Best Bets of the week

’Member Bountygate? Yeah, I ’member! (Take the Atlanta Falcons -6 at Cleveland)

Sunday, 11 November 2018 10:18 EST

NFL bets Pittsburgh Steelers logoA default search for any immediate regression to the mean for these two teams reveals little: Carolina and Pittsburgh are both 5-3 ATS this season. The Steelers are 2-2 ATS at home; the Panthers are a serious outlier at home at 4-0-0 ATS (and NFLbets’ll certainly be looking at the opposition in the next Carolina home game), but are hardly unusual at 1-3 ATS (2-2 SU) on the road.

So let’s talk some offense and defense. In a year of offense, Carolina has nevertheless put together a pretty decent defense, particularly against the run: The Panthers are top 10 in most rushing categories defensively as well as no. 4 overall in interceptions.

Such stats may be irrelevant on this given Sunday, however, as Ben Roethlisberger will throw the ball a lot regardless of opposition. James Conner may capture the mainstream media's imagination, Roethlisberger is second in the NFL in pass attempts this season and fourth in completions. And Steelers are 3-1-1 SU (3-2 ATS) in games when Ben *does* throw an interception.

Pittsburgh also brings a top-10 rushing defense statistically to face Christian McCaffrey, Cam Newton and the league's top ground attack. However, this D's impressive-looking numbers are likely heavily due to the Steelers' passing game on offense. In terms of efficiency, they're a mid-pack 14th in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric -- and below-average against the innovative Newton and oft unstoppable McCaffrey won't really cut it.

NFL bets Carolina Panthers logoAs for the potentially gnarly Pennsylvania weather, the forecast for Pittsburgh calls for lows around 36° with an 80% chance of rain, snow and/or some variant on precipitation thereof.

But in cold weather, Cam & Co. aren't nearly as bad as the average South-based team: In games played in temperatures of 45° or lower at kickoff, the Panthers are 7-3 SU/6-4 ATS going back to 2014 and are currently on a 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS run. Seemingly perpetually underrated by the sportsbook, the Panthers have won SU their last four games as an away underdog in cold weather games.

One final consideration: Are you more likely to believe in a 6-3 -- and therefore on pace for a 11-5 or 10-5-1 final regular-season record -- Panthers or Steelers team? We’re saying it’s the Panthers, and to do so, they’ll have to win this one with a tough schedule remaining. Cover the Carolina Panthers ML at +160 or so, and hedge with a bet on the Panthers +3 at Pittsburgh.

We’ll even predict next week’s storylines: Steelers welcome back Le’Veon Bell after Conner stuffed by Panthers and Is Cam Newton the NFL MVP…?

Forget the Titans, take the leap of faith and cover the Cowboys -5 on Monday Night Football

Monday, 05 November 2018 11:45 EST


Before we begin, we know. The faith required to back Jason Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys this season may be too much for many NFL bettors to play the point spread on Monday Night Football this week. NFLbets would certainly not blame such skeptics for staying away altogether – but as for us, we’re in Las Vegas for a few more days, and as you well know this place is made for throwing money.

Tennessee Titans +5 at Dallas Cowboys, over/under 40 points

Tennessee Titans betting logoWe’re not throwing money without reason, however. The compelling stat reveals that the Cowboys, despite their trend for decades of not playing smart football, are one of the very hottest teams in the NFL coming off the bye week: Going back to 2004 (!), Dallas is 10-3 ATS regardless of status as favorite or underdog, home or away.

Now NFLbets knows that history going back more than a decade is rarely useful for accurate prognostication. Looking a little more closely, we see that, when Garrett is coaching the Cowboys, they’re 5-3 ATS after the bye; in Dak Prescott’s two years, post-bye week games were split 1-1 ATS. Not incredibly impressive by either, but the Cowboys are looking to turn a corner here – or at least string together a couple of SU wins.

To this end, Ameri Cooper’s aboard and has actually had a week to dust off some unused fly-route plays and basically the entire back third of the Dallas playbook so as to expand Prescott’s repertoire. Dak and Ezekiel Elliott have accounted for 38% of the team’s yardage, and five of the Cowboys offense’s 13 (!!!) touchdowns *on the ground alone*. Anything would be an improvement here, certainly.

But hey – don’t believe in the Cowboys tonight; you don’t have to. Just look across the line at yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 2018 Tennessee Titans.

The Titans have somehow managed to get to a 4-3 record ATS despite averaging just 15.1 points per game thus far. Not so much through strength of will as the incompetence of the opposition, the Titans have kept six of their seven games thus far within a touchdown’s difference; the results have been bizarre.

NFL betsTo wit: The Titans have lost SU/ATS to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, while winning SU/ATS against the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles. At least two of these aforementioned are prospective playoff sides (Texans and Eagles), while those early-season wins against Houston and Jacksonville might make a difference later.

Though that doesn’t seem likely. The Titans went oh for October (1-2 ATS), scoring just 31 points in three games combined. After a marginal start, the three-game swoon has seen the Titans offense plummet into the bottom 3 teams statistically in points scored, passing TDs, rushing TDs, passing yardage, overall yardage and first downs – would you believe that the unheralded Cowboys D is a top-5 side in all of said categories?

So, yes. Despite Jason Garrett and a still-thin, undependable offense, we’re advising NFL bettors take the Dallas Cowboys -5 vs Tennessee.

Best bets, week 9: We’re betting on one regression, one win streak (P.S. The Oakland Raiders are f^%#^&ing bad)

Friday, 02 November 2018 12:43 EST

So now we get four days of Nick Mullens hype, stupid jokes about Jimmy Garoppolo getting Wally Pipped and Jon Gruden memes – actually, we’ll take the Gruden memes – right?

NFLbets would like to do our part in tempering said hype by quoting Yards After Catch (YAC) stats for San Francisco 49ers receivers this game, but apparently this isn’t a f&^#&^ing official statistic of the NFL and thus cannot be found on the official site or the awesome Pro Football Reference. On the “53”-yarder to Richie Jones, 44 (or nearly 17% of Mullens’s total yards “passing” for the game) were gained on the ground by Jones against a field full of Oakland Raiders defenders who mistakenly thought they were playing touch football.

And now, a few words about our nearly complete whiff in analyzing the Oakland Raiders/San Francisco 49ers game: We don’t care. The truth is, our bet on under 44 points paid off, even if we greatly misoverestimated the Raiders’ ability to, well, frankly do anything in any facet of the game. Beyond the approximately 656 missed tackles, the Raiders allowed 8 QB sacks, were 3-of-13 on third and fourth downs, and somehow lost by 31 despite never turning the ball over.

Wow, are these Raiders bad. And now, they’re at the very bottom of the ATS standings board at 2-6. This is the team that’ll be representing Las Vegas in the post-legalized gambling NFL? O, sweet irony!

For now, we’ll bury the Raiders like their NFL competitors and move on to Sunday’s games – and Sunday’s bets!

Atlanta Falcons +1½ at Washington, over/under 48 points

Atlanta Falcons alternate betting logoNFLbets’ll just go ahead and call this one the Regression To The Mean Bowl. Going solely on reputation through one half of the season, a Washington win is the pick: The Reds have pulled off home upsets against the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers at home already in 2018. Alex Smith has been Mr. Efficiency again, with just 2 interceptions thrown in 228 attempts – bad news for a defense not great at producing turnovers (the Falcons are actually down in the TO ratio going into this game, 10 to 9) or rushing the passer (with 14 sacks, Atlanta is a lowly 28th in the stat).

But the truth is NFLbets will take the Atlanta Falcons +1½, probably even to take the Falcons ML at +110 to get a nicer payout – unless you’re worried about another tie in 2018, heh heh.

NFLbets would probably make these bets blind even if we didn’t believe that the Falcons (at least on offense; the defense is really quite brutal) are playing better football than their 3-4 SU record indicates. This team got off to a 1-4 start thanks to five games pitting them against playoff contenders – at Philadelphia, vs Carolina, vs New Orleans, vs Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh. And in three of those SU losses, the Falcons stayed within six points of the victor. After two home wins plus the bye week amidst a six-week stretch on the schedule wherein Washington is the toughest opponent, this in terms of fickle momentum would appear to be the Falcons’ game.

NFLbets Washington football logoWell more compelling then the Falcons’ apparent decent run are the ATS numbers for the year. Washington has ascended to the no. 3 spot on the ATS standings board at 5-2-0, while Atlanta languishes at the very bottom, tied with the Raiders at 2-6-0. In addition, the Falcons are now *the only team* without an ATS road win. That may represent only two games, but if Oakland are good for a win on the road in the first half, the Falcons certainly can.

NFL bets is not understanding this point spread, but is loving the opportunity.

Los Angeles Chargers +2 at Seattle Seahawks, over/under 47½ points

NFLbets logo for the ChargersNow on this one, we’re advising that NFL bettors take the Seattle Seahawks -2 vs the Chargers for reasons completely counter to those of the first game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have run up some truly gaudy numbers playing in Seattle, but the ATS numbers bring this bet back from the scary cliff of impossibly good.

To begin with, the homefield advantage enjoyed by Seattle is real. How much we can attribute to the biological realities of playing in the Pacific Time Zone and how much to the proto-mythical qualities of the “12th Man”, an away game in Seattle could be penciled in as a loss (at least until the disastrous 2017). Since Wilson was plugged in as a rookie started in 2012, the Seahawks have gone 40-10 SU at home; removing ’17 from the equation, that mark rises to 36-6.

Even more ridiculous is the Seahawks SU record at home against AFC teams: A neat 12-0 over the 6½-season span. Naturally, the team’s mark at home ATS can’t match the SU record, but 30-20-0 is nothing to sneeze at. Finally, against AFC teams at home, the ’Hawks are a solid 8-4 ATS. Further, those four losses ATS came against point spreads of, in chronological order, 11½, 13½, 10½ and 6 points; two of the four ATS losses came against teams with SU winning records and a third was on Opening Day 2014.

Betting on the Seahawks at homeSure, on the other side, the Chargers are a West Coast team coming off a bye week (though prior to that was the London game nine time zones away) with the defense rounding into shape and Melvin Gordon looking increasingly unstoppable facing the middling Seattle D.

But ever since Wilson entered the NFL, Pete Carroll and the Seahwaks have been defying expectations (the team’s ATS marks bear this out) and, in ’18, have been doing more with less. Any 12-0 run is just begging to be bet against, but NFLbets believes that Wilson will simply not stop beating those sides most unfamiliar with his team, i.e. the AFC’s, through 2019 – if he does so, he will have beaten every one of the 16 in Seattle.

This one may be grueling (and so bettors may consider taking the under 47½ points), but the home Seattle Seahawks are at least a field goal better than nearly any NFL team in 2018.

Bottom feeders on the ATS table meet for Thursday Night Football crapfest

Thursday, 01 November 2018 17:39 EST

One more time: NFLbets hates betting on Thursday Night Football. We post columns on these games for amusement purposes only – keeping the ol’ writing and analysis skill sharp and all – and therefore do not necessarily endorse NFL bettors siding with our TNF picks. The extra unknown variables riddling such games can tilt betting on Thursday night football dangerously close to gambling, and the teams in this week’s game hardly inspire confidence.

On the other hand, one obvious opportunity is out there on this game.

Oakland Raiders -1½ at San Francisco 49ers, over/under 44 points

Raiders Las Vegas!So what do we have here? The Raiders have a short week, just four days removed from a 3-TD, zero-interception performance by Derek Carr in which they still lost by 14 points. Marshawn Lynch is on the IR< Ameri Cooper is gone and Carr, for the lack of personnel, is becoming a check-down artist.

Meanwhile, head coach Chucky is apparently oblivious everything other than amassing assets and thinking about the property he’ll be buying in Las Vegas. You gotta love this quote from Gruden’s interview with Howie Long:

“I got a cell phone just like you and everybody else, and I get a lot of phone calls from people who are dying to come and play here. I’m just telling you, to have salary cap space, to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the silver and black and represent this team, that’s exciting.”

Seriously, that’s about two superlatives short of a Donald Trump quote; just to hammer home the irony, the interview was conducted for who else but the Fox network. So, yeah.

Over on the San Francisco side, well, at least they’re home. (Of course, the Raiders will have to take a short drive to the game after playing last weekend in Oakland.) This tweet should burn away the last shred of hope for the 49ers offense to keep scoring:

And in the five hours since Schefter tweeted the above, the Raiders’ handicap has gone from 3 points to 1½, while the over/under has dropped from 45 to 44 points.

If Mullens does indeed start tonight, he’ll instantly became the NFL leader among current starting QBs in TW (Times Waived) with 2 – and he left Southern Mississippi after the 2016 season. He was on the 49ers practice squad for 2017 and got the call up to the active roster after Jimmy Garoppolo was placed on IR.

SF 49ers alternate logo for bettingMullens may have the advantage of the unknown, but that’s about it. For the season, the 49ers offense ranks 25th in yards per game with 348.3; about the best NFLbets can say (write?) about this team tonight is that Matt Breida, one of this season few pleasant surprises for the 49ers, will play. We can figure he still won’t be 100%, as he hasn’t been since taking an ankle injury three games back. The truth is, if either team gets shut down on offense and therefore gets blown out, it’ll be San Francisco.

But NFLbats believes San Francisco won’t get blown out – not by the Raiders with a single overtime win over the good ol’ Cleveland Browns. We’ll admit we wouldn’t bet f*#F*& all on the outcome of the game; we can even lean on regression to the mean, with both teams among the bottom three in the league ATS: Oakland is 2-5 while San Francisco is 2-6. NFLbets advises bettors to take the under on an O/U of 44 points. Or even lower, really.

And get set to “enjoy” another low-scoring Thursday Night Football non-classic…

Cincinnati Bengals are NFLbets’ best bet amidst a brutal Sunday schedule for bettors

Sunday, 28 October 2018 10:59 EST

The betting market for week 8 of the NFL season will proverbially separate the men from the boys – can NFLbets still use that expression in 2018? Will we be shamed for assuming gender or stereotyping? We’ll start over.

Now this is a weekend of NFL betting that’ll proverbially separate the adults from the children. The way NFLbets sees it, we’ve already gotten a Thursday Night gimme in Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans and we’ve even doubled down on our Carolina Panthers +3 bet against the Baltimore Ravens. (Incidentally, that game is looking like such an outlier that NFLbets grows increasingly suspicious by the minute; won’t stop us from betting the f&#^&#^& out of it, though.

Right, then. Two down and … none to go? The rest of Sunday’s slate is none too attractive for the NFL bettor, as the bookmakers appeared to have fully adjusted to early-season anomalies and the unexpected.

Normally, we’d turn to the top of the standings board and look to bet against the Kansas City Chiefs (currently at a crazy 6-0-1 ATS), the Minnesota Vikings (5-1-1) and the Detroit Lions (5-1-0), but do we really want the Denver Broncos +9½ (down from +10½) at KC? Or the unreliable and unpredictable Seattle Seahawks +3 at Detroit? Nah.

What about San Francisco 49ers giving just 1½ points against the ludicrously awful Arizona Cardinals? The 49ers offense even without Garoppolo have shown the capacity to run up points – they’ve scored at least 25 points in the last five games – and again, the Cardinals are laughingly bad. But can you really trust the 2018 49ers? Nah.

The Chicago Bears -9½ vs the New York Jets is quite tempting after a couple of frustrating SU losses for the Bears. But do you really want to cover that many points with a team that barely got past the Cardinals in week 3? Nah.

Geez, we can’t even trust Sir Blake Bortles in England this week, even if this is his final on-field appeal to be traded to the New York Giants for Eli Manning. His ass got benched last week and his stud teammates on both sides of the ball appear to have lost nearly all confidence in the man’s ability to get scores.

NFLbets has therefore come to the conclusion that those NFL bettors who enjoy success in week 8 have done so due to an extremely lucky run after betting games purely for the gambling thrill or betting just a few games and possibly doubling up. The latter is NFLbets’ play, so we’ll be making just one more recommendation for Sunday: Take the Bengals -4½ versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

We won’t go into too much detail here, as we’re covering the Bengals as the sole attractive opportunity other than the aforementioned wagers we’ve already made. Suffice to say (write?) that the Bengals are just simply a better team than the Buccaneers, who are on an 0-4 ATS run. This point spread has been lowered by the absence of Vontaze Burfict, Giovani Bernard and John Ross from the active roster for this week, but the Bengals offense will certainly take over against a defense currently ranked dead last in the DVOA metric.

And just hold the big bucks until next week…

CFL betting, wk 20 (part 2): We don’t dig Johnny Manziel but like Alouettes -2 (also Riders -4½)

Saturday, 27 October 2018 15:28 EST

All righty, NFLbets has just enough time to get in some more betting on CFL week 20 and write up this column before the Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats game kicks off. This particular CFL Best Bets piece will be short, as the impetus for wagering in both games may be expressed accurately in brief.

BC Lions +4½ at Saskatchewan Roughriders, over/under 50½ points

Even before the Winnipeg Blue Bombers clinched a playoff spot with their win over the Calgary Stampeders, BC Lions had earned their ticket to the postseason despite sitting one game back of the Bombers. Going into Saskatchewan, BC still holds the tiebreakers with the Bombers for the third spot and in winning this game would be in third place by dint of the tiebreaker.

But here’s the thing: Wally Buono, winningest head coach in CFL history and five-time Grey Cup champion, is no dummy. Wally looks at the schedule and sees this game, plus the next with Calgary in yet another must-win game for week 21; meanwhile, the Bombers can sit starters against Edmonton. He considers his roster, still returning key players from injury. He knows his team’s point differential is negative for the year (-14) and that his charges are adapting week to week to get wins.

And he’s not going to mind entering the playoffs at 9-9 if it means going through Hamilton and Ottawa (in either order), which would be the schedule for the West’s fourth-place finisher, as opposed to trips to Saskatchewan and Calgary (in either order) for the no. 3.

Truth is, once the Riders get out to a lead of a touchdown or more, Buono will yank his starters at halftime and tune up a few bench and/or returning players. Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders -4½ vs BC Lions.

Toronto Argonauts +2 at Montreal Alouettes, over/under 49½ points

Sad Johnny ManzielWatching Johnny Manziel play for the Montreal Alouettes in 2018 has been truly painful. After getting traded to the Als for week 7, Manziel has not been able to do much for a patchy (to put it extremely mildly) roster and coaching staff. His passing stats (95 of 146 for 1092 yards to go with three TDs against seven interceptions) are the worst among current CFL starters. He’s had some success running the ball, going for 177 yards on 25 carries for 7.1 per carry – less than half a yard less than his yards per pass attempt!

(Incidentally, Johnny’s weak arm resulted in the embarrassing situation of having his backup come in to heave the game-ending Hail Mary.)

Week to week, Manziel appears not to have learned the playbook at all unless that playbook actually consists of nothing but pages reading LET JOHNNY IMPROVISE. Forgetting hitting checkdowns. If Alouette receivers are getting open (as they occasionally have), Manziel doesn’t see them before taking to his feet or getting crushed under another sack.

Even worse is Manziel’s obvious lack of leadership ability and apparent apathy about this fairly fatal shortcoming for a professional quarterback. Johnny celebrates one-play victories alone, and rarely do teammates help him back up – literally or psychologically – after failure. A couple of below-average starts from Antonio Pipkin of Tiffin University and the Arizona Cardinals practice squad had teammates gushing. We’ve yet to hear a single positive word about Manziel from any Alouettes player in 2018.

And yet, we’re somewhat riskily advising bettors to take the Montreal Alouettes +2 vs Toronto.

Why? In short, it’s all about Manziel and the Alouettes’ record-breaking numbers. Those numbers: the Alouettes’ 0-6 record in Manziel’s starts; that’s a record in futility for a starting QB in the CFL, i.e. no modern-era CFL quarterback has gone without a win or tie in his first six starts. And last week, the Als certainly would have had a punter’s chance had not Boris Bede missed a field goal and/or whiffed for a 34-yard punt to set up an Argonauts score.

Also, the Argos are bad. Like nearly as bad as Montreal bad. Bad enough to lose this week? Absolutely. We say Montreal’s 0-5 SU (but 2-3 ATS!) streak and Manziel’s 0-6 are snapped in a game you probably won’t want to watch. Take the Montreal Alouettes +2 vs Toronto. And if it comes in, you can celebrate like Manziel world: Dump champagne over your own head and whoop it up as your teammates ignore you.

NFLbets’ recommendations for CFL betting in week 20 (part 2):
•  Saskatchewan Roughriders -4½ vs BC Lions; and
•  Montreal Alouettes -2 vs Toronto.

CFL best bets record to date: 10-9.
CFL recommendations record to date: 10-9.
Overall record: 20-18.

CFL betting, week 20 (part 1): Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa RedBlacks in win-and-in games

Friday, 26 October 2018 15:19 EST

Weston Dressler, Winnipeg Blue Bombers bettingWith two weeks remaining in the CFL season, not one of the league’s six playoff spots has been determined. Seven of the league’s nine teams remain playoff viable, and five have clinched. Now *this* is playoff-level football, a major adrenaline rush for fans and bettors alike. (NFL and college football fans not in the know on the CFL don’t know what you’re missing.)

Most on their seats’ edges – other than the bettors and fantasy football players, that is – are the Edmonton Eskimos and their fans. While drawing a bye in one of the last two weeks of the season is thought to be a fairly substantial advantage in most cases, but the unlucky Eskimos can be eliminated with a Winnipeg Blue Bombers win.

Of course, the Bombers are playing the Calgary Stampeders, who again only need a win to clinch top spot in the West and thus homefield advantage. Suddenly, the ever-invincible Stamps of the 2010s seem quite vincible indeed: They enter this week on an 0-3 run ATS (1-2 SU). Nipping at Calgary’s heels are the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who took out the Stampeders for the second time in 2018 in week 19. Chris Jones’s Riders play their last regular-season game against BC Lions, who are an awful 1-7 SU (3-5 ATS) as visitors.

And the East? Don’t even get NFLbets started. After trading the lead black and forth through much of the season and neither taking the initiative to seize control, the Ottawa Redblacks upset the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton last week to get the season series to 1-1 and set up this week’s rubber match.

Fascinating stuff all, but let’s talk some tangibles vis-à-vis betting CFL games this week.

Calgary Stampeders +3 at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, over/under 53 points. American CFL fans and Canadian NFL fans tend to equate the Stampeders of the 2010s to Belichick/Brady’s New England Patriots. Similar in tactical craftiness, the steady and clutch QB, plug-and-play personnel schemes and, most importantly, all bring to mind those insufferable (though not infrequently lucrative) Patriots. Minus all the various ’Gate scandals, of course.

If this comparison is valid, then the 2018 Calgary Stampeders may be equated with the 2006 New England Patriots, i.e. holding a roster with all the parts except the wide receivers. Bo Levi Mitchell is doing what he can with the likes of Eric Rogers and one or two practice squad callups, but even Tom Brady was limited with Reche Caldwell as a go-to guy.

On the other side are the Blue Bombers suddenly seemingly miraculously having pulled themselves out of a death spiral of a mid-season four-game losing streak, including dropping two the Roughriders – except it ain’t that miraculous. Here’s a few really simple stats that define the 2018 Winnipeg Blue Bombers:

• With Weston Dressler on the active roster this season, the Bombers are 9-3 SU and a fantastic 11-1 ATS. Without him, they are 0-4 SU/ATS; guess which four games he didn’t play.

• With Weston Dressler in the lineup, the Bombers score 33.33 points per game. Without him, they score 24.25 per.

Figuring in that the Stamps haven’t topped 33 since week 16, the last time breakout WR Reggie Begelton suited up, Calgary enters a CFL game as an underdog for the first time since mid-2016. With good reason(s), says NFLbets. Take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -3 vs Calgary. You’ll also want to consider taking the over on an O/U of 53 points – but remember that this is Canadian football: Do *not* ignore the weather and check the forecast as close to game time as possible. In general, precipitation means fewer points.

Ottawa Redblacks +3½ at Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 53½. NFLbets’ll make this simple: Stay away from this point spread. These two teams have been far too erratic to dependably bet upon at all: The longest winning or losing streak SU or ATS either side has had was the three wins – two against the beatdog Toronto Argonauts – Hamilton somehow strung together in weeks 11 to 13. (And even on that run, the Ticats were 2-1 ATS!)

NFLbets would therefore be tempted to play the inconsistency, stick with the home team and take the reverse of last week’s result to bet the Hamilton Tiger-Cats ML. But that bet on the Kitties pays at just -180 – not at all worth it on these guys. Give the points? Yeah, right. Each team has been involved three times in games when the SU winner couldn’t cover the spread.

The best bet here – in fact, yes, NFLbets will officially recommend that NFL bettors take the under on an O/U of 53½ points. The single compelling reason here: WR Brandon Banks is out for the remaining two games. One of the CFL’s biggest weapons downfield, Banks is the prototypical field-stretching receiver and reduces Jeremiah Masoli’s options drastically while giving the Redblacks defense an assist by allowing them to stifle Luke Tasker.

No matter who loses wins this one, we reckon it’ll be done on defense.

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 20 (part 1):
•  Winnipeg Blue Bombers -3 vs Calgary;
•  Calgary at Winnipeg, over 53 points; and
•  Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats, under 53½ points.

CFL best bets record to date: 9-8.
CFL recommendations record to date: 10-9.
Overall record: 19-17.

The numbers don't lie: We're digging the Houston Texans and DeShaun "Bruised Lung" Watson

Thursday, 25 October 2018 15:35 EST

To bet or not to betSo here we are, faced with the eternal question: To bet or not to bet? Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – “outrageous,” definitely; “fortune,” we’ll see – and/or to suffer through another Thursday Night Football game.

Whereas NFLbets typically strongly advises against betting on Thursday night NFL games due to the far greater number of variables involved, we’ve found quite the tempting reason to bet – and even watch – TNF. On Amazon Prime Video. Again.

Miami Dolphins +7½ at Houston Texans, over/under 44 points

Betting on Dolphins alternate logoMiami Dolphins at Houston Texans in week 8 is more the kind of matchup we’ve learned to expect over the past two to three seasons – whenever the Color Rush concept was introduced, basically. As an audience, we’ve collectively settled into an uncomfortable acceptance of garish uniforms, on-field mediocrity and/or lopsided laughers: Aside from the TNF games of week 3 (Cleveland Browns 21, New York Jets 17) and week 4 (Los Angeles Rams 31, Minnesota Vikings 31), this series been nigh unwatchable again in 2018, comedy value of the clueless Arizona Cardinals last week notwithstanding.

The TNF trend toward the blowout is one reason behind this seemingly too-high point spread: After all, the Texans have one by more than 7 points just once this season: last week against zombie Blake Bortles and his downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars.

But favorites are 6-0-1 ATS in Thursday night games this season (7-0-0 if you caught the Rams at -6½ against the Vikings) and are 7-0 SU. And in five TNF games, the final result ATS wasn’t truly close. These extreme marks are of course outliers, but favorites as well as home teams have performed well better on Thursday night than otherwise historically. Some key stats from the past 36 Thursday night games go as follows.

• On Thursday nights, underdogs have won SU just seven times of 36 for a measly winning percentage of .194; that’s significantly poorer than the usual .326.

• Favorites have gone 24-10-2 ATS for a .714 winning percentage going back to Opening Day 2016, also a significant difference from the usual .550 mark.

• On the current run, the home team is 24-12 SU and 24-10-2 ATS on Thursday night. Once again, these compare quite favorably (so to speak) to expected results SU historically, which give the home team a 57% to 60% chance to win SU in a typical NFL game.

Houston Texans AFL bettingHere’s our theory to justify the numbers: NFLbets believes that home field advantage makes up for all those aforementioned extra unknowns: Houston players are coming off an away game, but they are coming home with all the concomitant advantages therein. If you believe in these sorts of things, the nationally-televised factor will make referees far more likely to err on the side of caution, i.e. the home Texans.

More specifically speaking, Miami enters this game on a 1-3 SU/ATS run; Houston is 4-0 SU and 2-2 ATS (but 2-1-1 if you took them at -3 vs the Dallas Cowboys in week 5). The latter is not exactly a positive for betting on the Texans here, but NFLbets’ most compelling stat is the 0-3-0 mark ATS this team has managed at home thus far. Not only are they the sole team without a home ATS win, only two teams (the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers) have gone winless ATS *on the road* through seven weeks.

Now, we realize this is going to sound crazy, what with DeShaun Watson into his second week of playing with a bruised f@$&#&#*ing lung and all, but we’re recommending that NFL bettors take the Houston Texans -7½ vs Miami. Don’t believe the Texans can cover 7½? Fair enough; we’ll also recommend taking the Texans in a money line (ML) bet; at -300 or show, you’ll have to proportion accordingly to hedge the point spread bet. Finally, we’d also say grab the under on an O/U line of 44 points. This over/under opened at 45½ and may yet drop to 43½ before kickoff.

Get ready for a low-scoring, grind-it-out Thursday Night Football game. Yippee. Geez, we hate betting these things…