When the NFL kicks off its 2020 season, Jameis Winston won’t be the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — or for any team.
So say the oddsmakers at sportsbetting.ag.
The online sportsbook recently posted odds on the futures of a handful of NFL quarterbacks, some current starters, some past starters. The opening moneylines for Winston (a positive value indicates a less likely outcome and a negative value indicates a more likely outcome):
• Yes, he will be a starting quarterback (for any team) in Week 1 of the 2020 season: +150
• No, he will be a backup: -200
In other words, if a bettor believes Winston will be a Week 1 starter and wagers $100, he could win $150. If correct, his total payout would be $250. If a bettor believes Winston will be a backup, he would have to wager $200 to win $100. If correct, his total payout would be $300.
Those odds imply a 60 percent chance of Winston starting next season on some team’s bench.
Before you throw your beer mug across the room, remember that odds aren’t necessarily predictions. Oddsmakers try to create margins, or “lines,” that elicit two-way action. If a disproportionate amount of money comes in on one side, they’ll adjust the line.
Creating lines for prop bets such as this one isn’t an exact science, said Adam Burns, the head oddsmaker at sportsbetting.ag.
“It’s not like putting up odds on an NFL game, where you have all the stats and history,” he said. “These are sort of speculational odds.”
So how did Burns land on the odds for Winston? Lots of research, as well as feedback from his team of oddsmakers. Experience, too.
“For about the last year and a half — we’ve had this prop bet up before — Winston hasn’t really improved,” he said. “(The Bucs) are in trouble. If they want to change up their team and start winning, they’ve got to make a little move.”
Winston, who is in the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2015, has not improved under coach Bruce Arians’ tutelage. By Football Outsiders’ efficiency ratings, this season has been the worst of his career. Though his touchdown rate is up (5.2 percent, a career high), so is his interception rate (3.9 percent, also a career high). His 16 turnovers lead the NFL.
Despite his struggles, the Bucs have not wavered in their commitment, at least not publicly. After Winston threw five interceptions in Tampa Bay’s Week 6 loss to Carolina, Arians was asked whether he considered benching Winston. “No,” he said flatly.
A few other takeaways from sportsbetting.ag’s odds:
• Could Cam Newton end up being the Bucs’ starter next season? It’s possible. He (yes -300, no +200) and Teddy Bridgewater (yes -140, no +100), Derek Carr (yes -700, no +400), Andy Dalton (yes -150, no +110) and Baker Mayfield (yes -700, no +400) are likely to be Week 1 starters somewhere.
• Likely nonstarters besides Winston include Kyle Allen (no -150, yes +110), Joe Flacco (no -180, yes +140), Eli Manning (no -1000, yes +500), Marcus Mariota (no -160, yes +120), Gardner Minshew (no -160, yes +120), Ryan Tannehill (no -150, yes +110) and Mitchell Trubisky (no -200, yes +150).
• The sportsbook’s moneylines imply that Mariota has a better chance of being a Week 1 starter than Winston. The lines for Winston and Trubisky are exactly the same.