Welcome to the Thirty Team Parlay, a weekly column on Football Absurdity that focuses on the week in football gambling. We’ll bring you the best bets, biggest longshots, and try to make some damn money. This week, we take a look at the NFC South Overs/Unders:
Remember Ocean’s Eleven? The classy cool of George Clooney? The exasperated benevolence of Brad Pitt? The unbridled sexuality of Carl Reiner? There was a sense that, going into the movie, too many good actors would overshadow each other. They would be mugging the camera to try to upstage whoever else they were in a scene with.
Too much of a good thing is bad, they said. But you know what? The movie worked. It was fun, it was entertaining, and, outside of the aggressive Andy Garcia-related nudity, it was a great movie.
I say that to say this: the NFC South might be the most entertaining division in football. Why? Too much of a good thing. Four great quarterbacks(or three, and a crab leg-stealin’ semi-star). Matt Ryan and Cam Newton were back to back MVP’s. Drew Brees is one of the all time legends of the game. Jameis Winston is an old school gunslinger who is just as likely to throw you into a game as he is to throw you out of it.
Do any of these teams have a defense? Who gives a shit. Defense is for old white guys with bushy, graying mustaches who fancy themselves true fans because they believe football has gotten soft. These people are wrong. Football has gotten hard. Specifically me. Football has gotten me rock hard. I love offense. If there was a Pornhub category that just showed me All-22 videos of Matt Ryan hitting Julio Jones on go-routes, i’d never have to search for the sweet sweet girl-on-girl Asian teen action that brightens my days.
The NFC South also happens to be the most interesting gambling division this season because it feels like every team could hit their under by one win, or hit their over by one win. The league is very tightly bunched with very little variance on odds. But since it’s my job to figure out what team is gonna do what(that, and animal husbandry), lets jump into the Under/Overs for the NFC South.
Quick, someone get the ether and turn on the gambling machines, it’s time for the 30 Team Parlay!
2017 Win Total: 10
2018 Under/Over: 9
God, I hate the Falcons. More specifically, I hate Steve Sarkisian. Atlanta was 15th in points last season in spite of the fact that they had Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. And Devonta Freeman. And Mohamed Sanu. And Tevin Coleman. How does this absolute premature ejaculation of a coordinator keep failing upward? In three seasons coaching the Washington Huskies, he topped out at a 7-6 record and an absolute taint slapping at the hands of Texas Tech in some bowl sponsored by a company that probably doesn’t even exist anymore.
Somehow he parlayed that into a prestigious head coaching job at USC. He took that opportunity and went full “crack a bottle, let your body wobble” and got fired for being drunk on the job, though it’s not clear whether he was fired for showing up drunk to practice, or coaching a game against Arizona State drunk. But in Steve’s defense, who the hell is sober at Arizona State?
He SOMEHOW parlayed that into an analyst position as an analyst for Alabama. After Lane Kiffin left to take the Florida Atlantic job before their championship game in January of 07, Sarkisian was named offensive coordinator. They lost the national championship, his only game as offensive coordinator.
He SOMEHOW parlayed that into the offensive coordinator job for the Atlanta Falcons. Either Sarkisian is the nicest guy in history to keep getting these chances, or he spends most of his life hiding in bushes, gathering incriminating photos of important people in pro and college football to use for his own benefit later on. He is an 0-3 record as interim coach away from being named league Commissioner.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 13th
My Pick: Over*
I’m going over with an asterisk, and here is why: This team has a high variance because of a couple issues.
1: Steve Sarkisian could go off and rob a train during the preseason and be named Secretary of State.
2: Julio Jones has said he isn’t bothering to show up to training camp until he gets a new contract and seems very comfortable doing just that. Jones is one of the 3 or 4 best wide receivers in the NFL currently and wants to be paid as such. The Falcons have been using him mercilessly over the years, and he wants to be paid before his body gets grinded into a powder that people in Asia will turn into a tea because they think it will give them boners.
Jones has seen the money other wide receivers are getting on the market, and wants to get his while he still can. Atlanta may be better off simply paying the man, because as good as Calvin Ridley might be, Jones is the straw that stirs that Falcon’s offense.
2017 Win Total: 11
2018 Under/Over: 9
::Googles Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver Depth Chart. Sets eyes on fire::
So wait, is Christian McCaffery just gonna rush the ball 300 times and catch 150 passes this season? Is that how this is all gonna work? We can go into how McCaffery is gonna be the breakout running back of the season, or how the defense always finds a way to find players that fill specific roles and are able to execute a game plan well. That’s all well and good. Instead, i’m just gonna stare at the Panthers Wide Receiver depth chart because holy hell, it merits ogling.
Rasheed Bailey– For those of you who aren’t privy to the football career of Rasheed Bailey, this is it in a nutshell. He’s “played” for six NFL and CFL teams since not being drafted in 2015. He has never played a game in either league.
Damiere Byrd– He went on injured reserve more times last season than Bailey has played football games(2 to 0) but at least he returned a kickoff for a touchdown one time.
Austin Duke- Not a real person, and you can’t prove to me otherwise. Seriously, he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. Everyone who has even one hanger on friend in the NFL has a wikipedia page.
Mose Frazier- Dwight Schrute’s brother!
Devin Funchess– Still on the Panthers. Still sucks.
Bug Howard– Oh come on. This is the guy who played Alfalfa in the Little Rascals.
Jamaal Jones- See Austin Duke
D. J. Moore- Moore is lauded as the next Carolina Panther high draft choice at wide receiver who will be the savior for Cam Newton, but will inevitably average 45 receptions for 48 yards and half a touchdown before he tears his knee and gets traded to the Bills or something, and then the cycle will repeat itself. Being a top wide receiver draft pick for the Panthers is an infinite sadness loop.
Fred Ross- Forgive me if you’ve heard this before. But this is a wide receiver on the Panthers roster who hasn’t played an NFL game but isn’t a rookie. What are the Panthers doing, hoarding bad wide receivers so they can eventually join forces to become a mecha-3rd receiver?
Curtis Samuel- In year 2 of the Panthers Wide Receiver infinite sadness loop. Just like roughly 18 other people on this list, his season ended on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Torrey Smith- I’m stunned to find that Torrey Smith is 29 years old, and not 46. He feels like he’s been in the league since 1989, back when a young Jeff George was slinging passes at him.
Jarius Wright- Any time you have an opportunity to sign the least important member of the Vikings Wide Receiving corps to anchor your receivers, you’ve gotta take the chance.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 12th
My Pick: Under
Somebody has to lose games in this division, and i’m gonna go ahead and write in this team and its flotsam and jetsam receivers for the worst record in the division. Carolina Panthers fans will be livid on the surface about this, but will secretly be very happy because a bad team will put them theoretically one step closer to replacing Cam Newton with a more system ready quarterback. And by “system ready,” I of course mean “white.”
New Orleans Saints
2017 Win Total: 11
2018 Under/Over: 9.5
Drew Brees isn’t human. He’s a tiny dude made of magic, and there is no way you can tell me differently. He is a star maker at wide receiver, and even as his abilities diminish, he finds new ways to beat offenses. He threw for the fewest yards since 2009, but managed his highest completion percentage and threw the fewest number of interceptions since 2004. Everyone talks about Tom Brady and his ridiculous vegan horseshit diet and how he will play forever, but for what it’s worth, i’d like Brees’ blood shot directly into my knees because i’d probably not have such pussy ass knees then.
Seriously, since 2005, Brees has missed 2 starts. Two. It’s worth saying two again. Two. Fucking. Two. Unfortunately, Brees is rarely talked about as much as that rat-faced rabbit dieting Brady is for greatest QB of all time because for so many years, the defense of the Saints was the equivalent of 11 guys who have been set on fire and scattered in a field. They couldn’t tackle. Couldn’t get to the quarterback. Couldn’t cut off routes. Couldn’t make big plays. Luckily for them that all changed over the past couple years and absolutely nothing bad has happened to the…..STEFON DIGGS! STEFON DIGGS! STEFON DIGGS!
Seriously, watch this for posterity. It’s too beautiful for words. Marcus Williams quarter-assing a harpoon tackle and barreling into his own teammate, allowing Diggs to gallivant down the sideline should be right up there with Ernest Byner’s fumble and…you know, pretty much the entire Cleveland Browns existence.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 2nd
My Pick: Over
With all that being said, this is still a very good team, even in Brees’ twilight years, as the Saints have managed to hit on a large number of draft picks over the past few years along with some solid pickups in free agency. There is no reason to believe, barring an injury to Brees, that this team can’t put together a 10 win season, and potentially a run to the NFC Championship game.
The strength of schedule is a concern, as only the Green Bay Packers play a harder schedule this season. That said, they should be 4-1 headed into their bye week meaning they only have to go 6-5 the rest of the way to hit the over, with games against the Bengals, Buccaneers, and two against the Panthers. 3-1 over those 4 put them at 7-2, meaning they only have to really go 3-3 in the toughest part of their schedule this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2017 Win Total: 5
2018 Under/Over: 6.5
I was trying to find something funny or interesting to say about this team, but it is honestly just one of the most meh teams in the league this year. We can go to the Jameis Winston crab legs well again. We could make fun of their coaches’ name sounding like Dick Cutter. We could make fun of Winston using rideshare apps as his late night jump off point. We could make fun of the fact that we all know someone who thinks they are gonna be clever in a fantasy football league by mega-overdrafting Ronald Jones thinking he will be the primary running back, only to know we are gonna laugh at the guy a bunch because Jones is gonna be splitting carries with Peyton Barber and Charles Sims for eternity.
Have you ever actually met a Buccaneers fans who has anything good to say about this team in 20 years?
Like, seriously, give your brain a quick search. If you don’t live in the metro Tampa area, how many people do you know going around Stanning for the Bucs? I feel like the Jaguars success last year has siphoned off any potential bandwagoning. Jameis Winston’s constantly doing something unlikable hasn’t exactly endeared them as media darlings. Did anyone go out to buy Vita Vea’s (their first round pick) jersey?
Having to write about this team is like an existential quandary for me because having to write about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has made me realize how pointless this all is. And I don’t just mean this column. I mean, getting out of bed everyday. If I didn’t get out of bed, if I chose to keep my eyes closed, the fucking Buccaneers would still just kind of keep existing. The sun would rise, the run would set. The Bucs would be the model of mediocrity. This team is the abyss that stares back at you when you stare at it.
Oh, but they have a pirate ship in their stadium. Neat…
2018 Strength of Schedule: 4th
My Pick: Under
But even as much as I want this team to be eaten by a black hole, along with the rest of Florida, and blinked out of existence for eternity, this is one of the toughest under/overs I had to dwell on. On one hand, Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games. On the other, they were playing the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers in those games, so they weren’t winning, regardless of who is quarterbacking. And for the record, it’s Harvard alum fuck-him-for-being-so-ruggedly-handsome-and-smart Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is still somehow in the league, and probably still cashing paychecks from that time the Bills gave him 800 million dollars in an extension 4 games into a season.
So the team would have to go 7-6 after Winston gets back, and I only see six wins there. They should beat the Bears, Browns, Bengals, Redskins, Giants, and Ravens. They won’t go winless in their division(looking your way Carolina) but Jameis will also find a way to throw and or fumble his team out of at least 2 of the games I listed above. Fuck it, i’m taking the under, and not bothering to parlay this team with shit. I don’t know what to do about them.
I like Mike Evans, though!
For more 30 team parlay articles, click these: