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Week 8 Best Bets: Betting on blowouts and low-scoring affairs

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 13:35 EST

According to My Bookie and every other sportsbook out there, week 8 of the 2019 NFL season will be characterized by blowouts and/or low-scoring games. That’s just fine and dandy with NFLbets, as we see much opportunity in Vegas’s pessimistic outlook.

Or maybe we’re just overconfident after NFLbets’ Picks of the Week are on an 11-3 run the past three weeks. NFL bettors may therefore take the following with the relevant grains of salt. Speaking (writing?) of overconfidence, once again is NFLbets taking on Thursday Night Football betting again, namely

Washington +16½ at Minnesota Vikings, over/under 42 points

There’s that magic 16½-point spread from which just one team has even won SU – ironically, the Buffalo Bills against these Vikings last season. With a little more betting, this line might drop to Washington +17, a handicap which no NFL team has ever won SU against, says the point spread conversion table.

Adding to the complexity of betting on a 16½-point spread is the recent reversal in Thursday Night Football betting trends: Whereas in 2016-17, underdogs won SU seven times of 29 for a winning percentage of just .241 on TNF (as opposed to the league norm of .326), ’dogs are 15-7 SU – you read that right – in 2018 and ’19 thus far.

Against the spread, favorites in 2016-17 were 18-10-1 for a .638 winning percentage, significantly above the expected .550 mark. Favorites in 2018-19 are just 9-12-1 ATS, but the home team is 12-9-1 ATS, implying that, during the last 22 games, this particular stat is only useful for home underdogs on TNF.

Balancing out all the uncertainty about Minnesota covering here is one unassailable fact: Washington is brutally bad. NFLbets wonders from whom Washington will score points even if the Vikings purely coast; these guys have scored 42 points combined in their past five games. Minnesota could easily get the shutout here but still lose ATS, as did the 49ers last week. Take the under on an O/U of 42 points.

“Los Angeles” Chargers -4 at Chicago Bears, over/under 40½ points

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At least this one’s easy. We laid down the loose guideline to cover the under in any Bears game until further notice. Naturally, the over is the expected 3-3 in Bears games, and the over hit in both the London game against the Raiders and last week’s destruction by the Saints. However, with Phillip Rivers again amassing more sacks than TD passes on one side and Mitch Trubisky demoralizing his own team on the other, the under is back, baby! Take the under on an O/U of 40½ points.

New York Jets +5½ at U.K. Jaguars, over/under 41½ points

It’s time for another hallowed NFL betting tradition: The breaking out of stats on the Jacksonville Jaguars playing in their second home. NFLbets doesn’t like to lean on history too much for insight into current games, but we’ll make an exception for the UK games due to the special relationship between the Jags and London, not to mention the difference experience makes on this game.

So since the Jaguars/NFL games in London became rote in 2013, the Jaguars are – you guessed it – 3-3 SU/ATS at Wembley. However, the stat we dig lots more is the over/under record in UK Jags games, i.e. the over is 5-1, with the first under hitting last year by 2 points.

But, hey, take the location out of the equation altogether. The Jaguars haven’t scored 27 points all season, Minshu Miracle aside; and just when the generally discombobulated Jets showed signs of life against the Cowboys two weeks ago, that bitchslapping given them by the Patriots last week certainly (dare we say it?) deflated the morale there back to week 1 levels. So we’re saying take the Jacksonville Jaguars -5½ vs the Jets in London, and take the under on an O/U of 41½ points.

Cleveland Browns +13½ at New England Patriots

And a very easy one! Sure, the Patriots are playing (very) shorthanded on offense and the Browns indeed have a pretty decent pass rush, but just ask yourself this one question: Is there a single bigger coaching mismatch possible in the 2019 NFL than Bill Belichick versus Freddy Kitchens? Come on, there’s a reason this point spread is this high. Take the New England Patriots -13½ vs Cleveland.

Cincinnati Bengals +13½ at Los Angeles Rams

The accolades of coaching genius are not flying quite as fast and furiously in Sean McVay’s direction as they once were; thus NFLbets will not make a similar comparison as that above between McVay and the 12th President of the United States, Zac Taylor. Like Kitchens, Taylor is a promoted quarterbacks coach clearly in over his head.

Everything is lining up Rams for this game. They’ve just received morale boosts from an intake of new talent before the trade deadline and last week’s win over the Falcons – and this week actually play in front of a real homefield crowd. Though Jared Goff (justifiably) takes much flak for rampant turnovers and poor decision making, L.A. has scored 27 or more points in five of seven games in 2019, whereas the Bengals have yet to top 23.

Finally, from the Emperor Wears No Clothes Department, note that, since last season’s much-ballyhooed 105-point game against the Chiefs, the Rams are 5-1 against teams with losing records, 4-5 against all others. The course is clear: Take the Los Angeles Rams -13½ vs Cincinnati.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-0.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 18-12.

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NFL Week 7 results ATS: Homefield disadvantage

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 12:57 EST

Rough week for home teams, eh? In week 7, the visitors were a big 9-4-1 Against The Spread (ATS) and San Francisco might’ve made it 10-3-1 had not conditions been so ridiculous in Washington. For weeks 8 and 9, NFL bettors will definitely want to keep an eye on this week’s four home winners: Washington, Indianapolis, Dallas and Green Bay; all except Washington will likely receive exaggerated point spreads.

NFLbets’ roundup of week 7 results with scores adjusted for point spreads runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

Kansas City Chiefs 27 at Denver Broncos 6. Playing in Denver may be an advantage in the actual games themselves, but it’s strictly Rocky Mountain Low ATS: Since 2005, Elway’s guys are second-worst in the league ATS, “topped” only by the Oakland Raiders, whose record in this stat should really reset to 0-0 as the Las Vegas Raiders. Thus far this year, the Broncos are a surprising 3-1 ATS at home but this loss is probably the first of, likesay, five in 2019.

Green Bay Packers 36½, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders 24. And speaking of the Raiders, Chucky & Co. fell to Aaron Rodgers’s fantasy fantasy football day. Nothing makes any NFL bettor or fan await the following Sunday like a statistically bombastic performance by a quarterback which elicits GOAT conversations. Already NFLbets is leaning against the Packers next week, with their surely bloated point spread.

Baltimore Ravens 30 at Seattle Seahawks 13. Then there’s Lamar Jackson and his Baltimore Ravens whupping Russell Wilson’s guys in Seattle. Watch the hype on the Ravens this week. Watch Wilson’s odds in the “To Win NFL MVP” proposition bet widen. And watch Baltimore lose and Seattle win ATS next time out.

• Miami Dolphins 21 at Buffalo Bills 14. “How about them DOLPHINS?!?!?!??!!!” said no one in 2019.

Los Angeles Rams 34 at Atlanta Falcons 10. How much longer can Dan Quinn possibly hold onto his job based on “we took the Patriots to overtime in that one Super Bowl”? NFL bettors hope he stays on a little longer as Atlanta head coach, because at 1-6 ATS, the Falcons have been a pleasure to bet against all season long. Some goes for Doug Pederson over there in Philadelphia.

Dallas Cowboys 34, Philadelphia Eagles 10. The Cowboys are for real! No, they aren’t! Yes, they are! (The truth is that Dallas is 3-0 SU/ATS against the NFC East, 1-3 SU/ATS against all others.) As for the Eagles, at least they’ve got no worries about their so-called competition catching them. To wit:

• Arizona Cardinals 27 at New York Giants 17½. How does a team allow 27 points on 260 total yards of offense? Also, how does an offensive line allow eight sacks?

• Washington 10, San Francisco 49ers 9. As the 49ers were favored by 10 in this game, NFLbets seriously considered posting a spread-adjusted score of minus-1 to zero, which was probably the total number of net yards each team managed in the first half of this slogfest. Here’s to hoping you banged the under when you saw/read about these field conditions.

• Indianapolis Colts 28½, Houston Texans 23. Yep, NFLbets regrets not one iota the decision to avoid betting on these AFC South interdivisional games…

• Minnesota Vikings 39½ at Detorit Lions 30. NFLbets had the Lions pegged for the NFL’s trap team in 2019, i.e. that team which gets off to an overachieving first-half start against an easy schedule, only to tip the crowded bandwagon by losing, likesay, five of the last six games. But it seems the Lions will begin losing long before the homestretch after all.

• New Orleans Saints 36 at Chicago Bears 21. Considered the fickleness of fandom and the short-term memory of sports media, NFLbets is rather surprised that no one’s suggesting a quarterback controversy brewing in New Orleans.

• Jacksonville Jaguars 23 at Cincinnati Bengals 17. After eking out a victory against a winless team, folks are bullish on the Jags again? Come on…

• “Los Angeles” Chargers 20 at Tennessee Titans 20. Even if CBS tried to force feed this to audiences in Southern California, Arizona, Minesota and Hawaii, was anyone outside of Tennessee watching this game? For that matter, with a NASCAR race on a competing network, was anyone *in* Tennessee watching this game?

• New England Patriots 23½ at New York Jets 0. Was Adam Gase trying to save his job with a sense of humor in declining consecutive penalties in the fourth quarter? Busted NFLbets up, for sure…

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Week 7 NFL Best Bets: Betting Vikings-Lions, Ravens-Seahawks

Saturday, 19 October 2019 10:48 EST

So NFLbets is still trying to dig ourselves out of the unprofitable hole we’ve dug ourselves on these Best Bets thus far in 2019. To be fair, however, we are 4-3 in the past three weeks after making wagers we had no business placing so early in the season. (Think we’ll learn in time for next year? Ha!)

But we’re feeling as confident as ever, with a couple of seriously attractive lines in play on the NFL week 7 slate. NFLbets bets (so to speak/write) that we’ll be up after the dust settles on Monday night via wagering on…

Minnesota Vikings -2 at Detroit

This line started the week as Minnesota +1 until bettors hammered home the notion that the ’spread was silly and thus have kicked it down a full field goal in the other direction. NFLbets understands the hesitance of sportsbooks to make the Vikings bigger favorites, as both of these teams have been killing point spreads one-third of the way through the season.

Detroit is 4-1 ATS (2-2-1 SU) this season, putting the Lions among the top 4 in the stat, along with fellow overperformers the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1), San Francisco 49ers (4-1) and Buffalo Bills (4-1). Additionally, Detroit’s currently on a 4-0 run ATS as underdogs in every game; Matt Patricia and the Lions are also apparently employing a handful of dark magic spells, as few remain unamazed by this team’s ability to stay in games. The most incredible stat thus far from Detroit? No 2019 Lions game has been decided by more than 4 points, with the average margin of victory 2.2. The average 2019 Lions game thus far.

(And Detroit might even be 3-1-1 SU right now, good for top spot in a surprisingly tough NFC North, if the referees had been on their side against Green Bay last weekend. Not that NFLbets had the Lions in a pick ’em pool or anything…)

Meanwhile, the Vikings have suddenly emerged as the team that NFL bettors and fans alike have awaited for, likesay, three years. Minnesota has run up a 4-2 ATS/SU record, including a whopping 3-0 ATS/SU mark at home – including last week’s nice 24½-20 spread-adjusted win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

NFLbets doesn’t want to go small sample size here, but the Eagles game was demonstrative of a winning Vikings game plan going forward. Get Kirk Cousins an early lead so as to rely on that top-5 rushing (by committee); 30 rushing plays versus 29 passes turned out absolutely perfect for Minnesota, after all. The Lions defense looks vulnerable to such an attack, with below-average stats against the pass and bottom-10 against the run.

In fact, the single outstanding characteristic of Detroit’s game is the blitz-happy defense and its ability to get behind the line: The Lions are tops in tackles for a loss, rank 5th in turnovers and average 2.0 sacks per game. Cousins won’t tolerate serious pressure well – in losses to the rush-bringing Packers and Bears, Cousins was sacked 7 times and the offense produced 6 TOs, including two of Cousins’s three interceptions this year.

But you know what? The Lions D isn’t the Packers’ or Bears’. And though the Vikings’ offensive line ranks just 22nd in pass protection per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, they’ve protected Cousins well enough since the Minnesota WRs called out their QB for weak play – funny how that happens. Take the Minnesota Vikings -2 at Detroit.

Baltimore Ravens +3½ at Seattle

NFLbets knows folks aren’t supposed to cheer for a player injury – though we suspect more than one DFS player is sociopathic enough – but those who bet on Russell Wilson in the “To Win NFL MVP” prop aren’t exactly in mourning over Patrick Mahomes missing a few weeks. (Do you realize that Wilson went off this season at 20/1 odds in this prop? Nice.)

And after getting past a scare or three to defeat the Browns in Cleveland last week, Wilson, Pete Carroll & Co. are certainly looking forward to drawing the Ravens in Seattle this Sunday.

At 4-2 SU (2-4 ATS), the Ravens aren’t exactly at the point of “reeling” yet, but the most impressive game these guys have played this season was a 33-28 loss to Mahomes’s Chiefs in week 3. Baltimore is 4-0 SU against losing teams, including Miami, Arizona and Cincinnati. The Ravens couldn’t cover the spread against the Steelers playing with a third-string QB, the Cardinals playing without a defense, and the Bengals playing without a team. NFLbets is certainly not expecting Baltimore to hang with this Seahawks team.

Even beyond the obvious eye-test qualities of Ravens at Seahawks, one stat should get NFL bettors to virtually run, not walk, to the nearest sportsbook. First, NFLbets will confirm that Seattle’s perceived homefield advantage is very real. From 2005 to 2018, the Seahawks ran up a quite incredible 72-50-6 mark ATS; this is bested only by – you guessed it – the New England Patriots at 75-48-5.

(Incidentally, a tangent here to slaughter a sacred cow: At 51-69-8, the Denver Broncos posted the third-*worst* record ATS over the aforementioned 14-year span. This is likely due to the perception that mile-high Denver provides such an innate advantage, and proper NFL bettors should now adjust mentalities accordingly.)

The key stat: The Seahwaks are 0-3 ATS in Seattle this year. This could be one of the easiest bets of the 2019: Take the Seattle Seahawks -3 vs Baltimore.

NFLbets’ Best Bets last week: 1-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 5-8.

–written by Os Davis

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NFL Week 7 picks: Ride or Die Raiders, Rams Skepticism

Friday, 18 October 2019 16:26 EST

Who’s ready for week 7? NFLbets is, as our Picks of the Week are beginning to consistently cash in – good thing we don’t believe in jinxes, eh? – and some good opportunities are out there for NFL bettors. This despite no Tampa Bay Buccaneers game; bang goes that weekly over bet!

We’ll print our Best Bets tomorrow, and the following are some other good Picks of the Week, games that we’re digging on not so much for the viewing but the potential winnings. Enjoy and good luck!

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +5½ at Green Bay Packers

Prior to Monday Night’s game in which the Packers and Referees (oooooh, did he just say/write that?) squeaked by the Detroit Lions game, Green Bay was favored by as much as 7½ at mainstream sportsbooks. This line shed a full point after the MNF game, and by Friday 3pm ET, that line now reads Raiders +5½.

In terms of biological consideration, the advantage is all Raiders’. Oakland/Vegas is coming off a bye after the “home” game in London, while Green Bay is playing on a six-day week. Is that enough to balance some significant mismatches?

Completely viscerally speaking, NFLbets just doesn’t get any serious thinking devoted to the Raiders. Sure, they’re 3-2 SU/ATS and might even be, insanely enough, favorites to near-favorites to win the AFC West with Patrick Mahomes out.

However, the Vegas Raiders (sounds fantastic) were manhandled by their best competition, the Mahomes-led Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings. They beat Denver, whose fall to the bottom of the West will be broken by the “Los Angeles” Chargers, and the Bears in a game which proves none of us should ever beat those U.K. games. The Colts game was a quality win, fair enough, but even after six weeks NFLbets is simply not yet buying these Raiders.

I mean, stats don’t lie, right? The truth is that these Raiders are not outstanding – or even well above average – in nearly every aspect of the game. Outstanding draft choice Josh Jacobs has the team in the top-10 in rushing yardage and yards per attempt. And Derek Carr, beyond his general weak statistics, has only thrown 3 interceptions in 161 attempts. While the latter could well be shut down by the Green Bay D (more on this momentarily), the former may be the Raiders’ sole chance at the upset win (or even the ATS win, for that matter).

Green Bay is in general enjoying their best year defensively since the glory days of Brett Favre. The turnover differential has been particularly excellent: Six different players have already notched at least one interception along with six fumbles forced. Carr has run up his nice interception ratio against inferior pass Ds, rather than the Packers’ ballhawks.

(Incidentally, as good as Carr’s efficiency has been, Aaron Rodgers has lost just 2 interceptions against *219* attempts.)

In the final analysis, then, simply nothing indicates that the 1-1 ATS Raiders can keep this to within a touchdown; this might even get ugly. Take the Green Bay Packers -5½ vs the Raiders.

L.A. Rams -3 at Atlanta Falcons, over/under 55 points

Okay, NFLbets feels your skepticism already; we’ll increase it even further by spoiling that we’re going with the Rams. Yes, Los Angeles is on an ugly three-game SU (1-2 ATS) run during which they surrendered 55 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and managed just 7 points on 48 passing yards against the San Francisco 49ers.

As weak as Jared Goff looked last week, the Rams can’t help but score points this season. As the Falcons have surrendered at least 20 points in every game to date, whereas L.A. has topped three TDs in every except against the Niners.

Want more reason for skepticism? Great: We’re ready to back the Rams on psychological grounds: This week’s acquisitions of Jalen Ramsey, Kenny Young and Austin Corbett might not pay immediate dividends, but NFLbets believes the mere addition of new blood to the average offensive line, underachieving linebackers and brutal secondary is enough to push the Rams through a manageable bit of upcoming schedule: this week at Atlanta, then vs Cincinnati in London, bye, at Pittsburgh, vs Chicago, vs Baltimore.

As defending NFC champions, the Rams have been quite underwhelming, but the Falcons have morphed into, like the Dolphins, Bengals and Washington, essentially a practice squad. Why else would the bookmakers set the over/under at 53 in a game involving a team which managed just one TD the week before? The growth of this line to 55 – while the point spread has been completely stable – shows us how much NFL bettors think the Atlanta defense will open the turnstile to L.A.’s offense.

The sole argument for betting the Falcons in this matchup, in fact, may be the good old regression to the mean. Atlanta is a pitiful 1-5 ATS this season, a record seemingly crying for a regression bet, but these Falcons may yet be bad enough to finish at 5-11 ATS or so. (Hell, the Chargers, Dolphins and Washington are all 1-4 ATS or worse – so you wanna bet on them, too?)

Take the Los Angeles Rams -3 at Atlanta, and take the under on an O/U of 55 points.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 4-2.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 15-12.

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NFL Week 7 (TNF) Thursday Night Football - Chiefs at Broncos

Thursday, 17 October 2019 16:51 EST

Now this is one classic Thursday Night Football betting conundrum: Do you run with the team picked by many for at least the AFC championship game but coming off two straight losses? Or do you side with a team expected to be a bottom-5 or -10 team on a two-game winning streak and enjoying a sizable homefield advantage? This is what awaits NFL bettors in

Kansas City Chiefs -3 vs Denver Broncos, over/under 48½ points

According to at least one source, nearly 80% of the money has come in on Kansas City, which in and of itself should set off a red alert. So the Broncos aren’t exactly entering this game with a lot of reputation and they’re still sitting at just 2-4 SU – but they’re coming off a shutout in which the offense played just 58 snaps, a meaningful number in relation to the 4-day rest prior to this game.

Meanwhile, the rather surprisingly bad Kansas City defense was on the field for over 10 minutes in the 4th quarter alone as DeShaun Watson and the Texans had their way; hardly a shocker from a D ranked dead last in opponent time of possession and first downs surrendered, but certainly of note. Again, four days’ rest.

Those beating on K.C. are also likely touting Patrick Mahomes’ 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS) lifetime record against the Broncos, though each win was within 7 points and the first of the three wins came in week 17 of 2017, a meaningless game in Mahomes’s “rookie” year. But here’s a balancing stat: Against Andy Reid-coached teams, QB Joe Flacco is 1-3 SU but 4-0 ATS.

But against those two undefeated streaks is the evilest stat of all: Thus far into 2019, the Broncos are just 1-2 ATS away, meaning, that’s right, they’re 3-0 at home.

Then we can factor in all the “goodies” that TNF games produce. For Denver, Emmanuel Sanders left last week in the first half, so he’ll not be at 100%, while Mahomes still appears to be nursing an ankle injury.

All in all, the numbers just keep evening out. The temptation is to cover a Chiefs win on the Money Line (ML) at -180 and cover the Broncos +3, but NFLbets just doesn’t trust TNF games enough to likesay, make that sort of investment. So we’re going to ignore the point spread altogether and reckon on one of two eventualities paying off: 1) Fatigue and high-altitude rule, resulting in (at least) a very low-scoring first half on the way to a typical Thursday night score and/or 2) the frankly less-talented Broncos show their true colors against an above-.500 team – Denver’s 0-3 SU (1-2 ATS) against winning teams thus far.

So take the under on an O/u of 48½ points and hope against fluke touchdowns.

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NFL Week 6 (ATS) - NFL Betting Point Spreads

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 15:52 EST

“I don’t mean to brag, but I’m the greatest.” – Sydney Deane, White Men Can’t Jump

Every season, it takes NFLbets a little while to get going, but by week 5 or 6 had better should always have a good enough feel for the NFL – not to mention a large enough sample size to trend – to start turning profits consistently.

Sure enough, in week 6, we gave you the New York Jets covering against Dallas, the Houston Texans winning SU at Kansas City and the Tennessee Titans/Denver Broncos scoring under. Baltimore and Washington both gave up late scores and thus the backdoor covers, but that’s what NFL bets gets for betting against the confounding Bengals (they’re 0-6 SU but 3-3 ATS) and on the just brutal Washington against anybody in 2019.

All right, so enough with the bragging. Let’s get ready to make more moneys next week after taking one last look at NFLbets’ roundup of week 6 results with scores adjusted for point spreads, runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

• New England Patriots 18½, New York Giants 14
• New York Jets 24, Dallas Cowboys 14½
• Minnesota Vikings 24½, Philadelphia Eagles 20
Miami Dolphins 17, Washington 14½.

Yea, look thee not upon yon pitiable NFC North teams – unless you want to bet against any one of them, that is: As though this foursome’s combined 9-15 SU record isn’t enough weaksauce for you, the record ATS is an even gaunter 8-16. Already NFL bettors should be looking forward to betting on the no. 5 seed (San Francisco? Seattle? Minnesota? Chicago?) in the first round of the NFC playoffs.

• Arizona Cardinals 34, Atlanta Falcons 30. Hey, did you know that Kyler Murray is the Cardinals’ quarterback? How about that.

• Houston Texans 27 at Kansas City Chiefs 24
• Denver Broncos 13½, Tennessee Titans 0. You gotta love underdogs on the rise – and now is the time to start considering wagering on a Texans Super Bowl future. With our postseason props, NFLbets’d certainly dig on a Seahawks-Texans Super Bowl…

• New Orleans Saints 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars 3½. This week’s lightening bandwagon is that of the Jaguras, thereby providing NFL bettors enough space to pile on for at Cincinnati and vs the New York Jets before the Jags let down fans and sharps alike with an emphatic loss in London.

• Carolina Panthers 35, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24. We can’t blame you for staying away from this game, though taking the over in Buccaneers games is still a fantastic bet in any week of 2019…

• Pittsburgh Steelers 24 at Los Angeles Chargers 11. The NFL has really got to find a substitute for “at” in games played at the Chargers’ soccer stadium. The only thing differentiating this game from any played in Pittsburgh was the weather – and worse yet, Phillip Rivers & Co. have forgotten how to win on the road as well (though are 2-1 ATS outside of L.A.).

• Cincinnati Bengals 17 at Baltimore Ravens 12½. Whatever happened to that high-flying team that rang up 59 points in week 1 against the … o, never mind.

• Seattle Seahawks 31 at Cleveland Browns 28. Mini-Belichick/Brady (a.k.a. Carroll/Wilson) aren’t exactly making it look easy, but they’re piling up the SU wins in a way that’s making NFLbets really happy about betting on the Seahawks at 30/1 early. For those who didn’t take an early flyer, note: Seattle is currently 0-3 in home games, an outlier stat that will certainly balance out quickly.

• San Francisco 49ers 20 at Los Angeles Rams 4. ’Member when the team that lost the Super Bowl always missed the playoffs the following season? Yeeeeeah, I ’member!

• Detroit Lions 22 at Green Bay Packers 20½. Detroit now on a 4-0 run ATS and, hilariously enough, with the Lions’ sole loss ATS coming in the week 1 tie with Arizona. You know what that means: You’re getting ready to pony up on Vikings -1 at Detroit in week 7…

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NFLbets' Best Bets for week 6: My, what big point spreads you have!

Sunday, 13 October 2019 09:51 EST

A ridiculous run of double-digit point spreads has deluged NFL betting in 2019 through five weeks, thanks to the likes of a certain three bottom-feeders plus those hard-luck New York Jets.

How wacky have things been? Since 1970, just 27 NFL games to date have kicked off with a point spread of 18 points or higher. NFL bettors hadn’t seen such since 2013, and we’ve already had three in ’19 – and we’re certain to see more, as Washington and Miami are particularly terrible, while the Cincinnati Bengals may shed what’s left of their top talent before the trade deadline.

NFLbets has gotten to the point (so to speak) where we expect these huge numbers, as a squall of blowouts fills the league scoreboard weekly. So after considering the games everyone wants to bet, we based our Best Bet(s) on a couple point spreads which, in wacky 2019, we think could be substantially higher.

Dallas Cowboys -7½ at New York Jets

The Jets’ current situation just doesn’t do justice to the well-worn cliché “ravaged by injuries.” C.J. Mosely – he of the team’s largest salary – won’t play again this week, and the defense is further wounded in playing (if at all) Quentin Williams and Jordan Jenkins hurt. Kelechi Osemele’s absence further hurts the offensive line.

But you know what? NFLbets just doesn’t trust the favorite in this one. It’s not merely that the return of Sam Darnold should certainly invigorate an offense that’s certainly better than its gaunt showing thus far. It’s that the Cowboys are so poorly coached as to elicit no confidence whatsoever. Whoever is deciding that Dak Prescott throwing into coverage in the fourth quarter is a winning strategy needs to go. (It doesn’t appear to be Jason Garrett, who’s handed over responsibility for play-calling to others and has solf-promoted to the position of head Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.)

The point spread in this game has been driven a full point from opening at Cowboys -6½, but this has got to be flowing in from Dallas homers, Jets detractors and big spread lovers. We’re going against the flow here: Take the New York Jets +7½ vs Dallas.

Cincinnati Bengals -10½ at Baltimore Ravens

Now this favorite, NFLbets can get behind. The mass exodus from the Ravens bandwagon proceeds apace, much too hastily, in our opinion. Sure, the SU loss against Cleveland wasn’t great, but sandwiching this was an ATS win in a shootout with high-scoring Kansas City and an OT SU win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Once again, we are reminded that public opinion should mean diddly squat to the proper NFL bettor.

The Ravens await the poor Bengals in week 6 with some majorly gaudy offensive statistics: How about 441.4 total yards per game, including a ridiculous 192.2 rushing ypg. Cincinnati’s defense is predictably bottom-10 in most statistical categories, but playing from behind much of the defense has put then in the bottom-5 in most rushing stats. Hell, the Bengals have already given up more than 250 rushing yards in a game twice this season; here’s the thinking Mark Ingram is a very popular start in fantasy football this week, and we can only imagine what Lamar Jackson might do against these guys.

Readers of NFLbets know we try not to put too much stock in history, what with team rosters and coaching staffs so fluid. The Bengals are on a 4-1 ATS (3-2 SU) run against the Ravens, certainly due in great part to Ravens teams taking a sub-.500 division mate for granted. But this just isn’t the Cincinnati team to be pulling off this upset. Take the Baltimore Ravens -10½ vs Cincinnati.

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NFLbets’ week 6 picks: Betting on a scoreboard-spinner, a snoozefest and two trainwrecks

Saturday, 12 October 2019 11:36 EST

Excuse NFLbets while we pat ourselves on the back, but our 4-1 record for “Picks of the Week” was easily the most success we’ve seen in 2019, getting us back over breaking even. The proper bettor shouldn’t let one good week go to the head, so neither will we – after all, this kind of performance should be expected. As we enter into the second-third of the season, we’d better know enough about these teams or we just shouldn’t be betting at all.

And that’s not going to happen. As evidenced by these, NFLbets’ Picks of the Week for week 6 in NFL betting…

Houston Texans +4 at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 55 points

First off, taking the over in this game is too easy – thus highly dangerous and NFLbets won’t be throwing any moneys there.

The 55 points could be considered purely a byproduct of the simple “points scored” statistic, which produces a “final score” of Chiefs 29.3, Texans 26.2. (Surprising the over/under wasn’t set at 55½. Hmmm…) In 2018, the Chiefs won 42-34 in Houston, and the Kansas City defense isn’t quite as porous as usual in the Andy Reid era, currently surrendering 22.6 points per game against a reasonably tough schedule (at Jacksonville, at Oakland, vs Baltimore, at Detroit, vs Indianapolis).

But NFLbets smells a rat here. Call us crazy, call us irresponsible, but NFLbets is among the few who believes that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ 13-point, zero passing TD performance was not a massive outlier. We’re not saying that K.C.’s spinning in a graveyard spiral on the way to 9-7 SU and missing the playoffs, but did anyone honestly believe that this team would score 30+ per game forever?

In week 6, the Chiefs will be playing without OL Andrew Wylie, who had already been playing out of position due to OT Eric Fisher’s injury in week 2. Tyreek Hill may be back this week, but recent history shows that reintegration of “skill players” doesn’t always translate to instant success (Melvin Gordon, anyone…?) Normally, Mahomes might not fear the aggressive and counterproductive Houston defense – the Texans rank 4th in tackles for loss, and are top-10 in passing yards, sacks and interceptions – he just may not be as prolific when improvising or in the pocket.

This must be the reasoning behind all the money coming in on Houston: This point spread started the week at Chiefs -8. The Texans are playing at nearly full strength, missing only center Greg Mancz, who got a concussion in week 4; however, Mancz has played only one full game in 2019, and Nick Martin’s been doing a decent enough job; Deshaun Watson has yet to fumble off a snap, and the Houston OL actually managed to keep their QB sack-free last week.

The numbers say that the Texans are just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 road games, but we’re thinking regression here. Watson could have a field day against a pretty damn ineffective D which is bottom-5 in stat categories like first downs allowed, rushing yardage and opponent’s time of possession. The Kansas City defense relies primarily on turnovers – they’re 9th in the NFL in that statistic – for stops, but the Chiefs haven’t faced a top-30 receiver yet this year. And all the Texans are bringing are DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, who are averaging 149.4 yards and one TD per game combined.

NFLbets is riding the wave of bettors here: Take the Houston Texans +4 at Kansas City, and the Texans money line (ML) at +175 is mighty tempting, too…

Tennessee Titans -2½ at Denver Broncos

NFL bettors definitely need an excuse to watch a Tennessee Titans game this season, and it says here that no better excuse exists than a wager – against the Titans, that is.

Just as we’re not ready to proclaim the Chiefs extinct, we’re not about to call the 2019 Denver Broncos a contender or even a .500 ballclub, but after last week’s 20-13 win at the “Los Angeles” Chargers, we’re believing that the Broncs are competent enough to again exploit their mile-high homefield advantage. The Broncos in Denver are 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS, the latter because the sportsbook inexplicably set them as favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 4.

As has been the case in recent years, the Denver defense remains top-10 quality statistically, allowing 21.2 points and 338.6 total yards per game. The Tennessee offense is again fairly well average – except in one category: Turnovers, and specifically interceptions. Very quietly, Marcus Mariota has thrown for 17 TDs while tossing exactly zero picks. Luckily for Denver, this area is hardly their forte, anyway. This defense has produced admirably, but incredibly rank just 29th in total turnovers: a proverbial “bend don’t break” posture.

The main issue for Denver plays well into the NFL bettor’s favor, too; lest we forget, football is still all about the points scored. Defend Joe Flacco if you can (he’s got a career high in completion percentage going!), but the truth is the Broncos offense has been “good” for a measly 18.0 ppg thus far in 2019. Fair enough, they’ve seen some top-notch defenses this season (Jacksonville, Chicago, Green Bay), but this is clearly one anemic offense.

But again, it’s Denver. And mediocre teams should never win ATS in Denver. Take the Denver Broncos +2½ vs Tennessee, and definitely take the under on an O/U of 40½ points.

Washington -3½ at Miami Dolphins, over/under 42 points

Unlike watching that snoozefest of a Titans-Broncos game that will require wagering to justify, tuning into the 2019 Toilet Bowl should be freakin’ awesome. NFLbets will be tuning in to enjoy the devastation, and we’ll throw a few moneys at the game as well. We will, not, however, be expending a lot of verbiage in this space because these two trainwrecks just ain’t worth it.

We won’t be playing the over/under in this game, since enough turnovers – both offenses are bottom-5 in the statistical category, and how in Lombardi’s name is Miami not dead last? – could produce more accidental scoring and/or red zone opportunities than NFL bettors are accounting for. In fact, we’re counting on some chaos ball here and so are covering a proposition bet: I the “Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown Scored” prop, take YES for a +220 payout.

On a purely psychological level, meanwhile, NFLbets is figuring that Washington will be so relieved to be finally over the questionable-of-competence Jay Gruden that – gasp! – some talent may shine through. Whereas the Dolphins are still attempting to trade away any remaining NFL talent they may have. I mean, there’s a reason that Miami is a 3½-point underdog at home after a bye week … Take Washington -3½ at Maimi.

NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 4-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 11-10.

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Introducing NFLbets' NFL pointspread conversion table

Wednesday, 09 October 2019 15:54 EST

Point spread betting not only gives the average NFL bettor a punter’s chance (so to speak) every week, but also assures that the house will, on a given week, maximize profit. Thanks to the built-in “vigorish” or “vig”, the sportsbook wins a minimum of 10% on almost every single NFL game.

The point spread is designed to create a case where half of the bettors will choose one team and the other half of the bettors make wagers on the other. Moving the ’spreads a ½-point over -3 can in some cases swing the number of bets to be placed on the other side.

Point spread betting: Magic numbers and trends

Magic numbers in NFL football – for reasons of both frequency of occurrence and the increasingly common teaser bets – are +/-3, 6, 7, 14 and 17. Setting a point spread of over 17 on any NFL game is more or less considered taboo, and the Buffalo Bills’ win over the Minnesota Vikings as 16½-point underdogs in 2018 is considered the biggest straight-up upset in the history of the point spread.

Since 1940, just 22 games have had a point spread set at 17 or more points. Crazier yet, 17 of those 22 happened between 1984 and 1992, and a nearly 27-year gap would pass before the next occurred in 2019 (New England Patriots -18 at Miami). After that, the 22nd happened … the following week (Dallas Cowboys -22 vs Miami).

The below chart represents statistics derived from NFL games since 1970. For each point spread between 0 points (a.k.a. “pick ’em”) and that magic 17, the percentage change of the favorite and underdog each winning SU. Now, keep in mind that these numbers exist solely in a vacuum. Home field advantage, for example, adds a 2.2% chance of winning in any given game – again, all things being equal.

NFL Football Pointspread conversion table: ATS vs SU

Point spread

Favorite

Win %age

Underdog

Win %age

0

50.0%

50.0%

1

51.4%

48.6%

52.6%

47.4%

2

53.6%

46.4%

54.6%

45.4%

3

59,5%

40,5%

64.4%

35.6%

4

65.9%

34.1%

67.4%

32.6%

5

68.2%

31.8%

69.1%

31.0%

6

70.8%

29.3%

72,5%

27.6%

7

75.3%

24.7%

78.2%

21.8%

8

79.2%

20.8%

80.3%

19.7%

9

80.8%

19.2%

81.2%

18.8%

10

83.7%

16.3%

10½

86.1%

13.9%

11

87.2%

12.8%

11½

88.3%

11.7%

12

88.6%

11,5%

12½

88.8%

11.2%

13

89.4%

10.6%

13½

90.1%

9.9%

14

92.5%

7.5%

14½

95.0%

5.0%

15

95.7%

4.3%

15½

96.4%

3.6%

16

98.2%

1.8%

16½

99.9%

0.1%

17 +

100.0%

0.0%


NFL week 5 ATS results: Thursday Night wounds NFL bettors, Chiefs loss finishes 'em off

Wednesday, 09 October 2019 09:09 EST

Christian McCaffrey, beastAnd we thought week 4 was tough…

Week 5 in the 2019 NFL season started off tough for bettors: The line on the Thursday Night Football game started at Los Angeles Rams -1½ at Seattle, flipped to Seahawks -2-, ended at most sportsbooks at Seahwaks -1½, meaning essentially anyone who played the point spread on TNF lost – except for those few lucky folks that caught the line at Seahawks -½ or “pick ’em.”

It wasn’t quite all downhill from there, but the Bears sure proved the random elements that enter the betting action when an NFL game is played in England; both 2-TD ’spreads covered; and Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs offense looked human.

NFLbets, for one, is glad to have emerged from the bloodbath at breakeven point again but talk about your grueling week of NFL betting…Below runs NFLbets’ roundup of week 5 results with scores adjusted for point spreads, runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

• Los Angeles Rams 29 at Seattle Seahawks 28½
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 22½. Outlier statistic of the week: Just two games flipped the SU and ATS results – and both had a differential of a half-point. Wacky!

• Minnesota Vikings 22½ at New York Giants 10. Look, NFLbets doesn’t blame you for forgetting that Danny Dimes is a rookie and that you shouldn’t bet on rookies. Nor can we fault you for recognizing that you shouldn’t bet on Kirk Cousins. We were right there with you, man…

• Carolina Panthers 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 27. NFLbets isn’t sure what to make of essentially any team in the AFC South or NFC South (except Atlanta; they’re terrible), and we certainly tending to stay away for inter- *and* cross-division games involving these eight teams but we do know one thing for sure: Christian McCaffrey is an unstoppable force of nature.

• Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders 24, Chicago Bears 15½. And speaking of games NFLbets over-confidently bet and egregiously lost last week, yeesh. All we can say (write?) is that either a) the difference in experience between playing in England once and twice is huge or b) the Raiders and head coach Chucky Gruden are better than we thought. We probably going (a) on this one, because we’re just not ready to believe in these Raiders yet...

• Green Bay Packers 34 at Dallas Cowboys 17½. We’re still uncertain about the Packers as well. Yes, we know they’re 4-1 SU/ATS, including 3-1 against possible playoff teams (Chicago, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Dallas). But to us, the 2020 Green Bay Packers are kinda like that dude in your fantasy league who’s 8th or 9th in points but manages to catch everyone on just the right week. At Dallas, for example, the Packers essentially turned the Cowboys offense into the Texans’. Dak Prescott went for a career-high 463 yards, including two long strikes to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, who went for 339 yards combined. Luckily for Green Bay, the Cowboys are the Cowboys, are coached by Jason Garett and generously gave up three picks and three sacks. We’re feeling the possibility of an upset (at least ATS) next week versus the Lions. In fact, we’d guess the Pack is heading for treacherous waters in the near future with vs Detroit, vs Oakland/Las Vegas, at Kansas City, at the L.A. Chargers, bye and at San Francisco. We’ll see.

• Houston Texans 49, Atlanta Falcons 32. 85 total points scored? Um, yeah, pretty sure the over hit here.

• Indianapolis Colts 19 at Kansas City Chiefs 2½. A bit of an eye-opener for Chiefs backers here, as suddenly the only team worth betting to win the AFC right now is … well, you know. And speaking of the Patriots, from the Point Spreads This Big Shouldn’t Exist Department come these two ATS results:

• Philadelphia Eagles 17, New York Jets 6
New England Patriots 17 at Washington 7.

• Arizona Cardinals 26 at Cincinnati Bengals 20. Happily, NFLbets had the previous two favorites covered as well as the over in this game – and that’s likely to be the last time for a while we’re covering the over in games involving the Cardinals and Bengals in the same week in 2019.

• Denver Broncos 20 at Los Angeles Chargers 9. Aaaaand the 2019 “Los Angeles” Chargers are again off to a roaring start, going 0-2-1 at “home” so far, which brings their cumulative record in the Carson soccer stadium filled with fans of the opposition in a minimum 5:1 ratio to a whopping 1-8-1. Can we just call these neutral-field games once and for all…?

• Buffalo Bills 14 at Tennessee Titans 3½. You know, this Buffalo Bills team could be the franchise’s best this century. Which is not unlike being the best vintage of German wine.

• New Orleans Saints 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24. Geez, has anyone noticed how free-flowing points have become in Buccaneers games? The over is on a commanding 3-0 run, with the average score in those gomes 39-32.

• San Francisco 49ers 26, Cleveland Browns 3. Things sure are easy when you're a West Coast team playing at home in a night game after a bye week. And the opposing team doesn't play defense.

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