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 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.

Over/under win totals propostion bet: Cover the under on these five teams

Tuesday, 08 September 2020 12:37 EST

Betting odds: Over/under win totalsLike many NFL bettors, NFLbets digs on the over/under win totals proposition bet every preseason: It’s not nearly as difficult to turn a profit against as Super Bowl futures and some truly standout opportunities exist (we’re looking at you, Eagles over/under 9½…) to earn a little extra bankroll in time for some playoff wagering.

Admittedly, the learning curve on this season will be even steeper for the bettors than even the players, with even less information to work with before opening day kickoff than usual. Nevertheless, we’re optimistic about this prop and pessimistic about the chances of the below six teams to make the posted over/under wins line…

•  New Orleans Saints, under 10½ wins. Gasp! Eek! Heresy! Can NFLbets really be suggesting that the imoortal Drew Brees is not literally so? Actually, yes. The truth is that the only two quarterbacks in the past 70 years who have had a reasonably productive season at the age of 41 are Tom Brandy and George Blanda, and Blanda was already a placekicker by then.

Just for argument’s sake, though, let’s say Brees is as efficient this season as he has been the previous two seasons, allowing the running game even more touches. Say that this one offense, thanks to continuity, starts the season sharper then most and that fantasy darlings Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas produce all season and stay uninjured.

Still. Eleven wins is a lot for a team with a schedule like the 2019 Saints. Aside from a nice stretch in weeks 4-8 (at Detroit Lions, vs “Los Angeles” Chargers, vs Carolina Panthers, at Chicago Bears), New Orleans has one seriously grueling schedule – especially if you believe in threats from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (which most folks do) and Atlanta Falcons (which NFLbets does). True, the Saints are 13-5 SU against the NFC South over the past three seasons, but it feels like that ratio is going to balance in 2020.

To cover the worst-case scenario: Say New Orleans is 4-0 against the NFC South and 8-4 going into Atlanta for week 13. Cool – just start hedging!

•  Philadelphia Eagles, under 9½ wins. Ever since That Super Bowl Win, the Eagles have come out flat – they’re 4-4 SU in September the past two seasons – and have underwhelmed thereafter. In all games from 2018 through ’19, the Eagles have managed a record of 19-16 SU (16-19 ATS) overall and 10-13 SU/ATS against non-NFC East teams. The decline will continue in Philadelphia, and the truth is that this line would be at 8½ had Dallas not been playing in a state of coachlessness last season. Take advantage of this line for sure.

•  Los Angeles Rams, under 8 wins. Short Golden Age, eh? Like the Eagles, the Rams rose meteorically to the heights of the Super Bowl only to come crashing down even harder. In 2019, Aaron Donald and the Rams defense improved statistically on its 2018 offense, but the offense certainly did not, somehow shedding 133 points from one season to the next. Rookie HB Cam Akers may be as badass as Todd Gurley and perhaps Sean McVay can fill the dual head coach/offensive coordinator role; sadly, Jared Goff is still Jared Goff. The worst you can probably do here is push.

•  Houston Texans, under 7½ wins. So now DeShaun Watson is in Houston at least through 2023 at a total potential haul of $65.54 million – but at what cost to the roster? The Texans dealt DeAndre Hopkins presumably to justify Watson’s big deal, bringing in Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, which might be the moneyball play but may not make the best offense.

Little was done in the offseason to improve the seemingly always poor OL, which in 2019 ranked 21st in run protection and 27th in pass protection per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. Meanwhile, the running game in 2020 will be based on David Johnson, who spent nearly all of 2017 out due to injury and got just 130 touches total in ’19. Factor in the tendency for AFC South teams to go .500 within the division, and it’s tough to justify this Texans team getting to 8-8.

•  New York Giants, under 6½ wins. Your also-rans for the 2020 NFL season, according to the sportsbooks: The Giants, Miami Dolphins (at over/under 6 wins), Cincinnati Bengals (5½), Carolina Panthers (5½) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (4½). As tempting as all these are to cover the under on, remember how the plucky Dolphins played in the second half of ’19; how the Bengals have a potential generational stud at quarterback; and about how the Panthers, you know, have Christian McCaffrey.

But the Giants? Another blah offseason and the continued “maybe if we ignore it, it will go away” mentality regarding the offensive line, these guys still mostly resemble Saquon Barkley on an XFL team – quite probably the worst team in the NFC.

And the nicest thing about this bet: The Giants will likely have to get 7 wins in their first 11 games, because he’s their final five weeks: at Seattle Seahawks, vs Arizona, vs Cleveland Browns, at Baltimore Ravens, vs Dallas. And if the Giants are dropping divisional games to Washington and Philadephia, perhaps only Jacksonville can save New York from the no. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft…

-- written by Os Davis

After six player optouts, how are the odds on the New England Patriots…?

Wednesday, 29 July 2020 13:43 EST

As it turns out, Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots isn’t making things easier for NFL bettors. Even taking the coronavirus out of the equation, here’s what has happened since Super Bowl LIV: Brady, to no one’s surprise, left the Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; New England passes on a quarterback on the 2019 NFL Draft and shortly thereafter declared Jason Stridham the starter; shockingly acquired Cam Newton; and in the past two days, team officials have announced a whopping eight optouts from this season, including LB Dont’a Hightower, OT Marcus Cannon, FS Patrick Chung and RB Brandon Bolden.

As though the trail of odds on the 2020 New England Patriots weren’t tumultuous enough, throw in a just-born proto-conspiracy theory which deduces that somehow Sith Lord/Pats head coach Bill Belichick is “masterminding” the Pats’ optouts, likely in order to land some quality free agents with lots more cap space.  Such an easily-imagined scheme is hardly worthy of attention – except this particular musing came from an NFL source and was reported by the almighty Adam Schefter.

This continual turning of events is naturally wreaking havoc with the odds offered on the Patriots winning Super Bowl LV. Directly after the Kansas City Chiefs finished off the San Francisco 49ers to end the season, Las Vegas and online sportsbooks gave lines of +400 on the Chiefs, +750 on the 49ers, +650 on the Baltimore Ravens and, despite the inevitability of Brady’s departure, just +800 odds in the “To Win Super Bowl LV” proposition bet.

Today, Kansas City is getting odds of +550 to +650 in this prop while Baltimore is listed at +600 to +650; the Ravens’ closure of gap can be attributed to their universally acknowledged strong showing in the draft, while San Francisco’s comedown to the 8/1-10/1 range in a natural slip from the default odds given the Super Bowl loser.

But New England’s odds are a relative rollercoaster – and if Vegas sportsbooks could do/were doing more volume, they’d be even more so. After opening June at an aggregate line of 14/1 at major online sportsbooks, the Patriots to win LV may today be had for anywhere from 12/1 to 20/1 – and the latest round of optouts is, as of this writing, less than 24 hours old.

So, then, to date, batting on the Patriots is a matter of faith that Belichick is in control of the dissolution of his roster, that said dissolution will be made up for, that Cam Newton can seriously play ball, that the Patriots can beat the superior offense of the Chiefs and/or Ravens in the playoffs. Not to mention the probability of the 2020 NFL season kicking off at all.

NFLbets still likes the Ravens at +650 or so is still our best bet in this prop, anyway…

--written by Os Davis

Crazy upsets putting the “Madness” in “Madden Madness”

Thursday, 28 May 2020 11:23 EST

What in the name of Vince Lombardi is going on in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim football tournament? With half the “Sweet 16” round complete, we’re guaranteed an “Elite 8” with at least four teams which didn’t actually make the playoffs and are guaranteed only two such teams. The New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are already out, eliminated by Washington, the Carolina Panthers (Madden Cam Newton is awesome) and “Los Angeles” Chargers, respectively.

While some of the topsy-turvy results are down to teams looking better on paper than their 2020 performance would indicate (again, Madden Cam Newton is awesome), but much of the blame can be bestowed on the AI coaches. Particularly egregious was AI John Harbaugh. The scenario: In the Sweet 16 round against the Bears, immediately after the 2-minute warning, down 24-21, 4th down and 3. So naturally, the Ravens call for ... a run by FB Patrick Ricard, who *hasn't had a single carry in three NFL seasons*. We can't imagine why Baltimore lost this game to Mitch Trubisky & Co....

And so went the Sweet 16 round:

• East: New York Jets (5) 30, Washington (8) 24
• South: Carolina Panthers (8) 20 at Atlanta Falcons (4) 13
• North: Chicago Bears (4) 31 at Baltimore Ravens (1) 24
• West: Los Angeles Rams (4) 39, “Los Angeles” Chargers (8) 16

The second round of Sweet 16 games runs today, May 28. Pointspreads and over/unders are as follows.

• West: Las Vegas Raiders (6) +7½ at Kansas City Chiefs (2), over/under 52 points
• North: Cleveland Browns (6) +4½ at Green Bay Packers (2), over/under 46 points
• South: Tennessee Titans (3) +1½ at Houston Texans (2), over/under 47 points
• East: Philadelphia Eagles (3) -3 at Buffalo Bills (2), over/under 44 points

Three of the first four Sweet 16 games in the tournament went for 54 points or more and 50+ point games are commonplace – perhaps due to the mostly neutral field conditions in the game. Plus, with the built-in favoritism to the offense in today’s NFL rulebook, if inferior AI coaches face off, the better offense wins. So we’re saying take the over on any or all of these games.

As for winners ATS, the only opportunity we really like is to take the sim Texans -1½ vs the Titans. Houston’s roster looks great in terms of metrics, and the comedown from Mike Vrabel to AI Mike Vrabel is significant. Also: Newton vs Watson in the Elite 8!

Beyond that, we believe that given how this tournament’s gone thus far, the Chiefs and Packers can’t possibly both survive this round. All of a sudden, the 2019 Cleveland Browns feel just perfect for this tourney as a tremendously underachieving team that has screwed NFL bettors one way or another for two real-life seasons straight – and Freddie Kitchens to AI Freddie Kitchens is a step up.

Bet Online is setting everything up for a Browns vs Pantehrs Madden Sim Bowl, we can feel it…

–written by Os Davis

On the road to the Sim Bowl: Betting the Madden Madness sim NFL tournament

Saturday, 23 May 2020 13:59 EST

Can you believe we’re already just one week away from the Super Bowl? Well – the BetOnline Madden Sim Super Bowl, that is. The final games in the simmed regular season, played using 2019 rosters, have ended and the tournament phase begins.

Bet Online’s Madden sim game distinguished itself from many an online sportsbook’s offerings in its unique format – which the actual NFL might consider using in a shortened-season scenario, except for the whole games-every-day thing, we suppose…

The teams in each of the league’s eight divisions squared off in round-robin format over six games in World Cup tournament-style. After round-robin play, tournament play begins. In round one, all 32 teams compete in single-elimination games. The seeding here is determined by grouping teams from each division with its conference counterpart and ranking by record in pool play. So for example, the round one game in the West features the no. 8 “Los Angeles” Chargers at the no. 1 San Francisco 49ers.

The Sweet 16 round runs May 27-28 and will elimination all but two teams in each region for the Elite 8 round of May 29. The Final Four round (slated for May 30) will be made up by the winners of the North, East, South and West brackets, while the Madden Sim Bowl happens on May 31 – probably just in time for another season of sim football betting because why not?

Click on the image below to see the Madness Madness tournament schedule. All games may be watched live on Twitch at

BetOnline sim football betting

Since the Final Four round will be reseeded, NFL bettors can’t exactly cover a futures bet on a winner and in fact Bet Online isn’t offering this particular prop bet. However, what is incredibly interesting is the real-life Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are both seeded in the West.

But hey, let’s throw some predictions out there anyway. We’ll go with the no. 1 Ravens from the North, the no. 2 Chiefs from the West, the no. 2 Texans from the South and no, NFLbets won’t be going against even the sim Patriots, no. 1 seed in the East. So it’s probably Ravens vs Chiefs in the ’Bowl. Though we’ll just be, as they say, taking these games one at a time.

As for how to bet on Madden Football sims – if you’re not already in the know – It’s as simple as betting on sports as you normally would, though offerings are limited to a few basics such as pointspread, money line and over/under bets for the game, quarter and first half; no player props and other proposition bets are available, though for the Big Game, who knows…?

“Strength of Schedule” statistic bolsters NFLbets’ superearly Super Bowl pick

Friday, 22 May 2020 10:57 EST

Right up front, we’re saying that NFLbets believes the 2020 NFL season will start on time and will be played in full. The logic is simple: Every player in the league knows that his career lifespan is short and that they need the money, and franchise owners have demonstrated repeatedly that they just don’t give much of AF for player safety nor player rights since, what, 1920?

Until we actually see play, we’ll also assume that the football we see in 2020 will resemble a reasonable facsimile of ’19 in terms of contact – not to mention willingness to make contact. IF players are wrapped in bubble wrap (or even forced to cover themselves head to toe), NFL bettors might as well sidle up to a craps table for all the skill that football betting would instantly become.

Tell you what: If NFL football in 2020 looks sufficiently random, NFLbets will start looking to cover the teams that have never won a Lombardi – or more precisely, the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, but by no means the Detroit Lions or Houston Texans –  in Super Bowl LV betting. Just to balance out the numbers, you understand.

For now, though, we’re working within our chosen reality. We’ll see what happens in week 1 when it happens.

Strength of schedule drawing interest “thanks” to COVID-19

 Soon after the NFL released its 2020 schedule, mainstream sports media, bloggers and podcasters got to work crunching the numbers for the league and/or their team, happy to be given some stats to play with. The results were quite interesting and made NFLbets very happy indeed.

Based on 2019 results and ranked most to least difficult, Strength of Schedule (SoS) for ’20 looks as follows. Bold indicates a 2019 playoff team.

1. New England Patriots, .537
2. New York Jets, .533
3. Miami Dolphins, .529
4. San Francisco 49ers, .527
T5. Buffalo Bills, .525
T5. Detroit Lions, .525
T5. Atlanta Falcons, .525
T8. Arizona Cardinals, .518
T8. Houston Texans, .518

Chart for winning NFL betsT10. Minnesota Vikings, .516
T10. Los Angeles Rams, .516
12. Denver Broncos, .512
T13. Chicago Bears, .509
T13. Seattle Seahawks, .509
15. Green Bay Packers, .504
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, .502
T16. Indianapolis Colts, .502

T18. Kansas City Chiefs, .500
T18. Carolina Panthers, .500
20. Tennessee Titans, .498
21. Las Vegas Raiders, .496
22. Jacksonville Jaguars, .494
23. Los Angeles Chargers, .492
24. New Orleans Saints, .490

25. Philadelphia Eagles, .486
26. New York Giants, .482
27. Cincinnati Bengals, .477
28. Washington Redskins, .465
29. Cleveland Browns, .461
30. Dallas Cowboys, .459
31. Pittsburgh Steelers, .457
32. Baltimore Ravens, .438

The primary weakness of the SoS stat is of course its total reliance on past results with no adjustment made for offseason transactions, coaching hires and draft picks. No matter: Some solid predictioning may be nevertheless undertaken – if we’re openminded enough to accept a little change.

From the Those Who Forget History Department comes a little analysis of how the preseason strength of schedule played out in 2019.

•  Of the 14 teams with an opponents' winning percentage of .496 or lower going into the 2019 NFL season, six made the playoffs. Make note of those teams, however: the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks backed into the playoffs as wild cards; the Philadelphia Eagles were the “best” of the NFC Least at 9-7; the ’19 Baltimore Ravens’ 14-2 mark would have made them an outlier in any 16-game season, while the New Orleans Saints were no. 3 in the NFL in overachieving per the Pythagorean Expectation (PE) wins; and the New England Patriots, whose defense was on record-setting pace in the first half of the season (remember that?) after ignominiously going one-and-done in the playoffs.

•  Of the 15 teams with an opponents' winning percentage of .504 or higher, six advanced to the postseason. However, of those with a top-8 SoS, just two, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, proved postseason teams – and the Texans tied for the no. 1 spot with fellow playoff flameouts the Green Bay Packers in overachieving PE. Kansas City meanwhile certainly benefitted from the downturn their division mates, the Denver Broncos and “Los Angeles” Chargers, suffered in ’19.

The conclusion NFLbets draws from 2019 (a rather typical season in terms of preseason SoS and PE wins, incidentally): The preseason SoS statistic does matter, but mostly at the extremes. Tweaks of expectation may be made when either a given team or its divisional opponents have undergone a drastic makeover during the offseason, but such towering leaps and plummets of, likesay, three or more games are the exception.

How to adjust Super Bowl LV betting based on Strength of Schedule

Consider, for example, the 2020 New England Patriots. On one hand, Patriots-pushers will tell you that Bill Belichick is the real driver of the Patriot machine; Pats detractors naysay by touting Touchdown Tom’s achievements on the field. Pragmatically speaking, New England is facing the proverbial uphill battle in ’20 with the league’s toughest schedule – and this includes four games against the likely-still-weak New York Jets (7-9 in ’20), Miami Dolphins (5-11), “Los Angeles” Chargers (5-11) and Detroit Lions (3-12-1).

But check out where their traditionally hapless division mates land on the SoS table: The Bills, Dolphins and Jets also draw the AFC West and NFC North teams and are in the top-5 toughest SoS list. This far out, NFLbets would put the Patriots at 9 or even 10 wins – and again winning the AFC East.

And NFLbets will also be taking off a few expected wins from some marginal teams, i.e. the Texans, Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons, by dint of SoS (and, in Houston’s case, by dint of their generally fucking asinine offseason player transactions). We’ll tack a few on for the Las Vegas (yes!) Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and maaaaaaayyyyyybe the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Best of all, though, are tentatively NFLbets’ favorite team for 2020, the Baltimore Ravens. That .438 SoS based on a schedule which includes games against the teams of the NFC East, AFC South and Cincinnati only bolsters NFLbets’ post-Super Bowl LIV bet on the Ravens to win Super Bowl LV at 13/2 look even tastier. Those odds are now down to 5/1 at MyBookie and could get lower before scheduled kickoff.

One final brazen prediction along that line: NFLbets might even go so far as to say the odds could lengthen from even the opening 13/2. Why? Say Cleveland and Pittsburgh improve just enough to give Baltimore a game at home. Say they lose in a couple upsets, likesay at Dallas and vs Tennessee. Suddenly, the Ravens are backing into the no. 3 seed at 11-5 or 12-4 by tiebreaker with the surprising bandwagon Browns. In this scenario, o boy, will there be money to be made.

God bless Lamar Jackson and that awesome chip on his shoulder.

Whether you’re ready to bet on Super Bowl LV or wish to try beting the NFL regular season,
use the NFLbets’ exclusive Mybookie promo code NFLBETS when you make your first deposit get up to $1,000 in free bets!

Or get a 100% Signup Deposit Bonus for up to $300 at – Use our exclusive promo code XBBETS when you sign up.

–written by Os Davis





What to make of these “To Win AFC West in 2020” odds

Monday, 09 March 2020 17:54 EST

It’s way too early to be thinking about NFL proposition bets like the “To Win AFC West in 2020” prop – or is it? Fair enough, so just don’t go betting the entire bankroll on such props and simply earmark opportunities to exploit a tiny advantage.

The odds table on the “To Win AFC West in 2020” prop are as follows:

Kansas City Chiefs: -500
“Los Angeles” Chargers: 7/1
Las Vegas Raiders: 10/1
Denver Broncos: 12/1

The most obvious recommendations are all about those top two on the table. At 1/5 odds, the Chiefs currently enjoy Patriots-like short odds and, while not exactly providing great value, seem like a pretty solid bet. Most of the key “skill players” and lineman should keep the offense intact, and the attraction of playing for the Super Bowl champions (as well as contenders for seemingly some time to come) will certainly help fill any remaining gaps. If there’s one team prop you make this offseason, it should probably be this one – though you may want to hedge come free-agency time.

But not on the Chargers. NFLbets figures the only reason for this line is that more are betting on this essentially homeless team than support them as fans. Quite frankly, NFLbets is looking for the Chargers to finish last in this division in 2020 after a 2019 that looked well worse than 5-11 SU (4-9-3 ATS). And after a season of likely the lowest gate and paraphernalia sales in the league by a long shot, how much will the Chargers be spending in free agency? And aside from location, what will draw any of the name QBs on the open market here? If you’re making this bet, you’re figuring on probably the greatest draft of all-time by a single team. Also, you’re throwing your money away.

Denver seems like a decently attractive option at 12/1, until one recalls the basically complete lack of production at the quarterback position since John Elway took over as team president. (Okay, things haven’t been a complete bust, like when Payton Manning was resurrected by the voodoo priest after leaving Indianapolis and managed a few decent bits of seasons, but when your second-best QB of the past 20 years is Jake Plummer, yeah, well.)

On the other hard, Denver closed the season 5-1 SU, while the Chargers closed out with a 1-6 “run.” NFLbets puts some stock into teams closing the previous season badly or well, but is Drew Lock really the answer?

Finally, there are those Las Vegas Raiders. Look: This entire proposition bet hinges on whether you believe the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster will take enough hits (i.e. one, to Patrick Mahomes) to kill their season or at least a fair amount, thus allowing the would-be second-place finisher to leapfrog the unfortunate KC side. These Raiders, if you squint enough and apply some imagination, might just kinda sorts resemble that team.

Jon Gruden has done a nice job on draft days building up a team with a top-5 offesnive line and a top-10 secondary. They’re now one of the youngest teams in the league and they’re certainly way up there in favorable contracts (not yet a metric with official records).

The equation, of course, is easy. You’re not throwing any money – even a hedge – on Vegas in this prop until we learn what the team does in free agency at quarterback. And the equation is simple: Tom Brady is certainly the only answer for the quarterback guru. Jacoby Brissette might in the medium term prove a great pickup but if the Raiders want to win in season 1 in Vegas a la the Golden Knights, the only QB NFLbets believes whom Chucky will believe in enough to let loose and, you know, win is Brady. In addition, rumor has it that Antonio Brown wants to sign where Brady does – and what team seems more natural to give the miscreant a chance?

The recommendation: Cover the Chiefs right now at -500 and, should Gruden & Co. win the Brady sweepstakes, immediately wager before the odds turn on the Raiders at +1000 or thereabouts.

The top 5 Biggest Losers in NFL betting, 2019-20

Monday, 03 February 2020 14:58 EST

So no matter which side you backed in Super Bowl LIV, you probably lost money in prop betting or an the over/under, thanks to underwhelming statistical performances all around and an outcome few expected – just repeat the mantra “that’s why they call it gambling” and get back on the horse. (Assuming you didn’t put the horse on San Francisco 49ers +1½…)

In the meantime, under the proviso that “misery loves company,” NFLbets’ll attempt to cheer you up with a list of folks who lost bigger and harder than you did. Following our first annual Top 5 Losers in NFL Betting list. Happy schadenfreude!

Honorable mention. Howard Ratner. The protagonist of Uncut Gems, essentially the sports bettor’s Trainspotting, cannot technically be included in this list because ol’ Howie’s poison was NBA betting and because he’s, likesay, fictional. However, this character’s status as a big-time loser cannot be underestimated. Even when hitting an incredibly stupid three-bet parlay for upward of $1 million, he still manages to lose his shop and (SPOILERS!) his life right there on Netflix in front of everyone. Combine with the Academy’s snub of Adam Sandler for an Oscar nomination – to be fair, a very strong five make up the nominees in this category this year – and it adds up to a big L.

5. Patrick Mahomes bettors. Those expecting big returns from Kansas City Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV proposition bets got burned all over the place, as Mahomes passed for less than 300 yards, had zero TD passes and threw and interception. But at least until the 4th quarter, he had crept over the 33½ to 36½ yards to cover on most “Pat Mahomes rushing yards” props; then came three successive kneeldowns to subtract 15 yards and bam went all those bets as well. Mahomes’s performance was pretty negative for those wagering on him, but those kneeldowns finished ’em off: At least four major US sportsbooks reported that between 66% and 75% of bets in this prop had been put on the over.

4. Jade Roper Tolbert. Kicking off year 2020 was the sordid tale of former Bachelor in Paradise stars who may or may not have cheated at online fantasy football and thus were denied a $1 million grand prize won during a wild-card weekend contest hosted by Draft Kings. Tanner and Jade both entered their max 150 entries in the contest, but after Jade was congratulated for her first-place finish, an investigation by DK revealed that every one of Jade’s and husband Tanner’s entries were unique – quite a coincidence. Naturally, Tanner took to Twitter to cry sexism; no matter: Citing the zillions-to-1 odds required for 300 unique entries to be filed honestly, DK ultimately rescinded the $1 million. Just goes to show: DFS is pure gambling.  

3. Mattress Mack. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is the embodiment of the gambler with far more money than brain. Like Howard Ratner, Mattress Mack’s main area of betting is outside football; however, McIngvale’s story should be a lot more directly useful to the average NFL bettor than does Ranter’s. As an unabashed fan of the Houston Astros, McIngvale lost some $13 million alone in bets on the Astros to win the World Series – before losing to the Washington Nationals. As it turns out, McIngvale had offered a refund for the full price of a mattress from any of his Texas furniture stores if the Astros won the World Series and $13 million would have covered that promise financially with a profit. The lesson for football bettors: Hedging doesn’t pay.

2. Josh Shaw. On November 10 at Caesars sportsbook in Las Vegas, Josh Shaw placed at least one odd parlay involving three second-half point spreads and lost. Happens every Sunday during NFL season, right? Yes, but. As it turns out, Shaw was under contract with the Arizona Cardinals and, when the illicit wager was discovered, earned himself an open-ended suspension from the league. Worse yet, one of the ends of the parlay had the Cardinals on the losing side. Still worse yet, the Cardinals covered the second-half spread, but lost SU and busted Shaw’s parlay. Dude, it was the Buccaneers – you should’ve taken the over…

1. Anybody who bet on the Cleveland Browns at season’s beginning. NFLbets is not counted among the lot who figured a team which blew its last realistic shot at a Super Bowl in 1988 and was two seasons removed from an 0-16 finish – and so could harangue with impunity, but we’ll spare you. After all, the embarrassment of throwing good money at a team led by a QBs coach, “powered” by a guy who seemed to have dropped football awareness from his retinue altogether, featuring a helmet-swinging psychopath and a prima donna WR who taught teammates only to jokingly ask for trades to other teams should be enough. How the hell were these guys getting better odds than the Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in the preseason? 2019 may have put NFL bettors off the Browns permanently. (Now watch the 2020 Cleveland Browns win Super Bowl LV starting the eason at 80/1. We may already have an early entry for next year’s list...)

–written by Os Davis

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Look at all of NFLbets wacky wagering on Super Bowl prop bets...

Sunday, 02 February 2020 08:10 EST

Yet more awesomeness about both Super Bowl betting and Las Vegas: Super Bowl betting *in* Las Vegas. Seriously, what is better in life than staying at a quality non-casino hotel, picking up a fat list of proposition bets and poring over offerings not necessarily available at online sportsbooks for hours on end in comfort and drink comps? Nothing, we daresay.

Nothing, that is, except for cashing out on a majority of those utterly enticing and totally tempting Super Bowl props. Rest assured that NFLbets is sitting here with a fat stack of betting slips which we’ll be manipulating and sorting throughout Sunday. NFLbets has detailed our recommendations for Super Bowl LIV prop betting elsewhere; running below are some last-minute wagers you can get in before game time – if you’re as wacky as we were.

San Francisco 49ers score in every quarter, +150
Kansas City Chiefs score in every quarter: +140
. NFLbets fully expects on Monday to be tweeting deliriously about how Super Bowl LIV was the Bizarro Super Bowl LIII (or perhaps vice-versa), i.e. an exciting high-flying shootout with highlights on both sides of the ball by both teams. The relatively high odds on the Chiefs in this prop are likely down to their reputation as a slow starter, but the truth is Kansas City was no. 10 in the league in first quarter scoring. The 49ers, meanwhile, are top-6 in every quarter and the Chiefs’ no. 18 rank in the fourth quarter may simply be down to their routine blowouts. NFLbets like these bets!

• Over 6½ total touchdowns in game, +110. Apparently, NFLbets is not alone in expecting a pinball machine-type speed and scoring in Super Bowl LIV: Bettors have pushed the over/under from 51 points at opening to 54½ on gameday. At 51 points, one would figure on six TDs plus three FGs as a logical outcome. And while NFLbets is ordering up a pair of 30-burgers, even a 28-21 (or, likesay, 31-28) can mean seven touchdowns…

• Successful 2-point conversion, +220. This bet is precisely why proposition betting is dangerous: NFLbets is gambling here, hoping against hope for a 2-pointer simply because 2-point conversions are awesome. The numbers say that in 256 regular-season games in 2019, 113 2-pointers were attempted, with 52 made for a 50.1% success rate and a 20.3% chance of success in any given game. If the odds were fair (yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre), the potential payout would be more like +450.

• Game goes into overtime, 8/1. Again, silly betting. No genius is required to realize that exactly one of the last 53 Super Bowls has gone into overtime (a less than 2% probability) and with Andy “Clock King” Reid on the sideline, well … nah, this bet is totally unjustifiable.

• Largest lead of game: under 15½ points, -110. All you millennial whippersnappers are spoiled rotten by 21st-century Super Bowls. You don’t remember 1980-1997, when all but three Super Bowls were uneventful slogs with the outcome decided early. Sheesh, in those days, if it wasn’t 49ers-Cincinnati Bengals, you might as well have planned to be good and drunk by halftime. No, instead, you guys get one-score games in nine of the last 12, and most of the upsets in all of Super Bowl history have taken place since ’98. And in the last 18, under-15½ has gone 15-3. So utilize your advantages, ya buncha ankle biters…

• Tyrann Matthieu to make the game’s first interception, 5/1. NFLbets is already committed to both Mahomes and Garoppolo to throw picks in this game, but clearly the latter is thought much more likely to err in this department. So we ran with this assumption and found an excellent reason to back Matthieu here. Matthieu was s led the Chiefs in 2019 in interceptions with four. And guess what? Three came in the first half, including two in the first quarter. This bet is either genius or the product of delusion, but 5/1 are some pretty good odds.

• 49ers more time of possession, +140. Right along with the “Largest Lead of Game” prop, this wager is based on the premise of a fairly close game. Particularly if the Niners get the game’s first possession – or at least the game’s first substantial possession – and score after a long drive, a one-score game means San Francisco should win the TOP battle. Note, too, that the 49ers were no. 4 in the league in the stat in 2019 and were just one of seven teams to average more than 31 minutes of TOP per game.

• Over 2½ TD passes by Patrick Mahomes, even/+100
• Over 1½ TD passes by Jimmy Garappolo, -105
. Has NFLbets mentioned we’re anticipating scoring? Forget Jimmy’s two playoff games thus far; we’re of the belief that he wasn’t called on the throw in those games, thanks to the inability of either the Minnesota Vikings or Green Bay Packers to slow the run one whit. And if 1½ touchdowns seems low for Garoppolo, we can certainly all agree that 2½ for Mahomes feels very low.

• George Kittle scores a TD, +140. This prop bet can justify the entire existence of fantasy football. Why? Because without fantasy football, we might not otherwise realize that Kansas City is a botoom-5 team against tight ends this season. And since Kittle is a, what, top-2 TE, the math is pretty simple here.

• Emmanuel Sanders over 43½ receiving yards, -110. NFLbets wrote earlier this week about Sanders’s possibilities as a longshot in the Super Bowl MVP prop at 40/1, and we convinced ourselves of his veteran presence and team-first mentality that we covered him in this prop as well, despite his recent stat-poor results and just three games of over 43½ receiving yards since joining San Francisco in week 10. This prop also comprises half of our favorite fictional parlay bet: Just pair Sanders over 43½ with Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic Party nomination for POTUS at +225 – Sanders and Sanders for a +520 payout! Nice.

– written by Os Davis

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NFLbets’ favorite Super Bowl proposition bet? MVP and it’s not even close

Saturday, 01 February 2020 13:00 EST

NFLbets is generally not a fan of proposition betting prior to the Super Bowl, when hundreds of props hit the market and we get two weeks to analyze the probabilities. And as we always say, the best bacon-saving bet you can make is Super Bowl MVP. Sure, most NFL bettors will (justifiably) cover the starting QB(s) of any team with a chance to win straight up – but the winnings on a hedge bet of a Julian Edelman (12/1), Von Miller (15/1) or Malcolm Smith (20/1) covers a lot of bad beats and bad bets.

Unfortunately, offerings on the “To Win Super Bowl MVP” prop bet aren’t great this year if you’re backing the Kansas City Chiefs. Right off the top, QBs have won 9 of the last 13 MVP awards, including two each by Tom Brady and Eli Manning; they’ve also taken 29 of 53 MVPs thus far, but note that for six years no QB won the award – in Super Bowls VII through XII. Yeah, the 1970s.

Patrick Mahomes (even odds/+100) overshadows everything on the Kansas City side of this prop – with good reason, as all the history is on his side. Going back to Kurt Warner in XXXVI, the MVP award has been won by a quarterback appearing in his first Super Bowl eight times of 17.

Additionally, there’s this: In how many scenarios do the Chiefs win but Mahomes doesn’t get the MVP? Considering that My Bookie has opened up a “Will Patrick Mahomes win Super Bowl MVP” prop (“yes” at +100, “no” at -135), a proposition combining “no” with the Kansas City money line (ML) at -125 would fetch better than 2/1 or +225 if going Kansas City -1½. Now think before you bet that, pilgrim – even if you can get someone to take the bet.

No need to overcomplicate things, though. The more you believe in a Chiefs win, the more you should be betting on Mahomes for MVP. And those covering the San Francisco 49ers plus points or ML can essentially hedge that bet with a few moneys on Mahomes here.

Now on the San Francisco side of this proposition bet, things get more interesting. NFLbets believes in covering several offerings in this prop and lots of great value exists among 49ers, starting with QB Jimmy Garoppolo (5/2). Poor Jimmy G. has been hacked on like no Super Bowl quarterback in recent history, based on the Niners run-first offense and the mere eight pass attempts in the Green Bay Packers game.

NFLbtes isn’t sure why talking heads and internet buzz alike are ignoring the very probable likelihood that passing simply wasn’t necessary with Raheem Mostert (6/1) destroying the Packers D, but we’re not. If backing the 49ers, you’re betting Garappolo in the Super Bowl MVP prop. Chiefs bettors may consider hedging with some moneys on Jimmy G. as well.

As for Mostert, his 6/1 odds would appear to be good value; the dude has literally improved week to week through 2019-20, culminating in the four-TD blowup in the NFC Championship. But how can the proper NFL bettor believe in any member of a RB-by-committee winning this award? Upward trajectory aside, Mostert accounted for just over 35% of the team’s total running yards in 2019; even if Tevin Coleman’s injury keeps him limited, the big over/under of 55 points implies lots of passing and quick scores.

Speaking of this eventuality, NFLbets is loving the current vogue pick in this prop, WR Deebo Samuel, currently at 22/1 after opening at 25/1. Historically speaking, wide receivers are only second to QBs in winning this award, with seven WR MVPs in Super Bowl history, and four in the past 14 years. Betting on Samuel represents outstanding value and since the rookie has few truly outstanding games on the résumé thus far, well, Jimmy hasn’t been throwing much lately. If you’re thinking San Francisco wins and the over hits, Samuel would be getting a good 10 targets at least and you’re covering this.

Tempting, too, are the 13/1 odds that TE George Kittle’s getting in this prop. While no tight end has ever won the Super Bowl MVP, the game’s evolution suggests that such an eventuality is not far off. Hell, Rob Gronkowski might’ve taken the trophy in LII had his Patriots not blown the game to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kittle is a pretty decent pick here, but we like the far less risky “yes” in the “Will George Kittle score a Touchdown” prop bet at +130 well more.

So let’s say you believe the 49ers defense gets to Mahomes, who’s sacked frequently enough – likesay, three times – to significantly alter the game. Look no further than Nick Bosa, currently at 17/1. Bosa has had an All-Pro season and has garnered much hype as the best player on the league’s best defense. In an emphatic win by San Francisco in which individual stats are spread thin among many Niners, Bosa’s a no-brainer.

If you’re thinking about longshots, first stop is Emmanuel Sanders (40/1). In 12 games with the 2019 49ers, Sanders has gotten 56 targets total, or 5.66 per, and in two playoff games has caught just two passes on three targets, called upon mostly for run blocking. Any such bet here is based on Sanders’s veteran experience – he’s already played three Super Bowls, while the great majority of the team outside of Richard Sherman has yet to appear in one – and is predicated on, again, at least a highish-scoring game with lots of passing from Garoppolo.

Finally, for a real miracle win, look at FS Jimmy Ward at 100/1. My Bookie currently lists some 25 players other than Ward – so nearly one-quarter of the total number of players on active rosters for this game – in their “To Win Super Bowl MVP” offerings and yet “the field” is somehow going off at 16/1. Ward was a late addition to MB’s board, so at least one or two significant bets have been placed on him, and the appeal of this pick beyond the outstanding value is that the formula for a Ward MVP is simple.

The only time a safety has won MVP honors in this game was when Jake Scott did so for the Miami Dolphins waaaaaay back in Super Bowl VII to cap the Fins’ perfect season. Scott simply picked two passes while his quarterback threw for just 88 yards in the victory of a 1-point (!) favorite. Grabbing two interceptions against Patrick Mahomes, who’s thrown just five interceptions in 16 games this season? Yeah, that’d probably get Ward the MVP trophy…

–written by Os Davis

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Proposition betting: We’re guessing the first play of Super Bowl LIV is…

Tuesday, 28 January 2020 11:39 EST

NFLbets has no sense of humor about most special props offered on the Super Bowl; what exactly the public fascination with losing money on the coin flip, national anthem performance or color of Gatorade dumped on the winning head coach is, we have no clue – but rest assured that the bookmakers won’t be taking our money on these inanities this year or ever.

It’s like, you know Barnum’s old aphorism, “there’s a sucker born ever minute”? You know the expression “sucker’s bet”? Yeah, well, that’s what those kinda BS props are.

Having said (written?) that, NFLbets admits that our bet in the prop “49ers vs Chiefs – First offensive play from scrimmage” is based purely in instinct and a favorable line. “Run play” is currently listed on My Bookie at odds of -145, while “pass play” is paying out at +115. That’s right: NFLbets is advising that Super Bowl bettors take Pass Play in the First Offensive Play From Scrimmage prop at those nice odds.

Can we possibly justify making what resembles a serious throwaway bet at all? Let’s try.

On the Kanasas City Chiefs sideline is Andy Reid, and we suppose you may have heard that Reid is probably the greatest NFL head coach never to win the Super Bowl yada yada yada. More importantly, the dude is armed (so to speak) with a QB who’s the most athletically gifted we’ve seen in the ’Bowl in years, if not ever. In 16 starts this season, Patrick Mahomes has begun the game with a pass seven times and in the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans, the first play call was an option which had Mahomes on the run.

What’s truly amazing in that on the aforementioned 16 games, the Kansas City offense’s *second* play from scrimmage has been a pass 15 times. The Chiefs game plan for the opening series of the first quarter is, half the time, have Damien Williams or LeSean McCoy hit the line for a yard or two, followed by Mahomes throwing again. If you can get a prop on KC’s second play, that’s a no-brainer.

For the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo has shown gunslinging skills and, as mentioned elsewhere on NFLbets, has lead his team to a 11-2 SU mark when throwing more than 21 passes and 4-2 SU when getting over 240 passing yards – but even when he’s not playing possum as in the first two playoff games, Jimmy G has always started slow. Just twice in 18 games has he begun the proceedings with a pass play: in weeks 14 and 16 against the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, respectively. However, in both cases, the 49ers offense got the ball only after a clock-killing, TD-scoring drive by the opposition. This makes perfect sense when running with a ridiculously effective RB-by-committee such as the 49ers do.

But if there’s one guy that’s capable of overthinking this game, it’s Kyle Shanahan. (Chiefs backers are meanwhile concerned about Andy Reid *under*thinking things…) He’s already admitted to the “humbling” experience as an Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator in helping throw away a 25-point third-quarter lead against the Patriots through lack of adjustments in the game plan to the actual, likesay, game situation. And NFLbets is convinced that limiting Garoppolo to 27 attempts in the postseason thus far is Shanahan’s attempt at ta smokescreen covering his desire to air it out, particularly over the middle where the Chiefs pass D is weakest.

Recall Shanahan Sr., whose multiple Super Bowl appearances with the Denver Broncos always seemed to begin with John Elway launching on 50 yards or more, as well. Why wouldn’t we think that the mentally-churning Shanahan the Younger, knowing his offense is decidedly lower-watt and will inevitably be playing from behind, trying to outfox Reid with the unexpected early?

Okay, so this isn’t the strongest reasoning or the best bet that NFLbets’ll be making for Super Bowl LIV, but look at it this way: At least we’ll have this one won/lost nice and early…

–written by Os Davis

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