NFL Futures: Washington Football Team to Make the Playoffs? (2021)

Jul 28, 2021 - 10:09 AM

The Washington Football Team is turning to first-year quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to improve its 2020 NFC East winning campaign. Fitzpatrick has weapons to work with, head coach Ron Rivera has reached a Super Bowl, and Washington’s defensive line is one of the most ferocious in the NFL.

So what could go wrong?

Check out our consensus odds for all teams to make or miss the playoffs >>

Washington Football Team to make the playoffs?

Even the second-year seven-team playoff rule can help Washington this season. First, because no NFC East team has won back-to-back division crowns since the Philadelphia Eagles won four straight from 2001-04. Second, several NFC teams should be better than the Football Team.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the oddsmakers. DraftKings lists the Dallas Cowboys as the favorite to win the NFC East and five additional NFC teams to have a higher win total than Washington’s 8.5-win forecast. In fact, DraftKings and the rest of the oddsmakers are generous in projecting Washington to have roughly 8 to 9 wins because the Football Team is only favored in three of their 17 games.

Furthermore, DraftKings projects the Minnesota Vikings to win 8.5 games. But, their Over is “juiced” to (-170) while the Football Team’s Over is even-money. This tells us DraftKings either prefers Minnesota’s Over and is willing to offer the Under (+145) at a plus-money payout. Or DraftKings has liability on Minnesota’s Over because of “sharp” money.

Either way, the most profitable spots in sports betting are when you align with both the House and “wiseguys.” Not only that, but I made a pretty compelling case already as to why the Minnesota Vikings are going to make the playoffs this season on this very website last week.

Enough about the NFC field and market. Let’s further discuss the Washington Football Team’s situation. Since the NFL is a “quarterback driving league,” how about we start with Fitzpatrick. Here are all the teams “Fitzmagic” has led to the postseason in his 17 previous seasons: None.

For his career, Fitzpatrick is 27 games below .500 while playing for eight different teams and has only won more than seven games once (his 2015 New York Jets were 10-6). Also, there’s maybe one comparison of an NFL quarterback going from journeyman/fringe starter to franchise guy. That’d be Rich Gannon from the 1999-2002 Oakland Raiders. So, it’d be fairly unprecedented for Fitzpatrick to come to his ninth team and do something he’s never done before.

According to Warren Sharp, Washington has the second-most difficult schedule in the NFC, the third-worst net rest advantage, and the lowest prep time rank. Moreover, Washington has to play three games on the second week of back-to-back road games.

Another way the NFL schedule-makers punished Washington was pitting them in three games against opponents with extra prep who played Thursday Night Football the previous week (according to the Deep Dive Podcast). In addition, the Football Team’s bye week is negated since their opponent the following week is also has a bye. Oh, and who is Washington’s opponent the week of their negated bye? It’s none other than the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Finally, I’m not an analytics guy or some football whiz. I’m a handicapper, so I’m studying the NFL previews from the Warren Sharps and Football Outsiders of the world. One of the most respected sources of football data on the internet is Football Outsiders, and they give the 2021 Washington Football Team a 39.4% chance to make the postseason.

Well, the implied win probability of the Football Team’s “No, to make the playoffs” (-140) is 58.3%. So, one of the most respected football nerds on the internet says were are getting a good price on our bet that Washington misses the playoffs.

Pick: Washington to miss the playoffs (-140)

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Geoff Clark is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Geoff, check out his archive and follow him @Geoffery_Clark.

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