg 80

British Columbia 78

Saskatchewan 78 

Toronto 77 

Ottawa 77

Montreal 76

Hamilton 71

A little odd that Calgary is only -10 vs. Toronto, considering they were -6 on the road and won the game 41-24 (on 6.6 to 5.3 yards-per-play). Toronto got a boost off its blowout of Montreal last week. Calgary is in a letdown spot off a big divisional road win at BC. 

Quick recaps from last week’s action.

  • Winnipeg (pick-em) knocked Edmonton from the unbeaten ranks with a 33-26 home win. Quite an offensive explosion. The Blue Bombers gained 541 yards and 8.1 YPP. Edmonton could only put 26 points on the board with a whopping 9.1 YPP (444 total yards). The Eskimos are 7-1 straight up, but only 3-5 against market prices. Winnipeg is 6-2 both ways. 
  • Ottawa (-3) was the latest team to embarrass winless Hamilton. The Redblacks won scoreboard 37-18, yardage 418-213, and YPP 6.0 to 5.2. Hamilton falls to 0-8, and doesn’t even seem to belong in the league given weekly boxscores. Ottawa is 2-6-1 straight up, but 6-3 ATS against a brutal schedule. 
  • Calgary (-3) won at British Columbia 21-17. Defensive struggle with total yardage only at 315-275. Calgary still topped six YPP with a 6.3 to 5.2 edge. Jonathan Jennings had another bad game for BC in his return from injury. Two picks. Calgary is 6-1-1 straight up and 5-3 ATS. British Columbia is 5-4 straight up and 4-5 ATS. 
  • Toronto (-2) got Ricky Ray back in the lineup, and he led them to a 38-6 blowout in an immediate revenge spot against a divisional rival. Montreal’s only TD was on an interception return. So, a rare defensive shutout in the CFL. Toronto won yardage 466-140, and YPP 7.2 to 3.6. On paper, looked like a no-show for the Alouettes after the prior week’s victory. Toronto moves back atop the East standings with a 4-5 record (3-6 ATS). Montreal falls to 3-5 (4-4 ATS). It’s just a four-team division, so Ottawa at 2-6-1 is just 1.5 games behind the leader. 

English Premier League: Market Power Ratings using a goal supremacy scale

It’s becoming clear that we just won’t have room to do the EPL justice here in the newsletter once both pro and college football get rolling. We’ll try to check in periodically to update our estimate of market Power Ratings. Be sure you follow soccer writer and podcaster Michael Caley (@Caley_graphics) on twitter to get his “expected goals” calculation after every EPL game. If you’d like to try updating the goal scale on your own, use the goal lines offered at Pinnacle for guidance.  

EPL Estimated “Market Goal Supremacy” Scale

2.6: Manchester City

2.4: Tottenham, Manchester United

2.3: Chelsea

2.1: Arsenal, Liverpool 

1.5: Southampton

1.3: Everton

1.2: Leicester City

1.0: Newcastle United, Stoke City, West Brom

1.0: Burnley, Watford, Crystal Palace

0.9: Bournemouth

0.8: West Ham United

0.7: Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion, Swansea City

We’ve been using 0.2 goals for home field advantage. Two games into the season, we have teams in the right neighborhood, but not necessarily the perfect lines on the totem pole. 

If you’re just a casual fan, look for games on the schedule that match those top six teams against each other. It’s basically a six-team league this season according to the betting market. 

MLB: Indians win opener of four-game set over Red Sox in bottom of the ninth

Baseball! The remaining playoff races have thus far refused to reconcile themselves in a timely manner. In fact, the NL Wildcard situation might now get interesting because Milwaukee keeps winning as Arizona and Colorado have started stumbling. 

We’ll get caught up tomorrow in this sport. For now, let’s run the key indicator stats for the likely playoff preview featuring the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians that began Monday night. 

For newcomers, we focus on league rankings in “weighted-runs-created-plus” to analyze offenses because those are park-adjusted. We focus on xFIP in pitching because it’s a “fielding independent” measure that has good predictive value (using “reliever” xFIP for bullpen rankings, and individual marks for projected starting pitchers). All stats come from fangraphs.

Boston at Cleveland

  • Offense (wRC-plus): Boston #11 in AL, Cleveland #3 in AL
  • Bullpen (xFIP): Boston #4 in AL, Cleveland #1 in AL
  • Monday: Boston loses to Cleveland (-115) 5-4 (Rodriguez vs. Clevinger)
  • Tuesday: Fister (5.00 xFIP) vs. Carrasco (3.45 xFIP)
  • Wednesday: Pomeranz (3.85 xFIP) vs. Kluber (2.50 xFIP)
  • Thursday: Sale (2.66 xFIP) vs. Bauer (3.61 xFIP)

Great game to start it off Monday, as the Indians scored one in the eighth and one in the ninth to rally from 4-3 down. Boston would still be 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland if they were in the same division. You can see above that Cleveland looks to be the more complete team come October. The Indians have the more potent offense, the best bullpen in the American League, and a starting rotation anchored by Kluber and Carrasco. Can Bauer man up against Sale in the finale?  

Early Tuesday lines for key head-to-head contender matchups

  • Boston (Fister) at Cleveland (Carrasco): Cleveland -185/9
  • Texas (Ross) at LA Angels (Nolasco): LA Angels -130/9.5
  • Colorado (Gray) at Kansas City (Duffy): Kansas City -120/9

If you haven’t yet subscribed to VSiN City for morning email delivery, you can do so by clicking here. Don’t forget that subscribers get access to myriad daily betting sheets from the South Point in easy-to-use PDF form. 

Follow us on twitter for programming bulletins and news alerts by clicking here. If you have any comments on broadcast programming or the newsletter, please drop us a note, or leave a comment in the Facebook widget below. 

Back Wednesday with a “tutorial” on betting regular season win totals in college and pro football.

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