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.

Here’s your four-team 6-point teaser for betting NFL week 2

Saturday, 18 September 2021 18:20 EST

NFLbets has already decided that this week’s line of Arizona Cardinals -3½ vs the Minnesota Vikings is about as good an offering as bettors are likely to see this NFL season and so we’re wagering accordingly. Additionally, a good number of games seem designed for playing in a 6-point teaser bet. Below are listed three goodies for week 2 in NFL betting – take ’em on point spread bets are lump ’em together in a tease with Cardinals +2½ and we figure you’re set for one profitable weekend of betting…

Seattle Seahawks retro logoSeattle Seahawks -6½ vs Tennessee Titans

For this game, NFLbets’ll dispense a few stats; the theme will become rapidly apparent. Since Pete Carroll took over as Seahawks head coach in 2010,

•  Seattle is a ridiculous 19-2 SU/16-5 ATS at home in weeks 1-4;

•  in the first home game of the season, Seattle is 11-0 SU/8-3 ATS;

•  as favorites at home in weeks 1-4, they’re 14-1 SU/10-5 ATS; and

•  as favorites of 5½ points or more in these games, they’re 10-0 SU/6-4 ATS.

Last week, the Titans defense continued in the downward trajectory fallen into since Mike Vrabel became HC and got 38 points run up on them by the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks are meanwhile still running with Russell Wilson and a top-5 receiving corps.

NFLbets can frankly not imagine a realistic scenario in which the Titans win this game – among the unrealistic scenarios might be Derrick Henry of 2019 time-traveling forward a couple of years to sub in for Derrick Henry 2021 version. However, if you’re not necessarily confident of Wilson & Co. covering a touchdown, take the Seattle Seahawks -½ in a 6-point teaser bet!

Los Angeles Rams bettingLos Angeles Rams -3½ at Indianapolis Colts

The Rams are dealing with the minus of a noon CT start time, but all other advantages point in the Rams direction. Sure, Carson Wentz looked pretty good after coming off an injury to go 25-of-38 for 251 yards with 2 TD passes against zero interceptions … against a middling pass defense. Los Angeles was the no. 1 overall defense and the no. 1 passing defense in the league last season with no indication that anything is different there.

And while the Rams offense may not be the league’s best, Sean McVay will certainly be enjoying his newfound freedom to open the playbook for his new QB Matt Stafford for a good couple of months at least. Stafford didn’t need to do too much against the Bears, throwing just 26 times and hitting on TDs three times to three different receivers. We’d guess that Stafford’ll attempt more passes yet should achieve similar results.

NFLbets loves the Rams minus the points here – but if you believe the Colts can pull off the home upset, take the Los Angeles Rams +2½ in a 6-point teaser bet or even take the Indianapolis Colts +9½ in the tease…

Kansas City Chiefs logo bettingKansas City Chiefs -3½ at Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens turned what will probably go down as a net negative in the 2021 offseason; in game 1, the biggest name acquisition still standing, WR Sammy Watkins did well enough with 96 receiving yards on four catches – though out of eight targets. Marcus Peters is of course on IR, with the results obvious in the Baltimore opener, i.e. Derek Carr throwing 56 times for 435 yards engineering three scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

This is the defense expected to stop Pat Mahomes, Travis Kelce (Las Vegas TE Darren Waller, a badass to be sure but no Kelce, caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a TD against Baltimore last week) et al – even before we get to the historical aspect.

Which is this: Lamar Jackson has played these Kansas City Chiefs three times since entering the league in 2018; the Ravens are 0-3 SU/1-2 ATS in those games. As head coach of Baltimore, John Harbaurgh is just 1-5 SU/3-3 ATS against Andy Reid-coached teams, with the sole win coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008.

Finally, the beat the mainstream sports media’s dead horse a bit more, consider that Reid’s Chiefs have gone an impressive 20-13 SU/19-14 ATS in regular-season primetime games whereas, as you may have heard, the Ravens are on a 2-3 SU/ATS run in primetime since 2020.

NFLbets believes the Chiefs will cover easily here but again, if you take the Kansas City Chiefs in a 6-point teaser bet, you get them at +2½, what amounts to an alternative point spread…

–written by Os Davis

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

Do not go gentle into that Thursday Night: Betting NY Giants +3 at Washington FT

Thursday, 16 September 2021 14:57 EST

So NFL Thursday Night Football has another ho-hum matchup that few outside the home markets care much about and on which the betting prospects aren’t necessarily all that amazing. You’d think that in the day of the 17-game schedule, The Shield would simply declare a full-on ratings grab and start flexing games like

Washington Football Team -3 at New York Giants, over/under 40½ points

right out of the primetime slot. Granted, few marquee games are on the card for week 2, Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens is set for Sunday night, and many (including NFLbets) figured that Washington might be an interesting sleeper contender.

The reason why flexing doesn’t happen for TNF is of course because Thursday night already messes with expected outcomes. In these games from week 1 2016 through week 1 ’21, for example:

betting New York Giants football•  underdogs have gone 23-50 SU for a winning percentage of just .315 on Thursday Night Football, significantly worse than the expected 40% to 43% chance in an average NFL game;

•  underdogs perform slightly below average expectations ATS as well, at 34-39-2 ATS;

•  home teams are 47-27 SU (a .635 winning percentage) on Thursday nights and 41-31-2 ATS, whereas historically, the homers have a 57% to 60% to win SU in a typical NFL game; and

• the under is 39-35 in the 74 TNF games, but the pendulum is swinging back to the over, which since 2018 is on a 28-21 run.

As a home team favorite, then, the pick would appear to be Washington giving the points; unfortunately, some rather weird trends make the decision not so clear – even before discussing Washington now no. 1 QB Taylor Heinicke, 0-1 SU/ATS as a starter with 92 passing attempts in the NFL, including 57 in three seasons ago with the Carolina Panthers.  

In the Danny Dimes Era, i.e. 2019 through week 1 of ’21, the Giants are a pitiable 10-23 SU, though an expected 16-17 ATS. The under in Giants games in the span is 20-13.

Against Washington, though, the results are not quite dictionary-definition outlier, but definitely extreme: 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS with overs going 3-1. NFLbets wouldn’t suggest that the G-men become a different team against Washington these past three seasons, but rather that a sub-.500 team such as Washington these past three seasons can expect to lose to inferior teams like the Giants.

NFLbets’ll tell you one guy who’d like to flex to a Sunday: Ron Rivera. NFLbets considers coaching records in short-week situations very seriously. Teams coached by Ron Rivera in his 12 seasons are 4-5 SU and it’s all downhill from there. Rivera’s teams are 3-6 ATS on Thursday nights, including an 0-4 ATS/1-3 SU record when playing as a 3- or 3½-point favorite.

Finally, what can be made of the week 1 games the two NFC East teams played? New York’s offensive line performed a bit better than expected (or was the Broncos pass rush worse…?) in allowing only two sacks. And Danny Jones Danny Jonesed again, losing a fumble to lower his per game average to 1.11 – no, really – on the way to a 14-point loss as 3-point underdogs.

Washington’s vaunted defense looked quite good against the Chargers in Los Angeles, registering two sacks and an interception against the dangerous Justin Herbert before tuckering out in the fourth quarter. (Is it a question of conditioning…?)

In the final analysis, NFLbets is sticking with our original, preseason assessment of both teams until either proves us wrong – and Heinicke is one heck of an X-factor. Though Rivera’s record is quite distressing, we’ll put our money with the greater Thursday Night trends and say Rivera finally wins ATS as a TNF favorite: Take the Washington Football Team -3 versus the Giants.

The better play, though, is certainly to take the under on an O/U of 40½ points. That’s not a lot, but consider that the under in Giants games since 2019 is 20-13, in Washington FT games 20-14 and in games at Washington is 10-6. Not only this, but under-40½ would have hit in 13 of the 33 Giants games and 18 of 34 FT games regardless of opponent.

NFLbets likes those odds…

–written by Os Davis

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

Monday Night Football betting: Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas Raiders

Monday, 13 September 2021 16:58 EST

Now do you see the futility of betting in week 1? Going into Monday Night Football, underdogs in week 1 of the 2021 NFL season are 8-7 SU and 11-4 ATS. Of the *nine* games kicking off with a point spread of 3½ points or less, the so-called underdog was 7-2 ATS/SU.

And so with the huge dollop of humility now required of most NFL bettors, NFLbets considers the evil line for Monday Night Football:

Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas Raiders, over/under 51 points

As NFLbets dogma dictates, week 1 is when bettors and fans learn, what, 75% of everything they’ll know about each team by season’s end. So to bet this edition of MNF, NFLbets went to the historical record and considered the 35 MNF games played since 2001. (Remember way back when the NFL had a Monday night doubleheader in week 1? Yeah, man, ancient history…)

The most superficial of the stats are none too encouraging…

  • In the 35 Monday night games considered, home teams are 18-17 SU; and
  • the over is 18-17.

But a slightly deeper dig reveals seemingly more helpful infomraton.

  • Since 2001, home teams on Monday Night Football week 1 are 14-19-2 ATS;
  • favorites are 20-15 SU but a seriously bad 12-21-2 ATS;
  • favored visiting teams are 9-7 SU and 5-11 ATS; and
  • in games with point spreads of 2½ points or less, home underdogs are 5-1 SU/ATS.

With the unpredictably of week 1 in mind, these trends compel one to take the Raiders +4 and the Ravens on a money line (ML) bet at weak odds of -190 or so. But if you’re getting squeamish about covering the as-yet sight-unseen 2021 Las Vegas Raiders with their steadily eroding defense, you’re hardly alone – and one glaring trend backs you up nicely.

In short, we can say this: John Harbaugh – with possibly competition from Andy Reid – is probably the best NFL head coach in week 1. In his 13 seasons as head coach, Harbaugh has helped get his Ravens to a 10-3 SU/ATS rate in opening games. Gruden has won SU/ATS his last two opening day games, but in all games 1, his teams are just 5-9 SU/5-8-1 ATS.

Now fair enough, the Ravens will enter this game short RBs J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards, all going down to season-ending injuries in the past two weeks – but the 2020 Raiders had a bottom-3 defense in points allowed and turnovers generated as well as a bottom-10 run defense in virtually every statistical category.

Baltimore may hardly be world-beaters in 2021, but these particular Vegas bunch will have to prove that they can stop Lamar Jackson and Gruden that he can again coach on Harbaugh’s level in this game before NFLbets would throw money at the Raiders here. Take the Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas.

–written by Os Davis

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

Five picks ATS for your NFL week 1 Point Spread Pick ‘Em card

Thursday, 09 September 2021 16:49 EST

As NFLbets has ranted before, nothing good usually comes from betting week 1 in any NFL betting season. Then we get signed up for one of these point spread pick ‘em contests in which we’re obligated to pick *five* games weekly with (usually inflated) ’spreads. Twist NFLbets’ arm, why don’tcha?

The following are the picks on NFLbets’ ticket for week 1 of Point Spread Pick ‘Em…

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers -9 vs Dallas Cowboys
NFLbets detailed our thinking on Cowboys +7½ elsewhere on this site. Suffice to say that, since posting ot that piece, the Covid reserve list of “America’s Team” has grown to include more names than at any point during the 2020 season. Nine points is well more than we’d wager in a normal situation in this game, but a double-digit win by the Bucs is certainly believable.

• Atlanta Falcons -3 vs Philadelphia Eagles
NFLbets isn’t sure whether this line is about underestimating the Falcons, overestimating the Eagles or sheer bafflement at how either team will look when hitting mid-season coherence We get the feeling that Eagles backers wil be lamenting their fortunes by early in the third quarter. After all, wouldn’t you take the established quarterback with a potential top TE over, let’s face it, a rebuilding team quarterbacked by a dude with Alabama pedigree and little more…?

• New England Patriots -3 vs Miami Dolphins
Here’s a line with about as much WTFery as that of the Eagles-Falcons game. Fair enough, the typical NFL observer does not want to face the possibility of another postseason run by the Patriots – but this is where the bettor’s emotional distance can prove profitable. And if young Mac Jones, old Bill Belichick and an apparently stellar defense are good for 11 or more wins this season, this is the sort of game that goes in the W column – and probably by more than 3 points…

• Denver Broncos -3 at New York Giants
NFLbets has zero faith in the 2021 New York Giants, one of four likely utter washouts devoted to rebuilding and about the only one who will admit it. Teddy Bridgewater may not be the most exciting switch at quarterback but is certainly skilled enough to lead the Broncos offense to a few scores in this game. And a few scores may be enough against one of the league’s worst offensive lines; the smart bet in this game is on the under…

• Los Angeles Rams -7.5 vs Chicago Bears
7½ points is a bit high – most sportsbooks have the Rams giving 6½ -- but Rams defense vs Bears offense is one of week 1’s bigger mismatches. Beyond this is Sean McVay, armed with Matt Stafford and thus about 62% more p;laybook than with Jared Goff. The Rams might score more points than any team this week and NFLbets has no fear these Bears can keep pace…

–written by Os Davis

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

NFL Week 1 betting: Exclusive Welcome Bonus on NFLbets

Thursday, 09 September 2021 09:15 EST

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Bet on Dallas Cowboys -7½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers! (Based on the history and the Cowboys’ injury report, we’re saying take Tampa Bay minus the points.) Bet on the over/under of 51½ points! (This seems like a lot of points and based on the point spread works out to a final score of about 30-22; betting the under can be fun, but on opening day with Tom Brady and Dak Prescott at the helms, everybody wants fireworks – so go with a risk-free over, what the hell.) Wager on what you like with the BetOnline Special Welcome Bonus!

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Week 1 betting: Dallas Cowboys -7½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tuesday, 07 September 2021 17:37 EST

NFL Opening Day 2021 bettingSo if you’re reading this, you’re probably not heeding NFLbets’ most strident warning about betting week 1, namely You Do Not Bet on Week 1 NFL Games. Too little knowledge plus too much leeway for upsets equals enough unknown variables to make betting week 1 akin to straight-up gambling.

But hey, the truth is that NFLbets can’t take this reasonable advice either. Who can stay away from wagering on real football after months of bending the mind on these preseason proposition bets? And thanks to the schedule-makers and sportsbooks, the 2021 NFL season will open with a real potential money drain, i.e.

Dallas Cowboys -7½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Up until a week ago, Cowboys -6½ was still available at some sportsbooks, but the Cowboys are looking at some potential holes on the offensive line. OG Zach Martin is out for the opener due to Covid protocols as is his backup Brandon Knight. OT Ty Nsekhe has been limited in practice this week.

Additionally, history says that Dallas is looking at quite the challenge in facing a defending Super Bowl champion on Opening Day Thursday. Since the now-tradition began in 2006,

  • favorites are 13-5 SU/10-4-4 ATS;
  • home teams are 15-3 SU and 11-3-4 ATS; and
  • the defending Super Bowl champion is a whopping 13-1 SU/9-2-3 ATS.

Furthermore, only twice has the home team lost both SU and ATS on NFL Opening Day: The New England Patriots against Kansas City in 2017 and the Chicago Bears against Green Bay in ’19.

So even before we get to the specifics of this year’s Opening Day game, things look dark for the Cowboys. Assuming that the Buccaneers are a reasonable facsimile of the team that closed the 2020 season on 8-0 SU (6-2 ATS) and 9-2 (8-3 ATS) runs – an as has been well hyped already, the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first ever Super Bowl champion to return all 22 starters – Dallas is in some trouble.

Not only is Ezekiel Elliott vital to the Cowboys’ offensive plans and not only will the run blocking be at least wounded if not crippled, but the Bucs were the no. 1 defense against the run in 2020, not to mention top-10 in total offense, first downs allowed, turnovers generated, tackles for loss … essentially all numbers measuring the potential suffering of an underprepared offense.

As for the Cowboys defense, the bottom-5 unit of 2020 has been rebooted but is anyone ready to suggest that Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette et al will be stopped by any but the top defenses this season? And does anyone believe Dallas has improved that much?

A 7½-point spread may generally be a lot to cover in any NFL game but at any other point in the season, the offering would be jumped at what with the Cowboys’ likely patchwork OL. If you must bet on the Opening Day game, take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7½ vs Dallas.  

–written by Os Davis

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

Betting team over/under wins, part 9: Baltimore Ravens, 10½ wins

Monday, 30 August 2021 19:00 EST

“Well, that was fun,” said no backer of the Baltimore Ravens as J.K. Dobbins was getting carted off the field in the opening minutes of Saturday’s preseason game against Washington. In fact, in 2021, the Ravens may end up as Exhibit A in a hearing to determine the futility of expecting to win money on team futures in the preseason. Those who waited to bet on

Baltimore Ravens over/under wins totalBaltimore Ravens, over/under 10½ wins (-150/+125)

(or thereabouts) have got to be liking these odds today. Already the odds on under were too long and the win total too high. With Dobbins out of the picture for 2021, covering the over suddenly seems quite the tall task.

But, hey, every NFL team takes hits from injuries, right? And sure, Dobbins was set to fill the no.1 halfback position but this is the 20s and passing offense is everything! Besides, the 2021 Baltimore Ravens, like so often in the past, are supposed to be about defense first…

So go the protestations that might be valid about most any other of the 31 NFL teams – but these Ravens are quite the special case, indeed.

In 2021, the Baltimore defense ranked no. 2 in the NFL in points allowed and no. 7 in yardage allowed; again, quite typical of Ravens teams traditionally: Since Brian Billick stepped in as head coach in 1999, the Ravens ranked in the top-10 in both categories in 16 of the 22 subsequent seasons. Pretty impressive statistically, but note that in the 2012 season prior to winning Super Bowl LXVII, the Baltimore ranked just 12th and 17th, respectively, in the aforementioned statistical categories.

Meanwhile, the Ravens offense is about as unconventional as any we’ve seen in the 21st century. Baltimore is somehow armed with a top-10 quarterback (at very least in terms of name recognition) yet “boasted” the no 32-ranked passing offense in the NFL in 2021 – and this with the *no. 7* offense in scoring. This is of course down to the heavily-imbalanced run-pass option-based offense the Ravens and the singularly uniquely talented Lamar Jackson have been forced to adopt.

Last season, Jackson and Dobbins combined for a 1810 yards and 16 touchdowns on 293 carries – an average of 6.18 yards per carry. With Dobbins going for 6.01 ypc, the Ravens became the first team in the Super Bowl era to have two of the league’s top-3 in the stat. Add in Gus Edwards tacking on 723 yards at a 5.0 ypc clip after taking over the starting HB role for Mark Ingram beginning in game 10, and you’ve got three guys representing over 42% of all Ravens yardage *on the ground.*

Again, the reminder – and this cannot be stressed too stridently – *this is 2021*.

Edwards has signed a two-year extension and will presumably be bumped back up to no. 1 HB on the depth chart, but where will 150 more carries come from? NFLbets is more than slightly skeptical about the hot-take names like LeVeon Bell and Todd Gurley which were bandied about on NFL twitter last weekend.

The sole “skill” players of note added by the Ravens in the offseason were Sammy Watkins, primarily a deep-threat receiver for a QB who threw as many 40+-yard completions as Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Mullens and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman of Minnesota. The OL got rejiggered in losing Orlando Brown, DJ Fluker, Matt Judon and Matt Skura while picking up Alejandro Villanueva, Ja'Wuan James, Michael Schofield and Kevin Zeitler. We’ll see whether the lineside shuffle works (NFLbets didn’t necessarily dig the Orlando Brown trade, but Villanueva and James are probably excellent pickups…)

But the ultra-talented and nearly as unorthodox Lamar Jackson is the alpha and omega to betting this Ravens team and the energies spent on speculation should be directed here. Forget about his so-called choking in playoff games (especially since we’re more interested in over/under wins here, anyway): The NFL bettor should be far more concerned about those 482 carries in 2½ regular seasons’ worth of games. That’s about 193 carries on average per 15 games, a pace that would have placed him 12th among all runners last season.

As it stands, Jackson’s workload was down slightly in ’20 to “just” 159. However, with Dobbins gone and no legitimate no. 2 back on the roster, the conclusion must be either that Jackson gets his totes back up to that 200-carry danger zone or that the Ravens simply fall short on offense.

In fact, as NFLbets sees things, the major improvement the Ravens are looking at for 2021 is the schedule which this far out appears to have five games against genuine Super Bowl contenders scheduled with most in the season’s second half (week 2 vs Kansas City Chiefs, week 12 vs Cleveland Browns, week 14 at Cleveland, week 15 vs Green Bay Packers, week 17 vs Los Angeles Rams) – or maybe six, depending on how you feel about the “Los Angeles” Chargers.

Thinking like this, though, is what puts the “sucker” into “sucker bet.” The NFL bettors who figured pre-Dobbins injury that the Ravens would get to at least 11 wins must honestly have believed that the roster had enough to at least reproduce last season’s results. Today, their thinking should change. Take under 10½ wins for the Baltimore Ravens.

Just say knee: Tampa Bay Buccaneers now 3/1 to win NFC

Saturday, 17 July 2021 13:31 EST

MCL Tear: To bet or not to bet on Tom BradySo Bet Online has released some updated odds on popular preseason NFC proposition bets, e.g. “To Win Super Bowl LVI,” “To Win Conference Championship,” etc. NFLbets had originally presumed that the tweaked odds on the “To Win NFC Championship” prop would reflect the recently-dropped information that Tom Brady had played the entirety of the 2020 season on a torn MCL, but nope.

We must conclude, then, that either the sportsbooks are simply ignoring the wider implications of the sustained injury and the possibility of penalties due the Buccaneers or they’re seeking to cash in on the general credulity and susceptibility to hype of the NFL bettor. NFLbets assumes that bookmakers are no dummies and thus are strategically approaching this offering to reflect people’s frivolity.

Just look at this table and tell us you can’t visualize the lucrative opportunities here.

To Win NFC Championship 2021-22

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3/1
• Los Angeles Rams, 7/1
• San Francisco 49ers, 7/1
• Green Bay Packers, 8/1
• Seattle Seahawks, 11/1
• Dallas Cowboys, 14/1
• New Orleans Saints, 14/1
• Arizona Cardinals, 16/1
• Washington Football Team, 20/1
• Minnesota Vikings, 22/1
• Chicago Bears, 25/1
• New York Giants, 28/1
• Atlanta Falcons, 33/1
• Carolina Panthers, 33/1
• Philadelphia Eagles, 33/1
• Detroit Lions, 66/1

Now if NFLbets didn’t know that much of these lines are based in marketing, we’d feel pretty insulted by much of this table: Right off the top, the odds on Seattle, Dallas, New Orleans and Arizona are well too short; is it not conceivable that at least three of these four miss the playoffs altogether? The Saints could start Jameis “30 and 30” Winston; the Cardinals are running with Kyler “Mr. Inconsistency” Murray; the Cowboys return their stud quarterback, but with an increasingly weaker OL to protect him; and if Russell “One-Man Team” Wilson ever goes down to injury in Seattle, the Seahawks are doomed.

Then there are the Buccaneers and their own Mr. Immortal, who own odds dropped to 3/1 to return to the Super Bowl – and NFLbets just doesn’t get it.

Full disclosure: No actual medical staff are employed at NFLbets; perhaps as a result, this writer can’t help but consider the dark side of the spectrum. On one hand, MCL injuries have been come back from numerous times. This Indianapolis Star article of late 2019 recounted eight MCL injuries to quarterbacks (plus Jacoby Brissette’s of that season) between 2013 and ’19, as follows:

Eight right-handed throwing quarterbacks since 2013 have reportedly suffered a left MCL sprain in-season and returned to play: Joe Flacco (2013, didn't miss a game), Ben Roethlisberger (2015, missed four games), Tyrod Taylor (2015, two games), Marcus Mariota (2015, two games), Russell Wilson (2016, no games), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2016, one game), Aaron Rodgers (2018, also suffered a tibial plateau fracture, no games) and Tom Brady (2018, no games).

These quarterbacks, on average, bottomed out with a four-point drop in completion percentage and a 10- to 15-point dip in passer rating. They actually tended to improve in their return (completion percentage jumped from .629 in the six games prior to .679 and passer rating increased from 94.0 to 100.7) then their play would fall off over the next three games before returning to form by Games 5 and 6.

Interesting that Brady makes the 2019 list, having injured his knee in ’18, which is probably what gave him the impetus to go through last season.

Everyone with the remotest awareness of the NFL has certainly heard more than enough about Brady’s impossible greatness, his legendary status, his seemingly infinite will to win – but the bettor would do a helluva lot better than to throw money at hype.

Yes, Brady had another killer season in 2020. Yes, Tampa Bay re-signed any important would-be strays before free agency and so returns all 22 Super Bowl starters for ’21. It seems to NFLbets, however, that Brady might have been better off taking time off rather than worsen an injury.

From a purely speculative angle, NFLbets would have to guess that Brady was given some kind of painkiller (likely, cortisone) prior to every game.  While footage of Brady stumbling about like a septuagenarian after a celebratory boat trip was certainly amusing at the time…

…in light of this retroactive injury news, well, let’s just say that tequila makes a crummy analgesic for ligaments.

Post-injury announcement, many have speculated that punishment will be forthcoming to the Buccaneers; such penalties will likely not directly affect the Buccaneers’ 2021 season or current roster – i.e. no suspensions forthcoming a la Deflate-gate – and by all accounts, Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. But while the 43-year-old may have the strength and stamina of a QB 20 years younger, his knee assuredly bears every minute of its existence to date, avocado smoothies be damned.

Tell you this: If it comes down to a choice of the Buccaneers becoming just the second NFC team to make a repeat trip to the Super Bowl this century with a quarterback with injury extent unknown or the Green Bay Packers with the defending MVP having recovered from his psychological issues, NFLbets’d cover the latter hastily. Then there are the Los Angeles Rams, hungry and bringing back two of the top, what, five defensive players in the NFL plus a stat-piling quarterback enjoying an all-too-rare (for him) winning team.

But Tampa Bay at 3/1? Terrible value. NFLbets would advise instead taking advantage of the hype: Take the Los Angeles Rams at 7/1, the Green Bay Packers (with Aaron Rodgers) at 7/1, the overlooked Washington Red Hogs at 20/1 – or even all three proportionately – in the “To Win NFC Championship” prop.

–written by Os Davis

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

Redwolves, Redtails, Hogs: Odds, betting on new name for Washington FT

Thursday, 15 July 2021 15:00 EST

Washington Football Team odds, bettingRepresentatives of the Washington Football Team, formerly pretty much the last major North American sports club to proudly outfit its players with a racial slur, announced last week that the process to re-rename the team from its interim label had begun.

The complicated process began with the generation of possibly hundreds of names; thousands of ticket-holders were then each sent a randomly-generated list of 10 of the proposed and asked to vote for three favorites.

According to CBS Sports,  the following represents some of the new proposed Washington team names that voters saw.

• Aces
• Ambassadors
• Anchor
• Archers
• Armada
• Aviators
• Beacons
• Belters
• Brigade
• Commanders
• Defenders
• Demon Cats
• First City Football Club (FCFC)
• Griffins
• Guardians
• Icons
• Majors
• Monarchs
• Pilots
• Presidents
• Razorbacks
• Redtails
• Redwolves
• Red Hogs
• Renegades
• Riders
• Rising
• Royals
• Rubies
• Swifts
• Warriors
• Washington Capital City Football Club (CCFC)
• Washington DC Football Club (DCFC)
• Washington Football Team
• Washington 32 FC (W32)
• Wayfarers

Washington Red Wolves odds, betting• Wild Hogs

This list is by no means all-inclusive, as several possibilities oft-repeated since 2020 among the twitterarti including the Lincolns and the Americans, were not included. Currently, the team is reportedly looking for nominees to comprise a group of a couple dozen individuals to choose from among the names.

Release of the new name and attendant trappings has been announced for “early 2022”, easily translating into “sometime during Super Bowl week.”

Naturally, any event in the NFL is material ripe for the betting. Only a few sportsbooks have offerings in a “New Name for the Washington NFL Team” proposition bet, but this number will certainly grow by the time ’22 rolls around.

We’ve listed some of our analysis on these names and their odds below, but let’s eliminate a possibilities quickly. For redundancy purposes, i.e. another North American professional sports franchise bears the name, remove Razorbacks, Royals, Warriors and Kings (the penultimate already ruled out via the team’s Twitter account, the last not on the CBS list but still getting bets at bookies). Also, for those still believing in “Generals” as a viable choice, please.

Washington Redtails odds, bettingAlso purely for the sticking-to-the-wall purposes are several proposals which appear better suited for other cities: the Aces, Anchors, Aviators, Beacons, Pilots and Rubies. Demon Cats and Griffins are way too cool, Icons and Riders way too boring, anything with “FC” too European. Finally, the NFL has heretofore avoided hipper-than-thou uncountables, so let’s hope that nonsense choices like Armada, Brigade and the absolutely awful Rising are nowhere near the final ballot.

So what names are NFLbets considering for the Washington Football Team, c. 2022? How about…

• Washington Red Wolves, +150. An impassioned plea from SB Nation’s resident Washington FT page for “Red Wolves” notes the name’s snowballing buzz and the possibility for good PR by helping the titular endangered species. NFLbets suspects that not only will the odds on this choice steadily decrease as the list shortens, but that Dan Snyder may eventually run with ’Wolves in response to pressure from those pushing the Redtails name.

• Washington Redtails, +200 to +250. Here’s the obvious choice, the equivalent of the 18-point favorite on Monday Night Football. “Redtails” makes a lot of sense: It’s original and the word fits into the fight song, any monogrammed items and the color scheme. And as folks have recently pointed out, “Redtails” was the nickname for the Tuskogee Airmen, a squadron of African-American bomber pilots in World War II. This choice makes so much sense that NFLbets can’t believe Snyder and his team of marketers won’t fuck it up.

Washington Hogs odds, betting• Washington Red Hogs, 5/1. NFLbets has argued what appears to be an open-and-shut case for “Pigskins”, “Hogs” or, perhaps best of all, “Red Hogs.” With such a name the team would pay homage to the Hogs of the 80s, when Washington made three Super Bowls and won two between 1983 and ‘’88 – an era more and more looking like this franchise’s golden age. We’ll see how seriously the hardcore lifetime fans’ opinions get taken, but a variation on Hogs will certainly land among the finalists.

• Washington Presidents, 7/1. Five years ago, NFLbets would have been all over this bet. Now, however, it is becoming pointedly obvious that by 2024, every president since Ronald Reagan will be collectively historically accepted as mediocre at best. And not long after that, every 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 in 2016 alone, so maybe…

• 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.”

In the final analysis, then, we’d advise that bettors take “Red Wolves” as the new Washington Football Team name at +150 – though you may want to wait for those odds to increase as idealistic betting on “Redtails” shrinks…

–written by Os Davis

Betting on 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, sports’ feelgood award

Saturday, 10 July 2021 15:38 EST

Ah, the Comeback Player of the Year award: Organized sports’ feelgood award acknowledging the valiant effort of the human spirit over the limitations of the body. Or something like that.

More to the point, even better than acknowledging the achievement is winning bets in what can only be classified as a feelgood prop, namely “To Win the 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.”

Diving right into the odds, then, the table at a representative online sportsbook looks like so:

To Win 2021 NFL Comeback Player Of The Year

NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds• Dak Prescott +170
• Saquon Barkley +600
• Christian McCaffrey +650
• Joe Burrow +650
• Nick Bosa 7/1
• Carson Wentz 9/1
• Julio Jones 12/1
• Jameis Winston 16/1
• Derwin James 16/1
• Tim Tebow 10,000/1

(Okay, so that last one is made up, but if anyone wants action on Tebow, feel free to contact NFLbets and we’ll take it…)

Past history suggests that – get this – a quarterback has easily the best chance of winning this, like all other, NFL player awards.  Since the honor was officially restored by the Associated Press in 1988, apparently (and completely justifiably) resurrected so as to give Doug Flutie the trophy, QBs have taken a whopping 14 of 23 comeback awards, including the last three (Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck, in reverse chronological order).

Defensive players have won 4½ times (LB Teddy Bruschi was co-winner with WR Steve Smith in 2005), but only once since 2008. And, reflecting the continued increasing emphasis on passing and the importance of the TE throughout the league, Rob Gronkowski became the first TE to win in 2014, while Jordy Nelson and Keenan Allen were the first receivers to win the award outright, in ’16 and ’17, respectively.

By NFLbets’ reckoning, the line of +170 on Dak Prescott will only decrease after Hard Knocks shows his amazing work ethic and the tremendous rehabilitation he’s undergone to overcome his ankle injury, his willingness to tolerate jovial Jerry Jones’s old white guy jokes, etc. NFLbets isn’t crazy about those very short odds on a quarterback whose team’s only consistency year to year, since, like, Jimmy Johnson quit is in their inconsistency.

Julio Jones at 12/1 has decent value, but NFLbets believes that the Atlanta Falcons’ willingness to let Jones go despite reupping his long-term QB Matt Ryan means something – likesay, the 32-year-old WR’s numbers have been declining over the past two seasons. On the plus side in a Jones comeback bid is the departure of Corey Davis to the New York Jets; Davis was good for 984 yards and five TDs as Ryan Tannehill’s second option in a top-5 passing offense.

A Comeback Player trophy win for Saquon Barkley (+600) or Christian McCaffrey (+650) would make the first for a running back since Garrison Hearst (wow) in 2001. The salient argument to back either in this prop is the same: Each is essentially the centerpiece of his team’s offensive stats: In 2018, Barkley  1441 yards and 8 TDs in 13 games, representing over 25% of the Giants’ total offense and a sliver under 20% of their total touchdowns.

McCaffrey likewise played a full season in 2019, accumulating 2392 total yards and 19 TDs for 40.1% and just over half, respectively, of the Carolina Panthers’ totals. All things being equal and assuming both Berkley and McCaffrey are back up to ’19 spec, McCaffrey is the better bet in this prop, if only because his on-field success translates very nicely into fantasy football stats – and we’d guess the AP voters play fantasy football…

The aforementioned 2007 NFL Comeback Player of the Year winner was a safety, Eric Barry of the Kansas City Chiefs, a plus for the chances of Derwin James (16/1). James’s great value in this prop is certainly down to his standing with a team that most NFL fans are fairly apathetic about and that the more well-known Nick Bosa is also listed on the odds table. Picking Bosa is a bit too chalky for NFLbets’ liking, however, and we’re not as convinced of the invincibility of Bosa’s San Francisco 49ers, either. The “Los Angeles” Chargers could certainly wind up the bandwagon team of 2021, and that bodes well for James’s chances in a prop like this.

–written by Os Davis

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