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.


When is it too early to bet week 1 NFL games? Always.

Sunday, 02 August 2020 14:04 EST

Thank You for not WinningOh, that wacky John Breech at CBSsports.com! On July 30th – July 30th, wow! – Breech ran a column uniquely entitled “Way-too-early NFL Week 1 picks and best bets.” After admitting early in the piece that he has “no idea who's going to be on the field due to all the opt-outs,” Breech in fake-humble fashion puts forth three picks: Kansas City Chiefs -10 vs Houston Texans, Detroit Lions -1½ vs Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers -3½ at New York Giants.

Now NFLbets could pick apart at least two of these predictions (Breech seems to be picking the Lions sheerly out of contrarianism) or we could rip apart the banal writing style (Seriously, can someone teach this guy that turns of phrase such as “Wait, I take that back” and “Let’s be honest” come across purely as padding the word count?), but instead there’s an important principle to be reiterated here.

That principle is NFLbets’ no. 1 rule: Do not bet in week 1 of the NFL.

Look, we know how difficult this is in any season, much less in the utterly bizarre 2020. NFL bettors wait almost seven (or this year, maybe more) months after the betting Xmas that is the Super Bowl to place another wager – and that bankroll can burn a hole in y our pocket. But we’re telling you: It’s futile.

Have you ever noticed how, whenever someone makes a prediction for the season which is instantly nullified after opening week, he/she instantly retracts those predictions and admits the mistake? Yeah, me neither – because *this never happens*. Instead every yob who pays marginal attention to the NFL makes predictions, even picking a Super Bowl winner, and then forgets about them instantly when season kickoff comes.

And this is how it should be. As a bettor, just imagine the insanity of predicting the upcoming season and then sticking with those predictions regardless of actual on-field results. Insane, right? Successful NFL betting requires adaptation week to week.

Along the same lines, would you place a bet on an NFL game without a majority of the information on the teams. With the exception of the serious NFL insiders, every bettor has extremely little information about any team in week 1. Think this is an exaggeration? Consider these results from the 2019 NFL seaso and which, if any, are surprising.

Green Bay Packers 10 at Chicago Bears 3
Tennessee Titans 43 at Cleveland Browns 13
Buffalo Bills 17 at New York Jets 16
San Francisco 49ers 31 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Oakland Raiders 24, Denver Broncos 16
Arizona Cardinals 27, Detroit Lions 27

Given what we know, these results seem pretty mundane – but this half-dozen week 1 games resulted in an 0-6 record ATS for the favorites. Combined with three games in which the losing team nevertheless covered the spread – Philadelphia Eagles 32, Washington 27; Seattle Seahawks 21, Cincinnati Bengals 20; and New Orleans Saints 30, Houston Texans 28 – and favorites were a money-burning 6-9-1 ATS to kick off the season badly for those depending on outdated information.

Sure, NFLbets will probably end up splurging on a couple of bets to lose horribly in week 1 – last season, we were dead confident about the Bears’ chances at home against the Packers – especially given how hard we’ll be jonesing by opening day. For sanity’s sake, though, keep those wagers to a minimum. Wait, I forget, you’ll want to ignore the predictions of those admitting they’re underqualified…

–written by Os Davis


Odds on the Washington Football Team’s new name

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 12:35 EST

Washington Redhawks helmetWhat’s even more exciting than the recent announcement that ownership and management of the NFL’s Washington D.C. franchise would finally be changing its frankly embarrassing team name and logo? The opportunity to bet on the new name, of course! And since the release of the team’s mascot will take up to a mind-boggling 18 months, we’ve got lots of time to watch these odds.

Luckily, in the “New Name for the Washington NFL Team” proposition bet reportedly available at Bet Online, even the favorites start at 3/1, so this prop offers some good value bets. Below runs a breakdown of the *most realistic* possibilities on offer in the prop.

Note: NFLbets has eliminated from consideration a few of the offerings, including the Washington Memorials (10/1) and Washington Roosevelts (12/1) so as to avoid some serious sucker bets.  NFL bettors may also throw out Washington Kings (12/1) for sheer silliness as well as redundancy with the Sacramento NBA and Los Angeles NHL franchises.

Odds: New Name for the Washington NFL Team

Washington Redtails, 3/1. “Redtails” makes a lot of sense: It’s original and the word fits into the fight song, any monogrammed items and the color scheme. This choice makes so much sense that NFLbets can’t believe Snyder and his team of marketers won’t fuck this up.

Washington Presidents, 3/1. Even as recently as two years ago, NFLbets would have been all over this bet. Now? Hell, it is becoming pointedly obvious that by 2024, every president since Ronald Reagan will be collectively historically accepted fact. And not long after that, ever POTUS since FDR’ll get a big red FAIL stamped over their legacy. Then again, Snyder did dump $1 million into Trump’s inauguration gala, so maybe…

NFLbets guesses that Snyder’s shipping with the president is keeping the odds on Washington Generals (4/1) short. After all, the last time a professional football team wore the “Generals” moniker, You Know Who steinbrennered the franchise and took the league with them. Beyond this, there’s already a team named the Washington Generals.

Lincoln in a LincolnWashington Lincolns, 6/1. Yeah, sure. And the mascot will be the two prezzes driving around in a big-ass Continental, right? Wait a minute, that’s not so crazy after all…

Washington Veterans (8/1) isn’t bad, but Washington Monuments (10/1) is probably a better bet. “Washington Memorial” is an extant compound noun that’s fairly well-known. On the minus side, the Memorials would likely have one fantastically phallic mascot – but what would the Veterans’ be like…?

The obvious choice from many perspectives is the Washington Americans (10/1). The symbolism in the change itself would garner kudos from diehards and casual fans alike, and paraphernalia sales would likely be phenomenal. Who but the most ardent of racist football fans would not prefer a snappy red, white and blue logo to the dustbinned shameful old one? Again, however, this is Dan Snyder plus too many marketers; it’s won’t be “Americans.”

The Washington Redhawks (15/1) is easily the best choice on this list: It’s original, retains the “red” and is straight-up dope as fuck. The problem? This name enjoyed a brief spell of popularity in late 2017 when the Native American advocacy group Rising Hearts pulled off a prank which temporarily had some believing Snyder et al had announced the switch to the Redhawks name. Team executives were forced to publicly deny the change and to double down on the R******.

Since the prank, the “official website” of the Washington Redhawks has gone offline, but the Redhawks have enjoyed a second round of popularity this month, with many trying their hand at Washington Redhawks logo designs that well incoporate elements from the now-defunct logo. Naturally, not a chance in the universe exists that, after decades of fending off criticism about his team’s name, Snyder will allow his perceived enemies to “win” again.

 

 


Odds on which NFL team will sign Colin Kaepernick

Thursday, 18 June 2020 12:58 EST

Colin Kaepernick shirtless, looking for teamFrom the strange ethereal world that is NFL football in 2020 came a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell encouraging the league’s 32 franchises to sign once-blacklisted QB Coline Kaepernick. The odds in Kaepernick-related props were adjusted accordingly but with online sportsbooks essentially figuring that Kaep’s NFL career is kaput, the offering “Which team will sign Colin Kaepernick?” is as yet non-existent.

So hey, if NFLbets can’t wager on such a proposition bet, we’ll simply envision the prop, publish the plan online and wish it into being. (Hey, it works for the POTUS…)

In five seasons, Kaepernick played in 66 regular-season games plus six more in the postseason; his average line for this span is 189.3 yards passing to go with 1.1 TDs against 0.5 interceptions plus another 32.7 yards per game rushing.

The problem, as we were told between the kneeldowns and the collusion lawsuit brough against the NFL, was that the former Super Bowl quarterback had been away from the game too long. Hell, in week 8 of the 2017 season, Houston Texans QB DeShaun Watson went out for the season and rumor briefly had the Texans giving Kaepernick a shot. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre. When asked, then-head coach Bill O’Brien stated that Kaep was a “good football player,” he “hasn’t played football in a while.”

And that was when Kaepernick was half a season removed from the game. (For the record, the Texans went 1-8 without Watson the rest of the way. His replacements as starting QB that season, Tom Savage and T.J. Yates, never played another down in the NFL again.)

O’Brien’s attitude was apparently little more than the NFL party line, as Kaepernick’s lawsuit (and subsequent out-of-court settlement, to be completely honest) showed – but as loath as NFLbets is to admit it, three seasons out of football is likely too much of a handicap for Kaep to slide in to even the most desperate circumstances (helloooooo, Denver Broncos!) as a starter.

On the plus side, if Kaepernick does decide to play, he’ll likely be willing to do so at an affordable rate, i.e. a backup QB’s salary. After Taysom Hill and Marcus Mariota (at $8.841 million and $7.5 million, respectively), the next seven highest-paid backup NFL QBs will earn between $2.25 million and $5.25 million. All things being equal, $3.75 million for 2020 is beyond reasonable, particularly given the potential to sell more paraphernalia than any backup in NFL history.

The following are odds in NFLbets’ specialty prop bet, “Which team will sign Kaepernick first for the 2020 NFL season?”

• No team: -500. Pure pragmatism here, you understand.

• Baltimore Ravens: +200. For any player, this would be a no-brainer. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was Kaep’s OC when he twice took the San Francisco 49ers deep into the playoffs. And what 14-2 team has ever had a thinner depth chart at the offensive skill positions than the 2019 Baltimore Ravens?

• Los Angeles Chargers: +650. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor listed as no. 1 quarterback, have no fans, get the minimum of sports media coverage in L.A./Southern Califirnia, and will depend on the incompetence of the Broncos to stay out of the AFC West cellar. Hell, if anybody in the Chargers front office actually had a pulse, Kaepernick would have been signed by now.

• Chicago Bears: 15/1
• Denver Broncos: 15/1
. Look, if neither of these teams with their incessant follies at quarterback over the past three seasons haven’t given Kaepernick as much as a second look, Goodell’s edict still won’t wake them up (so to speak).

• Jacksonville Jaguars: 18/1. If and when play in the EFL Championship resumes, Fulham FC will have to address some paucity on the roster at forward, particularly when the loaner on Anthony Knockaert expires. On the other hand, play may not resume quickly enough for Fulham to make up a 7- and 6-point gap on Leeds United and West Brom, respectively. And since this is about as much attention as owner Shahid Khan pays to the Jaguars, it’s another year of Gardner Minshu for the team’s 27 fans.

• Washington: 100/1. No way is this going to happen in Donald Trump’s capitol city – and especially not with the great Colt McCoy already on board at the bargain price of $2.25 million (and worth every penny!). But NFLbets for one would kill to see Dan Snyder extend a contract offer to Kaepernick, only for the deal to be met with refusal until the team changes the goddamn racist name already.

–written by Os Davis


Goodell encourages NFL franchises to sign Kaepernick – but will they?

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 09:01 EST

Colin Kaepernick takes a kneeNFLbets would hardly characterize the NFL’s franchise owners as “woke”, but this week the lot are finally exhibiting a modicum of social awareness – albeit seven years too late at base minimum.

History will ultimately show that on June 5, 2020, as a thousand cities and towns throughout the U.S. rang with outrage over the brutal murder of George Floyd, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did state that “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

Justifiably, some players weren’t buying that bullshit, most notably Dallas Cowboys DE Michael Bennett. Bennett described the statement as “almost alike a slap in the face”, going on to state that Goodell “knows Black Lives Matter, because without black players, the NFL wouldn't be as lucrative as it is.”

Baltimore Ravens LB Matthew Judon was among those finding the timing convenient: “I think we should have been questioning why Roger Goodell didn’t say black lives matter when he was born, or when he became commissioner or when he was re-elected commissioner.”

But hey, this is NFLbets, where we’re concerned about making money the wagering way. Can this latest round of the league’s official vacuousness be turned to the NFL bettor’s advantage?

The answer to that, happily, is yes – if somewhat indirectly.

The Return of Sports – and Colin Kaepernick
History will also show that on the June 15, 2020, ESPN Sports Center special pretentiously entitled “The Return of Sports,” Goodell publicly encouraged teams to consider signing former pariah and courtroom nemesis (not to mention a favorite subject for proposition bets in the post-PASPA world) Colin Kaepernick.

At least one big online sportsbook immediately shifted the odds in their “Odds Colin Kaepernick on Active Roster for Game 1 of the 2020 NFL season” prop after offering the same lines since the conclusion of Super Bowl LIV. By this morning, YES had gone from +500 to +300, while NO went from -900 to -500. If we presume that even during a pandemic situation, such props never draw serious sums from bettors and thus the odds rarely waver much, we may conclude that this sportsbook doesn’t think much of ol’ Kaep’s chances at a comeback.

Beyond this, factor in the reticence of 32 franchise owners not exactly busted outright for collusion, but. In addition to the party line taken by these teams which was based on the narrative that Kaepernick just wasn’t that great a QB, how many of these billionaire types (and the Green Bay Packers board, who are pretty well justified in passing on high-risk QBs for a while) will be willing to roll over and surrender alpha dog status to a dude who was crushing them in court and public opinion…?

The unavoidable (if slightly depressing) conclusion is that smart money says take the NO in the Colin Kaepernick on Active Roster for 2020. But that’s no fun; what’s fun is hedging the NO by guessing which team will bet on their own PR and sign an athlete for our times…

To be continued...


Mitch Trubisky is a damn superman, has Bears in Madden Bowl against L.A. Rams

Sunday, 31 May 2020 13:54 EST

Betting on Turbisky in Sim Super BowlSim Trubisky is a goddamn superman. Virtually all other sim quarterbacks in BetOnline’s Madden Madness NFL sim football tournament had been tearing up NFL defenses – Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill – finally showed their true colors in the Elite 8 and Final Four rounds. That wacky Madden sim engine could hardly be kept from producing one bizarre result for the Sim Bowl to be played today at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Final Four round: North vs East
The Buffalo Bills survived the New York Jets in a 9-7 thriller (not!) in Friday’s Elite 8 round, and sim Trubisky controlled the tempo against what had been an unbeatable Green Bay defense while the Bears forced three turnovers (hey, in a CPU vs CPU All-Madden level game, that’s a lot) in a 20-8 win.

Well, on this Saturday, nothing worked for Buffalo. Sim Trubisky continued running as though he were Beattie Feathers in 1934, whipping off runs of 12 or 13 yards like nothing and sliding safe gracefully. The Bears ran up a 20-3 lead and when Khalil Mack forced the fumble out of Josh Allen in the red zone with under four minutes to play, it was over. Chicago Bears 20, Buffalo Bills 6, because after the 1990s, nobody outside of Buffalo wants the Bills in another Super Bowl.

Final Four round: West vs South
The Los Angeles Rams defense kept Patrick Mahomes’s numbers down in a 25-9 win to take the Elite 8 game, even notching a safety on the QB in a 16-point second quarter to which the Chiefs could never answer. The Carolina Panthers meanwhile finished off the South bracket thanks to a Graham Gano field goal with 9 seconds remaining. Carolina Panthers 22, Tennessee Titans 20.

Does Madden believe in teams of destiny? Since taking out the no. 1 seed New Orleans Saints, the Panthers had fit that bill. But even though sim Cam Newton had been unbelievable in this tournament, he’s no sim Mitch Trubisky. The sim Rams offense has been playing to at least 2017 levels, and the sim Rams defense may almost be ready to take on the Madden ‘07 Patriots, never mind the Madden ‘17 Patriots. Aaron Donald was an absolute beast again with three solo QB sacks, and the L.A. D allowed just two TDs all day. Los Angeles Rams 30, Cinderella Panthers 22.

So it all comes down to this:

Madden glitches are awesomeThe Bet Online Madden Sim Bowl –
Chicago Bears +2½ vs L.A. Rams, over/under 39½ points

Come on, now: How many of you chose this matchup for the first Sim Bowl? In real life, the Rams finished 9-7 in 2019, while the Bears went just 8-8 and a notable amount in both teams’ off-field personnel suffered neck strain while attempting to avoid facing reality vis-à-vis their quarterback.

But that’s real life, isn’t it? The 2019 Chicago Bears weren’t running with Sim Trubisky, a badass who doesn’t get tackled until he wants to be tackled. Mathematically precise and beautiful are the arcs of his passes, craftily sculpted are the drives he leads. In this tournament at least, Mitch Trubisky is a fucking god in the mold of a Madden 2004 Michael Vick or Tecmo Bowl’s QB Eagles. As amazing as Aaron Donald has been, no one can handle the Mitch.

Which is why NFLbets is saying take the Chicago Bears ML at +110 vs the Los Angeles Rams. AS for the over/under, you’re guess is as good as ours. After a run of 5-3 by over, the under is now on 5-1 run, with the sole over coming in the Rams-Panthers Final Four game. NFLbets supposes that if you like the sim Rams, take the over. If you like the Bears, well, there’s no telling what kind of damage Sim Trubisky will do to these unsuspecting sim Rams defenders. You’re probably still taking the over. So … take the over, we guess.

–written by Os Davis


Sim Chiefs, sim Packers avoid upsets, advance to Madden Madness Elite 8

Friday, 29 May 2020 12:29 EST

After the craziness in the previous day’s “Sweet 16” games in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim tournament, normalcy prevailed in the bottom half of the bracket yesterday.

Highlight from Madden Madness sim tournamentIn the Sweet 16 round, the Kansas City Chiefs survived the Las Vegas Raiders, 38-35, after Chucky’s team went on a 21-0 run in the second to third quarters.

The Green Bay Packers really ran up the ol’ scoreboard on the Cleveland Browns by winning the baseball game, 13-6.

Philadelphia’s Madden players nicely simulated the real-life Eagles by taking the Buffalo Bills into overtime, only to blow their possession in overtime aaaaaaaaaand Bills victory, 23-20.

Finally, the South playoff between real-life rivals the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans also went into overtime, with the Titans D holding the Texans to a field goal in extra time and Tennessee advancing, 34-31.

Pointspread and over/under for the Eliter 8 games are as follows.

West: Los Angeles Rams +3½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 50 points
North: Chicago Bears +3 at Green Bay Packers, over/under 43½ points
South: Carolina Panthers +3 at Tennessee Titans, over/under 43½ points
East: New York Jets +2½ at Buffalo Bills, over/under 42½ points

NFLbets could tell you that underdogs are 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight games or, better yet, that the over is 6-2 in that span. We might also point out that in the Elite 8 round of May29, all home teams were playoff teams in 2019 and none of the visitors are.

But, and we can’t emphasize this strongly enough, *this isn’t real football* and Madden has never been a reliable simulator in terms of reproducing real-life results. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – just be sure to adjust your bets accordingly. (There’s a reason why betting is limited to results based on the scores of the game only.)

In the spirit of fun then – and not betting very many moneys – we’d say to take the over in the Rams-Chiefs, Panthers-Titans and Jets-Bills. Why? The difficulty level for the CPU vs CPU game is set for both teams at All-Madden. We’re not sure why, but putting all players on this level has benefitted quarterbacks and edge rushers the most. Just look at some of the quarterbacks left in this competition: Mitch Trubisky, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold (who may be great someday but patently was not in 2019) … and Cam Newton is no longer hobbled or sightless.

Note, too, the low variance in pointspreads for this round. If you’re covering any underdog plus the points, you may as well take the moneyline, which pays off at much better odds. But again: wager the proverbial responsibly.

–written by Os Davis


Crazy upsets putting the “Madness” in “Madden Madness”

Thursday, 28 May 2020 11:23 EST

What in the name of Vince Lombardi is going on in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim football tournament? With half the “Sweet 16” round complete, we’re guaranteed an “Elite 8” with at least four teams which didn’t actually make the playoffs and are guaranteed only two such teams. The New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are already out, eliminated by Washington, the Carolina Panthers (Madden Cam Newton is awesome) and “Los Angeles” Chargers, respectively.

While some of the topsy-turvy results are down to teams looking better on paper than their 2020 performance would indicate (again, Madden Cam Newton is awesome), but much of the blame can be bestowed on the AI coaches. Particularly egregious was AI John Harbaugh. The scenario: In the Sweet 16 round against the Bears, immediately after the 2-minute warning, down 24-21, 4th down and 3. So naturally, the Ravens call for ... a run by FB Patrick Ricard, who *hasn't had a single carry in three NFL seasons*. We can't imagine why Baltimore lost this game to Mitch Trubisky & Co....

And so went the Sweet 16 round:

• East: New York Jets (5) 30, Washington (8) 24
• South: Carolina Panthers (8) 20 at Atlanta Falcons (4) 13
• North: Chicago Bears (4) 31 at Baltimore Ravens (1) 24
• West: Los Angeles Rams (4) 39, “Los Angeles” Chargers (8) 16

The second round of Sweet 16 games runs today, May 28. Pointspreads and over/unders are as follows.

• West: Las Vegas Raiders (6) +7½ at Kansas City Chiefs (2), over/under 52 points
• North: Cleveland Browns (6) +4½ at Green Bay Packers (2), over/under 46 points
• South: Tennessee Titans (3) +1½ at Houston Texans (2), over/under 47 points
• East: Philadelphia Eagles (3) -3 at Buffalo Bills (2), over/under 44 points

Three of the first four Sweet 16 games in the tournament went for 54 points or more and 50+ point games are commonplace – perhaps due to the mostly neutral field conditions in the game. Plus, with the built-in favoritism to the offense in today’s NFL rulebook, if inferior AI coaches face off, the better offense wins. So we’re saying take the over on any or all of these games.

As for winners ATS, the only opportunity we really like is to take the sim Texans -1½ vs the Titans. Houston’s roster looks great in terms of metrics, and the comedown from Mike Vrabel to AI Mike Vrabel is significant. Also: Newton vs Watson in the Elite 8!

Beyond that, we believe that given how this tournament’s gone thus far, the Chiefs and Packers can’t possibly both survive this round. All of a sudden, the 2019 Cleveland Browns feel just perfect for this tourney as a tremendously underachieving team that has screwed NFL bettors one way or another for two real-life seasons straight – and Freddie Kitchens to AI Freddie Kitchens is a step up.

Bet Online is setting everything up for a Browns vs Pantehrs Madden Sim Bowl, we can feel it…

–written by Os Davis


On the future of football post-pandemic

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 17:20 EST

Strange times are these – particularly if you’re into sports on any level. Overnight an enterprise in which we’d typically invested a sizable fraction of our time and/or bankroll evaporated, leaving some to betting Madden sim games online and the seriously desperate to wager on marble racing. A revelation regarding sports may have occurred to some as well, i.e. maybe sports just aren’t that essential.

(Now don’t get NFLbets wrong here: Just because something is not essential does not mean that it’s useless; after all, the human spirit and aesthetic sense must also be nourished. The human species  would be a far sadder lot without folk song and literature and visual art, all as literally nonessential as NFL football.)

In researching for the Truly The GOATs sports history podcast, a few concepts became readily apparent to me:

•  Humans have played sports, or sports-like games, for thousands of years;

Seen any good Aztec ball games lately...?•  Complicated organized sports are created by cultures which can support them, i.e. citizens have enough leisure time and society can allow for time and/or specialization of players;

•   For much of the world, the golden age of sports is unquestionably the 20th century;

•   Not all cultures have organized sport; and

•   Teams, leagues and even entire sports die.

From a dispassionate historical perspective, then, the future of NFL football is short and bleak. Indeed, we may right now be seeing the final few seasons of the league – or we will someday. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic may simply be hastening the demise of a league and an entire sport which might otherwise have been dragged out for 20 years more.

Impossible, you say? Football is an indelible part of American culture? Too big to fail, you believe? Well, acceptance of cruel fate comes late, well later than the ennui-to-panic NFL fans, bettors and officials are feeling in month three of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warning signs already prevalent, obvious, ominous

More and more paleontologists are coming around to the idea that, before the planet-killing meteor struck planet Earth to wipe ’em out, most dinosaur species were already in precipitous decline: The extinction-level event merely completed with stark finality the process that had already begun. By analogy, we think of the NFL as the dinosaur, the Earth as the sport of football and the extinction-level event as … um, er, COVID-19 has clouded that particular bit of the metaphor.

Back to the present. Consider what NFL football looked like to the non-fan going into year 2020: Youth participation is down in schools in every state due to parental concerns about football’s long-term health effects. NCAA football is turning the corner on fairly distributing money to its players but far too slowly.

In the big league, meanwhile, it’s seemingly one scandal after another involving on-field cheating and doping, off-field crime and violence. Simultaneously, the American public has becoming evermore aware of the league’s (mostly) billionaire owners regularly fleecing the home city’s citizens to pay taxes to construct a shiny new privately-owned stadium – stadiums which host games which typically price out the average citizen.

The most recent example of this last phenomenon comes from good ol’ Los Angeles – you know, the city which had zero NFL teams for a generation and is reportedly now home to two…? The main selling point of Walmart baron/Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a $1 billion-plus pleasure palace/home venue for the Rams and Chargers was that he’d be paying out of his own sizable coffers. The project is currently nearing $4 billion over budget, has been delayed once again “thanks” to COVID-19, with the difference certainly to be made up by the city government, with taxes to repay the unexpected expense.

And don’t get NFLbets started on the whole anthem-kneeling thing.

You can also throw away Super Bowl viewership numbers, too. Firstly, evidence suggests that these numbers peaked in 2015; second, 7 of the 9 top-rated Super Bowls – and the entire top-5 – in terms of audience included Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Neither of these awe-inspiring charismatic dudes is likely to play in another.

Precedent for the NFL’s extinction

PSFLIn 1905, meetings were held between colleges with America’s leading football programs (essentially the Ivy League schools plus a handful of others) in consideration of the question of whether football should be made illegal. You read that right: These deans, proto-ADs and such were debating whether playing the game should become a crime. Truth be told, had Teddy Roosevelt’s own son not been injured and thus inspired the POTUS himself to call for rules reforms, the 19 killed on football fields in ’05 could well have been enough to kill football before the forward pass came to full fruition.

NFLbets has suggested that, as macabre as it sounds, one on-field death in an NFL game, with tis millions of viewers weekly, would essentially guarantee the loss of up to half the audience overnight. This isn’t the 1970s, when Formula 1 drivers were killed at a rate of more than 1 per season: Today’s public is well more likely to turn off, as fatalities are no longer a norm in football or any regularly televised sport.

Unlike all other major sports, which enjoy viewership and participation across large swathes of Earth, significant interest in gridiron football is limited to exactly two countries: America and Canada. This limited talent base plus the still-great interest in college football are the primary reasons why minor/rogue leagues have proven unsustainable, with the sole exception of the AFL. The AAFC, WFL, USFL, UFL, XFL, AAF and XFL 2.0 have all been crushed under the NFL steamroller.

The AFL was a beneficiary of right-place, right-time: When the rogue league was formed in 1960, the NFL included just 13 franchises, and just three – the Rams; the San Francisco 49ers, assimilated from the AAFC; and the just-born Dallas Cowboys – played home games west of St. Louis. At that time, the U.S. population was about 180 million, meaning the ratio of Americans to a single NFL team was 13.9 million to 1; the ratio in 2020 is down to 10.33 million to 1. The AFL was fortunate to have come along when the potential talent could be absorbed into a competitive pro-level team and when many big and/or burgeoning markets (e.g. Boston, Houston, Denver) were without a home team.

Well more concerning than even the ugly AAF trainwreck and the new XFL’s death by pandemic, however, is the impending doom facing the Canadian Football League. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie went before a Canadian House of Commons committee on May 7 to request bailout money for the league’s continued existence.

Acknowledging that “Our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season, and our most likely scenario is no season at all”, Ambrosie went on to admit the league was looking at $30 million in debt already and would need $120 million more to keep the league going in 2021 and beyond. Judging by Canadian media reportage, their federal government is none too keen on propping up a league which is weakest in the country’s three biggest markets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Now one may argue that the problems the CFL must deal with post-pandemic are unique to that league. Interest is low in Toronto and Montreal because of the “big league” sports already in town, and the CFL draws most of its revenue from gate receipts rather than TV. Ironically, improvements in television technology surely also factor into declining attendance, particularly in the colder months of October and November.

But the financial woes are not the point. The CFL has roots going back to the origins of the game itself: The CFL’s top prize, the Grey Cup, has been awarded to Canada’s champion football team since 1909, and the Toronto Argonauts have a history spanning back to 1873, a time when rugby and gridiron football were barely distinguishable and Canada itself was just four years old. Yet none of this matters, as this national institution could be wiped out forever by July, its league officials, franchise owners, coaches and players as helpless as were those of the near-stillborn AAF.

Borrowed time must be repaid

Borrowed time, the NFL is living onThe NFL has been living – thriving, really – on borrowed time since CTE’s effects and their relationship with football playing were exposed to the American public. In totem with the anthem-kneeling controversy, the socially conscious NFL fan must indulge in some serious doublethink to enjoy the sport at all in the 2010s. How popular would NFL football have been by 2020 if not for the all-time outlier Tom Brady and the concomitant über-success of his New England Patriots, a.k.a. the Dynasty You Love to Hate?

And then there’s that tv audience, which will almost inevitably shrink from 2019 norms and never truly return. Call it the Fitness Club Principle: You know how, if you go to the gym every day, the act becomes habit? Then you miss one day in the regular schedule and voila: The subsequent day, justification to skip again is a lot easier, and even easier the day after that and the day after that, etc. Soon you find you’re still paying gym membership, but you haven’t actually attended in a couple of months. Once one loses the rhythm of habit, it’s much harder to pick things back up.

NFLbets bets The Fitness Club Principle is coming to most professional sports in America, and the NFL could well suffer the greatest. At this point in the pro sports blackout, only the most rabid fans are truly still hurting and – pure speculation here – it’s just not an absolute certainty that football played in an empty stadium and stripped of much of its ritualistic pageantry won’t draw the expected viewership.

Our advice

Maybe the graveyard spiral of the CFL is getting to us, but such stark reality in the face is impossible to ignore. We’re playing the 20s pragmatically vis-à-vis football and thus we’re only counting on the NFL continuing for about five more years. For 2020, we’ll be attempting to learn how to adjust our traditional NFL betting ways for a new reality of fan-less stadia and diluted homefield advantage – and let’s just hope Super Bowl LV isn’t our last chance to dig on NFL football…

–written by Os Davis

 

 

 


On the road to the Sim Bowl: Betting the Madden Madness sim NFL tournament

Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:59 EST

Can you believe we’re already just one week away from the Super Bowl? Well – the BetOnline Madden Sim Super Bowl, that is. The final games in the simmed regular season, played using 2019 rosters, have ended and the tournament phase begins.

Bet Online’s Madden sim game distinguished itself from many an online sportsbook’s offerings in its unique format – which the actual NFL might consider using in a shortened-season scenario, except for the whole games-every-day thing, we suppose…

The teams in each of the league’s eight divisions squared off in round-robin format over six games in World Cup tournament-style. After round-robin play, tournament play begins. In round one, all 32 teams compete in single-elimination games. The seeding here is determined by grouping teams from each division with its conference counterpart and ranking by record in pool play. So for example, the round one game in the West features the no. 8 “Los Angeles” Chargers at the no. 1 San Francisco 49ers.

The Sweet 16 round runs May 27-28 and will elimination all but two teams in each region for the Elite 8 round of May 29. The Final Four round (slated for May 30) will be made up by the winners of the North, East, South and West brackets, while the Madden Sim Bowl happens on May 31 – probably just in time for another season of sim football betting because why not?

Click on the image below to see the Madness Madness tournament schedule. All games may be watched live on Twitch at twitch.tv/betonlinemadden.

BetOnline sim football betting

Since the Final Four round will be reseeded, NFL bettors can’t exactly cover a futures bet on a winner and in fact Bet Online isn’t offering this particular prop bet. However, what is incredibly interesting is the real-life Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are both seeded in the West.

But hey, let’s throw some predictions out there anyway. We’ll go with the no. 1 Ravens from the North, the no. 2 Chiefs from the West, the no. 2 Texans from the South and no, NFLbets won’t be going against even the sim Patriots, no. 1 seed in the East. So it’s probably Ravens vs Chiefs in the ’Bowl. Though we’ll just be, as they say, taking these games one at a time.

As for how to bet on Madden Football sims – if you’re not already in the know – It’s as simple as betting on sports as you normally would, though offerings are limited to a few basics such as pointspread, money line and over/under bets for the game, quarter and first half; no player props and other proposition bets are available, though for the Big Game, who knows…?


“Strength of Schedule” statistic bolsters NFLbets’ superearly Super Bowl pick

Friday, 22 May 2020 10:57 EST

Right up front, we’re saying that NFLbets believes the 2020 NFL season will start on time and will be played in full. The logic is simple: Every player in the league knows that his career lifespan is short and that they need the money, and franchise owners have demonstrated repeatedly that they just don’t give much of AF for player safety nor player rights since, what, 1920?

Until we actually see play, we’ll also assume that the football we see in 2020 will resemble a reasonable facsimile of ’19 in terms of contact – not to mention willingness to make contact. IF players are wrapped in bubble wrap (or even forced to cover themselves head to toe), NFL bettors might as well sidle up to a craps table for all the skill that football betting would instantly become.

Tell you what: If NFL football in 2020 looks sufficiently random, NFLbets will start looking to cover the teams that have never won a Lombardi – or more precisely, the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, but by no means the Detroit Lions or Houston Texans –  in Super Bowl LV betting. Just to balance out the numbers, you understand.

For now, though, we’re working within our chosen reality. We’ll see what happens in week 1 when it happens.

Strength of schedule drawing interest “thanks” to COVID-19

 Soon after the NFL released its 2020 schedule, mainstream sports media, bloggers and podcasters got to work crunching the numbers for the league and/or their team, happy to be given some stats to play with. The results were quite interesting and made NFLbets very happy indeed.

Based on 2019 results and ranked most to least difficult, Strength of Schedule (SoS) for ’20 looks as follows. Bold indicates a 2019 playoff team.

1. New England Patriots, .537
2. New York Jets, .533
3. Miami Dolphins, .529
4. San Francisco 49ers, .527
T5. Buffalo Bills, .525
T5. Detroit Lions, .525
T5. Atlanta Falcons, .525
T8. Arizona Cardinals, .518
T8. Houston Texans, .518

Chart for winning NFL betsT10. Minnesota Vikings, .516
T10. Los Angeles Rams, .516
12. Denver Broncos, .512
T13. Chicago Bears, .509
T13. Seattle Seahawks, .509
15. Green Bay Packers, .504
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, .502
T16. Indianapolis Colts, .502

T18. Kansas City Chiefs, .500
T18. Carolina Panthers, .500
20. Tennessee Titans, .498
21. Las Vegas Raiders, .496
22. Jacksonville Jaguars, .494
23. Los Angeles Chargers, .492
24. New Orleans Saints, .490

25. Philadelphia Eagles, .486
26. New York Giants, .482
27. Cincinnati Bengals, .477
28. Washington Redskins, .465
29. Cleveland Browns, .461
30. Dallas Cowboys, .459
31. Pittsburgh Steelers, .457
32. Baltimore Ravens, .438

The primary weakness of the SoS stat is of course its total reliance on past results with no adjustment made for offseason transactions, coaching hires and draft picks. No matter: Some solid predictioning may be nevertheless undertaken – if we’re openminded enough to accept a little change.

From the Those Who Forget History Department comes a little analysis of how the preseason strength of schedule played out in 2019.

•  Of the 14 teams with an opponents' winning percentage of .496 or lower going into the 2019 NFL season, six made the playoffs. Make note of those teams, however: the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks backed into the playoffs as wild cards; the Philadelphia Eagles were the “best” of the NFC Least at 9-7; the ’19 Baltimore Ravens’ 14-2 mark would have made them an outlier in any 16-game season, while the New Orleans Saints were no. 3 in the NFL in overachieving per the Pythagorean Expectation (PE) wins; and the New England Patriots, whose defense was on record-setting pace in the first half of the season (remember that?) after ignominiously going one-and-done in the playoffs.

•  Of the 15 teams with an opponents' winning percentage of .504 or higher, six advanced to the postseason. However, of those with a top-8 SoS, just two, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, proved postseason teams – and the Texans tied for the no. 1 spot with fellow playoff flameouts the Green Bay Packers in overachieving PE. Kansas City meanwhile certainly benefitted from the downturn their division mates, the Denver Broncos and “Los Angeles” Chargers, suffered in ’19.

The conclusion NFLbets draws from 2019 (a rather typical season in terms of preseason SoS and PE wins, incidentally): The preseason SoS statistic does matter, but mostly at the extremes. Tweaks of expectation may be made when either a given team or its divisional opponents have undergone a drastic makeover during the offseason, but such towering leaps and plummets of, likesay, three or more games are the exception.

How to adjust Super Bowl LV betting based on Strength of Schedule

Consider, for example, the 2020 New England Patriots. On one hand, Patriots-pushers will tell you that Bill Belichick is the real driver of the Patriot machine; Pats detractors naysay by touting Touchdown Tom’s achievements on the field. Pragmatically speaking, New England is facing the proverbial uphill battle in ’20 with the league’s toughest schedule – and this includes four games against the likely-still-weak New York Jets (7-9 in ’20), Miami Dolphins (5-11), “Los Angeles” Chargers (5-11) and Detroit Lions (3-12-1).

But check out where their traditionally hapless division mates land on the SoS table: The Bills, Dolphins and Jets also draw the AFC West and NFC North teams and are in the top-5 toughest SoS list. This far out, NFLbets would put the Patriots at 9 or even 10 wins – and again winning the AFC East.

And NFLbets will also be taking off a few expected wins from some marginal teams, i.e. the Texans, Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons, by dint of SoS (and, in Houston’s case, by dint of their generally fucking asinine offseason player transactions). We’ll tack a few on for the Las Vegas (yes!) Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and maaaaaaayyyyyybe the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Best of all, though, are tentatively NFLbets’ favorite team for 2020, the Baltimore Ravens. That .438 SoS based on a schedule which includes games against the teams of the NFC East, AFC South and Cincinnati only bolsters NFLbets’ post-Super Bowl LIV bet on the Ravens to win Super Bowl LV at 13/2 look even tastier. Those odds are now down to 5/1 at MyBookie and could get lower before scheduled kickoff.

One final brazen prediction along that line: NFLbets might even go so far as to say the odds could lengthen from even the opening 13/2. Why? Say Cleveland and Pittsburgh improve just enough to give Baltimore a game at home. Say they lose in a couple upsets, likesay at Dallas and vs Tennessee. Suddenly, the Ravens are backing into the no. 3 seed at 11-5 or 12-4 by tiebreaker with the surprising bandwagon Browns. In this scenario, o boy, will there be money to be made.

God bless Lamar Jackson and that awesome chip on his shoulder.

–written by Os Davis

 

 

 

 

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.