Preseason


AFC East over/under win totals, proposition bets

Saturday, 31 August 2019 08:36 EST

NFLbets again takes on over/under win totals and proposition betting on another division's worth of teams for the 2019 season. This time out, we're prognosticated with an eye to betting on the AFC East. All odds posted here are based in NFLbets-partnering sportsbooks. Click on the link for these offerings and much more, plus get an exclusive NFL sports betting promo codes for up to $1000 in bonuses on your first deposit.

Once again, contemplating the opportunities for betting in the AFC East next to drudgery. One of the downsides of the 21st-century New England Patriots dynasty is the sheer predictability of this division – though to be fair much of the gut-wrenching incompetence from the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills emanates directly from the front office and sidelines.

For the record, the last time the Dolphins won AFC East was the year Bill Parcells joined teh front office there (he only lasted one more season) and Tom Brady helpfully had his ACL torn in week 1 in 2008. The last time the Patriots were eliminated in the playoffs by a division mate was by the Rex Ryan-coached New York Jets in 2010. Other than this, these franchises off the field have been revolving doors at best, shitshows at worst.

For example. Brian Flores is the new head coach in Miami; he’s the team’s sixth HC since 2010 and résumé showing 15 seasons of mostly assistant and position coach jobs in New England. (Red alert!) In Buffalo, Sean McDermott got to keep his job for a third season despite following a weird backing into the playoffs with a 6-10 mark – good thing, too, because he’s the sixth Bills HC since ’10. Finally, the Jets welcomed in Adam Gase (except ousted Mike Maccagnan, one supposes), who comes over from the Dolphins, where he followed up a 10-6 rookie season by going 13-19 over the next two seasons.

If ever there is a need to strip away history and forget the names of these teams, it’s the AFC East. The table of basic prop bets is listed below.

AFC East O/U wins to win division to win Super Bowl (current)
New England Patriots -500 +650
New York Jets 6/1 65/1
Buffalo Bills 19/2 to 10/1 80/1
Miami Dolphins 5/1 200/1

Easy part first: The Miami Dolphins will be bad

NFLbets joins the consensus in acknowledging that the most likely way for the Dolphins, 7-9 at just 5.2 Pythagorean Expectancy wins in 2018, is down. This may just be part of the downward spiral that was last season in Miami, going from 3-0 SU to 4-4 to 6-6 to 7-9.

Last year’s Dolphins couldn’t wait to flee the burning tank, with 17 of 18 potential free agents opting not to re-sign deals; gone are name players (e.g. Danny Amendola, the apparently immortal Frank Gore) , team leaders (Cameron Wake) and major contributors (Ja'Wuan James). Gone is Ryan Tennehill (42-46 in six seasons as a Miami starter), in are Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Poor Rosen is out of the Arizona pan and into the Miami fire, while Fitzpatrick has been inexplicably surviving in the NFL for years on brains and borrowed time – and both of last year’s OTs left in free agency.

So yes, the Dolphins will be bad, but four wins or fewer bad? Sue, go ahead and take the Dolphins to go under 4½ wins, particularly since we like the chances of…

The New York Jets: Surely good enough for a winning record

NFLbets admits it: We’re bullish on the Jets this season; we even marked ‘em down for a Super Bowl longshot. Despite Gase and loads of unknowns, chiefly that of Sam Darnold making The Leap, which may even be limited as the dude continues to resemble Vinny “Vinterception” Testaverde 2.0. Questions remain about the viability of LeVeon Bell (though we’d strongly hedge with the philosophy that Bell’ll rip shit up for the Jets in 2019) and the effect of losing Avery Williamson from last year’s 29th-“best” defense. Geez, these guys went 4-12 in ’18.

But the truth is this roster has a serious amount of talent. In addition, the Jets was one of five teams which managed to land the league’s second-easiest schedule – and that includes two games against the Dolphins at 7-9. Take the New York Jets to go over 7½ wins.

The Buffalo Bills: Nope, sorrry, can’t do it.

Nah, no way. Can’t bet on Buffalo, over or under. We know McDermott ain’t great and could be the first head coach fired. Or they could back into the playoffs at 8-8 again. NFLbets would just rather not pay attention to the Bills in 2018.

And the elephant in the room

New England Patriots – defending champions. Again. Belichick and Brady ready for another run. Again. With an reassembled receiving corps (including even the re-resurrected Josh Gordon) and a revamped defense led by a big-name free-agent acquisition (in this case, Michael Bennett). Again.

On top of this, reports from Patriots land on draft picks RB N’Keal Harry and DE Chase Winovich are little short of gushingly delirious. Insane.

So what’s the most likely scenario for this edition of the New England Patriots? The obvious choice is that they’ll top that 11½-win mark, Brady will experience a Brees-like slowdown in the second half of the season, but they’ll regardlessly have more than enough talent, experience and guile to advance through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl, where they’ll probably squeak by the, likesay, Los Angeles Rams.

Again.

On the other hand, we’re not going to see the ending of Brady’s glory days coming. And this particular edition of the Patriots, even with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, could easily have enough to still have a winning season without Touchdown Tom altogether – but NFLbets believes that the belief in Brady as a transcendent football leader could well be enough to sink the team after a Brady injury.

In the latter scenario, too many unquantifiables are involved for the proper NFL bettor to take a chance, while with the former, well, life just doesn’t have guarantees. Even for the New England Patriots. We’re staying away from all bets regarding the Patriots and, as the man says, take these games one at a time.

Play AFC East proposition bets and enjoy week to week NFL betting at an NFLbets-partnered sportsbook –


AFC South over/under win totals and prop bets

Thursday, 29 August 2019 18:07 EST

Well, that didn’t exactly help NFLbets get off to a great start to the 2019 NFL season – maybe three days after we stated we’d be covering the Indianapolis Colts as a longshot to win Super Bowl LIV and/or at least the AFC, Andrew Luck had to go and consider the state of his personal health. One surprise retirement later, the Colts offense has gone from a top-10 QB at the controls to a triad of whodats.

Said no-namers include prospective starter Jacoby Brissett, 5-12 SU lifetime and taker of an NFL-“leading” 52 sacks in 2017; Phillip Walker, a 5’10” dude who’s been on the Indianapolis practice roster for nearly 2½ years; and Chad Kelly, who has taken exactly one snap in the NFL – a kneeldown for the Broncos last season.

Sure, NFLbets has heard of Kurt Warner and the 1999 St. Louis Rams – but we also recall the case of Matt Cassel and the 2008 New England Patriots. And let’s just say the 2019 Colts were never going to be the ’99 Rams and aren’t exactly the defending AFC champions coming off an 18-1 year. There’s a reason the over/under on Colts wins went from 10½ to 6½ in minutes, leaving the table for the NFC South looking thusly:

AFC South O/U wins to win division to win Super Bowl (current)
Houston Texans +110 18/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 8 5/2 25/1
Tennessee Titans 8 7/2 50/1
Indianapolis Colts 6½-7½ 5/1 50/1

Again is NFLbets reminded that essentially we ended up getting 18/1 odds on a 50/1 longshot in covering the Colts to win Super Bowl LIV. And here’s actual footage of Os Davis contemplating his sure-t0-lose ticket after Luck’s retirement.

But hey, let’s be optimistic and believe moneys may be made here.

Houston Texans: Once again we’re on the bandwagon
Another year, another too-low line on over/under wins for the Texans. And once again, NFLbets is on a surprisingly spacious bandwagon going into a season; for 2018, we covered the Texans to win the AFC South (at +100 payout) as well as over 8½ (!) wins.

NFLbets thought those were no-brainers then, leaving us to wonder what has changed for 2019, and where to seek this evidence is obvious: The offensive line remains a serious woe for the Texans – not to mention DeShaun Watson. Watson somehow played every snap as quarterback for Houston in ’18 despite taking 62 sacks for a sack-ratio of an absolutely insane 10.9%. Yet somehow, Watson still managed a 68.3% completion rate to go with 26 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions, while Demaryius Thomas exited the scene early and DeAndre Hopkins caught exactly one-third of all passes for the season.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but the 2019 Houston Texans boasted a statistically top-10 rushing offense, a defense that was top-5 against scoring and rushing, and the top special-teams units in the league. In normal circumstances, this is damn near a complete résumé for a conference champion if not a serious Super Bowl contender…

But that line ranked 27th overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric and – total shocker here – dead last in pass protection.

So have things improved for 2019? Wellllllllllllllll…

Lamar Miller has already been lost for the season and will be replaced by Cleveland Browns tradeaway Duke Johnson. And any improvement on the offense is likely to depend on two guys who spent the entirety of 2018 on IR: WR Will Fuller and LT Matt Kalil, the latter of whom was picked up by Houston after getting waived by the Carolina Panthers. As of today (Wednesday, August 28), the rumor mill has the Texans shipping JaDeveon Clowney to Miami, only the Dolphins won’t give up starting LT Laremy Tunsil. Why angle for another LT when you’ve already signed a veteran player? That question kinda answers itself.

And speaking of losing Clowney, a few holes are appearing in that badass Texans D of 2018: FS Tyrann Mathieu and CB Kareem Jackson were wooed away on a combined $75 million worth of contracts. The Houston front office is clearly hoping the relative bargains in FS Tashaun Gipson ($22.5 mil for 3 yards) and CB Bradley Roby (1 year at $10 mil) can fill these gaps, but are probably secretly considering these moves a bit of a comedown.

At this point, 11 wins seems something of a stretch for the Texans, but a fortuitous draw of AFC West and NFC South teams means a good six wins to pencil in for Houston already: vs Carolina, vs Atlanta, vs Oakland, vs Denver and at Tampa Bay. Going just 3-3 against the division – in 2018, they were 4-2 against the AFC South but this year play the Jaguars in London; usually a tough play for the visitors – gets Houston to nine wins and shazam, there’s your over. So yeah, NFLbets says take the Texans over 8½ wins in 2019.

Jaguars, Titans, Colts: Too many quarterback questions for confident betting
With the lines set at My Bookie sportsbook the way they are above, the oddsmakers are essentially reckoning all four AFC South teams to be .500 clubs. On that basis, it’s verrrrrrrrrry tempting to cover the under for Jacksonville, Tennessee and Indianapolis win totals (especially if you can get under 7½ on the Colts). To NFLbets, that seems like a decent enough bet, as two of these three feel incredibly likely to go under 8-8 in the AFC’s weakest division.

Thanks to Luck’s decision, betting on the Colts for a few weeks must be considered an absolute no-no. Before doing anything other than betting under 7½ wins, get some data, i.e. watch games, on these guys and their Luck-less offense.

As for the Jaguars, well, remember when they were went 10-6, set a franchise record for points in a season (417, or 26.1 per game) and played the Patriots in the AFC championship game? That was two seasons ago and apparently a division-winner’s schedule was enough to bring the Jags back down to Earth for 2018, bringing them back to their losing ways.

This offseason, Jacksonville management went and picked up savior-for-hire Nick Foles. Now maybe Foles will work his magic in Florida/the UK, but will adding RB Alfred Blue and WR Chris Conley really be enough to juice up an offense that managed just 22 offensive TDs all last year? They’ll be replacing WR Donte Moncrief, RB T.J. Yeldon and RB Carlos Hyde, incidentally, a trio “good” for a combined eight TDs in ’18.

Finally, the Tennessee Titans have been enigmatic, seemingly perpetually hanging near .500, sometimes making the playoffs at 8-8, sometimes not, never quite meeting expectations…

NFLbets believes no reason exists to believe in success for the Titans in 2019 beyond that even-steven mark once again – no dummies, the bookmakers setting this over/under win line at exactly 8. Joining an already top-10 defense is DE Cameron Wake, who might have something in the tank left at 37 and coming off his statistically worst season since his rookie year; speaking (writing?) of rookies, fourth-round pick S/CB Amani Hooker has been getting good buzz, but it’s damn difficult to quantify rookies for betting’s sake.

OG Roger Saffold and WR Adam Humphries also cashed in with the Titans during free agency for probably well above their worth – come on, $11 million this year for Saffold on the basis of essentially one above-average season? – but NFLbets sure isn’t sure these adds are enough to help a seriously low-watt offense that placed bottom-5 in passing TDs and yards while finishing no. 22 overall in offensive scoring. If any AFC South team’s stats alone lead us to believe a sub-.500 record is in store, it’s the Titans’.

In the final analysis, then, we’re running with our original contention: Take the under on wins props for the Jaguars, Colts and Titans – we’re telling ya, two of three’ll come in.


NFLbets tanks – sorry, *thanks* – Jon Gruden after NFL Draft round one

Friday, 26 April 2019 14:04 EST

NFLbets thanks Jon Gruden for embracing the tanking, firing his scouting staff before Draft Day, going completely off the grid for the no. 4 overall pick, and allowing us to cash in on our “Josh Allen Draft Position” prop.

To briefly recap – so as to unabashedly glory in winning one of the few gimmes the sportsbooks had posted yesterday – sanity prevailed for the earliest picks: The Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers chose Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa, respectively, and while the New York Jets did not go with their expected choice of Ed Oliver, instead went with Quinnen Williams, a 21-year-old who NFLbets thinks will be one bad dude in the big league.

And then the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders were on the clock. Chucky predictably/unpredictably got wacky at no. 4, going with Clem Ferrell, who’d been projected as a late first-rounder.

So this is what Gruden meant when he warned his guy not to screw it up. The Raiders easily could’ve waited on Ferrell until pick no. 24, depending on how the Carolina Panthers brain trust really felt about Brian Burns – but we’re not complaining; we won!

Onto pick no. 24, received from the Chicago Bears in the Khalil Mack trade, did the Raiders fumble (so to speak), taking Josh Jacobs. Raider Nation is trying mightily to sell themselves on the former ‘Bama back as a substitute for the retired Marshawn Lynch – at 5’10” and 220 pounds, Jacobs gives up an inch to Lynch, but outweighs him by five pounds.

Fair enough, except Lynch was never a huge part of the Raiders’ offense. In his last two seasons, Lynch played in 21 games, earning 1,277 yards and 10 TDs on 297 carries. His average line during a career peak with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011-14: 1,364 yards and 12 TDS on 295 carries. Jacobs can probably duplicate the stats of half a halfback, but was that honestly worth a first-round pick? Those outside Raider fandom ain’t necessarily buying it.

Pick no. 28, that acquired from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for Amari Cooper, soon rolled around and Chucky reached yet one more time, taking Jonathan Abram of Mississippi State. Now Abram was first-team All-SEC (media version), but after the announcement was made, Raider Nation simultaneously exhaled more who’s than a parliament of owls at feeding time.

And if you think the new voice of the Former Raider Fan had turned off the telecast of the draft in disgust after relinquishing his fandom, guess again. This guy definitely had some opinions on Raider pick #3.

Those believing that the signing of Antonio Brown was a signal that Chucky & Co. wouldn’t be tanking in 2019 are surely not thinking so today. Gruden’s performance has definitely got to be making fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and (if any) the Los Angeles Chargers extremely confident going into round 2 – not to mention next season. If you’re considering covering the Chiefs or Chargers in the “To Win Super Bowl LIV” prop, you might want to get on that sooner rather than later because their odds will only be getting shorter after this weekend.


When betting the 2019 NFL Draft, we’re forced to ask, “What Will Gruden Do?”

Thursday, 25 April 2019 13:49 EST

NFL draft bettingAll righty, here’s the NFL bettor’s first legitimate chance to wager on something other than NFL team futures: 2019 NFL Draft props! NFLbets’ El Jefe and lead writer/editor Os Davis will definitely be watching this draft with regard to a handful of teams of decent-to-good value in the “To Win Super Bowl LIV” proposition bet.

We’ll be readjusting our potential wagers on those teams (spoilers: the list includes the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs) after the draft is in the books, and today we look at some NFL props on offer at online sportsbooks.

Sadly, quite a few of these props are highly unattractive, and all the good opportunities appear to involve the Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders with the crazed Jon Gruden in the captain’s chair. After trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, then signing Antonio Brown, NFLbets won’t say Chucky’s drunk with power, but he’s certainly got a good buzz going into this draft…

To see how Gruden is fated to determine much cashflow to and fro the sportsbooks on Thursday night, let’s first consider the tables on props involving picks 1 and 2 overall.

Chucky Gruden leads RaidersPlayer to be taken first overall
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), 2/7
Nick Bosa (Ohio State), 2/1
Quinnen Williams (Alabama), 5/1
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), 14/1
Josh Allen (Kentucky), 25/1

Player to be taken second overall
Nick Bosa (Ohio State), 2/5
Quinnen Williams (Alabama), 3/1
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), 4/1
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), 12/1
Josh Allen (Kentucky), 12/1

Team to draft Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals, 4/11
Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, 9/4
New York Giants, 7/1
Miami Dolphins, 8/1
Washington, 10/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 28/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 35/1

In any other season, Nick Bosa would certainly be a legitimate bet to go no. 1 overall; however, Kyler Murray appears locked into that top spot. The Cardinals front office could not even justify going with Bosa on the basis of attempting to screw the San Francisco 49ers out of their choice at no. 2, as word has it that the Niners would certainly be good with landing Quinnen Williams in that spot.

Thus do the selections of Murray and Bosa at nos. 1 and 2 appear fairly well dead certain; if you can get a sportsbook to do so, a parlay at 2/7 and 2/5, respectively, would fetch odds of just 4/5 (-125). Hardly worth the risk.

As for the “Team to draft Kyler Murray” prop, Washington is getting outstanding odds. Apparently, free-spending, incompetent asshat team owner Daniel Snyder his (literally) bad self we’ll be doing the drafting for Washington. While reports have Snyder trading up from the no. 15 spot solely in order to grab his coveted Dwayne Haskins, who would be surprised if the chump didn’t overpay to land Murray?

(Also a good bet: In the “Team to Draft Dwayne Haskins” prop, Washington’s getting 5/2 (+250) odds while the Giants are at 11/5 (+220); here’s to thinking that Snyder will be the more desperate of the two drafters here.)

The New York Giants are tempting in this prop at 7/1. Not only do they seem likely to land the Hard Knocks gig, but with Murray, the Giants would be in the very desirable scenario of outgoing veteran/incoming rookie stud as a 1-2 QB punch that worked for Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and (slightly unorthodoxly) Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s just that … what can the Giants offer the Cards beyond the no. 6 overall pick, at which they could easily land Josh Allen (Duke)?

Then there are the Raiders. Jon Gruden has apparently dismissed his draft team (damn, that’s gonna be one empty war room), so we’ll have to assuming Chucky’s choosing. And we know he loves quarterbacks – though Derek Carr not so much. Now maybe the Cardinals haven’t traded away that no. 1 so as to get the biggest possible haul for the privilege of drafting Kyler, but who believes this organization is smart enough not to draft QBs in back-to-back first rounds? There’s a reason the odds on the Cardinals in this prop at 4/11, after all…

Other NFL Draft props of note
Few other interesting opportunities exist among the NFL props, most of which have to do with draft order of players who are pretty much known to be going in the top 10: Ed Oliver, Nick Bosa, etc. In fact, the one eye-catching prop involves, again, trying to figure out what Chucky’s gonna do.

In the “Josh Allen draft position” prop, the over/under is 4½, essentially making this a “Will the Raiders draft Josh Allen?” Because here’s the thing: We know how San Francisco’s going at no. 2. At no. 3, the Jets are said to be looking at Ed Oliver or trading down, though not to far as to avoid grabbing a top-quality defensive player. So let’s say the Jets don’t risk it, stand pat at no. 3, and take Oliver or even Quinnen Williams. How could Gruden pass on whichever defensive player of the two is left? (Concomitantly, could Williams really drop to no. 5 or 6?) Because he’s Jon Gruden.

A salient point to be fair, but NFLbets will guess that not even Chucky will violate the go-to method when drafting: Take the best player available. And that player in this scenario is Quinnen Williams. Take the over-4½ in the Josh Allen Draft Position prop at 7/5 (+140).


Browns land Odell Beckham Jr.; let's not get nuts betting them to win Super Bowl LIV just yet

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 12:47 EST

On February 10, the odds on the Cleveland Browns in the proposition bet “To Win Super Bowl LIV” were at 20/1. Two days later, the team more-than-somewhat controversially signed disgraced and waived RB Kareem Hunt; this budged the lines on the Browns little. But ink Odell Beckham Jr., one of the league’s most explosive, dynamic and beloved wide receivers? That’s shorten those odds.

Within an hour of the Cleveland-New York Giants trade announcement, the Browns’ odds to win the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship were experiencing more shrinkage than George Costanza in the pool, dropping to 14/1 in a hurry. As of this writing approximately 16 hours after the news broke, the odds on Cleveland have stabilized there but have dropped to an incredible 7/1 in the “To Win Conference” prop.

But as awesome as OBJ is, does his mere addition to a team with a looooooooooooooooooong history of mediocrity automatically better the Browns’ chances by 33%? Are the Browns really getting the *third-shortest odds* to win the AFC after the Kansas City Chiefs (now at 10/3, down from 3/1) and *freaking NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS?!?!??!???!?*

Welllllll, yes, actually. Why not? Even without Hunt – and, if this splashy trade is factored into the NFL’s consideration to return the halfback to active, Hunt and Cleveland will be united later, if ever, rather than sooner – the Browns have one serious-looking offense, with QB Baker Mayfield, RB Nick Chubb, WR Jarvis Landry and TE David Njoku awaiting OBJ’s plugging-in. The offensive line is middling at bets, but free agency and the draft have yet to go down; plenty of time to improve this area.

Despite the departure of Jabril Peppers in the OBJ trade, teh Browns defense should be just as good as last season’s top-10 passing D with the addition of Pro Bowl LB Olivier Vernon joining the likes of CB Denzel Ward, LB Jamie Collins and DE Myles Garrett (who looks scarier every game, it seems).

33 days ago, NFLbets noted: “The 2019 Cleveland Browns going over on wins? NFLbets’ll make that wager. To win the AFC North? Quite probably. To win the AFC? You miiiiiiiiight convince us. But to take the Lombardi Trophy? Come on now.

Today, we’ll update this to state that Cleveland should be a 10- or even 11-win team, so bet the over/under wins accordingly. We’ll also cover the Browns to win the AFC North, as we honestly believe that they’ll go a solid 5-1 against the North’s teams in rebuild and/or decline and should be getting three wins against the AFC East. By dint of their third-place finish in 2018, the Browns get The Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, this far out both looking like wins.

As for those odds to win the AFC, 7/1 may be too short. The NFL may be in a period of revolution, with younger talent (and teams) taking over for the old guard, but it’s tough to depend on a team like Cleveland with so much youth at key positons plus two mercurial WRs – if anything, we’re even more bearish on the Browns in the “To Win Conference” and “To Win Super Bowl LIV” post-Beckham trade. We’d stay away from these two props.

Now, covering the Browns in a “To Win Super Bowl LV” proposition bet? *That* would be worth serious consideration.


Odds on fictional prop “To Appear As Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”

Friday, 15 February 2019 16:32 EST

Let’s face it: Hard Knocks is just not good tv. Even when at its best, namely the coverage of last season’s Cleveland Browns, HBO’s longest-running series (!) is little better than a train wreck watchable only if one completely gives in to one’s worst rubbernecking tendencies.

As NFLbets pointed out when reviewing an early episode of the Browns’ C-level Shakespearean shenanigans, Hard Knocks is yet another series which proves that “reality TV” is an oxymoron. What little football we are actually shown reveals next to nothing about the overall shape of the team going into the following season, but rather provides a shallow deep dive into the chosen personalities of that year’s series, quite a few who turn out to be scrubs anyway.

For NFL bettors, the most crucial bit of knowledge to be gleaned from Hard Knocks is the production’s initial decision, i.e. which team features on the show. Whereas franchises had some element of choice in the decision to allow HBO crews serious access to certain aspects of training camp when the show returned in 2007, this right was taken away for the 2012 season. Since then, the league orders a team to do Hard Knocks based on three criteria:

• A losing record the previous season;

• no turn as featured team on Hard Knocks in the previous 10 seasons; and

• a head coach in his second year or beyond with the club.

Thanks to the introduction of this criteria, betting against the Hard Knocks team has been easy and is only getting easier. The following are the featured teams in the series along with each team’s record for the given season.

2007 Kansas City Chiefs: 4-12.
2008 Dallas Cowboys: 9-7.
2009 Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6, bounced in the wild card game by the New York Jets.
2010 New York Jets: 11-5, lost in conference championship.
2012 Miami Dolphins: 7-9.
2013 Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5, beaten soundly at home in wild card game.
2014 Atlanta Falcons: 6-10.
2015 Houston Texans: 9-7, crushed 30-0 at home in wild card game.
2016 Los Angeles Rams: 4-12.
2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11.
2018 Cleveland Browns: 7-8-1.

So there you have it: A composite record of 83-92-1 since the relaunch and 49-62-1 in the past seven seasons, representing average regular-season records of 7-8-1 and 7-9, respectively. Notable, too, is that the only Hard Knocks team ever to win a playoff game were the fluky-ass 2010 New York Jets, and they did so twice.

The advice to the NFL bettor is clear, then: Betting against the Hard Knocks team – certain to be overhyped and over-backed at sportsbooks in over/under win total props, as with each of the last three featured squads – should at least break even, and if they sneak into the playoffs, pile up the Moneys against them.

Sadly, no sportsbook offers the prop “To Appear As the Featured Team on the 2019 Season of HBO Hard Knocks”, so NFLbets just made some odds up. Collect ’em, trade ’em, bet ’em with your friends!

New York Giants +120. Eli Manning, who clearly needs more tv exposure, leads the storylines here as he presumably heads into the sunset and/or faces a challenge for the starting job from a high draft pick QB. Throw in Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley, some maniacal pass-catching genius named Odell Beckham Jr. for star power and North America’s biggest sports market and this sounds like a winner to us.

Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +180. In any other year, this would be a no-brainer, with Jon Gruden the head inmate of the asylum – an asylum with a 10-year-old playbook, no less – in the Hue Jackson mold. However, two factors weigh against the Raiders: Gruden ain’t getting fired even if his team goes 0-16 , so there’s always 2020, the team’s inaugural season in Las Vegas; and secondly, Mark Davis et al may not even know where the team’s training camp will be by the team HBO production crew needs to start location planning.

San Francisco 49ers: 5/1. So you’ve got Jimmy Garrapolo trying to live up to his nascent superduperstardom and quite possibly of a prima donna wide receiver, gold to Hard Knocks, on the team in Antonio Brown, but … not a lot more other than a desire to fan faltering fandom in Santa Clara a bit. Any chance of, likesay, reclaiming Colin Kaepernick…?

Detroit Lions: 12/1. As much as we would love to see Matt Patricia instilling Belichick-level loathing in his players while receiving absolutely zero Belichick-level respect, the sad truth is that the Lions for some reason don’t even have the lovable-loser appeal of the Browns. Any one of the above-listed teams will be chosen before Detroit, we’re certain. In fact, the only worse choice (by far) would be…

Washington:100/1. Let’s see here … progressives are taking over Washington, Millennials are a growing faction of NFL fandom (not to mention the HBO audience) and, o yeah, *IT’S THE F*#@*^&ING 21ST CENTURY*. So HBO execs are going to greenlight a series they’ll have to subtitle with a racial slur? Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.


Hot(tish) takes on early Super Bowl LIV odds and long(ish) shots worth a few Moneys

Sunday, 10 February 2019 16:56 EST

Though we have to wait until at least the summer to plunk down any Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) on Super Bowl LIV, smart NFL bettors will invest in a few teams whose odds will only get longer. We say don’t blow the bankroll, but a few of these lines are definitely worthy of consideration.

Here are NFLbets’ kneejerk reactions to the earliest lines on the prop “To Win Super Bowl LIV” as released by the standard-setting Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Kansas City Chiefs, 6/1. Nope, not while Andy Reid is head coach. NFLbets will take the over on Chiefs wins up to 13 without question, we might even back them in the AFC Championship Game, but Super Bowl champions? Nah.

Los Angeles Rams, 8/1. With the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers both certain to be better, quite possibly playoff contenders, the Rams' road to the next Super Bowl will be well rockier than was the last. This does not feel like a repeat performance year; then again, if they manage to bring Le’Veon Bell aboard…

New Orleans Saints, 8/1
New England Patriots, 8/1
. Sure, the Saints and Patriots could win their respective divisions with a video clip of Joe Namath's appearance on the Brady Bunch at quarterback, but We'll take Father Time -0.5 years against either of these teams' quarterback in 2019. Yes, even Brady.

Pittsburgh Steelers, 14/1. That thing about Father Time? We'll double down against Roethlisberger.

Los Angeles Chargers, 14/1
Chicago Bears, 14/1
. Now these are some attractive options, particularly at the odds, though at this far-off point shaky propositions indeed. The Chargers' main hurdle will be the conspiracy against keeping a team with no real home out of the Super Bowl. (Witness that massive Rams fan base at Super Bowl LIII.) The Bears at 14/1 seems like a no-brainer, which is suspicious in and of itself.

Minnesota Vikings, 16/1
Dallas Cowboys, 16/1
. NFLbets’ll see if we’re feeling either of these teams after the draft and free agency signings, but with both bringing half-offenses as currently constructed, it’s hard to imagine right now.

Green Bay Packers, 16/1. This is certainly the most nonsensical line on this board.

Philadelphia Eagles, 20/1
Indianapolis Colts, 20/1
. Also attractive options at the price. How the unproven Cowboys are getting shorter odds than a team just two years removed from a Super Bowl win with essentially the same team and the power to trade Nick Foles. Meanwhile, the Colts turn in one crummy playoff performance and game’s over? Come on. Andrew Luck, his offensive line and Indy looked sharp through two-thirds of 2018; NFLbets is certainly looking for this team to go deep into the playoffs.

Houston Texans, 20/1. NFLbets knows we’ve been beating the drum for the Texans since DeShaun Watson was drafted, but if this time can show the slightest improvement to its OL and even possibly land Bell, we’d be crazy not to throw a few Moneys (NFLbets’ preferred form of currency) at ’em.

Cleveland Browns, 20/1. The 2019 Cleveland Browns going over on wins? NFLbets’ll make that wager. To win the AFC North? Quite probably. To win the AFC? You miiiiiiiiight convince us. But to take the Lombardi Trophy? Come on now.

Baltimore Ravens, 20/1. The fact that the always overrated Ravens are getting the same odds to win Super Bowl LIV as the Cleveland Freakin’ Browns should tell you something about the viability of this bet.

Seattle Seahawks, 30/1. Quite the value for the money, NFLbets would not be one bit surprised if the 2019 Seattle Seahawks became the first no. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl since the Packers back in XLV.

Atlanta Falcons, 40/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 40/1
New York Giants, 40/1
San Francisco 49ers, 50/1
. Of these, the only defensible longshot bet at this point would be on the 49ers, but that’s taking quite a lot for granted.

NFLbets supposes that if the Denver Broncos found, likesay, a decent quarterback who didn’t already have 75, 000 miles on him, they might be considered a contender. But what are the odds of that happening? 60/1, apparently.

Carolina Panthers, 60/1
Tennessee Titans, 60/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 80/1
New York Jets, 80/1
Washington, 100/1
Detroit Lions, 100/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 100/1
Oakland/San Francisco/London/Reno/Las Vegas Raiders, 100/1
Arizona Cardinals, 100/1
. Wow, talk about your dregs of the league. The thought of any of these 100/1 teams even making the playoffs, especially Jon Gruden’s Raiders, puts the “laughing” into “laughingstock.”

Buffalo Bills, 100/1
Miami Dolphins, 300/1
. And this, folks, is two-thirds of a significant factor in the Patriots’ dominance. Thanks to perpetual beatdogs like these and the New York Jets, Bill Belichick gets to treat a good half of his schedule every regular season as practice sessions. Nice built-in advantage there. Figure on more of the same in 2019-20, and, um, what are the odds on New England again…?


AFC South proposition bets

Wednesday, 05 September 2018 13:23 EST

This marks the last of eight articles profiling each NFL division in terms of over/under wins lines and odds on winning the division. For each of the previous articles, please click on one of the links below.

AFC EastAFC SouthAFC NorthAFC West
NFC NorthNFC EastNFC SouthNFC West

•••••

Maybe NFLbets stalled on publishing this one because we wearing seeking clarity on any one of the four teams of the AFC South before attempting to write up the “Over/Under Wins” and “To Win Division” NFL futures proposition bets.

But … nope. Each of the AFC South quartet looks at best flawed and at worst (for the NFL bettor) a complete unknown: The Jacksonville Jaguars lack a quarterback, the Houston Texans and offensive line. The Tennessee Titans will likely have the youngest roster in the league come Opening Day plus a new young head coach and offensive coordinator. The Indianapolis Colts ostensibly have Andrew Luck, but we’ve barely seen him since he took over the Colts starting QB spot from Johnny Unitas.

AFC South props, futuresClear as Mississippi mud, eh? NFLbets reckons we’re gonna have to go “first thought, best thought” on a much of this division, though surely at least one of these teams will hit some roadblocks along the way. The table on these prop bets looks like so.

AFC South O/U wins to win div. (oper) to win div. (current)
Jacksonville Jaguars 9 +180 +185
Houston Texans +180 +180
Tennessee Titans 8 +400 +350
Indianapolis Colts +400 +550

Interesting to see that the NFL’s betting masses aren’t necessarily buying the sportsbooks’ BS on this one. Note the wide variance – despite a relative paucity of news – between the shifts in the “To Win Division” payouts on the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. Beginning the season with the same odds, the Titans have excited (well, a little bit anyway) NFL bettors with the prospect of what Mike Vrabel might do in his first-ever head coaching job with his new team. Meanwhile, clearly would-be wagerers reckon that even if Andrew Luck is instantly back at franchise QB levels, nothing is enough to help a team that was bottom-3 in points scored, points allowed, yardage gained and yardage allowed.

So putting the Colts’ win total over/under at 6½ is sheer evil – also not bettable unless your particular bookie lets you watch Luck’s opening game performance with a solemn promise not to move the line. In a seemingly balanced AFC South division, 7-9 is easily imaginable.

As for the Titans, the sportsbooks are starting these guys at 8. As a competitor in this division, I’d be quite concerned with the amount of knowledge of the competition Vrabel will bring, having served as defensive line and later defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans over three seasons. Armed with a pretty easy schedule outside of home games against the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, Vrabel could simply crank it up against the South, go 6-0 against the division and bag an inside track to the AFC South title. NFLbets would say take the Titans to win over 8 games and even consider betting the Titans to take the AFC South at +350 – or anything comparable.

•••••

And now we come to hard part. What to do about the league’s top defense combined with a low-watt offense “powered” by a worst-5 NFL QB? What to do about a similarly badass D counterbalanced with the most exciting QB to hit the league since Cam Newton protected by tissue paper?

Look, NFLbets loves the 2018 Houston Texans – mostly. Their 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl have been calling our credit cards direct for months. But that line…

Pro Football Focus captured the imaginations of talking heads and the internets alike by proclaiming the Texans to have the worst OL in football at the start of training camp. Not too surprising, considering that the Texans ranked 20th in run protection and a dismal 30th in pass protection by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. (By comparison, the statistically as brutal Colts OL was 18th and 32nd, respectively, in these categories.)

Worse yet, the single significant addition the Texas brain trust added to the roster this past offseason, third-round draft pick Martinas Rankin, a 2017 All-SEC lineman from Mississippi State, was listed as PUP from Draft Day through to August 20. We’ll have to figure that the Texans’ line can come together around Rankin by season’s end in order for this bet to pay out, but NFLbets is sticking with our first thought and wishing on DeShaun Watson’s potential utter dominance: Take the Houston Texans to win over 8½ games and take Houston to win the AFC South at anything over +100 as well.

•••••

When betting, one cannot figure for luck but, wow, did the Jaguars get the benefit of the karma in 2017. The Pythagorean Expectation (PE) stat demonstrates clearly how this team flew in the face of logic, ultimately producing the aesthetic monstrosity of a Blake Bortles-led offense in the AFC Championship Game. The Jags registered a whopping +3.03 in PE during the *16-game* regular season, nearly a full half-game better than the also inordinately lucky Los Angeles Chargers. With merely the regular bad breaks, the Jags are transformed from their 10-6 to 8-8 and Bortles is backing up Tannehill in Miami right now.

Yes, this defense is scary and yeah, defense wins championships yadda yadda yadda. Yet with the Tians and Texans both looking to improve in real terms on the 2017 outcomes, Jacksonville and their division-winning schedule feels like just around a .500 team to us. NFLbets says take the Jaguars to win under 9½ games.

NFLbets’ best bets for AFC South betting:
•  Tennessee Titans over 8 wins
; and
•  Houston Texans over 8½ wins.

NFLbets’ recommendations for AFC South betting:
•  Jacksonville Jaguars to win under 9 games
; and
•  the Texans and the Titans to win the division -- hedge accordingly.


We Cannot Sufficiently Explain How Much Fun Betting on Mitch Trubisky, Eli Manning to Throw Interceptions Will Be

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 18:16 EST

NFLbets thanks the football gods for this gift, this amusing diversion against the thousands of more serious proposition bets we’re considering early on in the 2018 season. What gift is that? Why, this NFL Player Prop offering:

Mitchell Trubisky OR Eli Manning throws 20+ Interceptions: 15/8

Seriously? 15/8? That’s definitely doable as a nice little throwaway bet that just might come in. The bookmakers are no dummies, of course, so this is hardly as easy a win as it looks. But hot damn, is it gonna be fun to watch.

The case for Mitch Trubisky to throw 20 interceptions

With Trubisky, we’ve got very small sample sizes to deal with, but NFLbets’ll give it a shot. In 12 games last season, Trubisky in an average game went 18 for 28 for 183 yards -- and threw just 7 TDs against 7 picks. This works out to 9.4 interceptions over 16 games.

Double Mitch's decent 2.1% interception rate of 2018 and now you're just under 19 picks in a productive season. Alternatively, increase Trubisky’s attempts by 4.0 per game and his interception percentage by half to 3.2%; that starts him at 16.1 picks. Imagine one disastrous game and you’re there.

Definitely doable.

Tell you what, too: If I told a Chicago Bears fan a week ago that the team’d Trubisky would start all 16 games and throw 20 interceptions *but* one-man wrecking crew Kahlil Mack would be signed up for the next several years to play defense, they’d be ecstatic. Matt Nagy, let him throw, let him throw!

The case for Eli Manning to not throw 20 interceptions

Eli Manning has played every single game in the last 13 years (except one, in 2017) for the New York Giants. In those years, he has averaged 16.85 interceptions per season and has gone for 20 or more picks. Eli hasn’t pitched a 20-waffle since taking 27 in the nightmare season of ’13. (Poor Eli got sacked some 39 times that year as well.)

On top of this, Manning threw just 13 interceptions last year, his lowest total since 2008 and he’s expected to be throwing less often now that the Giants are armed with an actual halfback in Offensive Rookie Of The Year favorite Saquon Barkley.

But who cares? NFLbets says . We note here that the following videos amount to little more than propaganda to take this bet, so if you’re overly susceptible to not-so-subconscious suggestion, please visit another page.

(Man, does Eli Manning have his detractors on YouTube…)

Here’s a visual record of Eli Manning’s 12 interceptions thrown in 2017:

And here’s Eli tossing 17 in 2016:

Here’s his first pass of the 2013 season. If you don’t remember this beauty, you can probably guess how this one’ll go…

Here’s Eli’s 25 picks in 2010:

And just to really hammer home the final nail, here’s a compilation of every Eli pick-six from 2011 to ’17:

C’mon, admit it: You want some of this action…


AFC West proposition bets

Sunday, 02 September 2018 11:09 EST

Yes, NFLbets knows about the delay on these last two divisional proposition bet previews. However, Os Davis has ended his holdout, having been signed to a three-year multi-million money contract and thus avoiding having the franchise tag slapped on. “Who wants to play in the preseason?” Davis asked rhetorically. “It is kind of a bummer in one respect, since I had actually bet on my being traded to the Chicago Bears…”

AFC West bettingIn fact, now that the long wait is over on fellow holdout Khalil Mack plus certain other signals have been made by Jon Gruden and the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders brain trust, NFLbets can get to looking at the “Over/Under Wins” and “To Win Division” futures/props for the AFC West teams in 2018.

With the exception of the moribund Oakland Raiders, this could be fun – and with few exceptions, quite lucrative for the NFL bettor. Here’s the table:

AFC West O/U wins to win div. (oper) to win div. (current)
Los Angeles Chargers +175 +175
Kansas City Chiefs +325 +275
Oakland Raiders 8 +275 +275
Denver Broncos +300 +400

 

We’ll start with this: Take the Oakland Raiders to go under 8 wins. Period. Lock it in for at least three reasons:

• The trading of Mack, one of the NFL’s top two defensive players, to Chicago was not only a brutal move in terms of, likesay, talent, but helped bring morale of the veterans back down to 2010 levels as several wondering aloud publicly just WTF management was doing to the team’s well-liked franchise player.

• About the same time the Bears were informing Mr. Mack that he stood to make $141 million through 2023, the Raiders made another under-the-radar move in trading for quarterback A.J. McCarron. Sure, Derek Carr needs a competent backup (or even McCarron – o, burn!), but doesn’t this transaction reek of preparation to deal Carr and play the Wiley Veteran Who Gruden Respects?

• Stud WR Amari Cooper – really Carr/McCarron’s only weapon left – has been all praise for Gruden this offseason, but his contract comes up after the 2018 season, and the smart money says he’ll be looking to bag a $70-plus million deal. Will cash-strapped club owner Mark Davis make that investment after drawing under 10,000 to games this season?

• And then there’s that long contract given to Chucky – NFLbets doesn’t care if that’s a dated reference; Chucky Gruden f@#%$#ing ruled! As a media darling, Gruden makes possible the selling of any number of outrageous moves, including a now-traditional stripping of assets in preparation for franchise relocation.

All this spells out in great Las Vegas-esque flashing neon letters REBUILDING YEAR. Anyone remember the last couple seasons of the St. Louis Rams? That’s your 2018 (and probably ’19) Oakland Raiders.

•••••

Much hype this offseason has been sent the Kansas City Chiefs’ way, and why not? Based on Andy Reid alone, this team should easily top a laughably low 8½-win mark the sportsbooks have established. Reid may not know how to clock-manage worth a damn come playoff time, but here are his regular-season win totals since getting with the Chiefs: 11, 9, 11, 12, 10.

Quarterback Pat Mahomes is running up the kudos this preseason as well. In what should be a model for rookie quarterbacks (when the given team has the resources, that is) , Mahomes sat down nearly every game in 2017, only to earn the starting job pretty much immediately after the season concludes. Like DeShaun Watson, Mahomes can throw the ball a mile and has won over his offensive teammates.

Mahomes & Co. will have to run up the score in 2018, because the Kansas City defense will certainly need help. A bottom-10 passing defense in ’17 minus Marcus Peters? Yeesh. Tell you what: NFLbets will be taking the over in many a Kansas City Chiefs game this season…

What will slow down the Chiefs in terms of win is the insanely daunting-looking schedule with which they open: at Los Angeles Chargers, at Pittsburgh Steelers, vs San Francisco 49ers, at Denver Broncos, vs Jacksonville Jaguars, at New England Patriots. After this stretch, we can easily imagine the Chiefs taking eight of the last 10, so just a 1-5 record over this ridiculous first month and a half would be enough to put Kansas City over that 8½. We’ll say they can do so. Take the Kansas City Chiefs to go over 8½ wins. Take a flyer as well and take the Chiefs to win the AFC West at +275, which is way too high.

•••••

Just as the relatively short odds on the Raiders to post a winning record and win the AFC West reflect the massive interest in the team in Las Vegas, so too do the unwavering lines on these futures for the Los Angeles Chargers show the widespread apathy regarding this team.

But +175 or so to win the division? NFLbets doesn’t see it.

The Chargers start with no homefield advantage – other than the temperate clime of Southern California, we suppose – and could face two “home” crowds with more opposition fans when facing the 49ers and Raiders in weeks four and five. They also get a London game this season.

All young talent and Philip Rivers aside, the injuries and early issues have arisen right on cure during the preseason for the Chargers. At present, the checklist includes TE Hunter Henry and CB Jason Verrett out for the season; CB Casey Hayward, TCB revor Williams and WR Tyrell Williams all already questionable for the opener; DE Joey Bosa likely to start the season injured; and DT Corey Liuget suspended for the first four games.

Can this team win 10 games? Maybe. Can they win the division? Possibly. But NFLbets isn’t betting on either.

•••••

And then there are the Denver Broncos, armed with the NFL’s scariest pass-rushing duo in former NFL defensive MVP Von Miller and first-round draft pick wunderkind Bradley Chubb. One look at the schedule and this Denver D must already be salivating at the thought of getting at weak-ass offensive lines like those of the Raiders, Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals.

So defense alone should be enough to net the Broncos four or five wins; going over 7½ wins should be easy for Denver, right?

Wellllllllllllllllllllll … there is that offense. Certainly ever a source of frustration for Broncos GM John Elway has got to be his frustration with quarterbacks guru John Elway. Brock Osweiler was barely serviceable and scammed several mil out of the club. As a draft pick, Paxton Lynch was Paxton Whiff. Trevor Simian started 24 games despite a sub-60% completion percentage.

For 2018, it’s Case Keenum at the helm. Keenum looked great as a starter for the Minnesota Vikings in ’17, going 11-3 as a starter after starting his career with a 9-15 mark over four seasons. Last year, Keenum played behind an offensive line which ranked sixth-best in pass protection; the Broncos ranked 29th.

So yeah, NFLbets isn’t touching the Broncos in these props, but will be looking to bet a lot of unders against shaky OLs.

NFLbets’ best bets for AFC West betting:
•  Oakland Raiders under 8 wins
; and
•  Kansas City Chiefs over 8½ wins.

NFLbets’ recommendations for AFC West betting:
•  Kansas City Chiefs to win division
– at anything better than +110.