This Week's Best NFL Bets

Below you'll find weekly updated NFL bets of the week. Find out what are the best NFL games to bet on today, tonight, tomorrow or this weekend.

Betting TNF: Cowboys -6½ at New Orleans; where will the Saints’ points come from?

Thursday, 02 December 2021 18:09 EST

Who would’ve guessed that Jameis Winston was the savior for the New Orleans Saints? Nevertheless, here we are: The NFC South-winning team of 2021 has taken a 5-2 SU/4-3 ATS start until Winston was declared done for the season after the week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and plummeted to 5-6 SU/ATS.

On Thursday Night Football this week, the Saints host the Dallas Cowboys, again one of the league’s more unpredictable teams game to game, who have drawn a still rather high handicap. Currently, the line reads

Dallas Cowboys -6½ at New Orleans Saints, over/under 46 points.

Making matters worse for the Saints is that Alvin Kamara will not start, but both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb return for the Cowboys. Head coach Mike McCarthy is also out due to Covid-19 rules, but both generally and specifically such a temporary loss doesn’t seem very devastating. Hell, the Arizona Cardinals turned in arguably their most impressive performance with Kliff Kingsbury and a couple other coaches, a 37-14 shellacking of Cleveland.

Worst of all for New Orleans, Dallas can play to all their strengths and weaknesses. The Saints bring a top-5 rushing defense and an average pass defense statistically; whereas this could be concerning for a Cowboys team leaning on Ezekiel Elliott, Zeek has slowly become a nearly disused part of Dallas offense: In the past six games, Elliott has gone for 12½ carries and 44.66 yards per game – but he’s been good for just under 5 catches and 29 receiving ypg.

And while the defense has had a couple of 30-burgers served up in the past four games, it’s statistically a top-10 unit and surely not fearing anything from essentially a second-string offense (including at both tackle spots, where starters are likely out for this game). On the other hand, the Saints have managed to score 20 or more points three times on the aforementioned 4-game losing streak with about as little weaponry as they’re going with in week 13: This is clearly the sportsbooks’ impetus for putting up lines with equal to a score of Cowboys, 27-20 or 26-20.

But you know … NFLbets isn’t buying it. We just can’t see from where the Saints points will come, particularly after putting up just 9 at home against Buffalo last week. Take the Dallas Cowboys -6½ at New Orleans and take the under on an O/U of 46 points.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Thanksgiving Day NFL betting picks: Bears at Lions; Raiders at Cowboys; Bills at Saints

Thursday, 25 November 2021 11:59 EST

Ah, NFL football on Thanksgiving Day: second only to Super Bowl Sunday as the most tremendous day of the year for NFL betting. While the everyday fan whines about short-week low-scoring games, at least one-third of which involve the Detroit Lions, bettors luxuriate in the opportunity to take advantage of the same. You bet NFLbets is pigging out on this three-course dinner, beginning with

Chicago Bears -3 at Detroit Lions, over/under 47½ points

OK, look: This could well be the last plausible chance for the Lions to avoid the winless season until … well, this could be the last, depending on your level of relative comfort with covering the Honolulu blue-and-silver against the Green Bay second string in week 18. With the short week and Not Jared Goff at quarterback, the Lions have every hope of riding the anomalies to a win against a subpar team with a pitiably bad head coach.

And about Matt Nagy. In the most hilarious narrative for Thanksgiving football in years (except for Bears backers), rumors murmured this week that Nagy will be fired after the Lions game. While Nagy himself described the gossip as “not accurate,” such leakage (and, accuracy aside, this story was definitely leaked) has got to be seriously disconcerting. The truth is that the 2021 Detroit Lions may not be the most talented team to take an NFL field, but their gameplan looks a heckuva lot sharper than the water-treading Chicago has done all season.

Who needs stats? Take the Detroit Lions +3 vs Chicago, and consider betting the Lions ML at around +120 as well…

Las Vegas Raiders +7 at Dallas Cowboys, over/under 51 points

Having traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day since 1966, the Cowboys have racked up some 31 wins on the holiday – but what’s more impressive is their win-loss record of 31-21-1, tops among all teams with at least nine appearances on the holiday. Since 2016 when Dak Prescott came aboard, the Cowboys haven’t been especially good on Thanksgiving at just 2-3 SU/1-4 ATS.

On the other other hand, the opposition is the Raiders for whose situation the word “freefall” hardly does justice. NFLbets isn’t sure what the win-loss record for a visiting team coming off a SU loss on a short week led by an interim/former special teams coach as head coach, but we’re more than certain we probably wouldn’t bet the Raiders this Sunday regardless.

The loss of Henry Ruggs and thus the sole legitimate deep threat Vegas had has resulted in a 0-3 SU/ATS graveyard spiral which is dooming the one remaining bit of the team that famous privileged racist Jon Gruden built over four seasons, namely the passing game. In the aforementioned three games, Derek Carr has managed just 4 touchdown passes against 4 interceptions and 5 sacks taken. And in 119 attempts, the Raiders have made just two pass plays of over 30 yards. O, and scoring is down from 25.7 over the first seven games to 14.33 per.

Naturally, NFLbets prefers to fade the trends, but sometimes you just have to watch the football – and we don’t believe that the sportsbooks and bettors have quiiiiiiite caught up with the plummeting Radiers yet. They’re predicting a final score of 29-22 in this one, but it’s hard to imagine the Raiders scoring three touchdowns right now. Take the Dallas Cowboys -7 vs Las Vegas.

Buffalo Bills -6½ at New Orleans Saints, over/under 45 points

Saving the toughest for last, eh? Like the other four teams playing on Thanksgiving, both Buffalo and New Orleans come into this game off a loss. The Saints enter desperate at 5-5 SU/ATS, on an 0-3 SU/1-2 ATS “run”, and struggling to stay in the NFC playoff race; the Bills too are perceived of as sinking, though still tops in the AFC East at 6-4 SU/ATS.

But while both teams have bumbled their way through October/November, the Saints’ issues are easy to identify: fantasy football darling Michael Thomas hasn’t played all season; the first QB option (Jameis Winston) is now out, second-stringer Trevor Simian isn’t exactly a bona fide NFL starter and will play this game hurt; and Alvin Kamara has finally succumbed to knee problems and won’t play this one, either. For the Bills? Not so easy to ascertain…

Josh Allen hasn’t exactly been Allenesque by mainstream NFL media standards, but short-term memory loss has apparently resulted in the collective consciousness completely forgetting about how hot-and-cold Allen had been prior to the killer addition of Stefon Diggs for 2020. Sadly for Buffalo backers, opposition defense have apparently learned to cover Diggs: He’s gone from 7.9 catches on 10.4 targets for 95.9 yards per game to 6.0 catches on 9.2 targets for 77.3 yards.

NFLbets also notes that the Bills are a decidedly unimpressive 1-3 SU/ATS against prospective playoff teams (Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis). In their six SU wins, five times were the Bills able to run up 35 or more points against bottom-10 defenses like Miami, Kansas City, Houston, Washington and the Jets; in their losses, they’re averaging 17 points per.

So we suppose the question for would-be bettors is whether they consider New Orleans a marginal or playoff-bubble team. The Saints should certainly be playing for their lives this week, with some heavy dependence on their own defense, top-10 in yardage and points allowed.

In general, though, the trump card is the Bills inconsistency. We’ll split the difference: Cover the Bills moneyline if you like (at pretty weak odds of around -250), but definitely take the New Orleans Saints +6½ vs Buffalo.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Green Bay Packers -1½ at Minnesota Vikings: Watch out for this trend

Sunday, 21 November 2021 12:45 EST

Considering the trends is essential to proper NFL betting and, as NFLbets sees it, two major types of trends exist: Those which are indicative of league-wide conditions and those which are more localized at the team, or even player, level. The former indicate something inherent to the rules and/or sport and may be permanent barring a usually radical change to the rules; the latter are usually short-term and are often continued by luck.

More importantly, the former are reasons to bet *on* the result to continue the trend; the latter are reasons to bet *against* the trending result. And in Sunday’s game of

Green Bay Packers -1½ at Minnesota Vikings

, the visiting team is riding a wave that’s destined to break soon. Very, very soon, we’re thinking.

The most compelling stats to back the Vikings in this game are easy: Green Bay is 8-1 SU/8-0-1 ATS, also on a 12-2 SU/11-1-2 ATS run in regular-season games going back to last season, which the two SU losses coming in their 2021 season opener at the New Orleans Saints and at the Kansas City Chiefs when Jordan Love started at quarterback for Green Bay.

A loss is certainly coming the Packers’ way and, with Aaron Rodgers quite possibly in a post-Covid funk – dude, that shit can do permanent damage to certain organ tissue whether homeopathically “treated” or not – there’s certainly no time like the present.

But hey, let’s not ignore the eventuality that the Vikings might win, as opposed to the Packers losing.

The Vikings are currently on the NFC playoff bubble looking in, a ½-game behind the Carolina Panthers, a full 1 back of the Saints. Though just 4-5 SU (5-4 ATS), quite a few asterisks are attached to that mark. Minnesota started out 0-2, and all five losses have been to above-average teams: At Cincinnati Bengals, at Arizona Cardinals, vs Cleveland Browns, vs Dallas Cowboys, at Baltimore Ravens. And utterly Vikingsly, they’ve lost those five games by an average of 3.6 points.

On/off the field, maddening fantasy pick Dalvin Cook has finally managed to put in two consecutive games in which he a) played and b) went for over 100 all-purpose yards. He enters this game having run up an average of 86.8 yards on 5.3 per carry and 1.2 TDs in five games against the Packers. Green Bay’s run defense has been average, and they’ve only faced the 6th-most rushing attempts and not one top-10 running offense.

NFLbets realizes that we’re asking bettors to wager on Kirk Cousins, but the numbers must balance out. This week, Minnesota is playing to stay alive in the division race and move up in the playoff hunt. We’re thinking the Packers see a diet of Cook that’s so steady, they be wishing Thanksgiving dinner was in December. Take the Minnesota Vikings -1½ at Green Bay Packers and, since this is basically a “Pick ‘Em”, take the Vikings ML at 1/1 or better.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer an he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Thursday Night Football betting: Predicting red-hot Patriots -7 at Atlanta

Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:29 EST

NFL betting in 2021 has gotten seriously infuriating at times – particularly if you’re betting home favorites who are also moving up in the #PowerRankings of your choice. Basically, every team which has become the flavor-of-the-month media darling in a given week gets crushed the next, taking down all those poor suckers who were high on the hype. Examples? Sure:

•  the Los Angeles Chargers got lots of early hype by starting 4-1 SU/ATS and turning in an exciting 47-point performance in a 5-point win over the then-esteemed Cleveland Browns. Not only did the fan-free Chargers bow to the Ravens, 34-6, they soon tumbled in the standings on a 1-3 SU/ATS fall.

•  the Buffalo Bills. The second-favorite for the AFC championship in the preseason, the Bills lost to the Steelers on opening day and then whipped off a 4-0 SU/ATS streak. And then, Tennessee happened: As 6-point favorites at the Titans, the Bills lost outright, 34-31, as part of their current 2-2 SU/ATS run.

•  the Baltimore Ravens. Like the Bills, the Ravens lost on opening day at Las Vegas; Baltimore chased the L with a 5-0 SU (3-2 ATS) run that got Lamar Jackson lots of flighty buzz for MVP – the truth is that Jackson’s been otherworldly this season – and a handicap of -6½ against the Bengals in week 7. So of course the Bengals torturously smoked the Ravens in Baltimore.

•  the Cincinnati Bengals. After taking out the aforementioned Ravens in week 7, the Bengals were at no. 1 *in the AFC* and so went into New York as an 1-point favorite against the lowly Jets. Naturally, Cincinnati lost outright, and two days later were suddenly fourth *in the AFC North.*

•  the Dallas Cowboys headed into week 8 at a surprising 6-1 SU/7-0 ATS. Whereas bettors probably should have been tempered by a little regression to the mean on those numbers, the great bulk of money on Denver +10 at Dallas was coming in on the home team.

•  the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray had helped make Arizona the Super Bowl favorites for the proverbial first time in forever after getting his team off to a 7-0 SU/6-1 ATS start. Hosting Green Bay in week 8 as a 6½-point favorite, the Cardinals just couldn’t cover a 3-point gap in the fourth quarter and lost. Not an embarrassing loss, but that would come two weeks later when, as a 10½-point favorite versus Carolina – you guessed it – lost outright.

•  the Los Angeles Rams were at 7-1 SU/4-3-1 ATS even before adding Von Miller and Odell Beckham to the mix. Naturally, they’ve since gone 0-2 SU/ATS and wrecked who knows how many straight-up bets, parlays and teasers.

•  Finally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started 6-1 SU (though due inflated point spreads were just 3-4 ATS) and Bucs fans began to inquire about Super Bowl tickets. Since then, they’ve gone 9-point loss at New Orleans, bye, 10-point loss at Washington.

 But here’s the thing. The hottest team right now, the side that should be trending up in every power poll, is the New England Patriots. (Unless you’re buying the Cowboys, which NFLbets isn’t quiiiiiiiiite yet.) This week, those Patriots face a Thursday Night Football line of

New England Patriots -7 at Atlanta Falcons, over/under 47 points

First off, that 7 certainly isn’t making things easy. Even without the Patriots’ outrageous 45-7 blowout of the Browns aside, New England is averaging 29.75 points per game whereas the Falcons are bottom-5 at just 19.8 ppg. But on short weeks, can we depend on either side to score their typical?

Pragmatically speaking, we must factor in the absence of Cordarrelle Patterson, who’s somehow no. 1 on the Falcons in total yards. This leaves essentially Mike Davis and Kyle Pitts as the already shaky Matt Ryan’s weapons; add in Bill Belchick’s literally legendary knack for taking away the opponent’s  best piece and, well, subtract one of the two.

Speaking of Belichick, note that the Dark Emperor’s Patriots have gone 11-3 SU and 7-5-2 ATS in Thursday night games since 2000. It should be noted that Belichick’s boys have gone 0-2 SU/ATS on TNF with quarterbacks not named Tom Brady, but at least for the nonce Mac Jones looks a lot closer to ol’ TB12 than to Matt Cassell and certainly 2020 Cam Newton.

The Patriots surprisingly have the depth to cover a couple of areas on the offense currently plagued by minor injuries and high use on Suandy: Running back and tight end. Raymondre Stevenson’s breakout game of last week was utterly representative of Belichick’s RB-by-committee approach that he’s employed since taking over – hell, he more or less invented the concept for 21st century use. No 2 RB Brandon Bolden is out this week, but no. 1 guy Damien Harris is out of concussion protocol.

Meanwhile, Jonnu Smith is a question mark and certainly won’t play the full game but (almost) no matter: Hunter Henry has four TD catches in the past five games – and if you’re getting at least four TDs in five games out of the TE spot, you’re good.

All things considered then, about the sole argument keeping bettors away from Patriots -7 is that tendency for these top teams to perform very poorly once acknowledged. These Patriots, however, have been exceptional this entire century. Why not for one more game against a mediocre Atlanta team? Take the New England Patriots -7 at Atlanta.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

TNF: New York Jets +10½ at Indianapolis Colts and what about that Mike White…?

Thursday, 04 November 2021 18:49 EST

NFLbets is going to say (write?) this straightaway: We’re not sure we’ll have any amazing insights into this week’s edition of Monday Night Football, as this just isn’t a very scintillating line on which to bet. However, NFLbets does have some ideas about

New York Jets +10½ at Indianapolis Colts, over/under 45 points

The mass media and internets at large are already forgetting how badly viewed the 2021 New York Jets have been thus far, not to mention appearing ready to anoint Mike White offensive rookie of the year after a ridiculous breakout start last week that helped earn the Jets a first W. The sportsbooks are a tad wiser, though, are thus a point spread indistinguishable from the typical during the Mike White Era.

Much has been made of the Jets’ abysmal record in primetime games: They’re 6-17 SU/1-13-1 ATS since 2012, but NFLbets is totally willing to throw out the history books on this team for this game. As an underdog in all seven games, New York is just 2-5 SU/ATS. All things being equal, the NFL bettor should typically look for a 2-5 ATS mark to trend to .500, but these Jets at 2-6 outright feels absolutely plausible, White Swam at the helm or no.

Awaiting the surely fired-up Jets are the Indianapolis Colts, these past few seasons one of the more infuriating teams on which to bet. 2021 is no exception in this regard, with Indy sitting at 3-5 SU but 5-3 ATS. Last week against the Tennessee Titans and on a 3-1 SU/4-0 ATS run, the Colts were favorites for the first time in ’21 – and tore up backers in spectacular fashion, first getting out to a 14-0 lead, putting together a TD after going down 31-24 in the fourth and losing outright in overtime.

Colts fans at least may be wishing they had their own Mike White option right about now. Carson Wentz, praised with Comeback Of The Year-type hype after the aforementioned four-game run, threw two terrible, throat-slitting interceptions in this game and took three sacks plus several miscellaneous vicious hits. If Wentz is to revert to his Jets levels this season, the process may have already begun.

In a vacuum, primetime Wentz is pretty impressive at 12-7 SU/ATS in his career – though it should be noted that the 2016-20 Philadelphia Eagles went 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS in primetime games *without* Wentz starting. Make of this what you will.

What NFLbets makes of it is that the Colts may win this game but – and admittedly, there’s some optimism at watching an interesting TNF – it’s no blowout. Take the New York Jets +10½ at Indianapolis and let’s believe in the Legend Of Michael White, say he gets his Jets some TDs and take the over on an O/U of 45 points.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Betting MNF: Script flipped on NY Giants +10½ at Kansas City Chiefs

Monday, 01 November 2021 14:32 EST

Consider our perceptions of this game today versus how we’d’ve imagined it at season’s beginning. Going into week 1, we’d be forecasting the defending back-to-back AFC champions/current Super Bowl favorite at the sportsbooks hosting an NFL 32nd-“best” contender employing almost certainly the league’s worst offensive coordinator.

Today, as we close off week 8, instead we’ve got a home team who at maximum can be reasonably compared to the 1986 Miami Dolphins as they sit placing last in a division tougher than suspected versus, well, still an NFL 32nd-“best” contender employing almost certainly the league’s worst offensive coordinator.

Okay, that first bit is harsh: In fairness, the Giants have played far less execrably and/or have demonstrated coaching more competent than, likesay, the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions – though they’re definitely bottom-5. So get ready for some sub-marginal football and potentially tricky-ass betting with Monday Night Football’s

New York Giants +10½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 52 points

Typically at this point, NFLbets would start running through the stats for Andy Reid-coached teams on Monday night (22-12 SU/23-10-1 ATS, including 8-2 SU/8-1-1 ATS with the Chiefs), the poor run that Kansas City’s been on ATS (they’re 4-14 in the last 18, despite a 12-6 SU record) or the Giants’ simply pathetic mark outside the NFC East (since Daniel Jones became starter, they’re 6-8 SU/9-5 ATS against division mates, 6.19 SU/10-15 ATS against everybody else) but wagering on games involving the 2021 Kansas City Chiefs for the nonce requires the prescient bettor to involve otherly logic.

Take, for example, the point spread 10½ points is way too high, regardless of how pitiable the Giants continue to be: K.C. hasn’t given more than 10 points since week 16 of regular-season 2020  against Atlanta and hasn’t covered such a spread since eight weeks prior to that against the New York Jets. In typical fashion, the Chiefs went 2-4 ATS when favored by 10 or more while going 5-1 SU, failing to cover against the likes of the Panthers*, Raiders* (twice), Broncos* and Falcons*.

(* denotes team had winning percentage of .500 or worse)

This trend makes Giants +10½ a heckuva lot more appealing to NFLbets, and evidence of the sportsbooks’ continued overrating of the Chiefs as they have since Patrick Mahomes came to prominence remains. Thus far into 2021, Kansas City is 2-5 ATS, with all four ATS losses against playoff contenders (Browns, Ravens, Bills, Chargers, Titans) and ATS wins against those who are not (Eagles, Washington FT).

Additionally – and NFLbets won’t mince words here – these Chiefs just aren’t very good right now. Bill Simmons put forth quite the salient theory on his latest podcast and, since an approximately 0.00001% chance of his ever reading these words exists, NFLbets will steal it, or at least liberally paraphrase it, here.

Visualize Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. Marino gets drafted by the Fins in the legendary ’83 draft class and proves to be a stud immediately. Miami had already built a Super Bowl contender (remember David Woodley going 4-for-14 in XVII…?) under Don Shula’s guidance and Marino first leads them into the playoffs, then to the Super Bowl, then to the AFC Conference Championship. Along the way, he racks up some ridiculous individual statistics while joyfully throwing TDs to “Super” Duper and Mark Clayton.

And then? Well, beginning in 1986, the Dolphins proceeded to make the postseason just once in six seasons. A few tears after that, Shula retired from coaching and was followed by Jimmy Johnson who did likewise. Finally, Mr. Isotoner Gloves Pitchman became known as The Greatest NFL Quarterback Never To Win The Title.

The comparison isn’t exactly exact, but these career arcs could be running in parallel.

Speculation and historical perspective aside, the truth is that the defense is absolutely shreddable by most offenses, allowing 27 points or more in 6 of 7 games and statistically bottom-5 nearly completely across the board. The ostensibly reconstructed OL is back to the lowest levels of 2020 as well, with Mahomes having taken 14 sacks already, whereas in twice as many games in ’19, the Chiefs allowed just 17 sacks. At the current rate, Mahomes’s ignominious career high of 22 sacks taken in ’20 seems doomed.

All right, then. Confidence in the Chiefs (especially -10½) is low. What are the Giants bringing, then? As noted above, the Giants are 12-27 SU in the Daniel Jones Era and, incredibly enough, 14 of the 27 losses have been by more than 10 points. Much of this recently NFLbets would like to blame on Jason Garrett’s incredibly low-watt offense: In the 23 games he’s been OC, Garrett’s Giants have broken 20 points just 9 times and are averaging 18.2 per game.

Combined with the pointspread, the bookmakers are expecting a final score in the area of 31-21. NFLbets can easily believe 31 coming from the Chiefs, who’ve already scored this many in four games and really should have against the Chargers as well. But with no Saquon Barkley or Kenny Golladay in the game, where do the points come from? We’re zagging here and saying Take the Kansas City Chiefs -10½ vs the Giants and take the under on an O/U of 52 points.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Good TNF game, tough spread: Packers +6½ at red-hot Arizona Cardinals

Thursday, 28 October 2021 18:25 EST

Now how did this happen? A Thursday Night Football game in which both sides are bona fide Super Bowl contenders with most of the marquee names set to play? Very nice indeed – but is

Green Bay Packers +6½ at Arizona Cardinals, over/under 51 points

potentially lucrative for NFL bettors? Statistical trends and intuitive thinking naturally are at odds (so to speak) with one another; nevertheless, let’s consider some of the following…

•  Packers WR Davonte Adams is out due to Covid protocol, as is Allen Lazard; the two take 132 yards per game combined with them. Of course, since at least Tuesday’s broadcast of “Pardon the Interruption,” the cat is already debagged about Adams’s significance to the non-fantasy game, namely that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are 6-0 SU (also 5-1 ATS) without Adams. A slightly deeper dig reveals that just one of these six opponents would eventually be playoff contenders.

•  Additionally, bettors are apparently chased away from what was Packers +4½ by the absence of Green Bay defensive coordinator Joe Barry but geez, guys, didn’t Arizona themselves already establish the irrelevance of such a temporary minus? NFLbets sure remembers Cardinals 41 at Cleveland Browns 17 in week 6: The Cards came into town without Kliff Kingsbury and left only after laying waste to the Browns backfield and their insurance pitchman Baker Mayfield – so we lost ets.

•  Then there’s Aaron Rodgers playing as a significantly-sized underdog. Rodgers’ Packers have gotten a spread of +6½ or more in just four games when he’s the starter: The Packers are 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS in such games and, intriguingly enough are 0-2 SU/ATS in TNF games. This is far too small a sample size to depend upon, though amazingly interesting in this case.

•  As for problems associated with the short week, Rodgers seems to have that sorted, too, with an incredible 10-5 SU/10-4-1 ATS career mark on Thursday. To dampen this a bit, Rodgers is just 3-3 SU/3-2-1 ATS against teams not named the Detroit Lions or Chicago Bears in Thursday games.

•  Since 2010, underdogs on TNF are a well awful 47-109 SU (a .301 winning percentage), but a not-at-all bad 72-79-5 (.478) ATS; this gap increases more radically than otherwise as the point spread increases: TNF underdogs of 6 points or more are a sad 11-52 SU but 27-34-2 ATS, or .175 versus .444. But check this out: Seemingly paradoxically, 16 times in these games has the favorite won outright while the underdog covers the ’spread, a success rate of just 9.64%, well below the expected 36.666%!

Conlusions: If you believe the Packers have a shot in this game, the betting is terrible. Packers +6½ or +7 is paying out at just -130 to -160 at the sportsbooks. (What, you want Aaron Rodgers, 7 points and 10/11 odds? Come on!) The Packers money line (ML) is currently at +220 but in a vacuum would fetch a line of at least +450 based on the ’spread and big underdogs’ previous efforts on TNF. We’ll come back to this.

At 7-0 SU/6-1 ATS, the main argument against betting Arizona is simply that they’re due for a loss. Fair enough that with each win do the odds decrease on another win. But such a dropoff would not have a statistically significant effect on the Cardinals until well later in the season, i.e. 8-game winning streaks are not exactly nothing in the NFL, but such records are hardly unicorns…

The truth is that Cardinals have, numbers aside, been a wonder to behold this season, outscoring opponents by an average score of 32-17 in the process. They have a top-5 offense statistically in points scored, turnovers allowed and most rushing categories. The defense is number one overall in points allowed; top-5 in turnovers generated and passing yardage surrendered; and top-10 in nearly every other dreamable defensive stat.

In Cardinals games in 2021, the over has gone an even 3-3 and thus far has purely been a product of the opposition’s offense: In six of their seven games, Arizona has put up 30-plus points and an over/under of 51 points here seems like a trap.  

For this game, J.J. Watt is out for the Cardinals – shocker! – but Chandler Jones is back after his turn on the Covid list. Essentially no other injuries to Cardinals players are notable. Nothing numerical suggests that Arizona will lose this game, and only the possibly irrational belief in Rodgers makes one think twice. So NFLbets’ll guess that going minus two wide receivers against a crazy-good Cards defense led by the relatively fresh Chandler Jones is not capable of miracles. Take the Arizona Cardinals -6½ vs Green Bay – even better: MyBookie has an offering of “Arizona wins by 1-13 points” at +137…

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

In a possible copout, this is how NFLbets is betting Denver Broncos -2 at Cleveland

Thursday, 21 October 2021 16:28 EST

Well, this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup demonstrates the flexibility of dozens of team storylines – the “narrative” if you like – in the NFL. For week 7, TNF pits a home team which was among the preseason Super Bowl favorites and boasted a roster loaded with superstar talent against a visiting side now into a sixth season of mediocrity and on a “run” of 15-28 SU/20-23 ATS in away games.

Naturally, the visitors are favored by 2:

Denver Broncos -2 at Cleveland Browns, over/under 41½ points

After a bruising pair of games at the Los Angeles Chargers and against the Arizona Cardinals, the Browns racked up an impressive-looking injury list in time for this short-week game against the Broncos.

Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are out, instantly eliminating the most potent 1-2 halfback combination in decades with them. Odell Beckham Jr. likely won't play. Staring offensive linemen Jake Conklin and J.C. Trotter are out, so so much for that no. 1 line this week as well.

Then there’s Baker Mayfield, left mostly armless by the J.J. Watt and the destructive Cardinals pass rush last weekend. This team is hardly defined by their quarterback – indeed, these Browns are unique in that their QB isn’t bad but is maybe the 14th or 15th best starter – but this week the starter is Case Keenum, who’s on 1-7 SU/ATS streak as a starter and has racked up 13 pass attempts in the past two seasons with Cleveland.

The rhetorical question is obvious: How can you bet on Case Keenum?

The retort, however, is just as easy: What are the Broncos bringing? Since Nick Fangio took over as head coach in 2018, the Denver offense has averaged just 19.2 points per game and regardless of quarterback, Fangio’s Broncos have scored 20 points or fewer in 22 or 38 games. After taking out the three-headed beatdog of Giants, Jets and Jaguars, the Broncos offense is even lower-scoring at 16.66 ppg and a once top-5 defense has become utterly mundane.

On the other side, the Browns may be wrecked on offense but is mostly still fully loaded on D (JaDaveon Clowney may be out, but what else is new?). Cleveland’s backers will certainly hope the Browns’ previous two games are down to the potency of the Cardinals and Chargers offenses.

You can see where NFLbets is heading with this: Whether or not Von Miller makes good on his boast to “have a great game” and “to kill” the Browns’ LT for the game, possibly Jedrick Wills but likely utility backup Jedrick Wills – very little should be expected from Keenum, whose teams have topped 24 points just twice in his past 23 starts, and a crippled offense. And while any outcome is certainly imaginable in terms of point spread and money line (ML) bets, even a ’spread-based final score of 21-19 or 22-20 feels well too high. Take the under on an O/U of 41½ points.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Betting Buccaneers +7 at Eagles: Check out this weird trend in 2021 NFL lines…

Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:13 EST

In considering this week’s Thursday Night Football line,

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 at Philadelphia Eagles, over/under 52½ points

, NFLbets turned up quite the bizarre trend happening at sportsbooks in the 2021 season. To date, 80 games have been played thus far in the 2021 season. Some 31 of these – or 38.75% – have kicked off with the home team as underdog.

Now, if that ratio seems strangely high, well … it is: In the 2019 and ’20 regular seasons, this was the case in just 57 of 512 possible games, or 11.1% – and in weeks 1-5 of the past 10 seasons, just 4.8% of all games kicked off with home underdogs of 7 points or more. What gives…?

In the 31 such games of 2021 thus far…

•  Home underdogs of 7 points or more are 10-21 SU but 15-16 ATS; and

•  these home ’dogs of 7 points or more are 7-0 SU but 4-3 ATS.

Further, since 2018, such big-point home underdogs on Thursday Night Football are an absolutely terrible 1-13 SU, though a respectable 6-8 ATS.

I think you can imagine where NFLbets is going with this: We’re thinking about taking the Buccaneers on the moneyline (ML) but covering the Eagles plus the touchdown – but beyond the general trends, are both outcomes possible?

This far into 2021, the Eagles stand at 2-3 SU/ATS as five-time underdogs. Philly comes off a SU/ATS against the previously esteemed Carolina Panthers, the fourth consecutive serious postseason contender going into the Tampa Bay game. Oddly, the 21-18 W in Charlotte was probably the Eagles’ least impressive statistically, particularly with the 2 turnovers so uncharacteristic of the 3rd stingiest offensive in the NFL.

By the eyetest, however, the Eagles are upwardly trending and have dealt with no major injury issues to key players to date – perhaps important to consider as the Buccaneers come into this game short several key players beginning with Lavonte David; Jason Pierre-Paul and Antoine Winfield were reported as limited or DNPs at practices this week, and the latter may still have to wait on concussion protocols. Bringing the dinged-up or the substitutes on defense won’t bode well for Tampa Bay’s chances, as the really only outstanding feature of Philadelphia’s is the running game averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

So can’t the Buccaneers just run up the score on the Eagles, an offense which has topped 21 points just twice – against Atlanta in week 1 and Kansas City in week 4? So far, the only opponent that has been able to stop Brady & Co. from hitting the end zone repeatedly is Boston rain. This is obviously the nightmare scenario for Eagles backers here, and the hope is that Bruce Arians calls a conservative run-heavy gameplan that will keep the equally grinding Eagles in the game … until Touchdown Tom inevitably turns on the fourth-quarter comeback machine. Take the Philadelphia Eagles +7 vs Tampa Bay.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

Week 5 NFL betting: Cheerio, London, and carry on through Patriots-Texans…

Saturday, 09 October 2021 11:57 EST

The best thing about week 5 of the 2021 NFL season? The revitalization of London-based NFL games, those giving NFL bettors the opportunity to aggravatingly start losing money before the coffee’s cold start wagering earlier!

Once again, NFLbets is digging lots of opportunities for profiting this week beginning right at 9am ET/6am PT, i.e. with

New York Jets +2½ vs Atlanta Falcons

NFLbets is thinking this weekend gets off to a wacky start – OK, not that wacky. We’re advising bettors tale the Jets money line (ML) at +125 mainly because we can’t figure why the Falcons, clearly not a very good team, are the favorites here.

Or perhaps that should be “favourites,” what with this marking the first London-based NFL game since 2019. And speaking of favourites, this side has gone an impressive 20-7-1 SU/17-11 ATS since the regular fixture began in 2008. The statistics begin to flip as point spreads decrease, however: Underdogs of 3 points or fewer have gone 5-7-1 SU/6-7 ATS in England games.

Among the knock on these Jets is their status as youngest team in the NFL, but we’re thinking that, given the rigors of travel, the youthful may have the advantage in the biochemical area; add the Falcons’ already anemic pass attack playing this game without Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, Atlanta’s no. 1 and 3 WRs, the latter by dint of his five receptions in 2021. So, yeah, bet the Jets – it may be the last chance this season to viably do so.

Philadelphia Eagles +3 at Carolina Panthers

Unless this line is based solely on the premise that Christian McCaffrey will be playing hurt at best, this one feels all too easy. The Panthers have early on demonstrated continued evolution in the Matt Rhule Era (Is it too early? Is this still the post-Cam Newton Era…?), going 3-1 SU/ATS and last week played the seeming Super Bowl-contending Dallas Cowboys tough. In their three wins, the Panthers defense has held opponents to an average of 10 points per.

The Eagles, by comparison, are a mess heading in a distinctly devolutionary direction. While managing to hang 30+ points on weak Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons defenses, they’ve also given up *40+* to KC and Dallas. As underdogs in all four games thus far, Philadelphia sits at an NFC East-typical 1-3 SU/ATS. One may argue that the three losses came to playoff-bound teams, but shouldn’t the Panthers be tentatively included among that lot? Bet the football here: Take the Carolina Panthers -3 vs Philadelphia.

New England Patriots -8½ at Houston Texans

Yes, 8½ points is a lot to give when betting on a team that’s averaging 17.75 points a game thus far, but NFLbets is betting a hunch here. We’re thinking this game is when Belichick & Co. finally unleash Mac Jones; we suspect this product launch was scheduled for last week’s game against the Patriots but rain prevailed.

In reality, though, Jones might be able to go for 150 passing and the Patriots’ll win this game. In his tenure with the Patriots, Belichick’s side has gone 10-3 SU/8-5 ATS against Houston and the Texans currently look worse than they have since David Carr was QBing for them. Plus, the Patriots are sitting at 1-3 SU and they’re much better than a .250 team; we’re thinking they prove so in a romp. Take the New England Patriots -8½ at Houston.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

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