NFL best bet: Top must-wager weekly

No matter what you call it – Pick of the Week, Lock of the Week, Best Bet, etc., a regular column delineating the one must-bet wager weekly is a staple of any NFL prognosticator in any medium. On this page we present only the cream of the crop, *the* bet you’ll want to make in a given week. In addition, we promise complete transparency: We’ll leave up our past picks, win, lose or push so you can judge for yourself whether or not to take NFLbets’ advice (but we think you will).

As we’ve stated elsewhere, a primary rule within the NFLbets dogma is this: Don’t force your bets. There is absolutely no requirement to make a minimum number of wagers weekly. Heck, the ideal situation would be to throw down as much money as possible on those three to five occasions in any given NFL season when the outcome is crystal-clear obvious days beforehand. But where’s the fun in that? After all, one or two bets are always worth making.

NFLbets’ “Pick of the week” is primarily for the conservative NFL bettor, because the truth is that in gambling, conservatism is the way to go. We stake our reputation on our best bets, so let’s enjoy making some money this year!

Week 6 NFL Betting: Time to take advantage of inexplicable hype

Saturday, 17 October 2020 17:51 EST

Most of the NFL point spreads, individually speaking, are logical at the sportsbooks for week 6; however, at least two stick out like broken ribs. And if you think NFLbets is going to take advantage of the hype on a certain prospective Hall of Fame quarterback and a certain NFC North team known most for a Saturday Night Live skit about its fans, you’re absolutely correct. So let’s get to betting on…

Green Bay Packers -1½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFLbets has scoured the history and statistics on this one but has found nothing significant enough to dissuade us from goggling at this spread, which has shifted 2½ points since release and is still far too long.

In games following a bye week, Rodgers's Packers are a respectable 7-5 SU and a nice 8-3-1 ATS. A bit concerning, however, is his 1-4 SU/1-2-1 ATS run. Equally as concerning is the Packers’ current 4-0 SU/ATS record; NFL bettors should always seek the end of such streaks to take advantage. Could this be the reason the Packers started the week as underdogs in this game…?

While neither team has taken on many serious contenders through 4 or 5 games, the Packers have played at the proper level in running up 38.0 points per game with a statistically no. 1 offense in points, yardage, turnovers lost and time of possession. The Buccaneers looked great in betting up the “Los Angeles” Chargers in week 4 but couldn’t score three TDs at Chicago.

As we’re all well aware, opposing Aaron Rodgers at QB is Tom Brady. Since 2009, Brady has an impressive personal mark of 26-8 SU/25-7 ATS in games following a loss. Perhaps it is for this that Tampa Bay started as 1-point favorites last Monday.

But – and this is a bold statement, for sure – the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no Belichick ‘n’ Brady Patriots. The Bucs are dead last in penalties accrued (OK, technically Tampa Bay is tied in 31st with the Arizona Cardinals, who are apparently still stamped with the Bruce Arians laissez-faire attitude) while guess which team is tops in least penalties. Meanwhile, Bucs’ rushing D has faced the least number of passing attempts all season: Great news for Aaron Jones, who gets to build on his 509 total yards and 6 touchdowns after Green Bay builds up a, likesay, 17-3 lead after two quarters.

NFLbets just isn’t seeing the Buccaneers keeping the score to within 2 points; only a peak Brady drive might save them in this game, and that Maserati left the showroom a while ago. Take the Packers -1½ at Tampa Bay.

Chicago Bears +1 at Carolina Panthers

Soooooo, is it Nick Foles…?

Seriously, NFLbets is even more baffled by this line than the Green Bay-Tampa Bay spread – and at least that one’s normalizing back in the correct team’s favor.

Through five games, the Panthers are among the NFL’s most pleasant surprises, right up there with Odell Beckham not having yet popped off about some shit. After losing fantasy master Christian McCaffrey and the first two games to open the season, the Panthers are on a 3-0 SU/ATS run. Sure, said run of at Chargers, vs Cardinals at Falcons-with-exiting-coach isn’t exactly running the gauntlet but three consecutive Ws is an impressive feat for an ostensibly rebuilding team.

NFLbets supposes the hype is keeping this point spread low; after all, the Bears are 4-1 SU/3-2 ATS and are hanging with the Packers for first place in the NFC North! Well, as the man says, curb your enthusiasm. The Bears faced (maybe) the first playoff contender yet in 2020 last week, the Buccaneers, and yet still rank a lowly 27th in offensive scoring.

On top of this is the pendular nature of luck. Already in 2020, the Bears are playing 1.6 wins above their Pythagorean Expectation (PE) wins, a metric that seeks to measure luck and other random factors assisting in a team’s fortunes. To understand what an outlier this is, consider that the 2018 “Los Angeles” Chargers went 12-4 SU based on a 7-1 away record; that team went +1.6 PE *for the season*.

Prepare for some serious exposure: We believe the Bears’ shortcomings will be bared by a surprisingly hungry Carolina side. Take the Carolina Panthers -1 vs Chicago.

NFLbets’ current record in 2020: 8-7-2.

–written by Os Davis

Super Contest, week 6: What’s up with some of these pointspreads?

Saturday, 17 October 2020 13:24 EST

Onto week 6 in My Bookie’s pick-5 Super Contest and finally can NFLbets report a decent showing, going 4-1 with the sole losing pick the SU-winning Seattle Seahawks. Sadly, week 6 appears a bit more challenging, with a half-dozen pointspreads set within the 3½-4½ range, two games which are basically “pick ´ems” and a bunch at a touchdown or more.

So after the dust settled – with Covid concerns cancelling Thursday Night Football, we got an extra day to fill this sucker out – this is what NFLbets’ card for week 6 of the Super Contest looks like.

Best Bet: Carolina Panthers -1 vs Chicago Bears. By the Pythagorean Expectation (PE) metric, the Bears are easily the most overachieving (read: lucky) team in the NFL thus far by far in 2020, with an expected 2.6 wins somehow translating into a 4-1 SU record. Meanwhile, clever NFL bettors have adjusted their takes on the upstart Panthers, who just might make the playoffs – wacky!

Green Bay Packers -1½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What are we missing about the 2020 Buccaneers that the esteem from pre-game shows and bookmakers alike apparently see? Are they not tied for last in penalties, including 28 in the past three games? Is not the Bucs’ passing game average and the running game nearly non-existent? And finally, isn’t this the team that went 4-of-14 on third down last week in losing to the Bears? A long week won’t be enough for Tampa Bay against potentially the top team in the league right now.

Los Angeles Rams -3½ at San Francisco 49ers. True enough, it’s tough to bet on the inconsistently-scoring Rams offense, but the Niners are a complete mess. Forget the Super Bowl Hangover: The 2020 San Francisco 49ers have full-on Super Bowl Ebola. The defending NFC champs are 2-3 SU against a schedule that may not include any .500-or-better teams by the end of the season, and Kyle Shanahan apparently has zero confidence in any of his three quarterbacks. So what if Jimmy Garoppolo assures he’s completely recovered from an ankle injury? We’re convinced Shanahan lost his playbook sometime before last season’s playoffs and has been improvising ever since – and ad libs are no match for Aaron Donald right now.

Cincinnati Bengals +8 at Indianapolis Colts. The Colts defense has run up impressive numbers in their first five games – though, like the 49ers, the competition had been suspect until last week’s against Cleveland: Depending on how you feel about Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow may be the best QB that Indianapolis has faced this season. Whether Burrow can work miracles enough to make up for the Bengals’ shoddy offensive line is a serious question, but we believe he’ll keep his Bengals in the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers -4 vs Cleveland Browns. Six games this week are, as of Saturday, looking to kick off with pointspreads between 3½ and 4½; this is the only possible justification for NFLbets covering two on a single Super Contest card. We’re applying some reverse logic here in guessing the Steelers finish with a better record SU/ATS than the Browns; therefore, Pittsburgh should therefore defend home field in what might be a crucial game for the AFC North.

–written by Os Davis

Week 5 NFL betting: Eagles still overrated, Panthers still underrated

Saturday, 10 October 2020 15:36 EST

Week 4 sent NFLbets plummeting back down to even on the season and while some may find the erasure of profit the end result of a Sisyphean task, NFLbets is excited to be restarting the season at 0-0 (well, technically 5-5-2, but you get the idea).

In fact, covid-cancelled games aside, week 5 is typically an ideal time to start turning a profit: Most teams are locked into their seasonal identity but the sportsbooks and/or NFL bettors may not have caught up to the season’s realities. This week, NFLbets is focusing on two games which each feature, as far as general NFL fandom is concerned, a team whose preseason forecast will likely turn out significantly incorrect.

For week 5 and a comeback, we started out ticket with…

Philadelphia Eagles +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers

Are the sportsbooks finally done living in Philadelphia’s past when making 2020 point spreads? The Eagles haven’t been a 7-point underdog at home since the last game of the ’05 season – this after going 1-2-1 SU/1-3 ATS thus far.

It’s a logical line that hasn’t budged at most sportsbooks since Monday: Virtually anywhere the bettor looks statistically, Pittsburgh appears to be a near shoo-in for the SU win at very least. For example, Carson Wentz leads the league with 7 interceptions through four games and the Eagles are second-worst in turnovers; in 2019, the Steelers defense ranked no. 1 overall in turnovers generated and no. 2 in interceptions.

As for the battle of minds on the sidelines, Doug Pederson has done well enough coaching against AFC teams in his 4-plus seasons with the Eagles – and the following statistics are cited here as a reflection of performance against teams one usually doesn’t face often – to run up a record of 10-6-1 SU/9-8 ATS. Note, however, that Pederson’s Eagles are 0-2-1 SU/0-3 ATS in their last three such games. For the Steelers, Mike Tomlin has led his guys to a nice 35-18 SU (23-20 ATS) record against NFC teams.

Throwing in, you know, actual eye test results makes this feel like a slam dunk for Steelers -7 – and we’d certainly call betting the Steelers ML within a parlay a solid investment – except for what could be Tomlin’s kryptonite: The bye week. Tomlin’s Steelers have been fine for football results following a regular-season bye week at 9-4 SU, but have disappointed NFL bettors with a 5-8 ATS mark, including the current 1-5 ATS run.

Going into week 5, of course, every NFL team has a 0-0 SU/ATS mark in games following a surprise bye week due to coronavirus, with the Steelers and Tennessee Titans acting as guinea pigs for this weirdness. But WTF can NFLbets do with this unprecedented factor? That’s right, we’re ignoring it. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers -7 at Philadelphia.

Carolina Panthers +1 at Atlanta Falcons

Even without the dominant force that is Christian McCaffrey, the 2-2 SU/ATS Panthers have got to like their chances to eke into the postseason, thanks to the existence of the brand-new no. 7 seed combined with several NFC teams playing below general expectation (e.g. Dallas, San Francisco, Arizona, New Orleans). The timing is also negative for the Falcons: With their inability to score late (the Falcons have been outscored 84-46 in second halves this season), Atlanta doesn’t want to face an offense that’s beaten their last two opponents 39-14 in the final 30 minutes – especially not with the league’s second-worst defense in points allowed and yardage allowed.

This may be the last chance to get the Panthers as an underdog, so get on the bandwagon for this Sunday at least. And with the point spread at +1, the only reason to cover Carolina plus the point is if you fervently believe the game will end in a tie – a 0.33% probability going back to 2010. At the typical sportsbook, Carolina +1 will get odds of 20/21 whereas a Carolina money-line bet will net winners 21/20 odds.

At one sportsbook, the odds are 20/21 on Panthers +1 but 21/20 on the Panthers ML: a 10% swing! So, yeah, take the Carolina Panthers ML at Atlanta.

NFLbets’ current record in 2020: 5-5-2.

NFL Odds Preview: Cincinnati Bengals +13 at Baltimore Ravens

Friday, 09 October 2020 13:29 EST

    When: Sunday, 1 PM ET
    Where: M&T Bank Stadium
    TV: CBS
    Stream Option: TV
    Opening NFL Lines: Cincinnati Ravens +13 at Baltimore Ravens (over/under 51)

Last season
Baltimore had the best record in the NFL in 2019 and Cincinnati the worst, so no surprise that the Ravens swept the season series. The game in Baltimore was close, though, a 23-17 final. Lamar Jackson threw for 236 yards and rushed 19 times for 152 yards and a score. The Ravens had 269 yards and two scores on the ground. Andy Dalton was the Cincinnati QB then and wasn’t good. Cincinnati also rushed for just 33 yards.

The Ravens lead the all-time series with Cincinnati, 25-23. Baltimore has won five of the past eight meetings (including three straight). Under Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 12-12 vs. the Bengals. Since 2010, 14 of the teams’ 19 meetings have been one-score decisions, by eight or fewer points.

Why Bet on Cincinnati? | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis
Heisman winner Joe Burrow comes off his first NFL victory last week, 33-25 over Jacksonville. Burrow completed 25-of-36 passes for 300 yards with a touchdown and an interception – Burrow became the first rookie QB to ever throw for 300 yards in three straight games. His touchdown was a checkdown to Joe Mixon, who scored all three of the Bengals’ TDs. Through four games, Burrow is on pace for 4,484 yards with a 24:8 TD/INT ratio.

Burrow and the Bengals’ offense stole the show against Jacksonville by posting 500 yards of offense, including 205 on the ground and 300 through the air. It was just the fourth time in team history, and the first since the 1988 season, that the Bengals recorded at least 200 rushing yards and 300 passing yards in a game. However, the Bengals need to care for the franchise guy much better, given Burrow has been sacked 15 times. Only the Texans’ Deshaun Watson has been dropped more after four games (16).

Mixon became the first Bengal since Giovani Bernard in 2013 to score both a rushing and receiving TD in the same game. He also posted a season-high 181 yards from scrimmage against the Jaguars, including 151 on the ground and 30 through the air.

This will be Burrow’s first-ever start against fellow Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, last year’s NFL MVP.

It will mark the fifth instance in NFL history in which the reigning league MVP and the most recent No. 1 overall pick meet as starting quarterbacks. The reigning MVP has won three of the previous four meetings.​

Why Bet on Baltimore? | 2020 NFL Expert Analysis
The Ravens had little trouble winning 31-17 at Washington last week. Lamar Jackson completed 14-of-21 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, adding seven rushes for 53 yards and a touchdown. His day was highlighted by a career-long 50-yard rushing score. Jackson, with the Ravens up big, watched the final few drives from the bench.

Both of Jackson’s TD passes last week were to tight end Mark Andrews. Dating to the start of last season, he has an NFL-best 14 receiving TDs. He has tallied 4 this season, tying (four players) for the NFL’s second most, entering Week 5.

Jackson was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday this week with a knee injury, only the third and fourth missed practices of his NFL career, but he will play. The team is simply being cautious. As noted above, Jackson and Burrow were both Class of 2015 recruits but not considered sure-fire stars. Burrow barely cracked the ESPN 300 ranking that year at No. 298 and Jackson didn’t make it at all.

Even though Jackson has been in the league for three years, he’s about a month younger than Burrow. The two have never met personally, much less in a game. Jackson is 3-0 vs. Cincinnati. In those games, these games, Jackson is 49-of-69 passing (71.0%) for 609 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT (106.5 rating). He has also rushed for 336 yards and 2 TDs.

Since Jackson became Baltimore’s starter on 11/18/18 vs. Cincinnati, the Ravens have rushed for at least 200 yards in 15 games. This output triples the NFL’s next best figure. Two of Baltimore’s 200-yard games have come vs. the Bengals.

For the eighth time (2009-12, 2014, 2016 & 2018) in head coach John Harbaugh’s 13 seasons, the Ravens are off to a 3-1 start. Baltimore is 26-11 vs. the AFC North under Harbaugh.
Game Trends

    Underdogs are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games.
    Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
    The over is 4-1 in the last 5 games.
    The road team is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
    Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in Baltimore.

Expert Prediction
Baltimore Ravens 33, Cincinnati Bengals 23.

Super Contest, week 5: Five point spread picks from NFLbets’ card

Thursday, 08 October 2020 15:56 EST

Despite some daring (read: thiiiiiiiis shy of insane) picks on our MyBookie Super Contest card last week which sank us, NFLbets is overly optimistic about week 5. Why? Because in their infinite wisdom and mercy, the MyBookie bookies decreed that prize money is paid to top predictors quarterly. In effect, then, despite a mostly brutal opening four weeks’ worth of pick-fiving, NFLbets is currently tied for first at 0-0-0 going into week 5. Nice.

So without further exposition, the following are NFL Bets’ five picks in the MB Super Contest.

Best bet: Pittsburgh Steelers -7 vs Philadelphia Eagles. Whether caused by the Covid-19 situation, the general evolution of the game into pass-wackiness, poorer player development in college or some combination thereof, the truth is that many NFL games in 2020 will come down to simple offense vs. offense.

This game is such a case. To cite just one stat, Carson Wentz leads the league with 7 interceptions through four games and the Eagles are second-worst in turnovers; the Steelers bring a top-10 rushing offense and a QB who’s thrown just 1 pick – albeit in three games. P.S. “Three games” means Pittsburgh is essentially coming off a bye week.

Seattle Seahawks -7 vs Minnesota Vikings. Maybe NFLbets should be warier about these pointspreads of 7 or more after last week’s debacle but the clever NFL bettor knows that if one trend should be completely ignored, it should be one’s own trends.

To wit: NFLbets suspects we bet on the Seahawks way too often and overestimate Seattle’s homefield advantage (particularly given the team’s current 4-7 ATS run in home games), but this offense is humming at 31 points minimum per game in 2020 and just might go for 40 here.  

Cleveland Browns +1½ vs Indianapolis Colts. Statistically, the Colts defense is no. 1 in quite a few areas – points allowed, first downs allowed, interceptions and net yards per pass attempt among them – but considering the schedule (at Minshew, vs Cousins, vs Darnold, at post-midnight Cinderella Foles) and the fact that it’s 2020, welllllll … as for betting on Cleveland to essentially win is a risky proposition: As demonstrated last week, the Browns have the talent to score in bunches, but will they produce…? They is way, NFLbets supposes, they call it gambling.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3½ vs Chicago Bears. How overrated can Nick Foles and these Chicago Bears get? Maybe, like NFLbets, the sportsbooks are considering homefield advantage as a factor, but can the absence of O.J. Howard be worth this much when Tom Brady connected with 9 receivers last week, including 5 he hit for touchdowns? Against a team that scored 11 last week…? Come on.

Carolina Panthers +1 at Atlanta Falcons. NFLbets realizes these NFC South games should generally be considered stayaways, but we’re rethinking due to scintillating play by the new-look Panthers and rookie-led coaching staff in addition to the daggers the Falcons have taken this season like clockwork. This should be the last week the sportsbook underrates the Panthers; Carolina’s been the underdog for all five games, but host the Bears in week 6…

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–written by Os Davis

Week 4 NFL betting: Forget home/away and bet big favorites

Saturday, 03 October 2020 13:28 EST

Week 4 NFL bettingThanks a lot, coronavirus and/or NFL. Thanks to an outbreak among Tennessee Titans players and staff members, the single easiest no-brainer pick we’ve seen since Jon Gruden coached his first game in London – taking the 0-3 ATS Titans plus the points while going against the 3-0 SU Titans on the money line – is gone, leaving a slate of 15 pretty uninspiring lines.

(Lots of good material for teasers, though…)

But of course we’re betting some old-fashioned point spreads, too. Extracting some diamonds from the rough, we’re taking as our Pick of the Week…

Arizona Cardinals -3½ at Carolina Panthers

First off, with so much east-west-east crisscrossing going on this season – this week, seven teams traveled west-to-east or vice versa – we’re just factoring right out any sort of advantage/disadvantage in this area.

As for this particular game, NFLbets admits surprise at the Panthers’ resistance to what seems to be an inevitable rebuild and for winning without Christian McCaffrey in a 21-16 win over the “Los Angeles” Chargers. But we’re just not feeling the same love for the plucky NFC South team that the sportsbooks apparently do: The Carolina offense was outgained by 136 yards and were gifted with four turnovers. If the Panthers are depending on this sort of sloppiness from the Cardinals this week, they’re out of luck.

In Kyler Murray’s 19 games as a starter, Arizona has given up 3 or more turnovers three times – and Murray has thrown three interceptions in a game just twice. Subjectively speaking, Murray may have turned in his worst performance to date against the Detroit Lions last week, but nevertheless passed for two TDs and ran for a third, while the Cardinals’ total offensive production was about 46 yards lower than their season average thus far.

NFLbets is chalking up last week’s results for the Panthers and Cardinals to anomalies – or rather statistical probability, i.e. games like these are why 16-0 and 0-16 seasons are so rare. The truth is the Cardinals are the better team; a 3½-point spread isn’t great for NFL bettors, but NFLbets says the Cards are a least a touchdown better. Take the Arizona Cardinals -3½ at Carolina.

New York Giants +13½ at Los Angeles Rams
Baltimore Ravens -14½ at Washington FT

Double-digit point spreads such as these may appear intimidating, but numbers show that wagering these games is no more challenging than considering any other bet.

Since 2010, 115 regular-season games have gone off with a pointspread of 13 or more; in these games, the favorite is an expected 102-12-1 SU, but more importantly a respectable 55-60 ATS for a win rate of 47.8%. And if you’re even thinking about betting on the Washington Football Team, think again: Not only are home underdogs of 13 or more points a poor 5-9 ATS, the only SU win was by the St. Louis Rams in 2011.

McVay’s Rams have only faced double-digit handicaps twice, both in December 2018; for what it’s worth, L.A. won both SU/ATS. John Harbaugh’s Ravens, incredibly enough, have never faced a handicap this high. In fact, before this week, Baltimore’d only been double-digit regular-season favorites twice, both in December ’15. Crazy!

Serious statistics aside, the case for betting the favorites in both games is simple. In the case of the Rams, well … have you seen the Giants play? With Saquon Barkley removed from the equation, Jason Garrett has been fantastic as offensive coordinator – for those betting against the Giants. So far, they’re 9 points per game less productive than last year’s average offense. “Additionally”, in finest recent Giants tradition, this season’s OL is not so much protective as decorative; go ahead, guess who’s ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric – and by a wide margin, too. These guys are going to try and score on Aaron Donald & Co.? Come on … Take the Los Angeles Rams -13½ vs the Giants.

For the Ravens, we’re betting on the Billy Hoyle philosophy: They play better when they’re pissed off. The Chiefs handed Baltimore a frustrating defeat on Monday Night Football – frustrating not necessarily because of the L, but in that their pretty hellacious defense was so thoroughly toyed with. Short week or no, Washington FT and their 28th “best” offensive line do not want to be facing these Ravens right now. Take the Baltimore Ravens -14½ at Washington.

NFLbets’ current record in 2020: 5-2-2.

–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

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


Free Money Odds Boost Lock from Mybookie

Saturday, 05 September 2020 14:15 EST

Celebrate the return of the NFL with Kansas City +54! 

That's right +54 ATS vs Houston Texans.

What Is Kansas City +54? 

On Thursday, September 10th, the reigning Super Bowl 54 Champion Kansas City Chiefs kick off the NFL season as 10-point favorites over the Houston Texans. To celebrate their championship and the return of football, we’re boosting the line to +54 for a limited time only.  

Place Your Kansas City +54 Bet

Why Bet Kansas City +54?

Because it’s a lock! Throughout NFL history, only six teams have lost by 54 points or more. The Chiefs are led by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, who has never lost by more than 7! This bet is the closest you’ll come to a sure thing all season long! 

What Is the Most You Can Bet?

You can bet up to $50.

Kansas City +54 is a thank you to all players who have chosen to continue to Bet With the Best this NFL season.

Winning SZN Returns, get this offer while you can. Make sure to take their 100% sign-up bonus as well. Good luck this season!


NFL Kansas City Chiefs Calendar Analysis

Unlike many Super Bowl champions in recent history, the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4 SU, 10-5-1 ATS) will have one of the best chances to repeat as league champs when the 2020 NFL regular season gets underway, with or without live fans in attendance. You see, one year after winning a dozen games en route to their first Super Bowl title of the Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid era, Kansas City not only looks poised to challenge for this coming season’s Super Bowl, but for years to come!

Sept. 10: vs. Texans

The Texans will want to redeem themselves after their embarrassing, season-ending 51-31 blowout loss at the hands of the Chiefs in the wild card round last season, but it’s not happening as Houston is asking superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson to do a bit too much in 2020. The prediction is Chiefs 38-20 and Mybookie is giving bettors the chance to grab their money at +54 on this momumental promotion. Grab it now!