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?


NFL results Against the Spread (ATS): What NFLbets learned in week 3

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 11:55 EST

What NFLbets learned in week 4: Miami and Carolina aren’t quite that bad, Denver and the Chargers are.

  • Cincinnati’s on the upswing, Philadelphia’s on the downswing and hastily accelerating.
  • The Packers are the over/under breakers in 2020 and the lines will begin to reflect this.
  • Also Seattle.
  • Buffalo is for real. At least until the (extended!) playoffs begin, though we can’t imagine Belichick not pulling out all stops to prevent the Bills from winning the AFC East.
  • Arizona’s final SU win-loss record will be worse than most of us thought – a team can’t take an L to Detroit while trying to stay in the 2020 NFC West race.
  • And finally, we may never bet a Titans game for the rest of the season … or at least until next Sunday.

The following are the results for the week 3 games of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Miami Dolphins 31 at Jacksonville Jaguars 10½. Have both of these teams been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet? On the other hand, NFLbets supposes that the 2020 Miami Dolphins aren’t *that* bad – figure the Fins to go 5-11 SU/6-10 ATS…

Chicago Bears 30 at Atlanta Falcons 23½. What the bloody hell is going on with the post-Super Bowl LI Falcons? NFL bets has postulated several theories:

  1. Dan Quinn is trying to pull some bizarre meta-goof on the Atlanta Falcons franchise and quite possibly the entire NFL and its fandom.
  2. Dan Quinn has been bought off by large-scale gambling concerns and thus deliberately throws these games.
  3. Dan Quinn literally has PTSD caused by the panic-inducing onslaught of Bill Belichick and his EEEeevil New England Patriots.
  4. Dan Quinn just isn’t a very good head coach right now.
  5. His players have completely lost confidence and/or given up on Dan Quinn.

Obviously, the best move for the Falcons to make is to keep him coaching for at least two more weeks. Obviously. But how can he top the collapses of the past two weeks?

Cincinnati Bengals 23 at Philadelphia Eagles 17½. Looking back, the SU tie makes a lot of sense: Joe Burrow and the Bengals are at that stage in their ascension to competitiveness where they’re tying games; Carson Wentz and the Eagles are meanwhile at the parallel stage in their decline.

Carolina Panthers 21 at “Los Angeles” Chargers 10. We may have to begin taking the Panthers seriously. Okay, semi-seriously.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22 at Denver Broncos 10
San Francisco 49ers 33 at New York Giants 9
Indianapolis Colts 23½, New York Jets 7
. “Which New York football team (FT?) is worse, ask a zillion talking heads, podcasters and online writers, with varying levels of jokiness. Well, for NFLbets’ purposes next week, we’re saying the Giants. Why? They’re getting nearly two TDs at the Los Angeles Rams and they’re not even gonna cover that. The Jets in week 4 are +3½ at home against the Denver Broncos, who are just about as likely to go 1-15 as the New Yorkers.

Detroit Lions 26 at Arizona Cardinals 18½. So much for that Kyler Murray-for-MVP talk…

Cleveland Browns 26½, Washington Football Team 20. Since management in Washington appears deadest on the “Washington Football Team” name, can we Europeanize that for the sake of coolness? You know, like F(ootball) C(lub) Barcelona – They could be Washington FT. They should be Washington FT. NFLbets is calling them Washington FT.

Seattle Seahawks 32½, Dallas Cowboys 31. Yeeeah, that preseason bet NFLbets has on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl is looking pretty useless right about now…

Buffalo Bills 33½, Los Angeles Rams 32. How can Aaron Donald turn in such a dominant performance, but the defense still gives up 35 points and the team loses? How does a team score 28 unanswered points in the second half and lose? Worst of all, how does an ostensible Super Bowl contender with a ridiculous force of nature like Aaron Donald be covering the spread with 30 seconds left and then blow our bet? How, I ask you, HOW?!?!?!?!?? Not that we’re bitter or anything…

Minnesota Vikings 30, Tennessee Titans 28. No, NFLbets cannot explain the Titans’ maddening 3-0 SU/0-3 ATS record thus far. The bad news is that Tennessee is up to +2 versus Pittsburgh in week 4; this makes the logical bet of taking Titans plus the points along with the Steelers money line a bit of a tricky proposition – so to speak.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24½, Houston Texans 21. And this result sets up the match between the 3-0 SU Steelers and 3-0 SU Titans – but also the 0-3 SU Vikings and 0-3 SU Texans. And if you think we’re even considering betting that Texans-Vikings game … wait a minute, Texans -3½? Hmmm…

Green Bay Packers 37 at New Orleans Saints 26½. Geez, Green Bay probably doesn’t have to be quite this good to win the NFC North, but it should make betting the over in Packers games easy for a while.

New England Patriots 29, Las Vegas Raiders 20. If any team can solve the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs, it’s these Patriots, who are running the ball at will on offense and are tops in the league in turnovers on defense…

Kansas City Chiefs 34, Baltimore Ravens 16½. …ah, who are we kidding? This Chiefs offense appears unstoppable – or at least as infallible as the 1999 St. Louis Rams. In week 4, the Patriots (or at least those betting on the Patriots) might consider covering the spread (New England +7) and/or keeping the score under 54 total points a moral victory. Damn, these Chiefs are good.

–written by Os Davis

 

 


Week 3 NFL betting: We like Patriots to roll, Falcons to score, Bengals to surprise

Saturday, 26 September 2020 14:51 EST

NFL football and betting moneyAh yes, the hole in the clouds … NFLbets sees daylight after the traditional crapshoot of week 1 and overreactive betting of week 2. Our picks have shown the value of betting conservatively – not necessarily in terms of amount of moneys, but rather number of games wagered upon. After two, NFLbets’ picks are a nice 4-1-1.

Naturally, the temptations are great, particularly with the week 3 slate. Even accounting for stayaways such as Washington FT +7 at Cleveland and Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6 at Denver, so many good-looking picks are available, it’s gonna be hard not to self-destruct. NFLbets will be loosening up a bit on the self-restrictions, though, and taking a chance on at lest one slightly too risky proposition. The following are our Best Bet, Pick of the Week and Longshot Special.

New England Patriots -6½ vs Las Vegas Raiders

NFL bettors have clearly been hammering the Patriots minus the points – the line opened at Raiders +5½ and could hit +7 by game time, and why not? With both teams having completed an East-West-East run (the Patriots went from Foxborough to Seattle and back; the Raiders from Charlotte to Vegas to Massachusetts) and both exceeding expectations early on, wouldn’t one have to give a one-touchdown edge in coaching to Bill Belichick?

NFLbets sure would and here’s the compelling stat as to why: Following their last 25 regular-season losses dating back to 2011, Belichick’s Patriots are an awe-inspiring 23-2 SU and 20-3-2 ATS – against point spreads ranging from New England -8½ to +2½. After a loss, Bellichick’s staff seemingly immediately gets to work on shoring up the weak areas which led to the L.

We can assume that the secondary will be, likesay, encouraged to improve week-on-week for week 3, as last week’s showing against the Seattle Seahawks represented probably their worst overall in four years. Derek Carr may have had his way with the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, but on a short week will not be prepared for some different looks from the Patriots defense.

Incidentally, Carr has faced the Patriots twice in his career thus far and his Raiders scored 9 and 8 in those games of 2014 and ’17, respectively. Take the New England Patriots -6½ vs Las Vegas.

Atlanta Falcons -3 vs Chicago Bears

The hype on the 2-0 SU/1-1 ATS Bears may be completely out of control, but NFLbets is glad it’s around. In two weeks to date, Chicago has managed to eke out a combined 44 points against the Detroit Lions and New York Giants, two bottom-10 defenses. This is actually slightly higher than the Bears’ average of just under 20.2 ppg since Mitchell Trubisky took over as quarterback in 2017.

On the other side, we may be only two games into the 2020 NFL season, but the Falcons have already demonstrated that they can still run up points on offense (gee, maybe continuity really does matter?) than the Lions even on a bad day: In their last 10 games, the Falcons have put up at least 22 points 9 times. If the Falcons get an early lead – particularly with a defensive score – this could turn into a nightmare for the Bears.

Finallly, there are the simplest numbers of all: Atlanta’s 0-2 SU, Chicago’s 2-0 SU. NFLbets thinks this very simple metric regresses to the mean this week. Take the Atlanta Falcons -3 vs Chicago.

Cincinnati Bengals +4 at Philadelphia Eagles

NFLbets knows that Joe Burrow’s 61 pass attempts – “In his second NFL game ever!!! OMFG!!!!!!” – were more of an act of desperate necessity than any mark of the young guy’s awesomess. (Though Joe Burrow indeed has awesomeness aplenty.) But Burrow’s persistence, ability to essentially manufacture plays and the pure statistical gaudiness of his performance has got to improve the Bengals on abstract levels at least.

And NFLbets knows that the Bengals’ offensive line can’t really hold a serious pass rush. Lined up against Myles Garrett et al, the Cincinnati linemen looked like they were giving up about 80 pounds on average. Nevertheless, the Bengals OL still provided Burrow enough time most plays against the Browns – and Philadelphia just doesn’t have a serious pass rush.

In fact, NFLbets isn’t even sure what the Eagles can claim to bring to the table anymore, anyway. Since the glorious Super Bowl win, the Eagles are on steady decline yearly in virtually all aspects of the game. Their competitiveness against their division mates – 9-4 SU (6-7 ATS) – is the thin thread which kept Philadelphia hanging in the postseason with diminishing returns, two weakass performances in 2020 do nothing to assuage doubts that this tendency will change.

But can we honestly believe that the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles will really start the season 0-3? Absolutely: This franchise has all the hallmarks of imminent rebuild, and this game appears an ideal situation for Burrowmania to snowball. We’re gonna take the Cincinnati Bengals Money Line (ML) at +170.

Wait, we’re taking the Bengals? Was what that thing at the beginning about playing conservative…?

–written by Os Davis


Week 3 Super Contest: What’s up with this East-West-East-west thing?

Thursday, 24 September 2020 12:20 EST

Picks for NFL week 3 Super ContestNFLbets wishes we could blame another weak-ass showing in My Bookie Super Contest on the pandemic the same way some teams will be blaming losses on rather unfortunate scheduling issues...

When the NFL schedule was prepared with the traditional system of rotating intra- and interdivisional games, the AFC East teams fell into the unlucky happenstance which occurs once in 12 seasons, i.e. a schedule which included games against AFC West *and* NFC West teams. On top of this, NFC West teams were also scheduled to play the NFC East teams, and the AFC West got games scheduled against the NFC South, which has three teams in the Eastern Time zone.

This all means a disproportionate amount of East-to-West and/or West-to-East travel for nearly two-thirds of the NFL’s franchises in 2020.

Naturally, team management wizened up long ago to the rigors of playing back-to-back games on the opposite coast years ago, and teams simply stay within the time zone between games rather than crisscross the country by air. But of course this is 2020, life in the time of coronavirus, and while technically teams are allowed to stay on the road between such games, the quarantine measures are strict enough for some to decide it’s not worth it.

How to factor this in for NFL betting already made complex by dint of sheer 2020? We’re going to have to assume that trends trend, talent wins out and we’re probably going to be shocked by most outcomes and turn in a 2-3 Super Contest ticket again. Whatever. It’s 2020.

Best bet: New England Patriots -6 vs Las Vegas Raiders. It’s this correct, My Bookie? NFLbets can get the Patriots minus less than a touchdown against the Raiders? The same Raiders bringing the offense-friendly defense which has already given up 54 points in two games? Is this a sucker bet? What do the sportsbooks know that we don’t…?

Arizona Cardinals -5½ vs Detroit Lions. And this bet is along the same lines as the Patriots-Raiders game. NFLbets realizes that sportsbooks don’t post many double-digit pointspreads – hell, even the New York Jets are only giving four this week – but come on. If NFL players cared about the Vegas odds, the Cardinals would be seriously insulted by this line.

Los Angeles Rams +2½ at Buffalo Bills. NFLbets is going out on a limb here, as the Rams opted to travel back to L.A. from Philadelphia on Sunday night, only to fly to Buffalo later in the week. But we believe Sean McVay knows what he’s doing here, as last week’s SU/ATS win over the Eagles brought McVay’s Rams to 7-1 SU/ATS cumulative. And L.A.’s already been impressive enough for NFLbets to juuuuuuust about tear up that “Rams under 8 wins” ticket…

Green Bay Packers +3 at New Orleans Saints. …on the other hand, we’re loving our “Saints under 10½ wins” ticket. In four games, neither Green Bay nor New Orleans has met a proper Super Bowl contender (no, Tampa Bay is not a contender), but whereas the Packers have cruised to 1010 yards in their two games, the Saints have run up les than 700 and simply don’t pass the eye test. On top of this, New Orleans is without Michael Thomas and will have three defensive linemen out or playing hurt (Malcolm Brown, Marcus Davenport, Trey Hendrickson).

Atlanta Falcons -3 vs Chicago Bears. The hype on the 2-0 SU/1-1 ATS Bears is completely out of control. They’ve managed to eke out 27 and 17 points, respectively, against the Detroit Lions and New York Giants, who resemble bottom-10 and bottom-5 NFL teams. Respectively. Meanwhile, the Falcons have shown early on that they can still run up points on offense – like, way more than can this Bears offense.

–written by Os Davis


NFL week 2 ATS results: Normalcy returns as visitors and underdogs dominate ATS

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 15:50 EST

All right, now *this* is the kind of NFL betting that NFLbets expects! In week 2 of the 2020 season, things returned to about as normal as they can get in the time of coronavirus – and that means point spreads were too high and homefield advantage is nearly as nonexistent as it was in ’19, when home teams went 106-140-10 ATS for a winning percentage of .434.

In week 2, home teams were 9-7 ATS and a whopping seven SU losers won ATS. While only two underdogs – the Los Angeles Rams (who should have been the favorites) and the Las Vegas Raiders –won outright in week 2, 9 ’dogs covered and New England missed earning a push by a single point. Now this is some normalcy. Sort of.

The following are the results for week 2 of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Cincinnati Bengals 30 at Cleveland Browns 29. Awesomeness of Joe Burrow aside – Dude, he threw like 61 passes without an interception, dude! – NFLbets is just happy for the man’s perseverance in the fourth quarter to put together a 75-yeard drive and score the 2020 season’s best garbage-time spread-covering TD so far.

Los Angeles Rams 35½ at Philadelphia Eagles 19. NFLbets is still baffled by what happened with the fluctuating point spread on this game. History will forever record the Rams went into this game with a clearly playoff-missing Eagles team as a 1½- or 2-point favorite. History is weird.

San Francisco 49ers 24 at New York Jets 13. From the Winning The Battle Losing The War Department are the 49ers, who will definitely be without Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Reheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, and probably without Jimmy Garoppolo for week 3 based on injuries taken in this game. Meanwhile, not even the Dolphins, it seems, can save the Jets from 0-16 this year.

Atlanta Falcons 39 at Dallas Cowboys 37. In blowing a 16-point fourh-quarter lead and a 98% win probability, the Falcons looked like a Super Bowl team. Unfortunately, that team is the 2016 Atlanta Falcons…

Arizona Cardinals 22½, Washington Football Team 15. Daniel Snyder may have finally earned himself some karmic points for dropping his franchise’s racist moniker, but all the karma in this plane of existence clearly won’t be enough to stop what Kyler Murray has going on in Phoenix…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23½, Carolina Panthers 17. On the other hand, the Panthers in week 2 may have disproved the existence of karma. After the brand-new coaching staff agreed the goal was not to tank the season despite a roster replete with unknowns, the team’s sole bona fide superstar Christian McCaffrey is out for several games minimum.

New York Giants 13 at Chicago Bears 12½. Now combine the McCaffrey injury to the end of Saquon Barkley’s season, and you’ll understand why NFLbets doesn’t play that fantasy football shit.

Indianapolis Colts 24½, Minnesota Vikings 11. So … the Vikings are playing in 2020 for the sole purpose of making their opposition look good, right?

Baltimore Ravens 25½ at Houston Texans 11. At eight sacks allowed in the first two games, the Texans are again putting the “offensive” in offensive line. Houston is now on pace to give up 64 sacks for the season, hardly as outrageous a number as it appears at first glance: The Texans allowed 62 in 2018. As he’s already racked up an incredible 133 sacks in 40 games played, the Texans QB is worthy of the sobriquet “Poor DeShaun Watson” – except he’s getting paid quite well.

Green Bay Packers 35, Detroit Lions 21. NFL fans have complained for years that one reason the Patriots have stayed competitive for two decades plus is due to the perpetual weakness of their division mates. This year, it’s clear that the Packers are playing in an AFC East all their own…

Denver Broncos 21 at Pittsburgh Steelers 20. Poster child for Covid-19 wreaking havoc with the NFL? At 0-2 SU but 2-0 ATS, it’s gotta be the Denver Broncos…

Jacksonville Jaguars 30 at Tennessee Titans 26. …unless it’s the Tennessee Titans, now 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS. As of this writing, they’re giving 2½ to the just terrible Vikings in Minnesota. A few more spreads like these, and NFLbets’ll have to swear off betting the Titans for the rest of 2020…

Miami Dolphins 31, Buffalo Bills 22½. So the Bills could well be a playoff team. They might even win the AFC East for the first time since 1995 – but these point spreads have got to come down a bit, eh…?

Seattle Seahwaks 31, New England Patriots 30. This was another dandy between the Seahawks and Patriots and, though seeming more probable every week, NFLbets is rooting against a Seattle-New England matchup in Super Bowl LV. Who wants to predict that outcome?

“Los Angeles” Chargers 20, Kansas City Chiefs 14½. NFLbets wishes we had significant insight into this game, but we’re still trying to parse just what the hell went on here. We can’t possibly be supposed to believe that the loss of Sammy Watkins destroys the explosiveness of the Chiefs offense, nor that the Chargers D is lights-out against the pass. We’d chalk it up to homefield advantage, but…

Las Vegas Raiders 34, New Orleans Saints 20. Fanlessness or no, Nevadans are certainly happier with Raiders Fever than the coronavirus. Chucky lives!

–written by Os Davis


Finally, NFL football in Vegas! Betting Saints -4½ at Raiders on MNF

Monday, 21 September 2020 17:44 EST

Sports fans in Las Vegas, rejoice! The majorest of all major sports leagues in North America, the National Football League, is coming to your city. Ironically, the Las Vegas (!) Raiders will probably less realistically contend than did your much-loved expansion Golden Knights, a.k.a. the greatest expansion franchise ever, but, hey – it’s football!

So tonight, stand up and cheer for the literal NFL Opening Day in Las Vegas – but you’ll have to do so from home, because that shiny new stadium will be without fans in attendance for Nevada’s debut on Monday Night Football. And as this could well be among the most-heavily wagered-upon NFL regular season games at Vegas sportsbooks ever, NFLbets figured we’d throw a few moneys at

New Orleans Saints -4½ at Las Vegas Raiders, over/under 49½ points

Betting Saints vs Raiders on MNF(See? Apparently heavy betting on the Raiders has shaved 2 points at some sportsbooks on this game as of noon Monday.)

First off, NFLbets believes that 2020 is a critical year for the Jon Gruden 2.0 Era in Oakland/Vegas. Since taking over the team in 2018, Chucky has attempted to transform the Raiders from Jack Del Rio’s 6-10 defense-first team featuring DMVP Khalil Mack into the sort of point-scoring machine that Gruden 1.0 ran in 2000 and 2001.

The results have been underwhelming. Fair enough, Gruden has lived up to the “quarterback whisperer” reputation with Derek Carr, who had his personal statistical best season in 2019. Beyond this, his reconstructed OL reduced QB sacks from 55 sacks in ’18 to 29 last season, ranking 6th overall and in pass protection as measured by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. And scoring Josh Jacobs at no. 24 overall looks to go on as one of the great Raiders draft picks.

On the flip side, Gruden 2.0’s Raiders have gone 12-21 SU and 15-18 ATS in his two seasons as head coach. The defense ranks bottom-5 against the pass, in pass rush and in generating turnovers in 2018, and was second-to-last in DVOA. Yet somehow, despite the bad defense and higher-scoring offense, the over in 2019 Oakland Raiders games was just 7-9.

So what to make of this vis-à-vis the Saints? NFLbets admits to some vulturism regarding Drew Brees as his get shorter and shakier week by week but even if the creakiness is pure subjective viewpoint, playing without Michael Thomas is a big minus for the Saints offense: Thomas represented 30% of all targets last season and just under 39% of the team’s passing yards.

The injury bug hit the Raiders as well, RTs Trent Brown and Sam Young are both out, which will necessitate some switching of the line. The Saints defense doesn’t always bring a scary pass rush, but last week kept the pressure on the essentially immobile Tom Brady last week, racking up 3 sacks and generally having their way with ol’ TB after the Buccaneers’ opening drive. Figure on pressure in the game coming from the right side though Carr can move better than Brady, he’ll definitely be made to react early and often in this game.

But you know what? NFLbets chooses to have faith in the Quarterback Whisperer and his offense, believing that Carr et al can keep pace with an addled Saints passing game, at least through the first half. We’ll take the over on an O/U of 49½ points and we’ll lean on the East-to-West Coast for Prime Time factor to take the Las Vegas Raiders +4½ against New Orleans.

NFLbets’ current record in 2020: 2-1-1.

–written by Os Davis


Week 2 betting: Love for Eagles, Brady utterly irrational and exploitable

Saturday, 19 September 2020 12:50 EST

See what NFLbets says about betting week 1: If you avoided getting too geeked up about the return of the NFL – and betting NFL games – you covered only the surest bets on the board, i.e. loading up on the Kansas City Chiefs for Thursday Night Football.

But, hey, who has the kind of willpower, you may argue, and NFLbets hears you. That’s why our collective ass was handed us in the My Bookie Super Contest; hell, we even had one card which managed on which we went 0-4-1. (We’d better keep that shit away from the cashier window…)

Now it’s week 2 time, and it feels as though our informal information bank has been filled at least three-quarter full with all the data exposed in opening day games. NFLbets therefore lays out the bankroll with confidence this week to bet on two Sunday games.

Los Angeles Rams +1½ at Philadelphia Eagles, over/under 45½ points

What in the name of Jimmy The Greek is going on with the line in this game? After the Eagles opened as 2½-point favorites, money apparently came pouring in on the Rams. By Wednesday, the My Bookie Super Contest had the line as a “pick ‘em” before the Rams had swung back up to -1 by Friday morning, only to incredibly loop all the way back to Rams +1½, which NFLbets will gladly take.

We’re not exactly sure just why the Rams would be underdogs in this game: If bettors are depending on the West-to-East factor, they’d better think again: Sean McVay’s Rams have run up a 6-1 SU/ATS record in the Eastern time zone (not including the Super Bowl). Not even in 2020, fans or no, should this work against the Rams.

LB Javon Hargrave will play his first game as an Eagle; RB Miles Saunders and RT Lane Johnson make their 2020 debuts. Johnson will be teamed with Nate Herbig on the right side. Herbig got his first career start (and third NFL appearance) in opening week and was part of a line that gave up a whopping 8 sacks to the Washington Football Team – will Johnson and Herbig really be enough to stop Aaron Donald?

Just as puzzling is the high regard that the Eagles are still apparently getting from NFL bettors based on a single Super Bowl appearance – without the guy that’s been their starting QB ever since. The truth is that Philadelphia with Carson Wentz starting at QB are 14-14 SU in all games and 4-7 against playoff teams since the miracle win over the Patriots.

All in all, NFLbets believes the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles starting the season 0-2 and ultimately missing the playoffs is a hell of a lot likelier than a win this week against a mean-looking Rams side. Take the Los Angeles Rams +1½ at Philadelphia.

Carolina Panthers +8½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, over/under 47½ points

Again, NFLbets asks: How can a team who looked good for 7½ minutes of the first quarter in week 1 be giving 8½ points (9. if you caught the spread early in the week) to a division rival who scored 30 last week? A concomitant question: How much longer will 70-year-old Tom Brady and Bruce Arians get the benefit of the doubt from NFL bettors? (That sort of faith will only cost you bankroll in the end, boys and girls…)

The Panthers in week 1 showed us an interesting, exciting team led by three coaches out of the college game and the NFL’s best all-purpose player in Christian McCaffrey. The Bucs showed us an offensive line that can’t buy an aging quarterback time, an undisciplined penalty-producing defense and sloppy, weak special teams play.

And whereas normally NFLbets might recommend the taking the over in this game, Tampa Bay will be going without WR Chris Godwin, tops in the team last week in targets (7) and receptions (6). Suddenly for the first time since 2001, we may cast doubt upon a Tom Brady-led offense. Take the Carolina Panthers +8½ at Tampa Bay.

NFLbets’ week 1 picks record: 1-0-1

–written by Os Davis


We’re on to week 2 of the Super Contest…

Thursday, 17 September 2020 15:33 EST

There are times when the Belichick philosophy comes in handy for NFL bettors. Like after a week 1 when your My Bookie Super Contestcard goes 0-4-1 and only then because you got the SU-winning/ATS-losing Tennessee Titans at -3 instead of at -2½. So as The Dark Lord says, “We’re on to week 2.”

Pick of the week: Kansas City Chiefs +8½ at “Los Angeles” Chargers. Look, you watched the NFL kickoff game on Thursday Night Football. You saw how scoreboard-spinningly efficient this Kansas City offense is – it was like week 22 of the 2019 season out there, for Lombardi’s sake. Do you believe the Chargers, who needed 47½ minutes to score a touchdown against the Bengals in week 1, can keep pace with Mahomes & Co.? Of course you don’t.

Cincinnati Bengals +6 at Cleveland Browns. Can you say “backlash”? Sure, the Ravens, current favorite to win the Super Bowl, were the ones smoking the Browns 38-6 last week – but the truth is that the Browns got smoked so hard the bandwagon jackknifed on the highway and spilled all occupants. And why wouldn’t Joe Burrow’s first NFL win come over the Cleveland Browns?

Los Angeles Rams pick ’em at Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles may have unwittingly handed over the keys for more than a temporary spell to the NFC East in the second half of their game against Washington FT; across the board, Philly looked outguessed, outcoached and outclassed. The offense, incidentally, has scored 17 points or fewer in three of the last four games. On top of this, consider that Sean McVay’s Rams are 6-1 SU/ATS in the Eastern Time Zone. Unfortunately, Money Line (ML) bets are off at My Bookie for this game, but a -105 payout on the current line of Rams -1 is a fine deal.

Buffalo Bills -6 at Miami Dolphins. Talking heads like to temper overreaction to week 1 results with “It’s just one week.” Except it’s not just one week. It’s week 1, after which we have far more information about all these teams than going into week 1, at which point we had, likesay, zero information – perhaps even less than zero in 2020. Week 1 certainly reinforced to those paying attention the prospects of the Buffalo Bills’ playoff bid. Against what looks like a top-3 defense, the Dolphins meanwhile bring, um, fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who still hasn’t figured out how to brain the ball to his receivers.

Carolina Panthers +8½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After what we saw from “Tompa Bay” last week, 8½ points is seriously way too much to be giving a team that went for 30 last week. In proactive response to (completely justifiable) argument that the Panthers’ opposition was the Las Vegas Raiders, who in 2019 were 31st overall in defensive DVOA, go ahead and guess what team placed 32nd in that category. Hint: The initials are T.B.

Substitute pick: In case you missed getting in a card before the Thursday Night Football game or you simply don’t like one of our picks, we’d also suggest Green Bay -6½ vs the Detroit Lions. Matt Patricia’s Lions stayed true to form in week 1; Patricia is now 9-23-1 SU/15-18 ATS as Detroit head coach, and little evidence suggests that the 2020 Lions are any better than a 5-11 team, even with Matt Stafford at 100%. Interestingly enough, Patricia's Lions are 4-0 ATS against Green Bay, but come on now...

–written by Os Davis


NFL week 1 ATS results: One week into this season and…

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 15:02 EST

NFLbets may have mentioned this elsewhere, but betting week 1 NFL games sucks. Had we stayed sane – like surely few unleashed after next-to-no proper sports betting for months on end could – and merely been happy with our sure-ish bets on the Texans-Chiefs Thursday Night Football game, we’d be looking at a profit going into week 2 based on one win (Chiefs -9) and one push (over/under 54 points).

Instead, our bets were wiped out by over-expectation and (we’ll say) lack of information due to the coronavirus offseason.

Of course, we can’t blame everything on the insane randomness that is week 1 of any NFL season, as a few realities stayed constant: The Chiefs and Ravens still sport the league’s most explosive offenses, Philip Rivers is still way done, in-house expectations for the Cowboys are clearly still low, and the Cleveland Browns are still the Cleveland Browns. We should have known, really.

The following are the results for the week 1 games of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

ie. Actual Score: Kansas City Chiefs 34, Houston Texans 20

Adjusted Score (-9.5)  = Kansas City Chiefs 24½, Houston Texans 20. One week into the season, the Kansas City Chiefs Repeat Super Bowl Champions bandwagon is already full up – and with excellent reason. Now might be an excellent time to invest a bit in the “Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl 55” futures bet still going for +550 at some online sportsbooks. Compare the Chiefs’ crampacked bandwagon with, likesay, the loser of

Baltimore Ravens 20½, Cleveland Browns 6. One week into the season, we may officially begin wondering if the 2020 Cleveland Browns will go down as the greatest 2-14 team of all-time.

Seattle Seahawks 37 at Atlanta Falcons 25. One week into the season, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and their Seahawks are flummoxing NFL bettors. (Hey, did you have them pegged for 38 points…?)

Las Vegas Raiders 34 at Carolina Panthers 27. NFLbets tried to make up a pithy summation of this game, but damn if I still can’t make sense of this result. Vegas in the playoffs, Baby!?

Denver Broncos 14, Tennessee Titans 13. This one, neither: Does homefield matter in 2020? Can the Broncos win games with this offense? Can the Titans? Ugh.

And perhaps in the AFC East as well, where New England Patriots 14, Miami Dolphins 11 was a pretty typical ATS result for this matchup – except the Patriots’ three TDs are came on the ground and the New England defense outpaced its offense. Scary! And just one week into the season, you can bet (so to speak) that some dudes in Boston are already planning to get utterly ripped on Sam Adams, put on war paint, knock down the nearest Tom Brady statue and dump it into the harbor.

Los Angeles Rams 19, Dallas Cowboys 17 What we witnessed here was pre-season form from both teams. That losey offensive pass interfearence between Jalen Ramsey and Michael Gallup was controversial in many ways. The contact was light, football light and Jalen Ramsey stole the game on this play. We should have been watching OT after a cowboy feild goal. It hurts as a DAL fan.

Pittsburgh Steelers 20 at NY Giants 13 What can you say about this one. Conners goes down and out again with an ankle sprain. The backup B.Snell Jr. put on a clinic and won the game. This seems earily familiar with any Pit RB. I guess a good offensive line does make a difference...just ask Lev'on Bell and his 14yrs from scrimmage in week 1.

Washington Football Team 27, Philadelphia Eagles 11½. One week into the season and already the Eagles are the biggest disappointment in the league and the NFC East may again be the Least. Also: One week into the season and the good juju earned by finally dropped that insidious team name is already paying off – with the extended 7-team playoff format now in place, Washington could well make the postseason in their first year as the Football Team.

New Orleans Saints 31½, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23. One week into … ah, come on. You saw the game. You saw what he looked like out there.

Buffalo Bills 20½, New York Jets 17
Chicago Bears 27 at Detroit Lions 20½
. One week into the season, NFLbets figures at least two head coaches are prepping their résumés…

Green Bay Packers 43 at Minnesota Vikings 31½. Between this and the aforementioned Bears-Lions game – Seriously, the Lions D gave up 21 points to the Mitch Trubisky-led offense? – it’s pointedly obvious one week into the season that it’s business as usual in the NFC North.

Arizona Cardinals 24, San Francisco 49ers 13½. One week into the season, and NFLbets is already overly prideful in his Cardinals over 8½ wins prop bet. (Look, it was just about the only decent pick we made in the preseason…)

Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Indianapolis Colts 12. And speaking of bad picks, the Colts. But NFLbets deserves the loss for forgetting just one week into the season a fundamental rule of NFL betting, i.e. Stay The Fuck Away From AFC South Intra-divisional Games, damn it.

“Los Angeles” Chargers 13 at Cincinnati Bengals 13. And because of this result, the Bengals get the WTF line of week 2, i.e. 6 points at the Cleveland Browns. Why, yes, Mr. Oddsmaker, NFLbets’ll take a piece of that…

– written by Os Davis


Five picks ATS for your week 1 Super Contest card

Saturday, 12 September 2020 14:27 EST

My Bookie $300K Super ContestSo let’s get the plug out of the way first: My Bookie is putting up some big-prize contests for the 2020 NFL season which are actually pretty cool, if a bit long-odds. In the $300,000 Super Contest and $100,000 Super Contest, the object is to pick five games with the point spread included weekly – and may the best bettor win!

Along with the $125,000 and $25,000 top prizes, respectively, awarded at season’s end based on cumulative record are cash payouts for the top 320 and 750, along with quarterly prizes. I should also mention because of their sizable quarterly prizes they do allow new players to enter this contest throughout the year up until week 8. And this is where My Bookie makes it worth your while to stick around for the entire season. After weeks 4, 8, 12 and 16, the best quarterly score is rewarded. Otherwise, you might go 3-7 in weeks 1 and 2 while maybe 1,500 participants go 8-2 or better: You’re sunk after two weeks of crapshoot, right? Nice wrinkle here.

Frankly speaking, the disproportionately small number of payouts isn’t great: Picking 19 out of 20 correct, thereby winning the quarterly prize in the $300K contest, nets a payout of less than 13/1. On the other hand, this parlay card-style betting requires less luck than fantasy football, is a seriously cheap bet (just $6.25/week for 16 weeks and week 17’s free!) and you’re probably going to be betting these games anyway, right?

On Saturdays in 2020, then, NFLbets presents our card for the week’s Super Contest, based on wagers we’re placing. Our card for week 1 includes:

Best Bet: Tennessee Titans -2½ at Denver Broncos. With the limited/non-existent crowd at Mile High for this game, bookmakers and Broncos backers alike are depending heavily on thin air, it seems. Seriously, isn’t Denver the team playing without an offense this year? Isn’t Tennessee the team that closed the 2019 regular season 7-3 SU/6-2-1 ATS, and then beat the Patriots and Ravens in back-to-back playoff games? Is the loss of RT Ryan Conklin – the sole big-name departure from Tennessee in free agency – that huge a deal for Tennessee? Taking the week’s biggest WTF game as our Best Bet does give NFLbets pause, but not so much that we’ll ignore this generous offer.

Indianapolis Colts -8 vs Jacksonville Jaguars. In previewing the bets for the 2020 opener of Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs, NFLbets laid out the heavily weighted stats for big favorites in openers. After the Chiefs’ dominant win, favorites of 8 points or more in week 1 are now 15-4 SU, and underdogs are now 13-6 ATS. Could the unlikely happen twice? You bet (literally) – this is 2020, after all, and the Jaguars may be in week 1 of an 0-16 season. PS In an eliminator contest, this is the week you take the Colts.

Atlanta Falcons +2½ vs Seattle Seahawks. NFLbets likes the chances of the dark horse Falcons in 2020 already based solely on continuity of offense, but throwing in the West-to-East travel for a 1pm game and Carroll & Wilson’s surprisingly mediocre record in week 1s – since 2010, the Seahawks are 5-5 SU/3-6-1 ATS; with Wilson at QB, they’re 4-4 SU/2-5-1 ATS – makes a game with the pointspread of a field goal an easy pick.

Detroit Lions -2½ vs Chicago Bears. As with Indianapolis and Tennessee, NFLbets is here more betting against the opposition than for our chosen side. Any possibilities of a brilliant comeback by Matt Stafford must be counterbalanced with the reality that Matt Patricia is on the sideline for the Lions. Small sample, here, but the Lions last two openers, i.e. those with Patricia, resulted in a 48-17 blowout by the New York Jets and last year’s tie against the Arizona Cardinals. On the hand, Mitch Trubisky.

Cincinnati Bengals +3 vs “Los Angeles” Chargers. We’re not even one week into the season, and NFLbets is already fairly certain that the Chargers shouldn’t be favored against anyone as visitor – regardless of the opposition’s recent history. For all the Chargers’ touted defensive prowess, the truth is that the “Los Angeles” D was one of the few that registered fewer turnovers and tackles for loss than did Cincinnati’s. The Bengals certainly have a decent-enough looking offense before plugging in Joe Burrow, whose LSU games indicate he could well be a badass in the NFL. With next-to-no pass rush and Joe Mixon eating up yards, Burrow’s gonna be cool and calm like he’s playing SEC ball again.

–written by Os Davis


2020 NFL season kicks off with a weirdie: Chiefs-Texans on TNF is one serious outlier

Thursday, 10 September 2020 14:10 EST

NFLbets isn’t quite sure how to factor Covid into the crapshoot that is already week 1 of any football season, but we realize the sportsbook beckons and so we offer some advice beginning with that kickoff game, namely

Houston Texans +9½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 54 points
Betting Kansas City -9.5 vs HoustonIf you’re thinking that those lines are gaudy, you’re spot on. Since 2010, Texans-Chiefs is only the 19th opening-day game to kick off (presumably) with a spread of 8 points or more and is just the 3rd with an over/under of 54 or more. Like most prescient NFL bettors, sportsbooks usually play week 1 conservatively, but clearly scoreboard-spinning is expected from the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs all season long.

And here come the gaudy numbers. In the 18 previous NFL games since 2010 kicking off with at least an 8-point spread, the favorite is an unsurprising 14-4 SU, but the underdog is 13-5 ATS! Note, too, that a favorite of 8 or more points in week 1 hasn’t won and covered since 2014.

Even wackier are the results of the big over/under games. In the three aforementioned games of 54-point over/unders, the under is 2-0-1. Hey, don’t blame us for small sample size: The only week 1 NFL game with this high an over/under prior to 2013 was a Marino Dolphins vs Fouts Chargers game back in 1986. (Final score: San Diego 50, Miami 28.)

In case you’re wondering about Venn diagramming, no worries: Never has a week 1 game gone off with a 8-point spread and over/under of at least 54 points.

So, yeah. The odds offered on this game are an outlier. But (adopts Al Pacino demeanor) Patrick Mahomes is an outlier! This Kansas City Chiefs offense is an outlier! This whole fucking season is an outlier!

Therefore, we’re going to split the difference: <strong>Take the Kansas City Chiefs -9½ vs Houston</strong> and <strong>take the under on an O/U of 54 points</strong>.

The thinking, such as can be done for a week 1 game, goes something like the following. With highly imbalanced tendencies, e.g. the 8-point favorite going 14-4 SU/5-13 ATS on opening day, the bettor can apply one of two schools of thought: The numbers give a glimpse into modern-day football and thus the trend will continue, or the imbalance is not sustainable in the long run and will begin to approach a 50/50 ratio.

We’re taking the latter tack because, well, the Chiefs offense is explosive and deadly from nearly any formation anywhere on the field. The coaching staff is utterly unchanged from last season’s Super Bowl staff, and, of course, this is 2020. We’re thinking offenses are going to start this season well ahead of the defense in terms of readiness. Which offense do you like more in that situation? We’re thinking that even if no offense manages to go over 20, the Chiefs might still be good for 35.

As for the Texans, let’s put it this way: Do you trust this new-old offense to get, likesay, three TDs? With another medicore OL? In week 1? In 2020? That’s why you’re taking the under.

–written by Os Davis