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 result 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?

I’m really really sorry. I apologize unreservedly … for being a dumbass and betting on my favorite team

Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:38 EST

Advisory: The following has nothing to do specifically with the NFL or NFL betting, but a lesson is reiterated which is of valuable use to the NFL bettor. If only I’d remembered at the time…

Sometimes we all do stupid s*** in Las Vegas. Last time yours truly was out there meeting with El Jefe and assorted sordid types that congregate there every so often, we made a bet. As a Denver Nuggets fan armed with irrational confidence and Nikola Jokic, the bossman bet l’il ol’ me on the relative fortunes of his team against the team of my boyhood fandom, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Through sheer embarrassment, the terms of the wager won’t be detailed here, but the bet involved relative numbers of wins, with a cap on a 10-win difference. The cruel fact that I’ll be paying the maximum has been evident for at least a month now, a bad four weeks filled with nearly daily trash-talking from El Jefe on the subject of my folly.

(Whatever happened to “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” anyway…?)

The prospect of an imminent fat payout apparently isn’t enough for El Jefe, forever, and he’s now demanding an apology appearing here on the pages of NFLbets. He claims that I called him “out of his mind” for backing the Nuggets in the bet, tossing in a characterization of the man as “congenitally insane” to boot.

This is clearly a distortion, NFLbets argued, as I’m clearly one of the most peaceable and uncontroversial folks you’ll meet. And why should I apologize when he’s set to win actual cash? Whereupon the conversation that followed went pretty much precisely like this:

Hey, NFLbets’ll admit that getting hung out a high window was deserved for forgetting an absolutely crucial tip for gambling success: <strong>Never play favorites when the goal is winning money.</strong>

Naturally on that dark day in Vegas was I deceiving myself into thinking that I was thinking objectively about the Lakers. I justified making my fanboy bet with arguments that only Laker fans who’d somehow managed to watch this team eyes uncovered for the past three seasons knew how good these young guys were/are: Brandom Ingram, though slight of build so fearless at driving the paint; Kyle Kuzma, the late first-round sensation with five different shots in his arsenal; Josh Hart, a sneaky sharpshooter coming in off the bench. Hell, I was (and still am) a defender of Ivica Zubac, a guy who came up playing on Team Croatia youth sides with Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja.

As for Lonzo Ball, a player who has attracted a disproportionate amount of vitriol from haters on all sides, the truth is that the lad’s shooting numbers are up while his defensive and passing sills are indisputably top level.

Adding Lebron James – even with ancient Rondo and a grab bag of C-listers joining him in lieu of a second marquee free agent – to this roster alone should have been worth a playoff spot, not to mention hitting the over on the preseason over/under line of 49½ wins. Hell, King James got the Cleveland Cavaliers well far many times with worse rosters than this, right?

Except a not-so-funny thing or 12 happened on the way to the 2018-19 NBA Finals. James Harden and Chris Paul managed to set a speed bump directly in front of the starting gate, getting Rondo and Ingram suspended for several games each after some grade-A trolling from the Rockets.

Then Lebron gets injured – Merry Christmas, Lakers Fans! – and as it turns out, Luke Walton’s miracle run at the helm of the record-setting Golden State Warriors taught him f***-all about coaching defense. As it turns out, having Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green at your behest isn’t actually a strategy. On this, Javale McGee’s 5-foot jumper was left behind in 2018 (if it ever made to, likesay, 2014-15, in the first place, that is), Zubac was traded for nothing and the other young ‘uns may as well have been traded with all the psychological good the Anthony Davis speculation did this team.

As this stifling snowball of death steadily rolled downhill into the fifth level of Lakers hell, well, let’s just say I saw a lot of Ls on the forehead from El Jefe – and said letter did not stand for “Lakers” or “Los Angeles.”

I should have, for I deserved it absolutely and thoroughly. NFL bettors, please remember the simple fact that it literally just does not pay to be a fan, and my frivolous, stupid loss will not have been in vain. So here’s your apology, boss, and I think I’ve learned my lesson.

Unless, of course, you want to go double or nothing on the Butt Nuggets advanced out of the first round of the NBA playoffs…

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.

NFLbets is actually a little insulted by this “Men on Mars” proposition bet

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:18 EST

Men on Mars proposition betAt first, this seemed like another of those wacky sportsbook proposition bets that’s impossible to play because of ridiculously long odds, but then NFLbets started feeling insulted by certain apparent presumptions about bettors held by the given sportsbook, who shall remain nameless.

In the proposition bet “Will Humans Land on Mars by the End of Trump’s Presidency?”, the NO is getting odds of just 1/20 while YES is at 10/1.

So just another harmless piffle like “To Become the Next Pope” or “Day of the Week Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s baby is born”, albeit with preposterously short odds on both available options. And as NFLbets prepared to write up this screed advising to bet the house on NO, it occurred that this information backing up our supposition is so easily found that everyone who visits the should load up on this prop as much as the bookie will allow.

Is the unnamed bookmaker assuming that no one will? Come on now – if the would-be bettor is looking at the online sportsbook website, he/she clearly has internet and has likely sought information by, likesay, typing a few words into Google. Barring placing a bet as a joke gift, there is absolutely no reason not to research this stuff before placing a bet.

Problem #1: Space
“Space,” as Douglas Adams once observed, “is big.” Trained in primary school to think of planetary orbits as tidy circles within a neat 2-D plane, many folks have trouble with the notion that when we speak of the solar system, an agglomeration of three-dimensional objects all moving in relation to one another mixed in with the occasional curvature of spacetime.

The end result of this is that getting a craft from Earth to Mars is less like shooting a cannon at a wide target, but instead akin to striking a basketball while it’s used in a pickup game with a glass bead: It’s possible, but for successful results, you’d better pick your spot correctly. Put another way, the stars – or, in this case, planets – must align. And much of the time, rather inconvenient obstacles, likesay the Sun, would get in the way of a Mars mission, or the distances between the blue planet and the red planet are too great for current fuel capacities of space vehicles.

Which brings us to…

Problem #2: Time
Two problems with time vis-à-vis a mission to Mars are in play here. First, there is the window of opportunity. If you believe Trump will lose in Election 2020, NASA, the Chinese Space Agency and whatever private companies who believe they can get a homo sapiens to Mars had better get their shite together quickly at this point: The next possible launch window is July to September 2020.

So let’s say you like Trump to lose in 2020. You’re essentially thereby ensured of cashing in by betting NO in the “Will Humans Land on Mars…” prop. Why? Unless NASA (or someone) invents Star Trek’s warp drive pretty damn quick, it will take 260 days for a Earth-launched spacecraft to reach the fourth planet. Mars-bound astronauts would have to launch on April 1, 2020, to touch down before Inauguration Day 2021, and that just can’t happen.

As a two-term president, Trump’s last chance to see humans land on Mars as U.S. president would come in late 2022/early 2023. This launch window begins in December ’22 and goes through February ’23; any mission launched in this time would put people on Mars before Trump is tarred, feathered and run out of Washington, D.C. leaves office in January ’25.

But you know what? In September 2007, then-NASA administrator Michael Griffin, the guy who should be more outwardly positive publicly about the chances of a Mars mission stated that yes, Americans will be going to Mars – probably in 2037.

Easiest money of the next few years at the sportsbook is this prop – we just wish it didn’t feel so insulting to the intelligence. Who in HAL’s name is betting on YES here…?

NFLbets also hopes that, when our species is technologically capable of getting to Mars, the results are a little better than this…

How to wager on the only proposition bet you’ll need for the 2019 college football season

Tuesday, 05 March 2019 13:28 EST

Betting on Clemson-Alabama againFrom a football betting perspective, you gotta love NCAA football. The BCS championship has become the most predictable in American sports, surpassing recent runs like the NBA's Warriors-Cavs or Warriors-anyone for that matter, not to mention Patriots-anyone in the NFL. And the college football playoff “tournament” has only assisted in helping out football bettors make money.

Take, for example, really the only proposition bet you’ll need this college football season: “To win the 2020 NCAA College Football Championship.” Here’s how the tables on this prop at two major sportsbooks look:


team sportsbook X odds sportsbook Y odds
Clemson Tigers +165 +230
Alabama Crimson Tide +200 +200


Aaaaand you can stop right there.

First off, under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have lost 15 games – including three to Auburn and two to Clemson – in 11 seasons while taking five national championships. And Nick Saban ain’t going anywhere.

Dabo Swinney, meanwhile, has been Clemson head coach for just 11 losses in the past seven seasons, got the Tigers to 15-0 in 2018 and may be considered the undisputed master of the college football playoff with a career record of 5-2. And Dabo Swinney ain’t going anywhere just yet, either.

Finally, just in case anyone’s forgetting, the last four national championships have been contested between these two.

So NFLbets feels that we don’t need to know about recruiting classes or even, apparently, the starting quarterbacks for these teams to exploit some advantageous lines here. If both teams again enjoy their customary dominant seasons, any underdog hoping to sneak in will have to get past both – and rarely these days do both Clemson and Alabama take a regular-season and a playoff loss each. Obviously, you’ll want to take Alabama and Clemson to win the 2020 College Football Championship in separate bets, and can certainly leverage the opportunity.

At sportsbook #2, the path to profit is simple. Covering Alabama at +200 and Clemson at +200 for, likesay, 100 Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) each would net a profit of M100 if/when either takes the title.

At sportsbook #1, a little number-crunching seems to imply that the best bet would be to cover Auburn and Clemson at a ratio of 5:7. For example, covering Auburn for M50 and Clemson for M70 would net M95 or M135.50, respectively, in profit on a championship win.

But the best solution here is to shop around a bit and take advantage of the variance in offerings that still exists this far out from 2019 kickoff. Even in this small sample size, the enterprising football bettor can get both Tigers and ’Tide at 2/1 or better simultaneously – nice.

NFLbets usually doesn’t believe in making seriously wagers this far out from season’s beginning, but I this case, the odds on either Alabama or Clemson just might not get any better before their seemingly inevitable firth straight meeting in the championship game.

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.

CFL free agency is (mostly) done; early Grey Cup 2019 odds – and NFLbets' picks – are here!

Friday, 22 February 2019 17:53 EST

Among the numerous ways in which the CFL varies from its NFL counterpart is the ability to piece together a team in free agency and turn that team into a playoff contender – even a Grey Cup contender – in the season immediately following. This is due essentially entirely to the size of the league: Not only can veteran free agents reunite which former teammates and coaches, the odds on any CFL team getting into the playoffs is -200!

And thus, with much of the preseason gone, this is a particularly profitable time to do some betting on the Grey Cup. Early odds in the proposition bet “2019 Grey Cup – Odds to Win” look like so:

Grey Cup 2019 logoCalgary Stampeders +400
Ottawa Redblacks +450
Saskatchewan Roughriders +450
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +450
BC Lions +750
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +900
Edmonton Eskimos +1000
Montreal Alouettes +1200
Toronto Argonauts +1200

Now this list is clearly designed to play off most football fans’ and casual bettors’ tendencies to believe that next season’s results will, despite all but the most dramatic of offseason moves, will more or less replicate the previous season’s.

To wit: Ottawa, Saskatchewan and Montreal are all getting well too short the odds. The Redblacks lost nearly every key potential free agent they had and essentially traded down from Trevor Harris, statistically at least among the CFL’s top-3 QBs for Jon Jennings, a dude who with BC Lions has become synonymous with “mercurial.” Chris Jones left at least four posts (VP, GM, head coach, defensive coordinator) after dicing and scrambling the roster for three years. And the Alouettes did shockingly little this offseason, but why would you when the great Johnny Manziel is leading you?

NFLbets isn’t necessarily buying Calgary at 4/1, either. Make all the comparisons you want between the 2010s Stampeders and New England Patriots, but the truth is the Stamps lost 10 of their 23 defensive players listed on their roster, including eight starters and three who were signed by NFL teams. To coach this side of the ball will be Brent Monson. Monson was Stampeders linebackers coach for five years, has never been a coordinator and is the team’s third DC in three years.

Probably the best bet is to take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at +450, so we’ll advise that. The Bombers chose to mostly stay pat, and so last season’s top-scoring offense at just under 30½ points per game returns its staring QB plus virtually all their offense. And surely, they’ve got to get over the hump one of these years…

Nevertheless, NFLbets likes the odds on two longer shots: We’re saying risk and few Moneys and take BC Lions at +750 and take the Toronto Argonauts at a ridiculous +1200. Game-changer and former Grey Cup champion QB Mike Reilly jumped to BC this offseason and an entire core of wide receivers (Greg Ellingson, DeVaris Daniels, Ricky Collins and Kenny Shaw). And even though they’re fixing to trade away all-time great BC Lion Solomon Elimimian, we’re thinking new blood might not hurt in BC, particularly young new blood. All this plus a promised all-new player-friendly coaching staff headed by DeVone Claybrooks? O yes, BC should go far.

Over in the East, Toronto ended up making some pretty impressive acquisitions. No one really know who might be helming the offense, but if anyone competent is put in at QB, new signee Derel Walker will isn’t become the odds-on favourite to lead the CFL in receiving yards. Also aboard the Argo for 2019 are RB Chris Rainey, RB Tyrell Sutton, WR Mercer Timmis, LB Ian Wild, DB Kevin Fogg, and returning hero and general badass DL Shawn Lemon. Certainly not as impressive as BC’s list, but probably enough to win what will again be a weak-looking East.

Feel the Bern 2.0: Tremendous odds on a Sanders win in Election 2020 – if the Democrats don’t f*##*&$# it up

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 13:09 EST

Bernie Sanders and/or Larry DavidYesterday, Larry David Bernie Sanders formally declared his intention to run for the Democratic Party’s primary for the U.S. presidential election of 2020. Within eight hours, his campaign had drawn over $1 million in small donations but, more importantly for our purposes, rose to 10/1 odds in the proposition bet “US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds to Win.”  

For the dispassionate NFL bettor, i.e. he/she who can look at this election objectively with all political belief and personal repulsion put aside, Sanders would seem to make a great investment at the aforementioned 10/1, particularly since two of the four candidates with shorter odds have yet to declare intentions to run.

Already polling at 19% among likely Iowa caucus voters and as high as 30% among all Democratic primary voters, Bernie’s odds will likely not get lower until he is all but mathematically eliminated from the race. A bet on Sanders at 10/1 would seem to be a terrific long-term investment, especially when parleyed with something like the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs in a “To Win Division” prop.

But then there are the Democrats – a perpetual fusterluck of a party which still (still!) has mostly existed since the days of Martin Van Buren as an exemplar of a Will Rogers witticism of a century ago: “I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

We’ll get back to The Democratic Party’s awesome (not) success in presidential elections shortly, but we’ll first consider the odds for some top non-Bernie candidates listed for betting in the “US Presidential Election 2020 – Odds to Win” prop.

Democratic Party: The 2020 field, odds
Kamala Harris (5/1) is a self-described "top cop" who was pretty spectacular as a state attorney in keeping Clinton Administration Era corporate prisons well stocked with peoples of color. And when faced with criticism on said record openly, she simply waves away these folks with memories as “Russian bots.” Will Kamala Harris get the votes Barack Obama did? Not all of ’em, that’s for sure.

Elizabeth Warren (22/1), a.k.a. the Rachel Donezal of the Senate, is adored by mainstream media outlets left of Fox and will get lots of free press coverage. This could be a minus for Warren, however, whose ugly use of race falsification plus her clearly staged crap about drinking beer will only hurt. Can you imagine President Elizabeth Warren? Me neither.

Tulsi Gabbert (25/1) brings one of the Seante’s most liberal voting records and represents a state on the front line of climate change, but for some reason won’t be covered with a 10-foot pole by CNN or anyone – she’s the Bizarro Warren!

•  Amy Klobuchar (15/1) is proud to claim to be a moderate, pooh-poohing the radical ideas of free college tuition and the Green New Deal., but we’re thinking the progressive elements of the party are going to drive the Democrats this election, and a moderate won’t make it for them.

•  The super-progressive Cory Booker (35/1) has long been touted by some in the party as their next presidential candidate, but despite announcing his candidacy on February 1, nearly three weeks later, has taken one legal or bureaucratic step forward to actually, likesay, officially getting in the race. We’re thinking this is because the man’s a serious Bernie acolyte who was waiting to see if Sanders entered. Booker is already feeling like more of a VP candidate.

•  See the odds on Julian Castro (66/1)? There’s a reason for that: His experience as an elected official measures exactly four years as mayor of San Antonio. This guy also seems like a vice-presidential candidate in 2020, but prez? Hard to buy.

•  The most ridiculous odds on the whole board have got to be on Beto O'Rourke (8/1), though. O’Rourke campaign gladly took the second-most money in campaign contributions from Big Oil of any Senate candidate and still lost to Ted Cruz. If political analysis website Fivethirtyeight described Bernie as “a famous, successful loser,” then Beto may be called the “unknown, unsuccessful loser,” thus making him actually an ideal candidate for the Democrats, come to think of it…

•  Joe Biden (8/1) looks like a classic Democratic Party failure in the mold of Al Gore. Veep to a popular president, lots of relevant experience … heck, they were both even also-rans in primaries a couple of times. So why wouldn’t the Dems put up another milquetoast old with guy playing a “centrist” for “nationwide” appeal? Because if Biden even tries to run in the primaries, he’ll get MeToo'ed so fast, you'll think his name is Weinstein.

So … the Democrats can’t f*#^^#& up this one, can they? To paraphrase their last above-average presidential campaign, “Yes, They Can.”

Consider: In 1960, John F. Kennedy needed up to 100,000 dead people to vote for him in Chicago to beat the miscreant Dick Nixon. In ’64, Lyndon Johnson won against a extremist so far right he alienated 70% of Americans with a single word. In ’76, Jimmy Carter snuck into the White House by beating the party of Watergate by 2.1% of the vote.

In 1992 and ’96, Bill Clinton won elections without a majority of the popular vote either time, making him the only president ever to do so. In 2000, Al Gore couldn’t even win his home state, leaving Democrats to feebly blame Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for their woes. Fair enough, the Democrats finally got a legitimate presidential election win in ’08 with Barack Obama – and all it took was a near-collapse of the entire global economy.

And then, in 2016, the coup de grace. Having already committed to throw the party’s nomination to their biggest loser of ’o8 and screw what the voters thought. With the incredibly unlikeable Hillary Clinton steering the ship, the USS Democrat wrecked itself on an orange-haired iceberg.

NFLbets’ Best (early) Bets for Election 2020
NFLbets isn’t going to back down from advising bettors of the “2020 U.S. Presidential Election – Odds to Win” prop to take Bernie Sanders at 10/1 but, given the Democrats’ ridiculous performance over the past 60 years, hedging is a smart idea. Remember “hold your nose and vote for Clinton”? Well, hold your nose and take Donald Trump at 2/1.

Odds on fictional prop “To Appear As Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”

Friday, 15 February 2019 16:32 EST

Let’s face it: Hard Knocks is just not good tv. Even when at its best, namely the coverage of last season’s Cleveland Browns, HBO’s longest-running series (!) is little better than a train wreck watchable only if one completely gives in to one’s worst rubbernecking tendencies.

As NFLbets pointed out when reviewing an early episode of the Browns’ C-level Shakespearean shenanigans, Hard Knocks is yet another series which proves that “reality TV” is an oxymoron. What little football we are actually shown reveals next to nothing about the overall shape of the team going into the following season, but rather provides a shallow deep dive into the chosen personalities of that year’s series, quite a few who turn out to be scrubs anyway.

For NFL bettors, the most crucial bit of knowledge to be gleaned from Hard Knocks is the production’s initial decision, i.e. which team features on the show. Whereas franchises had some element of choice in the decision to allow HBO crews serious access to certain aspects of training camp when the show returned in 2007, this right was taken away for the 2012 season. Since then, the league orders a team to do Hard Knocks based on three criteria:

• A losing record the previous season;

• no turn as featured team on Hard Knocks in the previous 10 seasons; and

• a head coach in his second year or beyond with the club.

Thanks to the introduction of this criteria, betting against the Hard Knocks team has been easy and is only getting easier. The following are the featured teams in the series along with each team’s record for the given season.

2007 Kansas City Chiefs: 4-12.
2008 Dallas Cowboys: 9-7.
2009 Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6, bounced in the wild card game by the New York Jets.
2010 New York Jets: 11-5, lost in conference championship.
2012 Miami Dolphins: 7-9.
2013 Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5, beaten soundly at home in wild card game.
2014 Atlanta Falcons: 6-10.
2015 Houston Texans: 9-7, crushed 30-0 at home in wild card game.
2016 Los Angeles Rams: 4-12.
2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11.
2018 Cleveland Browns: 7-8-1.

So there you have it: A composite record of 83-92-1 since the relaunch and 49-62-1 in the past seven seasons, representing average regular-season records of 7-8-1 and 7-9, respectively. Notable, too, is that the only Hard Knocks team ever to win a playoff game were the fluky-ass 2010 New York Jets, and they did so twice.

The advice to the NFL bettor is clear, then: Betting against the Hard Knocks team – certain to be overhyped and over-backed at sportsbooks in over/under win total props, as with each of the last three featured squads – should at least break even, and if they sneak into the playoffs, pile up the Moneys against them.

Sadly, no sportsbook offers the prop “To Appear As the Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”, so NFLbets just made some odds up. Collect ’em, trade ’em, bet ’em with your friends!

New York Giants +120. Eli Manning, who clearly needs more tv exposure, leads the storylines here as he presumably heads into the sunset and/or faces a challenge for the starting job from a high draft pick QB. Throw in Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley, some maniacal pass-catching genius named Odell Beckham Jr. for star power and North America’s biggest sports market and this sounds like a winner to us.

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +180. In any other year, this would be a no-brainer, with Jon Gruden the head inmate of the asylum – an asylum with a 10-year-old playbook, no less – in the Hue Jackson mold. However, two factors weigh against the Raiders: Gruden ain’t getting fired even if his team goes 0-16 , so there’s always 2020, the team’s inaugural season in Las Vegas; and secondly, Mark Davis et al may not even know where the team’s training camp will be by the team HBO production crew needs to start location planning.

San Francisco 49ers: 5/1. So you’ve got Jimmy Garrapolo trying to live up to his nascent superduperstardom and quite possibly of a prima donna wide receiver, gold to Hard Knocks, on the team in Antonio Brown, but … not a lot more other than a desire to fan faltering fandom in Santa Clara a bit. Any chance of, likesay, reclaiming Colin Kaepernick…?

Detroit Lions: 12/1. As much as we would love to see Matt Patricia instilling Belichick-level loathing in his players while receiving absolutely zero Belichick-level respect, the sad truth is that the Lions for some reason don’t even have the lovable-loser appeal of the Browns. Any one of the above-listed teams will be chosen before Detroit, we’re certain. In fact, the only worse choice (by far) would be…

Washington:100/1. Let’s see here … progressives are taking over Washington, Millennials are a growing faction of NFL fandom (not to mention the HBO audience) and, o yeah, *IT’S THE F*#@*^&ING 21ST CENTURY*. So HBO execs are going to greenlight a series they’ll have to subtitle with a racial slur? Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

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…?

He’s our MVP, too: Julian Edelman saves NFLbets’ bacon in Super Bowl LIII

Tuesday, 05 February 2019 16:59 EST

Thank the gods for Julian Edelman. After a Super Bowl LIII that no one expected and Las Vegas surely cashed in en masse on, NFLbets pored through 21 virtual bets to find we’d come out ahead for ’Bowl, due to the inexplicably generous 20/1 odds given Edelman to win the game’s MVP award. This put us up for the game just as it ended, and a more voluminous sigh of relief was never heard.

In the interests of full disclosure, here’s how our final Sunday’s worth of betting on the 2018 NFL season turned out.

The over/under
NFLbets advised going under 56½ points and ultimately this made for one of our few good winning tickets. If anyone on the planet covered it, a wager on “15-21 total points scored” paid out at 60/1. NFlbets total: +90 Moneys.

The point spread and money line
Well … the Rams lost outright, didn’t they? Like whimpering little Chihuahuas, weren’t they? NFLbets now joins the chorus in irrationally hating the New England Patriots for a week or two. In the meantime, bang goes our money on Rams +2½ and winning outright. Ugh. NFLbets total: -110 Moneys.

Most Valuable Player
You gotta love betting on MVP props – as long as a quarterback doesn’t win. Those playing NFLbets’ six recommendations for Super Bowl MVP earned a payout of 20/1 on Julian Edelman, thus earing a 10/3 payout on the entire six-pack. NFLbets total: +1290 Moneys.

Proposition bets

Total accepted penalties
NFLbets suggested going low in this prop for better odds, covering 0-7 penalties at 5/1 and 8 penalties at 10/1. This looked good for a brief while, with the Patriots taking zero and the Rams taking just two penalties (including a delay-of-game to get a longer field for punter Johnny Hekker) in the first quarter.

Alas, the Rams would induce seven more flags thrown, and the two teams’ total closed at 12 to pay at 14/5, lowest odds in the prop. NFLbets total: +1090 Moneys.

Longest score of the game
In this prop, “Field Goal” was, incredibly enough, the underdog at +110. The single TD of Super Bowl LIII went for 2 yards, so our bet on “Field Goal” here was pretty safe. Hell, NFL bettors could have won taking Yardage of Longest Field Goal -23 over Yardage of Longest Play from Scrimmage. NFLbets total: +1200 Moneys.

Over/under Total kicking points by Patriots (8½) and Rams (9½)
Going into the Super Bowl, we figured these defenses would very effectively keep the opposition out of the end zone, even if the offense snuck into the red zone a few times each. Instead, the Patriots and Rams offenses kept themselves even out of the red zone. Of course, the loss of these bets was easily foreseen with Gostkowski’s clunker in the first quarter; in the end, a successful try then would’ve won over-8½ bets. NFLbets total: +1000 Moneys.

Player to get the first interception
We usually lose this prop and this year’s Super Bowl was no different. We covered Aqib Talib, John Johnson and J.C. Jackson here, but nope – of course it was Corey Littleton, who was a stud in the playoffs. NFLbets total: +700 Moneys.

Inter-sport proposition bets

The low (low!) score of Super Bowl LIII certainly made the game more interesting who had inter-sport props tied in with the previous night’s/earlier Sunday NHL and NBA games. Sadly, no one but Edelman could hold up the side for the Patriots and Rams in this prop:

Memphis Grizzlies total points at New York Knicks -17½ vs Julian Edelman receiving yards
In hindsight, this may have been our worst bet. NFLbets covered the Grizzlies -17½, but the only justification was figuring on the Rams defense to limit Brady’s favorite target – but we also had Edelman covered for MVP. So call this one a hedge. Or that one.

No matter: The game’s MVP improbably went for 141 yards – This represents 55.7% of the Patriots’ receiving yards and 36.6% of their total yardage; in Super Bowl LII, this would translate out to about 279 yards. Tragically, the Grizzlies did not set a franchise record for points scored in a game at 158, instead beating the hapless Knicks by a mere 96-84. NFLbets total: +600 Moneys.

New Jersey Devils goals scored at Montreal Canadiens +½ vs field goals made by Los Angeles Rams
Again did we believe in the kickers, and again did we get burned. For the record, the Devils won 3-2 in OT when those foolish enough to go with NFLbets needed a Montreal shutout. NFLbets total: +500 Moneys.

New Orleans Pelicans 1st quarter points at San Antonio Spurs -½ vs Rams points scored
Anthony Davis, nothing. The Pelicans could’ve thrown Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle out there to play 2-on-5 against Greg Popovich’s guys and the Pels still would’ve outscored the Rams. As it runs out, Davis did not suit up and his team put up 24 in the first regardless. Taking the Pelicans 1st-quarter points paid off, though at just -125. NFLbets total: +575 Moneys.

Philadelphia 76ers 1st half points at Sacramento Kings -4½ vs total points in Super Bowl
Another laughably easy win … aside from marquee players Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, each of whom outscored the whole of Super Bowl LIII, the 76ers played some weak ball on Super Bowl Eve in losing to the Kings. But for our purposes, the 52 in the first half crushed the Patriots/Rams at anywhere down to -31½ points. NFLbets total: +665 Moneys.

Las Vegas Knights shots on goal at Florida Panthers -2½ vs New England Patriots points
See, these inter-sport parlays are too much fun. NFLbets took Patriots points +2½ here, despite going under for the game. The Panthers would have needed some otherworldly defense to win NFLbets this prop, and the record would ultimately show that the Knights covered this about five minutes into the second period, ending up going for 35. NFLbets total: +565 Moneys.

All right, so NFLbets didn’t exactly break Las Vegas with our Super Bowl LIII bets but given the game’s utterly unexpected result, any positive return should be considered huge.

Once again, we thank Julian Edelman for allowing us to cash in. NFLbets therefore wraps this season with – What’s that? The odds on next year’s Super Bowl winner are out? Okay, then, we’ll be back soon! Likesay, within a day or two…

–written by Os Davis