Hard Knocks fucking rules. There is no television show that I look forward to more than it. Not only does it signal that football season is here, but it is also fantastic television with intriguing story lines, characters and real drama. It’s brought us hilarious moments like Rex Ryan telling the Jets “to go get a goddamn snack”:
Super cool, dope moments like when J.J. Watt flipped a tire and rapped Fort Minor like any other super cool dude out there (skip to 1:30):
And truly poetic, magical moments like when Bob Wylie’s gut so masterfully jiggled up and down as he yelled ‘hut’ on last week’s episode:
Just as sure as the memorable moments that it will provide us with, Hard Knocks also always seems to make whatever team they are following both interesting and, many times, more competitive than they actually are. Rewind to last year’s Hard Knocks and I thought Mike Evans was Jerry Rice and that Jamies Winston was essentially FDR as a leader. Two years before Tavon Austin was going to set the league on fire and before that, they almost convinced me that Matt Ryan was interesting. So, where does that leave us? Well, pretty much everyone that I know that watches Hard Knocks has the Browns penciled in to win at least 8 games and to be knocking on the door of the playoffs. The public is POUNDING the Browns over 5.5 wins and, to most, this feels like free money. Instead of just standing pat in my contrarian ways and telling people to not get caught up in the hype. I decided to actually dive into the numbers and see if fading the Hard Knocks hype could actually be a profitable betting strategy. Let’s take a look at the historical data:
The under on total wins for the team followed by Hard Knocks has gone 7-4-1, including 3-1 in the last 4.
While 5.5 wins for the Cleveland Browns feels like an achievable goal, both classical contrarian tactics coupled with some real historical data suggest that looking toward the under may be a good value play. Furthermore, I don’t know about anybody else but Hue Jackson has looked underwhelming as a leader of men to say the absolute least. He looks soft, unconvincing and devoid of the type of passion required to bring a team from 0 wins to 6 wins. Notable player addition like Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and Baker Mayfield may look promising. But, generally speaking, player additions in the NFL move win totals significantly less than the public seems to think they do (looking at you 2011 Philadelphia Eagles). Join the contrarian dark side with me and bet the Browns under 5.5 wins.