Long shots

The prospect of a long shot coming in is quite exciting to NFL fans -- unless you didn't have the guts to cover David in the battle against Goliath. If only you'd had a source like NFLbets to tip you off to the longshots, those bets that seem miles away from coming in, but ended up being so obvious. See this page for stories and odds on NFL betting's long shots.

Add the 2018 Buffalo Bills in week 3 to the list of memorable longshots: This was the first team to win SU against a 17-point favorite since the early 1990s, the first to go in as a double-digit underdog and win by more than a touchdown in 50 years or so, and easily the biggest SU winner against a 17-point spread ever. Nice -- unless you bet against them.

Betting the Super Bowl LVI Exact Matchup prop: Is there any value in Bucs, Chiefs?

Friday, 23 July 2021 13:54 EST

Always fun  – if not nearly always lucrative – for NFL bettors in the preseason is the traditional “Super Bowl Exact Matchup” proposition bet. With the release of early odds in this prop, NFLbets takes a brief look at some of the lines and wonders once again just how seriously we should take wagering on this one…

Super Bowl LVI matchups prop bettingInfuriatingly but utterly predictably, the shortest odds are on a Super Bowl LV rematch:

•  Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Kansas City Chiefs, 12/1

Among the rational, only time travelers would find this a fair offer. In 55 Super Bowls, we’ve seen exactly one matchup happen back-to-back: Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills in XXVII and XXVIII. The 1992-93Cowboys were an all-time great team with top-3 offense and defense, while the Bills were offered the luxury of an extremely weak conference.

Neither conditions would appear to exist in 2021. While blessed with a point-a-minute offense, the Chiefs aren’t exactly world-beaters on defense. No disrespect to the KC D, but the truth is that over the past two AFC championship seasons, the Chiefs have allowed some 21.2 points per game – over 3½ more than did those Cowboys. This may seem like small potatoes, but it’s the difference between the average game coming out to a double-digit win or victory by a TD. In short, the 20s Chiefs may be awesome, but they ain’t no 90s Cowboys.

On the other side, the Buccaneers can hardly be expected to cakewalk their way to another Super Bowl against this NFC. Were all things equal at the bookmakers, the Los Angeles Rams might be considered conference favorites, that Washington Red Hogs defense could be as nasty a unit as we’ve seen this century, the specter of Aaron Rodgers returning to Green Bay still lurks, and who would want to face any NFC West team in the playoffs? Also recall that among the freakish feats the ’20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off was a string of three playoff road victories, followed by the Super Bowl at home. The point here: Tom Brady or no, the stars (so to speak) aligned for this title run.

So, no, NFLbets is not looking for a rematch in Super Bowl LVI. In fact, the best money in this prop are on matchups *not* involving a repeat: The shortest odds on a non-Tampa Bay/non-Kansas City ’Bowl are Rams vs Bills and 49ers vs Bills, each fetching 60/1.

Tampa Bay championship bettingThose looking for the Buccaneers to pull off the not-so-uncommon conference championship repeat – it’s been done 21 times – can consider the following oods.

Tampa Bay championship betting• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Buffalo Bills, 28/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Baltimore Ravens, 33/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Cleveland Browns, 40/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New England Patriots, 45/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Indianapolis Colts, 50/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Tennessee Titans, 50/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Denver Broncos, 60/1
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Los Angeles Chargers, 60/1

Among this lot, NFLbets likes Bucs-Browns at 40/1 and Bucs-Chargers at 60/1, though the latter could well require far too close a parallel to Tampa Bay’s run of 2020 if we figure Kansas City to take the NFC West again. No matter, though: If we’re starting the betting with a 40/1 ticket, much room for hedging remains.

And for those of you considering Bucs-Patriots at 45/1, come on now! Picture-perfect all-time argument-settlers like this rarely, if ever, happen in sports, much less in NFL football.

Kansas City Chiefs championship bettingBy the sheer numbers, the Chiefs are looking at a more precipitous task. Three teams have gone to three straight Super Bowls: the 1970-72 Miami Dolphins, the aforementioned Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s, and You-Know-Who-All’s 2016-18 New England Patriots. Most NFL observers probably wouldn’t have trouble putting these Chiefs on a level with those three sides and so might consider betting on odds like…

• Los Angeles Rams vs Kansas City Chiefs, 28/1
• San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs, 28/1
• Green Bay Packers vs Kansas City Chiefs, 33/1
• Seattle Seahawks vs Kansas City Chiefs, 45/1
• Dallas Cowboys vs Kansas City Chiefs, 55/1
• New Orleans Saints vs Kansas City Chiefs, 55/1
• Arizona Cardinals vs Kansas City Chiefs, 60/1

And from these, one can easily see the skewing caused by Buccaneers favoritism. As stated previously, the #2 and #3 favorites to take the NFC, the Rams and 49ers, are getting lines 2½ times longer than the Buccaneers. Concomitantly, this presents quite an interesting opportunity for the bettor who believes the Chiefs will the AFC.

Currently, the Chiefs are getting odds of +250 to +290 to win the AFC West – but these odds can be beaten with a combination of bets in this prop. Covering the Rams and 49ers plus seven other teams not named the Buccaneers would land a payout of at least +311 (i.e. 28/9) and quite possibly significantly more. A wager of Chiefs vs Rams, 49ers, Packers, Redwolves, Cowboys, Seahawks, Saints, Falcons or Cardinals? We’d probably make that bet.

Then again, the Cleveland Browns are getting mighty tempting 9/1 odds to win the AFC…

–written by Os Davis

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

Redwolves, Redtails, Hogs: Odds, betting on new name for Washington FT

Thursday, 15 July 2021 15:00 EST

Washington Football Team odds, bettingRepresentatives of the Washington Football Team, formerly pretty much the last major North American sports club to proudly outfit its players with a racial slur, announced last week that the process to re-rename the team from its interim label had begun.

The complicated process began with the generation of possibly hundreds of names; thousands of ticket-holders were then each sent a randomly-generated list of 10 of the proposed and asked to vote for three favorites.

According to CBS Sports,  the following represents some of the new proposed Washington team names that voters saw.

• Aces
• Ambassadors
• Anchor
• Archers
• Armada
• Aviators
• Beacons
• Belters
• Brigade
• Commanders
• Defenders
• Demon Cats
• First City Football Club (FCFC)
• Griffins
• Guardians
• Icons
• Majors
• Monarchs
• Pilots
• Presidents
• Razorbacks
• Redtails
• Redwolves
• Red Hogs
• Renegades
• Riders
• Rising
• Royals
• Rubies
• Swifts
• Warriors
• Washington Capital City Football Club (CCFC)
• Washington DC Football Club (DCFC)
• Washington Football Team
• Washington 32 FC (W32)
• Wayfarers

Washington Red Wolves odds, betting• Wild Hogs

This list is by no means all-inclusive, as several possibilities oft-repeated since 2020 among the twitterarti including the Lincolns and the Americans, were not included. Currently, the team is reportedly looking for nominees to comprise a group of a couple dozen individuals to choose from among the names.

Release of the new name and attendant trappings has been announced for “early 2022”, easily translating into “sometime during Super Bowl week.”

Naturally, any event in the NFL is material ripe for the betting. Only a few sportsbooks have offerings in a “New Name for the Washington NFL Team” proposition bet, but this number will certainly grow by the time ’22 rolls around.

We’ve listed some of our analysis on these names and their odds below, but let’s eliminate a possibilities quickly. For redundancy purposes, i.e. another North American professional sports franchise bears the name, remove Razorbacks, Royals, Warriors and Kings (the penultimate already ruled out via the team’s Twitter account, the last not on the CBS list but still getting bets at bookies). Also, for those still believing in “Generals” as a viable choice, please.

Washington Redtails odds, bettingAlso purely for the sticking-to-the-wall purposes are several proposals which appear better suited for other cities: the Aces, Anchors, Aviators, Beacons, Pilots and Rubies. Demon Cats and Griffins are way too cool, Icons and Riders way too boring, anything with “FC” too European. Finally, the NFL has heretofore avoided hipper-than-thou uncountables, so let’s hope that nonsense choices like Armada, Brigade and the absolutely awful Rising are nowhere near the final ballot.

So what names are NFLbets considering for the Washington Football Team, c. 2022? How about…

• Washington Red Wolves, +150. An impassioned plea from SB Nation’s resident Washington FT page for “Red Wolves” notes the name’s snowballing buzz and the possibility for good PR by helping the titular endangered species. NFLbets suspects that not only will the odds on this choice steadily decrease as the list shortens, but that Dan Snyder may eventually run with ’Wolves in response to pressure from those pushing the Redtails name.

• Washington Redtails, +200 to +250. Here’s the obvious choice, the equivalent of the 18-point favorite on Monday Night Football. “Redtails” makes a lot of sense: It’s original and the word fits into the fight song, any monogrammed items and the color scheme. And as folks have recently pointed out, “Redtails” was the nickname for the Tuskogee Airmen, a squadron of African-American bomber pilots in World War II. This choice makes so much sense that NFLbets can’t believe Snyder and his team of marketers won’t fuck it up.

Washington Hogs odds, betting• Washington Red Hogs, 5/1. NFLbets has argued what appears to be an open-and-shut case for “Pigskins”, “Hogs” or, perhaps best of all, “Red Hogs.” With such a name the team would pay homage to the Hogs of the 80s, when Washington made three Super Bowls and won two between 1983 and ‘’88 – an era more and more looking like this franchise’s golden age. We’ll see how seriously the hardcore lifetime fans’ opinions get taken, but a variation on Hogs will certainly land among the finalists.

• Washington Presidents, 7/1. Five years ago, NFLbets would have been all over this bet. Now, however, it is becoming pointedly obvious that by 2024, every president since Ronald Reagan will be collectively historically accepted as mediocre at best. And not long after that, every POTUS since FDR’ll get a big red FAIL stamped over their legacy. Then again, Snyder did dump $1 million into Trump’s inauguration gala in 2016 alone, so maybe…

• The obvious choice from many perspectives is the Washington Americans (10/1). The symbolism in the change itself would garner kudos from diehards and casual fans alike, and paraphernalia sales would likely be phenomenal. Who but the most ardent of racist football fans would not prefer a snappy red, white and blue logo to the dustbinned shameful old one? Again, however, this is Dan Snyder plus too many marketers; it’s won’t be “Americans.”

In the final analysis, then, we’d advise that bettors take “Red Wolves” as the new Washington Football Team name at +150 – though you may want to wait for those odds to increase as idealistic betting on “Redtails” shrinks…

–written by Os Davis

Why the Detroit Lions (probably) won’t go 0-17 in 2021

Thursday, 08 July 2021 14:49 EST

El Jefe is a Los Angeles Rams fan and has naturally been relishing the kickoff to the 2021 season since January 30th at about 7:01 pm Cabo time – not necessarily so much that the Rams have excellent chances at returning to the Super Bowl (a great value bet at 5/1 to 7/1 to win the NFC, too) but more that Jared Goff will be exposed for a fraud with the seemingly perpetually rebuilding Lions.

Seriously, he’s completely out of hand, geeked on potential schadenfreude. The smack he’s talking, you’d think the Lions had rehired as head coach Rod Marinelli. Or Matt Patricia. Or Marty Mornhinweg. Or Jim Schwartz. Or…

NFLbets is considering that maybe Bossman may have suffered PTGD – that’s Post-Traumatic Goff Disorder – as he’s going so far as to assert emphatically and often that the 2021 Detroit Lions will go 0-17. He threatened that, if I didn’t write a piece entitled something to the effect of “Why the Lions will go winless in 2021” or he’d go Clooney on my ass and quote shoot me in the face unquote.

Pretty sure he meant that metaphorically. Somewhat sure. The Boss, not George Clooney.

The problem is, try as NFLbets may, a solid argument for betting such a prop simply cannot be made via historical precedent.

The historical precedent: The NFL's longest (and most notable) losing streaks

NFLbets has covered elsewhere the reasons why taking the under on 5 wins for Detroit in the “Total Regular-Season Wins” proposition bet. On first inspection, one can easily imagine the Lions losing out over 17 games – but the truth is that such a level of incompetence isn’t easy. Having a go at an undefeated season requires a confluence of lucky breaks and external factors, so too does an winless year require a perfect storm (an imperfect storm?) of variables.

The following a few examples of the sort of losing required to approach a winless mark in this year’s unprecedented 17-game season. Only 11 NFL/AFL/AAFC teams have ever managed to dump 17 or more consecutive games, and just six since the 1976 NFL expansion.  

Betting on the Detroit Lions to go winless• 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – lost 26 in a row, went 0-14 in 1976; had a 2-28 run from week 1 of ’76
The expansion Buccaneers rapidly became a punchline in the public consciousness and wore the “loveable losers” label into the 20th century, despite a few playoff runs after growing out of new-kid status.

• 1982-83 Houston Oilers – lost 17 in a row; had a 1-20 run from week 3 of ’82
Following back-to-back beatings by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game in 1979 and ’80, Bum Phillips was ousted and deconstruction of the team under Ed Bilas began. One may want to put an asterisk on the 17-game streak, as in the ‘’82 strike season, the Oilers managed a 1-8 mark, but little evidence suggests that Bilas would’ve done much better with a proper schedule.

• 1989-90 New England Patriots – lost 14 in a row in ’90; had a 1-18 run from week 18 of ’89
. The Patriots enjoyed a respectable run between 1976 and ’86, making five playoffs and one Super Bowl. But HC Raymond Berry stayed on too long, the old guard of John Hannah, Steve Grogan and Stanley Morgan retired. Longtime defensive coordinator Rod Rust was hired as head coach in 1989, getting the team to a 1-15 finish while leading the league in reprehensible scandals.

• 2000-02 Carolina Panthers – lost 15 in a row; had a 1-17 run from week 17 of ’00
What happens when you start a QB who just finished a graduate degree? You go 1-15.

• 2007-09 Detroit Lions – lost 19 in a row, went 0-16 in 2008; had a 3-39 run from week 10 of ’07
The long and egregious history of the Lions post-, likesay, 1959 hardly need be recounted here. However, we can note that this particular nadir came near the end of an awful 11-year run which saw seven head coaches and averaging just under 5 wins per season.

• 2008-09 St. Louis Rams – lost 17 in a row; had a 1-25 run from week 8 of ’08
Weird to think that while the Lions were going 0-15 and 2-14, the Rams were 2-14 and 1-15, respectively – but not as weird as how steadily and thoroughly the Greatest Show on Turf’s empire disintegrated….

• 2015-18 Cleveland Browns – twice lost 17 in a row, one 19-game winless streak, went 0-16 in 2017; 1-35-1 run from week 15 of ’15
Like the expansion Buccaneers topping the list, the Browns explored new levels of losing in their (extremely) lean years of the mid-10s – and just like Tampa Bay, Cleveland made an impressive playoff run just three years after bottoming out.

See what we mean about circumstances? With the exception of the Rod Rust Patriots, not one of these teams had been helmed by a first-year head coach (John McKay was a first-head NFL HC, but we’re counting those years at USC as relevant enough). Dan Campbell has interim-coached for the Miami Dolphins in ’15.

Of the listed teams, only the St. Louis Rams can be sad to have enjoyed any offensive continuity, as March Bulger somehow kept the starting QB spot for six seasons of .500-or-lower ball. No other aforementioned team could boast a no. 1 quarterback with as much experience as Goff, either.

The point the precedent appears to make is that degeneration to the realms of 1-15 or worse is typically the culmination of years of incompetence – akin to a reverse “Process.” While the Lions have suffered the ravages of three years of Matt Patricia and the team’s dead last-ranked defense hardly improved this offseason, they’ve hardly borne an apocalypse like most of the aforementioned franchises.

Which is not to say that the teams under discussion – maybe even the 2021 Lions as well – aren’t very, very bad. They are. But this only further accentuates the gist. Go ahead and take a look at past winless teams; consider the rosters, the schedule, the appropriate year’s champion and such. So how did, for example, the 2001 Panthers or ’16 Browns win any games at all? It seems impossible, but it happened. “Any given Sunday,” eh?

In fact, considering the aforementioned rogue’s gallery, the team for which at least 1-16 feels like a grim reality is the 2021 Houston Texans. (Sorry, Boss.)

Then again…

–written by Os Davis

10 NFL games that we already can't wait to bet in 2021

Monday, 28 June 2021 18:06 EST

CanCertain games you just have to make the calendar for…

While it’s folly to assume a matchup in, likesay, week 4 can be predicted with any accuracy three months before the season starts, it’s definitely worth earmarking some dates now so as to drown out the dogmatic din from mass media that many games will elicit later.

Prevailing conditions matter, e.g. a key injury or two can flip expectations in a hurry (ask the 2020 Dallas Cowboys or, for that matter, the 1999 St. Louis Rams). Here are around 10 games that NFLbets has earmarked for some significant investment in 2021. Probably.

week 2: New York Giants at Washington Football Team

NFLbets always tries to avoid betting week 1 games, so as the Thursday Night Football game in week 2, this is theoretically the first NFL game we’ll play in 2021. (Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.) This particular NFC East game is particularly intriguing anyway. We’ll see how good the Washington run defense is in going up against Saquon Barkley, who returns after all of 19 attempts for 34 yards in weeks 1 and 2 of ’20, but how much more high-watt can these Giants be over last year’s team? We’d like to take Washington FT minus the points and the under for the game.

week 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots

Assuming Tom Brady’s still standing, this will certainly be the most hyped match of the year. And while this far out, NFLbets can’t imagine the pointspread, we’re betting the chess match between Patriots HC Bill Belichick and the GOAT QB results in well fewer passing yards and points than the sportsbooks’ll be thinking. We’re thinking the under on points, on Patriots points and on Buccaneers points. Going over on Leonard Fournette’s rushing yards might sucker a few bettors, but the returning Don’t’a Hightower may have something to say about that…

week 5: Cleveland Browns at “Los Angeles” Chargers

Remember that Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams 105-point Monday Night Football game? NFLbets sees the potential for this game as the 2021 version. We’re thinking the scoreboard will be spinning here.

week 6: Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Football Team

In a matchup of what could well be this season’s best offense vs the best defense, we’ll take the under.

week 7: Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams

Ever since his team (and let’s face it, his coaching staff) produced one of the most embarrassing offense performances the Super Bowl has ever seen, Rams HC Sean McVay was certainly prone to fantasies about coaching an NFL team with any quarterback other than Jared Goff.  

When asked by ESPN reporters about how he enjoyed having new QB Matt Stafford in mini-camp, McVay coached his answer in the attitude of a just-divorced man: “Everybody says, ‘Man, you just seem like you’re in a better mood this offseason,’ and I said, ‘You’re damn right I am…’”

We’re thinking this game brings out the ugly, likesay, divorce lawyer-backed ugly. That’s probably bad for Goff, but great for bettors: NFLbets can’t wait to take the Lions under, the Rams minus all the points and as many alternate lines as possible on this one.

week 10: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers

Here’s NFLbets’ upset special of the year. Earlier, NFLbets thought long and hard on the question of just how the Lions might avoid taking an ofer in the first NFL 17-game season. Their week 10 matchup at Pittsburgh comes after the Lions’ bye week and, quite frankly, we’d be surprised in the Steelers were better than 4-5 going into this matchup. Nevertheless, the fan favorite will likely be favored by well too much.

week 13: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

This far out, NFLbets is figuring on two possibilities for this game. One, Russell Wilson will be out for the season, in which case bettors will be ponying up mortgages to cover the Seahawks’ opposition everywhere. Or two, the Seahawks will be up to their usual standards: In the Carroll-Wilson Era, Seattle is 19-10 SU at home against NFC West teams, though “just” 14-9 in such games in the season’s second half. Either way, the betting should be solid for this one.

week 14: Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

By week 14, the Raiders may be ripe for playoff elimination and could be in for quite a shredding in this game. The ’spread is certain to be lower than one might objectively expect due to the Gruden’s Raiders’ relative success against Reid’s Chiefs in 2020, with an 8-point win and a 4-point loss. NFLbets isn’t buying that BS in 2021…

week 15: Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills

The NFL is clearly expecting nice things from the Panthers in 2021, as this week 15 game is flexible. Should this one get flexed into prime time, football fans may know it’s worth a watch; for bettors, however, the salient point is that this game in Buffalo around December 19th will represent likely the *only* cold-weather game the NFC South team plays all year. And by cold, we may mean “really fucking freezing.”

week 19: NFC no. 2 seed vs NFC no. 7 seed

Most everyone forecasting the 2021 NFL season agrees that the NFC has at least three top-notch contenders: Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and a variable no. 3 (NFLbets likes Washington FT). After that, well…

On top of this, factor in that, with six playoffs teams, the NFC managed to seed two non-winning teams in the 8-8 Chicago Bears and the 7-9 NFC East winning/not-losing Football Team. Even if you believe that several NFC teams have improved year-on-year, two near-.500 NFC playoff teams seem inevitable; meanwhile, either of the top two finishers in the conference are proper Super Bowl contenders. So the Rams or Buccaneers defending home field against the likes of the Cardinals, Cowboys or Panthers? Give NFLbets the homers minus a couple touchdowns right now.

 –written by Os Davis

What team will Aaron Rodgers play for in game 1 of the NFL season? None of these six…

Saturday, 26 June 2021 21:20 EST

NFLbets knows: You’re probably sick of even the trickle of rumors, news and social media speculation about, on or from Aaron Rodgers engaged in a typical superstar tug-of-war with his continually underperforming team. Unfortunately, the “What team will Aaron Rodgers play for in Game 1 of the 2021 NFL Season?” proposition bet offered by the likes of Bovada is one of the few NFL bets that’s showing any action at all.

odds that Aaron Rodgers plays for RaidersAnd from our viewpoint, it’s a poor offering. After all, where is NFLbets’ recommended play, i.e. “No Team” at any odds? Seriously, just think about these possibilities; they’re all bullshit, frankly, especially the favored…

Green Bay Packers, -220

Quick: Who was the last franchise player in any sport to blink in a game of chicken against their current team? (James Harden with the Rockets doesn’t count.) Consider things from the player’s perspective – and here you can use Rodgers, Harden or any such as example. In Rodgers’s case, he won the MVP for 2020 and might’ve at least won a game with the Packers in the playoffs if not for a, likesay, questionable decision by Matt LaFleur, with whom Rodgers was hardly already bosom buddies before the divisional round.

Additionally, Rodgers has now set his sights on Packers GM Brian Gutekunst after Gutekunst effusively informed media that Green Bay would never trade Rodgers. So in a standoff between a franchise QB and a third-year GM, who wins? Insure this, Green Bay: Rodgers ain’t coming back.

Denver Broncos, +175

The swoon of the Broncos’ odds in the “Super Bowl winner” prop based on a rumor is highly suspicious. NFLbets has long pondered the origin of the Rodgers-to-Denver story and even if this gossip were true then, time has passed and Rodgers’s price is dropping more quickly than yesterday’s catch of the day (and we’re not talking Davante Adams here).

Then there’s Denver GM George Paton, who’s been handed the reins after 57 years of John Elway’s death grip on the club. He’s just signed a 5-year deal; do you reckon he’ll start that contract by signing a, likesay, mercurial QB who might rather host a gameshow? Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Las Vegas Raiders, +700

Those who haven’t noticed don’t care: Jon Gruden, in an NFL Films retelling of the Victor von Frankenstein tale, has risked all to prove he can reanimate Rich Gannon from the body parts of Derek Carr. If Josh Jacobs hadn’t landed in the Mad(den) scientist’s lap on Draft Day 2019, Carr’d be going for 60 attempts per game – and about 132 yards.

Well, Aaron Rodgers has surely noticed, surely cares and stop calling me Shirley.

Cleveland Browns, +1000

How much would it suck for Baker Mayfield for Rodgers to be signed to Cleveland? After spending three years earning respectability while taking 91 sacks and getting direction from four different head coaches, Mayfield finally leads an honest-to-Graham Super Bowl contender, a team with a real chance to lose heart-crushingly in the playoffs like they haven’t in decades. And now, in the NFL career equivalent of vulturing goal line TDs, Rodgers wants to take over? Come on, general manager Kevin Costner is never going to let that happen.

New Orleans Saints, +2800

Suppose the NFL is finally letting Bountygate bygones be bygones; suppose as well that the NFL is interested in propping up a New Orleans franchise lagging in revenue. Say they’ve engineered a scheme to get Rodgers onto the prefab Saints roster with the plan to give a face of the NFL one or two more shots at the big prize, à la Peyton Manning.  

Which is absolute kooky talk. Conspiracy-level stuff.

I mean, right?

Carolina Panthers, +4000

The big loser in a Rodgers-to-Carolina deal? Christian McCaffrey. From Rodgers’s signing day on, the league’s premier all-purpose yard accumulator will become the blame magnet/praise deflector for a by the media. Come on, now, hasn’t McCaffrey been good to you and your fantasy football team these past four years? (Okay, maybe not 2020, but still.) Don’t wish this on him; betting this line is bad juju.

 –written by Os Davis

The 5 largest point spreads in NFL games since 1976

Friday, 25 June 2021 18:32 EST

Whenever a point spread of 18 or more points is posted, NFL bettors would do well to pay attention, as profitable opportunity awaits in these blue-moon occurrences. Just 30 NFL games since 1976 have kicked off with such a gaudy spread, a rate of exactly two every three seasons – not that such a blowout is often forecasted: Zero games went off with such a high spread from 1977 to ’84, and four of the 30 had the 2007 New England Patriots as favorites.

For those wondering why 18 points is the benchmark, well, something interesting happens at spreads surpassing 17½ points: The biggest underdogs are 0-30 SU/10-20 ATS overall but in games of point spreads ranging between 15 and 17½ those records climb to 9-101 SU and – get this – 54-53-3 ATS in the last 110 such.

And the underdog performs better ATS as one moves up the list of high-pointspread games: Just twice in the past 11 NFL games of point spreads over20 has the favorite covered and one of these wins, as will be shown below, was a historical outlier.

For fun, then, here’s NFLbets’ look at the biggest five pointspreads in NFL history. Bettors may want to keep such results in mind when one of these bloated numbers comes down the pike.

5. final score: 1987 San Francisco 49ers 25 at Atlanta Falcons 17
final score ATS: Atlanta 17, San Francisco 2

Amid a season of oddities beginning with an early-season strike by 85% of NFL players was this week 5 game which made the ’87 Niners the biggest away favorite ever. (The second-biggest was, naturally, the 2007 Patriots, who got 18½ at Baltimore in week 2.) The anomalous spread in this game is down to Joe Montana’s picket-line cross to rejoin the Niners and the close result to Montana’s injury in the second quarter. A second meeting late in the season ended with a more characteristic 35-7 San Francisco win.

4. Final score: 1993 49ers 21, Cincinnati Bengals 8
final score ATS: Cincinnati 32 at San Francisco 21

Great things were expected of the 49ers in ’93 and after starting the season with a shaky 3-3 SU mark, Steve Young & Co. whipped off five consecutive wins of an average 42-14 score before heading into this week 14 match against the 1-10 Bengals. For a half, team qualities appeared reversed, however, with Cincinnati leading 8-7 at halftime; the 49ers D shut out the opposition in the second half, but Young was an uncharacteristic 13-or-25 for 179 yards and zero TDs vs two picks plus took a safety. After this, the ‘’93 Niners closed out the season with a 1-3 “run” and were disposed of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship.

3. Final score: 2007 New England Patriots 31, Philadelphia Eagles 28
final score ATS: Philadelphia 28 at New England 3.5

As with the above 49ers game, this ATS loss in week 12 boded badly for the ’07 Pats – at least as far as NFL bettors were concerned. After going an incredible 9-1 ATS to start their remarkable season, New England went just 1-8 against an average 15½-point spread. (Clearly the sportsbooks weren’t fucking around after 10 weeks of thrashing cashings…)

2. Final score: 2013 Denver Broncos 35, Jacksonville Jaguars 19
final score ATS: Jacksonville 19 at Denver 8.5

26½ points may seem like an outrageous spread, but the Broncos, now armed with Peyton Manning had run up 230 points in their first five games and four times topped 40 points. The Jaguars, by contrast, were Jaguaresque, outscored by an average score of 36-10 and thrice scoring in single digits in the first five games. Even sicker than the 14-12 halftime score was the fact that even without Paul Posluszny’s pick-six in the second quarter, the Jaguars still would have covered…

1. Final score: 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers 42, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0
final score ATS: Pittsburgh 15, Tampa Bay 0

Under no circumstances should the NFL bettor ever take the favorite when giving 27 points – unless said bet is on a dynastic superpower against a winless expansion team who averages 8.9 points per game. Then it’s okay.

 –written by Os Davis

Betting reportedly heavy on New England Patriots starting QB prop; are you people all insane?

Sunday, 13 June 2021 20:37 EST

Can NFLbets blame any amount of NFL bettors’ insanity on Covid-19? Because trends in this repeatedly reported upon proposition bet “New England Patriots Starting Quarterback in Week 1” can otherwise only be explained by our worst, most weak-minded tendencies.

According to a story posted at the official website of NESN, the New England Sports Network:

 “[New England rookie quarterback Mac] Jones is dominating the bet count at one American sportsbook that is taking wagers on which quarterback will start for Bill Belichick in the Patriots’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

“FanDuel is reporting that 75% of its bets in the Pats QB market (sic) have been placed on Jones. The former Alabama signal caller is going off at +160 right now, so a $100 wager would win $160 and pay out $260 at the current price.”

The NESN goes on to note that 7 of 10 bettors playing the “Starting Patriots QB for Week 1” prop are covering Jones, and that the odds in the offering ran:

Cam Newton: -190

Mac Jones: +160

Jarrett Stidham: +900

Brian Hoyer: Not worth mentioning, apparently

Money has indeed apparently been flowing in on Jones in this prop.

On May 4 at DraftKings, Jones was fetching +500 while Newton drew an awful -400 and Stridham an even worse +600.  Three weeks later, Jones was down to +275 payouts, Newton was up to -278 and Stidham had gone to a still unbettable +900.

The recent steep action on Jones (and in this proposition bet at all) can probably be attributed to the news that presumptive starter Cam Newton had injured his hand in OTAs five days ago.

The NFLbets hot take: None of these bets have any value. Kneejerk responses to clickbait headlines are all well and good in your free time, but in no fucking instance should you be betting without reading the lede paragraph. Better yet, wait a day or two before participating in any frivolous player prop bet like this.

Within 24 hours, Belichick had been quoted on Newton’s situation as unserious and that the quarterback “be all right.” With two days after reportage of the injury, not Jones but Stidham was taking the majority of snaps in practice sessions.

Now perhaps this is a fiendishly clever smokescreen by the EEEEevil genius Belichick, perhaps the man’s being stoic and would prefer the next injury to befall someone other than Jones, or perhaps a dozen other possibilities – but nothing thus far is indicates the rookie is the week 1 starter.

Geez, just on a very basic level, can we figure that maybe Belichick is calculating for a 17-game, i.e. long, schedule? Why wouldn’t the Patriots take a game or three to iron out kinks are let the more familiar QB run the offense? Why wouldn’t the Pats brain trust plan in advance with seven AFC teams making the playoffs?

As far as NFLbets is concerned, all signs continue pointing to Newton. If you insist on playing this bet, you’re playing a waiting game, asking yourself “Can the odds on Cam get even better…?” The line of -190 is a terrible payout, but can there be enough reality-deniers to continuing pushing this line to 1/1?

Folks, let’s be rational. That is your money out there, after all.

--written by Os Davis


Considering the longest of longshots in “To Win Super Bowl LVI” prop

Monday, 31 May 2021 16:33 EST

NFLbets’ boss talks about it every summer, in between the NFL Draft and opening day – about how Trent Green was set to be teamed up with newly-acquired Marshall Faulk and #6 overall pick, WR Torry Holt of NC State, for at least an above-average St. Louis Rams offense. About how Green went out in the third preseason game, how some Arena League guy was coming in at quarterback and  The Boss caught 100-1 odds on his beloved Rams in a Super Bowl proposition bet.

And about the punchline: The Boss’s beloved Rams morphed into Greatest Show on Turf, played to an average score of 33-15, won the Super Bowl dramatically, and ka-ching, winner winner chicken dinners enough for a small island nation.

For those fans who ritualistically throw a few dollars on their favorite team to win the Super Bowl as a sort of fandom tax – looking Cleveland and Detroit’s ways here – NFLbets considers whether any longshot in the “To Win Super Bowl LVI” proposition bet has a miracle’s chance to cash in.

At the bottom of the table at most sportsbooks are essentially this year’s seven consensus underdogs:

Super Bowl LVI betting -- longshots• New York Giants (75/1)
• Las Vegas Raiders (80/1)
• Jacksonville Jaguars (100/1)
• New York Jets (100/1)
• Cincinnati Bengals (100/1)
• Detroit Lions (150/1)
• Houston Texans (200/1)

Right off the top (bottom?), NFLbets removes the Jaguars, Jets and Lions based solely on expected starting quarterback. The truth is that no rookie QB has ever won a Super Bowl – and while this year’s draft class was quite the outlier vis-à-vis quarterback talent, we’re just playing the (long) numbers; would-be Jaguars and Jets backers should also note that no head coach has ever even gotten his team to the Super Bowl in his first season with the team, eliminating a Warner-for-Greenesque scenario as well.

The Lions enter the 2021 season with a first-year head coach as well plus Jared Goff at QB. Those who haven’t seen enough of Goff to surmise these Lions would be overrated at 500/1, consider that just two veteran quarterbacks have ever gotten to a ’Bowl in their first season with the new club: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. And one needn’t have been a Los Angeles Rams ticketholder for the past four years to realize that Goff is no Manning or Brady.

NFLbets will go ahead and remove the Texans from competition here as well. There’s no precedent for a team amidst a multi-year rebuilding scheme with a starting quarterback facing 23 lawsuits winning a Super Bowl, but the odds against should be a lot longer than 200/1.

Our remaining longshot Super Bowl possibilities thus come down to a manageable three:

•  Cincinnati Bengals (100/1). As is typical, too many bettors will be blinded by history for several weeks of the 2021 NFL season, particularly with regard to the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, at 14/1 and 40/1 respectively, are already laughably short considering the real lack of offseason improvement through acquisition. By contrast, the Bengals can essentially completely reconstruct the offensive line that had Joe Burrow running for his life early and often in ’21 through adding  former Minnesota Vikings OT Riley Reiff via free agency and drafting OG Jackson Carman (Clemson) in round two, OT D’Ante Smith (East Carolina) in four, and C Trey Hill (Georgia) in six.

Add to the mix Ja’Marr Chase and you’ve got what could well be the league’s most improved team season-on-season – say from 4-11-1 to 9-8 or 10-7 – not to mention a bona fide playoff contender with seven teams in each conference’s postseason bracket.

•   Las Vegas Raiders (80/1). Putting aside the possibility of Aaron Rodgers sneaking over to the Denver Broncos (an eventuality that drops in likelihood literally daily), the Raiders will need to contend with two expected 10-win teams in the Chiefs and Chargers. Atop this, the Raiders are an unimpressive 19-29 since Gruden re-took over in Oakland/Las Vegas and, while maximizing Derek Carr’s skills (the Raiders were top-10 in passing yards and points for the only the third time since Jerry Rice was on the team), the defense has degenerated to among the league’s worst.

On the other hand, check out Gruden & Co.’s draft selections: two OLs and five defenders; this marks the first NFL Draft of the seven-round era in which the Raiders did not pick any offensive “skill players.” If ol’ Chucky somehow pulls off a Lombardi Trophy win in 2022, 19 years will have passed since the last time his team played in the Super Bowl – This would tie the mark for longest gap between ’Bowls by a head coach set by who else but Dick Vermeil of the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles and the 1999 Rams.

•  New York Giants (75/1). NFLbets knows: Daniel Jones will never be counted among the league’s elites. However, neither was two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning; on the other hand, Eli started with teams that had gone 8-8 and 10-6 in seasons previous to ’Bowl runs. As with the Bengals, the biggest plus for the Giants in 2021 could be their overrated division mates. NFLbets believes the Washington Football Team will be good for 10 wins minimum, but the Eagles are at least retooling their franchise and, really, is anyone depending on competitiveness from the Cowboys, to whom craziness always seems to cripple?

And while the offense ranked bottom-3 in points scored, overall yardage, passing yardage and first downs, the presumably still badass Saquon Barkley returns as does most of last season’s more than respectable defense.

The 2021 New York Giants winning Super Bowl LVI – Stranger things have happened in NFL football, after all. Likesay, some dude from the Arena League powering the greatest offensive season by an NFL team ever seen…

– written by Os Davis

Winner in 49ers-Dolphins draft pick trade? Bill Belichick, probably…

Friday, 26 March 2021 18:16 EST

Odds on Belichick and Garoppolo?The first big trade of the 2021 NFL Draft is in as with the Miami Dolphins bagging four draft picks from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the no. 3 overall pick, with which the Niners are likely to draft either BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, depending on the New York Jets’ choice. Regardless of choice, the foregone conclusion is that Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be starting for San Francisco next season.

Overall, the trade represents a solidly rational decision by Miami, which apparently is set with Tua Tagovailoa as full-time starter (for reals, this time) in 2021. Likewise, San Francisco also made the correct move, with three of the top five picks at very least likely to be QBs.  So why can’t NFLbets stop thinking that the biggest winner in the deal was Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots?

The rumors about Garoppolo starting for New England began in 2014, when Belichick & Co. snapped up the Eastern Illinois QB in the second round of the draft, representing the only notable quarterback drafted by the Pats since Tom Brady took the helm. And the rumor mill still says that Belichick would still like Jimmy G. aboard. Just three hours before the 49ers-Dolphins deal, NBC Sports online posted a piece which featured an insider claiming that a trade for Garoppolo “is still on the table.” What's that expression about smoke and fire...?

And now? As local news outlet Mass Live put it, ”Patriots now have door open to deal for 49ers QB.” What’s more, a deal for Jimmy G. now might not even include New England’s no. 15 overall pick, a pick at which many mock drafts still reckon Heisman Trophy-winning DeVonta Smith could be available. Garapppolo figures to have few suitors – if there were, a deal might have been floated already – and thus a 2021 second-rounder feels like the appropriate centerpiece in such a swap.

Additionally, the Patriots might have received help from within yet again. Tagovailoa was 6-3 as a starter last season, but his statistics were remarkably similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s, right down to sacks per games (2.2 for Tua, 2.0 for Fitz); in fact, Tagovailoa was slightly worse in most statistical categories except interception rate. Granted, much of Tua’s underperformance may be put on Dolphins coaching, who were clearly wishy-washy about, you know, their freakin’ *starting quarterback*, but NFLbets hardly considers the second-year man a known quantity.

This offseason, New England has captured NFL fans’ (and bettors’) imaginations with a free-agency spending splurge the likes of which Belichick et al had never remotely considered until last month. With improvements to the receiving corps, the offensive line, the defensive line, linebackers and secondary, about the only area in which the Patriots didn’t upgrade was, yes, quarterback. And while it’s quite possible that noodle-armed Cam Newton will in fact be the starter on opening day, back up to viable form, even. But NFLbets can’t help thinking how much this Patriots’ offseason has resembled that of Tampa Bay’s pre-Brady machinations.

Now, NFLbets is hardly ready to hand the Patriots the 2021 AFC title (current odds at My Bookie of 16/1, on par with the “Los Angeles” Chargers and Tennessee Titans) or even the AFC East (current odds +375, with the Buffalo Bills fetching -165) based on the possibility that they’ll acquire Garoppolo, whose stats and arm strength are fairly pedestrian and whose injury history is troublesome anyway. But we do believe in the sudden excellent value in betting the ’21 Patriots.

The 49ers, meanwhile, still face potentially the NFL’s stiffest in-division competition, depending on whether the Seattle Seahawks are as wonky as Russell Wilson evidently believes they are. Maybe Fields/Wilson plus LT Trent Williams equals a return to the Super Bowl (current odds in the “To Win NFC Championship” prop, they’re getting odd of +650, now equaling those on the Los Angeles Rams), but NFLbets wouldn’t stake it.

As for Miami (at 3/1 to win the division, 12/1 to win the AFC), NFLbets’ll wait and see – but would anyone really be shocked if this transaction somehow blew up in the Dolphins’ faces…?

–written by Os Davis

Super Bowl Odds post-FA Period: In NFC East props, why not Washington?

Thursday, 25 March 2021 18:56 EST

After yet another season as the weakest division cumulatively, the teams of the NFC East should be expected to be doing some roster shuffling and quarterback-carousel riding in offseason 2021. None of the four have made acquisitions enough to move the odds in the “To Win Super bowl LVI” and “To Win NFC East” significantly, though the two favorites are getting some action.

NFC East odds, betting, predictionsOn Super Bowl Monday and the release of first lines in the Super Bowl 2022 proposition bet, odds on the four teams read as follows.

Dallas Cowboys: 30/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 50/1
Washington Football Team: 60/1
New York Giants: 66/1

You’d think that the serious fluctuations in the lines caused by the Los Angeles Rams’ acquisition of Matthew Stafford and the Chicago Bears’ of Andy “The Red Rifle” Dalton would ripple through this division after moves bringing Ryan Fitzpatrick to Washington, Joe Flacco (no, really) to Philadelphia and Mike Glennon to the Giants – and they have, to some extent: The Cowboys’ odds to win the ’Bowl may now carry odds as low as 25/1 after the ’Pokes re-signed Dak Prescott, apparently.

But here’s the crazy thing; someone – or someones – appear to be throwing serious cash at most of these teams. Current odds in the “To Win NFC East” proposition bet, according to My Bookies, are as follows with odds in the same prop from one month ago are in parentheses.

Dallas Cowboys: 10/11 (10/11)
Washington Football Team: 7/2 (5/1)
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/2 (5/1)
New York Giants: 5/1 (10/1)

Brutal, eh? NFLbets supposes that taking one of the lower three listed is a decent enough value play, but even on winning will bettors kick themselves for not covering the given team sooner. As irrational as it sounds, NFLbets is considering wagering on Washington in this prop.

No, Fitzpatrick is no savior but all Washington truly needs to compete in 2021 is competence. In one of the biggest disparities since Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams were outscoring teams 41-37 every other week, the Washington defense ranked no. 3 (Just ahead of the Rams) in the DVOA metric, while the offense – which ran with three different starters in 2020, the first of which was released by years’s end – ranked no. 32 (just below the New York Jets).

Thus far in offseason 2021, the Football Team essentially swapped out CBs, giving up Ronald Darby (who signed with the Denver Broncos) for William Jackson (from the Cincinnati Bengals). Otherwise, every major player on the defense returns. Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio return, bgi plusses for a fairly young D.

Naturally, offense remains a serious issue with Washington: The FT will certainly be counting on turning the no. 19 overall pick in the draft into a viable option at left tackle to fill 11-year man Trent Williams’s spot there. Fitzpatrick surely hopes so.

And speaking of Fitzpatrick, somewhere post-Washington signing the Ryan-themed meme began circulating the internet, blowing virtual minds with the fact that the QB has never yet to play a playoff game. Fitz is 59-86-1 lifetime as a starter, has played for eight teams and has a .500-or-worse win-loss record lifetime with each.

Of course, an asterisk of two could be applied to these stats. For example, in seven of the 13 of the seasons in which Fitzpatrick tallied more than 2 starts at QB, he played for either Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins or New York Jets with an AFC East lorded over by the Belichick & Brady New England Patriots – not to mention, you know, being with the Bills, Dolphins or Jets. Additionally, in 2015, his last season as a bona fide opening day starter, Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a 10-6 season and a no. 7 seed that would’ve earned a postseason bid in ’20 or ’21…

But any bettor who doubts that Fitzpatrick is a positive for Washington simply did not see enough Football Team games in 2020. If the dead-last DVOA stat doesn’t say enough, just look to the mundane statistics: starters Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith combined for 15 TDs against 16 interceptions and a ridiculous 49 sacks taken. Kyle Dwayne Smith, then, was “good” for a 79.35 QB rating, putting hims at 21st overall in the stat, right in between Daniel “Dimes” Jones and, well, Alex Smith.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, making the playoffs for the first time in his career at the age of 39? Well, why not? This is the NFC East, where 9-7 can be considered dominant…

–written by Os Davis