Friday, September 09, 2005

The really early line

The NFL football season starts only this weekend, but Vegas already has the Jets as 4 1/2 point favorites over Buffalo in the week 17 game on January 1, 2006.

You can bet on anything these days. The same book giving these football odds lets you bet on "Next US Politician Caught in a Sex Scandal" (including "George W and Jeb Bush caught in a 3-some").

Anyhow, looking at the coming NFL season odds the one bet I'd take, if I was a betting fellow, would be the "under" on season wins for Atlanta at 9.5. A lot of people love the Falcons because they won 11 games last year and have the physically amazing Michael Vick -- "the greatest athlete ever at QB".

But last year the Falcons scored only 3 points more than they gave up -- they were lucky, they should have been 8-8, and season-to-season NFL team peformances notably display reversion to the mean. Moreover, Vick won't be a pro QB until he learns to pass the ball. The NFL's badly flawed passer rating system ranked Vick as 21st in the league last year. The much more sensible one at ranked him 37th -- in a league with only 32 starters.

The NFL is a passing league, teams win with the passing game above all. And for a QB in the NFL, "great athlete" is a polite way of saying "can't pass". So short them Falcons. (A similar opinion on Vick.)