NFL betting: News, information, odds shifts


NFLbets is all about how the action in America’s professional football league relates to betting and though the opportunity to get real insider information is more limited all the time, the NFL bettor must keep up-to-date on the latest news – particularly injuries. NFLbets will be focusing on news stories which involve immediate relevance to the games ahead.

We’ve all seen what results when a team loses a starting left tackle, free safety or “skill player” to injury or suspension. In addition, NFL football of the 21st century increasingly runs into another issue taking away players, namely suspensions for drug-related and/or violent activity. Again, though the window of opportunity to leverage injury and suspension information is quite brief indeed, knowing ahead of time always beats ignorance.

NFLbets also seeks to cater to fans of one of the NFL’s 32 teams, and our news stories are compiled for each NFL market within our “team pages” so that fans may follow the progress of their favorites – not to mention check our track record, win or lose. And hopefully we’ll demonstrate throughout that our only bias is toward making money. We’re cheering for the bettors against the house here, and week to week we care only that our picks come through – for the readers and us.

Finally, NFLbets pledges to keep all speculation and opinion to the “Rants” section. In this area, we’ll try to keep things purely informational (no mean feat in a “post-fact” world) – just the facts and no “fake news” here.

NFLbets wishes all bettors the best of luck; let’s all make some money out there, okay?


Odds on which NFL team will sign Colin Kaepernick

Thursday, 18 June 2020 12:58 EST

Colin Kaepernick shirtless, looking for teamFrom the strange ethereal world that is NFL football in 2020 came a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell encouraging the league’s 32 franchises to sign once-blacklisted QB Coline Kaepernick. The odds in Kaepernick-related props were adjusted accordingly but with online sportsbooks essentially figuring that Kaep’s NFL career is kaput, the offering “Which team will sign Colin Kaepernick?” is as yet non-existent.

So hey, if NFLbets can’t wager on such a proposition bet, we’ll simply envision the prop, publish the plan online and wish it into being. (Hey, it works for the POTUS…)

In five seasons, Kaepernick played in 66 regular-season games plus six more in the postseason; his average line for this span is 189.3 yards passing to go with 1.1 TDs against 0.5 interceptions plus another 32.7 yards per game rushing.

The problem, as we were told between the kneeldowns and the collusion lawsuit brough against the NFL, was that the former Super Bowl quarterback had been away from the game too long. Hell, in week 8 of the 2017 season, Houston Texans QB DeShaun Watson went out for the season and rumor briefly had the Texans giving Kaepernick a shot. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre. When asked, then-head coach Bill O’Brien stated that Kaep was a “good football player,” he “hasn’t played football in a while.”

And that was when Kaepernick was half a season removed from the game. (For the record, the Texans went 1-8 without Watson the rest of the way. His replacements as starting QB that season, Tom Savage and T.J. Yates, never played another down in the NFL again.)

O’Brien’s attitude was apparently little more than the NFL party line, as Kaepernick’s lawsuit (and subsequent out-of-court settlement, to be completely honest) showed – but as loath as NFLbets is to admit it, three seasons out of football is likely too much of a handicap for Kaep to slide in to even the most desperate circumstances (helloooooo, Denver Broncos!) as a starter.

On the plus side, if Kaepernick does decide to play, he’ll likely be willing to do so at an affordable rate, i.e. a backup QB’s salary. After Taysom Hill and Marcus Mariota (at $8.841 million and $7.5 million, respectively), the next seven highest-paid backup NFL QBs will earn between $2.25 million and $5.25 million. All things being equal, $3.75 million for 2020 is beyond reasonable, particularly given the potential to sell more paraphernalia than any backup in NFL history.

The following are odds in NFLbets’ specialty prop bet, “Which team will sign Kaepernick first for the 2020 NFL season?”

• No team: -500. Pure pragmatism here, you understand.

• Baltimore Ravens: +200. For any player, this would be a no-brainer. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was Kaep’s OC when he twice took the San Francisco 49ers deep into the playoffs. And what 14-2 team has ever had a thinner depth chart at the offensive skill positions than the 2019 Baltimore Ravens?

• Los Angeles Chargers: +650. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor listed as no. 1 quarterback, have no fans, get the minimum of sports media coverage in L.A./Southern Califirnia, and will depend on the incompetence of the Broncos to stay out of the AFC West cellar. Hell, if anybody in the Chargers front office actually had a pulse, Kaepernick would have been signed by now.

• Chicago Bears: 15/1
• Denver Broncos: 15/1
. Look, if neither of these teams with their incessant follies at quarterback over the past three seasons haven’t given Kaepernick as much as a second look, Goodell’s edict still won’t wake them up (so to speak).

• Jacksonville Jaguars: 18/1. If and when play in the EFL Championship resumes, Fulham FC will have to address some paucity on the roster at forward, particularly when the loaner on Anthony Knockaert expires. On the other hand, play may not resume quickly enough for Fulham to make up a 7- and 6-point gap on Leeds United and West Brom, respectively. And since this is about as much attention as owner Shahid Khan pays to the Jaguars, it’s another year of Gardner Minshu for the team’s 27 fans.

• Washington: 100/1. No way is this going to happen in Donald Trump’s capitol city – and especially not with the great Colt McCoy already on board at the bargain price of $2.25 million (and worth every penny!). But NFLbets for one would kill to see Dan Snyder extend a contract offer to Kaepernick, only for the deal to be met with refusal until the team changes the goddamn racist name already.

–written by Os Davis


Goodell encourages NFL franchises to sign Kaepernick – but will they?

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 09:01 EST

Colin Kaepernick takes a kneeNFLbets would hardly characterize the NFL’s franchise owners as “woke”, but this week the lot are finally exhibiting a modicum of social awareness – albeit seven years too late at base minimum.

History will ultimately show that on June 5, 2020, as a thousand cities and towns throughout the U.S. rang with outrage over the brutal murder of George Floyd, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did state that “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

Justifiably, some players weren’t buying that bullshit, most notably Dallas Cowboys DE Michael Bennett. Bennett described the statement as “almost alike a slap in the face”, going on to state that Goodell “knows Black Lives Matter, because without black players, the NFL wouldn't be as lucrative as it is.”

Baltimore Ravens LB Matthew Judon was among those finding the timing convenient: “I think we should have been questioning why Roger Goodell didn’t say black lives matter when he was born, or when he became commissioner or when he was re-elected commissioner.”

But hey, this is NFLbets, where we’re concerned about making money the wagering way. Can this latest round of the league’s official vacuousness be turned to the NFL bettor’s advantage?

The answer to that, happily, is yes – if somewhat indirectly.

The Return of Sports – and Colin Kaepernick
History will also show that on the June 15, 2020, ESPN Sports Center special pretentiously entitled “The Return of Sports,” Goodell publicly encouraged teams to consider signing former pariah and courtroom nemesis (not to mention a favorite subject for proposition bets in the post-PASPA world) Colin Kaepernick.

At least one big online sportsbook immediately shifted the odds in their “Odds Colin Kaepernick on Active Roster for Game 1 of the 2020 NFL season” prop after offering the same lines since the conclusion of Super Bowl LIV. By this morning, YES had gone from +500 to +300, while NO went from -900 to -500. If we presume that even during a pandemic situation, such props never draw serious sums from bettors and thus the odds rarely waver much, we may conclude that this sportsbook doesn’t think much of ol’ Kaep’s chances at a comeback.

Beyond this, factor in the reticence of 32 franchise owners not exactly busted outright for collusion, but. In addition to the party line taken by these teams which was based on the narrative that Kaepernick just wasn’t that great a QB, how many of these billionaire types (and the Green Bay Packers board, who are pretty well justified in passing on high-risk QBs for a while) will be willing to roll over and surrender alpha dog status to a dude who was crushing them in court and public opinion…?

The unavoidable (if slightly depressing) conclusion is that smart money says take the NO in the Colin Kaepernick on Active Roster for 2020. But that’s no fun; what’s fun is hedging the NO by guessing which team will bet on their own PR and sign an athlete for our times…

To be continued...


Bakari Sellers: at 6/5 to be named VP nominee, Kamala Harris is a layup

Saturday, 13 June 2020 15:27 EST

Disclaimer: NFLbets does not endorse the views or opinions stated on the Bill Simmons Podcast nor those of its host or guests. Unless they can help us win bets.

Sure, betting on the 2020 US Presidential race is something of a mindfuck right now – not only are the odds on both major candidates well too short for solid betting, the possibilities of either the historically disastrous Donald Trump’s reelection or a victory by the clearly addled out-of-touch Joe Biden, seem paradoxically equally unlikely.

Far more interesting is the proposition bet “2020 Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee.” This prop is just now hitting a sweet spot for voters: As the Biden campaign has promised to reveal Biden’s veep choice on or around August 1, bettors need not wait too long for payout. And regardless of position on the political/ethical/moral spectra, any bettor may consider him-/herself free of negative juju elicited by wagering on the success of the opposition.

At My Bookie sportsbook, then, odds in the 2020 Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee prop look as follows.

Kamala Harris, favorite for VP nodSen. Kamala Harris: 6/5
Rep. Val Demmings: 7/2
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: 7/1
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 9/1
Stacey Abrams: 10/1
Former NSA Susan Rice: 15/1
Gov. Gretchen Witmer: 22/1
Sen. Tammy Duckworth: 16/1
Michelle Obama: 18/1
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 22/1
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham: 25/1

A few more names are listed in the odds table, but let’s presume that bets on Hillary Clinton (65/1) and Andrew Cuomo (100/1) are not to be taken seriously.

And speaking of ruling out contenders, we can toss wagers on Warren, Whitmer and Klobuchar right off the ballot. Warren and Klobuchar are both likely to land high-profile jobs in the Biden Administration, but the latter is particularly radioactive, thanks to a past record as prosecutor which shows that attorney Klobuchar performed her duties as she should have, i.e. by maintaining a tough-on-crime, easy-on-racist-cops professional attitude.

Well that kind of shit, as some thinking entity within the Biden campaign concluded, won’t prove too beneficial in 2020. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the strategy for the Democratic Party in the post-George Floyd world is simple: CAWS, as in Choose an African-american Woman, Stupid. This new reality has shortened the odds on Harris, Demmings, Bottoms and Rice in a hurry, but luckily even the table-topping Harris is still drawing longer than 1/1 odds.

And wow is that 6/5 on Harris a great bet right now. She’s drawing more positive press from certain mainstream media outlets (you know who they are) than Demmings and Rice while completely writing off Abrams, who was always seen by the DNC as too scarily militantly progressive – I mean, radical. The modicum of name recognition Harris gained from the early Democratic Presidential debates puts her ahead of Demmings and Bottoms (not to mention Whitmer and Duckworth), who are gaining mostly for reasons of geography, in the public consciousness.

Confirmations on Harris as a smart bet are everywhere. To cite the most recent example, lawyer/politician/anti-Palestinian Bakari Sellers recently appeared on the Bill Simmons Podcast – a show increasingly devoted to sports history and surface-level news talk – to promote his book My Vanishing Country, discuss race issues in America and, inevitably, weigh in on the 2020 election.

When Simmons asked Sellers if Harris was the VP nominee, Sellers replied like a good corporate Democrat, “I hope so.” Going on to state, “I think the favorites are probably Harris, Susan Rice, Val Demmings, [Michelle Lujan Gisham] and you may have Keisha Bottoms in there, but Kamala Harris is a layup for the Democratic Party.

“The caveat here, though, is that Democrats miss layups all the time.”

Indeed they do.

Luckily, the bettor can still hedge with a solid candidate or two and still turn a nice profit. For example: Cover Harris at +120 with amount 2x. Also cover Demmings at+350 for x. If you’re betting, likesay 100 Moneys, a winning bet here profits at +290 or +300. Alternatively, betting on Harris at 4x while hedging with Rice and/or Grisham at x wins a payout of +280, +380, +900, +1000, +2000 or, if covering Harris and ultimate VP nom Grisham, the max payout for this combination at +2100.

So who says electoral politics are good for nothing…?

–written by Os Davis


2020 Presidential Election: As Rome burns, Nero remains odds-on favorite to win

Friday, 12 June 2020 17:50 EST

2020 election oddsSo let’s get this straight: Capitalism is failing, and its US-based gatekeepers are grabbing everything within pocket’s reach before money disappears. American law enforcement officers are decades past the grievances filed lyrically in “Fuck The Police” and are now unashamed to kill the defenseless regardless of effect on real people. And by the way, getting breathed on in essentially any country in the whole but New Zealand could kill you.

Meanwhile, the figurehead for this clusterfuckery of all clusterfucks, one Donald J. Trump, is, according to the online sportsbooks, fixing to be reelected president of these here Untied States come national election. Just consider this: If Trumpy can indeed pull off reelection, he’ll have politically survived:

•  a pandemic, the likes of which killed the chances of sitting president Woodrow Wilson for *re-nomination by his Democratic Party* in the 2020 election;

•  sustained protest, which got Lyndon Johnson to fold before seriously campaigning in 1968;

•  obvious corruption extending to voter fraud, which got both Benjamin Harrison and Gerald Fold into the presidency and crippled their chances for another term in 1896 and 1976; and

•  a cataclysmic economic collapse, much smaller versions of which have killed the incumbent party’s chances for another term in every relevant instances since the Civil War.

And, again, the oddsmakers continue to offer shorter odds on Trump than his opponent, Joe Biden – the real reason these odds are even being discussed.

In mid-April, Odds Shark reported that “Although endorsements [from Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren the previous week] failed to significantly close the odds gap between Biden and the president, Biden’s odds to win the 2020 election improved from +140 to +125 week over week. Trump’s odds to win were 1/1 on March 16 but improved for the fourth consecutive week and are back up to -125.”

That wibble-wobbling of Trump’s odds in this proposition has been standard for over 12 months now – and if you’ve ever doubted that “investing” in the stock market is essentially identical to proposition betting, just watch the fluctuating Trump reelection odds as a future.

Today, Trump stock is trending longer. His odds opened up at an aggregate offer of -200 and steadily decreased as Sanders appeared headed for the Democratic Party nomination. At BetOnline.ag, these odds somehow retreated during the first two months of heavy coronavirus awareness to -180; currently, Trump’s odds are -120.

And during the time of coronavirus, we’re told that Joe Biden has locked up the party’s nomination to head up the ticket, completing what should have not been considered an improbable run. All well and good perhaps, but Biden is a standout among the uninspiring choices the Democrats have put forth since 1968. This dude makes Walter Mondale look like Bill Clinton, he makes Al Gore look like goddamn FDR, he  makes Michael Dukakis look like … ah, you get the point. You’ve seen him.

Or more accurately, you haven’t seen him. Politically speaking, Biden’s holders have managed to leverage the pandemic quarantine situation in simple fashion: Not only can they keep any appearances in which Biden may be challenged off-the-cuff, they have a baked-in excuse. The Democrats have been half-joking for he past 3½ years about how a raw vegetable would make a better president than Trump; they’ll soon get the chance to prove it so.

Nevertheless, the barely-animated Biden has seen a consistent shortening of odds since opening as high as 18/1 at online sportsbooks. You’ll be lucky to find him getting longer odds than 1/1 online. In their version of this prop, My Bookie has Trump listed at 5/6 (or -120) and Biden at 10/11 (or -110)! And in the prop “2020 Presidential Election – Winning Party”, the odds listed for both Democrats and Republicans are -120.

Putting in plainly, the bookmakers are straight-up scared shitless of either outcome.

As should we all be.


Super Sim Trubisky leads Bears to 30-24 win in Madden Madness Bowl

Monday, 01 June 2020 14:55 EST

So who needs so-called “real-life” NFL football? If Super Bowl LIII (New England Patriots 13, Los Angeles Rams 3) had been half as much fun as a single minute of play from the BetOnline’s Madden Madness Sim Bowl, no one would be wishing for that 3½ hours back.

Check out this sequence, which contained nearly as much scoring as that entire Patriots-Rams debacle. Following a Rams block of a FG attempt and a 2-point safety runback, the Rams go 3-and-out, punt. On the first play from scrimmage, Tarik Cohen gets the pitch and is smeared by Aaron Donald (for one of the former DMVP’s three sacks) to force the fumble. Bears WR Taylor Gabirel returns from his route, gets into the confused scrum of Rams defenders near the line of scrimmage, picks up the ball and takes it 89 yards for a TD.

Bears kick off, Todd Gurley is hit for a loss. And second down, Jared Goff drops back only to be crushed by big Akeem Hicks to force another fumble. Hicks himself takes it in for a second fumble recovery return TD inside of one minute of game time.

With the defense dominating, sim Chicago might’ve won the Madden Madness Bowl without their quarterback playing like the GOAT Tecmo Bowl Eagles QB, but the great Sim Mitch Trubisky delivered anyway. Sim Tru’s TD pass to Tarik Cohen to close out the first half sparked a 20-2 run by the Bears to ultimately go up 20-13 and never surrender the lead again.

Leave it to Sim Trubisky to slam the door, throw the dagger, put the game to bed and wear out other clichés in the fourth quarter. Hen notched what would be the final score of the ’Bowl, running in a TD – his fifth in the past three last Madden games! And with 1:30 to play in the fourth, Sim Trubisky took matters into his own hands at the Bears 33 on 3rd and 4, coolly running for 19 yards. For the Rams, it was all over but the crying. Final score: Chicago Bears 30, Los Angeles Rams 24.

Mitch Trubisky is awesomeNFLbets happily cleaned up on our bets to cover the Sim Bears money line (ML) – obvious, really – and the over, which covered with more than 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

As for Mitch’s final stat line, it read 20-of-27 for 230 yards to go with 89 yards rushing, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD against zero turnovers. Sim Trubisky had accounted for 319 of the Rams’ 430 total yards, yet somehow the MVP of the BetOnline Madden Madness Sim Bowl was … Akeem Hicks. No denying Hicks’s badassery here: The dude has a couple of big sacks on Goff and the TD, but dudes, it’s sim Trubisky.

Naturally, The Great Sim One told what most considered a snub in stride. This was a team win, a team Sim Lombardi Trophy, a Super Bowl for the fans But we know he’ll remember the slight. Sim Tru’s cool, but this wasn’t cool. Tell you what: When the next Madden Madness tournament comes around, Sim Trubisky’s gonna play angry. Be afraid; be very afraid.

P.S. The South’s no. 8 seed Carolina Panthers beat the Buffalo Bills in the third-place, a.k.a. consolation, game, 34-10. Like anybody cares.


Mitch Trubisky is a damn superman, has Bears in Madden Bowl against L.A. Rams

Sunday, 31 May 2020 13:54 EST

Betting on Turbisky in Sim Super BowlSim Trubisky is a goddamn superman. Virtually all other sim quarterbacks in BetOnline’s Madden Madness NFL sim football tournament had been tearing up NFL defenses – Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill – finally showed their true colors in the Elite 8 and Final Four rounds. That wacky Madden sim engine could hardly be kept from producing one bizarre result for the Sim Bowl to be played today at 8pm ET/5pm PT.

Final Four round: North vs East
The Buffalo Bills survived the New York Jets in a 9-7 thriller (not!) in Friday’s Elite 8 round, and sim Trubisky controlled the tempo against what had been an unbeatable Green Bay defense while the Bears forced three turnovers (hey, in a CPU vs CPU All-Madden level game, that’s a lot) in a 20-8 win.

Well, on this Saturday, nothing worked for Buffalo. Sim Trubisky continued running as though he were Beattie Feathers in 1934, whipping off runs of 12 or 13 yards like nothing and sliding safe gracefully. The Bears ran up a 20-3 lead and when Khalil Mack forced the fumble out of Josh Allen in the red zone with under four minutes to play, it was over. Chicago Bears 20, Buffalo Bills 6, because after the 1990s, nobody outside of Buffalo wants the Bills in another Super Bowl.

Final Four round: West vs South
The Los Angeles Rams defense kept Patrick Mahomes’s numbers down in a 25-9 win to take the Elite 8 game, even notching a safety on the QB in a 16-point second quarter to which the Chiefs could never answer. The Carolina Panthers meanwhile finished off the South bracket thanks to a Graham Gano field goal with 9 seconds remaining. Carolina Panthers 22, Tennessee Titans 20.

Does Madden believe in teams of destiny? Since taking out the no. 1 seed New Orleans Saints, the Panthers had fit that bill. But even though sim Cam Newton had been unbelievable in this tournament, he’s no sim Mitch Trubisky. The sim Rams offense has been playing to at least 2017 levels, and the sim Rams defense may almost be ready to take on the Madden ‘07 Patriots, never mind the Madden ‘17 Patriots. Aaron Donald was an absolute beast again with three solo QB sacks, and the L.A. D allowed just two TDs all day. Los Angeles Rams 30, Cinderella Panthers 22.

So it all comes down to this:

Madden glitches are awesomeThe Bet Online Madden Sim Bowl –
Chicago Bears +2½ vs L.A. Rams, over/under 39½ points

Come on, now: How many of you chose this matchup for the first Sim Bowl? In real life, the Rams finished 9-7 in 2019, while the Bears went just 8-8 and a notable amount in both teams’ off-field personnel suffered neck strain while attempting to avoid facing reality vis-à-vis their quarterback.

But that’s real life, isn’t it? The 2019 Chicago Bears weren’t running with Sim Trubisky, a badass who doesn’t get tackled until he wants to be tackled. Mathematically precise and beautiful are the arcs of his passes, craftily sculpted are the drives he leads. In this tournament at least, Mitch Trubisky is a fucking god in the mold of a Madden 2004 Michael Vick or Tecmo Bowl’s QB Eagles. As amazing as Aaron Donald has been, no one can handle the Mitch.

Which is why NFLbets is saying take the Chicago Bears ML at +110 vs the Los Angeles Rams. AS for the over/under, you’re guess is as good as ours. After a run of 5-3 by over, the under is now on 5-1 run, with the sole over coming in the Rams-Panthers Final Four game. NFLbets supposes that if you like the sim Rams, take the over. If you like the Bears, well, there’s no telling what kind of damage Sim Trubisky will do to these unsuspecting sim Rams defenders. You’re probably still taking the over. So … take the over, we guess.

–written by Os Davis


Sim Chiefs, sim Packers avoid upsets, advance to Madden Madness Elite 8

Friday, 29 May 2020 12:29 EST

After the craziness in the previous day’s “Sweet 16” games in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim tournament, normalcy prevailed in the bottom half of the bracket yesterday.

Highlight from Madden Madness sim tournamentIn the Sweet 16 round, the Kansas City Chiefs survived the Las Vegas Raiders, 38-35, after Chucky’s team went on a 21-0 run in the second to third quarters.

The Green Bay Packers really ran up the ol’ scoreboard on the Cleveland Browns by winning the baseball game, 13-6.

Philadelphia’s Madden players nicely simulated the real-life Eagles by taking the Buffalo Bills into overtime, only to blow their possession in overtime aaaaaaaaaand Bills victory, 23-20.

Finally, the South playoff between real-life rivals the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans also went into overtime, with the Titans D holding the Texans to a field goal in extra time and Tennessee advancing, 34-31.

Pointspread and over/under for the Eliter 8 games are as follows.

West: Los Angeles Rams +3½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 50 points
North: Chicago Bears +3 at Green Bay Packers, over/under 43½ points
South: Carolina Panthers +3 at Tennessee Titans, over/under 43½ points
East: New York Jets +2½ at Buffalo Bills, over/under 42½ points

NFLbets could tell you that underdogs are 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight games or, better yet, that the over is 6-2 in that span. We might also point out that in the Elite 8 round of May29, all home teams were playoff teams in 2019 and none of the visitors are.

But, and we can’t emphasize this strongly enough, *this isn’t real football* and Madden has never been a reliable simulator in terms of reproducing real-life results. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – just be sure to adjust your bets accordingly. (There’s a reason why betting is limited to results based on the scores of the game only.)

In the spirit of fun then – and not betting very many moneys – we’d say to take the over in the Rams-Chiefs, Panthers-Titans and Jets-Bills. Why? The difficulty level for the CPU vs CPU game is set for both teams at All-Madden. We’re not sure why, but putting all players on this level has benefitted quarterbacks and edge rushers the most. Just look at some of the quarterbacks left in this competition: Mitch Trubisky, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold (who may be great someday but patently was not in 2019) … and Cam Newton is no longer hobbled or sightless.

Note, too, the low variance in pointspreads for this round. If you’re covering any underdog plus the points, you may as well take the moneyline, which pays off at much better odds. But again: wager the proverbial responsibly.

–written by Os Davis


Crazy upsets putting the “Madness” in “Madden Madness”

Thursday, 28 May 2020 11:23 EST

What in the name of Vince Lombardi is going on in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim football tournament? With half the “Sweet 16” round complete, we’re guaranteed an “Elite 8” with at least four teams which didn’t actually make the playoffs and are guaranteed only two such teams. The New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are already out, eliminated by Washington, the Carolina Panthers (Madden Cam Newton is awesome) and “Los Angeles” Chargers, respectively.

While some of the topsy-turvy results are down to teams looking better on paper than their 2020 performance would indicate (again, Madden Cam Newton is awesome), but much of the blame can be bestowed on the AI coaches. Particularly egregious was AI John Harbaugh. The scenario: In the Sweet 16 round against the Bears, immediately after the 2-minute warning, down 24-21, 4th down and 3. So naturally, the Ravens call for ... a run by FB Patrick Ricard, who *hasn't had a single carry in three NFL seasons*. We can't imagine why Baltimore lost this game to Mitch Trubisky & Co....

And so went the Sweet 16 round:

• East: New York Jets (5) 30, Washington (8) 24
• South: Carolina Panthers (8) 20 at Atlanta Falcons (4) 13
• North: Chicago Bears (4) 31 at Baltimore Ravens (1) 24
• West: Los Angeles Rams (4) 39, “Los Angeles” Chargers (8) 16

The second round of Sweet 16 games runs today, May 28. Pointspreads and over/unders are as follows.

• West: Las Vegas Raiders (6) +7½ at Kansas City Chiefs (2), over/under 52 points
• North: Cleveland Browns (6) +4½ at Green Bay Packers (2), over/under 46 points
• South: Tennessee Titans (3) +1½ at Houston Texans (2), over/under 47 points
• East: Philadelphia Eagles (3) -3 at Buffalo Bills (2), over/under 44 points

Three of the first four Sweet 16 games in the tournament went for 54 points or more and 50+ point games are commonplace – perhaps due to the mostly neutral field conditions in the game. Plus, with the built-in favoritism to the offense in today’s NFL rulebook, if inferior AI coaches face off, the better offense wins. So we’re saying take the over on any or all of these games.

As for winners ATS, the only opportunity we really like is to take the sim Texans -1½ vs the Titans. Houston’s roster looks great in terms of metrics, and the comedown from Mike Vrabel to AI Mike Vrabel is significant. Also: Newton vs Watson in the Elite 8!

Beyond that, we believe that given how this tournament’s gone thus far, the Chiefs and Packers can’t possibly both survive this round. All of a sudden, the 2019 Cleveland Browns feel just perfect for this tourney as a tremendously underachieving team that has screwed NFL bettors one way or another for two real-life seasons straight – and Freddie Kitchens to AI Freddie Kitchens is a step up.

Bet Online is setting everything up for a Browns vs Pantehrs Madden Sim Bowl, we can feel it…

–written by Os Davis


On the future of football post-pandemic

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 17:20 EST

Strange times are these – particularly if you’re into sports on any level. Overnight an enterprise in which we’d typically invested a sizable fraction of our time and/or bankroll evaporated, leaving some to betting Madden sim games online and the seriously desperate to wager on marble racing. A revelation regarding sports may have occurred to some as well, i.e. maybe sports just aren’t that essential.

(Now don’t get NFLbets wrong here: Just because something is not essential does not mean that it’s useless; after all, the human spirit and aesthetic sense must also be nourished. The human species  would be a far sadder lot without folk song and literature and visual art, all as literally nonessential as NFL football.)

In researching for the Truly The GOATs sports history podcast, a few concepts became readily apparent to me:

•  Humans have played sports, or sports-like games, for thousands of years;

Seen any good Aztec ball games lately...?•  Complicated organized sports are created by cultures which can support them, i.e. citizens have enough leisure time and society can allow for time and/or specialization of players;

•   For much of the world, the golden age of sports is unquestionably the 20th century;

•   Not all cultures have organized sport; and

•   Teams, leagues and even entire sports die.

From a dispassionate historical perspective, then, the future of NFL football is short and bleak. Indeed, we may right now be seeing the final few seasons of the league – or we will someday. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic may simply be hastening the demise of a league and an entire sport which might otherwise have been dragged out for 20 years more.

Impossible, you say? Football is an indelible part of American culture? Too big to fail, you believe? Well, acceptance of cruel fate comes late, well later than the ennui-to-panic NFL fans, bettors and officials are feeling in month three of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warning signs already prevalent, obvious, ominous

More and more paleontologists are coming around to the idea that, before the planet-killing meteor struck planet Earth to wipe ’em out, most dinosaur species were already in precipitous decline: The extinction-level event merely completed with stark finality the process that had already begun. By analogy, we think of the NFL as the dinosaur, the Earth as the sport of football and the extinction-level event as … um, er, COVID-19 has clouded that particular bit of the metaphor.

Back to the present. Consider what NFL football looked like to the non-fan going into year 2020: Youth participation is down in schools in every state due to parental concerns about football’s long-term health effects. NCAA football is turning the corner on fairly distributing money to its players but far too slowly.

In the big league, meanwhile, it’s seemingly one scandal after another involving on-field cheating and doping, off-field crime and violence. Simultaneously, the American public has becoming evermore aware of the league’s (mostly) billionaire owners regularly fleecing the home city’s citizens to pay taxes to construct a shiny new privately-owned stadium – stadiums which host games which typically price out the average citizen.

The most recent example of this last phenomenon comes from good ol’ Los Angeles – you know, the city which had zero NFL teams for a generation and is reportedly now home to two…? The main selling point of Walmart baron/Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a $1 billion-plus pleasure palace/home venue for the Rams and Chargers was that he’d be paying out of his own sizable coffers. The project is currently nearing $4 billion over budget, has been delayed once again “thanks” to COVID-19, with the difference certainly to be made up by the city government, with taxes to repay the unexpected expense.

And don’t get NFLbets started on the whole anthem-kneeling thing.

You can also throw away Super Bowl viewership numbers, too. Firstly, evidence suggests that these numbers peaked in 2015; second, 7 of the 9 top-rated Super Bowls – and the entire top-5 – in terms of audience included Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Neither of these awe-inspiring charismatic dudes is likely to play in another.

Precedent for the NFL’s extinction

PSFLIn 1905, meetings were held between colleges with America’s leading football programs (essentially the Ivy League schools plus a handful of others) in consideration of the question of whether football should be made illegal. You read that right: These deans, proto-ADs and such were debating whether playing the game should become a crime. Truth be told, had Teddy Roosevelt’s own son not been injured and thus inspired the POTUS himself to call for rules reforms, the 19 killed on football fields in ’05 could well have been enough to kill football before the forward pass came to full fruition.

NFLbets has suggested that, as macabre as it sounds, one on-field death in an NFL game, with tis millions of viewers weekly, would essentially guarantee the loss of up to half the audience overnight. This isn’t the 1970s, when Formula 1 drivers were killed at a rate of more than 1 per season: Today’s public is well more likely to turn off, as fatalities are no longer a norm in football or any regularly televised sport.

Unlike all other major sports, which enjoy viewership and participation across large swathes of Earth, significant interest in gridiron football is limited to exactly two countries: America and Canada. This limited talent base plus the still-great interest in college football are the primary reasons why minor/rogue leagues have proven unsustainable, with the sole exception of the AFL. The AAFC, WFL, USFL, UFL, XFL, AAF and XFL 2.0 have all been crushed under the NFL steamroller.

The AFL was a beneficiary of right-place, right-time: When the rogue league was formed in 1960, the NFL included just 13 franchises, and just three – the Rams; the San Francisco 49ers, assimilated from the AAFC; and the just-born Dallas Cowboys – played home games west of St. Louis. At that time, the U.S. population was about 180 million, meaning the ratio of Americans to a single NFL team was 13.9 million to 1; the ratio in 2020 is down to 10.33 million to 1. The AFL was fortunate to have come along when the potential talent could be absorbed into a competitive pro-level team and when many big and/or burgeoning markets (e.g. Boston, Houston, Denver) were without a home team.

Well more concerning than even the ugly AAF trainwreck and the new XFL’s death by pandemic, however, is the impending doom facing the Canadian Football League. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie went before a Canadian House of Commons committee on May 7 to request bailout money for the league’s continued existence.

Acknowledging that “Our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season, and our most likely scenario is no season at all”, Ambrosie went on to admit the league was looking at $30 million in debt already and would need $120 million more to keep the league going in 2021 and beyond. Judging by Canadian media reportage, their federal government is none too keen on propping up a league which is weakest in the country’s three biggest markets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Now one may argue that the problems the CFL must deal with post-pandemic are unique to that league. Interest is low in Toronto and Montreal because of the “big league” sports already in town, and the CFL draws most of its revenue from gate receipts rather than TV. Ironically, improvements in television technology surely also factor into declining attendance, particularly in the colder months of October and November.

But the financial woes are not the point. The CFL has roots going back to the origins of the game itself: The CFL’s top prize, the Grey Cup, has been awarded to Canada’s champion football team since 1909, and the Toronto Argonauts have a history spanning back to 1873, a time when rugby and gridiron football were barely distinguishable and Canada itself was just four years old. Yet none of this matters, as this national institution could be wiped out forever by July, its league officials, franchise owners, coaches and players as helpless as were those of the near-stillborn AAF.

Borrowed time must be repaid

Borrowed time, the NFL is living onThe NFL has been living – thriving, really – on borrowed time since CTE’s effects and their relationship with football playing were exposed to the American public. In totem with the anthem-kneeling controversy, the socially conscious NFL fan must indulge in some serious doublethink to enjoy the sport at all in the 2010s. How popular would NFL football have been by 2020 if not for the all-time outlier Tom Brady and the concomitant über-success of his New England Patriots, a.k.a. the Dynasty You Love to Hate?

And then there’s that tv audience, which will almost inevitably shrink from 2019 norms and never truly return. Call it the Fitness Club Principle: You know how, if you go to the gym every day, the act becomes habit? Then you miss one day in the regular schedule and voila: The subsequent day, justification to skip again is a lot easier, and even easier the day after that and the day after that, etc. Soon you find you’re still paying gym membership, but you haven’t actually attended in a couple of months. Once one loses the rhythm of habit, it’s much harder to pick things back up.

NFLbets bets The Fitness Club Principle is coming to most professional sports in America, and the NFL could well suffer the greatest. At this point in the pro sports blackout, only the most rabid fans are truly still hurting and – pure speculation here – it’s just not an absolute certainty that football played in an empty stadium and stripped of much of its ritualistic pageantry won’t draw the expected viewership.

Our advice

Maybe the graveyard spiral of the CFL is getting to us, but such stark reality in the face is impossible to ignore. We’re playing the 20s pragmatically vis-à-vis football and thus we’re only counting on the NFL continuing for about five more years. For 2020, we’ll be attempting to learn how to adjust our traditional NFL betting ways for a new reality of fan-less stadia and diluted homefield advantage – and let’s just hope Super Bowl LV isn’t our last chance to dig on NFL football…

–written by Os Davis

 

 

 


On the road to the Sim Bowl: Betting the Madden Madness sim NFL tournament

Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:59 EST

Can you believe we’re already just one week away from the Super Bowl? Well – the BetOnline Madden Sim Super Bowl, that is. The final games in the simmed regular season, played using 2019 rosters, have ended and the tournament phase begins.

Bet Online’s Madden sim game distinguished itself from many an online sportsbook’s offerings in its unique format – which the actual NFL might consider using in a shortened-season scenario, except for the whole games-every-day thing, we suppose…

The teams in each of the league’s eight divisions squared off in round-robin format over six games in World Cup tournament-style. After round-robin play, tournament play begins. In round one, all 32 teams compete in single-elimination games. The seeding here is determined by grouping teams from each division with its conference counterpart and ranking by record in pool play. So for example, the round one game in the West features the no. 8 “Los Angeles” Chargers at the no. 1 San Francisco 49ers.

The Sweet 16 round runs May 27-28 and will elimination all but two teams in each region for the Elite 8 round of May 29. The Final Four round (slated for May 30) will be made up by the winners of the North, East, South and West brackets, while the Madden Sim Bowl happens on May 31 – probably just in time for another season of sim football betting because why not?

Click on the image below to see the Madness Madness tournament schedule. All games may be watched live on Twitch at twitch.tv/betonlinemadden.

BetOnline sim football betting

Since the Final Four round will be reseeded, NFL bettors can’t exactly cover a futures bet on a winner and in fact Bet Online isn’t offering this particular prop bet. However, what is incredibly interesting is the real-life Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are both seeded in the West.

But hey, let’s throw some predictions out there anyway. We’ll go with the no. 1 Ravens from the North, the no. 2 Chiefs from the West, the no. 2 Texans from the South and no, NFLbets won’t be going against even the sim Patriots, no. 1 seed in the East. So it’s probably Ravens vs Chiefs in the ’Bowl. Though we’ll just be, as they say, taking these games one at a time.

As for how to bet on Madden Football sims – if you’re not already in the know – It’s as simple as betting on sports as you normally would, though offerings are limited to a few basics such as pointspread, money line and over/under bets for the game, quarter and first half; no player props and other proposition bets are available, though for the Big Game, who knows…?