NFL Playoffs: Betting, odds in football postseason


Playoff time is when NFL betting gets trickier, offerings become more expansive and things in general get well more interesting. We’ve seen certain outcomes 1,000 times before: The favored team gets ultra-conservative, a minor mistake in the fourth quarter leads to disaster, the plucky underdog with loads of youngsters goes further than anyone expected (and the sportsbooks rake in the losing bets) – chaos ensues so often … except when the New England Patriots are steamrolling the AFC again.

But can these random elements of chance be overcome? Are there trends in NFL playoffs betting lines that bettors may exploit? NFLbets answers a few FAQs directly below…

What can you bet on in the NFL playoffs?
The great news about betting during the playoffs is that so many more offerings per game are made available. With just two or four games played for week, even the most minimal of online sportsbooks expands its NFL playoffs betting line to include plentiful player props and interesting NFL playoffs odds.

What’s the point spread for the NFL playoff games?
In any given game in the NFL playoffs, odds are the point spread will fall between 1 and 4: This was the spread in 86 of the 190 playoff games played following the 2000-2018 seasons, or about 45.25% of the time. In 190 playoff games, the highest spread was 16 points, but just 17 of the 190 games (or a bit over 8.9%) went off with spreads of 10 points or more, however. The most common point spread seen in NFL playoffs lines during the span was – wouldn’t you know it? – 3 points. This was the case in 34 of the 190, happening about 17.9% of the time. Interestingly enough, no NFL playoffs betting line has included a “pick ‘em” spread.

What teams are in the NFL playoffs?
Several measures may be used here, but we’ll use that old chestnut: 61% of teams which start the season 2-0 make the playoffs, and about the same number who start 0-2 miss the playoffs. Just one team has ever made the NFL playoffs after starting 0-4: The 1992 San Diego Chargers. And in the playoffs following the 2010-2018 seasons, an average of about 5.55 teams drop out/enter the playoffs from season to season.

Is homefield advantage bigger in the playoffs?
Yes – but not necessarily for betting purposes. In fact, while homefield advantage increases throughout the playoffs, the underdog plus the points in the average NFL playoffs betting line is still right around a 50/50 bet. The breakdown looks like this for the aforementioned 190 playoff games:

Overall: 122-68 SU, 92-86-2 ATS
Wild card: 44-32 SU, 38-37-1 ATS
Divisional: 53-23 SU, 35-40-1 ATS
Championship: 25-13 SU, 18-20 ATS

I know, right? This is just another reason why NFL playoff betting lines are so challenging…

What are the odds of a wild card going to the Super Bowl?
Since the installation in 2002 of the divisions and postseason we still use today, just three wild card teams have made the Super Bowl: the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2007 New York Giants, and 2010 Green Bay Packers; that’s a tiny 4.44% success rate. And we know that this is a tiny sample size, but note that these three all killed the NFL playoffs betting lines, each going 4-0 SU/ATS.

Can I bet on the NFL playoffs online?
Absolutely! Just check the pages of NFLbets.com for quality online sportsbooks with all the NFL playoffs spreads, over/under bets, futures, odds, player props and lots more. All NFLbets-partnered websites have been quality-tested for fairness and customer service, and all are accepting bettors from the U.S.


Winner in 49ers-Dolphins draft pick trade? Bill Belichick, probably…

Friday, 26 March 2021 18:16 EST

Odds on Belichick and Garoppolo?The first big trade of the 2021 NFL Draft is in as with the Miami Dolphins bagging four draft picks from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the no. 3 overall pick, with which the Niners are likely to draft either BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, depending on the New York Jets’ choice. Regardless of choice, the foregone conclusion is that Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be starting for San Francisco next season.

Overall, the trade represents a solidly rational decision by Miami, which apparently is set with Tua Tagovailoa as full-time starter (for reals, this time) in 2021. Likewise, San Francisco also made the correct move, with three of the top five picks at very least likely to be QBs.  So why can’t NFLbets stop thinking that the biggest winner in the deal was Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots?

The rumors about Garoppolo starting for New England began in 2014, when Belichick & Co. snapped up the Eastern Illinois QB in the second round of the draft, representing the only notable quarterback drafted by the Pats since Tom Brady took the helm. And the rumor mill still says that Belichick would still like Jimmy G. aboard. Just three hours before the 49ers-Dolphins deal, NBC Sports online posted a piece which featured an insider claiming that a trade for Garoppolo “is still on the table.” What's that expression about smoke and fire...?

And now? As local news outlet Mass Live put it, ”Patriots now have door open to deal for 49ers QB.” What’s more, a deal for Jimmy G. now might not even include New England’s no. 15 overall pick, a pick at which many mock drafts still reckon Heisman Trophy-winning DeVonta Smith could be available. Garapppolo figures to have few suitors – if there were, a deal might have been floated already – and thus a 2021 second-rounder feels like the appropriate centerpiece in such a swap.

Additionally, the Patriots might have received help from within yet again. Tagovailoa was 6-3 as a starter last season, but his statistics were remarkably similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s, right down to sacks per games (2.2 for Tua, 2.0 for Fitz); in fact, Tagovailoa was slightly worse in most statistical categories except interception rate. Granted, much of Tua’s underperformance may be put on Dolphins coaching, who were clearly wishy-washy about, you know, their freakin’ *starting quarterback*, but NFLbets hardly considers the second-year man a known quantity.

This offseason, New England has captured NFL fans’ (and bettors’) imaginations with a free-agency spending splurge the likes of which Belichick et al had never remotely considered until last month. With improvements to the receiving corps, the offensive line, the defensive line, linebackers and secondary, about the only area in which the Patriots didn’t upgrade was, yes, quarterback. And while it’s quite possible that noodle-armed Cam Newton will in fact be the starter on opening day, back up to viable form, even. But NFLbets can’t help thinking how much this Patriots’ offseason has resembled that of Tampa Bay’s pre-Brady machinations.

Now, NFLbets is hardly ready to hand the Patriots the 2021 AFC title (current odds at My Bookie of 16/1, on par with the “Los Angeles” Chargers and Tennessee Titans) or even the AFC East (current odds +375, with the Buffalo Bills fetching -165) based on the possibility that they’ll acquire Garoppolo, whose stats and arm strength are fairly pedestrian and whose injury history is troublesome anyway. But we do believe in the sudden excellent value in betting the ’21 Patriots.

The 49ers, meanwhile, still face potentially the NFL’s stiffest in-division competition, depending on whether the Seattle Seahawks are as wonky as Russell Wilson evidently believes they are. Maybe Fields/Wilson plus LT Trent Williams equals a return to the Super Bowl (current odds in the “To Win NFC Championship” prop, they’re getting odd of +650, now equaling those on the Los Angeles Rams), but NFLbets wouldn’t stake it.

As for Miami (at 3/1 to win the division, 12/1 to win the AFC), NFLbets’ll wait and see – but would anyone really be shocked if this transaction somehow blew up in the Dolphins’ faces…?

–written by Os Davis


Super Bowl Odds post-FA Period: In NFC East props, why not Washington?

Thursday, 25 March 2021 18:56 EST

After yet another season as the weakest division cumulatively, the teams of the NFC East should be expected to be doing some roster shuffling and quarterback-carousel riding in offseason 2021. None of the four have made acquisitions enough to move the odds in the “To Win Super bowl LVI” and “To Win NFC East” significantly, though the two favorites are getting some action.

NFC East odds, betting, predictionsOn Super Bowl Monday and the release of first lines in the Super Bowl 2022 proposition bet, odds on the four teams read as follows.

Dallas Cowboys: 30/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 50/1
Washington Football Team: 60/1
New York Giants: 66/1

You’d think that the serious fluctuations in the lines caused by the Los Angeles Rams’ acquisition of Matthew Stafford and the Chicago Bears’ of Andy “The Red Rifle” Dalton would ripple through this division after moves bringing Ryan Fitzpatrick to Washington, Joe Flacco (no, really) to Philadelphia and Mike Glennon to the Giants – and they have, to some extent: The Cowboys’ odds to win the ’Bowl may now carry odds as low as 25/1 after the ’Pokes re-signed Dak Prescott, apparently.

But here’s the crazy thing; someone – or someones – appear to be throwing serious cash at most of these teams. Current odds in the “To Win NFC East” proposition bet, according to My Bookies, are as follows with odds in the same prop from one month ago are in parentheses.

Dallas Cowboys: 10/11 (10/11)
Washington Football Team: 7/2 (5/1)
Philadelphia Eagles: 7/2 (5/1)
New York Giants: 5/1 (10/1)

Brutal, eh? NFLbets supposes that taking one of the lower three listed is a decent enough value play, but even on winning will bettors kick themselves for not covering the given team sooner. As irrational as it sounds, NFLbets is considering wagering on Washington in this prop.

No, Fitzpatrick is no savior but all Washington truly needs to compete in 2021 is competence. In one of the biggest disparities since Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams were outscoring teams 41-37 every other week, the Washington defense ranked no. 3 (Just ahead of the Rams) in the DVOA metric, while the offense – which ran with three different starters in 2020, the first of which was released by years’s end – ranked no. 32 (just below the New York Jets).

Thus far in offseason 2021, the Football Team essentially swapped out CBs, giving up Ronald Darby (who signed with the Denver Broncos) for William Jackson (from the Cincinnati Bengals). Otherwise, every major player on the defense returns. Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio return, bgi plusses for a fairly young D.

Naturally, offense remains a serious issue with Washington: The FT will certainly be counting on turning the no. 19 overall pick in the draft into a viable option at left tackle to fill 11-year man Trent Williams’s spot there. Fitzpatrick surely hopes so.

And speaking of Fitzpatrick, somewhere post-Washington signing the Ryan-themed meme began circulating the internet, blowing virtual minds with the fact that the QB has never yet to play a playoff game. Fitz is 59-86-1 lifetime as a starter, has played for eight teams and has a .500-or-worse win-loss record lifetime with each.

Of course, an asterisk of two could be applied to these stats. For example, in seven of the 13 of the seasons in which Fitzpatrick tallied more than 2 starts at QB, he played for either Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins or New York Jets with an AFC East lorded over by the Belichick & Brady New England Patriots – not to mention, you know, being with the Bills, Dolphins or Jets. Additionally, in 2015, his last season as a bona fide opening day starter, Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a 10-6 season and a no. 7 seed that would’ve earned a postseason bid in ’20 or ’21…

But any bettor who doubts that Fitzpatrick is a positive for Washington simply did not see enough Football Team games in 2020. If the dead-last DVOA stat doesn’t say enough, just look to the mundane statistics: starters Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith combined for 15 TDs against 16 interceptions and a ridiculous 49 sacks taken. Kyle Dwayne Smith, then, was “good” for a 79.35 QB rating, putting hims at 21st overall in the stat, right in between Daniel “Dimes” Jones and, well, Alex Smith.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, making the playoffs for the first time in his career at the age of 39? Well, why not? This is the NFC East, where 9-7 can be considered dominant…

–written by Os Davis


Super Bowl odds, psot-FA period: Bears’ odds balloon after Dalton signing

Saturday, 20 March 2021 14:24 EST

In football, it has been observed, the quarterback has a disproportionate amount of influence on the outcome – apparently, this goes for proposition bet futures, as well. Case in point: The Chicago Bears and their spiffy new free-agent signing, Andy “The Red Rifle” Dalton.

Just as the Los Angeles Rams saw serious shrinkage in their odds in the “To Win Super Bowl LVI” prop after signing  Matt Stafford and likewise the New England Patriots for rounding up an entire receiving corps, the Bears line expanded when news of Dalton’s signing broke.

As reported at ESPN online – one can almost hear the tsk-tsking underneath the prose – “The possibility of landing a marquee quarterback this offseason had caused the Chicago Bears' Super Bowl odds to improve slightly in recent weeks. But on Tuesday, after the reported signing of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, Caesars sportsbook dropped the Bears' odds from 40-1 back to 50-1.

One takeaway from this odds seesaw: Apparently, mere optimistic speculation about Chicago landing, likesay, Russell Wilson, betters the Bears’ chances by 20%. Even if they lost a couple starters and their immediate future on draft day:

Bears trade for Russell Wilson

Takeaway #2: The sportsbooks are trying to tell us that the Green Bay Packers will win the division in a walk, with odds in My Bookie’s “To Win NFC North” prop currently as follows.

Green Bay Packers: -275
Minnesota Vikings: 4/1
Chicago Bears: 4/1
Detroit Lions: 25/1

Note the stinginess of the last three lines. At -275 (or 4/1), the implied probability of the Packers winning the NFC North in 2021 is 73.3% – yet the Vikings and Bears are each given a 20% (giggle) chance? This should indicate clearly what a sucker bet anyone except the Packers is here.

But back to Dalton: Is the pessimism of The Red Rifle’s viability as a starting quarterback warranted? (NFLbets excludes Bears fans here; any cynicism felt toward essentially any QB not named Russell Wilson is warranted for nearly 75 years of dead arms.) The short answer, based on stats, is yes. Bears backers, you have been given notice to skip the next several paragraphs.

In 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys, Dalton went 74-66-2 as a starter, for an average season of 8-7-1. His personal stats include a 62.2% completion percentage, an average season of 22 TDs against 12½ interceptions and an average AV rating of 10.3.

Meanwhile, from the 2011-2020 span during which the Chicago QB was mostly Jay Culter or Mitch Trubisky, the Bears have managed an average win-loss record of slightly better than 7-9, based on a cumulative 73-87. Altogether, Chicago QBs threw a yearly average 24 TDs against 13½ TDs and completed more than 62.2% in six of the 10 years.

And then there’s this: Chicago is 0-2  in playoff games since the 2011 season, while Dalton is 0-5 and hasn’t seen a postseason since 2015 – NFLbets isn’t sure whether that makes matters even worse or should we just blame Marvin Lewis…

In other words, then, Andy Dalton is exactly the prototypical quarterback that the Bears have been rolling with since at the 1980s, if not the 1950s. As they say then, more bad news for the Bears.

– written by Os Davis


Super Bowl odds post-FA period: Here come (back) the Patriots…

Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:43 EST

Dollar Bill BelichickYou had to figure that the New England Patriots wouldn’t stay inferior for long, but who’d’ve guessed the domination Bill Belichick & Co. unleashed on the NFL in the opening days of free agency? The signings at wide receiver and tight end – Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Derrick Henry and Jonnu Smith – stole the headlines and with good reason: The Patriots are already looking at a roster with their best corps since 2008, their best 1-2 at tight end since Aaron Hernandez was playing, and Smith is now the highest-paid “skill player” Patriot ever.

Beyond this big four, New England also added DLs Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Henry Anderson; LBs Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy; and safter Jalen Mills, and acquired OT Trent Brown in a trade. Incidentally the Pats also re-signed Cam Newton; New England wasn’t even counted among the offerings in a previously offered “Team to Sign Cam Newton” proposition bet, but hold your tickets (if you were foolhardy enough to play the prop), as the conditions of the bet call for Cam to be listed onan Opening Day roster.

As a result of the moves, those ready to take a Buffalo Bills repeat division win for granted have been suddenly forced to rethink things.

Super Bowl odds have also been adjusted accordingly:  On February 8, the New England Patriots were getting 55/1 odds to win the Super Bowl (and by inference about 25/1 to 28/1 to win the ARC). By Thursday morning this week, they were at 25/1 on My Bookie and listed at 30/1 on the Sports Betting Dime aggregator.

With the additions made already – not to mention the heretofore not undertaken acquisition of a viable starting QB – the 7-9 Patriots are suddenly among the best value bets in the AFC. And despite the rise of upstarts like the Bills, Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns as well as the two-time defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs. 12/1 to 15/1 to win the AFC no longer feels unreasonable at all. Remember, too, that these odds will only get shorter should the Pats indeed manage to bring over Jimmy Garappolo, long-rumored source of envy for Belichick.

Even more intriguing is the strong possibility that the AFC East will be highly competitive in 2021 – at least among the top 3 teams. Post-Patriots feeding frenzy, odds in the “To Win AFC East” prop bet read as follows.

Buffalo Bills: 4/5
Miami Dolphins: 14/5
New England Patriots: 4/1
New York Jets: 20/1

Using implied probability, the Dolphins, Patriots and Jets have a combined 50.1% chance of winning the division, thus betting “The Field” versus the Buffalo Bills should be worth 1/1 odds – quite an intriguing wager right now, if you can find a sportsbook with the offer. Alternatively, covering both the Dolphins and the Patriots would be worth a win paying out at either +140 or +200 – and again, that second figure will only decrease after a quarterback better than 2020 Cam Newton is aboard in Foxborough.

All in all, the Patriot spending spree should be seriously lucrative for NFL bettors. We think.

–written by Os Davis


Super Bowl LV betting – Buccaneers +3 vs Chiefs – Final score, pointspread prediction

Saturday, 06 February 2021 16:33 EST

Prediction: Super Bowl LVHere’s the thing: Sentimentality and winning money in NFL betting are essentially mutually exclusive. NFLbets can say (write?) with confidence that no bettor ever became prosperous wagering on feelings and hunches. The proper bettor must place the emphasis on the numbers, the trends, the facts and information.

Yet for this Super Bowl, virtually every pregame show, ESPN gabfest or gambling-centered podcast since the conference championship games, the would-be Nostradami are pleased to inform that LV will be a great game, a close game and the Buccaneers might just win because Tom Brady. Get caught up in too much of the noise and the mantra of “Brady the GOAT, Brady the GOAT, Brady the GOAT” threatens to obfuscate rational thought about the point spread, which on Bowl Eve still reads

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 at Kansas City Chiefs

NFLbets implores bettors to stay sane, particularly as regards a certain player wearing the number 12 jersey. When considering how to bet the actual outcome of Super Bowl LV, we’d advise trying to strip away the names and labels. Consider:

•  In getting to the final game, Kansas City first ran up a 19-3 lead against Cleveland before holding on for a win with a perennial backup at QB; they then smoked the Buffalo Bills, who had been looking like the AFC’s hottest team. Tampa Bay meanwhile let the 7-9 Washington FT stay within a score in the wild-card round, took care of business against a crippled New Orleans side and got past Green Bay because Matt LaFleur forgot how math works.

•  In the NFC championship, Aaron Jones fumbled early in the 3rd quarter to allow the Bucs to earn a 28-10 lead after a single 8-yard TD pass. Thereafter, the Buccaneers starting quarterback went 6 for 13 for 70 yards – 29 yards of which came on a single reception to a guy considered the greatest TE ever to play the game – and 3 interceptions.

•  The Chiefs are currently on a 31-6 SU (21-15-1 ATS) run since kickoff 2019; they’re also on a 25-2 SU run, with one of the two losses coming with second-stringers starting in week 17 of this season; the closest comparison in recent NFL history would be the 2003-04 New England Patriots’ mark of 34-4 SU (28-8-2 ATS). Further, in this two-year span, the Chiefs are 6-1 SU (5-2 ATS) when favored by 3½ points or less and are 28-4 SU (19-13-1 ATS) in all games when favored.

•  And from the What Happened to this Statistic Department: For his career, Andy Reid-coached teams are now a ridiculous 24-4 SU after a bye week and 16-13 SU/18-11 ATS in the postseason. With the Chiefs, he’s 6-2 SU (5-3 ATS) including 5-0 SU/4-1 ATS since 2019..

You can see how NFLbets – or even those merely considering these general trends – would favor Kansas City in this game. Of course, there is the actual football to take into account. Putting aside the mystique of Touchdown Tom, the real advantage(s) Tampa Bay has in Super Bowl LV is all in the trenches.

The truth is that the Chiefs defense ranks 31st against the run by the DVOA metric and dead last in the red zone; not exactly the stats you want when facing the twosome of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, guys who have been damaging unprepared run Ds all 2020.

And then there’s the well-publicized shuffling of the K.C. offensive line, beginning with left tackle where Mike Remmers moves from RT in the wake of Eric Fisher’s injury and affecting four of the five spots. Center Austin Reiter is the sole starter in the same position from last year’s Super Bowl win. But recall that a) the Chiefs get a bye week, b) Reid himself played on the BYU OL, and c) Chiefs line coach Andy Heck is an 8-year veteran of the Chiefs and considered one of the NFL’s best. NFLbets believes Kansas City has time to formulate a plan, even one that entails stopping Jason Pierre-Paul and compadres.

But hey, forget the facts if you must. You want a compelling narrative? Try this: In Super Bowl LV, we’ve got a generational matchup of Hall of Fame-level quarterbacks that might only be compared to Namath vs. Unitas, Bradshaw vs. Staubach, Manning vs. Wilson – now recall whose team won those matchups. This very game may be the flashpoint moment, the turning point, the changing of the guard from the Brady/Roethlisberger/Rodgers lot (and peers like the Mannings, Brees and Rivers already gone) eclipsed by a surprisingly massive wave of exciting young QBs starting with two-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and including Josh Allen, DeShaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, etc.

And with a win, the fledgling would-be GOAT will have led his team to this first Super Bowl championship repeat since who else but those 2003-04 Patriots. Who, except for maybe Gisele Bundchen, not appreciate such a narrative? Take the Kansas City Chiefs -3 vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and enjoy the history of the moment.

–written by Os Davis


Super Bowl LV player props – Super Bowl MVP odds, predictions, longshot picks

Friday, 05 February 2021 14:06 EST

Super Bowl MVP propNFLbets’ favorite Super Bowl proposition bet is certainly the good old “Super Bowl MVP” market: Winning this prop on a perceived longshot can save your Super Bowl or can recoup lotsa losses on a well-played hedge. With two ultra-hyped quarterbacks drawing most of the action, Super Bowl LV has a number of scintillating opportunities for the wagering. We’ll start with the obvious, namely…

• Patrick Mahomes, 20/23
• Tom Brady, 2/1
. At 2/1, Brady is getting longer odds in this prop than in any Super Bowl he’s played in after 2002; he’s therefore an excellent double-down bet if you’re backing Tampa Bay as well as a great loss-recouping hedge for Kansas City bettors. The danger in betting Brady for MVP is if he more closely resembles the game-managing, defense-dependent Peyton Manning of Super Bowl 50 rather than the unafraid airing-it-out Peyton manning of Super Bowl XLI – though we have the former possibility covered as well; see below.

By contrast, Mahomes at lower than 1/1 really only makes a decent hedge if you’re firmly in the Buccaneers camp. Given that the next-nearest Chief in the MVP prop opened at 10/1 odds, the sportsbooks are essentially telegraphing that a Kansas City win most likely results in a second straight Mahomes MVP title. With Chiefs -3½ at -105 and Chiefs ML at -170, if you believe in a last-second 3-point or less win by his team, the Mahomes MVP bet is a great play. Even better for Chiefs backers, though, are the other two studs K.C. is bringing…

• Tyreek Hill, 17/2 (down from 10/1)
• Travis Kelce, 21/2 (up from 10/1). Considering the stats these two have put up in the playoffs, in week 11 versus these Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, and essentially all season, these odds are well too long.

The betting reflets this take; the odds posted herein are courtesy My Bookie. Certainly not too many other sportsbooks are seeing a swing of -150, but Hill is clearly getting some love from the betting public. Hill is a decent value bet here based on his record-breaking performance in the week 11 game, but one can’t help imagine that Bruce Arians will cook up double teams and serious coverage on Tyreek, particularly in the first half so as to remove that part of the playbook for Kansas City.

But then there’s Kelce who spent the entire AFC Championship Game against Buffalo burning double- and even triple-coverages to the tune of 13 receptions, 118 yards receiving and two TDs; Hill meanwhile was good for 152 yards on 8 catches versus Buffalo. For the Super Bowl, the return of Sammy Watkins can only make things more difficult.

So if Kelce is such a great bet in the Super Bowl MVP prop, why are his odds increasing? Common wisdom seems to be that, with the Chiefs having to rejigger the offensive line somewhat for this game, Kelce will be deployed as a blocker. After his 2020 season as essentially the NFL’s most productive receiver plus Andy Reid’s point-a-minute philosophy since coaching Mahomes, this doesn’t feel like the most plausible scenario – nor does Kelce becoming the first-ever TE to win this MVP seem far-fetched at all.

• Devon White, 25/1 to 30/1
• Jason Pierre-Paul, 30/1 to 80/1
. So say Brady does throw a game akin to Peyton Manning’s in Super Bowl 50, and say the Chiefs’ stapled together offensive line succumbs to Tampa Bay’s relentless pass rush early and often. With Brady likely to divide up targets as per normal with these Bucs while Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones similarly split the bulk of the carries in a, likesay, 20-17 win, two or three key plays from a defender could win him the award.

Pierre-Paul will certainly receive much of the media’s and Kansas City OL’s attention throughout the first half in lining up against Mike Remmers, who moves from RT to LT in the wake of Eric Fisher’s injury. Early into the Bowl, we should see quite clearly the effect this matchup will have on the game’s complexion. A couple of sacks on Mahomes to go with a turnover or even a forced turnover will certainly win some MVP voters over after a low-scoring game.

Devon White has meanwhile been on a Von Milleresque trajectory in the season’s second half and straight through three playoff games. And while statistically the Buccaneers D has been average, at this point in the season, Tampa Bay may even be considered a defense-first team. White’s main competition here in a Bucs win – even a low-scoring win – would, ironically, be Brady.

Only 10 defensive players have won the Super Bowl MVP award, and only four in the 21st century. Of these four, only one (Malcolm Smith in Super Bowl XLVIII) had a top-10 quarterback (Russell Wilson) at his team’s helm. Smith’s Seahawks turned in perhaps the most dominant performance by a defense in the ’Bowl, however, in shutting out the Denver Broncos for the game’s first 45 minutes. Figure the Chiefs will be good even on their worst Sunday for at least 9 points; after all, with Mahomes at quarterback, these Chiefs have scored fewer than 21 points just twice – and average 35.2 points per postseason game. Brady might not have to do more than throw a TD pass and make no mistakes, even in another 13-3 snoozer…

– written by Os Davis


Super Bowl LV betting – Buccaneers vs Chiefs – “Anytime touchdown” props odds

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 18:07 EST

Yesterday NFLbets confidently asserted that our favorite bet for Super Bowl LV is the over, despite the  quite high 56½-point offering. In fact, just once has the over been higher at Super Bowl kickoff time: For Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

Nevertheless we’re sticking to our over bet if only for the sake of cheering for scoring. As much fun as betting on the under can be, a 13-3 Super Bowl or even a jittery first half ending in 10-10 usually makes for a bummer of a Super Bowl unless you’re talking about two killer defenses, which neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nor Kansas City Chiefs truly bring to this game.

So NFLbets is expecting touchdowns, many touchdowns indeed – we’re looking for so many TDs that we’re concentrating our player proposition betting on “Anytime Touchdown” props. The best thing about these bets is that they’re utterly independent of pointspread and money line betting; in our case, it doesn’t matter much who wins (remember, you can tease both teams with either over or under and have both teams getting points: The Chiefs go to +2½ or +3 and the Bucs to +9 or +9½.

Who will score touchdowns in Super Bowl LV? NFLbets likes…

Travis Kelce, -175

In the last 10 games, Kelce’s averaging 8.6 receptions and 112.4 yards per to go with 9 TDs; against Buffalo in the AFC Championship game, the TE put on a crazy show with 13 catches on 15 targets for  118 yards and 2 TDs – while drawing double coverage on most plays. Kelce is enjoying a run at TE that perhaps no one other than possibly, well … Rob Gronkowski has ever pulled off. The Buccaneers statistically are reasonably decent against TEs at 12th overall in fantasy points surrendered and Kelce turned in an average performance – for him – against Tampa Bay in week 12 with eight catches for 80 yards, but the return of Sammy Watkins opens up the deep ball opportunities, good news for Kelce as well as…

Tyreek Hill, -175

 As fantastic as Hill has been in 2020, he enjoyed a career day in the week 12 game with 13 receptions for an incredible 269 yards and 3 TDs, the latter as many as the Buccaneers entire offense managed in the game. We absolutely cannot expect Hill to produce anything like that – half as many yards plus 1 touchdown would be impressive enough in a ’Bowl – but Hill went for 172 yards against Buffalo when Kelce and he were essentially the sole options against a top-10 passing defense. With Watkins back, the Bucs D is forced to chose their poison, and Tyreek has looked deadly in two playoff games thus far.

Leonard Fournette, +120

For a guy who appears untacklable at times, Fourneette hasn’t exactly blown stat junkies’ minds in his first season with Tampa Bay. He’s topped 100 total yards just thrice this season (albeit in two of the past three games), but NFLbets likes Fournette to score here for three reasons: Sheer volume of carries, i.e. he’s had 12 or more carries in four of the past six games; his 6 TDs in the past six games; and, most compellingly, the Kansas City D’s league-worst performance in the red zone. How difficult is it to imagine a scenario in which Brady benefits from a questionable pass-interference call in the end zone, followed by a 1-yard plunge by Fournette? Right.

Rob Gronkowski, +260

In weeks 6 through 16 in his reunification with Brady, Gronkowski was good for 3 catches on just under 6 targets per game with 7 TDs to boot. In the past four games, however, he’s totaled just 4 catches. So why does NFLbets like this bet so much? Here’s the theory: At this point in his career, Cameron Brate is a well better receiving TE but few still block as well as Gronk. In the NFC Championship game, he played four snaps, threw three killer blocks and caught one key pass for 29 yards. We believe that there is a special part of the playbook earmarked for Gronkowski and that Brady will be looking for the safety valve, possibly early and probably late. After all, the man was Brady’s best receiver – with 106 yards on 8 receptions – the last time these teams met…

–Os Davis


Super Bowl LV betting – Buccaneers vs Chiefs – Over/under, prediction; teaser bets, props

Monday, 01 February 2021 09:23 EST

Super Bowl LV betting over/underNFLbets is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to calling Super Bowl LV prediction-proof. Numbers, trends and rationality all wither under the white-hot brilliance of Tom Brady’s career. Near as NFLbets can tell, the no. 1 reason in betting the Bucs with (current) lines of

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3½ vs Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 56½ points

Is “Never bet against Tom Brady.” Not exactly the hard numbers we’d rather see, and there are certainly arguments for, likesay, betting on Patrick Mahomes and his all-star offense coached by Andy Reid, but we’ll save those for last, because this one’s probably a Super Bowl when we’ll be doing very little pointspread betting relative to props – and the point total.

NFLbets may as well not bury the lead: Take the over on an O/U of 56½ points or even wait until it sinks to 56 at this rate. Crazy that a single $2.3 million bet on the Buccaneers at BetMGM made headlines but couldn’t budge Kansas City -3½, while the over/under has shed ½ to 1 point in the first week since the conference championship games. NFLbets is clearly paddling against the tide on this one.

But hey, since after the wild-card round NFLbets has been pushing the over, no matter the number, regardless of matchup – and for good reason. With four teams remaining in the postseason, not one sported a defense that was top 10 against the pass, against the run or in defensive DVOA. “Defense wins championships”? In 2021, defense may be optional for the winner.

Kansas City is particularly egregious in one statistical area: Though going 10th in points allowed, the Chiefs ranked dead last in red-zone defense – this is what you’re giving Brady? Add to this a well below-average defense – they rank 21st in yards allowed despite seeing just the 19th-most attempts – facing off against the increasingly unstoppable Leonard Fournette, and NFLbets expects the Chiefs to be surrendering some points.

But if Tampa Bay is scoring, we can certainly bet on Kansas City keeping pace. Until last week, Mahomes & Co. had done a 7-1 SU/0-8 ATS run which was costly for a lot of gamblers but also sent a distinct message, i.e. the 2020 Chiefs can play any style and always does enough to win. Purely pragmatically speaking, K.C. has scored 27 or more in 5 of the last 9, 9 of the last 14.

The knock, if any, on the Chiefs offense for the second half of the season has been no running game. Fair enough but geez, what will the Bucs D do against Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, who caught for a combined 22 catches for 290 yards and two TDs. Hell, NFLbets’ latest theory is that the Chiefs allow themselves to get behind 1 or 1½ touchdowns just so they have to throw for the rest of the game.

The point: Both teams are going to throw a lot, both could well be quite successful, and points will be scored. NFLbets may be optimistic here just two years removed from New England Patriots 13, Los Angeles Rams 3 but we’re thinking barnburner. In week 7, these teams played to 27-24 in Tampa. Would, likesay, Buccaneers 30-27 or Chiefs 30-27 be an unreasonable result? So we’re also saying bet YES in the Both Teams score over 24½ points proposition bet.

One final note. With an over/under this high and a game apparently too close to predict securely, teasers look great. Betting Tampa Bay and the under, for example, gets you lines of Bucs +9½ and under 63 points, while Kansas City and the over gets Chiefs +2½ and over 50½, both extremely tempting bets – so tempting NFLbets covered both…

–written by Os Davis


AFC Championship – Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs – preview, predictions, bets

Friday, 22 January 2021 15:32 EST

Betting on the NFL playoffs can prove quite profitable – if one can recognize the truth among a forest of blaring narrative pumped out by media outlets. This is the time of year when we have the opportunity to realize that historical performance is not necessarily indicative of future results; postseason play may differ significantly from that of the regular season, but mathematics and certain realities never really change.

To this end, the recommendations that NFLbets is making for the AFC and NFC Championship Games go against the grain of common wisdom – but we’re confident that we’ll be banking moneys as the mean happily regresses in the late game…

Buffalo Bills +3 at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 53 points

NFLbets hears the arguments for covering the Chiefs minus the points in this game: Patrick Mahomes is a freakish, generational talent; Andy Reid has been in this spot oodles of times; they haven’t been blowing opponents in the season’s second half (they’re on a 9-0 SU/1-8 ATS run) but doing just enough to win; and of course the current 24-1 SU (13-11-1 ATS) run.

But here’s a theory I’ve been expounding upon to anyone who will listen: Repeating as conference champions is difficult. In this century, the only team not named the New England Patriots to do so is the 2003-2004 Seattle Seahawks, and NFLbets dares say that team had a defense substantially superior to what the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs are bringing.

Meanwhile, all the Bills have been doing since their week 6 loss to K.C. is winning in any conditions, by any means necessary. They’ve won at day and at night, at home and away, in Pacific and Eastern Time Zones.  In the wildcard game against the Indianapolis Colts, Josh Allen produced 376 total yards, two passing TDs, a running TD and zero turnovers to overcome 450 yards of total offense from Philip Rivers & Co. Last week, it was the defense battening down the hatches, limiting the NFL’s leading rushing game to 150 yards and nearly pitching the shutout.

Add to the Chiefs’ disadvantages in this game the dinged-up state of at least three “skill players” on the offense: Mahomes will be going in at less than 100% with both foot and head/neck injuries. Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire will both be returning from injuries as well. All three have been limited or non-existent at practices through Friday.

Finally, consider the Bills performance in 2020 thus far: Against playoff teams, Buffalo has now gone 5-2 SU/4-3 ATS, but hasn’t lost SU since the aforementioned week 6 match against Kansas City. The quarterback has made the proverbial Leap, flipping from near the bottom to near the top of the completion percentage charts during an MVP-type season. Stefon Diggs proved a perfect superstar addition and, with the Patriots fading, a changing of the guard in the AFC East is happening. Looking back on this team, we may realize the inevitability of the “upset” looking to take place on Sunday night.

So, yeah, NFLbets is saying take the Buffalo Bills +3 at Kansas City. Furthermore, we’re going out on a serious limb and throwing a few moneys on Bills to win by 14 or more points at 5/1; we’ll look like goddamn geniuses for cashing that one…

For NFLbets’ predictions and betting recommendations on Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3½ at Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, click here.

–written by Os Davis


NFC Championship – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers – preview, predictions, bets

Friday, 22 January 2021 15:19 EST

Betting on the NFL playoffs can prove quite profitable – if one can recognize the truth among a forest of blaring narrative pumped out by media outlets. This is the time of year when we have the opportunity to realize that historical performance is not necessarily indicative of future results; postseason play may differ significantly from that of the regular season, but mathematics and certain realities never really change.

To this end, the recommendations that NFLbets is making for the AFC and NFC Championship Games go against the grain of common wisdom – but we’re confident that we’ll be banking moneys as the mean happily regresses, starting with…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3½ at Green Bay Packers, over/under 52 points

When the numbers were totaled, the Packers ended the 2020 season having played against the NFL’s easiest schedule by opponents’ winning percentage on the way to earning the no. 1 seed in the NFC. Fair enough, but NFLbets isn’t sure why a similar emperor’s-new-clothes mentality isn’t taken toward the Buccaneers.

Until last week’s win against a New Orleans Saints team sporting a aged Drew Brees and crippled Michael Thomas, the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers had gone 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS against teams with a winning record. The sole SU/ATS came against these Packers in week 6, as Aaron Rodgers put in his single worst performance of the season. How much of an outlier was that game? The Green Bay offense has surrendered 11 turnovers *all season*; two came in week 6.

Consider: Under typical circumstances, when wouldn’t you bet on a cold-weather team with a Hall of Fame-level quarterback leading the NFL’s no. 1 offense on a 9-1 SU/6-3-1 ATS run against a warm-weather team prone to penalties and dependent on the bad play? Tampa Bay was down 10 points before the Thomas fumble essentially ended New Orleans’s season, and the hapless Washington Football Team shut down the Bucs offense for an entire quarter to get the FT to within 2 points going into the fourth quarter of their wild-card game.

So why is this line so low at all? Simply put, an irrational respect for the magic of Tom Brady. The truth is, however, that no one should bet on respect for career – ask anyone who covered Drew Brees’s team last week or Ben Roethlisberger’s the week before. Brady may be enjoying a more talented offense than he’d ever teamed with in New England, but his new team is hardly a model of Belichickian efficiency. Tampa Bay is just 14-of-31 on 3rd down in the past two games and, after getting a handle on excessive penalties in the season’s second half, seven mostly stupid flags kept the Saints in the game well beyond their expiration date.

The majority of action at the sportsbooks has been on Green Bay, driving the line to its present Tampa Bay +3½ from the +3 of Sunday night; this is the sole factor that gives NFLbets pause. But hey, maybe the masses aren’t blinded by the hype this time around. Take the Green Bay Packers -3½ vs Tampa Bay.

For NFLbets’ predictions and betting recommendations on Buffalo Bills +3 at Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, click here.

–written by Os Davis