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.


Best Bets, NFL week 11: Judging the relative mediocrity of certain teams

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 18:08 EST

Sentimentality and hype have no place in proper NFL betting. If bettors were really worried about the aesthetics of the game being played, half the week’s slate would be no-goes right off the bat. Seriously, do you realize how many bad and/or disappointing teams are “playing” this season?

Depending on how you feel about the 2019 Miami Dolphins, NFLbets counts at least three other teams which, in any other season, would unquestionably be the NFL’s worst: Washington, the Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals – and by the time this season is over, the New York Giants just might join this bunch. Disappointments? You bet – How about the L.A. Rams, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears plus the Atlanta Falcons and “Los Angeles” Chargers (if you believed; NFLbets didn’t).

Thus it is in the spirit of exploiting all resources available – in this case, the bottom-feeders and all-but-eliminated from playoff contention – are this week’s NFLbets Best Bets offered.

Arizona Cardinals +11 at San Francisco 49ers, over/under 45½ points

Sheesh, you’d think that after the 49ers finally took a loss, these lines would come down a bit, but nope. The truth is that lines on San Francisco have been way too high these past four games, a run in which they’re 1-3 ATS against lines of -10, -4½, 10½ and -5½ (last week vs the now 8-2 Seahawks) – shouldn’t we be a tad suspicious of another double-digit spread?

The truth is the Cardinals are a league-best 7-3 ATS, including 3-1 in away games, 5-1 in their last six and 2-2 against prospective playoff teams. Three of their six SU losses were within 6 points, and they’ve managed to score an average of 23.0 points in the last six games, including the 25 they hung on these 49ers two weeks previous.

The sole chink in the armor an awesome San Francisco defense is the run – though, as Kyler Murray learned in the week 9 game, not necessarily the running quarterback. Instead, newly aquired Kenyon Drake ripped the Niners for 110 yards on 15 carries.

See, this is what NFLbets just doesn’t get. The Cardinals have been playing above their level all year, they’re ready for a 49ers team on a short week after an overtime MNF game. Sure, the Niners will likely win – but these Cards will not be pushed aside so easily. We’re saying take the Cardinals +11 vs San Francisco and what the hell, take the over on an O/U of 45½ points.

Cincinnati Bengals +10½ at Oakland(/Las Vegas) Raiders, over/under 48½ points

Just in case you need numerical quantification to define just how bad the 0-9 SU (3-6 ATS) Bengals are, NFLbets reminds that Cincy is dead last in total and rushing yards allowed, and they rank no. 31 in rushing TDs allowed and yards per rush attempt. The Raiders have Josh Jacobs. In this case, things are that simple. Take the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders -10½ vs Cincinnati.

New York Jets +1 at Washington, over/under 37½

Some might call anyone who bets on this game a true degenerate gambler. Heck, NFLbets might call you that, too – but we’d mean it in the positive sense. Besiders, NFL bettors should rarely be looking at a team’s SU record at all. Geez, Miami has won five straight ATS and is defying expectations in favor of gamblers well more than, likesay, the Kansas City Chiefs at 4-6 ATS.

Unfortunately, ATS records aren’t too informational for our purposes in betting this game – both teams are an identical 3-6. Besides, betting on either side essentially amounts to a “pick ‘em” bet unless you’re betting on a tie. (Wait a minute … that might not be such a bad idea…)

So, yeah, NFLbets has been thinking about the over/under here for quite some time; 37½ is one seriously low line: Only 20 games since 2014 have gone off with over/unders of 37½ points or less, and only two have posted lines smaller than 37. Naturally, the over in all games with an O/U of 37 or 37½ is … 8-8. Overs in the 10 games with an O/U of exactly 37½ are slightly better at 6-4.

Given the point spread of Jets +1, the 37½-point over/under would imply a final score prediction of about 19-19. Washington topped this twice – in weeks 1 and 2. The Jets have also done so twice, including last week against the Giants, meaning that the highest-scoring games by either the Jets or Washington have all come against NFC East teams – Ugly!

So can the 31st- and 32nd-most prolific scoring offenses in the NFL hit a very low over? This game’s got “outlier” written all over it. Take the over on an O/U of 37½.

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 1-1.
NFLbets’ Best Bets this season: 10-13.

–written by Os Davis

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Best bets for NFL week 9: What are we missing here?

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 13:57 EST

Superstition of course has no place in profitable sports/NFL betting. This is a particularly necessary dictum for NFLbets in week 9, as, subjectively speaking, it seems that every time we ask, “What are we missing here?” in an obvious-looking line, we lose.

Pure mathematics tells us that such a contention cannot seriously be correct. Sometimes, as Freud said, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes easy lines are just easy lines. The following represents what NFLbets considers (perhaps foolishly, admittedly) easy pickings for this weekend, our Best Bets for week 9.

Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers, over/under 42½ points

Please note that, as a “pick ‘em” game, records and stats ATS are noted purely for interest, as you’re essentially making a money line (ML) bet. Should you buy this line up to Colts +1 or Steelers +1, you may also treat this as a ML bet, unless you think this one ends in a tie.

Did no bookmaker watch last week’s Monday Night Football game? Because what NFLbets saw was a third-string QB looking like a second-string QB at best, an offensive line that can’t pass-protect, and a team that couldn’t cover the spread against the NFL’s worst team.

And here comes the go-to line for this time of year, when frauds who’d been beating up on bottom-feeders are exposed (cough Buffalo Bills cough cough hack): Pittsburgh is exactly 0-4 SU (2-2 ATS) against teams with winning records, beginning with the 33-3 beatdown the New England Patriots handed them in week 1. As for homefield advantage, yeah, right: By dint of drawing the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens at home, the Steelers are 2-2 SU/ATS in Pittsburgh.

Folks, the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers are a mediocre team; it’s almost as though they lost All Pro-caliber players in several “skill positions”…

The 2019 Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, are not a mediocre team. They may have already taken charge of the usually very slippery AFC South and, should the Houston Texans lose at the London Jaguars on Sunday, formally will have. The Colts are currently on pace to draw the no. 2 or no. 3 seed in the AFC and have beaten two teams well better than the Steelers are right now, namely Patrick Mahomes’s Chiefs and DeShaun Watson’s Texans.

Again, we just don’t get this line. Take the Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh.

Green Bay Packers -4 at L.A. Chargers, over/under 47 points

Let’s review: Since moving into the soccer pitch in Carson City, the Chargers have gone 3-8 SU (2-8-1 ATS) in “home” games, 1-0 SU (0-1 ATS) in London, and *12-2 SU (11-3-1 ATS) in road games* including playoffs. In fact, the sole regular-season road game the Chargers have lost SU in that span was to the – get this – Los Angeles Rams.

This normally would be enough for NFLbets to shut up and plunk down the money, but let’s drive the point home. (So to speak.) The Packers are coming to town and are likely to fill seats to capacity with transplanted fans. No defense has been able to stop Green Bay since the opening day snoozefest against Chicago, and the Pack has been good for at least 21 points per game since for an average of 29.3 ppg.

And while the big-play defense hasn’t been quite as prolific lately with just three takeaways in the past three games, Green Bay is nevertheless bringing the best D that the Chargers have faced all season regardless – except maybe the Bears, to whom the Chargers managed 17 points on 231 total yards of offense. The Packers D’s weakest area is against the run, so Melvin Gordon is probably a quite-good fantasy play, but as we say at NFLbets, f*** fantasy football. Only a monstrous performance from Gordon will keep this one close. Take the Green Bay Packers -4 vs the Chargers in Los Angeles.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6½ at Seattle Seahawks, over/under 51½ points

Right, we’ll keep this one super simple. Let’s spare the obvious non-comparison between these two and just accept that the Seahawks are the far superior team here.

The only relevant stat out there is this: Since 2005, Seattle ranks no. 2 overall ATS at home; Seattle’s 12th Man advantage is mathematically real – and this season, the Seahawks are 0-4 ATS at home. What more do you need? Take the Seattle Seahawks -6½ vs Tampa Bay.

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 3-0.
NFLbets’ Best Bets this season: 9-9.

–written by Os Davis

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Week 8 NFL Best Bets: Checking Bills’, Steelers’ reputations

Thursday, 24 October 2019 17:07 EST

Running up against deadlines and nearly drained of ways to express another mediocre week of NFLbets’ Best Bets gone by, we’re keeping this introduction short. The following are our Best Bets for week 8 of the 2019 NFL season.

Philadelphia Eagles -2 at Buffalo Bills, over/under 43½ points

Just in case you can’t tap the brakes on the Buffalo Bills bandwagon yourself, this line apparently indicates that the sportsbooks are willing to help out with a point spread low enough so as to be within the margin of error. Do the sharps really still believe the downward trending Eagles are as good as or even better than the AFC’s current no. 2 team? Let’s consider the logic here.

Buffalo is currently 4-2 ATS (but just 1-2 ATS at home); Philadelphia is among the league’s worst at 2-5 ATS. The only team worse? Get this: The Atlanta Falcons at 1-6, whose sole ATS win came in week 2 *against the Eagles*. So, yeah. Regression clearly favors the Eagles -2.

In straight-up terms, the Bills are an impressive 5-1, to be sure. But NFLbets might pragmatically point out that four of the Bills’ wins came against basically bottom-5 teams (New York Jets, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins) and the fifth was a 7-point win over quickly sinking Tennessee. And the week 4 SU loss/ATS win to New England is thought of by many fans as the Bills having played the Patriots tough, but such an assessment is only half correct: While the Buffalo D kept Tom Brady to 150 yards and zero TDs, Josh Allen and the offensive line were giving up three picks and four QB sacks.

Fair enough, then. Like the Patriots, the Bills were handed a first-half schedule that has proven, likesay, on the easy side. That 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS mark bears some scrutiny. But what positivity can we find on the Eagles’ side in what has been intensely underwhelming?

Not much. The only outstanding area NFLbets finds is in the ability to create and exploit turnovers – a quality that Allen does not want to see right about now. Over the past four games, the defense has averaged two TOs per game against the Packers a fumble recovery and a pick essentially won Philly the game. And overall, they’re top-5 in grabbing interceptions – and Allen’s top-5 in supplying them.

Is that enough? Should we take the Las Vegas line and believe that the Eagles have gotten a couple bad breaks? Should we believe that the Bills defense has gorged on easy meat all year thus far? Sure, we will. Take the Philadelphia Eagles -2 at Buffalo.

Miami Dolphins +14.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers, over/under 43½ points

NFLbets figures this matchup probably looked pretty good for a Monday Night Football matchup on paper to the schedule makers at the time. And we’re quite sure no one reckoned the starting quarterbacks in this game: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph will be starting under center, despite 3rd-string QB Devlin Hodges grabbing all the accolades in a fill-in start and questionable injury recovery. Bookmakers set the line at Dolphins +15½ presumably based as much on the Steelers’ reputation as on the on-field awfulness that Miami has displayed thus far this season.

Bettors, interestingly, are calling BS and by Thursday have already brought down that number 1½ points. As well they should. The truth is that it doesn’t matter who’s starting at QB for the Steelers, cumulatively they’re bottom-5 in both passing and rushing yardage. And despite all the gifts of field position the defense has provided in 2019 – Pittsburgh has the second-most takeaways in the league – the Steelers rank a low 21st in scoring. This is not a playoff team or even a particularly good one, to be completely honest.Betting on the 2019 Miami Dolphins may sound crazy, but crazier still would be covering a middling 2nd-string quarterback to maintain a league-best 5-1 ATS (3-0 ATS at home). Reputation does not win at the sportsbook, and in this game, NFL bettors are all over this notion. Take the Miami Dolphins +14.5 at Pittsburgh.

We’re also saying take the under on an O/U of 43½. Pittsburgh has scored between 20 and 27 in their last four games – against contenders and bottom-feeders alike – and though we’re looking for the Dolphins to cover a two-TD spread, we’re certainly not betting on a remanifestation of “Fitz Magic.”

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 1-1.
NFLbets’ Best Bets this season: 6-9.

–written by Os Davis

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Week 8 picks: Betting on blowouts and low-scoring affairs

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 13:35 EST

According to My Bookie and every other sportsbook out there, week 8 of the 2019 NFL season will be characterized by blowouts and/or low-scoring games. That’s just fine and dandy with NFLbets, as we see much opportunity in Vegas’s pessimistic outlook.

Or maybe we’re just overconfident after NFLbets’ Picks of the Week are on an 11-3 run the past three weeks. NFL bettors may therefore take the following with the relevant grains of salt. Speaking (writing?) of overconfidence, once again is NFLbets taking on Thursday Night Football betting again, namely

Washington +16½ at Minnesota Vikings, over/under 42 points

There’s that magic 16½-point spread from which just one team has even won SU – ironically, the Buffalo Bills against these Vikings last season. With a little more betting, this line might drop to Washington +17, a handicap which no NFL team has ever won SU against, says the point spread conversion table.

Adding to the complexity of betting on a 16½-point spread is the recent reversal in Thursday Night Football betting trends: Whereas in 2016-17, underdogs won SU seven times of 29 for a winning percentage of just .241 on TNF (as opposed to the league norm of .326), ’dogs are 15-7 SU – you read that right – in 2018 and ’19 thus far.

Against the spread, favorites in 2016-17 were 18-10-1 for a .638 winning percentage, significantly above the expected .550 mark. Favorites in 2018-19 are just 9-12-1 ATS, but the home team is 12-9-1 ATS, implying that, during the last 22 games, this particular stat is only useful for home underdogs on TNF.

Balancing out all the uncertainty about Minnesota covering here is one unassailable fact: Washington is brutally bad. NFLbets wonders from whom Washington will score points even if the Vikings purely coast; these guys have scored 42 points combined in their past five games. Minnesota could easily get the shutout here but still lose ATS, as did the 49ers last week. Take the under on an O/U of 42 points.

“Los Angeles” Chargers -4 at Chicago Bears, over/under 40½ points

.At least this one’s easy. We laid down the loose guideline to cover the under in any Bears game until further notice. Naturally, the over is the expected 3-3 in Bears games, and the over hit in both the London game against the Raiders and last week’s destruction by the Saints. However, with Phillip Rivers again amassing more sacks than TD passes on one side and Mitch Trubisky demoralizing his own team on the other, the under is back, baby! Take the under on an O/U of 40½ points.

New York Jets +5½ at Jacksonivlle Jaguars, over/under 41½ points

Let’s see ... the Jaguars haven’t scored 28 points in a game all season, Minshu Miracle aside; and just when the generally discombobulated Jets showed signs of life against the Cowboys two weeks ago, that bitchslapping given them by the Patriots last week certainly (dare we say it?) deflated the morale there back to week 1 levels. So we’re saying take the Jacksonville Jaguars -5½ vs the Jets, and take the under on an O/U of 41½ points.

Cleveland Browns +13½ at New England Patriots

And a very easy one! Sure, the Patriots are playing (very) shorthanded on offense and the Browns indeed have a pretty decent pass rush, but just ask yourself this one question: Is there a single bigger coaching mismatch possible in the 2019 NFL than Bill Belichick versus Freddy Kitchens? Come on, there’s a reason this point spread is this high. Take the New England Patriots -13½ vs Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals +13½ at Los Angeles Rams (U.K.)

The accolades of coaching genius are not flying quite as fast and furiously in Sean McVay’s direction as they once were; thus NFLbets will not make a similar comparison as that above between McVay and the 12th President of the United States, Zac Taylor. Like Kitchens, Taylor is a promoted quarterbacks coach clearly in over his head.

Everything is lining up Rams for this game. They’ve just received morale boosts from an intake of new talent before the trade deadline and took care of business last week against the proverbially hapless Falcons. Though Jared Goff (justifiably) takes much flak for rampant turnovers and poor decision making, L.A. has scored 27 or more points in five of seven games in 2019, whereas the Bengals have yet to top 23.

Finally, from the Emperor Wears No Clothes Department, note that, since last season’s much-ballyhooed 105-point game against the Chiefs, the Rams are 5-1 against teams with losing records, 4-5 against all others. The course is clear: Take the Los Angeles Rams -13½ vs Cincinnati.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-0.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 18-12.

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Week 7 NFL Best Bets: Betting Vikings-Lions, Ravens-Seahawks

Saturday, 19 October 2019 10:48 EST

So NFLbets is still trying to dig ourselves out of the unprofitable hole we’ve dug ourselves on these Best Bets thus far in 2019. To be fair, however, we are 4-3 in the past three weeks after making wagers we had no business placing so early in the season. (Think we’ll learn in time for next year? Ha!)

But we’re feeling as confident as ever, with a couple of seriously attractive lines in play on the NFL week 7 slate. NFLbets bets (so to speak/write) that we’ll be up after the dust settles on Monday night via wagering on…

Minnesota Vikings -2 at Detroit

This line started the week as Minnesota +1 until bettors hammered home the notion that the ’spread was silly and thus have kicked it down a full field goal in the other direction. NFLbets understands the hesitance of sportsbooks to make the Vikings bigger favorites, as both of these teams have been killing point spreads one-third of the way through the season.

Detroit is 4-1 ATS (2-2-1 SU) this season, putting the Lions among the top 4 in the stat, along with fellow overperformers the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1), San Francisco 49ers (4-1) and Buffalo Bills (4-1). Additionally, Detroit’s currently on a 4-0 run ATS as underdogs in every game; Matt Patricia and the Lions are also apparently employing a handful of dark magic spells, as few remain unamazed by this team’s ability to stay in games. The most incredible stat thus far from Detroit? No 2019 Lions game has been decided by more than 4 points, with the average margin of victory 2.2. The average 2019 Lions game thus far.

(And Detroit might even be 3-1-1 SU right now, good for top spot in a surprisingly tough NFC North, if the referees had been on their side against Green Bay last weekend. Not that NFLbets had the Lions in a pick ’em pool or anything…)

Meanwhile, the Vikings have suddenly emerged as the team that NFL bettors and fans alike have awaited for, likesay, three years. Minnesota has run up a 4-2 ATS/SU record, including a whopping 3-0 ATS/SU mark at home – including last week’s nice 24½-20 spread-adjusted win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

NFLbets doesn’t want to go small sample size here, but the Eagles game was demonstrative of a winning Vikings game plan going forward. Get Kirk Cousins an early lead so as to rely on that top-5 rushing (by committee); 30 rushing plays versus 29 passes turned out absolutely perfect for Minnesota, after all. The Lions defense looks vulnerable to such an attack, with below-average stats against the pass and bottom-10 against the run.

In fact, the single outstanding characteristic of Detroit’s game is the blitz-happy defense and its ability to get behind the line: The Lions are tops in tackles for a loss, rank 5th in turnovers and average 2.0 sacks per game. Cousins won’t tolerate serious pressure well – in losses to the rush-bringing Packers and Bears, Cousins was sacked 7 times and the offense produced 6 TOs, including two of Cousins’s three interceptions this year.

But you know what? The Lions D isn’t the Packers’ or Bears’. And though the Vikings’ offensive line ranks just 22nd in pass protection per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, they’ve protected Cousins well enough since the Minnesota WRs called out their QB for weak play – funny how that happens. Take the Minnesota Vikings -2 at Detroit.

Baltimore Ravens +3½ at Seattle

NFLbets knows folks aren’t supposed to cheer for a player injury – though we suspect more than one DFS player is sociopathic enough – but those who bet on Russell Wilson in the “To Win NFL MVP” prop aren’t exactly in mourning over Patrick Mahomes missing a few weeks. (Do you realize that Wilson went off this season at 20/1 odds in this prop? Nice.)

And after getting past a scare or three to defeat the Browns in Cleveland last week, Wilson, Pete Carroll & Co. are certainly looking forward to drawing the Ravens in Seattle this Sunday.

At 4-2 SU (2-4 ATS), the Ravens aren’t exactly at the point of “reeling” yet, but the most impressive game these guys have played this season was a 33-28 loss to Mahomes’s Chiefs in week 3. Baltimore is 4-0 SU against losing teams, including Miami, Arizona and Cincinnati. The Ravens couldn’t cover the spread against the Steelers playing with a third-string QB, the Cardinals playing without a defense, and the Bengals playing without a team. NFLbets is certainly not expecting Baltimore to hang with this Seahawks team.

Even beyond the obvious eye-test qualities of Ravens at Seahawks, one stat should get NFL bettors to virtually run, not walk, to the nearest sportsbook. First, NFLbets will confirm that Seattle’s perceived homefield advantage is very real. From 2005 to 2018, the Seahawks ran up a quite incredible 72-50-6 mark ATS; this is bested only by – you guessed it – the New England Patriots at 75-48-5.

(Incidentally, a tangent here to slaughter a sacred cow: At 51-69-8, the Denver Broncos posted the third-*worst* record ATS over the aforementioned 14-year span. This is likely due to the perception that mile-high Denver provides such an innate advantage, and proper NFL bettors should now adjust mentalities accordingly.)

The key stat: The Seahwaks are 0-3 ATS in Seattle this year. This could be one of the easiest bets of the 2019: Take the Seattle Seahawks -3 vs Baltimore.

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 1-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 5-8.

–written by Os Davis

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NFLbets' Best Bets for week 6: My, what big point spreads you have!

Sunday, 13 October 2019 09:51 EST

A ridiculous run of double-digit point spreads has deluged NFL betting in 2019 through five weeks, thanks to the likes of a certain three bottom-feeders plus those hard-luck New York Jets.

How wacky have things been? Since 1970, just 27 NFL games to date have kicked off with a point spread of 18 points or higher. NFL bettors hadn’t seen such since 2013, and we’ve already had three in ’19 – and we’re certain to see more, as Washington and Miami are particularly terrible, while the Cincinnati Bengals may shed what’s left of their top talent before the trade deadline.

NFLbets has gotten to the point (so to speak) where we expect these huge numbers, as a squall of blowouts fills the league scoreboard weekly. So after considering the games everyone wants to bet, we based our Best Bet(s) on a couple point spreads which, in wacky 2019, we think could be substantially higher.

Dallas Cowboys -7½ at New York Jets

The Jets’ current situation just doesn’t do justice to the well-worn cliché “ravaged by injuries.” C.J. Mosely – he of the team’s largest salary – won’t play again this week, and the defense is further wounded in playing (if at all) Quentin Williams and Jordan Jenkins hurt. Kelechi Osemele’s absence further hurts the offensive line.

But you know what? NFLbets just doesn’t trust the favorite in this one. It’s not merely that the return of Sam Darnold should certainly invigorate an offense that’s certainly better than its gaunt showing thus far. It’s that the Cowboys are so poorly coached as to elicit no confidence whatsoever. Whoever is deciding that Dak Prescott throwing into coverage in the fourth quarter is a winning strategy needs to go. (It doesn’t appear to be Jason Garrett, who’s handed over responsibility for play-calling to others and has solf-promoted to the position of head Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.)

The point spread in this game has been driven a full point from opening at Cowboys -6½, but this has got to be flowing in from Dallas homers, Jets detractors and big spread lovers. We’re going against the flow here: Take the New York Jets +7½ vs Dallas.

Cincinnati Bengals -10½ at Baltimore Ravens

Now this favorite, NFLbets can get behind. The mass exodus from the Ravens bandwagon proceeds apace, much too hastily, in our opinion. Sure, the SU loss against Cleveland wasn’t great, but sandwiching this was an ATS win in a shootout with high-scoring Kansas City and an OT SU win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Once again, we are reminded that public opinion should mean diddly squat to the proper NFL bettor.

The Ravens await the poor Bengals in week 6 with some majorly gaudy offensive statistics: How about 441.4 total yards per game, including a ridiculous 192.2 rushing ypg. Cincinnati’s defense is predictably bottom-10 in most statistical categories, but playing from behind much of the defense has put then in the bottom-5 in most rushing stats. Hell, the Bengals have already given up more than 250 rushing yards in a game twice this season; here’s the thinking Mark Ingram is a very popular start in fantasy football this week, and we can only imagine what Lamar Jackson might do against these guys.

Readers of NFLbets know we try not to put too much stock in history, what with team rosters and coaching staffs so fluid. The Bengals are on a 4-1 ATS (3-2 SU) run against the Ravens, certainly due in great part to Ravens teams taking a sub-.500 division mate for granted. But this just isn’t the Cincinnati team to be pulling off this upset. Take the Baltimore Ravens -10½ vs Cincinnati.

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Best Bets: What are we missing in Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars?

Saturday, 05 October 2019 15:06 EST

When the real golden opportunities in NFL betting come down the pike, very little analysis or elaboration in a column like this is necessary. But when two point spreads that seem wildly off appear in the same week, the NFL bettor must think, “What am I missing here?” In week 5, we’re still scratching our heads over a couple lines out there, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be passing up the opportunities to bet.½

Seriously, what are we missing on

Chicago Bears -5½ vs Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, over/under 40½ points (UK)

?

The counterpoints, as we see them, include the following.

• Consider the history: Favorites in UK games are 11-5 ATS (12-4 SU) since 2014; and in games not involving the Jacksonville Jaguars, favorites are on a 10-3 ATS (11-2 SU) run in UK games. (NFLbets doesn’t like to dig deep into history in analyzing a bet, but since most teams don’t play in England regularly, league-wide trends over time may be more important that usual.)

• Jon Gruden did not appear to take preparation for this game very seriously last year and made for one of NFLbets’ three Sure Bets last season. Sure enough, this lack led to an intensely poor showing against the Seattle Seahawks and a 28-7 beatdown. This year, part of Gruden’s adaptation involved flying directly to the UK from Indianapolis after the week 4 game. But even if everything does work out vis-à-vis body clocks and alla that, there’s also…

• This will be the Raiders’ third consecutive road game.

• There are solid reasons not to go too gaga over the Raiders’ 31-24 win in Indianapolis, likesay, maybe the Colts just aren’t that great. The defense currently ranks 31st – topping only who else but the Miami Dolphins – in Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency metric.

• After the neutral field, the prime factor in keeping this point spread down must be Chase Daniel at starting QB – but while Daniel may be no Gardner Minshu but by all indications could be a reasonable fill-in for at least a game or two around the trade deadline. The Bears miiiiiiight need to score more than 16 against the Raiders, but Daniel’s 22-of-30 for 195 yards plus 1 TD against zero picks is a decent enough start.

• Finally, have we all forgotten about Khalil Mack’s potential to singlehandedly take over games? Has the memory that this is Mack’s first game against the Raiders since his stunning and unceremonious trading away? Will has impact not be huge in this game?

Come on, now. How easy can this get? Take the Chicago Bears -5½ vs Oakland. Plus, adding England and backup game-managing QB to NFLbets’ standing rule of thumb, i.e. Always take the under in Chicago Bears games in 2019, take the under on an O/U of 40½.

Jacksonville Jaguars +3½ at Carolina Panthers

Okay, so what are we missing *here*? Coming into 2019, things in Jaguars land were optimistic. They’d brought over former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to save them from the tyranny of mediocrity by Blake Bortles, thereby filling the one missing piece on a bona fide Super Bowl contending team.

Instead, of course, the Jags are running with Gardner Minshew, whose odds in the “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year” proposition bet have fallen to 7/2, now second only to Daniel “Danny Dimes” Jones. (Kudos to those who took a flyer on Minshew at 66/1 or better when he was named Jacksonville’s starting QB.)

So now Minshu has gotten the Jaguars off to a respectable 2-2 SU (3-1 ATS) start, including three consecutive ATS wins and yet … this is Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive game as underdog. Betting on the continuation of a three-game ATS streak is going against the odds, but NFLbets just isn’t sure that Carolina can win this one.

The Panthers are on a 1-3-1 ATS (0-5 SU) run at home going back to last season and were rather gifted their past two SU wins with their own backup, Kyle Allen, at QB. Last week at Houston, Allen took four sacks and lost three fumbles while the Texans couldn’t buy a score. And the week previous was at Arizona – and Allen still managed to be sacked twice and fumble once there, too. The Jacksonville D has managed just two turnovers this season, but both came in the past two weeks and Allen could be an ideal opponent to improve the Jaguars’ standing in that stat.

NFLbets supposes this line is so low because the sportsbooks are expecting some evening out of trends, but for us the biggest outlier of the bunch surrounding this game are those five consecutive outings by the Jaguars as underdogs. We’re simply going with better team right now. Take the Jacksonville Jaguars +3½ at Carolina.

–written by Os Davis


How to bet NFL week 4: Go against the undefeated and for the winless

Saturday, 28 September 2019 20:10 EST

Just to be clear: When we talk undefeated and winless teams, we’re talking by the only standard meaningful to the proper NFL bettor, i.e. in terms of wins Against The Spread (ATS).

Week 4 in any given NFL season is typically an opportunity for bettors to exploit the universal trending toward the mean .5000 to which all ATS win-loss records go. NFLbets isn’t saying (writing?) that a four-game ATS win streak is impossible in the NFL, but 4 marks a tipping point for upsets.

Last season, for example, the Kansas City Chiefs came out well more monstrously than the bookmakers had expected and after three weeks had gone 3-0 with a margin a victory of 8.0 ppg. For week 4, bettors caught the line of Chiefs -3½ or Chiefs -4 when Kansas City played in Denver. The result was a 4-point victory. Kansas City did indeed manage to start the season 4-0-1 (or 5-0) ATS and ran off another four-game ATS win streak. But no other team ran off four in a row until the Chicago Bears, the 2018 leader in ATS W-L record, pulled it off in weeks 14 through 17 – only to get the doink-doink in the following game to end that streak.

In fact, the Chiefs were the sole team to emerge from week 4 of 2018 without an ATS loss, and only Denver had managed not to land a single ATS win. This pattern of 3-0 teams losing ATS and 0-3 teams winning ATS is seen every year, and in week 4 of 2019, we’re wagering thusly.

On Thursday night, the 3-0 ATS Green Bay Packers lost 37-23½ to the 0-3 ATS Philadelphia Eagles in a classic week 4 balancing game. Still remaining at the extremes are the 3-0 ATS Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams, plus the 0-3 ATS Miami Dolphins. After last week’s Patriots-Jets game in which a second-string special-teamer and backup quarterback cost those betting on New England a glorious 22½-point spread victory, NFLbets will stay away from these mammoth point spreads for a bit and therefore back away slowly from Los Angeles Chargers -14½ at Miami.

Instead, NFLbets likes these bets…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +9 at Los Angeles Rams, over/under 49 points

NFLbets will admit it’s a bit difficult to buy the trend here – unless we entertain the notion that Tampa Bay may be a better team than upon initial appearance. Only a missed field goal kept the Buccaneers from pulling off the SU win last week against the New York Giants; though, had Matt Gay not shanked the attempt, the Giants still would’ve won ATS.

When considering these Buccaneers, NFLbets is reminded of just how seriously small a three-game sample size can be. After getting spanked by the San Francisco 49ers in the opener, Tampa Bay followed with their only SU/ATS win of the year *at* Carolina. And after not even managing 300 total yards in games 1 and 2, Jameis Winston & Co. teed off for 499 against a weak Giants defense.

The Rams have by no means a weak defense but are they truly, in the immortal words of Danny Green, who we thought they were? The passing game has never been exactly high-flying with Jared Goff in charge, but has statistically declined since way back to last season’s 105-point game against Kansas City. What appeared to be a nice two-headed rushing attack with Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown was reduced to 50 yards on 17 carries plus two targets and zero receptions against the Cleveland Browns as Gurley dissolves before our eyes.

The Rams defense? Yeah, they’re what we thought they were, with the previous two games going emphatically under and Aaron Donald apparently consciously trying to prove that a defensive player (namely him) should get serious consideration for MVP.

But sneakily, the Buccaneers D has done nicely this season, “Danny Dimes” Jones’s outstanding second half last week notwithstanding. They’re top-10 in most statistical categories per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric and no. 2 overall against the run.

So, applying a little reverse logic to justify taking that +9 on Tampa Bay, figure that a defensive struggle leads to a low-scoring game with a differential of around a touchdown. Two top-10 defenses versus sputtering offenses? Sounds like way less scoring than 29-20. We can buy that narrative. Take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +9 at the L.A. Rams and take the under on an O/U of 49 points.

(Incidentally, if you’re a believer in such, this one has “trap game” written all over it for the Rams with that “at Seattle Seahawks” on the horizon for week 5.)

Dallas Cowboys -3 at New Orleans Saints

NFLbets is trying to find justification for covering the Saints +3 here, but it may be easier to accept that the Cowboys will go into week 5 and a home game against the Green Bay Packers at 4-0 ATS. The truth is that New Orleans has exactly three plusses going into this one: homefield advantage (if any); Alvin Kamara, who went for a badass 169 total yards and two TDs; and, well, the relative sustainability of the Cowboys’ 3-0 ATS win streak.

The most quantifiable of these is of course Kamara, who is rapidly becoming a one-man show in New Orleans. To say that Kamara was the focal point of the Saints offense last week against Seattle is severe understatement: Those 169 yards represented a crazy 60.75% of the team’s total output and included16 of the team’s 23 carries plus 10 targets on Teddy Bridgewater’s 27 attempts.

Now perhaps Kamara is altogether next-to-unstoppable, even against what is probably a top-5 defense – but such a lack of diversity in game plan is not enough even against an average coaching staff such as Dallas’s. Nobody’s biting on Michael Thomas as a deep threat without Drew Brees at QB and no other “skill player” has Bridgewater’s confidence at all, apparently.

True enough, the Saints have thus far drawn three fairly decent offenses in Houston, the Rams and Seattle, they’ve generously allowed from 380 to 514 yards and 27 or 28 points in each of the three games. Key to the week 3 win were the Seahawks’ special-teams gaffes and a criminally weak offensive line. Simply put, you’d have to figure the Saints won’t be able to keep up with the points they’ll allow.

NFLbets believes the overriding reason for this low point spread – 3 points for home field or no – is simply that the Cowboys’ schedule reveals nothing about this team’s true abilities. What can one tell from 30-point totals against the likes of Eli’s Giants, Washington and Miami? Unless we’re willing to entertain the notion that New Orleans just isn’t that good. Which we do.

We’re going against the numbers and with the football here: Take the Dallas Cowboys -3 at New Orleans.

-- written by Os Davis


NFLbets' Best Bets for NFL week 3: Choose football over feckless faith

Sunday, 22 September 2019 09:17 EST

The proper NFL bettor should never be afraid of slaughtering sacred cows; all superstitions and beliefs must be tossed aside like so many losing betting slips every time you consider your options on any given Sunday. Sure, a leap of faith every once in a while may be required – as long as the bettor doing the leaping is well aware of the element of risk he/she has just added into the bet. That old nonsense about the Green Bay Packers’ infallibility at Lambeau or West Coast-East Coast advantages without the hard numbers must go.

Warning: Looking at our best bets for week 3 of the 2019 NFL season may test some common beliefs. Hopefully, that isn’t a problem.

Chicago Bears -4 at Washington, over/under 41 points

Can a team with a quarterback and running game as poor as the Bears still be a viable team in the NFL in 2019? Maybe. Can the Chicago defense keep this team in games long enough to at least manage a winning record? Maybe. Can the Bears muster enough to take an away game from a Washington team whose coach could well be playing for his job? Maybe.

But can the Bears hold the hapless and discouraged Washington to, likesay, fewer than 20 while undoubtedly scoring fewer than three TDs themselves? Absolutely. Betting the under on Chicago games is valid until further notice. Take under 41 points in Chicago-Washigton.

Pittsburgh Steelers -6½ at San Francisco 49ers

Geez, with all the buzz on the 49ers plus the East-Coast-team-on-West-Coast bugaboo, you’d figure this line would be higher – and it probably should be, but bettors are gaining a good 1-1½ points on pure reputation. Seriously: You’ve got an 0-2 team which missed the playoffs last year and enters week 3 with what amounts to a second-string QB traveling across the country to play an away game and you’re still getting less than a touchdown? Hell, the Broncos are only going to Green Bay and they’re getting 7½!

Say what you will about the inconsistencies of the 49ers offense, but the truth is that this team can score points. In Jimmy Garoppolo’s past nine starts for the Niners, the team averages just over 31 points per game, and they’ve only scored less than 25 once. On the other side, the Steelers have managed to top 20 points just four times in the past nine games – and all four were in losing efforts. Until we see this team score consistently *with* Ben Roethlisberger (not to mention Antonio Brown), we sure ain’t betting on them to.

As for Minkah Fitzpatrick, sure, great acquisition for Pittsburgh. We’d be shocked, though, if a second-year player whose only exposure to the NFL thus far has been through the cracked prism of the Miami Dolphins could make a measurable impact immediately. Take the San Francisco 49ers by 6½ vs Pittsburgh.

Houston Texans +3 at Los Angeles Chargers

It’s as though folks weren’t paying attention all 2018 season when folks were placing audible quotation marks around the “Los Angeles” in “Los Angeles Chargers.” As though to prove everything we know about homefield advantage wrong, the Chargers went 4-3 SU (3-4 ATS), barely eked out a SU win/lost ATS in the “home” game at London against the Titans, and just for good measure traveled across town to lose SU/ATS to the Rams.

Last week, the Chargers got their “home” run off in grand fashion, getting two touchdowns called back and enjoying two missed filed goals in a limp SU/ATS loss to the Detroit Lions, who any would-be .500 team has no business losing to. The good news for the Chargers is that WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen will be returning (though Allen reportedly not at 100%) as well as bona fide PK Michael Badgley.

NFLbets realizes that any, ahem, faith placed in the Texans, meanwhile, must include the supposition that the offensive line will improve. With Laremy Tunsil in at LT for the second week, that Houston OL allowed “only” four sacks of DeShaun Watson to good results; heck, a late-game field goal was all that kept the Texans from winning the opener against New Orleans, despite six sacks to Watson. We’re looking for still better line play from Houston and so we’re saying take the Houston Texans +3 “at” the Chargers.


NFL betting for week 2, one best bet, one pick of the week, one serious oultier

Sunday, 15 September 2019 11:20 EST

One of the best tips on poker ever is from … well, NFLbets forgets who said it first, probably Phil Ivey or one of those guys who hardly needs more free publicity anyway. Regardless, the sage advice insists that, when playing Texas Hold ‘Em, the player must always forget his/her cards immediately upon folding them.

The reasoning goes like so: Say you’re dealt J-7 of hearts, you fold, and the flop turns up A, K, Q of hearts. Should you take that crummy J-7 hand the least bit seriously, you may be tempted to stay in with that nonsense in the future – and lose repeatedly.

A similar principle can be applied to NFL/sports betting, i.e. The bettor must forget the teams from week to week – and medium- to long-term history can be utterly ignored.

Now don’t get us wrong: NFLbets is hardly of the History Will Teach Us Nothing philosophy; however, we have long since discovered (the hard way) that holding grudges and/or keeping to dogmatic beliefs literally do not pay.

For example, the NFL bettor should not forget the utterly awful performance turned in by Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears offense ¬– or the surprisingly fleet-looking Green Bay Packers defense, for that matter – in a brutal 10-0 spread-adjusted season-opening loss; such information will be useful if only for betting the under in Bears games going forward.

But.

One must not recall the doink-doink playoff loss in combination or separately from the Bears week 1 ATS loss, particularly if one had money on either side in either game. Thoughts of “The Bears always burn me when I bet on them” are extremely dangerous for the bankroll, and, lest one be tempted to counter any anti-Bears sentiment with Chicago’s league-best 12-5 ATS mark for 2018 (the New England Patriots went 12-7 ATS), just go ahead and throw that now-nearly useless information out, too.

Forgetting the particulars is bad; remembering historical, league-wide trends is good.

As a test of intestinal fortitude are a pair of bets which appear unscientific in the extreme, but simply answer to the cold, hard numbers. First, a relatively uncontroversial player prop bet…

NFL betting, week 2: Best Bets

Alvin Kamara, over/under 73½ rushing yards at Los Angeles Rams
NFLbets knows two things about Sunday’s Saints-Rams game: Zero close calls by the referee will go in the Rams’ favor, and Alvin Kamara should run up the stats.

While the Rams defense is certainly quite a bit better than the 27-point allowing unit seen last week at Carolina, no one on L.A. could stop Christian McCaffrey. Take away McCaffrey’s efforts, however, and Cam Newton has just 158 yards passing, the running game manages minus-1 total yards … and the Panthers score at least 14 fewer points.

Kamara filled a similar role for his Saints against another pretty good defense, that of the Houston Texans, going for 169 total yards including a single run of 28 and a reception of 41 yards. Fortunately, Drew Brees has one megaweapon more than Cam Newton, namely Michael Thomas, and thus is not nearly as dependent on his own backfield stud, but NFLbets’d give better odds on the Rams pass rush and secondary stifling Thomas’s numbers than on anyone shutting down Kamara at this point.

As for the game result, who knows? The Rams could blow ’em out of the Colosseum,the Panthers could win on a blown call, or anything in-between, beyond or reversed. But here’s to thinking that nothing short of an act of god (we’re discounting Aaron Donald as an actual literal deity-like being, though he may be) can stop Kamara. Take Alvin Kamara going over 73½ yards rushing at L.A.

NFL betting, week 2: Pick of the week

Jacksonville Jaguars +7½ at Houston Texans, over/under 43 points
And in the category of dominant individuals in the NFL circa 2019 we may place DeAndre Hopkins alongside McCaffrey and Kamara; double teams, triple teams – nothing mattered to the battery of Watson and Hopkins for Houston against, yep, *another* above-average defense.

Meanwhile, the sate of the Jacksonville defense is impossible to gauge after the Kansas City Chiefs whirlwind machine blew through town last weekend. The Chiefs ran up 40 points with ease, rapidly bringing a prideful defense to its boiling point with an ejection for Myles Jack and the apparent removal of Jalen Ramsey’s hand-eye coordination faculties.

And on the offense – could Magic Nick Foles just have been magicked out of a job by the legend Gardner Minshew II. All this über-system QB did last week was throw 25 on-target passes, 22 of them complete for 275 yards and 2 TDs against just one interception.

Now.

NFLbets is not going to get caught up in the Minshew II stories, hilarious and/or compelling as so many of them are, but will ask for a memory-check on just how many times a fill-in rookie QB – particularly late-draft round rookies – has fooled opposing defenses who haven’t enough tape. Call it the Tim Tebow Principle and damn does NFLbets need to go back and crunch some numbers of this soon.

In any case, the Jaguars and Texans defenses alike should certainly look better than last week, but the latter we reckon will bring just enough surprises. As for the latter, we’ll figure that All-Pro acquisition Laremy Tunsil will show at least a slight improvement to the Texans’ six sacks surrendered against the Saints after another week with the team – and that’ll mean Houston will bring very much Hopkins along with some runs from DeShaun Watson. Here’s to thinking we’re going to see some touchdowns in this one. Take the Saints-Texans game to go over 43 points.

NFL betting, week 2: Outlier of the week

First, consider the facts.

• Since 2000, just seven NFL games (regular season or playoffs) prior to this one have carried a pointspread of 19 or more. The underdog is, predictably enough, 0-7 SU in those games – but are nevertheless 6-1 ATS.

• The sole ATS win while giving 19 or more points came in 2013, when the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks covered an incredible (but ultimately justifiable) 20½ against the eventual 4-12 SU Jacksonville Jaguars in a 45-17 win.

• Four of the seven big-pointspread games involved the Belichick/Brady Patriots, but *three* of these came in the 2007 season. Regardless, note that New England is 0-4 ATS in those games – despite a reputation solidified in ’07 for running up the score in blowouts.

• Finally, in these seven games, home underdogs are … 0-0-0 ATS.

We need these facts in order to consider – ahem, not NFLbets or anything, but only the, likesay, foolhardy – betting on New England Patriots -19 at Miami Dolphins.

For NFL bettors foolish enough not to stay away from this one, the decision will be based on how seriously he/she takes facts no. 2, 3 and 4. On one hand, these Patriots certainly look like at least a Super Bowl contender and the Dolphins look at absolute best a 4-12 team. On the other hand, Belichick could damn well take the foot off the pedal with a 35-7 lead at halftime, bench 42-year-old Tom Bardy for much of the second half and coast while Miami racks up garbage-time points in front of about 2,000 fans in the fourth quarter.

On the other other hand, homefield’s gotta mean something, right? The Patriots with Brady at Miami are just 7-11 SU, after all, including the memorable New England at Miami game of last season, which would have seen the Dolphins win ATS regardless of the rugby play which gave them the SU win.

But one final point: The 2019 Miami Dolphins may be historically bad, and NFLbets believes this team is certainly capable of losing by at least three TDs to the Patriots right now, home or now.

In the final analysis, in no way can NFLbets recommend a play either way on this one. Outliers such as this with no precedent are essentially straight-up gambles and we stay away from pure gambling (it’s why we don’t play fantasy football). One final fun fact: On the sole other occasion in the modern era in which a home team faced such a ’spread, the Walsh/Montana 49ers could not cover an insane 23 points against the ultimately 3-12 SU Atlanta Falcons in 1987.

I mean, not to make things more difficult for you or anything…

How do we know what are the best NFL bets of the week?

Our experts use multiple algorithms to establish the Best NFL bet of the week for you to win your NFL bet. We stand by this NFL sports betting method. The algorithm takes into account many parameters, including the history of each NFL team, the weather, injuries, referees, starting players, coaches - all of this in order to find out the likely outcome of the NFL game for your best nfl bets today.