Betting Odds Explained - Convert to probability

How to convert betting odds into probability

How to convert betting odds into probability submitted by thogenhaven to sportsbetting [link] [comments]

Calculating win probabilities form closing price odds - HKJC

I am becoming interesting in algorithmic horse racing betting and was looking into Hong Kong racing, due to the ease of collecting data.
I am interested in using the public's opinion on a horse as a part of my model, therefore I am looking to scrape the closing odds of the horses.
I want to convert the closing odds into probabilities and use these as the "public's predicted probability of a horse winning".
I want to use these probabilities in a similar way to how Bill Benter used them.
Does anybody know if the odds presented in the results table (e.g. https://racing.hkjc.com/racing/information/english/Racing/LocalResults.aspx?RaceDate=2020/06/27&Racecourse=ST&RaceNo=2 ) are starting or closing odds?
Another problem is that when converting the odds into probabilities by taking the reciprocal of the odds (1/decimal odds), the resulting probabilities sum to be greater than 1. I am aware that for fixed-odds betting this expected as this is how the 'house' makes money, but i thought that in a pari-mutuel system the odds should sum to 1 as they are calculated based on the amount of money placed on a hose relative to the total amount of money bet on all the horses.
I can renormalize these reciprocals so they sum to 1 by dividing each reciprocal buy the sum of all the reciprocals, this gives numbers that sum to 1 and could be interpreted as probabilities. Does anyone know if this is a valid thing to do?
I know that in the paper 'Searching for positive returns at the track' ( http://ruthnbolton.com/Publications/Track.pdf ) they calculate these public probabilities by looking at the amount of money in betting pools, is this data available somewhere for horse races?
submitted by jsmit332 to horseracing [link] [comments]

H. S. Shin's method for calculating implied probabilities from bookmaker odds.

I recently found a great python library that implements the odds converting method developed by H. S. Shin that offers greater accuracy when converting implied probabilities through an iterative approach and allows you to estimate the theoretical size of insider betting.

I'm not sure how well known this method but I had no idea about it until recently.
https://github.com/mberk/shin
submitted by Wov to algobetting [link] [comments]

The significance of winning a three game series

Objectively, what is the significance of winning a three game series, in terms of the relative strengths of the two teams? And of sweeping such a series? There seems to be a lot of varying opinions on this topic, but these questions are in fact addressable, using the math of binomial probability and likelihood, and I wanted to share some of the basics here.
There are two ways to win a 3-game series, either 2-1 or 3-0. For a team that wins two of three, the maximum likelihood estimate of its per-game win probability (p.win) is exactly that: p = 2/3. That is, barring any assumed knowledge (or biases!) about the two teams' relative strengths beforehand, the most likely estimate from the observed results is p.win = 2/3 for the series-winning team (say, Team A), and thus 1/3 for the losing team (Team B). But the mean likelihoods are slightly different: p.win = 3/5 for A, and thus 2/5 for B. (The simple formula for converting maximum, to mean, likelihood is (x+1) / (y+2), where x and y are the numbers of wins and games played, respectively, and is obtained by integrating over all possible p values, from 0.0 to 1.0). The corresponding mean win odds (not betting odds!) for the two teams are: o.win = (3/5) / (2/5) = 3/2 for Team A, and 2/3 for Team B. That is, A is 1.5 times as likely to win as is B.
But if we instead ask the question "What is the probability that Team A is better, by any amount, than Team B", we get stronger evidence for a definitive conclusion. (By "better" I mean "more likely to win": p.win > 0.5). In that case, we integrate only over all p.win > 0.5 values for Team A, and all p.win < 0.5 for B. Doing so gives p = 13/16 = 0.8125 = 11/16 ~= 0.69 that Team A is better than Team B.
But for the scenario of A winning all three games, the evidence for both conclusions is much stronger, and for two reasons.
Firstly, the mean likelihood p values for the teams then become 0.8 and 0.2; the corresponding odds are that A is 0.8/0.2 = 4 times as likely to win as B. The probability that A is better than B, by any amount, rises to an impressive 0.97 15/16 ~= 0.94. Secondly, and this principle is very important, the winning of the third game drastically reduces the probability that a series win arose by chance, but for a different reason. The basic idea is that two teams of identical stength (p.win = 0.5 for both), would produce a 2-1 series outcome 3/4 of the time, regardless of who wins the series (via simple binomial probability--flip a coin three times, repeat that many times, and observe the number of 2-1 splits). Without detailing the math involved, a 3-0 series win provides much stronger evidence that this possibility of team equality is unlikely, than does a 2-1 series win.
So, mathematically, I hope this helps to explain objectively why: (1) winning a series provides evidence of team strength, and (2) sweeping a series is much more definitive than just winning two of three.
EDIT: Corrected some wrong numbers regarding the probability of being better by any amount (aaaargh)....the correct values do however make the conclusion that a series sweep is much stronger evidence of superiority than is a 2-1 win, even stronger.

submitted by suicide-squeeze to collegebaseball [link] [comments]

My adventure to a 525/advice/knowledge/life tips

Howdy y’all, this was an email that I sent to all my friends that are studying right now/beginning to prepare, so please excuse the language and how personal it is. Some of my friends thought it would be helpful to post on here, and I'm all about sharing the love, so I thought why not. I'm swamped with secondaries right now (I waited until I got my score yesterday to submit them), but I will try to reply to anyones comments ASAP as possible.
Greetings friends. After a tumultuous summer I finally got my MCAT score back, and I did well enough that I feel comfortable sharing my MCAT journey and all the resources I used. I got a 525, so I like to think I might have an idea of what I’m talking about and am not full of shit. If you have any questions just let me know, we’re all in this together. I’m gonna try to break this email up by sections, but there’s a chance I might ramble so just deal with it.
A couple things to start off with:
No one really talks about this but I thought the most important thing is to have a GROWTH MINDSET 😤. No but really, if you wanna do well you need to have confidence in yourself. If you don’t believe that you can get a good score then you probably won’t. Obviously you should set realistic goals and don’t become depressed when you don’t get a 528, but I’ve always thought it was best to aim high.
Another thing is that the MCAT isn’t really a test of intelligence, it’s just a test of your work ethic. Before I did any studying I thought I’d be fine since I’ve done well in all my undergraduate classes. NOPE. Even if you have a 4.0, there will be so, so many things you haven’t seen before that you need to learn. I’ve seen a lot of people consign themselves to lower score because they think they’re not as smart as other people. Even if it doesn’t come as easily to you, if you work at it you can do better than you think.
On that note, you need to cut the bullshit out of your life and make the MCAT a priority. One thing that really helped free up my time was when I stopped going out 3 days a week. We all love the Wednesday night harp show but know what I love more? Having a stable future. It is sucky, and you won’t have as much time for your friends or relationships. This means you can’t be hanging out with the broskis every other day, you can’t be fucking your ex at 1am, and as mentioned you won’t going to the bars or parties. Yeah it is AIDS, and I’m still salty that I barely hit the bars last semester especially when they are closed for the foreseeable future. However, if you want to do the best you can then need to eliminate distractions. I was lucky enough that I have a great support system, friends, and family to help me through this process. They understood when I couldn’t hang or didn’t text back for a week, and they didn’t get pissed because they knew I had to grind. I have stories of people with friends or significant others that can’t take the lack of contact and it causes problems - I can’t tell you what to do but if that happens to you I would suggest reevaluating who you hang out with and if they have your best goals in mind.
Things that are helpful before you even start studying
Depending on who you are, there is a chance you are getting this email ahead of time before you even need to worry about the MCAT. In that case congrats on being responsible, but please enjoy your life before this consumes it. Anyway, there are a couple things that I think would be helpful that nobody ever talks about. First and foremost, being able to read quickly is a huge blessing. I have always been a nerd and used to get in trouble for reading during class, so I am lucky in that this wasn’t a huge issue for me. The MCAT is timed and presents a lot of information to process, and if you can read fast that means you can get through the material much quicker, allowing you more time to check on questions that you have flagged. Since you will be making hella flashcards (read below), it will be really helpful if you can type fast. I type all my notes for school so I am fairly proficient (lucky for y’all or there would be no way in hell I would type this novel), however if you are not the best then there are several online typing websites you can use to improve your speed. Since the MCAT is all multiple choice there will be no things that you need to type, but it will save you a tone of time during your review. Finally, this makes sense but try to do your best in your undergrad classes and learn to retain information, not just get the day. If you barely passed orgo the first time you took it then it will take even longer to relearn it for the MCAT. Likewise, even though I got a 4.0 in biochem I didn’t memorize all the pathways, and it was annoying to have to relearn it. If you are in the position, keep these tips in mind and it will save you some time.
How I studied (chronologically in general):
Tbh I kinda bullshitted my way into MCAT studying for a while, as I didn’t really know anyone else who was studying at the same time. This is one of the things I highly regret, as I feel like I wasted too much time by not having a solid plan. There are services online that will build you a study plan for like $150. I never used them because I can usually self motivate, but if you are one of those people that cannot focus then you might wanna look into it. The first couple months I spent doing content review, which basically means I went through every page of the Kaplan books and took detailed notes. In the end, this was a COLOSSAL waste of time and I highly regret it. Hundreds of hours were put into making notes that I never used again, and those hours would be much better spent doing practice questions or something else. I would still recommend looking over the books because they provide a good basis. However, if I could go back I would probably just skim through them and maybe take light notes. Another thing I will discuss more - you need to be studying using active recall, which for most people means doing practice questions or flashcards. Don’t fall into the trap of reading over notes, thinking “that makes sense,” and then moving on with your life. Studies have shown repeatedly that is simply not the move, it does not work, and it is fake news. No, you’re not better than everyone else and learn better from reading your notes. If you still wanna disagree on this, just delete the email right now and continue to delude yourself.
After I did a content review, I couldn’t really tell you what I got done. I have about a 2 to 3 month gap in my memory on how I studied, which is why I suggest using a schedule. I assume I spent most of this time doing practice questions, and I also know that I got through all of UEarth Right around this time is when COVID hit, which really threw a wrench in my plans. I was originally supposed to test on 4/25, but miss rona pushed my test back 2 months to 6/27. I knew that I needed to really get my ass in gear in the last 2 months to get up to my goal (at that time my goal was a 520), so this is when I really started to put the work in.
Since my semester had ended, I basically studied everyday, full time. I struggle with waking up in the morning, and although on average I wanted to wake up at 7 everyday I usually got up at 9. I would workout (except when I got lazy which was more often than I’d like to admit), and then make a smoothie and study. My routine usually consisted of doing my Anki review cards in the morning, doing some practice questions, then doing new Anki cards in the afternoon. Something that I struggled with was working at home, and honestly if at all possible do not study in your own house if you can avoid it. I would usually go to the student union or find a nice spot outside, and I was lucky because my roommate moved out and I was able to use his room as an office with my phone in a different room. I would usually try to do a practice test every Wednesday and Sunday, spend the following Thursday and Monday reviewing it, and then spend the other days doing any practice I had left. As I got closer and closer to the test date I was eventually running out of practice questions and had more and more Anki cards, so I would end up just doing hella Anki cards a day.
Per Section Tips
First off for every section I was kinda surprised with how well I did, a whole lotta luck and everyone’s prayers went into it so excuseeee me if I can’t back up my score.
Chemistry/Physics (C/P): This section was a pain in my ass. I had done well in chemistry and physics in class, but at least at MSU you get a cheat sheet for PHY 231/2. The MCAT has no such luxuries, and you will be forced to memorize everything. Everyone stresses on orgo, but if you look at the content breakdown orgo is only 5% of the total content, and if you didn’t feel the need to do that good you could ignore orgo and probably do fine. I noticed that after doing a lot of practices, a lot of the stuff is very repetitive and testing the same things. You need to know your distillations and kinematic equations and how to find the resistance in parallel vs series, but honestly the stuff the section covers isn’t as hard as it seems once you get used to it
Critical Analysis of Bullshit aka Reading aka CARS: If C/P is a pain in the ass CARS has been the bane of my existence. “But Paul, how hard can reading be you illiterate fuck? The answer is just there you gotta read it!” Alas, this is not the case. I’ve read all my life, I got perfect scores in ACT and SAT reading, but CARS doesn’t really test your reading ability, it just tests if you can figure out the AAMC’s bullshit logic they use when writing questions. I ended up doing well in this section on the real thing, but honestly it has been one of the hardest things to improve and I can’t really give any huge game changers I used to boost my score. One thing that did help was after each paragraph, I would take a couple seconds to mentally summarize what I just read. Some of the material is insanely boring, and unless you stay engaged it will be hard to retain it and then answer the questions. In addition, you can’t spend time trying to find every answer in the text, as sometimes it will be vaguely implied and you have to ~feel~ it. The official AAMC section banks (discussed below) offer some good practice for this, and I would also recommend signing up for Jack Westin reading passages and doing those. I honestly think CARS is just something you have to practice over time and cross your fingers, do a rain dance, and pray that it will come to you. There is no quick fix and it’s impossible to cram for, so try to just start ASAP
Biology/Biochem (B/B): So tbh I have been an intro biology TA for 4 semesters now, meaning I have technically taken the class 5 times and a lot of the basic material is child's play (why you gotta fight with me at cheesecake). First off for the love of god memorize all the amino acids, glycolysis, and the Krebs cycle. You can’t get around it, they will ask questions about it, and it is easy points. Something else that’s important (really applies for the whole exam but) is that learning how everything is interconnected and applying concepts. You can’t really use sheer memorization for this, and a lot of questions I would get right because I was like oh shit this is just like a different concept I learned that I can apply to this. There are many many topics covered in this, so like everything else I would suggest just trying to absorb as much material as you can.
Psych/Soc (P/S): Honestly it is a beauty that this section is last because it is the “easiest.” I think that if you are struggling to get your score up, this is probably the easiest section to do it in because it is just memorizing a bunch of terms. Sure you need to rote memorize a lot of stuff, but many questions are just definitions and don’t really test your problem solving that much. I also found that I always finished psych with ample time left, so it gave me time to check on your answers. One thing I’ll warn you about is on the actual test, psych was hard as hell and I felt like it was my worst section by far, while it ended up being my best one. Keep in mind that even though this section is more straightforward than other ones, there will still be some curveballs. Also, process of elimination is essential in this section, as you will often get questions that require you to know 4 different theories - even if one is something you have no clue about, you may be able to eliminate the other options.
Actual Test Day and Trusting the Process:
Alright first when you take the test (applies to full lengths and every test in general) there are a couple strategies I used that I think helped get my score. First off, when actually taking the test I would usually try to make a quick first pass on it. The MCAT setup lets you flag questions, and if there was a question I had no clue on or one that I guessed on and went back, I would flag it by clicking the flag in the upper right hand corner. This not only allowed me to get through the whole test, but meant that I wouldn’t waste time on hard questions when there were easy questions further in the test. After making my first pass I would then review all the incomplete questions and flagged ones, and if I still had time I would go through the whole test again. More than once I caught a question I hadn’t flagged that I got wrong, so this was helpful.
Something else that was helpful was meditating. I don’t think I ever truly meditated, but between sections I would close my eyes and try to focus on my breathing. I know it sounds like some hippie bullshit but it actually works, I think it kinda helps calm you down and stay focused. It is easy to feel like you bombed one section and then let it affect your other sections, but I would try to push this out of my head and think along the lines of “okay even if chemistry sucked you can still do perfect on every other section and kill it.”
Something else I wanna discuss is scoring and low yield vs high yield concepts. Low yield and high yield is something that you will hear a lot, and basically refers to content that should be expected to be seen a lot (high yield) and content you may not ever see (low yield). An example of something high yield would be the structure of amnio acids, while something low yield is something like Kuber-Ross end of life stages. Some people only focus on the high yield stuff and ignore the low yield stuff, but personally I think that is a mistake. My philosophy is that you should go into the MCAT feeling like you know everything and are prepared for anything they might throw at you. Obviously you won’t and you will still be confused on some topics, but at least you are more likely to do better. Now if you have limited time that is a different story, but if you are able I would suggest treating everything as high yield.
In regards to scoring, something to keep in mind is that it is much much easier to improve at a lower level than at a higher one. The difference between the 515 I scored in March and the 525 I got in June was only a difference of ~15 questions right, and represented hundreds of hours of studying. Tbh, I theoretically could’ve gotten a 528 if I had gotten only 3 more questions right. For that reason (at least in my opinion), it is kind of hard to study for a score past 525, and that entire range (98-100th percentile) is based on your content knowledge and luck. If you are already scoring high you will probably notice the lack of advice and guides online to scoring in that range, as most things are focused on getting you to a 515 (generally most people’s target). Similarly, if you start out at a 490 it is going to be much easier to get to a 500 then from a 500->510, and a 510->520. Just something to keep in mind as you format your plan of attack.
As you approach your test day, most advice says to just relax and not do any material, but since I’m the kid that will still be looking at his notes while the test is being passed out in the front of class, I found this hard to do. At the end of the day however, the studying you do the last day and honestly in the last week won’t make that much of a difference. If you have been scoring in the 510 range on all your official FL’s, do not expect that you will suddenly get a 520 on test day. When you take the test, you will go to the Pearson Vue testing center (leave your phone in the car), sign in, get your palm scanned and photo taken, and then be led to the testing room. You will be asked to flip out your pockets, and the proctor (in my case a student) will lead you to the room. Keep in mind that if you want, you can ask the proctor for some disposable earplugs, in addition to the over the ear headphones that are next to your computer. Miraculously, I found that my room was actually pretty quiet, and I had no trouble concentrating. I took the test in the middle of COVID, which means they shortened the test to allow for 3 tests a day in order to fit everybody in. Because of this, the test was a little under 6 hours long instead of the 7+ hours it normally is. I had a smoothie for breakfast and went to the bathroom before, and I chose not to take any of the breaks. If you feel like you need a drink of water or to take a piss, keep in mind that it takes some time to get checked in and out, so really your 10 min break turns into 5. Now after you took the test, do your best not to freak out. Personally I got jimmy johns, then sat in my car and called my dad. I felt confident on FL4 but felt like I bombed the actual test, and all I could focus on were the questions I had likely gotten wrong. This is normal, everyone feels that way, and odds are you didn’t fail. I then spent the next 2 weeks tweaking and reading horror stories of people who did good in practice and then bombed their actual test - for the love of god don’t do this, try not to do something school related, and just relax. It is out of your hands and there is nothing you can do, so don’t worry about it because I bet you did great.
How to take a full length (FL):
If you do any research online, you will likely see people refer to something called FL’s. These stand for full length tests, and they are released by AMCAS, the company that makes the MCAT. These tests are the best gauge of how well you will do on the MCAT, as I’m pretty sure they are just old MCATS. You should pretend that each FL is the real thing - that means taking it in a quiet environment, no notes, phone away, etc. There are currently 4 AAMC FL’s, which means 4 practice test (representing more than 1000 practice questions)
Now, here’s where I go against the thread. The conventional wisdom is to take your full lengths within a month of your actual test, and your test will be ±2 points of the average of your FL’s. However, I was originally supposed to test April 25th, and when it got pushed back to June 27th I had already taken FL1-3. This means I couldn’t take the average, since there were 300+ hours of studying done between FL3 and FL4. Personally, I find I learn a lot from reviewing practice questions, and as such it’s going to be natural to improve on subsequent ones. A lot of people only focus on actually taking the test, but actually reviewing the test is essential, and probably one of the most important things to do when studying for the MCAT. Every question is multiple choice, and therefore has 1 right answer and 3 wrong answers (except the questions like I, I & II, II & III but fuck those questions). This means that when doing any sort of practice, you should not only know why the right answer is right but why the other 3 are wrong. If you can do this for every question, you know your stuff. To test if you’re doing it right, if you were to look through old practices you should be getting almost every question right. If not, you probably need to focus on how you review information. My scores on the full lengths were 514, 515, 513 (rip CARS) and 524.
A note on third party practice tests - do NOT trust scores from third party tests, at least not at face value. First of all, the companies have a financial incentive to make them harder. You might notice that companies like Kaplan have a money back guarantee if you don’t do better on the actual test than their practices. To make sure you never claim it, they make their tests way harder than the real thing. For reference, I got 510 on a Kaplan FL and scored 524 on FL4 the next week. Furthermore, the AAMC has a very specific format that you need to get used to, a format not used by other test making companies. This holds especially true in CARS - basically disregard any 3rd party cars test, as it is fake news.
Anki
I was going to throw this in the section below but I realized that Anki was so instrumental in my success it deserves it’s own separate header. Anki is basically a flashcard app, but it has some features that make it amazing. When you use online flashcards like quizlet, it will basically have your cards in a pile and there is no way of ranking them. With Anki, whenever you look at a card you can rank it by difficulty, and then cards that are easy will go to the back of your pile while difficult ones will stay at the top. That way you can maximize your time. What you should be doing is basically making an Anki card on anything and everything. This includes right and wrong questions, things that you kinda know but not quite, things you see online that you aren’t 100% confident of. If there is a topic that you don’t know well enough to teach to another person, you should make a card for it.
This is mentioned below, but in addition to making your own cards I would use a master deck. That is basically a compendium of all the knowledge that will be on the test. They are usually not super in depth, but offer a great way to get a general understanding of stuff.
The important thing after making the cards is actually using them, and this is where I dropped the ball. I didn’t really start going through my Anki decks until a little over a month before the MCAT, and since I had accumulated over 6000 cards including the master deck it meant I was doing more than a thousand reviews a day. Anki is made for long term learning not cramming, and I would recommend working on cards simultaneously as you make them.
I am not an expert on Anki, but there are a lot of YouTube videos and resources out there that can explain it better than I. I would also recommend downloading the Heatmap add-on to track your progress and to motivate you to keep up with it, as well as the image resizer add on to make it easier to add screenshots.
Also something that made studying easier for me was that I would often do my Anki cards while hammocking. Obviously it would be difficult depending on your location/the season, but I love outdoors and it was much better for me to work on a deck outside rather than cramped inside an office.
Some of you have requested I send my Anki decks, which I did because once again, we are all in this together. However, I would generally warn against using other peoples flashcards or Anki decks. If we both took the same test there would be questions I thought were easy that you thought were hard, and vice versa. It is gonna be a waste of time, since your study plan should be custom to
YOU, nobody else.
Seriously though, download Anki and use it. Without Anki I would not have done well. Plz.
Other Resources I Used:
AAMC Official Material - This includes the full lengths I previously discussed, as well as other section banks with official practice questions. These are very helpful, as they are written by AMCAS and the MCAT is written in a specific way. You will notice as you study more that while questions test certain knowledge, but official questions are written differently than 3rd party ones. Among the AAMC resources are something called Section Banks. These are basically the hardest questions that are likely to show up on the test. Don’t fret when you get half of them wrong, because they’re designed to be hella hard. They are another great resource to study from, because if you can nail the hardest content then everything else will seem easy.
UEarth - UEarth can straight up have my children, it is probably one of if not the best resource you can use. Basically UEarth is a paid service that has 1900 practice questions, styled exactly like the MCAT. Questions are broken up by sections (Chem, Physics, Bio, Biochem, Psych, Soc, Reading), and furthermore by subsections (for example Chem could have circuits, magnets, thermo, mirrors, etc). UEarth allows you to make custom practice tests, and you can choose the type of questions you want. The real beauty of UEarth is that they give detailed explanations for every question, including why the wrong answer is wrong. This allows you to figure out why you chose the wrong answer (which as mentioned, is important). I went through UEarth on my first pass over spring break (and made Anki cards for them), and then went back over a month or so later and redid all of the questions I had gotten wrong previously. This was important, because if I still got them wrong it meant that I didn’t learn the subject.
Kaplan - Most people purchase a set of books, and the 2 most common are the Princeton Review and Kaplan. They’re basically the same, so flip a coin or whatever. One thing that is nice with Kaplan is you have access to their online services. At the end of each chapter in the book there is a 15 question quiz, and they have all these online when you make an account. They also provide you with 3 free practice tests, which are nice.
NextStep Full Lengths - As I’ve mentioned, I learn best when doing practice questions. NextStep is a third party company that sells practice tests and section banks. Even though they are very deflated, they still are great for testing your content knowledge. I got the bundle of 6 tests, and was able to do so when they had a sale. Depending on how long you are studying for, I would definitely use NS tests if you can.
JackWestin CARS practice - JackWestin is apparently just a dude that is good at reading. CARS is one of the hardest sections on the MCAT, and he has a free email service where you sign up and they send you one passage a day. I would recommend doing that literally after you’re done reading the novel I’m writing right now, and then actually do it. I had like a 3 month period where I would just delete the emails every day, and that is stupid. If you do one passage a day you’ll spend only ~10 minutes, but you’ll be doing the equivalent of an entire CARS practice every week.
MileDown Anki Deck - Legend has it that Mr. Miledown was an extremely gracious person sho spent his gap year making a comprehensive review of all the MCAT material. The Miledown deck is an Anki deck of a few thousand flashcards that encompass all of the knowledge that should be on the MCAT. Theoretically, if you go through the entire deck and learn everything then you will know everything that will be on the MCAT. It can be downloaded from reddit if you google it. There are several other master decks (the other one I know of is Jack Sparrow), I only used the MileDown one and I was fine but do some digging.
Reddit - this was also instrumental for my MCAT success. I was never big into reddit, but I made an account specifically when preparing. There is an MCAT subreddit with an absolute wealth of knowledge. If you have a question, I can almost guarantee that someone has asked it before. There are tons of people that are apparently altruistic af, and will take time out of their day to give detailed answers. Reddit is also huge when reviewing your FL’s. If you have a tricky question google “reddit MCAT FL# C/P #” and there will probably be multiple threads with different explanations. Reddit also has some funny memes and people will post very helpful tips or study sheets. There’s also lots of posts like what I’m writing now, where people will outline their study strategy and give tips. I think one of the reasons people do so bad on the MCAT (after all 50% of people score below a 500) is simply because they are not aware of what is out there.
Stuff attached to this email - I attached some of my favorite resources that I used when preparing. Highlights include the Khan Academy document and The Miledown Overall Review pdf. Some of the website links are to very specific topics, but ones that I struggled with and found helpful. It’s helpful, and ctrl f is your friend. I also attached my Anki decks.
What I Wish I Did Differently:
I obviously got a great score, however there were several things that I would have changed. As mentioned, I wasted a lot of time on my content review. Unless you are actively recalling the content, there is very little you will learn from reading and taking notes. I could have easily shaved a couple hundred hours off my study time if I kept this in mind. If I had an actual schedule to follow, I would definitely have been more efficient - some people find that it helps to have a study buddy to keep each other accountable. In addition, I should have been more diligent at following a routine and waking up early. Especially in summer with my test 2 months away, it was really easy to sleep in until 10. I would try to remind myself that if I woke up 3 hours earlier, that means I can finish 3 hours earlier. In the same vein, it is important to set boundaries while you study and try to enjoy your life. I would often try to “study” until 10 at night, which usually consisted of me going on my phone while my laptop was open with flashcards. This is just stupid, either you are studying or not; you can’t halfass it.
Miscellaneous
You might have noticed that I didn’t do any sort of standardized program. It may work for some, but personally I find that when you’re being taught with everyone else, it is very easy to either get ahead and be wasting your time or fall behind and struggle. I am also poor. Many people like private tutoring, however that is also extremely expensive and many times it is easier to find the answer yourself.
In a similar thread, you need to keep in mind that MCAT companies are for profit companies. This is where my cynicism will show through - the primary goal of these companies is to maximize profit, not get you the best score. Of course they want you to do well so they will look good, and I’m sure individual teachers do care, however as a whole they are trying to sell you something. As part of my Kaplan book set I was able to have a 30min call to help plan for studying. When I asked her about other resources like UEarth and Nextstep, it was evident that she was basically told by her boss not to endorse anyone but Kaplan, so she steered me back towards their own products. They are not praying on your downfall, but just keep that in mind when you get advice from someone.
Also if you can’t tell already, the MCAT is hella expensive. Including the fee for taking the test, I spent around $1100 throughout the whole process. I was lucky to be in a position where I was able to work over the semester to save up, but it is something to think about.
Something that also really helped me was an app called Forest. It is an app that will grow mini virtual trees when you don’t use your phone for a given amount of time. Growing trees gets you coins, which you can use to unlock more trees and even use to get the company to plant real trees. It sounds cheesy, but it was really helpful for me and helped me stay off my phone.
A note on mental health:
The MCAT is a real bitch, and I knew of lots of people that I either knew personally or saw online that had their mental health really affected. I am lucky enough to not suffer from high anxiety or other disorders, but given how stressful it was for me I can’t imagine dealing with it on top of other shit. At the end of the day, the MCAT is just another standardized test and the score doesn’t define who you are. At worst you would have to retake it, and even if you have to take a gap year it is not the end of the world. Ik you might think it is easy for me to say since I got a good score, but even after I got the score in the back of my mind I was like hmm well if I had gotten XYZ right maybe I would’ve done even better. Unless you’re a genius you probably won’t get a 528, and that is okay. Do the best you can, remind yourself that med school admissions are holistic, and at the end of the day remember to take time for self care.
Alright folks that’s a wrap. I think I included most of my thoughts, but I’m sure I forgot a few things. Let me know if you have any other questions, you can reply to this email or just text me. Feel free to send this to your friends, I really don’t care and I want everyone to do as best they can on the MCAT. We are all smart and capable and we will all get into medical school and be doctors someday. I believe in you.
Everything you need to know in science: https://jackwestin.com/resources/mcat-content/aamc-mcat-science-outline
Electrostatic Equations: https://www.reddit.com/Mcat/comments/ha9rff/tips_for_understanding_electrostatics_instead_of/
Understanding linear to chair conformations of sugars: https://www.organicchemistrytutor.com/converting-between-fischer-haworth-and-chair-forms-of-carbohydrates/
Converting 3rd party FL scores to actual ones: http://joel.vg/converting-3rd-party-mcat-scores-to-actual-scores/
Memorizing Erikson stages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BcwntGAB34
Link to MileDown MCAT Overall Review (too large to attach): https://www.reddit.com/MCAT2/comments/96hwed/umiledown_s_god_tier_review_sheets/
submitted by Spartan10142 to Mcat [link] [comments]

Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.

The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.

At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.

Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.

Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.

Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.

As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.

Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.

Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.

Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.

Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.

Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.

If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.

Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.

Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).

Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.

One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.

Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.

Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.

In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).

Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.

Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.

We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!

The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.

The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.

I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.

The QB and RB situations remain the same.

Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.

Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.

All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.

The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.

Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.

The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.

Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.

Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.

First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.

The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.

Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.

He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.

The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.

Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.

In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.

Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.

After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).

Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.

The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.

The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.

The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.

Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9 WINS 51.4% bwin +115 +10.5%
UNDER 9 WINS 48.6% Heritage Sports +100 -2.8%
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!

Professor MJ
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Will the Chicago Bears win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

It was a roller-coaster ride for the Bears last year. They started with a 3-1 record before losing five of their next six meetings. They concluded the season by winning four of the last six games, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.

After a NFC North title in 2018, Da Bears ended with a disappointing 8-8 record last season.

The offense was often criticized (deservedly so), and changes needed to be made.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Mitchell Trubisky has had an uncharacteristic journey in the NFL thus far. After being selected as the number two overall pick, he had a rookie season where he threw 7 TD passes versus 7 picks. He took a nice leap in his sophomore year with 24 TDs and 12 interceptions, while leading the team to its first division title since 2010.

QBs showing such a nice growth from year 1 to year 2 rarely crash down the following season, but that pretty much describes Trubisky’s third year in the league. He graded as the 30th-best QB in the NFL out of 37 qualifiers based on PFF rankings.

This situation was inexplicable. It’s not like the team had lost many key pieces on offense. What happened to Trubisky?

GM Ryan Pace has set up nicely a good QB battle in camp between Trubisky and newly acquired Nick Foles.

What’s interesting is Foles himself has had ups-and-downs in his career. He was outstanding in 2013 by throwing 27 TDs versus just 2 interceptions! He also led the Eagles to a Super Bowl in the 2017 season, after Carson Wentz went down to an injury. Foles also performed well in 2018.

However, he wasn’t so good in 2014, 2015 and more recently 2019. What type of quarterback will he be in the windy city? Who’s going to get the starting nod?

My own guess is Foles win the job early on. He is already familiar with the head coach, the QB coach and the offensive coordinator. Learning the playbook won’t be as difficult as if these guys had never worked together in the past.

Backup QB Chase Daniel left for a division rival: the Detroit Lions.

Overall, adding Foles over Daniel is clearly an upgrade over 2019, while also keeping in mind the fact that Trubisky may return to his previous form (which is not impossible for a young guy like him).

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

What the heck happened to Tarik Cohen? I have always liked small and fast guys. For this reason, he had become one of my favorite guys to watch. Watching him last year (and the entire offense) was sad.

His yards per rush average went from 4.5 to 3.3. His yards per catch average went from 10.2 to 5.8. He couldn’t get going all season long.

In 2017 and 2018, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were a great version of the thunder-and-lightning combo. Despite losing Howard, the production wasn’t supposed to drop significantly because of the acquisition of David Montgomery through the draft.

That’s not how things played out. The team went from 11th to 27th place in terms of rushing yards per game (from 2018 to 2019). Montgomery finished the year with a disappointing 3.7 yards per carry average.

Both Montgomery and Cohen will be back in 2020. Perhaps they’ll do better this year, but I don’t expect a huge upgrade either.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Finally a guy that has produced consistent results in this offense: Allen Robinson!

Catching 98 balls for 1,147 yards and 7 TDs despite such bad QB play was phenomenal! You can count on him to generate good numbers again, especially in a contract year.

A former second-round pick, Anthony Miller caught 52 passes last season after catching 33 the year before. The only blemish was the number of TD receptions, which went from 7 to 2.

Miller started the year slowly following an offseason injury that made him miss some time in camp. His role could be increased after the departure of Taylor Gabriel.

The Bears pulled the plug on the Taylor Gabriel experiment. After showing some flashes with the Falcons, he never lived up to expectations in Chicago.

Again, the production from this group may be steady in 2020.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

I’m sorry Bears fans, but one of the worst free agent acquisitions, in my humble opinion, was Jimmy Graham for two years and $16 million. The price paid versus the production doesn’t make sense at all.

If you look at his numbers, you can see a clear decline. His first seven seasons were a success; his lowest mark according to PFF during that time span was 74.7. Then, he received a 66.0 grade in 2017. And then 59.6 in 2018, followed by 58.0 last year. To make matters worse, remember that the last two years were with the Packers, who happen to have a quarterback named Aaron Rodgers (have you heard of him?).

Trey Burton was another huge disappointment last year. After catching 54 passes a couple of years ago, he only caught 14 in eight games. He was released and picked up by the Colts.

The team drafted Cole Kmet in the second round in this year’s draft. He’s a classic tight end who can do a little bit of everything. He provides good run blocking, albeit sometimes a bit inconsistent. He doesn’t have that much experience as a pass catcher since he only started racking up decent stats last year, but he has a big catch radius. He will likely need time to develop into a solid starter.

The Bears also have Adam Shaheen in their roster, a 2nd round pick from the 2017 draft. He has bust written all over him.

As if they didn’t have enough tight ends, Chicago went on to sign Demetrius Harris, formerly of the Browns. He graded as the 66th-best tight end out of 66 qualifiers. Enough said.

This group did very little last year. A bunch of six guys combined for 46 catches. Despite the questionable moves, I expect a small upgrade. Perhaps Graham can magically rejuvenate his career?

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Four out of five starters are returning: Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Charles Leno and Bobby Massie. Only Daniels graded as above-average; the others finished in the middle of the pack (or even lower).

Kyle Long announced his retirement, while semi-starter Cornelius Lucas left for Washington. The new starter on the OL will be Germain Ifedi, who made at least 13 starts in each of his first four seasons in the league (all with the Seahawks).

In summary, we have a not-so great starter being replace by a not-so great player. Therefore, we can expect similar results to 2019, which was average play.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Inconsistency is a recurring theme for many players from this unit: Trubisky, Foles and Cohen.

My final conclusion is a small upgrade over 2019, mainly because of the QB position. The chances are fairly good that either Foles provides a spark, or Trubisky regains his 2018 form. However, don’t expect a MVP-type of season for any one of them.

The rest of the offense should expect similar output. Acquiring Jimmy Graham and Germain Ifedi is nothing to write home about, just as losing Taylor Gabriel isn’t a big loss either.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small upgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

The interior defenders did a fairly good job. Roy Robertson-Harris, Nick Williams and Eddie Goldman all graded as above-average DLs in 2019. Only Bilal Nichols received poor grades, but he played less often.

Nick Williams left for Detroit, but the Bears expect to get Akiem Hicks in 2020. He suited up for just five games last year. He’s been a dominating force for them the previous three years. His return on the field will make a big difference.

So, despite Williams’ departure, this group should do better in 2020 than the year before, mainly because of Hicks’ return.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Khalil Mack’s sack production went down in 2019 with “only” 8.5. He had recorded 12.5, 10.5, 11 and 15 in its previous four campaigns. Still, Mack finished as the #14 edge defender out of 107 guys. He is constantly disrupting plays from opposing offenses.

The Bears lost Leonard Floyd who went to the Rams, but they quick found a replacement with Robert Quinn, coming over from Dallas. Floyd is two years younger and averaged 4.6 sacks per season, while Quinn has gotten 8.9 sacks per year over his nine-year career. Quinn is a better pass rusher, while Floyd plays the run better.

All in all, I expect similar results as 2019 from this unit.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

One more guy who saw a dip in productivity was Roquan Smith. After receiving a 67.0 grade in his rookie season, he only got 52.4 last year. He played the run well, but his coverage and pass rushing weren’t nearly as good in 2019. I do believe the former #8 pick overall can come back very strong in 2020.

Danny Trevathan missed six games because of an injury, but he played pretty well when he was on the field. I am not worried about him.

Backups Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis both left in free agency. Both played very well while filling in for injured starters. Their losses take a blow to Chicago’s linebacker depth.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara were the clear starters in 2019. Despite finishing as PFF’s number 41 CB out of 112 qualifiers, Amukamara was released by the Bears for cap reasons.

Still, the team needs to replace him. Can Buster Skrine or Kevin Toliver assume that #2 role? I’m not so sure about that…

Chicago hopes to fill the void via the selection of Jaylon Johnson in the 2nd round last April. The number one concern about him is health; he has undergone through three shoulder surgeries over the years.

Johnson’s speed and explosiveness are below average, but he makes up for it with great competitiveness and smart-play.

3.5 Safeties (S)

We are rounding the defensive side of the ball with the safeties. Things were pretty simple in 2019, as both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Eddie Jackson played 99% of the defensive snaps. They ranked 19th and 46th out of 87 safeties, respectively, according to PFF.

The problem is Clinton-Dix is gone to Dallas. Last year the Bears vacated the vacancy created at the safety position when Adrian Amos left for Green Bay by acquiring Clinton-Dix, but now that he’s also gone they have a glaring hole at the position.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

The Bears allowed the fourth-fewest points in the league last season. Can we expect a similary good 2020 season? I doubt it.

First, the good news. Akiem Hicks is back from an injury that made him miss 11 games and the team acquired steady sack producer Robert Quinn from Dallas.

The bad news? Losing DL Nick Williams, DE Leonard Floyd, LBs Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, CB Prince Amukamara and S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. That’s a lot of bodies that need to be replaced. We’re talking about at least 4 new starters and some key depth.

Overall, my guess is it takes a moderate blow to the Bears’ defense. Their front seven is likely to remain very good, but the secondaries worry me. I wouldn’t fall off my chair if the team went from 4th-best in points allowed to the 10th-12th range.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Chicago Bears are expected to win 8.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8.5 WINS 38% Pinnacle +148 -5.8%
UNDER 8.5 WINS 62% MyBookie.ag -130 +9.7%

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Bears’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 25th-highest in the league, the Green Bay Packers!

I hope you found this article insightful, thanks for reading!

Professor MJ
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Will the Arizona Cardinals win OVER/UNDER 7 games? 2020 season predictions by University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

From 2013 to 2015, the Cardinals won at least 10 games in each of those seasons. They followed up with a couple of years where they finished close to a .500 record. Things got even worse in the past two seasons, during which the franchise compiled an 8-23-1 record.
Now in year #2 of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray, it’s time for Arizona to make a leap forward.

2. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Arizona Cardinals are expected to win 7 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?
Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Here are the results (excluding simulated seasons where they won exactly 7 games, in which case the bet ties):

Estimated prob. Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 7 wins 53.1% 10Bet -110 +1.4%
UNDER 7 wins 46.9% William Hill +110 -1.5%

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

3. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Kyler Murray had a very successful rookie campaign as Arizona’s new franchise quarterback.
Despite a suspect surrounding cast, he posted very respectable numbers with 3,722 passing yards, 20 TDs and 12 interceptions. He was also dangerous as a runner, as shown by his 544 rushing yards.
Murray was the victim of 48 sacks, but he was hard to catch. Indeed, he finished in 2nd place in terms of average time from snap-to-sack among all QBs in the NFL.
Now with one full year of experience under his belt, you can expect Murray to take a nice leap and improve his game even more in 2020.
Brett Hundley will once again back up Murray this season. The Cards must hope they won’t need him because he has never shown he could lead a team to success. The former Packer is clearly no more than a #2 QB in this league.

3.2 Running Backs (RBs)

The Cards got a nice bargain last year by trading a sixth-round pick in exchange for Kenyan Drake. He was nothing short of spectacular in his eight appearances in the desert by racking up 643 rushing yards over eight games. He also scored eight touchdowns during that short period.
During the offseason, the Cards re-signed him to a one-year, $8.5 million contract. The team also traded David Johnson to Houston, which clearly puts Drake as the starter.
Chase Edmonds will be the main backup runner. He showed some flashes with a nice 5.1 yards per rush average. The third-year pro is good insurance in case Drake gets hurt.

3.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Kyler Murray probably popped a bottle of champagne when he heard about the acquisition of stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans.
Losing David Johnson in the trade isn’t that big of a deal for the Cards, who already had good depth at the running back position. However, acquiring a big-time WR like Hopkins is HUGE!
Hopkins has played either 15 or 16 games in each of his first seven years in the NFL. He has averaged 1,229 receiving yards and 7.7 TDs during that time span.
He consistently ranks among the top receivers year in and year out. In 2019, he finished with an 87.8 grade from PFF, which had him ranked as the 5th best WR.
Unbelievable: Larry Fitzgerald is coming back for a 17th season! He did better than expected last season by catching 75 passes and finishing 53rd out of 122 qualified wide receivers in the league based on PFF.
Fitzgerald claimed he loved the culture under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and he wants to help the team both as a player and as a mentor for the younger guys.
Christian Kirk, a former second-round pick in the 2018 draft, had an okay year. His 62.5 grade by PFF had him ranked as the #91 WR (out of 122). With Hopkins drawing a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Kirk must make a leap in 2020. It remains to be seen if he can do it or not.
Arizona lost some depth at the position after seeing Damiere Byrd leave for New England, while Pharoh Cooper signed with Carolina. It’s not a huge blow to the team, but worth mentioning.

3.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

A young QB like Kyler Murray would certainly welcome some help at the tight end position, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
The top target last year was Charles Clay. He only caught 18 passes and is now a free agent.
All signs point toward Maxx Williams assuming the number one role. You’ll be surprised to hear he ranked as the 7th best tight end in the league according to PFF. His nice 79.1 grade was obtained via outstanding run and pass blocking.
In summary, the team is pretty thin at this position.

3.5 Offensive Line (OL)

One of the team’s biggest weaknesses in 2019 was certainly its offensive line. They allowed the 5th highest number of sacks a year ago, despite Murray being a mobile quarterback.
The only guy who finished above average based on PFF rankings was Justin Pugh (22nd out of 81 among guards). The other four starters were either average or quite bad.
The bad news? The team has not addressed the position in free agency. They did select Josh Jones in the third round of this year’s draft, though. He has a high chance of becoming the team’s starting right guard right away, despite many experts calling him a developmental project who needs work.
I can’t believe D.J. Humphries is going to be the third-highest paid left tackle in the league after signing a hefty contract this offseason. His paycheck is clearly not in line with his production on the field. In five years, he has played 43 games and missed 37 due to numerous injuries. He finally played through a full 16-game season last year, but he PFF gave him the 47th-best grade out of 81 tackles.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Overall, I expect a nice progression from this unit. Kyler Murray is clearly more likely to improve than to regress based on his young age. The running back position is set. The receiving corps got a gigantic boost with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins.
The tight end and offensive line positions remain problematic. However, if you compare with last year, it can’t get much worse. Building the line should be one of the top priorities for Arizona in the upcoming years.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade

4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

4.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

This was not a position of strength for Arizona last year. Out of 114 DLs, here’s the final PFF ranking of the four guys who got the most playing time: Corey Peters 65th, Rodney Gunter 61st, Zach Kerr 42nd and Jonathan Bullard 94th. Ouch.
Now, Gunter and Kerr are both gone. Meanwhile, the team acquired Jordan Phillips from the Bills. He probably won’t be a savior as he finished in 104th place.

4.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Chandler Jones had an exceptional years with 19 sacks! Only Shaquil Barrett from the Bucs recorded more sacks.
Outside of Jones, Terrell Suggs played 13 games before being released by the Cards. He still managed to record 5.5 sacks.
Cassius Marsh played 38% of the defensive snaps and finished 70th out of 107 edge defenders. He signed with the Jaguars during the offseason.
In order to compensate for those losses, Arizona signed Devon Kennard, formerly of the Detroit Lions. He played 82% of the snaps in Detroit and finished 44th (out of 107) at the position. He obtained 7 sacks last year (7 more the year before).

4.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Jordan Hicks was a tackling machine with 150; only Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Blake Martinez (Green Bay) had more in 2019.
However, Hicks didn’t grade particularly well. He finished 43rd out of 89 linebackers.
Haason Reddick and Joe Walker both finished in the bottom: 86th and 79th. Walker left for San Francisco, which is not a big loss.
Arizona signed De’Vondre Campbell who played 89% of the snaps with the Falcons. Can he improve the linebacker play in 2020? I doubt it. His poor 50.1 grade gave him the 70th rank. Here are his grades the previous three seasons: 57.4, 69.1 and 55.7. He is a durable guy, but far from a great player.
DC Vance Joseph declared #8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons would primarily play at linebacker. Simmons was super versatile in college, playing many positions. He will provide good coverage against TEs and pass-catching RBs, while also defending the run efficiently. He clearly has Pro Bowl talent.

4.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Patrick Peterson is clearly the leader of this group. He was having a decent season, and was brilliant in the final few games. He finished as the number 39 cornerback out of 112 guys. He missed the first six games of the season because of a suspension.
There is not much depth behind Peterson, though. Byron Murphy played 98% of the snaps, but finished with an awful 48.8 grade. The 2019 second-round pick will need to elevate his game A LOT this season.

4.5 Safeties (S)

Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson provide an adequate duo of safeties. These two guys are still young and we can expect some improvement in 2020. They finished last year as #28 and #57 out of 87 qualified safeties. Baker accumulated 147 tackles, 4th in the NFL.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

No major changes for this unit. Given they’ve allowed the 5th highest number of points last year, that’s not good news.
The lone position where the Cards have improved this offseason is linebacker because of the acquisition of Isaiah Simmons via the draft and De’Vondre Campbell as a free agent from Atlanta.
Or perhaps the couple of young safeties can take a leap? Maybe, maybe not. It may be wishful thinking.
To summarize, the team added Jordan Phillips, Devon Kennard, Isaiah Simmons and De’Vondre Campbell. They lost Rodney Gunter, Zach Kerr, Terrell Suggs, Cassius Marsh and Joe Walker. To me, those changes offset. Perhaps it will turn out to be a small upgrade.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade
Thanks for reading!
Professor MJ
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Will the Seattle Seahawks win OVER/UNDER 9.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Upon hiring Pete Carroll as their new head coach back in 2010, the Seahawks had consecutive 7-9 seasons. Since then, the franchise has enjoyed eight winning seasons in a row, compiling an impressive 86-41-1 record (a 67.6% winning percentage).

Last year, Seattle stayed toe to toe with the 49ers atop the NFC West division by winning 10 of the first 12 games. However, the Seahawks lost three of their final four contests, including the season finale against the Niners that was lost by a matter of inches on fourth and goal.

The Seahawks opened the playoffs by traveling to Philadelphia. They took advantage of an early injury to QB Carson Wentz to take the game by a 17-to-9 score.

Seattle’s next stop was at Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers’ squad. The Hawks almost rallied from a 21-to-3 deficit at halftime, but were defeated 28-23.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Russell Wilson is just a phenomenal quarterback. There are so many good things that could be said about him.

Before diving into the numbers, here’s a stunning fact: he hasn’t missed a single game over his entire 8-year career. That’s incredible considering the number of hits he’s taken and given that he rushes about 90 times per season.

If not for Lamar Jackson’s heroics, Wilson might have won the MVP honor. He had his second-highest completion percentage (66.1%) and passing yards (4,110) of his career. His 31:5 TD:INT mark was exceptional.

All of the numbers above are great, but what makes them even more impressive is Wilson didn’t have a top-10 supporting cast. Keep in mind that he had just lost perhaps his top target, Doug Baldwin, who had decided to hang up his cleats at 31 years old. Wilson can clearly embrace the role of carrying a team on his shoulders.

The backup QB job is still up in the air. Geno Smith has yet to be re-signed, but it’s not impossible that he comes back.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Chris Carson has now rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, while reaching the end zone nine times in each of those years. His career yards-per-rush average of 4.5 is very respectable as well.

Carson suffered a pretty significant hip injury in the season finale. He avoided surgery during the offseason, but is questionable for training camp.

The second leading rusher in 2019, Rashaad Penny, also had a severe late-season injury. He went down with a brutal torn ACL and he seems unlikely to be ready in time for Week #1. The number 28 overall pick from the 2018 draft rushed for just 370 yards behind Carson last year, but he improved his yards-per-rush average from 4.9 in 2018 up to 5.7 last year.

Considering both Carson and Penny are nicked up, can Travis Homer take advantage? Last year’s sixth-round rookie didn’t do much in 2019. He had touched the ball just three times through the first 15 weeks of the season. He had to step in when the injury bug hit Seattle’s backfield. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from his 18-114-0 rushing stat line.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Tyler Lockett is a very reliable guy. His worst career season has been 41 receptions for 597 yards. Last season he set career-best in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,057), while also hauling in 8 TD passes.

Much like his signal caller, Lockett is very durable. He has missed just one game in five years.

Rookie D.K. Metcalf stepped up in a nice way to grab the number two role. His 58-900-7 receiving line was a resounding success. He has a great mix of size and speed. He set a new league record with 160 receiving yards as a rookie in a playoff game.

The Patriots finally pulled the plug on the Phillip Dorsett experiment. He packed his bags for Seattle where he’ll be looking to fill a role as a deep threat. He couldn’t get going in New England despite a very thin receiving corps and having Tom Brady throwing the ball his way. It does not bode well for him.

David Moore had the third-most catches among Seattle WRs last year, but 17 receptions isn’t something to get overly excited about. He can be an occasional deep threat, but he makes bad mistakes at times. As a former seventh-rounder, there is not much upside with him.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

Greg Olsen decided to hold off his project to call games on television for at least another year. He signed a $7 million one-year deal to join the Seahawks. He’s clearly not the once-dominant tight end he used to be, but the 35-year-old still caught 52 passes 597 yards despite catching passes from Kyle Allen and Will Grier.

Jacob Hollister led the position in receptions last year with 41, but that’s unlikely to happen again in 2020. He did his best, but keep in mind he was an undrafted guy who had caught just eight passes in two years. He benefited from Will Dissly’s injury and with the lucrative contract awarded to Olsen, it seems obvious that Hollister will get his playing time cut out.

Will Dissly got drafted in the 4th round in 2018. He missed most of his rookie season due to a torn right patellar tendon. This time, he tore his left Achilles’ during the sixth game of the 2019 regular season after a promising start. His athletic abilities could be more limited after sustaining a major injury to both legs.

As for Luke Willson, he will be primarily used as a blocking tight end.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Right tackle Germain Ifedi left for Chicago during the offseason, but that’s fine from Seattle’s perspective. The 2016 first-round pick has been a bust and clearly struggled throughout his career. The team will replace him with Brandon Shell, formerly of the Jets. He is a small upgrade, but far from a big-time acquisition.

Left tackle Duane Brown continues to provide quality play on Russell Wilson’s blindside, but you have to wonder how much longer he can do the job. Brown will be entering his age-35 campaign. He finished as the 23rd-best tackle out of 81 qualifiers last year, which is a nice accomplishment for a player in his mid-thirties.

The team lost some depth following the departure of their #3 tackle, George Fant, to the Jets. He wasn’t great, but he still represented a good insurance policy.

Center Justin Britt had started either 15 or 16 games in each of his first five seasons in the NFL. His lucky streak ended on a running play in Week #8 where he tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the year. His play has been uneven, and he graded out as a below-average center. The team decided to release him during the offseason.

Backup center Joey Hunt did even worse than Britt when called upon to fill in as the starter. He’s not a long-term solution for sure, but he will compete for the starting gig with B.J. Finney, who was complete dust when he stepped on the field for the Steelers last year.

Guards Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker received almost identical marks from PFF last year: 60.3 and 59.1 (46th and 48th out of 81 guards).

Iupati is a 10-year veteran whose play has deteriorated since 2017 when injuries started to plague him. As for Fluker, he’s also a player in decline. His first 3-4 years were good, but the last three not so much. Seattle released him and he found a new home two days later in Baltimore.

One potential candidate to replace Fluker is third-round rookie Damien Lewis. He is a great fit for Seattle’s run-oriented offense since he’s great in run blocking; he was seen throwing defenders on the ground many times. However, he’s not nearly as good in pass protection.

Perhaps Ethan Pocic can take advantage of his last shot to play in the NFL. After being picked in the second round of the 2017 draft, he has been bad in all three of his pro years.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Jacob Hollister are all back for the Seahawks this year.

Add the return of TE Will Dissly from an injury, along with the acquisitions of Greg Olsen and Phillip Dorsett and you have a recipe for another successful season on offense, right?

A major potential problem stems from the offensive line. Replacing Ifedi for Shell is fine. However, Duane Brown and Mike Iupati are getting older (35 and 32 years old, respectively) and the team lost some depth following Fant’s departure to New York. There are big question marks at center and right guard following the release of Britt and Fluker without having clear-cut solutions to replace them.

Russell Wilson has always been great at dealing with suspect offensive lines, but there’s a limit to what he can do. Also, the team’s success relies on the running game quite a bit, so you need guys that will open up holes.

Don’t forget about Carson and Penny both coming back from significant injuries. Also, Russell Wilson is coming off an amazing season in which PFF rated him as the best QB in the league. As much as I love Wilson, it will be difficult to replicate that kind of success.

Seattle’s offense posted the 9th-most points in 2019. For the reasons stated above, I envision a slight downgrade in 2020.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

The interior of the defensive line featured a mix of Quinton Jefferson, Poona Ford, Jarran Reed and Al Woods.

Let’s kick off the analysis with the two guys that left via free agency. Jefferson got drafted in the 5th round and had a slow start to his career. However, he showed nice improvement in each of the past two seasons, even reaching the #27 spot out of 114 DLs based on PFF grades. Seeing him leave for Buffalo wasn’t good news.

Al Woods also jumped off the ship to sign with the Jaguars. He won’t be missed as much as Jefferson, although he had a respectable 2019 season. He was more of a run-stuffer who turned 33 years old.

Poona Ford showed promise in limited time as an undrafted rookie in 2018, especially defending the run. He was an “okay” player last year and might see the field more often in the upcoming season.

Jarran Reed seemed like an up-and-coming star after generating 10.5 sacks in 2018. However, the 2016 second-round pick had a season to forget both on and off the field last year. He was slapped with a six-game suspension for domestic violence before having an ordinary season that included just two sacks.

He just signed a very lucrative contract, so the team is banking on him to rebound to his 2018 form. The talent is there for sure. Let’s see if he can put it together this year.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

The Seahawks were pretty bad last year rushing the passer. They had the second-fewest sacks in the league.

The team’s leader in sacks was Rasheem Green with only 4! The third-round pick from the 2018 draft wasn’t super effective, as shown by his 92nd rank out of 107 edge defenders in the NFL. There’s not much hope he will become a game-changer.

The only guy receiving good grades was Jadeveon Clowney. He’s known for his pass rushing abilities, but he’s an underrated run stuffer. He had his lowest sack output in five years, but he is bound to get rack up more in 2020. The bad news is he left via free agency.

Ezekiel Ansah was a major bust in his first year as a Seahawk. After averaging 8 sacks per year over his first six seasons, he recorded just 2.5 last year. He was also a liability defending the run. An awful year across the board. Now 31 years old, he has yet to sign with any team.

As for Branden Jackson, he is a replacement-level player. He has 3.5 sacks in four years.

The team is attempting to boost the position via a couple of free agent acquisitions: Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa.

Irvin is a nice addition. He is reuniting with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft. He has 52 career sacks in eight seasons, which amounts to 6.5 on average per year. Not bad!

It’s harder to figure out what to anticipate from Mayowa. He’s playing for a new team for the 5th time in 7 years. After posting just two sacks in his first three seasons, he now has 18 over the last four years. He is coming off a career year in Oakland with seven sacks and three forced fumbles. He is likely to be used as a rotational pass rusher.

Why not attempt to boost a position that underwhelmed last year by adding one more piece through the draft? That’s what the Seahawks did when taking Darrell Taylor in the second round. Based on expert evaluations, he has the toolbox necessary to succeed, but he needs quite a bit of development.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Bobby Wagner led the NFL with 159 tackles last year. He’s never had less than 104 tackles in a season (and that was over 11 games). I think it’s fair to call him a tackling machine.

During his eight-year stint in the NFL, Wagner also has 19.5 sacks, 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles. He can do it all! He will be playing his age-30 campaign.

K.J. Wright had a subpar year. He received his lowest PFF grades of his nine-year career, but still finished in the middle of the pack (46th out of 89 LBs). He missed 11 games in 2018 with lingering knee issues, so you have to wonder if that still affects him.

Mychal Kendricks is gone after spending two uneven seasons in Seattle. He tore is ACL in the season finale and he pleaded guilty to securities fraud accusations.

The Seahawks picked a guy that is likely to play a rotational role in 2020: Jordyn Brooks. Some experts thought he was a reach at the 27th overall selection. He is good chasing running backs and scrambling QBs (he can literally fly and won’t miss many tackles), but he is far from a finished product in coverage.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

After two run-of-the-mill seasons, Shaquill Griffin flipped the switch and performed admirably well last year. His coverage skills improved dramatically and he finished at the #10 spot out of 112 corners in the NFL based on PFF rankings. Can the 2017 third-round pick keep it up?

Tre Flowers received awful marks from PFF after getting burned repeatedly last year. He finished among the worst CBs in the league.

The team felt a need to upgrade the position, and they did so in a big way. Seattle signed Quinton Dunbar, formerly of the Redskins. He is coming off a career year where he picked off four passes and graded as the second-best corner in the NFL.

Still, let’s not get exhilarated too much. Dunbar is an undrafted guy that had four decent, yet unspectacular, seasons. He hasn’t proved he can be a top starter yet, but having him over Flowers is definitely an upgrade!

3.5 Safeties (S)

Quandre Diggs was acquired from the Lions last year to bolster Seattle’s secondary. He did a great job with three picks in just five games! He was a nice get and an upgrade over Tedric Thompson (who is now off the team).

The other starting safety is Bradley McDougald. He’s been fairly solid in each of his six seasons in the NFL. He is not a game changer, however.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Let’s evaluate how the 2020 Seattle defense should fare compared to the 2019 unit.

On the interior of the line, we detect a downgrade following the departure of Quinton Jefferson, and to a lesser degree Al Woods. Granted, there is hope that Jarran Reed might bounce back from his super disappointing 2019 season.

At edge, Clowney and Ansah are out, while Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa are in. What is the net outcome from those moves? I’ll go with a slight loss, in part because Clowney is likely to improve upon his 2019 sack total and he was great against the run.

At linebacker, Wagner and Wright aren’t young fellows anymore, but they’re not old either. Wright had a subpar year and he certainly has a shot to do better in 2020. However, losing Mychal Kendricks isn’t good news (albeit not a devastating blow either!). We’ll see if rookie Jordyn Brooks can fill his shoes.

Plugging Quinton Dunbar opposite Shaquill Griffin is an upgrade for sure since Tre Flowers struggled mightily last year.

At safety, we know what to expect from McDougald: respectable play. Now, having Diggs for a full season instead of Tedric Thompson is a vast improvement.

For all of those reasons, I am pegging Seattle’s defense to stay around the same level as 2019. They finished 22nd in points allowed last year and I expect them to secure a similar spot in 2020.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Seahawks are expected to win 9.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9.5 WINS 49.4% William Hill +130 +13.6%
UNDER 9.5 WINS 50.6% Pinnacle -118 -6.5%
Tip: Bet OVER 9.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +13.6%
Rank: 21st-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): +102

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Seahawks’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -7.5 vs ARI, -2.5 vs DAL, -3.5 vs LAR, -3 vs MIN, -4.5 vs NE, -9 vs NYG, -8.5 vs NYJ, 0 vs SF.
ROAD: -2.5 @ ARI, -1.5 @ ATL, +2.5 @ BUF, +1.5 @ LAR, -4 @ MIA, +2 @ PHI, +6.5 @ SF, -6 @ WAS.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

Tomorrow, we're previewing the Indianapolis Colts 2020 season! Will they win oveunder 8.5 games?

Cheers!

Professor MJ
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Will the Baltimore Ravens win OVER/UNDER 11.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

The Ravens finished as the top team in the NFL with a 14-2 record. However, the season ended on a sour note as they lost 28-to-12 at home against the Titans in the divisional round.

Baltimore finished 1st in points scored and 3rd in points allowed. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Their running game was historically great! They racked up 206 rushing yards per game on average, while the second-best in the NFL was San Francisco at “just” 144…

Can they replicate last year’s success?

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Lamar Jackson was nothing short of spectacular. He was a lot of fun to watch. He was only the second unanimous MVP winner ever.

He ran for 1,206 yards, but he surprised many with his arm. He threw 36 TD passes versus just 6 picks.

While those numbers are jaw-dropping, I find it hard to believe he can be as good in 2020. Maybe teams will figure him out better and find ways to contain him. You cannot ask Baltimore’s quarterback position to do better in 2020 than they did in 2019.

Note that Robert Griffin III remains the Ravens’ backup QB this year.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards were a very good one-two punch (on top of having Lamar Jackson running like crazy). They will be 30 and 25 years old, respectively, so there shouldn’t be too much of a dropoff.

At first, it was believed that Justice Hill might push Gus Edwards for the number two role in 2020. The fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma State had a good rookie season.

However, Baltimore’s backfield is pretty stacked with the addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins. He is very likely to pass Edwards and Hill on the depth chart. It won’t be easy to unseat Ingram, though.

Dobbins rushed for over 2,000 yards last year, while also punching the ball in the end zone 21 times! He can also catch the ball well out of the backfield. He has the tools to become a three-down back in the NFL.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Not much change at this position either, except for the loss of Seth Roberts who caught 21 passes for 271 yards and 2 TDs. Not a big deal.

The top two targets will be back in 2020: Marquise Brown and Willie Snead.

Brown’ rookie season was a success as he caught 46 passes for 584 yards. He finished third among rookies with 7 receiving TDs. However, his college career ended with a foot injury and he says it hampered him at times during the 2019 season. He faded down the stretch, despite nice numbers in the lone playoff game. Indeed, he scored just one touchdown over the last six meetings.

Snead wasn’t particularly good. He ranked 101st out of 122 wide receivers by PFF. During the regular season, he cleared 50 receiving yards just two times. He caught 4 passes in one game, and hauled in 3 passes or less in the remaining 15 matchups.

Overall, this is a bit of a shaky group. Given his history, Marquise Brown is a likely candidate for injuries and if that happens, they will be in trouble at the wideout position. As mentioned above, Snead isn’t very strong. Seth Roberts is gone. And Miles Boykin isn’t scaring anyone either. Depth was clearly an issue here.

Most observers believed the Ravens would address the position in the draft. However, Baltimore waited until late in the 3rd round to pick a WR: Devin Duvernay out of Texas. He’s a slot weapon who caught 106 passes for 1,386 yards and 9 TDs last year. Obviously, the 106 receptions are impressive, but keep in mind that he benefited from 42 screen plays going his way.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

The team was loaded at this position with Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. These guys finished 2nd, 12th, and 14th out of 66 tight ends! Having three of the top 14 TEs in the league within the same team is unbelievable!

Unfortunately, Hurst left for Atlanta. As good as he was, it won’t be a huge blow to the Ravens considering the depth they had.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

All guys on the offensive line finished above-average according to PFF. Unreal!

The bad news is Marshal Yanda announced his retirement, which leaves a glaring hole at right guard. Yanda played 88% of the offensive snaps and finished as the 4th-best guard in the league (out of 81 guys). His replacement will have big shoes to fill.

One of the main candidates to replace him is free agent D.J. Fluker, who is coming over from Seattle. The 29-year-old’s play has fairly dipped over the past three seasons after four promising years with the Chargers. Fluker graded out as the number 48 guard out of 81 players in 2019.

Still, this is a very strong group, but expect a dropoff compared to last year.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

How can you not expect this unit to decrease its production? They were unbelievably effective last year. They are probably going to regress towards the mean.

They didn’t add any key players on offense (except maybe rookie J.K. Dobbins?), while losing Hayden Hurst, Marshal Yanda and Seth Roberts. Teams have had several months to find ways to slow down Lamar Jackson and company. It’s highly unlikely that his numbers improve over the 2019 campaign.

Also notice how the Ravens’ offense didn’t suffer any big injury all season long to key players. It may not be the case once again in 2020. Injuries occur on a regular basis in the NFL.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

The Ravens had three guys on the interior of the defensive line: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce and Chris Wormley. Each of them received “ok” ratings from PFF, as they finished 67th, 45th and 63rd respectively (out of 114 inside defenders).

Pierce and Wormley are gone. However, the team acquired Derek Wolfe from the Broncos. He recorded 7 sacks in 12 games last year and he ranked as the 46th-best inside defender.

Justin Madubuike was taken early in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. He seems like a boom-or-bust player. He’s athletic, but he is a bit short and light. He’s more likely to become a backup in the NFL.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Matthew Judon led the way with 9.5 sacks and Tyus Bowser got a career-high 5 sacks in 2019. Both are above-average rushers.

As for Jaylon Ferguson and Jihad Ward, they received fairly bad marks from PFF.

The Ravens made a big splash by acquiring Calais Campbell from the Jaguars. The 33-year old may slow down in 2020, but his numbers have been impressive. He has averaged 8 sacks per season over an 11-year period!

He’s also been extremely durable; he has not missed a game since 2014. As a matter of fact, he’s played at least 13 games in each of his 12 years in the NFL! He finished the 2019 season as the #2 edge defender according to PFF (only behind T.J. Watt from the Steelers).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes received a good share of playing time. However, both are gone. Onwuasor was the #73 linebacker while Bynes got a surprisingly high 6th spot out of 89 linebackers.

The only inside LB left with playing experience is L.J. Fort. He’s a 30-year old veteran who has played for five teams. He doesn’t look to be the long-term answer.

The good news is the Ravens selected Patrick Queen from LSU with the 28th overall pick last April. The main knock on him is clearly is lack of experience since he’s was a one-year starter in college.

However, his game film is impressive. He is very fast and he diagnoses plays quickly. He may be the only NFL-caliber linebacker the team has on their roster. It’s not as bad as it looks since Baltimore often plays with six DBs and one LB. Malik Harrison, who was picked late in the third round out of Ohio State, might get some limited playing time.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

The Ravens have a strong group here, even though Brandon Carr was let go.

The team still has Marlon Humphrey (37th-best CB), Marcus Peters (4th-best CB) and Jimmy Smith (42nd-best CB). Baltimore has a lot of ammunition and don’t need to worry about this position.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Earl Thomas is a safe value. He’s been consistently good throughout his career and at 31 years old he still has a few good years left.

Chuck Clark just signed a three-year contract and he deserved it. He really flourished in 2019 and finished 36th out of 87 safeties according to PFF. He is the main reason the team let Tony Jefferson go.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Baltimore’s defense allowed the third fewest points in the league in 2019. They are still going to be difficult to score against.

Calais Campbell was a great free agent acquisition. To a lesser degree, Derek Wolfe too.

However, losing Michael Pierce, Chris Wormley, Patrick Onwuasor, Josh Bynes, Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson will hurt. Most of these guys played about 50% of the snaps and will need to be replaced.

The team has little to no depth at linebacker. Patrick Queen has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to step in and perform right away in his rookie season.

Overall, I believe the Ravens defense will see a slight decrease in its effectiveness to stop opposing offenses.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Baltimore Ravens are expected to win 11.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 11.5 WINS 52.3% FanDuel +105 +7.2%
UNDER 11.5 WINS 47.7% bwin +100 -4.6%

Tip: Bet OVER 11.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +7.2%
Rank: 27th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -110

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Ravens’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss the team whose ROI is 26th in the NFL.

Thanks for reading, I hope you appreciated this write-up!

Professor MJ
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Will the Los Angeles Chargers win OVER/UNDER 8 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Anthony Lynn’s first two seasons as the Chargers head coach were successful with 9-7 and 12-4 records. However, last year was a clear disappointment as the team finished dead last in their division with a 5-11 record. That included losing six of the final seven matchups.

Obviously, the team is entering a new era with a big QB change. They hope the 10-year drought without a division title is going to get snapped sooner than later.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

After spending 16 seasons with the Chargers, Philip Rivers signed with the Colts. His 23-to-20 TD-to-INT ratio last year was the worst of his whole career. He still racked up 4,615 passing yards, though, but his arm looked weaker than ever. He also struggled as soon as he felt the rush coming.

Before the draft, head coach Anthony Lynn kept repeating that Tyrod Taylor was in the driver’s seat to get the starting nod under center. Does that still hold true after drafting Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick? I doubt it.

Herbert is one of the most polarizing prospects. Some experts believe he’ll have a great career, while others see bust written all over him.

He is physically gifted with good size, an elite arm strength and mobility that allows him to elude the rush and pick up first downs with his legs. He is also known for being able to make all types of throws.

The knocks on him are as follows. First, some people question his leadership ability because he’s an introvert. Also, his decision-making isn’t always the best, he fumbles way too many times and a 64% college career completion rate isn’t all that impressive.

Tyrod Taylor might still have a shot to start under center, but his chances have clearly diminished with Herbert on the team. He has 54 career TD passes versus 20 interceptions, while adding 16 rushing TDs to his resume.

Taylor’s best years were with the Bills from 2015 to 2017. Over that time span, he completed 774-of-1236 passes (62.6%) with 51 TD passes and 16 picks. He helped Buffalo reach the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.

He tends to get blamed for being too conservative. He does limit the turnovers, but throwing 51 touchdown passes in 44 games in Buffalo was far from breathtaking.

After a bad experience in Cleveland in 2018 and not playing in 2019, can Taylor revive his career? It seems pretty doubtful. He makes for a great backup QB, though.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Melvin Gordon left for Denver, which leaves the door wide open for Austin Ekeler to take over as the clear-cut #1 back.

Ekeler was excellent in both facets of the game: as a runner and as a receiver. For the second straight year, he rushed for about 550 yards with 3 TDs on the ground. However, he did a lot more damage through the air by catching a jaw-dropping 92 balls out of 108 targets, which included 8 receiving TDs and an extremely good 10.8 yards-per-catch average.

The undrafted runner from Western State has averaged 4.8 yards per carry thus far in his three years in the big league. This figure is likely to go down now that he’ll be the workhorse back, but he’s expected to get a lot more rushing attempts.

Gordon’s departure inserts Justin Jackson into the #2 RB role. He was picked in the 7th round of the 2018 draft and his main problem has been staying healthy. He missed three games in his rookie season and nine more the following year. In both cases, he rushed for close to 200 yards.

It’s unclear what Jackson can bring to the table due to his limited time on the field. Based on his draft status it’s hard to expect great things, but the jury is still out about his future.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

This position was dominated by two players: Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. All other guys caught less than 10 passes.

You can’t say enough about Keenan Allen. He’s just a super reliable target.

He was often the victim of the injury bug in the past, but he’s now played all 16 games in each of the last three years. During this time period, he has been extremely consistent by averaging 101 receptions for 1,263 yards and 6 TDs. He will be entering his age-28 campaign, so he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Mike Williams was the #7 overall selection in the 2017 draft out of Clemson. His numbers have increased each year, except the TD output which inexplicably dropped from 10 to 2 last year.

Williams had a whopping 20.4 yards-per-catch average, second-best in the league behind Mecole Hardman. He battled through knee injuries throughout the year.

The depth at the position is worrisome. The team drafted a couple of guys in later rounds: Joe Reed from Virginia and K.J. Hill from Ohio State.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

Hunter Henry is one of the top tight ends in the league when healthy. The problem has been just that: staying healthy.

He tore his ACL during OTAs in 2018, which caused him to miss the entire regular season.

Last year, he missed four additional games due to a knee injury but he still set career-highs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (652). He has scored 17 TDs in 41 career games, which amounts to 6.6 per 16 games.

Virgil Green is the projected backup TE. He couldn’t get anything going even during Henry’s absence last year. It does not bode well for him. The former seventh-rounder has never caught more than 22 passes since joining the league nine years ago.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Mike Pouncey’s first five years in the league were pretty good after being selected in the 1st round by the Dolphins nine years ago. Then, his PFF grades started to decline steadily. Things got worse last year when he suffered a career-threatening neck injury. He is on track to return in 2020, but his play has been below-average of late.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is now on the wrong side of 30, but that didn’t scare the Chargers off. They signed him to a three-year deal worth $30 million. He will solidify the line without a doubt. He played very well last year in Green Bay; he secured the #15 spot out of 81 tackles based on PFF rankings.

With Michael Schofield about to hit the free agent market, the Chargers acquired Trai Turner from the Panthers. Both received very identical PFF marks, but Turner is three years younger. He’s set to play left guard.

Dan Feeney won the preseason battle for the left guard position during preseason, and he ended up starting all 16 games for the second year in a row. However, once again the quality of his play left a lot to be desired. He rated as the 64th-best guard out of 81 qualifiers.

The Trent Scott experiment on Philip Rivers’ blind side was a huge failure last year. He was atrocious.

Can Trey Pipkins be the answer at left tackle? The third-round pick from last year didn’t play many snaps last year, so it’s hard to evaluate.

Or will it be Sam Tevi taking over at this key position? He did play left tackle as a junior with the Utah Utes. The 6th rounder has never received a PFF grade above 60 in his three-year career, so it’s hard to get excited about him.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Despite all the criticism around Philip Rivers, he still threw for more than 4,600 yards. Can Justin Herbert and/or Tyrod Taylor do better? I doubt it.

Also, am I the only one worrying about the depth at many positions on offense?

Instead of having a nice Gordon-Ekeler duo at running back, the team must now rely on unproven Justin Jackson as the backup runner. At wide receiver, what happens if either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams gets hurt? If Hunter Henry misses time at tight end, the team must turn to Virgil Green. We’re talking about HUGE talent dropoff between the starters and the backups at those positions.

At least the team upgraded its offensive line, but not that much. I like the additions of Bulaga and Turner, but Okung and Schofield left. To me, that represents a small net gain for the team.

Overall, I believe this unit suffers a small downgrade over 2019.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

All four guys receiving the most playing time on the interior of the line last year received poor PFF grades. Justin Jones finished 93rd, Brandon Mebane 112th, Damion Square 73rd and Jerry Tillery 114th out of 114 qualifiers. That’s awful.

Two of those players are now off the team: Mebane (who turned 35) and Square. Neither of those losses represent a blow to the defense.

Justin Jones improved slightly from his rookie to his sophomore year, but he’ll need to take a bigger leap in his third year. The former third-round pick out of N.C. State has not been very impressive thus far.

As for Tillery, he was the #28 overall pick from the 2019 draft. It’s too early to call him a bust, but ranking dead last among all DLs can hardly be viewed as a successful season. He posted two sacks, but was awful against the run.

The Chargers hope to boost the position with the acquisition of Linval Joseph. The 10-year veteran received high marks from 2015 to 2017, but his play deteriorated a little bit in the past two years. Granted, he still ranked as the 42nd-best interior defenders out of 114 guys last year. He’ll be playing his age-32 campaign, so hopefully his play won’t drop even further.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the team’s clear-cut sack leaders. They recorded 11.5 and 7 sacks respectively last year, while the third-best turned out to be just 2.5 by Desmond King. Ouch.

Bosa is a beast. Plain and simple. Bosa had 10.5, 12.5, 5.5 and 11.5 sacks during his first four years in the NFL. The 5.5 sacks picked up in 2018 were obtained in seven games; if you project those numbers into a full 16-game season, that equates to 12.5. As can be seen, he’s been very consistent.

Ingram’s sack output has decreased a little bit recently. After posting 10.5, 8.0 and 10.5 from 2015 to 2017, he got exactly 7 sacks in each of the last two years. He remains clearly an above-average edge rusher and likely has a gas left in the tank at 31 years old.

Uchenna Nwosu will continue to be a rotational player in this defense. He played 37% of the snaps and the former second-rounder has 5.5 sacks in two years.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Thomas Davis provided quality play, especially coming from a 36-year-old linebacker. The team still decided to cut ties with him in order to create cap space and to get younger at the position.

The team has three guys who all played between 37% and 39% of the snaps last year: Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White and Denzel Perryman.

Tranquill was picked in the 4th round of last year’s draft and he enjoyed a very respectable rookie season. He ended up as the #25 LB out of 89 players, based on PFF marks. He is a good candidate to improve his game since he converted from safety to linebacker just three years ago.

White is another former fourth-rounder, but he was taken a year earlier. He has earned 65.6 and 66.6 PFF grades in his first two seasons. His 2019 grade is actually identical to Tranquill’s.

Perryman is unlikely to become a full-time starter in the NFL. He has yet to establish himself as a true starter in five years, so all signs point towards the former second-rounder to end up no more than a reserve player.

The Chargers have added two pieces to the group: free agent Nick Vigil and Kenneth Murray via the draft.

Vigil is no better than what the Chargers already had. As a matter of fact, he has earned weaker marks. He will still get a shot at the starting lineup considering his experience.

With the 23rd overall selection, the Chargers drafted Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. The kid plays with great passion and he started at middle linebacker with the Sooners at 17 years old, which is quite impressive!

Murray can literally fly on the field; he’s a playmakers who’s willing to take some risks. His style leads to many tackles for a loss. He needs to get better at reading plays and shedding blockers, however.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Casey Hayward is among the league’s top cover corners. He graded as the third-best CB in the NFL last season, according to PFF rankings. He has 22 interceptions in eight years and figures to have another productive season in 2020. He hasn’t missed a single game in six years!

Desmond King is most effective in the middle of the field as a slot corner. Strangely enough, the Chargers signed Chris Harris, formerly of the Broncos, who also butters his bread in that position. It remains to be seen how to team juggles with these two guys. Both received above-average grades despite subpar years compared to previous seasons.

How does Michael Davis fit in the mix? He could be the odd man out. He did pick up his first two interceptions of his young career after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2017, but he wasn’t particularly good.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Derwin James missed the first 11 games last season. His presence was sorely missed on the field. The #17 overall pick from the 2018 draft enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with 105 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3.5 sacks. Now with a clean bill of health, James projects to play a big role in 2020.

The other starting safety is Rayshawn Jenkins. He’s not nearly as good as his fellow teammate. He racked up the first three picks of his career last year, but he only managed to obtain the 60th spot among 87 safeties, according to PFF grades. He has yet to have a big impact, and he’s unlikely to do.

The team lost some nice depth when Adrian Phillips left for New England. The #3 safety will likely be either Roderic Teamer or sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman. You don’t want either of them to start, so the Chargers must cross their fingers that neither James nor Jenkins gets hurt.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

How will the 2020 Chargers defense fare compared to the 2019’s group?

The team upgraded the interior of the line a little bit with the addition of Linval Joseph.

Tackle leader Thomas Davis is gone, while the organization acquired Nick Vigil and drafted Kenneth Murray. Vigil isn’t a solid linebacker, so Chargers fans must hope for Murray to develop quickly, or perhaps see Drue Tranquill elevate his game.

Getting Chris Harris at corner is another good, albeit not spectacular, addition to the team. However, losing Adrian Phillips will put the Chargers in trouble if one of their two starting safeties get hurt.

Los Angeles allowed the 14th fewest points in the league last year. I expect them to remain around this spot in 2020.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Chargers are expected to win 8 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8 WINS 42.6% Bookmaker.eu -107 -17.6%
UNDER 8 WINS 57.4% Heritage Sports -105 +12.1%
Tip: Bet UNDER 8 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +12.1%
Rank: 23rd-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -135

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Chargers’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

Thank you for reading!

Professor MJ
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[The Extramundane Emancipation of Geela, Evil Sorceress at Large] --- Chapter 5: Onward to Spirebrook! (Fantasy, Comedy)

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“You need more sleep. You look like a ham sandwich left out in the sun for three days.”
Darkos rubbed at his eyes, not sure what part of his face was particularly hamlike, but Geela wasn’t wrong in that he looked pretty terrible. He’d caught his reflection here and there, in pools and cooking utensils and the odd large shiny piece of jewelry flaunted by Geela. Hours of staying up at night hadn’t done him any wonders, nor had the fasting or extra runs in the hot sun on their lunch breaks. Maybe the sunburn contributed to the ham similarity. Maybe.
But Alerion, though just, knew that affection and contact must be hard-fought for. Darkos had taken for granted his patronage. He found himself able to fix the scrapes, bruises, twisted ankles, burned fingers, or concussions suffered by the pair (Geela, Geela, Geela, Darkos, Geela) but otherwise the God had been silent. So Darkos had been doing whatever he could to starve himself of the pleasures of the mortal realm. It’s what he’d always been taught to do when his faith wavered, but it didn’t seem to be working.
It was also pissing Geela off.
“Did I ever tell you about my last Patron?” she asked. The two had been traveling for three days. Their success in Galeshire was a memory right now, tainted by travel fatigue and Darkos’s ‘slavish nature’.
“Noire?”
“No. No, that one was definitely worse, but I tried another after it.” She shifted on the back of Shawn the mule. “This was after I graduated. I was maybe 24. A lot wiser.”
At 24, Darkos had finished his first pilgrimage to their sister temple, a month’s travel away. He too had thought he was wiser back then. Now he had some misgivings.
“I did my research this time. I found a Patron I thought really got me, one whose goals aligned with mine.”
~~~
Geela stands covered in her own blood in the middle of a circle drawn with a lamb’s blood, reading aloud from a book inked in something ancient’s blood that Geela took no credit or responsibility for. This was just what it looked like when you vied for the attention of a blood witch.
Geela had done her fair share of drugs at the Academy, typical to any student in their teens or young adult ages, but nothing had come close to the euphoric high of this level of blood loss. She’s not entirely sure whose strength is keeping her standing; it’s certainly not her own, so it must be-
“Who has summoned the Blood Witch Berta Sanguine to this plane.” The voice is inhumane to an extreme, more like the sound of a spider’s legs uncurling and creeping down the slimy bark of a swamp tree. “Speak now or breathe your last.”
“I am Ja’Eel Scilatia, enchantress, illusionist, and mistress of the void!” Her voice has a high ring to it, unnatural to Geela’s ears, but she’s so dizzy that nothing really sounds or feels right. “I wish to serve your interests and submit to your wishes.”
“And what do you want in return, Ja’Eel Scilatia? Answer carefully for what is written in blood cannot be taken back.”
She’d wished for power, something vague enough that either of them could revoke the promise if they weren’t satisfied with the partnership. Berta cackled at the wish for a moment, before contemplating it, and then nodding.
“Then our deal is sealed, little human.”
~~~
“Seems like she got what you were going for. Blood magic sounds pretty awful but I guess you got what you wanted.” Darkos couldn’t imagine bleeding for his God. Yes, he’s had to run up stairs or go days without food, but causing intentional harm instead of passive…
Was that really better?
Geela nodded emphatically. “Yes! I did. That wasn’t where it went wrong. I converted some students, mostly apprentices though a few acolytes too. Within a year I had a very healthy cult. We partook of weekly bleeding rituals, undertook some revenge plots, cursed our enemies in return, classic occult stuff.”
“So what ruined it?” Darkos asked, panting slightly and dizzy from lack of sleep.
“Mmm, well we always sacrificed a member of the cult every year-” She broke off at Darkos’s look of horror. “Look, I know, that always turns people off. But it was a really respectful affair. Everyone was down with it, I didn’t push it on anyone. If they didn’t like it, they quit.”
“Really? People are allowed to just leave cults?” Darkos stopped to catch his breath and Geela looked down at him disdainfully.
“This one, yes. The signup sheet was enchanted. You were mindwiped if you left. Look, do you want to- why don’t you ride the horse?”
“Mule. And I don’t want you to get tired.”
She pulled Shawn to a stop before sliding off his back. “I’m plenty able to walk on my own.”
The idea was tempting but he still felt bad. It was his fault, after all, that he was so exhausted.
“Go,” she said, “or I won’t finish my story.”
“Fair enough.” He climbed onto the back of the mules, muscles immediately relaxing tension. He pulled the map out of the saddlebag. “How far out are we from Spirebrook?”
“Last I checked we were on target to get there tonight.”
He nodded, scanning the map. “Ok.” Then an idea hit him. “Do they have temples there, do you suppose?”
She wrinkled her nose, patting the back of the mule to get them moving again. “I mean, I suppose. It's the capital of the Swampy Region. Most capital cities have at least shrines to every holy God.”
“Thank crow.”
“I hate that.”
“What?”
“God followers swearing on animals.”
“It’s a habit-”
“And why does the God of healing and peace use such a creepy animal?”
“Geela…”
“I mean, aren't crows associated with death? There are so many better animals for healing and peace. You could even go, like, a snake if you wanted to stay edgy…” she trailed off, catching his deadpan stare. “Hmm?”
“You said you’d finish your story.”
Her lips pursed, but she didn’t badger him further. He reached into the bag to get out a small handful of nuts and berries. If he was going to a temple when he got there, there wasn’t reason to continue starving himself.
“Right. So. Berta.” Geela grimaced. “The thing you have to know about serving a Patron- well you kind of know but you follow a holy Patron, it’s a little different. We give her payment and she gives us power. But if we give her too much, she starts expecting that, and then what a couple cups of blood used to earn now requires a gallon. So when I learned the acolytes had been sacrificing each other willy nilly-”
“They were what?”
Geela squinted at him. “Do you really need me to repeat that?”
Darkos didn’t, but he was shocked and horrified all the same. “You didn’t know? How?”
“I was working a full-time job! The cult leader thing was a side gig for extra power. I didn’t keep tabs on every member. Just attributed the losses to attrition.” She sighed. “I shut it down. Was more trouble than it was worth.”
“Is that what made you swear off Patrons?”
“Honestly? Kinda, yeah.”
Darkos didn’t blame her. Sure, he’d never sacrifice a living human to a God, but if his faith commanded it and the followers went from a rare, consensual sacrifice to a dozen forced ones...
He shook his head, violently. No, that was a stupid thought. He wouldn’t have been ok with any sacrifices. The thought made him ill and regret the handful of nuts he’d eaten. Was working with Geela rubbing off on him? Was he becoming more desensitized to cruelty?
And if so, why did Alerion grant him favors but refuse his prayers?
---
They hit the entrance to the Swampy Region at about half-past three. One moment the ground beneath them was crisp with tall, scratchy grass, the next the grass had turned to marshy cordgrass and the dirt squelched under their feet.
Geela froze, face wrinkled in displeasure. She slowly looked up at Darkos, a pleading smile pulling her lips to the corners of her face.
“How are you feeling? Still tired?”
He slid off the mule’s back. It had been several hours of rest and he’d been refreshed by the hearty snacks. Plus Geela looked as though her face might melt if she had to walk any further in the swamp.
“Here, let me help.” He lifted her up onto Shawn.
“Thank you,” she said, a still-haunted note in her words. Swamps were not her thing.
They detoured at the town of Friendlyham by the Swamp, to gather intel. A stout woman at the tavern pointed them towards the town clerk, where they’d find the regional directory.
“Arlington, Arlington,” Geela murmured, running a finger down the addresses. “Where are you, Jane?”
Darkos admired the interior of the clerk’s office. It wasn’t anything like he’d expected from the Swampy Region, but the architecture among the buildings in Friendlyham had been pretty consistent; little stone huts with numerous chimneys, filling the homes with warm glows.
“It’s cozier than I’d expected,” he said.
“You’ve never been to the Swampy Region, huh? They’re all like this. Stiflingly warm and cramped.” She went back to her book. “You would call that cozy.”
He would. And it suited him just fine. The homes in the Second Mountainous Region weren’t nearly as nice. They were cold and stark, made from the white stones they mined. In a sunnier region, the marble and limestone may have shone, radiated back the light, but in the cloudy mountains, it was just cold. Kinda like a tomb.
“Are you-- oh for all that is holy and sacred!” Geela’s outburst pulled Darkos back to her side. “There are eleven Jane Arlingtons in Spirebrook. Damn boring name. I bet Barney picked her just for that reason.”
Darkos doubted that Barney chose his friends based on how easily they’d blend into a regional directory. Then again, maybe the man truly was that cunning.
“How long do you think it’ll take to check them all out?” he asked.
Geela flipped the page back and forth, as if hoping the words would change if she fiddled with them enough. “I mean, we can stop by each of their houses and interrogate them but our conviction will be damaged. We wouldn’t even know if the Jane we’re talking to knows squat.” Darkos winced at the irreverent tearing noise as Geela ripped the page from the book. “I’ll think of something,” she said. “I’ll come up with a plan.”
Geela spent the bulk of their journey sulking. She snapped at any attempts on Darkos’s part to talk, so he spent the travel taking in the murky swamp around them.
They first saw the city lights peering through the misty gloom of the swamp about half a mile out. Darkos’s spirits soared, a reaction likely intended by the city planners who’d known that all travelers would have just been concluding hours of trudging through the bleak swamp to get there.
“We’re going to find an inn first,” Darkos said.
“No, we really ought to track down-”
“You’ll be better suited to investigating in the morning.” Darkos didn’t usually take a hard stance counter to Geela’s but this time it was warranted. Her face was so deflated after hours of travel in the muck, to the point where she’d stopped wiping the moss that fell or hung from trees off her dress and face. Covered in goop and lacking the energy to even swipe it off, well, she needed rest.
“Darkos…”
“Shower and a real bed sounds better than dragging ourselves around town like marsh monsters,” he said. “And I really haven’t been sleeping much so I need it.”
This did it. Her face softened even as it took on an exasperated eye roll. “Your own damn fault, but I suppose, looking like we do, no one is going to take us seriously.”
---
The rooms inside the Broken Drum Inn were just as nice as he’d expected. Two fluffy beds, a crackling little fireplace, soft towels at the foot of each bed, and a little bowl containing two mints on each pillow.
“Now I see why the innkeeper said this place couldn’t be beat!” Darkos inhaled the woody smell of the fire and the scent of clean sheets.
“That isn’t why he said that. Ugh, it’s so domestic.” Geela stood in the doorway, shifting her weight from one damp foot to another.
He tossed her a towel. “You shower first. I’m going down to the restaurant to get some food. Want me to see if I can get some pheasant casserole and lilac tea?”
“Be a dear?”
He nodded and her face relaxed, a grateful smile on her tired lips.
He pulled out her dressing robe and slippers from the bag and set them on her bed. Then he headed downstairs to the tavern.
“Ah, hello there, master Darkos,” said the innkeep. “How can I be helping you? Food? Drink? Our swimming pond is closed for the evening but you can still find relaxation in the sweat baths.”
This place was practically a resort compared to the seedy hovels they’d slept in on their first quest to Geela’s castle. She’d admitted later that she hadn’t paid for nicer accommodations because she didn’t want him to find her endless cash flow suspect.
“In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to hide it. You probably wouldn’t have noticed.”
Darkos shook his head. “Just some food for now. A beef stew will do for me but can you make a pheasant casserole special for my companion?”
The innkeep’s chest swelled. “We’ve got some of the top chefs in the southern corner of Spirebrook. Try us.”
The man’s face grew less proud and more concerned as Darkos painstakingly relayed Geela’s complicated specifics and needs for her meal, but by the end, he nodded confidently. “We can get that done, keep your lady friend happy.”
“Thanks.” Then Darkos lowered his voice. “Also, since we’re staying here for a few days, I was wondering if maybe you could point me towards one of the shrines or temples?”
“We’ve got quite the selection here! They don’t call us Spirebrook for anything.” He gestured to the dest, containing several stacks of brochures. “We’re the pilgrimage capital of the Swampy Region for a reason.”
Darkos took the most robust brochure first, scanning the first page, with all the A deities first.
“Uhm,” he said, reading and rereading the page, “you wouldn’t happen to have a temple of Alerion here?”
“Hmm. Can’t say I recall… what’s he the patron of? Is that the God of stars?”
“I think that’s Aurelion.”
“God of flowers?”
“Algernon. Alerion is the God of healing and peace.”
The innkeep picked up one of the brochures and leafed through it himself for several minutes. When he put it down, he looked disappointed. “I’m sorry, good master, but all I can find is Scarpala for Goddess of healing and Rita for Goddess of peace. There’s another God, Potto, who kind of fits but I don’t have anything here on an Alerion.”
Darkos’s chest tightened. “And if you had a shrine for him, it would be in these?”
The innkeeper scratched his stubbly chin. “Not entirely, no. The library would have the fullest selection and you can also ask folks around. There are plenty of Gods, as I’m sure a holy man like yourself knows. We can only afford to print out brochures for the most popular.”
The knot loosened slightly and Darkos nodded. “Alright, good to know. I’ll set out to the library tomorrow.”
The innkeep pulled out a sheet of parchment and a quill and started scratching. “I’ll draft you up a set of directions on how to get there. It’s in a brochure but, between you and me?” He lowered his voice. “I didn’t write that one and I’m not much a fan of how it was written. Bad directions. Keeps sending our scholars to the candlelight district and most of them aren’t accustomed to that kind of show.” He straightened up and blew on the ink. “This’ll get you there better. Want me to send up your food or will you be dining down here.”
“You can send it up?” Darkos asked.
“Our servers’ got legs, don’t they?” the man asked, laughing. “Your lady friend looked as though a night in might be the thing she needs.”
Darkos let out a long breath. “Yeah, not wrong. Ok, send it up if you can. That’d be great.”
He bid the innkeep a farewell and took his directions upstairs. He’d head there straight in the morning and ask anyone he met on the way if they knew where the shrine to Alerion was. Someone would have to know.
---
“Sorry, no, don’t have any of that?”
“Hmm? What you selling? Nah, thanks, I’m good.”
“I’ve never heard of him. Maybe you heard wrong? There’s an Illidan I think.”
“Get away! Bloody converts, always pushing on ya, for pig’s sake.”
The morning had not gone well.
Darkos dragged himself into the library, weary and discouraged.
Behind the desk, a bespectacled young man fixed him with an eager look. “Sir, can I be of assistance?”
The building had the classic swamp architecture, long rows of oaken shelves, warm armchairs with tables stacked high with worn leather tomes. It melted some of the weight off Darkos’s back and he walked to the desk, chin held high, like Geela had shown him.
“Yes, actually. I’m looking for information on where I might find the shrines for some lesser-known Gods.”
“Oh!” The young librarian’s thin eyebrows immediately creased. “How lesser-known?”
Darkos threw up his hands. “Apparently very. God of peace and healing. Something really fringe. I can see why no one’s heard of him.”
The librarian held up a long fingered hand in a soothing gesture. “Alright then, no judgement. We’ve had folks seeking much worse, so we just have to be careful. Section C, rows 4 and 6 have all the information on local shrines, going out to the surrounding towns up to fifteen miles away.”
“Alright, Section C, rows 4 through 6.”
“4 and 6. Row 5 is cookbooks. I didn’t design this place.”
Darkos nodded. “Thanks.”
Many promising titles were thrown aside after proving unhelpful. Dissatisfactory. Useless. Useless. Useless. After reading through the local shrines and temples and finding nothing, Darkos began researching further. Surely one of these texts would have something on Alerion.
The Gods of Health and Safety, 4th ed. yielded no results. Peace or War? Which Patron is Right for You? held not a single mention of Alerion. A Convert’s Guide to The Mystic Arts had nothing. Disgraced, Defaced, and Deleted, A List of Gods You’ve Never Heard Of had so many names of Gods, Beige the Goddess of algae, Fortuna Goddess of gambling, Jerry God of postal workers… but no Alerion. Not a single mention.
Nowhere.
“Sir?” The young librarian poked his head in the aisle. “We’re closing soon and- holy sheep, what have you done!?”
Darkos sat surrounded by dozens of books in haphazard piles, some upside down with split spines to hold places, some thrown across the row.
The librarian looked ready to cry. “I have to close. I have to- I’m supposed to be home by 8. I can’t-”
“I’m sorry.” Darkos’s voice was hoarse. “I’m sorry, I just had to know. I have to know.”
Two books fell from his lap as he stood, tumbling into a stack of ten books and causing it to collapse. The librarian cried in dismay.
“I’m sorry,” Darkos said again, before pushing past him, down the aisle, through the lobby, and out into the night. It had started raining, the air just warm enough to prevent it from freezing but the icy fog that hovered over the ground chilled him all the same. The drops of rain stung his face as he ran through the emptying streets, shivering. Nothing made sense anymore.
He burst into the Broken Drum, panting and gasping. The innkeeper turned to him but Darkos spared the man none of his time as he rushed upstairs, boots muddying the plush carpet as he ran.
He threw open the door to their suite, hard enough to make Geela jump. She held a hand to her chest. Lounging in her dressing robe and slippers, hair tied up into curling rags, she cut a shocking contrast to his desperate gasping and soggy attire.
“Now you look like the swamp monster.” She shooed him to the washroom. “You look upset. Take a shower.”
“No. No,I need to-”
“Daaaarkos.” She turned back to the parchment she’d been scrawling on. “We’ll talk when you’ve calmed down a bit. But you need a shower.”
Geela wasn’t wrong in that the shower calmed him down. The frantic panic was replaced by a quieter but equally uncomfortable depression. He tromped out of the warm, foggy room back into the cozy bedroom where Geela was still scribbling, her long looping letters taking up more space than was warranted, which forced her to use up far more parchment than was needed.
“Have you considered,” she started, placing her quill in the inkwell and blowing, “that maybe you’re just magical? Maybe you’re just a sorcerer with healing powers and the whole God thing is made up.”
Darkos hadn’t considered this but it didn’t make him feel better. “I surrounded my whole life worshipping Alerion.”
“Right, so now you’re just free to do what you want. No more starving or running up and down hills. I don’t see the problem. Made you some honey lavender by the way.” She gestured at the piping mug on his bedside table.
Inhaling the steam calmed his tremors a bit and he took a sip. Enough honey to sweeten it, enough lavender to keep it fragrant. Just how he liked it.
“He guided me, gave me moral direction.”
“Well not everyone serves holy deities and we’ve all turned out just fine!”
“Geela, you are quite literally the evilest person in the realm.”
She waved a hand, dismissing this. “Alright, alright, well everyone else manages.”
He crossed his arms.
“Anyway, I have some results. We can talk about your crisis of faith or identity but-”
“Don’t wanna talk about it right now.”
“-I figured. So, anyway. This might take your mind off things. I had a bit of a breakthrough.”
“Ok. Ok good. What did you find?”
She definitely heard his tone, a bit too much like a puppy begging for food, but obliged him. He was grateful because he really really couldn’t talk about himself right now. He’d always prayed in times of trouble but now he felt like a man who had knelt at a statue a thousand times only to finally look up and find the statue missing.
He was left wondering where it had gone or whether it had ever existed at all.
What do you think? Are they gonna find Barney there? Will Darkos's faith last that long?
Also, how are you all liking the chapter lengths? I'm afraid they're too long... what do you think?
Next Chapter!
Be sure to check out my beta reader, Vren's, serial Fractured Song, if you're looking for more fantastical adventures!
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For example, “Decimal Odds” of 3.00 is a 33.3% probability, which can then be converted into traditional odds of 2/1. This article discusses this process of unequal conversion in detail using step-by-step real-life examples. If you are new to betting odds and probabilities, the table below gives a good introduction and overview. Converting Decimal odds to Fractional odds The decimal format is the most common format used by the bookmakers. In order to know the converted fractional format of it, a simple calculation of Odds – 1 has to be performed, with the resulting value reduced to its lowest form is the fractional format of the odds. Odds of +120 means that if you staked 100 and your bet was successful, you would win 120. Converting Betting Odds into Probability. Now you know what the three types of betting odds are, and how they work, you will be able to convert them into probability using simple equations to give you a percentage. If you want to use maths instead of an odds converter, converting Plus American odds to their implied probability is very similar and uses the below equation: Probability = 100 / (Odds + 100) For example, if you are betting on the Toronto Raptors at odds of +175, you will calculate the implied probability as follows: Probability = 100 / (175 + 100) Betting odds – Converting probability to odds By Admin on August 19, 2012 in Betting Guide , Odds guide With this betting odds article we illustrate how you work out odds from probabilities.

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