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FTR’s mailbag: Odds that favor Pete Carroll and Geno Smith this season

Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

I get a lot of football-related email.

Some of it is utter rubbish.

Some of the football emails I get are mildly amusing.

  • Example: There are 104 players on NFL rosters who weren’t yet born on the day Tom Brady was drafted. Fun Fact: He will face roughly half of them this season, including the Seahawks’ Charles Cross and Kenneth Walker III.

Some of the emails though ... some are pretty interesting - like the two messages that prompted today’s article.

Pete Carroll is a Safe Bet

The smart money on Monday night will be on the Seahawks covering the spread against the Denver Broncos, which currently sits at 6-1/2 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook.


Because Pete Carroll’s career record against the spread is 139-96-13 (.560) whereas Nathaniel Hackett’s record is 0-0-0 (.000).

To be fair, it’s Hackett’s first game as a head coach.

Hackett is going up against Pete Carroll though, and Pete Carroll has the 4th-best record against the spread among active coaches.

Note: For the completionists out there, Mike McCarthy is #1 (.629), followed by Matt LaFleur (.611), and Mike Tomlin (.585).

Furthermore, within our division, Pete Carroll is the top dog by a comfortable margin.

If we do some basic math, we find that Pete Carroll has more wins against the spread than the rest of the coaches in the NFC West combined (139 vs. 118), while also having fewer total losses (96 vs. 104).

Of course, that probably just proves that Pete’s a dinosaur.

Geno Smith the odds-on favorite?

As Mookie pointed out on Saturday, Geno Smith’s impending start against the Broncos is historic. Why? Because Geno’s last Week 1 start was in 2014. That is, as Mookie pointed out, the longest gap between Week 1 starts in modern NFL history (i.e., since the merger).

The question is, will Geno Smith remain the starter?

According to an email that I got at the end of August, the answer is, “No.”


Because some random oddsmaker listed Geno Smith as the quarterback most likely to succeed be benched first during the 2022 season (+500, implied probability of 16.7%).

I understand the logic. Seattle traded Russell Wilson and has Drew Lock waiting in the wings.

It makes sense.

But it also does not make any sense.

Down in Santa Clara, the Niners have an unproven 2nd-year passer starting for them Week 1. The guy holding Trey Lance’s clipboard led the team to the NFC Championship Game twice in the last 3 years, and arguably should have found himself leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl both times.

Meanwhile, over in Cleveland, you’ve got Jacoby Brissett at QB1 until Deshaun Watson returns from his 11-game suspension. Everyone on the planet knows that Jacoby Brissett will find his butt glued to the bench the moment Watson is eligible to play.

And let’s not forget Pittsburgh, where local legend Kenny Pickett is poised to supplant Mr. Biscuit if the Steelers struggle in Year 1 AR (After Roethlisberger).

Yet Geno Smith has better odds of being benched than those 3 guys (and half a dozen others).


And don’t even get me started on “the field” - i.e., everyone else besides the QBs that the random oddsmaker gave actual odds to.

The field has odds of +750 (implied probability of 11.76%).

That’s just insulting.

If I were Geno Smith, I’d be thinking, “Chip, meet shoulder,” and then I’d go out and do my damnedest to prove all the doubters wrong.

I am not Geno Smith though.

I am just a writer who finds spreads and NFL Futures odds interesting - particularly when they involve my favorite team and/or members thereof.

Personally, if I were a betting man, I think I’d put my money on “the field” on this one - especially after watching the gloriously putrid performance of Matthew Stafford on Thursday night.

Of course, my thinking that Stafford could be the first quarterback benched this year presumes that Sean McVay would willingly sit Stafford and replace him with a 3rd-year quarterback (John Wolford) whose career stat line consists of 4 appearances, 1 start, 42 pass attempts, 23 completions (54.8%), 236 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, and a passer rating of 51.3.

That seems akin to thinking that Pete Carroll would willingly trade his franchise quarterback and head into the season with Geno Smith as QB1.

Oh, wait ...

Maybe Geno will be the first quarterback benched this year.

In full transparency, I think Geno Smith is going to be fine and I think the Hawks will cover the spread on Monday night.

Go Hawks!