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.


NFL betting for week 2, one best bet, one pick of the week, one serious oultier

Sunday, 15 September 2019 11:20 EST

One of the best tips on poker ever is from … well, NFLbets forgets who said it first, probably Phil Ivey or one of those guys who hardly needs more free publicity anyway. Regardless, the sage advice insists that, when playing Texas Hold ‘Em, the player must always forget his/her cards immediately upon folding them.

The reasoning goes like so: Say you’re dealt J-7 of hearts, you fold, and the flop turns up A, K, Q of hearts. Should you take that crummy J-7 hand the least bit seriously, you may be tempted to stay in with that nonsense in the future – and lose repeatedly.

A similar principle can be applied to NFL/sports betting, i.e. The bettor must forget the teams from week to week – and medium- to long-term history can be utterly ignored.

Now don’t get us wrong: NFLbets is hardly of the History Will Teach Us Nothing philosophy; however, we have long since discovered (the hard way) that holding grudges and/or keeping to dogmatic beliefs literally do not pay.

For example, the NFL bettor should not forget the utterly awful performance turned in by Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears offense ¬– or the surprisingly fleet-looking Green Bay Packers defense, for that matter – in a brutal 10-0 spread-adjusted season-opening loss; such information will be useful if only for betting the under in Bears games going forward.

But.

One must not recall the doink-doink playoff loss in combination or separately from the Bears week 1 ATS loss, particularly if one had money on either side in either game. Thoughts of “The Bears always burn me when I bet on them” are extremely dangerous for the bankroll, and, lest one be tempted to counter any anti-Bears sentiment with Chicago’s league-best 12-5 ATS mark for 2018 (the New England Patriots went 12-7 ATS), just go ahead and throw that now-nearly useless information out, too.

Forgetting the particulars is bad; remembering historical, league-wide trends is good.

As a test of intestinal fortitude are a pair of bets which appear unscientific in the extreme, but simply answer to the cold, hard numbers. First, a relatively uncontroversial player prop bet…

NFL betting, week 2: Best Bets

Alvin Kamara, over/under 73½ rushing yards at Los Angeles Rams
NFLbets knows two things about Sunday’s Saints-Rams game: Zero close calls by the referee will go in the Rams’ favor, and Alvin Kamara should run up the stats.

While the Rams defense is certainly quite a bit better than the 27-point allowing unit seen last week at Carolina, no one on L.A. could stop Christian McCaffrey. Take away McCaffrey’s efforts, however, and Cam Newton has just 158 yards passing, the running game manages minus-1 total yards … and the Panthers score at least 14 fewer points.

Kamara filled a similar role for his Saints against another pretty good defense, that of the Houston Texans, going for 169 total yards including a single run of 28 and a reception of 41 yards. Fortunately, Drew Brees has one megaweapon more than Cam Newton, namely Michael Thomas, and thus is not nearly as dependent on his own backfield stud, but NFLbets’d give better odds on the Rams pass rush and secondary stifling Thomas’s numbers than on anyone shutting down Kamara at this point.

As for the game result, who knows? The Rams could blow ’em out of the Colosseum,the Panthers could win on a blown call, or anything in-between, beyond or reversed. But here’s to thinking that nothing short of an act of god (we’re discounting Aaron Donald as an actual literal deity-like being, though he may be) can stop Kamara. Take Alvin Kamara going over 73½ yards rushing at L.A.

NFL betting, week 2: Pick of the week

Jacksonville Jaguars +7½ at Houston Texans, over/under 43 points
And in the category of dominant individuals in the NFL circa 2019 we may place DeAndre Hopkins alongside McCaffrey and Kamara; double teams, triple teams – nothing mattered to the battery of Watson and Hopkins for Houston against, yep, *another* above-average defense.

Meanwhile, the sate of the Jacksonville defense is impossible to gauge after the Kansas City Chiefs whirlwind machine blew through town last weekend. The Chiefs ran up 40 points with ease, rapidly bringing a prideful defense to its boiling point with an ejection for Myles Jack and the apparent removal of Jalen Ramsey’s hand-eye coordination faculties.

And on the offense – could Magic Nick Foles just have been magicked out of a job by the legend Gardner Minshew II. All this über-system QB did last week was throw 25 on-target passes, 22 of them complete for 275 yards and 2 TDs against just one interception.

Now.

NFLbets is not going to get caught up in the Minshew II stories, hilarious and/or compelling as so many of them are, but will ask for a memory-check on just how many times a fill-in rookie QB – particularly late-draft round rookies – has fooled opposing defenses who haven’t enough tape. Call it the Tim Tebow Principle and damn does NFLbets need to go back and crunch some numbers of this soon.

In any case, the Jaguars and Texans defenses alike should certainly look better than last week, but the latter we reckon will bring just enough surprises. As for the latter, we’ll figure that All-Pro acquisition Laremy Tunsil will show at least a slight improvement to the Texans’ six sacks surrendered against the Saints after another week with the team – and that’ll mean Houston will bring very much Hopkins along with some runs from DeShaun Watson. Here’s to thinking we’re going to see some touchdowns in this one. Take the Saints-Texans game to go over 43 points.

NFL betting, week 2: Outlier of the week

First, consider the facts.

• Since 2000, just seven NFL games (regular season or playoffs) prior to this one have carried a pointspread of 19 or more. The underdog is, predictably enough, 0-7 SU in those games – but are nevertheless 6-1 ATS.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tgl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=game&year_min=2000&year_max=2019&game_type=R&game_num_min=0&game_num_max=99&week_num_min=0&week_num_max=99&temperature_gtlt=lt&c1stat=vegas_line&c1comp=gte&c1val=19&c5val=1.0&order_by=pass_td

• The sole ATS win while giving 19 or more points came in 2013, when the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks covered an incredible (but ultimately justifiable) 20½ against the eventual 4-12 SU Jacksonville Jaguars in a 45-17 win.

• Four of the seven big-pointspread games involved the Belichick/Brady Patriots, but *three* of these came in the 2007 season. Regardless, note that New England is 0-4 ATS in those games – despite a reputation solidified in ’07 for running up the score in blowouts.

• Finally, in these seven games, home underdogs are … 0-0-0 ATS.

We need these facts in order to consider – ahem, not NFLbets or anything, but only the, likesay, foolhardy – betting on New England Patriots -19 at Miami Dolphins.

For NFL bettors foolish enough not to stay away from this one, the decision will be based on how seriously he/she takes facts no. 2, 3 and 4. On one hand, these Patriots certainly look like at least a Super Bowl contender and the Dolphins look at absolute best a 4-12 team. On the other hand, Belichick could damn well take the foot off the pedal with a 35-7 lead at halftime, bench 42-year-old Tom Bardy for much of the second half and coast while Miami racks up garbage-time points in front of about 2,000 fans in the fourth quarter.

On the other other hand, homefield’s gotta mean something, right? The Patriots with Brady at Miami are just 7-11 SU, after all, including the memorable New England at Miami game of last season, which would have seen the Dolphins win ATS regardless of the rugby play which gave them the SU win.

But one final point: The 2019 Miami Dolphins may be historically bad, and NFLbets believes this team is certainly capable of losing by at least three TDs to the Patriots right now, home or now.

In the final analysis, in no way can NFLbets recommend a play either way on this one. Outliers such as this with no precedent are essentially straight-up gambles and we stay away from pure gambling (it’s why we don’t play fantasy football). One final fun fact: On the sole other occasion in the modern era in which a home team faced such a ’spread, the Walsh/Montana 49ers could not cover an insane 23 points against the ultimately 3-12 SU Atlanta Falcons in 1987.

I mean, not to make things more difficult for you or anything…


Super Bowl LIV winner proposition bet odds

Wednesday, 21 August 2019 13:15 EST

Ah, yes – the incredible, inexorable and irresistible pull of the preseason NFL team proposition bet! Particularly alluring is the siren’s call of the Super Bowl winner prop, which all but the sharpest of sharps should admit is essentially gambling. Who can resist throwing a few moneys at one’s favorite team or a nice longshot that banks a great return and potentially viralizes the story? After all, some NFL bettors covered the Philadelphia Eagles at 40/1 and even 50/1 prior to the 2017 season…

So, sure, NFLbets’ll be wagering on the Super Bowl LIV winner, but you damn skippy we won’t be betting the house on any team. The odds table running below lists odds from leading online sportsbook My Bookie and odds offered at the average Las Vegas sportsbook, respectively. Note that Vegas offerings are far less fluid than their online counterparts’: Lines on the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns have all seen noticeable shrinkage since these odds first dropped in February. (Odds up-to-date as of August 20, 2019.)

Odds to win Super Bowl LIV

Super Bowl LIV winner prop betKansas City Chiefs, 6/1; 6/1
New England Patriots, 6/1; 8/1
New Orleans Saints, 9/1; 8/1
Los Angeles Rams, 12/1; 8/1
Cleveland Browns, 12/1; 20/1
Indianapolis Colts, 12/1; 20/1
Philadelphia Eagles, 13/1; 20/1
Los Angeles Chargers, 15/1; 14/1
Chicago Bears, 16/1; 14/1
Dallas Cowboys, 20/1; 16/1
Green Bay Packers, 22/1; 16/1
Pittsburgh Steelers, 25/1; 14/1
Minnesota Vikings, 25/1; 16/1
Atlanta Falcons, 30/1; 40/1
Houston Texans, 33/1; 20/1
Carolina Panthers, 35/1; 60/1
Seattle Seahawks, 37/1; 30/1
San Francisco 49ers, 40/1; 50/1
Baltimore Ravens, 45/1; 20/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 50/1; 40/1
New York Jets, 70/1; 80/1
Tennessee Titans, 90/1; 60/1
Denver Broncos, 100/1; 60/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 100/1; 80/1
Buffalo Bills, 100/1; 100/1
Detroit Lions, 100/1; 100/1
Oakland Raiders, 125/1; 100/1
New York Giants, 145/1; 40/1
Arizona Cardinals, 150/1; 100/1
Washington, 150/1; 100/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 180/1; 100/1
Miami Dolphins, 200/1; 300/1

Onto the takes – and tips!

Kansas City Chiefs: Best hedge on the board

NFLbets begins the wagering with MyBookie’s co-favorites and Vegas’s odds-on favorite. Normally, we’d eschew the top pick on the Super Bowl table because a) the odds are too short and b) examples of underdogs taking the title are rife.

In 2019, however, the top-dog Chiefs are going off at 6/1, more than reasonable for a team that appears to be on the classic ’Bowl-winning trajectory. RBs Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt are gone, taking 1096 yards rushing along; after a fairly brutal 2018, Carlos Hyde joined Kansas City this offseason and … ah, never mind – we’re talking about Patrick Mahomes’s team here and the Chiefs ranked just 16th in rushing attempts last season. And check this out: How many changes did the Chiefs make on the offensive side this past offseason? Zero.

Meanwhile, the new defensive coordinator is apparent upgrade Steve Spagnuolo (formerly of the New York Giants), though quite honestly Mike Pence would have been a certain improvement for a D ranked dead-last or dead-penultimate by most key statistical measures.

With an average rushing attack and a pretty bad defense, Andy Reid still got Mahomes & the boys to the AFC championship game. If one contender doesn’t regress in 2019, this is likely that team. We’ll say take the Kansas City Chiefs at 6/1, thereby allowing us five other bets with the opportunity to still break even on K.C.

Chargers, Saints, Cowboys: Don’t lose money on these three

Beyond the top two, the NFL bettor considering the Super Bowl LIV winner prop soon lands upon the New Orleans Saints at 9/1 (or 8/1 in Vegas), Los Angeles Chargers at 15/1 (14/1), and the Dallas Cowboys at 16/1 (20/1) – bad bets one and all, simply put.

First up are the Saints, whose darling status twice crested last season, first when 173-year old QB Drew Brees broke some individual record on Monday Night Football and later when a blind referee screwed them in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game. But just take a closer look at some of the stats as 2018 wore on…

In his final seven starts last season including the two playoff games, Brees passed for over 300 yards just once and couldn’t manage to break 200 in four more; in those game, New Orleans managed to win five SU while going just 2-5 ATS. Note that Brees will be taking snaps from a new center, i.e. free-agent signing Marcus Henry from the Seattle Seahawks and, while TE Jared Cook and RB Latavious Murray *might* make an impact, the clever bettor will definitely expect regression to the mean from this team.

As for that on-again/off-again defense of ’18, some 10 signings in free agency spun forecasting this side of the ball in New Orleans the purview of chaos theorists. We’ll be staying away from the Saints.

Did we say “regression to the mean”? The 2018 Los Angeles Chargers were statistically freakish in many many ways, but off-the-charts bananas was their home-away split. In games played outside Los Angeles, the Chargers were a ridiculous 9-1 SU, including wins at Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Baltimore. And who knows what might’ve happened in the divisional playoff in New England if the team hadn’t jetted from East Coast to West and back inside of a week after playing the Ravens. Can the Chargers be expected to reproduce those particular results? Unlikely to say the least.

On the plus side for Chargers backers is an easier schedule than in ’18: Beyond getting four ((((wins)))) games against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos, NFLbets figures these guys are looking at four (or five, depending on how you feel about the Houston Texans): vs Indianapolis in the opener, at Chicago in week 8, and the two games against Kansas City – L.A. could even win the AFC West with a week 17 upset, but home field means little to these Chargers. We’re not feeling it.

As for the Dallas Cowboys … come on now. Yes, NFLbets realizes that the Ezekiel Elliott holdout melodrama is exactly that; Zeke will surely rejoin the Cowboys in due time, he’ll be productive barring an early injury due to lack of offseason training and will do amazing things. The promotion of Kellen Moore from QB coach to OC might even prove a boon to Elliott et al in getting Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper to play all-star seasons – but who outside of Cowboys fandom believes that’s enough?

Bears, Colts, Rams: Three bets we like more than the Chiefs

Odds on the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams at 12/1 (8/1), Chicago Bears at 12/1 (20/1) and Indianapolis Colts at 12/1 (20/1) all make NFLbets ask the same question: What are we missing here?

Okay, we’ll admit betting on the Colts at 12/1 is a bit dodgy, what with every month bringing news of a brand new injury to QB Andrew Luck; on the other (hopefully uninjured) hand, newly-acquired Chandarick West and WR Devin Funchess certainly can’t hurt an offense that was top-10 overall in passing yardage and overall yardage. Improvements to the skill positions plus losses of no full-time starter in free agency would be enough for a good value bet, but let us not forget that this team finished last season on a 10-2 SU run. Take the Indianapolis Colts at 12/1 – and absolutely definitely positively at 20/1.

And the Bears at that same 12/1 (20/1)? Bizarre. How did everyone forget Cody Parkey’s double doink to cost Chicago a deep playoff run after a 12-4 SU regular season with no losses of more than seven points. In the offseason, the Bears lost one key player – FS Adrian Amos – of a potential six from 2018’s world-beating, record-threatening, straight-up scary defense. And if you think a potential all-time great Khalil Mack can’t help win enough games in the days of point-a-minute offense to at least get his team to the Super Bowl, just ask Aaron Donald what he thinks.

And speaking (writing?) of Aaron Donald and his L.A. Rams, shouldn’t the conference defending champs be getting slightly more respect, particularly in Vegas at 12/1 odds…? Bettors at My Bookie have dragged down those odds from 10/1, but nevertheless in both spheres the, likesay, overhyped and downward-trending Saints are outdoing the Rams.

So … it’s all about Jared Goff, right? And sure, after that 105-point game against the Chiefs on MNF in week 11, the Rams offense got criminally low-watt in managing just 17.5 ppg in five games against playoff teams. Fair enough, but Goff’s favorite target Cooper Kupp is back after missing the last half of ’18 – and regardless of public perception of their QB, the Rams offense was top-3 in overall scoring, rushing TDs, first downs, yards per pass attempt, yards per rushing attempt and points per drive.

For 2019, the Rams defense looks just as impressive, as in-season acquisition Dante Fowler was extended and again disappointing Ndamokung Suh was not. We’d advise simply forgetting the name of the Los Angeles QB and take the Rams at 8/1 or longer.

Seahawks and Jets: A longshot and a really longshot

A tsunami of gushing about Bill Belichick has apparently swamped Pete Carroll’s reputation: Carroll fairly well rose to the consensus rank as no. 2 among head coaches after his Seattle Seahawks dismantled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII – and he’s still got his Lombardi-winning all-star QB at the top of his game. Indeed, Carroll and Russell Wilson have made the Seahawks, even in the post-Legion of Boom era, a model of consistency in the NFC. In Wilson’s seven seasons at the helm, Seattle’s yet to have a losing season, making the playoffs six times.

The Seahawks have been undergoing something of a slow roster churn a la Belichick’s Patriots over the past four seasons or so; the departure of Earl Thomas represents the last of outgoing all-stars. Last season’s abominable 51 sacks allowed has got to improve with newly acquired guards Mike Iupati and Marcus Martin on the OL for 2019.

Now, Carroll & Co. still have the L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers to contend with before 37/1 odds to win Super Bowl LIV, while the playoffs have proven a stumbling block for Carroll’s ’Hawks since losing to the New England Patriots and the departure of Marshawn Lynch, with just a 2-3 SU/ATS postseason mark.

But say the Rams regress and the Niners aren’t quite up to the hype, so the Seahawks take the NFC West. Seattle’s famed homefield advantage – Carroll ‘n’ Russell are 5-0 SU/ATS in home playoff games – get them through one round, even two. (Heck, 12-4 could easily bag the no. 1 seed in the conference this season.) Imagine the season culminating in Carroll vs. Andy Reid with two minutes remaining. At 37/1 odds, we’ll take the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl and live that fantasy for a couple months at least…

Meanwhile, those wanting a serious stretch might consider covering the New York Jets at 70/1. NFLbets realizes such a wager is made in the face of loads of unknowns, chiefly that of Sam Darnold making The Leap, which may even be limited as the dude continues to resemble Vinny “Vinterception” Testaverde 2.0. Questions remain about the viability of LeVeon Bell (though we’d strongly hedge with the philosophy that Bell’ll rip shit up for the Jets in 2019) and the effect of losing Avery Williamson from last year’s 29th-“best” defense. Geez, these guys went 4-12 in ’18.

We’re not nutty enough to suggest covering the Jets to win the AFC East, mind you, but NFLbets will definitely be covering these guys to make the playoffs and you know what they say about anything happening during said playoffs; for confirmation consult last year’s Bears. Or Saints. Or Chiefs. Or…

So go ahead and join NFLbets in throwing a few moneys at a longshot – take the New York Jets at 70/1.


When betting the 2019 NFL Draft, we’re forced to ask, “What Will Gruden Do?”

Thursday, 25 April 2019 13:49 EST

NFL draft bettingAll righty, here’s the NFL bettor’s first legitimate chance to wager on something other than NFL team futures: 2019 NFL Draft props! NFLbets’ El Jefe and lead writer/editor Os Davis will definitely be watching this draft with regard to a handful of teams of decent-to-good value in the “To Win Super Bowl LIV” proposition bet.

We’ll be readjusting our potential wagers on those teams (spoilers: the list includes the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs) after the draft is in the books, and today we look at some NFL props on offer at online sportsbooks.

Sadly, quite a few of these props are highly unattractive, and all the good opportunities appear to involve the Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders with the crazed Jon Gruden in the captain’s chair. After trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, then signing Antonio Brown, NFLbets won’t say Chucky’s drunk with power, but he’s certainly got a good buzz going into this draft…

To see how Gruden is fated to determine much cashflow to and fro the sportsbooks on Thursday night, let’s first consider the tables on props involving picks 1 and 2 overall.

Chucky Gruden leads RaidersPlayer to be taken first overall
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), 2/7
Nick Bosa (Ohio State), 2/1
Quinnen Williams (Alabama), 5/1
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), 14/1
Josh Allen (Kentucky), 25/1

Player to be taken second overall
Nick Bosa (Ohio State), 2/5
Quinnen Williams (Alabama), 3/1
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), 4/1
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), 12/1
Josh Allen (Kentucky), 12/1

Team to draft Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals, 4/11
Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, 9/4
New York Giants, 7/1
Miami Dolphins, 8/1
Washington, 10/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 28/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 35/1

In any other season, Nick Bosa would certainly be a legitimate bet to go no. 1 overall; however, Kyler Murray appears locked into that top spot. The Cardinals front office could not even justify going with Bosa on the basis of attempting to screw the San Francisco 49ers out of their choice at no. 2, as word has it that the Niners would certainly be good with landing Quinnen Williams in that spot.

Thus do the selections of Murray and Bosa at nos. 1 and 2 appear fairly well dead certain; if you can get a sportsbook to do so, a parlay at 2/7 and 2/5, respectively, would fetch odds of just 4/5 (-125). Hardly worth the risk.

As for the “Team to draft Kyler Murray” prop, Washington is getting outstanding odds. Apparently, free-spending, incompetent asshat team owner Daniel Snyder his (literally) bad self we’ll be doing the drafting for Washington. While reports have Snyder trading up from the no. 15 spot solely in order to grab his coveted Dwayne Haskins, who would be surprised if the chump didn’t overpay to land Murray?

(Also a good bet: In the “Team to Draft Dwayne Haskins” prop, Washington’s getting 5/2 (+250) odds while the Giants are at 11/5 (+220); here’s to thinking that Snyder will be the more desperate of the two drafters here.)

The New York Giants are tempting in this prop at 7/1. Not only do they seem likely to land the Hard Knocks gig, but with Murray, the Giants would be in the very desirable scenario of outgoing veteran/incoming rookie stud as a 1-2 QB punch that worked for Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and (slightly unorthodoxly) Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s just that … what can the Giants offer the Cards beyond the no. 6 overall pick, at which they could easily land Josh Allen (Duke)?

Then there are the Raiders. Jon Gruden has apparently dismissed his draft team (damn, that’s gonna be one empty war room), so we’ll have to assuming Chucky’s choosing. And we know he loves quarterbacks – though Derek Carr not so much. Now maybe the Cardinals haven’t traded away that no. 1 so as to get the biggest possible haul for the privilege of drafting Kyler, but who believes this organization is smart enough not to draft QBs in back-to-back first rounds? There’s a reason the odds on the Cardinals in this prop at 4/11, after all…

Other NFL Draft props of note
Few other interesting opportunities exist among the NFL props, most of which have to do with draft order of players who are pretty much known to be going in the top 10: Ed Oliver, Nick Bosa, etc. In fact, the one eye-catching prop involves, again, trying to figure out what Chucky’s gonna do.

In the “Josh Allen draft position” prop, the over/under is 4½, essentially making this a “Will the Raiders draft Josh Allen?” Because here’s the thing: We know how San Francisco’s going at no. 2. At no. 3, the Jets are said to be looking at Ed Oliver or trading down, though not to far as to avoid grabbing a top-quality defensive player. So let’s say the Jets don’t risk it, stand pat at no. 3, and take Oliver or even Quinnen Williams. How could Gruden pass on whichever defensive player of the two is left? (Concomitantly, could Williams really drop to no. 5 or 6?) Because he’s Jon Gruden.

A salient point to be fair, but NFLbets will guess that not even Chucky will violate the go-to method when drafting: Take the best player available. And that player in this scenario is Quinnen Williams. Take the over-4½ in the Josh Allen Draft Position prop at 7/5 (+140).


Browns land Odell Beckham Jr.; let's not get nuts betting them to win Super Bowl LIV just yet

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 12:47 EST

On February 10, the odds on the Cleveland Browns in the proposition bet “To Win Super Bowl LIV” were at 20/1. Two days later, the team more-than-somewhat controversially signed disgraced and waived RB Kareem Hunt; this budged the lines on the Browns little. But ink Odell Beckham Jr., one of the league’s most explosive, dynamic and beloved wide receivers? That’s shorten those odds.

Within an hour of the Cleveland-New York Giants trade announcement, the Browns’ odds to win the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship were experiencing more shrinkage than George Costanza in the pool, dropping to 14/1 in a hurry. As of this writing approximately 16 hours after the news broke, the odds on Cleveland have stabilized there but have dropped to an incredible 7/1 in the “To Win Conference” prop.

But as awesome as OBJ is, does his mere addition to a team with a looooooooooooooooooong history of mediocrity automatically better the Browns’ chances by 33%? Are the Browns really getting the *third-shortest odds* to win the AFC after the Kansas City Chiefs (now at 10/3, down from 3/1) and *freaking NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS?!?!??!???!?*

Welllllll, yes, actually. Why not? Even without Hunt – and, if this splashy trade is factored into the NFL’s consideration to return the halfback to active, Hunt and Cleveland will be united later, if ever, rather than sooner – the Browns have one serious-looking offense, with QB Baker Mayfield, RB Nick Chubb, WR Jarvis Landry and TE David Njoku awaiting OBJ’s plugging-in. The offensive line is middling at bets, but free agency and the draft have yet to go down; plenty of time to improve this area.

Despite the departure of Jabril Peppers in the OBJ trade, teh Browns defense should be just as good as last season’s top-10 passing D with the addition of Pro Bowl LB Olivier Vernon joining the likes of CB Denzel Ward, LB Jamie Collins and DE Myles Garrett (who looks scarier every game, it seems).

33 days ago, NFLbets noted: “The 2019 Cleveland Browns going over on wins? NFLbets’ll make that wager. To win the AFC North? Quite probably. To win the AFC? You miiiiiiiiight convince us. But to take the Lombardi Trophy? Come on now.

Today, we’ll update this to state that Cleveland should be a 10- or even 11-win team, so bet the over/under wins accordingly. We’ll also cover the Browns to win the AFC North, as we honestly believe that they’ll go a solid 5-1 against the North’s teams in rebuild and/or decline and should be getting three wins against the AFC East. By dint of their third-place finish in 2018, the Browns get The Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, this far out both looking like wins.

As for those odds to win the AFC, 7/1 may be too short. The NFL may be in a period of revolution, with younger talent (and teams) taking over for the old guard, but it’s tough to depend on a team like Cleveland with so much youth at key positons plus two mercurial WRs – if anything, we’re even more bearish on the Browns in the “To Win Conference” and “To Win Super Bowl LIV” post-Beckham trade. We’d stay away from these two props.

Now, covering the Browns in a “To Win Super Bowl LV” proposition bet? *That* would be worth serious consideration.


Betting on the Oscars: Longshots, underdogs and chalk at the 2019 Academy Awards

Sunday, 24 February 2019 18:14 EST

Ah, the Academy Awards: The Super Bowl of Hollywood (and sometimes other) movies! Sadly, however, betting on the Oscars isn’t nearly as accessible or available as odds on your typical sporting events, but online sportsbooks are offering lines in all the major categories at least.

First fact about the 2019 Oscars: It’s a weaker field that last year’s by far: The Shape of Water, Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing would all have beaten the 2019 lot and, while Wonder Woman was nearly completely shafted of nomination in ’18, Black Panther doesn’t seem too far out of place among this year’s lot.

The other sad fact about Academy Awards in general is that, in reality, few upsets happen. Yes, you do get the occasional Roberto Benigni but even upsets like Moonlight over La La Land aren’t as huge as we remember: After all, Moonlight was a mere 2/1 underdog.

The 2019 Academy Awards should be no different than usual, and the smart (but not big) money is all o the chalk: Covering Roma (at -225 to win the Best Picture award); Alfonso Cuaron (-400, Best Director, Roma); Rami Malek (-800, Best Actor, Bohemian Rhapsody); Glenn Close (-800, Best Actoress, The Wife); Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor, Green Book); BlacKKKlansman (-400, Best Adapated Screenplay); and The Favourite (-225, Best Original Screenplay) pays +480. That’s quite a sensible bet if you can get it, in NFLbets’ estimation, but what if Oscar indeed throws a curve?

For hedgers on betting the 2019 Oscars, NFLbets has three. Note that we’re not necessarily recommending these bets (we’re a tad far afield, so to speak, from our preferred NFL betting) as “Picks of the Week” or anything like that, but rather putting forth some good value bets “for your consideration,” as they say.

• Olivia Coleman, +450, Best Actress, The Favourite. The thinking here is that Gleen Close has gone 0-for-5 winning on nominations and thus the tide is turning. Well, NFLbets says, “What if there’s a reason Close has gotten the goose egg in all the years since her first for the brutal and stupid Fatal Attraction (1987). One might be tempted to cover Lady Gaga at +2000, but Hollywood tends not to be especially bestowing upon singers in a musical role in their debut performance – at least since Barbara Streisand (for Funny Girl in 1969).

So we’re willing to throw a few Moneys on Coleman here, and why not? Oscar does love a British actress (or an American actress in a British part) and Coleman’s performance is incredible. Additionally, a win would made for a nice frisson of schadenfreude if Close loses number six.

• Yorgos Lanthimos, +275, Best Director, The Favorite
• Spike Lee, +1600, Best Director, BlacKKKlansman
. Cuaron is a darling of the Hollywood award set, having taken one directorial prize already for Gravity (2013) and twice received screenwriting noms for Y To Mama Tambien (1999) and Children of Men (1996). Second-favorite in this category is Lanthimos, whose lavish direction of The Favourite has gotten international acclaim from all questers – and Lanthimos too has gotten prior nominations, for Best Foreign-Language Film (Dogtooth in 2009) and Best Original Screenplay (The Lobster in 2015).

But the best value in this category is clearly the 16/1 on Spike Lee. Some Oscars go to the winners as a sort of lifetime achievement award: Paul Newman, Al Pacino and quite possibly Close this year are just a tiny sliver of readily available examples of the concept for actors – and even all-time master director Ingmar Bergman got once such nod (for Fanny and Alexander, 1983). Spike winning on his first nomination on the 25th anniversary of Do the Right Thing? Seems like these odds should be well shorter…

• Green Book, +250, Best Film. As Mickey Mouse as this Disnified take on racism in America is, it’s also the sole nomination in this category other than Roma getting better than 16/1 odds. What’s the case for Green Book? Likeable characters, acting nominations, a screenplay nomination – and the fact that no movie has ever won both the Best Foreign-Language Film and Best Film in the same year. Might the voters simply decide that maybe choosing Roma in one category is enough recognition? Green Book winning 25 years after Driving Miss Daisy did so inexplicably? Seems like these odds should be well shorter, too.


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

Sunday, 10 February 2019 16:56 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, 03 February 2019 10:29 EST

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

The obvious choices

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

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

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

The really advantageous odds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The longshots

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, 28 January 2019 12:38 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NFLbets bets that all you haters missed out on the anti-Tennessee Titans parlay last week

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 14:17 EST

So, yeah, that Music City Miracle 2.0 thing didn’t happen for Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans and thus does their season end on a realistic note rather than flukily sneaking into the playoffs a la the 2017 team – no 5,000-to-1 payout for you!

However, if all you hater bitches out there had the cajones to back up your questioning of NFLbets’ skills would’ve thrown a few Moneys at the anti-Titans Miracle parlay, a bet which would have look like so:

• Houston Texans win (-330) vs Jacksonville;
• New England Patriots (-600) win vs the New York Jets;
• Baltimore Ravens win (-265) vs Cleveland; and
• Indianapolis Colts (-110) at Tennessee.

This would land the bold NFL bettor almost exactly 3/1 odds, with a payout of exactly $299.74 won on a $100 wager. Not exactly millionaire territory, but a nice Sunday at the office to be sure – and a great way to back up that smack we know you’re talking.

Except NFLbets didn’t really endorse the miracle parlay and you didn’t play the anti-Titans parlay, did you…?

Haters lose again.


How to win $1 million on Music City Miracle 2.0

Sunday, 30 December 2018 12:22 EST

Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that lightning can strike twice in the same place? Week 17 presents bettors with one serious longshot bet that’s the proverbial crazy enough to work out for NFL bettors this week.

For the Tennessee Titans to make the playoffs, the equation is simple: Beat the Indianapolis Colts today in Memphis and they’re in. However, incredibly enough, the Titans still have a shot at not only make the playoffs, but to earn the f&#^#^ing *no. 2 seed and a bye for round one!!!!!!!!1!!!1!11!*

Of course, the odds against such an occurrence – or, more precisely put, a combination of occurrences – are insanely long. So you say you believe; the likely path to a Titans no. 2 seed, with odds on a money line (ML) bet for each listed in parentheses, looks like this:

• Jacksonville Jaguars (+360) win at Houston;
• New York Jets (+550) win at New England;
• Cleveland Browns (+260) win vs Baltimore; and
• Tennessee Titans (+185) vs Indianapolis.

A parlay bet including these four ML wagers would carry odds of over 305 to 1 for a payout of approximately $30,577 on a $100 bet.

Now how strong is your faith? For an even greater miracle may be bestowed upon Titans fans this Sunday: If the Jaguars, Jets and Titans all win, Tennessee can still get in as the no. 2 seed if … are you ready for this? The Ravens/Browns game ends in a tie. The odds on a tie in this game are at about 55/1, but you’ll surely agree that if one NFL team in the 21st century could rack up two ties in one NFL season, it’s gotta be the 2018 Cleveland Browns.

The parlay bet on Music City Miracle 2.0 would therefore be adjusted to look a lot more like a lottery ticket, i.e.:

• Jacksonville Jaguars (+360) win at Houston;
• New York Jets (+550) win at New England;
• Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens tie (+5500); and
• Tennessee Titans (+185) vs Indianapolis.

Winning this wager would fetch odds of about 4,770 to 1, to net an incredible $477,104 on a $100 bet. Want to make a cool million? A winning bet of $210 on this parlay is worth some $1,001,918 – more than enough to tip the nice teller at the sportsbook.

(Incidentally, if you need a further sign of … something, recall who’s on the opposing sideline as head coach: Frank Reich, quarterback in the 1990s with the … Buffalo Bills. So, yeah.)