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NFLbets editor/writer on vacation – so check out our Twitter feed instead! (OK, we’ll give best bets, too...)

Saturday, 20 October 2018 10:12 EST

Twitter bird bets on footballVegas, baby! Where else would NFLbets editor/writer Os Davis sojourn himself, unchained from the writing desk and let loose outside for the proverbial first time in forever. Thus is Os taking about a helf-week away from contributing to NFLbets, but dude just can’t stay away: We are proud to announce the resurrection of the NFLbets twitter feed.

Os loves Twitter and this weekend he’s bragging about posting his all-too-often non-football betting – check out El Jefe’s wild 4-team 3-way round-robin parlay bet by proxy, for example. In future, we’ll keep the feed active with lines and odds on upcoming games.

A little content on this page might be nice, though, so directly below are NFLbets’ pick of the week and best bets for week 7 in brief.

Pick of the Week

Take the Los Angeles Chargers -6½ vs the Tennessee Titans (in UK). No evidence exists to suggest that the bizarre dual-QB scheme the Volunteers – um, sorry, the Titans – are running will work any better on the other side of the Atlantic. And the returning Corey Liuget could well eliminate what little passing threat remains.

Best bets for week 7

Take the Miami Dolphins +3 vs the Detroit Lions. We’re telling you: The Miami Dolphins are the charmed overachievers of this year’s NFL. No quarterback? No problem! We’ll take Osweiler, Tannehill or whoever else as home underdogs this week – and the road to a wild-card game crushing goes on.

Take the New Orleans Saints +3 at the Baltimore Ravens. The book is probably reckoning on weather as a factor working against the dome-homed Saints, but NFLbets has three answers to this: The current weather forecast reckons the temperature in Baltimore at around 55°F with no precipitation expected; the Saints are a bona fide Super Bowl contender while the Ravens are certainly not; and New Orleans is actually 2-0-0 ATS on the road this season thus far.

Take the Atlanta Falcons -4 vs the New York Giants. Here’s another line that NFLbets just doesn’t understand. This week, stud WR Odell Beckham was dissed by his owner, QB Eli Manning got the emperor-has-no-clothes treatment from the media, and hey Saquon Barkley can only whip off so many 50-yaar runs per game – even against a bottom-3 D like Atlanta’s. How will Noodle Arm and the New York Midgets possibly keep up with a Falcons offense that has scored over 30 points in all four home games thus far? NFLbets says they can’t.

Common wisdom says to bet Washington but we'll stick with Carolina – and 4* other best bets

Sunday, 14 October 2018 09:44 EST

SheThe sportsbooks are really outdoing themselves this week with five home underdogs for NFL bettors to choose from. With a few hours left before the east-based (and UK-based – whoo hoo!) games start, let’s run through NFLbets’ best bets for week 6 which focus on these home underdogs.

Carolina Panthers -1/-1½ at Washington. Every NFL bettor and his/her Uncle Bob are taking Washington plus the point, plus the point-and-a-half or on the money line, it seems. The ML on Washington has flipped from 11/10 to 10/11 at some sportsbooks as Carolina gets 20/23 or 10/11.

The argument runs that Washington is on a 4-1 ATS run as a home team and that Carolina lost SU/ATS its only away game of 2018 thus far; that the Panthers rank 30th in completion percentage allowed, exactly the kind of defense the low-watt, low-risk Alex Smith likes to see.; and that Matt Ioannidis & Co. on a really good defensive line will blow past the Carolina OL and crush Cam Newton.

Except that the Panthers offensive line is actually quite good: By Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, they’re no. 2 in run blocking; the result has been 494 yards combined on 99 carries by Newton and Christian McCaffrey, both of whom have wrecked better defenses than Washington’s. Speaking of this defense, they’ve been going backward. Yards allowed through four games, in order, have gone 213, 281, 340 and 447. And McCaffrey finally might punch one into the endzone in this game, as D.C. has given up six rushing TDs and 98 or more yards rushing in each of the last three games.

Plus, first thought, best thought. Take the Panthers -1 or -1½ at Washington. If you can still find a 10/11 line on a Panthers SU win, bet that and forget giving up a point.

Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Dallas Cowboys. So a game played in mild weather in which the top-notch defense will easily quash an offense with next to zero weapons and complete predictability – doesn’t that sound exactly like the sort of game, i.e. handed to him a platter, in which Blake Bortles grievously underperforms? We’ll stay away from the point spread here, but definitely take the under on an O/U of 40 points; this one could be a baseball game.

Baltimore Ravens -2½ at Tennessee Titans. NFLbets is not ashamed to admit that we can’t get a bead on either of these two teams – except that neither scores a lot of points: The Tians are scoring under 17½ per game, while the Ravens have been good for just over 21 not including the silly week 1 blowout against the Buffalo Bills. We hat to be a stick in the mud, but we have to say take the under on an O/U of 42 points.

Bet the under in snowy weather NFL gamesBroncos +6½ vs Rams. Checking out the CFL games on Friday and Saturday reminded NFLbets of the scared NFL Betting Tip #9: Don’t Forget the Weather. The Denver area is getting wet snow early on Sunday morning, and temperatures below freezing plus a 90% chance of more precipitation are expected for game time.

Now, it’s extremely difficult to go against these Los Angeles Rams, who are more and more resembling the 2007 New England Patriots, who ran off an 8-0 ATS run to start that season, despite double-digit point spreads much of the way. But this weather report is certainly bad news for a team that hasn’t traveled further east than Phoenix thus far in 2018. Add in that inherent homefield advantage in Denver plus the fact that the numbers must balance out – ffs, Denver is f^#&^%^#ing 0-3-2 this year. The rams may yet win SU again, but we’re thinking the best bet is to take the Denver Broncos +6½ vs the Rams.

Chicago Bears -3½ at Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have one asset going for them against the suddenly mighty-looking Chicago Bears. Homefield advantage is of course a factor, and NFLbets reminds that weather is a double-edged sword. Players are looking at possible 90⁰F and 85% humidity at kickoff.

However, the big problem for the Dolphins is that, on the sidelines for Miami (other than IVs and a s***-ton of Gatorade, one presumes) could well be LT Jeremy Tunsil. The Fins OL is collapsing around itself and Tunsil, about the only All-Pro caliber player left standing, left the last game and was limited in practice all week. Should Tunsil not play, only psychic ability and perhaps telekinesis will stop Khalil Mack, it seems.

The formula for the Dolphins to cover plus 3½ points is there, including the inexorable mathematical pull dragging the Bears (3-1 ATS) back to .500. Thus does NFLbets give this advice with an asterisk: Take the Miami Dolphins +3½ vs Chicago – but only if Tunsil starts.

NFLbets Pick of the Week: Seattle Seahawks favoured by just 2½ in England? Jolly good!

Saturday, 13 October 2018 09:34 EST

NFL International Series bettingNFLbets digs on these “NFL International Series” games played in the U.K. Those at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City – possible Super Bowl preview there in November with the Los Angeles Rams playing the Kansas City Chiefs – are often spectacular events as well, with walls of 100,000 attendees making for a real Thunderdome effect. But the games on the British Isles? Awesome.

Seriously, what’s better than a Sunday when the first NFL game kicks off at 9:30 am ET/6:30am PT? I mean, how else are you going to lose win money while eating breakfast? Even games such as this week’s tilt at Tottenham give us the nicely surreal opportunity to watch a primetime game at 1pm ET/10am PT.

Betting on UK NFL games can be fun and lucrative if you’ve been paying attention since the International Series in its current format was kicked off, so to speak. But praise be the football gods – this week, one needs to know f$%#^%-all to bet this one, because the mass media has already shown us who the winner will be. We’re talking

Seattle Seahawks -2½ vs Oakland Raiders, over/under 48.0 points

Raiders Las VegasNFLbets is convinced that the stats ATS on NFL International Series Games are irrelevant in this particular case, we’ll run ’em here anyway, because they’re pretty incredible. Since 2014, favorites abroad are 11-4 ATS (9-4 in the UK, 2-0 in Mexico). Further, favorites against any team not named the Jacksonville Jaguars – essentially London’s surrogate home team – are on a 9-2 ATS run in UK games.

When looking through the International Series games, NFLbets figures that two factors come into play for would-be successful bettors:

•  Recent experience in the UK. Altogether teams are 8-5 SU/ATS when on a return visit to the British Isles; without Miami Dolphins games figured in, that mark goes to 7-3 SU/ATS.

•  Game preparation. NFL International Series games can readily turn into blowouts quick when the difference in coaching talent is on the sidelines, because in England games teams battle time as much as one another. The unprepared team can expect lotsa three-and-outs at best, a gift package of multiple turnover to the opposition at worst.

Seattle Seahawks alternate betting logoSo here’s how Jon Gruden convinced NFLbets to <strong>take the Seattle Seahawks -2½ vs the Raiders</strong> at Tottenham Stadium. Chucky, who’s never coached an NFL game abroad, explained his plan with Trumpian eloquence: “The length of the flight, probably get over there ... and mostly just recover with the players. Get them to stretch. Get them a little something to eat. Get their blood pumping. Get a walkthrough. Then Saturday, the day before the game, a lot of review...”

If it’s not clear by now that Gruden is this team's Jeff Fisher-like anesthesiologist in the operation to morph the Oakland Raiders into the Las Vegas Raiders, a “plan” like that certainly blows the fog away. Pete Carroll had his Seahawks take an overnight flight on Wednesday and go through the next day normally, like a sane person seeking to avoid the short-term effects of jetlag. They’re planning full practices on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At a glance, whose game prep is better?

Now don’t get NFLbets wrong here: The Seahawks are bringing a little to the table here on their own. Seattle is just 1-1-1 ATS against apparent non-playoff contenders (like Oakland) this season thus far, though played well enough in the post-Earl Thomas middle finger game against the Los Angeles Rams last week to get the ATS win. And while hardly mistaken for a dominant Super Bowl-going force, the Seahawks D nevertheless ranks in the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and DAVE metrics; Oakland’s ranks bottom five.

(Hey, didn’t they used to have Khalil Mack?)

The offense is lacking much of anything beyond Russell Wilson, who looks better and better as his team slowly – and in the case of the offensive line, literally – disintegrates around him weekly. Thanks to the defense keeping scores low, generally stopping anything coming their way not named Todd Gurley, Wilson has almost single-handedly kept Seattle in every game this season: Margins of victory in 2018 Seahawks games has been 3, 7, 11, 3 and 2. Indeed, that must be the reason the line in this game is so low.

To make it official, then. NFLbets Pick of the Week for NFL week 6 is to take the Seahawks -2½. You’ll also want to take the under on an O/U of 48 points. Here’s to thinking Merry Olde England won’t be so jolly good to the Raiders…

A song for Eli Manning (also, how to bet the New York Giants for the remainder of 2018)

Friday, 12 October 2018 10:46 EST


(Tap tap tap.)

Is this thing on?

Can you hear me back there?

Great, great. Okay, this first song is one I just wrote, and it’s dedicated to one of my all-time favorite NFL quarterbacks. I mean, not for me personally as a fan or anything. I mean, go Jets, right, heh heh.

Anyway, it’s called Giant Eli and, with all apologies to Don McLean, the tune is his “American Pie.” Speaking of which, let me make sure this stupid karaoke is ready to go here … and … okay.

So … this is the song. O, and it’s called “Giant Eli”

It was not long ago
He can still remember how
The Giants won those Super Bowls
And he fondly did recall the day
When he'd throw it long to OBJ
And maybe they’d stop thinking that he’s old

Bet on sad Eli ManningBut the Eagles made him shiver
With every floater he delivered
The bad news on the website
The future wasn’t so bright…

The biggest thing that we’ll regret
Is that we’ll be making fewer bets
Against the Giants money line
The day the cash cow died

Bye bye, Mr. Giant Eli
He took a look at his Lombardis
Then he broke done and cried
The boys at the ’book were feeling quite grim
Sayin’ damn I made some money off him
Damn I made some money off him…

Bye, Eli. It was fun while it lasted, but when ESPN says it’s time to go, well…

Sadly, the benching of Eli Manning will likely lose NFLbets the few Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) we bet on the “Mitchell Trubisky or Eli Manning throws 20+ Interceptions” player prop unless Mitch takes a positively calamitous downturn the rest of the way. No matter: Prescient NFL bettors have made bank betting against and occasionally on Eli over the years. Even as serious underdogs in two Super Bowl runs, Eli’s (and, let’s face it, Tom Coughlin’s) Giants allowed bettors to win back a few rounds of losing bets in the final game.

And now it’s over.

Betting on the New York Giants in 2018

Bet on confused Eli ManningMoving forward, the kneejerk reaction on the part of the NFL bettor is likely to mentally adjust to betting heavily against the Giants the rest of the way – or at least when Alex Tanney takes the starting job.

But just, think before you bet that, pilgrim. Four big reasons stand in the way of the Giants serving as betting fodder through December:

• Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley are still around. A new QB would have to lean heavily on these two – but that’s a plus. Beckham has been open pretty much on every passing play the Gaints have run in 2018 and Eli has seemingly found him about five times. How many other teams can claim two bona fide non-QB franchise players right now?

• An unknown QB can often be a plus. How often does a quarterback step into the starting role from the bench or from another team, only to stun and amaze in the short term – such quarterbacks can be a literal X-factor. Have we already forgotten the Fitzmagic of this season? Of how Kurt Warner rode the mystery to one of the NFL’s greatest single seasons ever? Or how Jimmy Garoppolo got his career started in a couple of Brady’s suspension games? Or how Tom Brady his freakin’ self launched a damn career when put in in a pinch for Drew Bledsoe in those innocent days of 2001?

• The numbers balance out. The Giants are currently are a bad 2-4 ATS and a terrible 1-3 ATS at home. For years, the worst team in the NFL has managed five or six wins ATS in a season. Looking at double-digit point spreads the rest of the way will likely get the Giants three or four more ATS wins before this season’s over.

• They play in the NFC East. Even in their best seasons, Washington and the Dallas Cowboys inexplicably drop games to their inferior division mates. Clearly, Philadelphia won’t be easy pickings for the Giants in Wentzylvania later this season, but if you’re not taking the Giants plus the points in any games remaining against Dallas or D.C. – Eli or no – you haven’t been paying attention.

Sayonara, Manning the Younger! You will be missed. Now if you’ll excuse NFLbets, we’ve got a sudden hankering for whiskey and rye…

CFL betting, week 18: What’s up with Riders as underdogs and Eskimos as favorites?

Thursday, 11 October 2018 13:35 EST

CFL retro betting logoSometimes a second opinion can give you insight. Thanks to the Rouge White & Blue CFL Podcast, yours truly got some salient advice from co-host Joe Pritchard that helped solidify yours truly’s convictions about a couple of bettable lines in CFL week 18 – and a couple unbettables.

Let’s talk Hamilton Tiger-Cats -7½ at Toronto Argonauts and the over/under of 53 points. The Ticats ran up 42 and 36 on the Argos in a home-and-home series earlier in the season, they’ve averaging 35.6 points per game in the second half thus far, and they’re coming off a bye. Hamilton *will* score points this weekend. But can the Argonauts keep up?

NFLbets is (now) saying yes. While only terminal disconnection with reality would allow one to call the Argos’ offense “high-flying,” they’ve managed to put together 22 or more points in 8 of the past 9. Last week’s mathematical elimination from the 2018 CFL playoffs does not eliminate the sense of urgency for Toronto to play well in front of a certainly sparse crowd. On the contrary: Disappointing free-agency pickup James Franklin will be playing for his job in ’19 going down the stretch; luckily for him and ironically for Argos backers, his receiving corps is more well-stocked then at any point during the season thus far, with Duron Carter, S.J. Green, Armanti Edwards, Myles White and Malcolm Williams all active.

So yeah, NFLbets is recommending taking the over on an O/U of 53 points in this one.

Saskatchewan Roughriders +3½ at Winnipeg Blue Bombers has a similar dynamic at play. We know the Bombers will score points – they’ve been running up scores fairly well all year and in the last three have put up 31, 30 and 40. Even against this vaunted Saskatchewan defense, Winnipeg was still good for 23 and 27 points in earlier meetings, albeit in losing efforts.

Why the Riders aren’t inspiring more confidence in oddsmakers is a bit of a mystery. Chris Jones’s guys are 7-1 SU (5-3 ATS, 2-2 ATS on the road) in the last eight games; the last six SU Saskatchewan wins were by 2, 8, 5, 1, 5 and 7 points. The offense has only proven viable in fits and spurts throughout this season, however, which throws out the trustworthiness of betting either side of the point spread, the over/under and even a money line bet on either. We say stay away.

Forget Ottawa Redblacks +3 at Edmonton Eskimos, too, while you’re at it. Seriously, who can tell? The Redblacks’ longest streak winning or losing SU has been *two games* this season. They’re a remarkable 5-3 SU against the West and just 3-3 SU against their East rivals. And all of Ottawa’s win-loss marks ATS are identical to their SU records; in 12 of 14 games, a Redblacks SU win meant an ATS win, while a SU loss meant an ATS loss.

Against the Redblacks are the Edmonton Eskimos, who can’t possibly be as bad as recent results might indicate. The Eskimos haven’t scored anything other than field goals in the last nine quarters of play, the culmination of 1-5 and 2-6 SU/ATS “runs”. QB Mike Reilly still has Dhaquille Williams, the league’s leader in receiving yards, receiving TDs, targets and receptions, but not much else as the “skill players” bit of the roster remains in tatters.

Well, then, is this the game when the Esks snap out of it? Who knows? Stay away.

Closing out CFL week 18 is BC Lions +10½ at Calgary Stampeders – thank the football gods for this one. The analysis here is short, sweet and simple. Last week, the Stampeders took thins easy against the hapless Montreal Alouettes, played for field position, were stung by three uncharacteristic interceptions thrown by Bo Levi Mitchell and still won with the result not in doubt.

With a win, the Stamps clinch home field throughout the playoffs and certainly won’t be playing half as passively as last week – nor are Mitchell & Co. likely to make half as many mistakes as against Montreal. Not to be forgotten is the Lions’ 1-6 (!) record SU/ATS on the road. NFLbets says the Stamps take care of business here and so should you: Take the Calgary Stampeders -10½ vs BC Lions.

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 18:
•  Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts, over 53 points.

NFLbets’ recommendation for CFL betting in week 18:
•nbsp; Calgary Stampeders -10½ vs BC Lions

CFL best bets record to date: 8-8.
CFL recommendations record to date: 8-8.
Overall record: 16-16.

NFL week 5: Final results ATS (Who’s a good underdoggie? Yes you are edition)

Tuesday, 09 October 2018 13:34 EST

Betting on Underdog clever in 2018 NFLSo how ’bout those home underdogs? Not only did all five teams to start last week as home underdogs against the spread (Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions) win ATS, four won SU and three won with rookie quarterbacks. Guess homefield advantage is meaningful after all. Huh…

Below runs a complete list of results for week 4 in NFLbets’ standard format, i.e. adjusted for the point spread; all results listed in boldface indicate games in which the SU and ATS results differed. Bombast, braggadocio and commentary courtesy Os Davis.

• New England Patriots 27½, Indianapolis Colts 24. The Patriots are back! But they were never gone. Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon looked great! But this was the Colts defense. This was their third win! But all have come against sub-.500 teams. (Repeat.)

• Kansas City Chiefs 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 14. Last men standing: At 4-0-1 ATS, the Chiefs remain the only undefeated side left with an increasingly difficult to sustain five-game lossless stretch. NFLbets will definitely consider betting against the Chiefs in week 6, when they are playing … let’s see here … ah, the Patriots, who are back! Maybe.

• Buffalo Bills 13, Tennessee Titans 6. The joy of betting: A miserable game is transformed into a glorious 7-point ATS win by a team otherwise hardly worth caring about.

• Cleveland Browns 12, Baltimore Ravens 6. The odds on Cleveland to win the AFC Championship are now down to 25/1. Just putting that out there.

• Cincinnati Bengals 20½, Miami Dolphins 17. That’s one more win closer to a Cincinnati Bengals appearance in the Super Bowl through a weak-ass AFC – and they’ve risen to just 12/1 odds to do so.

• Detroit Lions 29, Green Bay Packers 23. Not that Nate Crosby was on the take or anything, but those who covered the Lions -1 and/or on a money-line bet were certainly thanking the hapless placekicker for the 13-point swing he provided us all. And though NFLbets can’t stand fantasy football stories – much less bad-beat fantasy football stories – we will probably never tire of hearing stories about how Crosby cost them a win on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys 16 at Houston Texans 15½. It’s stunning how irrelevant the Texas NFL teams are this season. #sad.

• New York Jets 33, Denver Broncos 16. And speaking of #sad, the Broncos have been absolutely brutal for NFL bettors this season. If you’d wagered 100 Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) per wager, you’d already be in the hole M300. Thin air? Homefield advantage? These Broncos are 0-1-2 at home have already not done it all in 2018: They've lost ATS as a home favorite, tied as a home underdog, lost as a road underdog and now lost as a road favorite. This week, the Broncos get none other than the Los Angeles Rams at home – like that means anything to this team at this point.

• Minnesota Vikings 23 at Philadelphia Eagles 17½. Nearly as pitiable are the Eagles – sorry, the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles – at a lowly 1-4 SU/ATS. Unlike Denver, however, Philadelphia is in a great position to back into the playoffs thanks to the blitheringly weak NFC East.

• Pittsburgh Steelers 37½, Atlanta Falcons 17. Here’s another one: The Falcons. This team is certain to stop getting the benefit of doubt from oddsmakers and start getting a few more points per game on the spread.

Seattle Seahawks 31, Los Angeles Rams 25½. Todd Gurley outscored nine teams on his own this weekend. Gurley now has seven receiving TDs, and this player prop may be toast by the Rams’ week 12 bye. Easy money.

• Los Angeles Chargers 21, Oakland Raiders 10. You know what’s a great bet for most of the rest of the season? The under in a Raiders game, because the new apparent plan to throw a random receiver on any given pass play doesn’t really look like a scoreboard spinner. Going under is just 3-2 in Raiders games thus fair this season, but the Dolphins game went over by 1½ points. We’d say the under is good for Chucky’s guys and the opposition through to week 11 at Arizona – and that one might just go under, too…

New York Giants 31, Carolina Panthers 26. Now this was definitely one to stay away from – who’d’ve picked the over? Or Giants plus the points?

• Arizona Cardinals 28 at San Francisco 49ers 15. Nice win, Cardinals. Now don’t do this too often or you’ll screw yourself out of that no. 1 overall draft pick…

NFL betting, week 5: That moment you realize Aaron Rodgers’ Packers won’t go 14-1-1 SU

Sunday, 07 October 2018 09:38 EST

Crazy! For the Sunday early game pitting the Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions, bookmakers opened Detroit as week 5’s fourth home underdog, getting 1 to 1½ points when the lines were set on Monday. Lots of action subsequently flipped that +1 to the Detroit side, making the line on this Lions -1 vs the Packers.

No matter, the NFL bettor may say, -1/+1 is essentially equivalent to a pick ’em, because the Packers certainly can’t tie twice in a single season. (Or can they…?) Great! So choose your winner and make a money line (ML) bet, right? Now you’re thinking: NFLbets’ Pick of the Week for NFL week 5 says to take the Detroit Lions to win SU vs Green Bay at +100 -- even a line of -105 or -110 would wagering on a Detroit W worth it.

Over in daily fantasy land, players are snapping up and starting Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and even Kenny Golladay this week and why not? The Lions are top-10 offense in terms of passing volume, i.e. attempts, completions and yardage. Opposite this is a Green Bay pass rush which has produced 13 sacks already, though we’d argue that Matt Stafford is more mobile and skilled at improvisation than any of the opposing QBs this suspect Packers secondary has faced thus far: Mitch Trubitsky, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith and Josh Allen. Plus, again, Stafford is working with more talent in the receiving corps right now that those four guys combined.

So how about that Green Bay receiving corps? Well, remember how Aaron Rodgers was complaining about the younger additions to the Packers’ WR lot this past offseason? If not, please feel free to review with this pair of bombasts ranting.

Today, Rodgers is gonna have to depend on those guys. (Marquez Valdes-Scantling, I presume…?) Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison will not play, due to hamstring injury of two weeks ago and concussion from last week, respectively. Davonte Adams is questionable as of Sunday morning, but likely won’t be 100%.

Cobb, Allison and Adams have accounted for just abou 65% of all receiving yards. After this is TE Jimmy Graham, who contributes four catches per game. The position-less Ty Montgomery has 11 grabs as well. Then it’s ... um ... well, it’ll be interesting.

Sure, sure, Aaron “The Greatest Quarterback In Stephen A. Smith’s Lifetime” Rodgers is out there – and aside from his AFC counterpart Tom Brady, no quarterback in the 21st-century NFL has been able to do more with less. And he’s going against a bottom-5 passing defense in Detroit. But jokes, kidding and miracle-making aside, the truth is that these Packers just ain’t going 14-1-1 SU.

Considering the greater picture, this is a divisional game against a team that scores points in bunches despite a nigh-clueless rookie head coach. This is an away game in a dome (bit of a level playing field, so to speak). Detroit will definitely put up some points and Rodgers will find some way to keep pace, but NFLbets is thinking that the Lions will do just that wee bit more.

Week 5 NFL betting: Which home underdog are we backing? You may be surprised…

Saturday, 06 October 2018 17:32 EST

Underdog bets on home underdogsHow can we be in week 5 of the 2018 NFL season and already the sportsbooks are ready to proclaim a handful of teams as living dead to get points at home? Of the 63 games thus far in 2018, 18 have featured the visitors as favorites – that’s nearly 25% or three to four per week.

Thus far, the Tennessee Titans (2-1 SU) and Arizona Cardinals (0-3 SU) are 2-0 ATS playing as underdogs at home, while the New York Giants (1-2 SU) and Indianapolis Colts (1-3 SU) already have two ATS losses as homedogs. Most significant of all (hold the protestations of small sample size) is the home underdog’s fantastic 12-6 record ATS overall; take out the Giants and Colts, neither of whom have really deserved your bets yet this season, and that mark skyrockets to 12-2.

Naturally, week 5 is no different in regard to this trend: Sportsbooks opened this week’s betting by installing the visitors as favorites in four of Sunday’s 13 games; one game (this week’s Pick of the Week, in fact) has flipped. This week’s NFLbets “Best Bets” column will therefore begin with a look at these three games with home underdogs.

Buffalo Bills +5 vs Tennessee Titans
Aside from the fact that the Titans are seemingly required by law to win SU by three points whether playing an ostensible Super Bowl contender away (Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles) or a certain sub-.500 team (Houston Texans), the truth is you’re just not betting on Buffalo when you’re probably covering the Titans in your eliminator league and slotting in their DST for daily fantasy purposes. Rejected.

Cleveland Browns +3 vs Baltimore Ravens
NFLbets’ readers know we love the Cleveland Browns, who last year were six games better ATS than SU and this year are 2-1 ATS plus 2-0 ATS at home. (Yeah, we know those are pretty tiny sample sizes, but this is the Browns we’re talking here.) Also making taking Cleveland look good is the popular insistence that the Ravens defense will cream poor rookie Baker Mayfield, and NFLbets isn’t exactly sure that’s necessarily true. Nevertheless, we’re gun-shy about betting against these highly unpredictable Ravens. Rejected.

Seattle Seahawks +7½ vs Los Angeles Rams
this may seem counterintuitive, but NFLbets is saying take the Seattle Seahawks +7½ vs the Rams. We know how awesome the Rams appear, how pitiable the once-mighty ’Hawks defense has looked, how bummed some might be about the loss of Earl Thomas and his somewhat demonstrative exit. We also recall how the reborn Rams and Todd Gurley utterly teed off on Seattle in Seattle in 2017, winning 42-7 behind three TDs from the halfback.

But sometimes you have to listen to the numbers; the simplest of those numbers say that the Rams are one of two teams undefeated ATS while the Seahawks are the NFL’s only winless side ATS. That’s not exactly much to hang the helmet on, but consider this: In the past five seasons, exactly one team has run up a five-game undefeated ATS streak. That team was last year’s New England Patriots, who were underrated at sportsbooks nearly all season after the hammering by the Kansas City Chiefs in the opener.

And again, the Seahawks are homedogs playing in what is still believed to be one of the NFL’s toughest stadiums in which to play. Call us wacky, but NFLbets is (gasp!) covering the home underdog here.

About last week’s CFL picks … well, here’s a makeup call: Bet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers SU

Friday, 05 October 2018 14:18 EST

Doctor Who bet badly and say iYeesh, week 16 in the CFL wasn’t great for NFLbets. Our picks and recommendations went a weak 1-3; we salvaged the bankroll with what we presumed was a throwaway couple bets on Winnipeg Blue Bombers +5½ and SU at the Edmonton Eskimos. All apologies, but we couldn’t justify advising bettors to toss money at the Blue Bombers on a giggly whim.

Winnipeg’s very impressive win – lack of offense from Edmonton or no – made for sole upset of last week and nearly singlehandedly flipped the race for the CFL playoffs’ no. 5 and 6 seeds. After finishing off the Eskimos, the Blue Bombers rose to no. 3 in the West and no. 5 overall. BC Lions fell to last in the CFL West, ½-game behind Edmonton. (This is despite the Lions going f*#@&ing 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS at f%@$#!$ing home, but don’t get me started on the 2018 BC Lions…)

With four games to go on their schedule, the Bombers would appear to have and advantage over the Eskimos, if perhaps not BC Lions. The Bombers are running at relatively full strength – Nic Demski returns to the lineup after missing last week – while the Eskimos can’t seem to keep any WRs on the field. On the other hand, starting QB Travis Lulay and defensive captain Solomon Elimimian are returning for the Lions week after next.

The knock against the Bombers is their maddeningly inconsistency; you’d have to be crazy to bet on Winnipeg in 2018, except on the over. (More on this momentarily.) Both the Bombers and this week’s opposition Ottawa Redblacks are the embodiment of clichés such as “we don’t know which team will show up” and “playing down to the level of their competition.”

But here’s the thing: The 2018 Winnipeg Blue Bombers have done one thing with incredible consistency for most of the year: Score. Through 14 games, the Bombers have scored 30.5 points per game. They’ve played in games of 50 points or more 10 times, in games of 60+ five times. Even when giving up a ridiculous 32 points’ worth of defensive and special teams scoring to the Roughriders, the Bombers still managed to ring up 27 of their own.

Attempting to stop this offense is a Redblacks D allowing a scanty 19.1 ppg (we’re removed that bizarre 42-41 game against Toronto as an outlier) coming out of the bye week and playing at home. But neither of these factors may even matter. The truth is this Redblacks offense is completely undependable (and therefore doubly so for bettors). Statistically, this unit is the league’s most variable, having three times topped 40 points scored, but five times producing two touchdowns or less – and twice exactly zero.

And that inconsistency issue mentioned earlier? Here’s a summary of their game results for the year: Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Win, Loss, Win, Win, bye, Loss, Loss, Win, Win, bye.

The one result with which the skeptic may argue the case against the Bombers was that of week 10: Ottawa 44 at Winnipeg 21, a game which fired up anti-Matt Nichols sentiment in Bomberville and sent the team on a four-game skid. (To be fair, the three subsequent losses came in games against Calgary and Saskatchewan, pretty clearly the CFL’s best teams in 2018.)

Since coming out of the bye, however, the Bombers look reborn in going for 30 or more points in two consecutive weeks. They’ve given up just one turnover combined in the two games, threw in some razzle-dazzle against the Alouettes and essentially played perfect play in all three aspects against the Eskimos.

After last week, we’re convinced. NFLbets is blowing aside the skepticism and probably overcompensating for the bad karma amassed last week. We’re playing this one a bit unorthodoxly (for us, anyway) and making these bets our only CFL bets, and playing them at 1½x. Our pick of the week says to take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to win SU at +110. To really play it safe, cover Winnipeg +1½ as well.

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 17:
•  Winnipeg Blue Bombers SU at Ottawa Redblacks.

NFLbets’ recommendation for CFL betting in week 17:
•nbsp; Winnipage Blue Bombers +1½ at Ottawa Redblacks

CFL best bets record to date: 7-8.
CFL recommendations record to date: 7-8.
Overall record: 14-16.

Thursday Night Football: Colts, Patriots defenses can't stop anybody, so take the over

Thursday, 04 October 2018 14:13 EST

Here we go again: Another Thursday Night Football game, another stay away for NFL bettors. If you insist on playing this probably weak entry in America’s least favorite primetime football show, NFLbets’ll take a swing at picking this one, namely…

Indianapolis Colts +11 at New England Patriots, over/under 50 points

Adding to the inherent difficulties of betting Thursday night football games in general is the reputation of The Belichick/Brady Dark Empire. Every September, NFL fandom and talking heads alike open week 1 trumpeting the greatness of the New England Patriots while boldly asserted that they’ll be playing in, if not winning, the AFC Championship Game and/or playing in, if not winning, the next Super Bowl.

An unimpressive performance leading to a shocking result (think the 2017 opener against the Kansas City Chiefs) or even two hastily empties the bandwagon, only for it to be refilled after a SU New England win against one of the AFC’s many also-rans. Suddenly, all the white noise buzzes that Brady and Belichick can do this forever because they are GOATs and confirmation bias is everywhere.

So here’s what NFLbets says: Take the over on an O/U of 50. Again, this recommendation is made with the caveat that NFLbets advises against betting any TNF game at all.

But this wager will be fun.

Make this bet, and you’ll be cheering for the forces of good (and snowboarding). After consecutive games throwing for under 200 yards passing, Andrew Luck broke 400 in last week’s overtime game against the Tennessee Titans. Betting on the over would necessitate the Colts putting together about three TDs per the point spread (at Colts +11, the sportsbooks forecast a final score of Patriots 31-20). They’ll have to do most of that through the air, however, because it ain’t coming from the running game: Indy’s two lead RBs – and the pairing has been different every game in 2018 thus far – has averaged a *combined* 67.75 yards per game and one TD total.

While the Patriots statistically bring a better defense than is popularly perceived – they’re currently ranked 16th in overall DVOA and 18th against the pass, per Football Outsiders – but numbers don’t describe how good the dinking-dunking Blake Bortles and the mad-bombing Matthew Stafford looked against them. And purely by eye test does NFLbets draw the conclusion that this edition of the Patriots D isn’t played with the proverbial sense of urgency. Wrapping up the ball carrier in the middle of the field, so often previously a strength of Belichick’s Patriots, is fundamentally lacking in 2018.

Right, so Luck and the Colts can score. Can the Patriots?

Yes, that is a serious question.

Julian Edelman returns to the lineup after a four-game suspension and certainly scads of fantasy football players will be slotting him into lineups. Edelman is familiar with the Patriots system and playbook in a way that Josh Gordon is not, and so the longtime Patriot’s targets will likely be higher than were Gordon’s in week 4. The possibility of an Edelman/Gordon teaming is certainly cheering up Pats fans who have woken up to the reality that Rob Gronkowski no longer requires double-teaming.

The rushing game for the Patriots has been decent enough as well, with the team’s three lead backs (Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead) good for 98.0 yards per game thus far, though no one’s had a breakaway run yet, and only two 20-yard gains have been notched by New England runners.

The running game may actually prove of significance moreso than in most Patriots games: The Colts have allowed over 100 yards rushing in three games already this season and are naturally 0-3 SU (1-2 ATS) in those games. Meanwhile, the competent-if-flawed offenses of the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans each ran up 30 on Indianapolis, and the bookmakers clearly reckon New England is at least that good.

So yeah, let’s take the over on this one, and hope that TNF delivers…