Friday, July 21, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: Vegas Sets the Lines

Happy Friday, folks.  I hope everybody out there in Internetland is feeling it for the weekend.

Let's get it on!
[Team President Bruce] Allen suggests Washington made a generous offer on May 2 that would have given Cousins a record $53 million in full guarantees at the time of signing and $72 million in guarantees for injury…
This sounds like a lot of money.  But:
Cousins was already in line to make a minimum of $52.7 million over the next two seasons without sacrificing the leverage of going year-to-year on his contract. Allen and the organization wanted him to give up that leverage and leave nearly $40 million on the table for an additional $300,000. Even if you want to believe that Cousins should take a conservative approach in a league in which the attrition rate is perilously high, there's no way to make that math credibly work. This wasn't the sort of record-setting, no-brainer offer the organization is suggesting in Allen's statement. It's barely a credible one given Cousins' current leverage.
The article goes on to discuss some potential trade scenarios, and they’re interesting if you’re interested in the business of sports.  However, we haven’t seen the kinds of trades that are envisioned overmuch in pro football, and one gets the sense that the NFL’s current ownership doesn’t want to start taking such a deliberately business-only tack for short-term success the way that baseball does.
On a personal note, I don’t mind seeing management lose one to a player with high leverage, but this particular circumstance just shows again what a superstar-driven world we inhabit.  Cousins may have a lot of personal leverage, but his individual success isn't going to do anything to change the balance of power across the League.
Woebot—a chatbot engaging in therapy-like services via Facebook Messenger—seems intriguing. The idea is to help you understand and monitor your moods using a combination of natural language processing and therapeutic expertise. Sounds good, right? Using A.I. via social media to significantly reduce psychological problems like anxiety and depression would be quite a breakthrough.
I know what you’re thinking, but you don’t need to worry.  Not yet, anyway.  This Woebot thing showed itself to be no better than a self-help website over the course of the survey in question, so it’s not even close to putting any cognitive behavioral therapists out of their jobs.
[I]nvestors are enthusiastic about Netflix continuing to spend like crazy. The company expects to have negative free cash flow “for many years,” Netflix said in the quarterly letter to investors. It forecast negative free cash flow of $2.0 billion to $2.5 billion for the full year 2017; previously, the company had projected negative FCF of around $2 billion for 2017.
Two billion dollars!  Per year!!!
Netflix has just over a hundred million subscribers globally.  So yeah, it needs exactly $20 each per year to make that pay on an annual basis.  Granted, they’re still in negative cash flow, but they’ve seen most of their growth overseas this year.  Granted, they have a very long time horizon on their investment stratgey, but their negative cash flow still looks decidedly temporary.

Haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m gonna call it early for Batman Beyond.

Pro Football Focus ranked Army tackle Brett Toth as the country’s fifth-best, run-blocking tackle in 2016.
Bleacher Report listed Toth as the nation’s 23rd-best offensive lineman.
I’m really excited for Army’s offense this season.  QB Ahmad Bradshaw’s firstie season is the headliner, and I don’t think anyone will be surprised if FB Andy Davidson has another good year.  But really, it’s guys like Toth and rising yearling RB Kell Walker who stand to make the biggest “unexpected” impacts in what I suspect will be a much more successful and prolific offensive year.
Vegas certainly seems to like Army’s odds:

I should note, though, that the sharps set the vigorish for all three service academies to pull bettors to the Over.  So the actual line might be Army over/under 7.5, but it’s really closer to 7.25 once we consider the cost of the bet itself.  Navy’s not pulling quite that hard; their over/under probably ought to be closer to 6.8.
As loathe as I am to say anything positive about the U.S. Air Force Academy, AFA over 5 (+110) is probably the best bet on the board.  The blue Falcons have VMI, New Mexico, UNLV, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah State on their schedule, and they have a starting quarterback who has yet to lose a game.  The rest of their schedule is significantly tougher, but recent history suggests they won’t have a ton of trouble finding at least one additional win.  Plus, you get paid to take the over (lay $1, win $1.10), so the value on offer is legitimately compelling.
Translation: the sharps absolutely hate Air Force this year.
Personally, I think Navy’s in line for the bigger regression.  As I have written before, the past five years have given the Mids’ coaching staff unrealistic expectations about their quarterback play, and QB Zach Abey just isn’t at that level.  And yeah, maybe they could cover by pounding the rock with FB Chris High—spoiler alert: they probably could—but that sure as shit isn’t what they did when Abey came into games last year.  Add in a shaky defense and improved play overall in the American Athletic Conference, and well, under 7 wins actually looks like a decent bet despite a decade-plus of recent success.
Consider the schedule: FAU, Tulane, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Air Force, Memphis, UCF, Temple, SMU, Notre Dame, Houston, and then Army.  Florida Atlantic is a wild-card in their first year under Lane Kiffin, but it’s hard to expect miracles this early.  Navy’s also going to beat Tulane.  They then get a good Cinci team at home, and if they drop that one, look out!  Memphis, Temple, Notre Dame, and Houston are all probable losses, and Army and Air Force are hardly gimme games.  If UCF, Tulsa, or SMU exceed expectations, this could be a very tough year at America’s #2 service academy.
Y’know, the Yankees made a really compelling trade this week for a new first baseman and a couple of much-needed relievers, but honestly, all I can think about these days is the coming college football season.
* * *

That's all I've got, folks.  Enjoy the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment