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.
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.
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.
• 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…