Latest NFL insider articles

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

Thursday, 02 December 2021 18:09 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

Betting MNF Seahawks -1 at Washington: Can anybody score points here…?

Monday, 29 November 2021 16:47 EST

NFLbets just keeps staring at the line for this week’s Monday Night Football:

Seattle Seahawks -1 at Washington Football Team, over/under 47 points

At the beginning of the season, this point spread may not have seemed out of place, either: Back then, most of us (present company included) had been bamboozled by the Washington FT after a 2020 in which the D looked loaded for the immediate future. Seattle meanwhile surfed the hype of the preseason belief that the NFC West could have four playoff-worthy teams plus their eight playoff runs over the past nine years.

As things broke down, the Team was likely buoyed to their mighty 7-9 mark in ’20 due to an easy schedule, while the incredible dissolving defense and Russell Wilson’s first major injury have doomed the Seahawks in game after game.

Since 2010 and the beginning of the Pete Carroll Era in Seattle, the Seahawks are an impressive 11-3 SU/9-5 ATS on MNF. However, they’re also on a disturbing 4-3 SU/ATS run going back to ’17.

There’s also this: At 3-9 SU, the Seahawks are on pace for a 5-12 record. That would be their worst mark since 2008, also known as the last year Mike Holmgren each coached in the NFL. The defense has been particularly awful by most statistical measures, and they’re currently dead-last in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed and interceptions generated.

As for Russell Wilson, well, the dude’s middle finger on his throwing hand got screwed – no, literally: Dude had several screws in his hand and most probably came back too early. In the two games since his return, the Seahawks have been outscored by a combined 40-13 score, with the offense scoring exactly one rushing touchdown in the two games.

After dumping four straight, Washington is now on a 2-0 SU/ATS run, with these games representing the first two ATS wins as an underdog for the Football Team in 2021. In a line with a 1-point spread, though, we might as well consider the WFT’s 4-6 SU record instead, while noting that they’re 1-4 SU against teams who currently sport a winning record and are 2-3 SU at home. (Geez, that week 10 win against the Buccaneers looks more and more anomalous…)

As a bettor, should one have confidence in either of these sides? Probably not.

So how about the under? 47 seems quite low and, combined with the point spread, is figuring on a 24-23 game – but that’s probably well too high. Both defenses are well below average to terrible, but somewhat paradoxically neither tends to give up points in bunches: In seven straight games, the Seahawks have held offenses to 26 points or fewer (and incredibly are ranked 7th in points allowed); the FT has surrendered 24 or fewer in four straight.

But then the outlier trend appeared, and it is screaming to be faded:

The under in Seahawks games is 8-1-1 this season; further, seven times the combined point total in Seahawks games was 47 or less and all were after week 3.

For any of his faults, QB Taylor Heinicke has thrown just 9 interceptions in his 9 starts this season. He’s been sacked a whopping 22 times as well – luckily for him, Seattle has no push. And on the other side, who knows? Maybe Wilson can find the feeling in that finger and the flip it to the bookmakers for only handicapping his team a single point. Slightly unfathomable, but NFLbets has to believe that bookmakers are usually pretty good at their jobs and these team-related trends even out. Take the under on an O/U of 47 points.

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021 11:59 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Sunday, 21 November 2021 12:45 EST

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

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

Green Bay Packers -1½ at Minnesota Vikings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:29 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

Week 9 NFL betting: Broncos at Cowboys, Browns at Bengals, Packers at Chiefs

Saturday, 06 November 2021 22:13 EST

In week 9 of the 2021 NFL season, more stayaways than bettables populate the pointspread card. However, NFLbets has three games that we’re thinking should prove quite lucrative – or at least certain trends would imply. We’ll start with

Denver Broncos +10 at Dallas Cowboys

Okay, so the 2021 Denver Broncos have hardly been an attractive bet thus far: They’re 4-4 SU/ATS, with a 4-0 SU/ATS marks against the Jets, Giants, Jaguars and Washington FT; they’re 0-4 against the Raiders, Ravens, Steelers and Browns. But if you think that’s an outlier of a half-season, the big anomaly on the Cowboys’ side, as Dallas is a ridiculous 7-0 ATS while actually legitimately getting themselves into the Super Bowl conversation at 6-1 SU.

Now in no way are we suggesting that the Broncos will win this game but, simply put, the odds of that 7-0 continuing for another week are only getting longer. With Dak Prescott returning from injury and a W that will be pretty difficult to blow, why wouldn’t the Cowboys play conservative and feed Ezekiel Elliott? NFLbets says the numbers balance; take the Denver Broncos +10 at Dallas.

Cleveland Browns +2½ at Cincinnati Bengals

Two weeks ago, the Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens and took over the no. 1 seed in the AFC. Last week, Cincinnati lost a shocker to the otherwise pretty hapless New York Jets. Meanwhile, Cleveland has cut ties with Odell Beckham, is piling up the injuries and is playing with a one-armed quarterback. (Baker Mayfield still has access to his throwing arm, but still…) Incidentally, the Browns are also on a 1-3 SU/ATS “run” and barely managed 10 points last week against the so-so Pittsburgh Steelers.

So what gives with this line? The bigger WTF/stayaway line is Los Angeles Chargers -1½ (or 2 or 1 or whatever) at Philadelphia Eagles, so NFLbets isn’t too concerned about random juju in this one. So we’re going to get back on the Bengals bandwagon here and say take the Bengals -2½ vs Cleveland – right now, the Bengals are just the more talented, less injured team.

Green Bay Packers +7½ at Kansas City Chiefs

Can we all just please finally temper expectations for the 2021 Kanasas City Chiefs? The truth is that most of those futures involving Andy Reid’s guys are as good as null and void. For X number of reasons (NFLbets likes to begin with the crazy-bad defense and incomprehensibly discombobulated offensive line), these Chiefs are about a 9-8 team – and they’ve been overvalued by the bookmakers forever, with bettors constantly swallowing the bait.

Bettors paying the least bit of attention have probably recently heard that the Chiefs have gone 10-17 ATS in all games while running up a 20-7 SU record. Only twice in the 27 games were they underdogs: One was in game 16 of the 2019 regular season, with the second-string starting against the Chargers. The conclusion: The sportsbooks have been overvaluing the Chiefs since they won the Super Bowl.

Further, the only occasion on which the Chiefs have managed to win ATS against a team with a winning record was in last year’s AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. The conclusion: The sportsbooks have been seriously overvaluing the Chiefs since they won the Super Bowl.

Now certainly aware of this, the bookmarkers had opened this line at Chiefs -1 or -1½ but in the meantime, Aaron Rodgers was revealed to be a prima donna dipshit have contracted Covid-19. Starting QB will be filled this week then by Jordan Love, last season’s first-round draft pick who was subsequently treated like shit by Rodgers has only accrued seven pass attempts thus far, all in the blowout opening-week loss to New Orleans this season.

The question, then, all things considered is: Do you believe the Packers are a better than .500 team with Love at quarterback? We do. Take the Green Bay Packers +7½ at Kansas City.

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Thursday, 04 November 2021 18:49 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Monday, 01 November 2021 14:32 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

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

Thursday, 28 October 2021 18:25 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–written by Os Davis

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

Week 7 NFL Betting: Everything feels like a sucker bet

Saturday, 23 October 2021 20:05 EST

NFLbets probably shouldn’t complain about what appears to be a proliferation of sucker bets amidst the point spreads and over/unders in week 7 NFL betting. After all, one of the NFLbets Primary Rules of Betting™ is the old cliché reserviced: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And sure enough, every time NFLbets thinks easy wagers are everywhere in a given week, that’s exactly when we’re whiffing on picks and blowing three previous weeks’ worth of wins.

So with some not-necessarily-judicious application of reverse logic (“Always do the opposite” is not among NFL Bets Primary Rules of Betting, but, hey, we’re on a cold streak), we’ve found at least three bets to make – not guaranteeing victory here, mind you…

Best bet: Philadelphia Eagles +3 at Las Vegas Raiders

Definitely the WTF line of week 7 here. Last weekend, the Raiders played liberated ball, airing grievances as freely as Derek Carr aired the ball out (18-of-27 for 341 yards and two TDs against zero interceptions) at once-feared Mile High. All the Raiders did was take care of business against the Broncos, well outscoring their last two games of the Gruden Era combined.

Racist coach or no, Las Vegas has nevertheless brought one of the league’s top offenses this season, including top ranking in turnovers surrendered and a no. 3 ranking in passing yards. This is particularly bad news for Philadelphia against whom teams have generally been moving the ball at will: The Eagles are dead last in rushing attempts allowed, 29th in pass attempts allowed and 31st in time of possession.

On top of this is the trade sending Zach Ertz to Arziona. Sure, Ertz is merely a TE who’d gotten just over 5 targets a game this season and Dallas Goedert is ready to take over the TE1 spot for the Eagles – but the Philly front office may have metaphorically chosen the wrong week to stop sniffing glue, as Goedert will miss the Raiders game “thanks” to Covid protocols. Some may be confident enough that the reasonably good Jalen Hurts playing behind a pretty terrible OL can overcome this one more minus, but NFLbets is not among them. Take the Las Vegas Raiders -3 vs Philadelphia.

Risky bet of the week: Detroit Lions -16 at Los Angeles Rams

NFLbets has had this one marked down for the betting since the release of the 2021 NFL schedule and after watching this point spread rise from Rams -14 to -16 (and likely -16½ or -17 by game time), we’ve got to admit regret on not betting this one months ago.

Because here’s the thing: Jared Goff is a bad quarterback. Whether or not it’s fair to declare the former no. 1 has always been terrible, but Goff’s devolution from the Kyle Boller Line – i.e. just competent enough to get a good team into the Super Bowl – at very least is apparent. And no one still working in the NFL knows this better than Sean McVay.

NFLbets has little reason to believe that McVay is a vindictive, vengeful sort but as evidenced by a fair amount of success, appears to be quite the clever head coach. And McVay has been admirably diplomatic in the months post-Goff trade regarding his, likesay, disappointing former starting QB. McVay stretched that diplomacy to breaking point in mid-April when, geeked by the early look at new Rams QB Matt Stafford, he told the Rich Eisen Show that with Stafford…

“You’re able to execute your play-actions, your movements, and those things, but when you get into third down and those known passing [situations] … the two-minute drills at the end of the half, end of the game… The way that [Stafford]’s able to move and manipulate the pocket … to recognize and understand coverage and make all five eligibles come alive, the way that he can create off-schedule in the pocket, out of the pocket, and just the overall competitiveness and command…”

So here’s McVay, bringing probably the NFL’s best defense against a taped-together OL protecting a quarterback *who can’t read defenses properly.* Whether or not McVay smells blood, here’s to thinking that Donald & Co. will feed. The best thing for the Lions to do in this game will be the yank Goff after the first two turnovers – but it may already be too late. Talk about the Lions’ resilience and heartbreaking losses all you want, but this one could get very ugly very quickly. Take the Los Angeles Rams -16 vs Detroit.  

Longshot: Cincinnati Bengals +6½ at Baltimore Ravens

Before this one starts, NFLbets will say “This is why they’re called ‘upsets’”…

After absolutely manhandling the Chargers last week, the Ravens for the first time looked like the AFC’s cream of the crop in 2021. Fair enough, but Baltimore still runs one seriously one-dimensional offense; mind you, this is possibly the most impressive one-dimensional offense ever with the miraculous Lamar Jackson at the helm.

The Ravens currently stand at 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS), with the sole loss coming in the increasingly fluky-looking opening week loss to Vegas. They’ve held opponents to 17 points or fewer in three of the previous four games and are playing their third consecutive in Baltimore. About the only reason to go against the Ravens in this one is to, well, bet on the upwardly mobile Bengals.

After coming out slightly low-watt (if clutch) in weeks 1-3, the Bengals offense has awoken to go for  395.0 yards per game over the second three, up from 292.3 over the first three. And thus far, the Bengals boast a top-10 rushing defense – of course, they’ve yet to face up against a force like Jackson, either. Also of note: The under has hit in 5 of 6 Cincinnati games due to the stingier-than-expected Bengals D.

But if one factors in the sole meeting Joe Burrow’s offense against Baltimore – a 27-3 drubbing in 2020 – there’s little reason to expect the unexpected – except, have you seen JaMarr Chase lately? Plus, like NFL said (wrote?): That’s why they call them “upsets.” Take the Cincinnati Bengals +6½ at Baltimore, and maybe even take the Bengals money line (ML) at +230 as well…

–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.