Preseason Report - AFC
July 25, 2014
By Tony Stoffo
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Head Coach: Doug Marrone
Quarterback Rotation: E.J. Manuel, Jeff Tuel, Dennis Dixon, Thad Lewis
Doug Marrone enters his second season as Buffalo’s head coach. He’s been in the NFL for seven years, from 2006-08 he served as the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints after a four-year span as the offensive line coach of the New York Jets (2002-05). With this being only Doug Marrone’s second year as a Head Coach: we don’t have much to go on for his preseason trends – however I’ve isolated something that may give us a solid play for the Bills this preseason. Since he's still a fairly new head coach, I can see Marrone wanting to impress the home crowd in his first home game this preseason and this is backed by a strong recent trend for the Bills in the preseason – as Buffalo is 4-0 against the spread in their first home preseason game of the year last four years.
New York Jets
Head Coach: Rex Ryan
Quarterback Rotation: Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Matt Simms, Tajh Boyd (Rookie Clemson)
The Jets have been consistent in their first and last preseason games over the last four years. Rex Ryan has never put any effort in the Jets opening preseason game, evidenced by their 0-4 against the spread. While in their last preseason game of the year Ryan and the Jets defensive coaches sure take the day off as the Jets have seen the OVER go 4-0 since 2010. So right off the bat here we have a perfect 8-0 trend on the Jets to keep an eye on this preseason.
Head Coach: Joe Philbin
Quarterback Rotation: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin, Brock Jensen – (Rookie - North Dakota State)
This will be Philbin’s third year as head coach of the Dolphins, after going over his first two preseason campaigns, it’s very apparent that he puts very little effort into winning these meaningless games. In his first nine preseason games the Dolphins are a woeful 1-8 against the spread with their only win coming against the hapless Jaguars. So let’s make the Dolphins a definite fade this preseason.
New England Patriots
Head Coach: Bill Belichick
Quarterback Rotation: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo (Rookie - Eastern Illinois)
Here is one of my top rated preseason plays, and it focuses on coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick has never liked to give anything away to his opponents – just look at one of his press conferences to see what I mean – well something shows up in the preseason every year from New England that we can take advantage of. Week 3 of the preseason is when all teams do their dress rehearsal for the season with all starters on both sides of the ball playing into the third quarter. Well again Belichick doesn’t want his regular season Week 1 opponent to get any films to look at so he doesn’t take this game seriously – and it show shows up in the point spread logs as the Patriots over the past six seasons are a dismal 0-6 against the spread in this situation. Just to give you an example of how strong this is in last year’s dress rehearsal against the Lions, the Patriots were crushed 40-9 as one-point underdogs. So mark down Aug. 22 on your calendar as the Patriots host Carolina in their dress rehearsal game this year.
Head Coach: Mike Pettine
Quarterback Rotation: Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel (R Texas A&M), Tyler Thigpen, Connor Shaw (Rookie South Carolina)
With Pettine’s specialty being defense – let’s keep an eye out on the Browns UNDER this preseason – as he may concentrate on what he knows best trying to build the team. Another strong trend that has developed for Cleveland is its dress rehearsal games. The Browns are 0-3, losing all of these games both straight up and against the spread with the UNDER also going 3-0. One other note – when you see that Johnny Football will be getting the majority of the playing time in any of these Cleveland preseason games – I feel the Browns will be a solid bet – as his style will be perfect to easily move the ball up and down the field especially against the substitutes.
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
Quarterback Rotation: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones, Brandon Kay (Rookie Cincinnati)
The new CBA rules sure took its effect on the Steelers in last year’s preseason – with Tomlin not being able to incorporate his usual intense training camp, and it showed on the field as the Steelers went 0-4 both straight up and against the spread. Something to watch for as the preseason starts this year. Plus the Steelers are on a 0-4 run in their preseason home games over the past two years all as a favorite, and 1-7 ATS overall.
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
Quarterback Rotation: Andy Dalton, Jason Campbell, AJ McCarron (Rookie Alabama), Matt Scott
With the Bengals being a consistent playoff team – Lewis doesn’t take these preseason games too seriously – however a strong trend has developed in the Bengals first home preseason game over the past four years – where the Bengals are a perfect 4-0 both straight up and against the spread – so it sure looks like Lewis wants to win this first home game for the fans. The Bengals first home game this year is on Aug. 14 versus the Jets.
Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Quarterback Rotation: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Keith Wenning (Rookie Ball State)
Here we have another team that has been effected with the new CBA rule changes – Harbaugh and the Ravens used to be a strong bet in the preseason as they mostly played low-scoring games making the UNDER the way to go. However with the less intense training camp routines now in place, the Ravens have seen the OVER go a money making 7-1 the past two preseasons. Strong trend to watch for again this year!!!
Head Coach: Bill O’Brien
Quarterback Rotation: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Tom Savage (R Pittsburgh)
O’Brien’s offensive experience may help us make some money with the Texans this preseason – As I found that Houston as seen the OVER be the winning play in their first preseason game the last 4 years. Plus the Texans have seen the OVER go 6-2 the past two years. So let’s look for some high-scoring games form the Texans this preseason.
Head Coach: Chuck Pagano
Quarterback Rotation: Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, Chandler Harnish
With Pagano as head coach, the Colts sure like to play a very wide-open game in their first preseason game of the year – as over the past two years a combined average of 52 points have been scored. And what a perfect opponent to open up with this year as the Jets, who have watched the OVER go 4-0 in their preseason games from a year ago. This year’s opening preseason game against the Jets will be played on Aug. 7.
Head Coach: Gus Bradley
Quarterback Rotation: Chad Henne, Blake Bortles (Rookie UCF), Ricky Stanzi, Stephen Morris (Rookie Miami)
The Jaguars have lost their dress rehearsal game in 2011 and 2012, and Gus Bradley sure continued this trend in his first year as head coach in 2013 as the Jaguars gave up 34 points against the Eagles in another double-digit loss. Let’s look for this strong trend to continue this season as Jacksonville pays a visit to Detroit on Aug. 22 for their dress rehearsal game. Plus, I have to add here that the Jaguars sure weren’t ready to play in their opening preseason game with Bradley as they were dominated at home against the Dolphins 27-3. Jacksonville’s first preseason game this year is on Aug. 8 against the Buccaneers (Tampa Bay is one of my strongest preseason plays as its a money making 6-2 ATS in its first preseason game) a perfect fit here against an underachieving Jaguars squad.
Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt
Quarterback Rotation: Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, Tyler Wilson, Zach Mettenberger (Rookie LSU)
The Titans lost three of their four preseason games last season – this may be something to watch for again this year – as in his last year as the head coach of the Cardinals back in 2012, Whisenhunt went a perfect 0-4 against the spread. Plus Whisenhunt in his final two years as head coach in the preseason saw six of his last eight games go OVER the posted total.
Head Coach: John Fox
Quarterback Rotation: Payton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Bryn Renner (Rookie North Carolina)
Strong trend has developed since John Fox has taken over as the head coach of the Broncos, as Denver has come out strong in their opening preseason game going a perfect 3-0 with all three wins as an underdog. This preseason the Broncos open up against the Super Bowl champions Seahawks – who may have the Super Bowl hangover coming into this preseason. Plus the opposite is sure true in the Broncos dress rehearsal game under Fox where Denver has failed to cover the spread in all three games. This year’s dress rehearsal game is on Aug. 23 against Houston.
Kansas City Chiefs
Head Coach: Andy Reid
Quarterback Rotation: Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray (Rookie Georgia)
Kansas City has been one of the best fade teams in the preseason going an incredible 6-23 against the spread over the past seven years. I definitely look for more of the same this year as I look for Andy Reid to continue the tradition in Kansas City of not caring about these preseason games. Take a close look at the Chiefs first preseason game this year as Reid is 1-8 against the spread in his last nine opening preseason games in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Kansas City opens up this year at home against Cincinnati on Aug. 7.
Head Coach: Dennis Allen
Quarterback Rotation: Matt Schaub, Derek Carr (Rookie Fresno State), Matt McGloin, Trent Edwards
Allen has continued the Raiders losing ways in the preseason already losing six of the Raiders eight preseason games with him calling the shots. Plus no matter whom the head coach is of Oakland they always seem to finish the preseason on a down note – as in the past seven years they are a perfect 0-7 against the spread in their last preseason game of the year. This year’s finale for the Raiders is on Aug. 28 against the Seahawks at home.
San Diego Chargers
Head Coach: Mike McCoy
Quarterback Rotation: Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens, Brad Sorensen
Now in his second season in San Diego, you can’t forget that Mike McCoy came from Denver where he was the offensive coordinator for the high powered Broncos offense. I’m curious to see what numbers the oddsmakers put up on the San Diego totals this preseason. As last preseason the Chargers under McCoy saw the OVER go 3-1. With McCoy’s offensive background watch for San Diego to continue their high scoring ways this preseason.
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