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Blinded by numbers, NFLbets says the Kansas City Chiefs (-3) go down on TNF

Thursday, 13 December 2018 13:16 EST

There's a reason the line on the Thursday Night Football game looks like this:

Los Angeles Chargers +3½ at Kansas City Chiefs. over/under 54 points

And NFLbets figures it’s because the bookmakers are as befuddled as we are about this one. After spending the first half of the season drawing comparisons to The Greatest Show on Turf and other all-time great offenses, the Chiefs’ aura of invincibility has somehow dissipated and they’ve failed to cover in their last four games, going 0-3-1 ATS. The woeful defense hasn’t improved since week 1 and its bottom-3 by most statistical measures, including their league-“leading” number of penalties assessed.

The lack of Kareem Hunt is huge for the Chiefs. Sure, Patrick Mahomes et al had no problem running up 40 points against the Oakland Raiders, but the well more competent Ravens defense nabbed one interception, forced a fumble and levied three sacks against the Chiefs QB. Mahomes may be superhuman, but it says here that the play-action pass in pretty important and Kansas City won’t be fooling anyone down the stretch.

On the other side for TNF are the Chargers – Remember them? Because Los Angeles sure doesn’t on Sundays. Starting the season as a popular choice to win the AFC, they’re currently sitting at 10-3 SU (8-5 ATS), only the second-best record in conference. Philip Rivers is the modern NFL’s answer to Hank Aaron, consistently racking up great numbers in near total anonymity.

Most notable about the Chargers in 2018, though, is the stunning lack of mistakes made and sheer dumb luck this team has often seen in recent years: They’re 5-1 SU and 2-4 ATS in games decided by 8 points or less, indicating both a reputation and steadfastness when holding (or gaining) a lead in games. Nor has traveling hasn’t been an issue this season for the Chargers, with a 6-0 SU record outside of Los Angeles (5-1 ATS, with the sole loss coming in London).

One may also point out that not only are the Chargers traveling, they’re doing so on a short week. Fair enough, but L.A.’s week ended up less than three hours shorter than the Chiefs’, and the Chargers enjoyed a laugher as opposed to the classic grueling Ravens treatment given Kansas City. Where the short week strikes the Chargers the hardest is on the injury front: Both Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon could conceivably play a Sunday game, but will sit out Thusday night’s.

And then there’s Andy Reid, himself an enigma wrapped in mystery in December. Reid has a reputation for pumping the brakes on his teams and thus taking losses down the stretch; the actual record tells a different story. Or else it doesn’t.

Drumroll, please! Preeeeesenting the career of Andy Reid in December in numbers!

• Andy Reid, total career record: 317-194-1 (.620)
• Reid’s record in games played August-November: 261-168-1 (.608)
• Reid’s record in games played in December.: 56-26 (.683)
• Reid’s record in December vs winning teams: 16-15 (.516)
• Reid’s record in December vs winning teams ATS: 14-17 (.452)

It’s those last two that blow NFLbets’ mind, of course, reducing picking this game to a zen exercise. Even the over/under is tricky: 54 points makes for a final score of around 29-25, and the fewer points the Chiefs have scored in a game this season is 25. The weather forecast for Kansas City at kickoff puts the temperature at in the 30s with winds up to 20 MPH.

So you know what? We’re throwing the math out the window on this one and going for the cash grab. More color and confusion before the playoffs begin, say we! Take the Los Angeles Chargers +3½ at Kansas City.

(NFLbets will also be taking the Chargers ML at +165 or so, but we won’t call that an official NFLbets Best Bet for week 15.)

NFLbets Best Bets record in 2018: 32-26-1.

NFL final results ATS, week 14 (The Under is Back in Style Edition)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 17:05 EST

Judging by the public lamentations of losing bets in week 14 – mostly centered on the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers SU losses for sure, with a healthy dollop of punishment doled out by the Kansas City Chiefs ATS loss. NFLbets was happy to stay away from picking stuff like the outcomes of New England-Miami, Baltimore-Kansas City and L.A. Rams-Chicago. In fact, we’re damn close to become an under born-again as teams rediscover defense in 2018.

Below runs a complete list of results for week 14 in NFLbets’ standard format, i.e. adjusted for the point spread; all results listed in boldface indicate games in which the SU winner did not cover the spread. Comments, questionable humor and the occasional salient point courtesy NFLbets writer/editor Os Davis.

• Tennessee Titans 25½, Jacksonville Jaguars 9. Well, that was a short Golden Age in Jacksonville, eh?

• Baltimore Ravens 24 at Kansas City Chiefs 20½. Because the dominant narrative about the NFL pushed by the talking heads is all about how Offense Rules and The Kansas City Chiefs Are Nearly Unstoppable, fans are bombarded with stories about the Ravens “surprising” in this one. How about this: Despite the SU loss, Baltimore still holds tiebreakers over all over 7-6 teams, the defense is actually quite good and Lamar Jackson ain’t half bad. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming back down to Earth, the Andy Reid-led second-half swoon hastened and exacerbated by Kareem Hunt’s expulsion. K.C. better hope they don’t see the Ravens again in the playoffs.

• Oakland Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 10½. Speaking of teams falling off, anyone who reckoned the Steelers were peaking too early with their 6-game September/October winning streak (ahem) was correct. With vs New England, at New Orleans and vs Cincinnati the remaining games on the schedule, Baltimore might yet nip Pittsburgh for the division itself while Indianapolis sneaks into that no. 6 seed.

• New York Jets 27 at Buffalo Bills 18½
• Detroit Lions 14½, Arizona Cardinals 3. These two games plus the Oakland SHOCKER! against Pittsburgh appear to indicate that no one is really 100% committed to landing that no. 1 overall pick...

• Green Bay Packers 30, Atlanta Falcons 20. OK, let’s see if NFLbets has this right. Interim coach comes in, blows both challenges within 90 seconds of game time, has his quarterback improvise his way through a game played at 20° to 25° against a warm-weather team left for dead a month ago and we’re somehow supposed to believe the Packers are still in the playoff hunt? Come on.

• Dallas Cowboys 25½ at Philadelphia Eagles 23
• Seattle Seahawks 18, Minnesota Vikings 7
• Chicago Bears 15, Los Angeles Rams 3. Tell us one more time that defense doesn’t matter in the NFL in 2018 – and we’ll all have a good chuckle during the Seahawks/Bears or Cowboys/Bears NFC Championship game.

• Cincinnati Bengals 21 at Los Angeles Chargers 9. If the NFL weren’t so ashamed, they’d release real attendance figures for these Chargers games – and NFLbets’d take the under every time.

• New York Giants 37, Washington 16. So this is what it looks like when your entire offense is made up of practice squad guys.

• San Francisco 49ers 20, Denver Broncos 11
Cleveland Browns 26, Carolina Panthers 19. Can we now all agree that neither the Broncos nor the Panthers are very good? Come to think of it, a merger would make one pretty good team.

• Miami Dolphins 34, New England Patriots 23½. Why are the Belichick/Brady Patriots so bad (8-10 SU/7-11 ATS) in Miami? Why was Rob Gronkowski on defense for the game’s final play? How did the Dolphins pull that play off? See, this is why you couldn’t have dragged NFLbets to bet this game.

• New Orleans Saints 18, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
• Indianapolis Colts 24 at Houston Texans 17. (Does quick check of point spreads.) Yep, the Saints (-6 at Carolina) and Colts (-2½ vs Dallas!) are underrated and overrated based on these ATS/SU wins. Can’t wait to start betting week 15!

For an updated version of the NFL standings by ATS record, click here.

Vikings-Seahawks on MNF: More separating of men from boys (Can we still say that in 2018?)

Monday, 10 December 2018 15:21 EST

Now that was an educational Sunday of football, a solid three tv broadcast timeslots provided an excellent preview of next month’s playoffs.

For example, we can now emphatically count out the Philadelphia Eagles (who wavered between bland and bad throughout the Dallas game), Denver Broncos (wrecked by a single TE in 30 minutes in San Francisco), the Carolina Panthers (currently suffering the hangover which follows a giddy embrace of Norv Turner) and Washington (crushed by Pee Wee League QB Eli Manning’s Giants).

We can additionally temper expectations of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and possibly the Los Angeles Rams, though in this latter case, NFLbets reckons the Rams’ kryptonite is cold weather, and they’re not likely to face any such in the playoffs. NFLbets is also pumping the brakes a bit on the Houston Texans until we discover whether the loss to the Indianapolis Colts (whose stock is also rising steadily) was merely the hardly unexpected snapping of a long winning streak by a divisional rival.

On the upswing NFLbets lists the Los Angeles Chargers (scarier by the week, especially in away games) Baltimore Ravens (with a nice ATS win against the Kansas City Chiefs; the SU loss did not hurt their no. 6 standing in the AFC, as the Ravens hold all tiebreakers against the competition), Dallas Cowboys (who expect the canonization of St. Amari of Dallas-Ft. Worth) and Chicago Bears, all looking like very tough outs in the playoffs.

We’re expecting more separation of men from boys on Monday Night Football this week:

Minnesota Vikings +3 at Seattle Seahawks, over/under 46½ points

Both of the these teams sit pretty high on the ATS standings board: Going into MNF, the Seahawks stand at 7-3-2 while the Vikings are currently at 7-4-1. The Bears, Saints and Chargers – all at 9-4 ATS – are the only teams higher on the ’board. So why does it feel as though these teams are tending in opposite directions?

The Vikings are stumbling in the second half, currently on a 2-3 SU/ATS jag in which they frankly looked outclassed vs New Orleans, at Chicago and at New England – three proper playoff teams. We can remove the 2018 Minnesota Vikings to previous playoff-bound incarnations of the team due to this version’s below-average play outside the dome. After starting out at an impressive 3-0-1 ATS (2-1-1 SU) in away games, their last away win SU/ATS came in week 7 against the New York Jets, who are the New York Jets.

And here’s the key to this game: A team vulnerable on the road cannot expect to come to Seattle, one of three NFL home locales with the greatest statistically significant advantages for the home team, and surprise the Seahawks. Excepting 2017, the ’Hawks have been good for at least a 5-3 mark at home ATS every year since 2011 – and the most common results is 6-2 ATS. Right now, they’re at 3-1-2 at home. On top of this, remember that West Coast teams in prime team are an incredible 71% ATS this decade.

But hey, we don’t even really need greater trends or regression to the mean to justify belief in a big Seahawks win tonight. Since week 3, Seattle has lost only to the Chargers and Rams – not a bad pick for Super Bowl LIII, NFLbets’d say, and they’re 5-1 against teams not currently in the playoff picture, likesay Minnesota. After topping 27 points just once in the first six games, they’ve done so in five of the past six and the over is on a 4-0 streak in Seahawks games.

Best of all is that Pete Carroll and QB Russell Wilson have crafted a fascinating hybrid offense with a run-heavy playback, modern-style quarterback option plays and old-fashioned stretching the field with the occasional empty backfield. The defensive game plan has reverted to a philosophy that got the Seahawks into Super Bowls, namely lots of wysiwyg zone schemes and exceptionally few disguised coverages. NFLbets will admit it: This may not be conducive to approaching-100% objective betting, but we *like* Carroll’s coaching of Seattle in 2018.

Admission of bias aside, NFLbets quite frankly can’t conjure up the argument for anything beyond a push out of a bet on Vikings +3 here. Even the plus of a short IR list is enough for Minnesota, as CB Trae Waynes, anchor of the secondary, will miss this game due to a concussion. Sometimes it’s best to not overthink things – a sentiment with which Coach Carroll and Marshawn Lynch would certainly agree.

NFLbets Pick of the Week: Take the Seattle Seahawks -3 vs Minnesota.

NFLbets Pick of the Week record in 2018: 6-4-1.

L.A. Rams at Chicago Bears: Y’know, even in 2018, defense still matters. A lot.

Sunday, 09 December 2018 09:13 EST

Come on, now, just because the rulebook is ever tilted in favor of the quarterback and his point-scoring offense, do we all need to lose our collective minds? Contrary to what ESPN’s talking heads pushing the party line that defense “has been legislated out of the game,” we’ve seen some tremendous individual and team performances throughout the season. While the casual fan goes nuts over Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes, those paying attention are gawping at the play of Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack.

If you are, like NFLbets, a bigger fan of the defensive game, you’re going to love betting on this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup…

Los Angeles Rams -3 at Chicago Bears, over/under 51 points

NFLbets don’t know about you, but the Los Angeles Rams’ 30-16 thumping of the Detroit Lions last week symbolized more than an ordinary beatdown of a mediocre team, but rather the resurrection of the high-quality defense the team played in 2017. Was the return of Aqib Talib all it took to ascend the Rams D from general badassery to the cusp of legendary? It sure appeared so last Sunday.

Talib garnered zeroes across the stat sheet, but with the side of the field opposite Marcus Peters finally covered again, a hapless Matt Stafford and the Lions offense converted a measly 2 of 12 third down attempts. Nightmares of should-be-NFL MVP Aaron Donald will dog Stafford as the extra tenths of seconds are all Donald needs to destroy his side of the offensive line. Donald is freakin’ Superman out there, and his Justice League is filled out by the likes of John Johnson (38 tackles in the past four games) and Dante Fowler, who’s gotten past the stupid penalties and looks like one of the league’s best acquisitions of 2018.

On the other side of the field are the Chicago Bears, who you may remember brings their own hardcore defense led by another top-5 NFL player and top-5 acquisition in Khalil Mack. Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric has the Bears D at no. 1 against the run or pass, and they’ve literally been top-3 in the both stats since opening week. They’re top-5 in most straight up statistics, including no. 1 overall in turnovers generated and interceptions. In their eight SU wins in 2018, the opposition has been held to 22 or fewer points. The point: Chicago likely has the only defense that can win games in the 2018 NFL, e.g. the Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions.

And now for the weather: Temperatures in the low 20s are expected in Chicago this evening, but no precipitation is expected. Rams QB Jared Goff is 2-2 SU (and 0-4 ATS!) in games played below 40° F and looked pretty terrible against Detroit; Todd Gurley is 3-2 SU/1-4 ATS, and the Rams scored an average of 17.2 points per game in those five.

So why is how to bet this game a question at all? Take the under on an O/U of 51 points, which is way too high, and enjoy a classic defensive battle.

NFLbets’ Best Bets record in 2018: 20-16-1.

Hate the U.S. military-industrial complex, love the Army-Navy football

Saturday, 08 December 2018 07:53 EST

Army-Navy 1916This is probably a good place to put in the typical disclaimer. The opinions and attitudes expressed in this piece are solely those of the author, Os Davis, and do not reflect the views or philosophy of any member of the NFLbets staff or members of its affiliated partners’ staffs.

For a far-lefty like yours truly, the Army-Navy football game represents the ultimate in moral-ethical paradox. Concussions and the related CTE caused by football alone had turned its share of thinking people off to the game even before we get to scandals dogging seemingly every university football program in the country.

Bu those scandals, PED abuse and other wackiness that befalls other universities don’t touch the United States Military Academy’s Army Army-Navy 1924Black Knights or the U.S. Naval Academy’s Navy Midshipmen: These lads must maintain academic minimum standards and their schools are among the few with no need for illicit under-the-table bonuses. Army and Navy football players are disciplined, focused and certainly regularly drug tested.

Except ... well, these dudes as well as the boisterous and vociferous cadets filling the stands, kinda represent the biggest imperial army the world has ever seen. Upon leaving the football field, these young men will participate in the creation and maintenance of repressive states worldwide, becoming part of the daily problem of survival for greater percentages of the world’s population. And all in name of protecting the economic interests of the country’s 1% wealthiest – translated into popular parlance by news media as “defending our freedom.”

Army-Navy 1944So yeah, we’re appreciating the irony of enjoying with gusto the traditional Army-Navy football game.

But the Army-Navy football game is so much more than the American military-industrial complex’s favorite sporting event: Though simply an annual tradition along the lines of Harvard-Yale, Washington state’s Apple Bowl or Alabama’s famed Iron Bowl, Army-Navy nevertheless marks the literal kickoff of college bowl season – and betting on said bowl games.

As noted elsewhere on this site, NFLbets believes that sports bettors under the level of true college football expert should only bet on college football under one of three conditions:

• During bowl season;

• On regular-season games involving one’s alma mater, favorite team or local team, about which one has intimate
Army-Navy 1943knowledge; or

• One doesn’t mind throwing away money.

Bowl season is obviously NFLbets’ preferred time for betting on college football. In fact, we’re so geeked about the prospects of getting to see some future NFL stars, of enjoying the clashes of disparate styles, of crash-coursing into some knowledge about these teams, that we’re throwing caution to the wind with some crazy bets on the Army-Navy game. NFLbets will include our results in tallying up our mark during college football bowl season, but we don’t blame you for not getting on board with this one.

Army Black Knights vs Navy Midshipmen,
Army-Navy 1950over/under 40 points

NFLbets’ll handle the more defensible part of our nearly indefensible betting first: Take the over on the O/U of 40 points. Firstly, Army and Navy teams, like an NFL playoff side, tense to get more conservative in this game. Check out the results of the past four Army-Navy games – those in which Army was coached by Jeff Monken, current HC of the Black Knights – as compared to the season totals run up by these recently quite high-scoring teams:

• 2014: Navy, 17-10 (average during season: Navy, 32-25)
• 2015: Navy, 21-17 (Navy, 37-22)
• 2016: Army, 21-17 (Navy, 37-30)
• 2017: Army, 14-13 (Army 31-Navy 31)

Army-Navy 1967Expanding the scope back to 2009, when Ken Niumatalolo took over, we see these results in the traditional game:

• 2008: Navy, 24-0
• 2009: Navy, 17-3
• 2010: Navy, 31-17
• 2011: Navy, 27-21
• 2012: Navy, 17-13
• 2013: Navy, 34-7

These add up to the under going 6-4 in the last 10, including a 5-1 run.

So yeah, take the under.

Army Black Knights -7 vs Navy Midshipmen

Army-Navy 1979The above-listed Army-Navy game results should also indicate the close margin traditionally – even in the recent-term – in this game: Though the favorite is 9-1 SU, they’re just 4-6 ATS in the Niumatalolo Era, including a 1-5 run and an 0-4 mark since Monken came to West Point.

On top on this is the style which Monken has cultivated at Army, namely one highly concentrated on the running game, ball control and eating up clock. Army is no. 1 in the country in third-down conversion rate at 57.0%, no. 1 in time of possession at 39.2 minutes per game, and no. 2 in rushing yards at 303.1 per.

Luckily for the Midshipmen, in Army, Navy may finally have found an opponent whom they can play off. Though Navy is a dismal no. 11 in yards allowed per play, much of that naturally comes from passing plays in
Army-Navy 1980the pass-wacky American Conference – the AC includes UCF, Houston and Memphis, all of whom had offenses which averaged over *43½ points per game*. On the other hand, the 2017 Black Knights also came into this game as tops in third-down conversion and top-5 in TOP, yet the Midshipmen held Army to just three (of 11) conversions and 17 points fewer than their average output.

Ready to grind it out? Navy plays at nearly a deliberate pace as does Army: They’re ranked no. 5 in time of possession at 34.33 minutes per game and are ranked a stingy 16th in turnover differential at +8, including just eight fumbles lost and five interceptions thrown in 12 games. Remember that stuff about discipline?

In 2018, the Midshipmen may not be able to keep up
Army-Navy 1999with the American Conference’s high flyers, but we think they can hang with the Black Knights.

Note: The operative phrase there was “can hang with.” The truth is that Army is currently enjoying their finest football since the mid-1940s, no joke. Year 2017 saw West Point celebrate its first 10-win season since 1996. Should Army win either this game or the Armed Forces Bowl against recent Navy rival Houston, it would mark Army’s first-ever back-to-back 10-win seasons. If they win both, it would be the school’s first-ever 11-win season. And a top-20 finish (they’re currently at no. 22) would be Army’s first since 1958.

The point: This Army team is good and, as believers in the principle that talent usually wins out (again, the favorite in this game is on a 9-1 run SU), NFLbets is advising that bettors take the Army money line (ML)’ the odds are pretty crummy – we scored this line at 4/11 – but should be a good hedge, so scale up your bet on this, because we’re also saying to take Navy +7 vs Army and imagine how glorious that 20-19 Black Knights is going to be.

We are loving 2018 bowl season already, and the FBS Championship is still five weeks away!

Taking under 37½ in the NFL in 2018 is crazy? We’re talking Jaguars-Titans here!

Thursday, 06 December 2018 15:05 EST

Wow, does Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans have all the hallmarks of a classic bad Thursday Night Football game. Two disappointing teams remaining in the playoff hunt mathematically only, two offenses essentially bereft of “skill” players and two wins against teams with records above .500 between them. But hey, at least they won’t be wearing “Color Rush” uniforms this time.

Jacksonville Jaguars +4½ at Tennessee Titans, over/under 37½ points

As soon as the lines were released, any NFL bettor worth his/her salt was looking to bet the under on this one, what with the Jaguars replacing Blake Bortles with Cody Kessler who, despite getting his first win as an NFL starter last week thanks to the Colts offense sleeping late (likesay until 8pm on Monday), is still Cody Kessler.

And so the bookmarkers set that over/under low – seemingly super-low for 2018 – at 38 or 38½. Despite being a good 5 points behind the next-lowest O/U, NFL bettors nevertheless have knocked that down to 37 at some sportsbooks on Thursday.

Tell you this: In deciding how to bet this game, one can learn much about recent trends in over/unders. And nearly all the numbers scream at NFLbets that if ever two teams deserved an under bet, it’s these the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

On the macro level, we find that 119 games with over/unders of 38 points or less have been played in the NFL since 2011; this represents an average of just under 16 such games per season – more on this momentarily. The under has paid at a 51-67-1 (or 43.27%) rate in these 119 games.

However, if you’ve guessed that ever fewer such low over/unders are posted, you’re 100% correct. From 2015-17, 24 games kicked off with an O/U at 38 or lower, with the under paying 10-13. Thus far in the high-flying 2018 season, a mere three of 384 games carried an O/U this low: Oddly enough, all three included the Buffalo Bills and all three went over.

To certainly no one’s surprise, over/unders have been well high all season – but the oddsmakers have adjusted by now. Casting the statistical net a bit wider, only 13 games this season have gone off with an O/U of 40 or less; the under in 7-6 in these games, but a shocking 2-5 since week 6.

And here’s where things start to make a tedious game very interesting for NFL bettors.

The under is 2-0 in games with Tennessee playing, 1-2 in Jacksonville games. Overs hit when the Dallas Cowboys teed off for 40 in week 6 and against ever-unpredictable Buffalo in week 12. And of course, the Titans and Jaguars played that 9-6 thriller in week 3.

Speaking of these low-watt offenses, Jacksonville has already played five games under 38 points this year while Tennessee has four; the minus here is that the Titans haven’t played in a low-scorer since getting shut out by the Baltimore Ravens in week 6. On the other other hand, the Titans have scored 20 or fewer eight times in 2018, thereby allowing one to easily imagine a scenario in which the Titans and their top-10 statistically/middle-of-the-road by DVOA defense cover the point spread *and* the score goes under 37½.

Also, Cody Kessler.

Take the under on an O/U of 37 points on Jaguars-Titans.

NFLbets’ Best Bets record in 2018: 30-25-1.

Jason Witten, ESPN decry domestic violence, promote NFL's institutionalized racism instead

Wednesday, 05 December 2018 14:44 EST

To paraphrase a line from a recent South Park episode, “Jason Witten, will you and the other neo-liberal types knock it off? Don’t you know every time you casually drop that racial slur into your discourse that you make the rest of us look stupid?”

And by “the rest of us”, NFLbets is referring to any fans of or bettors on American football.

This writer’s blood instantly rises to boiling several times a week when researching NFL games and/or cruising the newsfeeds. But since another prime time appearance by the team of high-profile racist/sexist Dan Snyder, I’m busting blood pressure monitors here over the repeated bigotry from professional talking heads who really should show more backbone.
The self-righteousness of Witten and Booger McFarland, among innumerable others all too willing to mindlessly get on the bandwagon of neolib dogma, decrying the potential signing of alleged (innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, right?) monster Reuben Foster. 

After the initial outcry caused by the Washington football club’s announced intention to claim Foster after his release from the San Francisco 49ers, the club’s “brain” trust apparently decided it would be a good idea for VP Doug Williams to go, likesay, chat up a local sports talk radio station. 

Said Williams in part, “Oh yeah, we knew [the backlash] was going to happen, and like I said, rightfully so with all the stuff that is going on in this country. We’ve got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, and if you look at it realistically, they’re still up there. This is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there...”

While mainstream media – not the “liberal media,” for very little real liberalism exists in the mainstream – certainly appreciated Williams’s shading of Donald Trump and everyday sexual harassers, such actions would not stand without harsh commentary that’s certain to influence real change.

With an air of composed indignance, Witten teed off on Washington when the subject of Foster was brought up in the third quarter, game well in hand and a sizable fraction of the audience already tuned out. The quote was later reported in headlines dripping with smugness like the Washington Post’s “Jason Witten says the Redskins ‘used horrendous judgment’ in claiming Reuben Foster” or blatantly (and utterly unjustifiably) triumphant without pretense to objectivity, like MSN News’ “Jason Witten crushes Redskins for claiming Reuben Foster.”

(Hmm, seems to us that, post-“crushing,” the franchise still exists…)

Proclaimed Witten: “I believe the Washington Redskins used horrendous judgment in claiming this guy. And I understand that it’s an ongoing investigation. But my family’s been affected by domestic violence. I understand the anguish that it causes. And you know, young players just have to understand that there is no tolerance for putting your hands on a woman. Period.”

Uh huh, I see. So if the speaker, given a public forum, has been personally affected by a social problem, then it’s legitimate to call out the overriding institution. 

This must be why the noted former white TE has no problems parroting ad infinitum the racial slur that passes for a team name in American professional sports. As with nearly every white American, he was never personally affected the way a marginalized population taunted with a denigrating reminder of genocide is nearly every time they wish to enjoy an NFL game.

“The NFL takes a lot of criticism,” Witten later added between swigs of the league’s kool-aid, “but I do know that they’re working to educate, to provide around-the-clock services for these guys, to understand that you know what, whatever you’ve experienced in your life, you now have a chance to change that” and “I just think it sent the wrong message when the Redskins claimed Reuben Foster, and as I said, I understand that it’s ongoing, but this isn’t his first time with this happening.”

For a brief moment, McFarland seemed like he’d bring some sensitivity to the matter at hand. “We talk about domestic violence in the NFL like it’s an NFL problem. It’s not. It’s a societal problem, and if the NFL really wants to do away with it in their league, they’re going to have to figure out a way to make the punishment a lot tougher.” 

Right, like other pressing societal problems: Racism, respect for one another and such, right, Booger?

He continued, “That way the Redskins –”

Aw, hell.

Then, as is so often the case with this morally rotten organization, more trouble followed. During the game, second-string quarterback Colt McCoy was knocked out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg. Enter Mark “The Butt Fumble” Sanchez to lose the game, followed by reporters who couldn’t wait to ask about their ostensible hero Colin Kaepernick. 

NFLbets has no issues with Kaepernick whatsoever: After all, this is a guy whose stated moral/ethical stances have had actual real-life consequences that, like a true hero, he bore.

Unfortunately, Kaep has become a symbol of the bravery the neolibs media-side would love to show but simply cannot under the pretense of objectivity.

And by “objectivity” here, NFLbets means “the acceptable party line dictated by the corporation issuing the paychacks.”

Some intrepid news types were quick to ask coach Jay Gruden on Monday about the possibility of Kaepernick coming to play for Washington. Gruden gave out the old jockspeak classic about the team going in a different direction (downward, apparently), but later revelations told that higherups had stifled any notions of extending an offer to Kaepernick for political reasons.

Every sports action leads to reaction. ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” was just one of the 18 or so hours’ worth of daily babblefests to address the issue. Tony Kornheiser, who once suggested that the Washington NFL team could keep the name if they changed their logo to a bowl of potato chips, concluded the segment devoted to the Kaep and the Washington mess with “If Colin Kaepernick stands for social justice, can he go to a team that signed Reuben Foster, can he go to a team named ‘the Redskins?’”

Well, geez, Tony, Jason, Booger and the rest of y’all, aren’t you for social justice? Aren’t you just as much against racism as you are against domestic violence? Words are your stock in trade: Don’t you think they mean something? Don’t you feel dirty every time you say the R-word? And if not, why not? Is it possible that you’re as much a victim of the NFL’s institutionalized racism as every other non-Native American? Most importantly, how can you demand that the NFL take social responsibility seriously when you positively reinforce the most obvious symbol of racial inequality in all of American sports, if not the entire popular culture?

No, wait: Let me guess. It’s likely that employees of ESPN, which is owned by Disney and beholden to the NFL by dint of a billion-dollar contract to produce Monday Night Football, are likely to be obliged, under unwritten agreement at least, to put as much positive spin on the NFL as possible. Naturally, ESPN personalities can speak out when the league ham-handles another case of violent physical abuse perpetuated by an NFL player, because that’s bad. But accepting that Washington team name as just another mascot that causes no harm to anyone is correct.

Proof of this came in 2015. As Disney looked to turn the so-called Worldwide Leader into another money-printing machine, layoffs came. The on-website or on-camera personalities that were jettisoned that year were, suspiciously, among those most critical of the NFL: Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd, Keith Olbermann (again) and Gregg Easterbrook, among others. Whether on the league’s blind eye to domestic abuse problems or the covering up of concussion-related issues, such dissent on matters for which the NFL might actually have to produce results to answer accountability is not to be tolerated.

But if you think it’s impossible not to slur Native American folks while still talking about the NFL, catch a few episodes of “Around the Horn.” Without broadcasting the fact, host Tony Reali does show after show in which Snyder et al’s latest follies are discussed regularly and yet *never mentions the racist team name.* Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

In any case, NFLbets has had it up to the frontal lobes with those claiming to care about “issues which affect us all” and proclaiming the “positive effects sports can have on society” while ignoring the incredible insensitivity of the institutionalized racism they celebrate. Against racial inequality and social injustice on all levels? Prove it, big talkers.


NFL final results ATS, week 13 (One Eye On the Playoffs Edition)

Tuesday, 04 December 2018 15:25 EST

Guess “homefield advantage” still really means something in the NFL: According to the bookmakers, a whopping five visitors – the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers – were reckoned to be favorites. All five lost ATS, and only the Chiefs won outright.

Throw in the Green Bay Packers’ most recent loss and subsequent dismissal of coach plus impressive wins by the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans, and NFLbets is already earmarking Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) for playoff matches.

Below runs a complete list of results for week 13 in NFLbets’ standard format, i.e. adjusted for the point spread; all results listed in boldface indicate games in which the SU winner did not cover the spread. Comments, questionable humor and the occasional salient point courtesy NFLbets writer/editor Os Davis.

• Dallas Cowboys 13, New Orleans Saints 2
• Jacksonville Jaguars 10, Indianapolis Colts 0
• Los Angeles Rams 20 at Detroit Lions 16
Defense has been legislated out of football? That Chiefs-Rams MNF game is the future of NFL heretofore and forever? Come on…

• Arizona Cardinals 20 at Green Bay Packers 3½. R.I.P. the Mike McCarthy Era in Green Bay. Now maybe Aaron Rodgers can stop half-assing plays he doesn’t want to run and make his team (4-7-1 ATS) safe to bet on again.

• Miami Dolphins 17½, Buffalo Bills 17. Seriously, if you had money on this game, you deserved the pain, anguish and sweat this ½-point win/loss produced – that’s why you bet on it, right? Right?!?!?!?

• Seattle Seahawks 33, San Francisco 49ers 16. The Seahawks are now bearing down hard on locking up the no. 5 spot in the NFC playoffs. This sets up the tantalizing possibilities of Seattle as a wild-card round underdog at Dallas or Chicago, either winnable SU, followed by a matchup against either Los Angeles or New Orleans, for which the point spread will be well too high. Go Seahwaks!

• Los Angeles Chargers 33 at Pittsburgh Steelers 27
• Baltimore Ravens 26 at Atlanta Falcons 13½.
NFLbets is also trying hard not to overtly cheer root for the Ravens to nip the AFC North title from the Steelers in order to set up both Baltimore and Pittsburgh for egregious ATS losses against ill-set point spreads in the AFC wild card round…

• Denver Broncos 20, Cincinnati Bengals 10. Incredibly enough, the Broncos look set to go at least 9-6, with their next three at San Francisco, vs Cleveland and at Oakland. Maybe we can’t get the Ravens and Steelers in the playoffs, after all. No matter: The Broncos will be fun to bet against come the postseason, too.

• New York Giants 23, Chicago Bears 16½. This Bears loss feels 100% typical of an overachieving team on its first playoff run. NFLbets is already liking their chances against the Patriots at least ATS next week, but could be doomed to early playoff failure if they draw, likesay, Seattle.

• Oakland Raiders 33, Kansas City Chiefs 26. Andy Reid should be thrilled about the Kareem Hunt suspension. Now when his team goes into its typical humdrum final quarter of the season followed by an unseemly quick playoff exit, fans’ll blame it all on Hunt’s absence.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Carolina Panthers 14. So much for the Panthers’ playoff hopes. If they can’t win on the road in Tampa Bay, well…

• Houston Texans 24, Cleveland Browns 13. How can this Texans team’s bandwagon be so bereft of passengers? It’s the logo, right? It’s gotta be the logo.

• New England Patriots 18, Minnesota Vikings 10. There’s no truth to the rumor that Adam Thielen wanted to know how the Patriots had run up the league’s second-best mark ATS before Bill Belichick told him to F*@*@ off.

• New York Jets 22 at Tennessee Titans 15½. At least the Titans won’t be embarrassingly backing into the playoffs this year.

• Philadelphia Eagles 22, Washington 13. Look out, everyone! The defending champs are making their move! (Or not.)

For an updated version of the NFL standings by ATS record, click here.

Take the Eagles minus the points (but plus the karma) vs Washington on Monday Night Football

Monday, 03 December 2018 16:01 EST

Now *this* is why they call it gambling. NFLbets wouldn’t normally bet this particular edition of Monday Night Football most weeks, but dangerously feels compelled to better our current 3-3 mark on official Best Bets for week 13. So yeah, we’ll be plunking a few more Moneys (NFLbets preferred form of currency) on the Eagles versus Washington tonight. (Though we’d advise you to read on, for a few hundred words might just flip our script.)

Obviously, our confidence isn’t exactly off the charts on the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, the strongest argument for covering Philly on MNF this week relies on backward-working logic. It goes something like this: The pretty awesome-looking Eagles of 2017 who snatched away a sixth Lombardi Trophy from the New England Patriots can’t have devolved in one season so much that they’ll miss the playoffs altogether, right? Far more likely that a SU win this week gets them to 6-6 and right back in the running for that no. 6 NFC playoff spot, right?

Wellllllllllllllllllllll … let’s just see what else we’ve got.

Washington feels particularly good to bet against right now with QB Alex Smith out for the year. After getting off to a nice 5-2 start ATS (then third-best in the NFL), they’ve cooled off to go 2-2 ATS since. The team has topped 23 points in a game just once this season (in week 3 against Green Bay) and is a measly 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS against teams above .500.

Of course, that last point again requires backward logic, assuming that the Eagles are a team of above .500-level quality despite the record showing otherwise…

Meanwhile, Washington’s only name player in Adrian Petersen has gone south with the rest of the team in the past four weeks, not once topped 70 total yards once in that span. Philadelphia’s run defense hasn’t suffered nearly as brutal a dropoff from 2017 as did some other aspects of the team, and oddly enough is not only no. 10 in rushing yardage allowed but is also no. 1 in rushing attempts against. Weird. Some may rightfully argue that Peterson hasn’t been notable in years – fair enough – but we bring him up here solely as a poster boy for the deserved karmic woes crippling this fetid franchise again.

While this team dropped several winnable games on the field, the Racists brain trust picked up alleged thug Rueben Foster and had franchise VP Doug Williams dismiss Foster’s alleged barbaric behavior as “small potatoes.” Nice. (Hey, wasn’t that expression once used in conjunction with another dipshit’s involvement in football…?)

Gah. The Eagles may not have much to speak of in the plus column here, but combined with the bad juju again amassed by the Washington football club, NFLbets maintains that Philadelphia’s a decent bet, if only so as their current 3-8 ATS record trends upward a bit to the norm; disappointment or no, few teams in the past 10 years have gone 5-11 or worse ATS, the Eagles’ current pace.

But the one factor that seals the deal on a pro-Eagles bet? These two teams meet again in week 17 in Washington, and we’re gonna hedge the f&^#&^ out of that game is we lose this one. Take the Philadelphia Eagles -6 at Washington.

Pick of the Week: Los Angeles Rams set to crush Detroit Lions, get shockingly rare ATS win

Sunday, 02 December 2018 10:01 EST

In a week of NFL betting loaded with away favorites, sure, we’ll go with the biggest of ’em all. For our Best Bet for Week 13, NFLbets is saying take the Los Angeles Rams -10 at the Detroit Lions.

NFL bets Los Angeles Rams logoThe trappings and stats indicating a healthy Rams win are all in place. Though this game in Detroit represents just the second trip east of the Mountain Time Zone for the Rams, playing inside certainly won’t hurt an offense scoring nearly 35½ points per game. If you’re really looking for the silver lining, one may point out that the Rams’ first away game in the east was also played in a dome and saw the Rams topped by the Saints, 45-35. Of course, the 2018 Detroit Lions are not the 2018 New Orleans Saints.

Also on the Rams’ side is the by week. Obviously, Sean McVay has not much history here, a.k.a. one tiny-ass sample size. In his debut season, L.A. exited the bye week with a 51-17 thumping of the New York Giants, who were already well on their way to a date with destiny and Saquon Barkley as the second-worst team in the league. Now, the 2018 Detroit Lions aren’t quite the 2017 New York Giants, but they’re no world-killers, either.

Among the notables from that insane week 11 Chiefs-Rams game was the lack of Todd Gurley. Naturally, Southern California sports media has been all over the stud halfback’s near no-show in the 105-point scorefest; reports far and wide provide little information but unanimously state Gurley’s 100% good to go against Detroit. About the best NFLbets can say about the Lions run defense is that at least it’s not the pass defense, a bottom-3 unit by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

But the no. 1 reason to bet the Rams this week? Their insane numbers against the spread in 2018. McVay’s guys are impressive as hell at 10-1 SU, having gone toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow with the likes of the Saints, Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks twice. In fact, beyond the Saints, the most challenging opponent faced by the Rams in 2018 has been the point spread. Their record ATS, however, is absolutely freakish at 4-5-2, having failed to cover the point spread on a SU win *six times* – This outlier is the outliest.

NFL bets Detroit Lions new logo(NFLbets’ recordkeeping on ATS marks is somewhat subjective in that the line is frozen for our purposes when we place the bet. Individual sportsbooks may have the Rams as good as 6-5 ATS or as poor as 4-7 ATS, both just as nuts as our reckoning…)

The Rams ATS mark comprises two factors, which NFL bettors may ascribe to the 4-5-2 in whatever proportion they so choose: First is the bookmakers just flat-out doing their job properly; second is the L.A. D’s infuriating inability to close out games against weaker opponents. Beyond the Chiefs and Seahawks (twice), the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers have all kept the Rams’ margin of victory inside a touchdown-plus-PAT – and L.A. was favored by 7-7½ against all three.

But wait! Activated for the game is Aqib Talib, whose presence could well prove to be the support pillar the Rams’ pass defense needs. What gives with Marcus Peters is anyone’s guess, but dude has been exposed all season by opposition receivers to the extent that the daunted, all-star Rams D ranks just 16th in overall DVOA and is 27th-“best” at allowing passing touchdowns. Deadly if opponents are inside their own 25, Los Angeles’s pass defense is as porous as any in the league as offenses march closer to the red zone. Talib has got to make a difference here, right?

NFLbets thinks so. The Rams haven’t had a nice blowout win since week 7’s immolation of the 49ers – the only non-prospective playoff team they’d seen since week 2, incidentally – in San Francisco. Currently on a lowly 1-5-2 ATS run, the Rams are simply too good for such trends to continue. This could get ugly for the Lions…

NFLbets’ Pick of Week record in 2018: 5-4-1.