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Feel the Bern 2.0: Tremendous odds on a Sanders win in Election 2020 – if the Democrats don’t f*##*&$# it up

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 13:09 EST

Bernie Sanders and/or Larry DavidYesterday, Larry David Bernie Sanders formally declared his intention to run for the Democratic Party’s primary for the U.S. presidential election of 2020. Within eight hours, his campaign had drawn over $1 million in small donations but, more importantly for our purposes, rose to 10/1 odds in the proposition bet “US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds to Win.”  

For the dispassionate NFL bettor, i.e. he/she who can look at this election objectively with all political belief and personal repulsion put aside, Sanders would seem to make a great investment at the aforementioned 10/1, particularly since two of the four candidates with shorter odds have yet to declare intentions to run.

Already polling at 19% among likely Iowa caucus voters and as high as 30% among all Democratic primary voters, Bernie’s odds will likely not get lower until he is all but mathematically eliminated from the race. A bet on Sanders at 10/1 would seem to be a terrific long-term investment, especially when parleyed with something like the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs in a “To Win Division” prop.

But then there are the Democrats – a perpetual fusterluck of a party which still (still!) has mostly existed since the days of Martin Van Buren as an exemplar of a Will Rogers witticism of a century ago: “I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

We’ll get back to The Democratic Party’s awesome (not) success in presidential elections shortly, but we’ll first consider the odds for some top non-Bernie candidates listed for betting in the “US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds to Win” prop.

Democratic Party: The 2020 field, odds
Kamala Harris (5/1) is a self-described "top cop" who was pretty spectacular as a state attorney in keeping Clinton Administration Era corporate prisons well stocked with peoples of color. And when faced with criticism on said record openly, she simply waves away these folks with memories as “Russian bots.” Will Kamala Harris get the votes Barack Obama did? Not all of ’em, that’s for sure.

Elizabeth Warren (22/1), a.k.a. the Rachel Donezal of the Senate, is adored by mainstream media outlets left of Fox and will get lots of free press coverage. This could be a minus for Warren, however, whose ugly use of race falsification plus her clearly staged crap about drinking beer will only hurt. Can you imagine President Elizabeth Warren? Me neither.

Tulsi Gabbert (25/1) brings one of the Seante’s most liberal voting records and represents a state on the front line of climate change, but for some reason won’t be covered with a 10-foot pole by CNN or anyone – she’s the Bizarro Warren!

•  Amy Klobuchar (15/1) is proud to claim to be a moderate, pooh-poohing the radical ideas of free college tuition and the Green New Deal., but we’re thinking the progressive elements of the party are going to drive the Democrats this election, and a moderate won’t make it for them.

•  The super-progressive Cory Booker (35/1) has long been touted by some in the party as their next presidential candidate, but despite announcing his candidacy on February 1, nearly three weeks later, has taken one legal or bureaucratic step forward to actually, likesay, officially getting in the race. We’re thinking this is because the man’s a serious Bernie acolyte who was waiting to see if Sanders entered. Booker is already feeling like more of a VP candidate.

•  See the odds on Julian Castro (66/1)? There’s a reason for that: His experience as an elected official measures exactly four years as mayor of San Antonio. This guy also seems like a vice-presidential candidate in 2020, but prez? Hard to buy.

•  The most ridiculous odds on the whole board have got to be on Beto O'Rourke (8/1), though. O’Rourke campaign gladly took the second-most money in campaign contributions from Big Oil of any Senate candidate and still lost to Ted Cruz. If political analysis website Fivethirtyeight described Bernie as “a famous, successful loser,” then Beto may be called the “unknown, unsuccessful loser,” thus making him actually an ideal candidate for the Democrats, come to think of it…

•  Joe Biden (8/1) looks like a classic Democratic Party failure in the mold of Al Gore. Veep to a popular president, lots of relevant experience … heck, they were both even also-rans in primaries a couple of times. So why wouldn’t the Dems put up another milquetoast old with guy playing a “centrist” for “nationwide” appeal? Because if Biden even tries to run in the primaries, he’ll get MeToo'ed so fast, you'll think his name is Weinstein.

So … the Democrats can’t f*#^^#& up this one, can they? To paraphrase their last above-average presidential campaign, “Yes, They Can.”

Consider: In 1960, John F. Kennedy needed up to 100,000 dead people to vote for him in Chicago to beat the miscreant Dick Nixon. In ’64, Lyndon Johnson won against a extremist so far right he alienated 70% of Americans with a single word. In ’76, Jimmy Carter snuck into the White House by beating the party of Watergate by 2.1% of the vote.

In 1992 and ’96, Bill Clinton won elections without a majority of the popular vote either time, making him the only president ever to do so. In 2000, Al Gore couldn’t even win his home state, leaving Democrats to feebly blame Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for their woes. Fair enough, the Democrats finally got a legitimate presidential election win in ’08 with Barack Obama – and all it took was a near-collapse of the entire global economy.

And then, in 2016, the coup de grace. Having already committed to throw the party’s nomination to their biggest loser of ’o8 and screw what the voters thought. With the incredibly unlikeable Hillary Clinton steering the ship, the USS Democrat wrecked itself on an orange-haired iceberg.

NFLbets’ Best (early) Bets for Election 2020
NFLbets isn’t going to back down from advising bettors of the “2020 U.S. Presidential Election – Odds to Win” prop to take Bernie Sanders at 10/1 but, given the Democrats’ ridiculous performance over the past 60 years, hedging is a smart idea. Remember “hold your nose and vote for Clinton”? Well, hold your nose and take Donald Trump at 2/1.

Odds on fictional prop “To Appear As Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”

Friday, 15 February 2019 16:32 EST

Let’s face it: Hard Knocks is just not good tv. Even when at its best, namely the coverage of last season’s Cleveland Browns, HBO’s longest-running series (!) is little better than a train wreck watchable only if one completely gives in to one’s worst rubbernecking tendencies.

As NFLbets pointed out when reviewing an early episode of the Browns’ C-level Shakespearean shenanigans, Hard Knocks is yet another series which proves that “reality TV” is an oxymoron. What little football we are actually shown reveals next to nothing about the overall shape of the team going into the following season, but rather provides a shallow deep dive into the chosen personalities of that year’s series, quite a few who turn out to be scrubs anyway.

For NFL bettors, the most crucial bit of knowledge to be gleaned from Hard Knocks is the production’s initial decision, i.e. which team features on the show. Whereas franchises had some element of choice in the decision to allow HBO crews serious access to certain aspects of training camp when the show returned in 2007, this right was taken away for the 2012 season. Since then, the league orders a team to do Hard Knocks based on three criteria:

• A losing record the previous season;

• no turn as featured team on Hard Knocks in the previous 10 seasons; and

• a head coach in his second year or beyond with the club.

Thanks to the introduction of this criteria, betting against the Hard Knocks team has been easy and is only getting easier. The following are the featured teams in the series along with each team’s record for the given season.

2007 Kansas City Chiefs: 4-12.
2008 Dallas Cowboys: 9-7.
2009 Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6, bounced in the wild card game by the New York Jets.
2010 New York Jets: 11-5, lost in conference championship.
2012 Miami Dolphins: 7-9.
2013 Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5, beaten soundly at home in wild card game.
2014 Atlanta Falcons: 6-10.
2015 Houston Texans: 9-7, crushed 30-0 at home in wild card game.
2016 Los Angeles Rams: 4-12.
2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11.
2018 Cleveland Browns: 7-8-1.

So there you have it: A composite record of 83-92-1 since the relaunch and 49-62-1 in the past seven seasons, representing average regular-season records of 7-8-1 and 7-9, respectively. Notable, too, is that the only Hard Knocks team ever to win a playoff game were the fluky-ass 2010 New York Jets, and they did so twice.

The advice to the NFL bettor is clear, then: Betting against the Hard Knocks team – certain to be overhyped and over-backed at sportsbooks in over/under win total props, as with each of the last three featured squads – should at least break even, and if they sneak into the playoffs, pile up the Moneys against them.

Sadly, no sportsbook offers the prop “To Appear As the Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”, so NFLbets just made some odds up. Collect ’em, trade ’em, bet ’em with your friends!

New York Giants +120. Eli Manning, who clearly needs more tv exposure, leads the storylines here as he presumably heads into the sunset and/or faces a challenge for the starting job from a high draft pick QB. Throw in Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley, some maniacal pass-catching genius named Odell Beckham Jr. for star power and North America’s biggest sports market and this sounds like a winner to us.

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +180. In any other year, this would be a no-brainer, with Jon Gruden the head inmate of the asylum – an asylum with a 10-year-old playbook, no less – in the Hue Jackson mold. However, two factors weigh against the Raiders: Gruden ain’t getting fired even if his team goes 0-16 , so there’s always 2020, the team’s inaugural season in Las Vegas; and secondly, Mark Davis et al may not even know where the team’s training camp will be by the team HBO production crew needs to start location planning.

San Francisco 49ers: 5/1. So you’ve got Jimmy Garrapolo trying to live up to his nascent superduperstardom and quite possibly of a prima donna wide receiver, gold to Hard Knocks, on the team in Antonio Brown, but … not a lot more other than a desire to fan faltering fandom in Santa Clara a bit. Any chance of, likesay, reclaiming Colin Kaepernick…?

Detroit Lions: 12/1. As much as we would love to see Matt Patricia instilling Belichick-level loathing in his players while receiving absolutely zero Belichick-level respect, the sad truth is that the Lions for some reason don’t even have the lovable-loser appeal of the Browns. Any one of the above-listed teams will be chosen before Detroit, we’re certain. In fact, the only worse choice (by far) would be…

Washington:100/1. Let’s see here … progressives are taking over Washington, Millennials are a growing faction of NFL fandom (not to mention the HBO audience) and, o yeah, *IT’S THE F*#@*^&ING 21ST CENTURY*. So HBO execs are going to greenlight a series they’ll have to subtitle with a racial slur? Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Hot(tish) takes on early Super Bowl LIV odds and long(ish) shots worth a few Moneys

Sunday, 10 February 2019 16:56 EST

Though we have to wait until at least the summer to plunk down any Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) on Super Bowl LIV, smart NFL bettors will invest in a few teams whose odds will only get longer. We say don’t blow the bankroll, but a few of these lines are definitely worthy of consideration.

Here are NFLbets’ kneejerk reactions to the earliest lines on the prop “To Win Super Bowl LIV” as released by the standard-setting Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Kansas City Chiefs, 6/1. Nope, not while Andy Reid is head coach. NFLbets will take the over on Chiefs wins up to 13 without question, we might even back them in the AFC Championship Game, but Super Bowl champions? Nah.

Los Angeles Rams, 8/1. With the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers both certain to be better, quite possibly playoff contenders, the Rams' road to the next Super Bowl will be well rockier than was the last. This does not feel like a repeat performance year; then again, if they manage to bring Le’Veon Bell aboard…

New Orleans Saints, 8/1
New England Patriots, 8/1
. Sure, the Saints and Patriots could win their respective divisions with a video clip of Joe Namath's appearance on the Brady Bunch at quarterback, but We'll take Father Time -0.5 years against either of these teams' quarterback in 2019. Yes, even Brady.

Pittsburgh Steelers, 14/1. That thing about Father Time? We'll double down against Roethlisberger.

Los Angeles Chargers, 14/1
Chicago Bears, 14/1
. Now these are some attractive options, particularly at the odds, though at this far-off point shaky propositions indeed. The Chargers' main hurdle will be the conspiracy against keeping a team with no real home out of the Super Bowl. (Witness that massive Rams fan base at Super Bowl LIII.) The Bears at 14/1 seems like a no-brainer, which is suspicious in and of itself.

Minnesota Vikings, 16/1
Dallas Cowboys, 16/1
. NFLbets’ll see if we’re feeling either of these teams after the draft and free agency signings, but with both bringing half-offenses as currently constructed, it’s hard to imagine right now.

Green Bay Packers, 16/1. This is certainly the most nonsensical line on this board.

Philadelphia Eagles, 20/1
Indianapolis Colts, 20/1
. Also attractive options at the price. How the unproven Cowboys are getting shorter odds than a team just two years removed from a Super Bowl win with essentially the same team and the power to trade Nick Foles. Meanwhile, the Colts turn in one crummy playoff performance and game’s over? Come on. Andrew Luck, his offensive line and Indy looked sharp through two-thirds of 2018; NFLbets is certainly looking for this team to go deep into the playoffs.

Houston Texans, 20/1. NFLbets knows we’ve been beating the drum for the Texans since DeShaun Watson was drafted, but if this time can show the slightest improvement to its OL and even possibly land Bell, we’d be crazy not to throw a few Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) at ’em.

Cleveland Browns, 20/1. The 2019 Cleveland Browns going over on wins? NFLbets’ll make that wager. To win the AFC North? Quite probably. To win the AFC? You miiiiiiiiight convince us. But to take the Lombardi Trophy? Come on now.

Baltimore Ravens, 20/1. The fact that the always overrated Ravens are getting the same odds to win Super Bowl LIV as the Cleveland Freakin’ Browns should tell you something about the viability of this bet.

Seattle Seahawks, 30/1. Quite the value for the money, NFLbets would not be one bit surprised if the 2019 Seattle Seahawks became the first no. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl since the Packers back in XLV.

Atlanta Falcons, 40/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 40/1
New York Giants, 40/1
San Francisco 49ers, 50/1
. Of these, the only defensible longshot bet at this point would be on the 49ers, but that’s taking quite a lot for granted.

NFLbets supposes that if the Denver Broncos found, likesay, a decent quarterback who didn’t already have 75, 000 miles on him, they might be considered a contender. But what are the odds of that happening? 60/1, apparently.

Carolina Panthers, 60/1
Tennessee Titans, 60/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 80/1
New York Jets, 80/1
Washington, 100/1
Detroit Lions, 100/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 100/1
Oakland/San Francisco/London/Reno/Las Vegas Raiders, 100/1
Arizona Cardinals, 100/1
. Wow, talk about your dregs of the league. The thought of any of these 100/1 teams even making the playoffs, especially Jon Gruden’s Raiders, puts the “laughing” into “laughingstock.”

Buffalo Bills, 100/1
Miami Dolphins, 300/1
. And this, folks, is two-thirds of a significant factor in the Patriots’ dominance. Thanks to perpetual beatdogs like these and the New York Jets, Bill Belichick gets to treat a good half of his schedule every regular season as practice sessions. Nice built-in advantage there. Figure on more of the same in 2019-20, and, um, what are the odds on New England again…?

He’s our MVP, too: Julian Edelman saves NFLbets’ bacon in Super Bowl LIII

Tuesday, 05 February 2019 16:59 EST

Thank the gods for Julian Edelman. After a Super Bowl LIII that no one expected and Las Vegas surely cashed in en masse on, NFLbets pored through 21 virtual bets to find we’d come out ahead for ’Bowl, due to the inexplicably generous 20/1 odds given Edelman to win the game’s MVP award. This put us up for the game just as it ended, and a more voluminous sigh of relief was never heard.

In the interests of full disclosure, here’s how our final Sunday’s worth of betting on the 2018 NFL season turned out.

The over/under
NFLbets advised going under 56½ points and ultimately this made for one of our few good winning tickets. If anyone on the planet covered it, a wager on “15-21 total points scored” paid out at 60/1. NFlbets total: +90 Moneys.

The point spread and money line
Well … the Rams lost outright, didn’t they? Like whimpering little Chihuahuas, weren’t they? NFLbets now joins the chorus in irrationally hating the New England Patriots for a week or two. In the meantime, bang goes our money on Rams +2½ and winning outright. Ugh. NFLbets total: -110 Moneys.

Most Valuable Player
You gotta love betting on MVP props – as long as a quarterback doesn’t win. Those playing NFLbets’ six recommendations for Super Bowl MVP earned a payout of 20/1 on Julian Edelman, thus earing a 10/3 payout on the entire six-pack. NFLbets total: +1290 Moneys.

Proposition bets

Total accepted penalties
NFLbets suggested going low in this prop for better odds, covering 0-7 penalties at 5/1 and 8 penalties at 10/1. This looked good for a brief while, with the Patriots taking zero and the Rams taking just two penalties (including a delay-of-game to get a longer field for punter Johnny Hekker) in the first quarter.

Alas, the Rams would induce seven more flags thrown, and the two teams’ total closed at 12 to pay at 14/5, lowest odds in the prop. NFLbets total: +1090 Moneys.

Longest score of the game
In this prop, “Field Goal” was, incredibly enough, the underdog at +110. The single TD of Super Bowl LIII went for 2 yards, so our bet on “Field Goal” here was pretty safe. Hell, NFL bettors could have won taking Yardage of Longest Field Goal -23 over Yardage of Longest Play from Scrimmage. NFLbets total: +1200 Moneys.

Over/under Total kicking points by Patriots (8½) and Rams (9½)
Going into the Super Bowl, we figured these defenses would very effectively keep the opposition out of the end zone, even if the offense snuck into the red zone a few times each. Instead, the Patriots and Rams offenses kept themselves even out of the red zone. Of course, the loss of these bets was easily foreseen with Gostkowski’s clunker in the first quarter; in the end, a successful try then would’ve won over-8½ bets. NFLbets total: +1000 Moneys.

Player to get the first interception
We usually lose this prop and this year’s Super Bowl was no different. We covered Aqib Talib, John Johnson and J.C. Jackson here, but nope – of course it was Corey Littleton, who was a stud in the playoffs. NFLbets total: +700 Moneys.

Inter-sport proposition bets

The low (low!) score of Super Bowl LIII certainly made the game more interesting who had inter-sport props tied in with the previous night’s/earlier Sunday NHL and NBA games. Sadly, no one but Edelman could hold up the side for the Patriots and Rams in this prop:

Memphis Grizzlies total points at New York Knicks -17½ vs Julian Edelman receiving yards
In hindsight, this may have been our worst bet. NFLbets covered the Grizzlies -17½, but the only justification was figuring on the Rams defense to limit Brady’s favorite target – but we also had Edelman covered for MVP. So call this one a hedge. Or that one.

No matter: The game’s MVP improbably went for 141 yards – This represents 55.7% of the Patriots’ receiving yards and 36.6% of their total yardage; in Super Bowl LII, this would translate out to about 279 yards. Tragically, the Grizzlies did not set a franchise record for points scored in a game at 158, instead beating the hapless Knicks by a mere 96-84. NFLbets total: +600 Moneys.

New Jersey Devils goals scored at Montreal Canadiens +½ vs field goals made by Los Angeles Rams
Again did we believe in the kickers, and again did we get burned. For the record, the Devils won 3-2 in OT when those foolish enough to go with NFLbets needed a Montreal shutout. NFLbets total: +500 Moneys.

New Orleans Pelicans 1st quarter points at San Antonio Spurs -½ vs Rams points scored
Anthony Davis, nothing. The Pelicans could’ve thrown Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle out there to play 2-on-5 against Greg Popovich’s guys and the Pels still would’ve outscored the Rams. As it runs out, Davis did not suit up and his team put up 24 in the first regardless. Taking the Pelicans 1st-quarter points paid off, though at just -125. NFLbets total: +575 Moneys.

Philadelphia 76ers 1st half points at Sacramento Kings -4½ vs total points in Super Bowl
Another laughably easy win … aside from marquee players Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, each of whom outscored the whole of Super Bowl LIII, the 76ers played some weak ball on Super Bowl Eve in losing to the Kings. But for our purposes, the 52 in the first half crushed the Patriots/Rams at anywhere down to -31½ points. NFLbets total: +665 Moneys.

Las Vegas Knights shots on goal at Florida Panthers -2½ vs New England Patriots points
See, these inter-sport parlays are too much fun. NFLbets took Patriots points +2½ here, despite going under for the game. The Panthers would have needed some otherworldly defense to win NFLbets this prop, and the record would ultimately show that the Knights covered this about five minutes into the second period, ending up going for 35. NFLbets total: +565 Moneys.

All right, so NFLbets didn’t exactly break Las Vegas with our Super Bowl LIII bets but given the game’s utterly unexpected result, any positive return should be considered huge.

Once again, we thank Julian Edelman for allowing us to cash in. NFLbets therefore wraps this season with – What’s that? The odds on next year’s Super Bowl winner are out? Okay, then, we’ll be back soon! Likesay, within a day or two…

–written by Os Davis

Six good bets for Super Bowl LIII MVP – whether you’re backing the Patriots or Rams

Sunday, 03 February 2019 10:29 EST

Are your bets for Super Bowl LIII MVP all in? Looking for some hedging possibilities? Great – that justifies this relatively late column from NFLbets. We’ve got six good wagers for you to hopefully cash in on what is probably our favorite proposition bet of the year in any sport.

The obvious choices

Tom Brady, +120 to +140
Jared Goff, 2/1 to 3/1

If you’re taking the Patriots, you’ve got to be pragmatic and go with Touchdown Tom, right? And if you’ve got serious money on the Rams, Brady for MVP makes an excellent hedge to erase some of those losses. And just imagine, for hilarity’s sake, this scenario: The Rams win the Super Bowl in a 31-28 game, with scoring evenly distributed, no offensive skill player going over 100 total yards, plus combined sacks and TOs generated by the defense numbering 1. Could the Rams win and yet Brady be named MVP? Would he refuse the award?

Equally a no-brainer (and an even better hedge for the Patriots bettor) is the potentially unimaginative choice of Goff at 2/1 or up. Catching Goff at 3/1 essentially allows the Rams backer to cover three other players in the MVP prop and still get a likely push. Nice.

The really advantageous odds

Aaron Donald, 12/1 to 18/1
This line on Donald – Bovada’s giving 18/1 on him? WTF? – makes absolutely no sense to NFLbets. MGM VP of race and sports Jay Rood was quoted over at on various Super Bowl betting action in Las Vegas, particularly with regard to the Rams-backing Bettor X. Here’s a sample for our purposes:

MGM opened Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald at 70-1 to win Super Bowl MVP. Money flowed in on Donald, driving the price down to 15-1.

“[Donald] winning MVP is not good for us,” Rood said. “One of our biggest losing propositions ever was [Broncos OLB] Von Miller winning MVP [in Super Bowl 50].”

How could the bookmakers be so fuzzy on their history? Are they sweating more the day after Donald bagged the NFL DMVP, just as Miller did three years ago? Proponents of conspiracy theories are likely to go against Donald for MVP on precisely this basis, but NFLbets has already taken advantage of the opportunity – just like we did for 50.

(Bettors should also note that Super Bowl 50 was the sole instance of the under hitting in the past seven years…)

Julian Edelman, 12/1 to 20/1
Edelman’s XLIX numbers (9 catches for 109 yards, 1 TD, long of 23) are emblematic of Brady’s attack in 2010s Super Bowls. Since Randy Moss, the Patriots have never had a real A-list deep threat and thus has Brady gone from dink-and-dunk to stretching the field to his present-day medium-range assault – precisely where the Rams are most vulnerable.

Brady & Co. have in their past three Super Bowl appearances combined a threat out of the backfield (Shane Vereen previously, James White now), a medium-range guy (formerly Wes Welker, now Edelman) and Rob Gronkowski. The result? Of the nine players who have caught 10 or more passes in the Super Bowl – Jerry Rice and Deion Branch did so twice – four are Brady-era Patriots.

With Gronk now longer Gronk – and just last year, the guy dominated the second half with two TDs and most of his 116 yards receiving – Edelman could very well break James White’s record for receptions in this one.

The longshots

Aqib Talib, 65/1 to 90/1
So let’s say Brady in fact does target Edelman early and often. Talib will be a difference maker in helping cover the Rams’ vulnerability over the middle. The Rams have been digging on sending their nasty three- or four-man rush while essentially playing LBs and CBs in a nickel package. Suh running over David Andrews a couple of times could get Brady to launch a duck or two, as in the AFC Championship Game.

NFLbets also admits a serious attraction to betting Talib for MVP just for the glorious possibility of our Islamophobic POTUS having to congratulate a Muslim for his tremendous performance in America’s game…

Trey Flowers, 55/1 to 120/1
Let’s stretch the Talib-wins-MVP scenario a bit further: What if defense dominates both sides of the ball and instead of the 30-27 game most are expecting, we get more of a 16-9 with the sole touchdown the result of advantageous field position after a turnover?

Flowers has already played in two Super Bowls in his fledgling career and was particularly good against Atlanta, his two tackles for loss and five QB hits making him essentially the only outstanding defensive player for New England in LI. If Flowers and the other stalwarts of the Patriot defense make Goff’s life a living hell for 60 minutes, the few holders of tickets with Flowers as MVP are going to see one sweet payout indeed.

Why is a majority taking over 56½ points in Super Bowl LIII betting?

Saturday, 02 February 2019 14:24 EST

NFLbets has stated previously that our Super Bowl betting is based in backward logic, i.e. we’re starting from the premise that the Los Angeles Rams win mainly because all the good odds are on the L.A. side. Thus will it come as no surprise that we’re recommending that NFL bettors take the under on on O/U line of 56½ points.

Despite bringing an offense that’s statistically no. 2 in the NFL and a defense that allowed 24.0 points per regular season game, the Rams began 2018 and played throughout with a reputation for a monster defense. (Remember how Aaron Donald was proclaimed to be one of the best players in a 54-51 game? Like that.) The logic would seem to dictate, then, that a great share of the 75-plus percent of money on the New England Patriots in this game would also be banging the over.

Instead, just 54% of money on Super Bowl over/under bets is reportedly on the over, implying that more than one-third of those betting on Patriots -2½/-3 are also taking the under. NFLbets isn’t sure whether that’s good or bad for our recommendation…

Those betting the Patriots cover the point spread yet the score staying under are probably betting on a couple of premises, mainly that both sides play relatively conservative ball; this is exemplified in the simple stat breathlessly done to death by the hype machines this week, i.e. The Belichick/Brady Patriots Have Only Scored 3 Points Total In Eight Super Bowls. (What, like every reasonably attentive observer of the NFL hadn’t mentally filed that number away two Super Bowls ago? Come on.)

But we believe something is missing in this deduction. After all, those Patriots teams may have gone touchdown-less in those eight games, but the over is 4-4 regardless, 3-2 in Patriots Super Bowl wins, and the Eagles-Patriots score in XXXIX went under by 2 points). Of note, too, is that the over is on a 5-1 run in Super Bowls regardless of teams playing which, to NFLbets’ mind, is another salient argument for the under in LIII via regression to the mean.

Tough betting for Patriots backers then, but for those wagering on the Rams, the choice is easy.

Firstly, by setting the line at 56½, the bookmakers are expecting a result of Patriots 29 or 30, Rams 27. This sounds relatively realistic, as the Rams surrendered some 32.1 points per game against playoff teams during the regular season. Despite keeping the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints’ scoring in the low 20s, the bookmakers clearly figure New England to exploit the Los Angeles D as the Eagles, Vikings or Seahawks (twice) in 2018.

NFLbets just doesn’t foresee either a blowout or both teams getting into the high 20s, particularly given the way most are reckoning this Super Bowl plays out. We suppose Todd Gurley could become Superman again and C.J. Anderson could even simultaneously Hulk out, with the dynamic duo combining for 150 total yards in the opening 10 minutes to get the Rams out to a 17-3. That *could* happen.

Alternatively, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh could torment Tom Brady like the old Cowboys did Jim Kelly, inducing ol’ Touchdown Tom into a couple of fluky early turnovers – likesay, a patented Aaron Donald strip sack and an Aqib Talib interception – to lead to an early 14-0 score and forcing another great second-half comeback from Brady & Co. That’s easily imaginable; it *could* happen.

And Jared Goff, having gotten all growed up in the NFC Championship Game, could get in the zone here. He could coolly, calmly, meticulously perfectly march the Rams wire-to-wire downfield on the first two drives, divvying up key catches among Gurley, Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, and especially ex-Patriot Brandin Cooks. Naturally, Brady could respond bang bang and with seven minutes remaining in the first half, it’s 14-14 and the under is an endangered species. That *could* happen.

All the above scenarios are certainly imaginable, but how likely are they? NFL bets would like to posit two contrasting possibilities for Super Bowl LIII that lead to the under paying out.

Why wouldn’t Belichick and McVay play this Super Bowl the way most are expecting? The truth is that the Belichick/Brady Patriots trend to conservative in the playoffs – but only just. New England scoring is well lower in Super Bowls than in the regular season. In nine seasons ending with a trip to the ’Bowl, the Patriots averaged 28.2 points per game in regular-season games, as opposed to 24.5 and 22.75, respectively in playoff games and Super bowls. Nevertheless, all three numbers hit the under on 56½ points and 2½-3 points for the Rams.

The Patriots are currently running with a three-headed monster of James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead, who altogether average a decent 4.28 yards per carry but have made these ball-control loving Patriots a top-5 team in rushing attempts, yardage, TDs and, perhaps most importantly, time of possession. Another verrrrrrry interesting stat: The Patriots offense in 2018 scored fewer points than any New England squad since 2010, Brady’s “comeback” season and the sole time the team lost in the wild card round.

As for the Rams running game, Gurley and Anderson are simply put the best two players on that offense right now. Whether Gurley/Anderson more resembles Superman/Hulk than Clark Kent/Bruce Banner remains to be seen, but the Patriots D will certainly be fed a steady diet of these two for the first half at least. And that points to more running clocks, therefore more scoring.

Here’s another scenario that hits the under: Say the Patriots rattle Goff and Gurley early while the receivers all but taunt Marcus Peters and Nickell “Would-Be Brady Killer” Robey-Coleman as they fly by again and again. A Patriots blowout is quite conceivable as well, but even something like 46-10 still goes under.

So yeah, we’re liking the under 56½ for Super Bowl LIII. Go clock-killing halfbacks! Go defense!

Some wacky proposition bets to make the Super Bowl … more interesting?

Friday, 01 February 2019 14:41 EST

NFLbets tends to avoid player props and other proposition bets during the regular season, but who can resist the 20-page booklet full of fascinating offers that Las Vegas sportsbooks give out? Or the even more thorough online sportsbooks, who’ve got hundreds more wagering possibilities and may even let the bettor design his/her own props?

No one, that’s who.

The following are some interesting Super Bowl proposition bets (are there any other kind?) that NFLbets is wagering on for Super Bowl LIII.

Total accepted penalties
The shortest odds in this proposition bet are on 10 (at 7/2 odds), 11 (14/5) and 12 (14/5) penalties accepted, but NFLbets is advising to take 0-7 penalties accepted at 5/1 and take 8 penalties accepted at a surprisingly high 10/1.

We’re making some risky bets here and depending on some instilled discipline; on the other hand, Ndamukong Suh should be considered guaranteed to commit at least one roughing the passer, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct foul, and who would be shocked if two or even three key pass interference calls go the Patriots’ way as well.

Nevertheless, we’re thinking that, despite the non-call at the end of the NFC Championship Game, the referees will be more likely to stifle their whistle-blowing tendencies for the good of the viewing public and out of deference to The Greatest Coaches Of Their Respective Generation.

Longest score of the game
In this Super Bowl prop, betting on Touchdown gets odds of -130 while Field Goal (or, interestingly enough, Other) is at +110. NFLbets’ recommendations on this prop tie in nicely with a couple others involving placekickers, of which both teams may boast All-Pro level talent:

Over/under Total kicking points by Patriots (8½) and Rams (9½)
The Rams defense has been crazily inconsistent within games this season, resulting in bizarre extreme total stats: They’re top 4 in total turnovers forced, interceptions and fumble recoveries and are top-10 against the run in terms of attempts and scoring – yet are bottom 10 in total points allowed.

Sadly, the Patriots have been statistically equally weird: Also top 5 in interceptions and total turnovers, the Patriots are 21st in running yardage allowed and 22nd in passing yardage allowed, yet were ranked 7th in total points surrendered.

NFLbets said (written?) it before: These numbers indicate classic bend-don’t-break defenses. And sure, with Bill Belichick and Sean McVay calling the shots, the number of fourth-down attempts could well break the Super Bowl record (which we believe must be the four in last year’s Eagles-Patriots game), but this alone won’t get these teams into the end zone.

Additionally, we note that the Patriots allowed just 10 plays of 40 yards or more during the regular season (plus the one multi-lateral desperation return given up to the Dolphins, the likes of which we’re certain not to see in this game). The Rams weren’t nearly as impressive in 2018, having given up 15 such big plays (“topped” only by the Las Vegas Raiders), but gave up just one 40-yarder in their two playoff games; since the Chiefs game, the longest TD against Los Angeles was a 43-yard TD pass to Geroge Kittle in garbage time in week 17.

NFLbets believes that many drives will be stopped before hitting paydirt; hope you love field goals. Take Field Goal as the longest score at +110; take over-8½ on Patriots kicking points at +125; and take over-9½ on Rams kicking points at +165.

(Incidentally, don’t sweat Greg Zeuerlein’s walking boot. Firstly, it’s on the left foot; secondly, Greg the Leg only nailed the longest playoff FG of all-time with said left foot *already injured*.)

1st quarter total score: Odd or even?
No way is NFLbets playing this prop, so we’ve got no recommendation here. We just love the symmetry of this:

Odd – -120
Even – EVEN

Player to get the game’s first interception
NFLbets loves betting this prop come Super Bowl time, even though our success rate is less than exemplary. And we’ve already lost quite a bit of faith on our first advice, which was to take Aqib Talib at 15/1: As stated above, the number of long balls is probably going to be low. While Talib’s knowledge of Brady’s habits might come in handy in coverage, the Patriots have no serious deep threat and therefore no one for Talib to shadow and burn.

So we’ll also put forth two other nice bets: If you like the Rams, take John Johnson at 5/1; that’s the lowest odds for a Ram in this category, but geez he’s been good lately. In the past six games, Johnson has two interceptions and four PDs. If anyone picks off a Brady pass that goes beyond 3 yards, it’s gotta be Johnson grabbing it.

If you like the Patriots – or just want to hedge – we figure you should take Devin McCourty at 18/1 or J.C. Jackson at 8/1. All other Patriot players listed at odds of 20/1 or shorter are cornerbacks (Duron Harmon at 6/1, Jonathon Jones at 8/1, Steven Gilmore at 10/1, Jason McCourty at 20/1) and we’re guessing that Jared Goff’s first pick will come on a very obvious swing or screen attempt to Todd Gurley rather than a long bomb. “Any Other Patriot” at 8/1 is therefore quite tempting as well, but NFLbets’ moneys are already spread pretty thin…

Here’s the official NFLbets Pick of the Week for Super Bowl LIII

Thursday, 31 January 2019 17:43 EST

NFLbets will say (write?) this from the go: Our Pick of the Week for the Super Bowl and most subsequent recommendations on the game are the result of backward logic. The premise is simple: The betting opportunities on the New England Patriots just aren’t that interesting or lucrative.

Without further ado, here’s NFLbets’ Pick of the Week for Super Bowl LIII: Take the Los Angeles Rams +2½/+3/+3½ vs the Patriots.

We’re also advising NFLbettors to take the Rams money line (ML), currently fetching from +115 to +130 and only going up before kickoff. Here’s why: Since ballooning from Rams -1 to Rams +2 on January 21, the point spread hasn’t moved since Rams +2½ in most Vegas sportsbooks as of Thursday evening before the game, and only now is Rams +3 beginning to show its face at the bigger online sportsbooks. Some 75% to 80% of the money continues to come in on the Patriots, which to NFLbets implies that the bookmakers still consider this more or less a pick ‘em, anyway.

In short, if you’re covering the Rams at +2½ or less for a -110 payout, you may as well cover that ML and put the odds on your side. (See what we meant by the lucrative and interesting bets on the Rams’ side? And by backward logic?)

So what needs to happen for the Rams to pull off the upset in Super Bowl LIII and bring things full circle back to 2002?

The Rams defensive line needs to dominate the Patriots offensive line. Tom Brady has been tormented in Super Bowls before – recall how the line on the 18-0 New England side gave up five sacks (and, essentially, the game) against the Giants in XLII – and we daresay the Patriots haven’t faced a front like that of Donald-Suh-Brockers in years, certainly not in 2018-19.

The Patriots OL has been middling this season, allowing an OK 21 sacks, but it doesn’t seem to matter to Ndamukong Suh, who loves blowing up New England lines: In eight career games against Belichick-and-Brady, Suhs destroyed the middle for nine QB hits. And Aaron Donald is Aaron Donald, the best player in this Super Bowl right now.

C.J. Anderson must continue producing – but more importantly, wearing down the middle. Recall that the Patriots have faced just one A-list running back in 2018-19: Kareem Hunt in week 6, who torched them for 185 total yards and a TD. Anderson’s unimpressive-looking 44 yards in New Orleans did not indicate the punishment he doled out on his 16 carries, mostly in the second and third quarters, that softened that Saints D enough to allow Jared Goff three lead-changing scoring drives late.

And just imagine if the Rams running game looks more like that of the divisional round game. Against the Dallas Cowboys, the combination of Todd Gurley and Anderson went for 38 carries for 238 yards and 3 TDs against a run defense that was statistically and reputedly better than the Saints’. This is the kind of attack that is indefensible, even if the opposition head coach somehow knows what’s coming.

Of course, the question of whether the Rams can win without a big day from Anderson may soon be moot; if Gurley isn’t playing or clearly can’t go, Los Angeles absolutely positively *needs* a *monster* game out of one of the great NFL late-season pickups in quite some time.

Three words for the defense: Bend, don’t break. A Belichick staple! At their best, e.g. in most of the Saints game, the Rams defense can stop anyone inside or just outside the red zone. A dude like Corey Littleton (a safety disguised as a linebacker) has the correct skills to flourish in a short field and has done so lately, and the shortcomings of Marcus Peters are greatly reduced.

Plus, just in the simplest terms, i.e. our kicker and punter are better than yours, Sean McVay would kill to turn this game into a punty-punty field position battle determined by a late long-ass field goal. We believe the longer the Rams keep a Patriots touchdown off the board, the likelier their chances to win.

And NFLbets really likes their chances: The Rams will win Super Bowl LIII.

Just try to resist betting these five Inter-Sports Proposition Bets tied in with Super Bowl LIII

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 13:03 EST

NFLbets isn’t a huge fan of two-sport bets, though we have been known to throw a few moneys on a weird parlay. Heck, one of our favorite cash-ins of 2018 was a parlay with Team France -1½ goals in the World Cup final with the under in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Lions game.

But what better time of year is there to throw a few dollars more at these wacky two-sport point spread bets that bookmakers all over the world and online break out for the Super Bowl. Yours truly just visited the Bellagio sportsbook in Las Vegas and took a flutter at their five main “Inter-Sports Propositions.” Take a list at these goodies, but be warned: Resistance is futile.

New Jersey Devils goals scored at Montreal Canadiens +½ vs field goals made by Los Angeles Rams

You know the already old cliché about Bill Belichick taking away the opposition’s best weapon? Well, the Rams have two of the NFL’s top weapons on special teams: Greg Zeuerlein and Johnny Hekker. How will the Hoodied One deal with these two, other than prevent Hekker from trying anything tricky on a 4th-and-1 or -less fake punt opportunity?

NFLbets figures Belichick to have his defense in extreme bend-don’t-break mode (the prevailing philosophy of these Patriots) and that Zeuerlein should be good for a minimum of four field goals, and five or six is certainly not out of the question.

So how about those Devils? New Jersey “boasts” one of the NHL’s bottom 3 teams alongside the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. Scoring-wise, in a league of haves and have-nots, count the Devils definitely among the latter at just 2.98 goals scored per game. You don’t even have to be a hockey expert to reckon that this one’s easy: Take field goals made by Rams -½.

Memphis Grizzlies total points at New York Knicks -17½ vs Julian Edelman receiving yards

Yes, the Grizzlies are already bad and could be playing their final game with Marc Gasol and/or Mike Conley on the roster on Super Bowl Sunday, thus shaving a good 36 points per game from the association’s lowest-scoring team at a pitiable 100.6 points per game. But by all accounts, the Knicks are in full tank mode and are giving up a fat 115.0 ppg, 25th-“best” in the NBA. Thus, this prop can more or less be reduced to an over/under of 90 on Edelman’s receiving yards.

To that point, the Rams secondary will be able to focus on Brady’s favorite target as the sole remaining A-list target beyond the occasional Gronk in the red zone. And if Talib is the guy assigned to Edelman in coverage, well, we’re liking Talib’s chances for a big game anyway … Take the Grizzlies -17½ vs Edelman.

New Orleans Pelicans 1st quarter points at San Antonio Spurs -½ vs Rams points scored

The bookmakers are likely depending on fallout from the Anthony Davis trade demand* dampening the team’s spirit and/or scoring. But as this is written the day after the Pels beat James Harden and the Rockets in Houston, 121-116, and the day of the NBA announcing a $50,000 fine of Davis for making such a demand*, NFLbets still believes that New Orleans can score and that the Pelicans roster will remain the same for the Spurs game. In the two most recent Pelicans-Spurs games, New Orleans was good for 30 and 27 points in the first quarter; we’d expect the high 20s in this one as well.

So again may this two-sport proposition bet be reduced to a single Super Bowl prop bet, i.e. Los Angeles Rams over/under 28½ (or 29) points. With an over/under of 56½, the book reckons the final score to be around Patriots 29 (or 30), Rams 27. NFLbets likes the under on the Super Bowl anyway, so all we really need is Davis & Co. to hold up their end of the bargain. Take the Pelicans 1st-quarter points -½ vs the Rams.

Philadelphia 76ers 1st half points at Sacramento Kings -4½ vs total points in Super Bowl

This prop suggests that 76ers should be good for 61 points in the first 30 minutes of the Kings game. Note that every NHL or NBA team involved in these props is playing away. The Sixers-Kings game is the sole instance of an Eastern Time Zone-based team playing in the Pacific. However, this marks the last of a four-game road trip through Denver and California for the 76ers, so body-clock questions are probably moot.

Things are running smoothly for the Sixers at present. Since January 13, they’re on a 6-2 run which includes wins over the Spurs, Rockets and Pacers. More relevant for this prop, they’ve averaged a nice 57.25 points in the first half over that span and five times have topped 60. This game could well be a fun shootout that everyone should switch over to at halftime rather than watch Moron 5’s halftime show.

If you’re betting the under for the Super Bowl, you’ll take the 76ers 1st-half points -4½ vs Super Bowl points.

Las Vegas Knights shots on goal at Florida Panthers -2½ vs New England Patriots points

Even the casual sports bettor has got to realize that betting on the 2018-19 Las Vegas Knights is trouble. The defending champs started out 1-4, stumbled their way to 9-12-1 by mid-November and were pigeonholed into the mediocre class of the NHL. Naturally, the Knights went on a 9-2 tear to restart the title-defense talk with a record of 18-14-1; this was chased by a six-game stretch featuring three OT losses and then a 7-game win streak and a 2-4 run.

But here’s one thing that stays consistent about the Knights: They shoot like crazy. Regardless of who’s on the ice, Vegas is averaging a crazy 33.5 shots per game; though their success rate is a weak 8.9% (the NHL average is just over 9.7%), these Knights get off lotsa shots. With the Panthers allowing 30.5 shots per game, this is yet one more bet that feels like a “Patriots over/under 30 points” prop.

This one should prove to be a squeaker with the damn -2½ handicap Vegas is giving Vegas. We’ll say the effects of a road back-to-back is just enough to make the Knights a tad sluggish. Take Patriots points +2½ vs Vegas Knights shots on goal.

Super Bowl LIII MVP prop betting: Seven intriguing bets and Tom Brady

Monday, 28 January 2019 12:38 EST

Of the Super Bowl bets traditionally offered, NFLbets’ favorite has got to be the MVP proposition bets. Covering a Von Miller or a Deion Branch has saved our bacon on Super Bowl Sunday in the past (we’re still not talking about Santonio Holmes or Nick Foles, however), and a solid winning wager on this prop can wipe out a lot of losing.

NFLbets will post our formal Best Bets recommendations for these later in the week, but right now, we’re deciding how to divvy up our cash stash on the following eight players. Since the longshots are getting wildly variable odds, each candidate has two possible payouts listed; the first represents the odds given at a leading online sportsbook, while the second are the numbers given at the Belaggio sportsbook in Las Vegas.

• Tom Brady – 9/10, 2/1. Brady is the clear default pick and should swallow up the majority o betting money in this prop from those NFL bettors looking to hedge on essentially any other player. The prevailing thinking goes that, if the Patriots win, Brady is hands down the choice, as has been the case in four of five New England Super Bowl Ws (including in XXXVI, when either Ty Law or Adam Vinatieri would have been a better choice). It’s a solid starting point, considering the lack of (statistical) firepower on the Pats’ side.

• Julian Edelman – 40/1, 25/1. Edelman seems like the (best bet) literally among Patriots not named Tom Brady. In the sole instance of a Patriots win without a Brady MVP nod, the trophy went to Branch, a WR. Had the Patriots won last year, Brady’s favored target Rob Gronkowski (9 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs) might’ve bagged it. Add in the Rams’ ability to better stop the run than the pass, and you must like Edelman at these odds if you’re betting the Patriots.

• Jared Goff – 2/1, 3/1. In a true year of the quarterback, a Rams upset will likely translate into a Goff MVP award. And though the talking heads will love the narrative of Goff’s early career arc (without mentioning how much success Jeff Fisher’s former Rams QBs are enjoying since his departure from the league for some reason…), we’re thinking that a Goff MVP selection will likely be an uninspired choice – a bit like how Brady took his first with a line of 16-for-27 for 145 yards and 1 TD.

• C.J. Anderson – 16/1, 25/1. Seriously, isn’t Anderson’s narrative potentially even greater than Goff’s? Dude gets cut by two teams, signs with a flailing contender whose play-action game has disappeared despite their franchise HB, and goes for an average of 115.5 yards and 1 TD per game in the clutch. And while Anderson didn’t look unstoppable against the Saints in the NFC Championship, New Orleans entered that game with the NFL’s no. 3 defense against the run; the Patriots rank just 16th. Additionally, New England has faced just one A-list running back this season: Kareem Hunt in week 6, who torched them for 185 total yards and a TD.

• Aaron Donald – 16/1, 10/1. What is NFLbets missing here? Sure, defensive players have only taken the MVP award in eight of the 52 Super Bowls thus far (as opposed to 29 quarterbacks), but it’s happened in two of the past five, and in both instances did the MVP (Malcolm Smith for the Seahawks, Miller for the Broncos) play for an all-star defense. If Donald gets, likesay, a sack or two and/or a forced fumble in a low-scoring game with two Brady turnovers, voters could very well consider rewarding the prospective two-time NFL DMVP another trophy for the mantelpiece.

• Aqib Talib – 66/1, 65/1. Now, NFLbets admits we’re deep into longshot territory here. Hell, to bet on Talib at the Belaggio, you’ll have to take “any another Ram” at 66/1! No cornerback has ever taken the Super Bowl MVP (though, again, Ty Law certainly had a case), but if any Rams player is going to jump a route to snag a pick off Brady, it should be the former Patriot. Yes, Belichick will certainly want Brady to stay away from Talib – particularly given how beatable Marcus Peters has been this season – so we’re counting on Sean McVay’s second-half adjustments here.

• Andrew Whitworth – available upon request, 65/1. We don’t actually prescribe making this bet, as this is merely NFLbets’ fantasy, although since our online sportsbook lists Austin Proehl as the longest shot in this prop at 750/1, a tiny throw at those odds won’t hurt too much. In the meantime, NFLbets continues to hope that, some year in a low-watt Super Bowl, an offensive lineman gets his due and takes home a Rozelle Trophy. Someday, this bet will come in. Maybe even in our lifetime.

• Johnny Hekker – 500/1, 65/1. Admittedly, a bet on Hekker is wacky-unto-insanity, particularly since Belichick is certain to be on red alert in any potential fake-punt situation, but note: If betting in Vegas (and thus Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey or New Mexico), a wager on “Any Other Ram” will cover Hekker, Talib and the entire OL. I like those odds…

• Greg Zeuerlein – 125/1, 100/1. Did you hear the way Joe Buck and Troy Aikman during the NFC Championship Game broadcast, plus just about every talking head on FOX, CBS and ESPN thereafter (when the subject under discussion wasn’t the no-call, that is) has been taking up “Greg the Leg.” If we didn’t know better, we’d be thinking building conspiracy here. On the other hand, if they didn’t give it to Vinatieri in 2002…