Preseason


Sim Chiefs, sim Packers avoid upsets, advance to Madden Madness Elite 8

Friday, 29 May 2020 12:29 EST

After the craziness in the previous day’s “Sweet 16” games in Bet Online’s Madden Madness sim tournament, normalcy prevailed in the bottom half of the bracket yesterday.

Highlight from Madden Madness sim tournamentIn the Sweet 16 round, the Kansas City Chiefs survived the Las Vegas Raiders, 38-35, after Chucky’s team went on a 21-0 run in the second to third quarters.

The Green Bay Packers really ran up the ol’ scoreboard on the Cleveland Browns by winning the baseball game, 13-6.

Philadelphia’s Madden players nicely simulated the real-life Eagles by taking the Buffalo Bills into overtime, only to blow their possession in overtime aaaaaaaaaand Bills victory, 23-20.

Finally, the South playoff between real-life rivals the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans also went into overtime, with the Titans D holding the Texans to a field goal in extra time and Tennessee advancing, 34-31.

Pointspread and over/under for the Eliter 8 games are as follows.

West: Los Angeles Rams +3½ at Kansas City Chiefs, over/under 50 points
North: Chicago Bears +3 at Green Bay Packers, over/under 43½ points
South: Carolina Panthers +3 at Tennessee Titans, over/under 43½ points
East: New York Jets +2½ at Buffalo Bills, over/under 42½ points

NFLbets could tell you that underdogs are 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight games or, better yet, that the over is 6-2 in that span. We might also point out that in the Elite 8 round of May29, all home teams were playoff teams in 2019 and none of the visitors are.

But, and we can’t emphasize this strongly enough, *this isn’t real football* and Madden has never been a reliable simulator in terms of reproducing real-life results. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – just be sure to adjust your bets accordingly. (There’s a reason why betting is limited to results based on the scores of the game only.)

In the spirit of fun then – and not betting very many moneys – we’d say to take the over in the Rams-Chiefs, Panthers-Titans and Jets-Bills. Why? The difficulty level for the CPU vs CPU game is set for both teams at All-Madden. We’re not sure why, but putting all players on this level has benefitted quarterbacks and edge rushers the most. Just look at some of the quarterbacks left in this competition: Mitch Trubisky, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold (who may be great someday but patently was not in 2019) … and Cam Newton is no longer hobbled or sightless.

Note, too, the low variance in pointspreads for this round. If you’re covering any underdog plus the points, you may as well take the moneyline, which pays off at much better odds. But again: wager the proverbial responsibly.

–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 future of football post-pandemic

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 17:20 EST

Strange times are these – particularly if you’re into sports on any level. Overnight an enterprise in which we’d typically invested a sizable fraction of our time and/or bankroll evaporated, leaving some to betting Madden sim games online and the seriously desperate to wager on marble racing. A revelation regarding sports may have occurred to some as well, i.e. maybe sports just aren’t that essential.

(Now don’t get NFLbets wrong here: Just because something is not essential does not mean that it’s useless; after all, the human spirit and aesthetic sense must also be nourished. The human species  would be a far sadder lot without folk song and literature and visual art, all as literally nonessential as NFL football.)

In researching for the Truly The GOATs sports history podcast, a few concepts became readily apparent to me:

•  Humans have played sports, or sports-like games, for thousands of years;

Seen any good Aztec ball games lately...?•  Complicated organized sports are created by cultures which can support them, i.e. citizens have enough leisure time and society can allow for time and/or specialization of players;

•   For much of the world, the golden age of sports is unquestionably the 20th century;

•   Not all cultures have organized sport; and

•   Teams, leagues and even entire sports die.

From a dispassionate historical perspective, then, the future of NFL football is short and bleak. Indeed, we may right now be seeing the final few seasons of the league – or we will someday. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic may simply be hastening the demise of a league and an entire sport which might otherwise have been dragged out for 20 years more.

Impossible, you say? Football is an indelible part of American culture? Too big to fail, you believe? Well, acceptance of cruel fate comes late, well later than the ennui-to-panic NFL fans, bettors and officials are feeling in month three of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warning signs already prevalent, obvious, ominous

More and more paleontologists are coming around to the idea that, before the planet-killing meteor struck planet Earth to wipe ’em out, most dinosaur species were already in precipitous decline: The extinction-level event merely completed with stark finality the process that had already begun. By analogy, we think of the NFL as the dinosaur, the Earth as the sport of football and the extinction-level event as … um, er, COVID-19 has clouded that particular bit of the metaphor.

Back to the present. Consider what NFL football looked like to the non-fan going into year 2020: Youth participation is down in schools in every state due to parental concerns about football’s long-term health effects. NCAA football is turning the corner on fairly distributing money to its players but far too slowly.

In the big league, meanwhile, it’s seemingly one scandal after another involving on-field cheating and doping, off-field crime and violence. Simultaneously, the American public has becoming evermore aware of the league’s (mostly) billionaire owners regularly fleecing the home city’s citizens to pay taxes to construct a shiny new privately-owned stadium – stadiums which host games which typically price out the average citizen.

The most recent example of this last phenomenon comes from good ol’ Los Angeles – you know, the city which had zero NFL teams for a generation and is reportedly now home to two…? The main selling point of Walmart baron/Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a $1 billion-plus pleasure palace/home venue for the Rams and Chargers was that he’d be paying out of his own sizable coffers. The project is currently nearing $4 billion over budget, has been delayed once again “thanks” to COVID-19, with the difference certainly to be made up by the city government, with taxes to repay the unexpected expense.

And don’t get NFLbets started on the whole anthem-kneeling thing.

You can also throw away Super Bowl viewership numbers, too. Firstly, evidence suggests that these numbers peaked in 2015; second, 7 of the 9 top-rated Super Bowls – and the entire top-5 – in terms of audience included Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Neither of these awe-inspiring charismatic dudes is likely to play in another.

Precedent for the NFL’s extinction

PSFLIn 1905, meetings were held between colleges with America’s leading football programs (essentially the Ivy League schools plus a handful of others) in consideration of the question of whether football should be made illegal. You read that right: These deans, proto-ADs and such were debating whether playing the game should become a crime. Truth be told, had Teddy Roosevelt’s own son not been injured and thus inspired the POTUS himself to call for rules reforms, the 19 killed on football fields in ’05 could well have been enough to kill football before the forward pass came to full fruition.

NFLbets has suggested that, as macabre as it sounds, one on-field death in an NFL game, with tis millions of viewers weekly, would essentially guarantee the loss of up to half the audience overnight. This isn’t the 1970s, when Formula 1 drivers were killed at a rate of more than 1 per season: Today’s public is well more likely to turn off, as fatalities are no longer a norm in football or any regularly televised sport.

Unlike all other major sports, which enjoy viewership and participation across large swathes of Earth, significant interest in gridiron football is limited to exactly two countries: America and Canada. This limited talent base plus the still-great interest in college football are the primary reasons why minor/rogue leagues have proven unsustainable, with the sole exception of the AFL. The AAFC, WFL, USFL, UFL, XFL, AAF and XFL 2.0 have all been crushed under the NFL steamroller.

The AFL was a beneficiary of right-place, right-time: When the rogue league was formed in 1960, the NFL included just 13 franchises, and just three – the Rams; the San Francisco 49ers, assimilated from the AAFC; and the just-born Dallas Cowboys – played home games west of St. Louis. At that time, the U.S. population was about 180 million, meaning the ratio of Americans to a single NFL team was 13.9 million to 1; the ratio in 2020 is down to 10.33 million to 1. The AFL was fortunate to have come along when the potential talent could be absorbed into a competitive pro-level team and when many big and/or burgeoning markets (e.g. Boston, Houston, Denver) were without a home team.

Well more concerning than even the ugly AAF trainwreck and the new XFL’s death by pandemic, however, is the impending doom facing the Canadian Football League. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie went before a Canadian House of Commons committee on May 7 to request bailout money for the league’s continued existence.

Acknowledging that “Our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season, and our most likely scenario is no season at all”, Ambrosie went on to admit the league was looking at $30 million in debt already and would need $120 million more to keep the league going in 2021 and beyond. Judging by Canadian media reportage, their federal government is none too keen on propping up a league which is weakest in the country’s three biggest markets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Now one may argue that the problems the CFL must deal with post-pandemic are unique to that league. Interest is low in Toronto and Montreal because of the “big league” sports already in town, and the CFL draws most of its revenue from gate receipts rather than TV. Ironically, improvements in television technology surely also factor into declining attendance, particularly in the colder months of October and November.

But the financial woes are not the point. The CFL has roots going back to the origins of the game itself: The CFL’s top prize, the Grey Cup, has been awarded to Canada’s champion football team since 1909, and the Toronto Argonauts have a history spanning back to 1873, a time when rugby and gridiron football were barely distinguishable and Canada itself was just four years old. Yet none of this matters, as this national institution could be wiped out forever by July, its league officials, franchise owners, coaches and players as helpless as were those of the near-stillborn AAF.

Borrowed time must be repaid

Borrowed time, the NFL is living onThe NFL has been living – thriving, really – on borrowed time since CTE’s effects and their relationship with football playing were exposed to the American public. In totem with the anthem-kneeling controversy, the socially conscious NFL fan must indulge in some serious doublethink to enjoy the sport at all in the 2010s. How popular would NFL football have been by 2020 if not for the all-time outlier Tom Brady and the concomitant über-success of his New England Patriots, a.k.a. the Dynasty You Love to Hate?

And then there’s that tv audience, which will almost inevitably shrink from 2019 norms and never truly return. Call it the Fitness Club Principle: You know how, if you go to the gym every day, the act becomes habit? Then you miss one day in the regular schedule and voila: The subsequent day, justification to skip again is a lot easier, and even easier the day after that and the day after that, etc. Soon you find you’re still paying gym membership, but you haven’t actually attended in a couple of months. Once one loses the rhythm of habit, it’s much harder to pick things back up.

NFLbets bets The Fitness Club Principle is coming to most professional sports in America, and the NFL could well suffer the greatest. At this point in the pro sports blackout, only the most rabid fans are truly still hurting and – pure speculation here – it’s just not an absolute certainty that football played in an empty stadium and stripped of much of its ritualistic pageantry won’t draw the expected viewership.

Our advice

Maybe the graveyard spiral of the CFL is getting to us, but such stark reality in the face is impossible to ignore. We’re playing the 20s pragmatically vis-à-vis football and thus we’re only counting on the NFL continuing for about five more years. For 2020, we’ll be attempting to learn how to adjust our traditional NFL betting ways for a new reality of fan-less stadia and diluted homefield advantage – and let’s just hope Super Bowl LV isn’t our last chance to dig on NFL football…

–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 twitch.tv/betonlinemadden.

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.

–written by Os Davis

 

 

 

 


Betting on next alleged crime committed by an NFL player

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 14:30 EST

The Longest YardThe coronavirus pandemic may be tectonically shifting timetables around professional sports, but at least one NFL neo-tradition is right on schedule. Perhaps brought on by bouts of stir-craziness brought on by stay-at-home advisories, busts have been plentiful this May, what should be the last full month off for players before training camps kick off.

Among the recent lowlights:

• Three days after a warrant was issued for DeAndre Baker (New York Giants) and Quentin Dunbar (Seattle Seahawks), both men turned themselves in to Miramar, Florida, police. Each is charged with four counts of armed robbery, and Baker has an additional four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm to face. However, attorneys for the players have stated that a number of affidavits clearing the two of any crimes have already been filed.

• A shooting incident shortly after midnight earned Cody Latimer (Washington) a laundry list of charges, including second-degree assault, illegal discharge of a firearm, prohibited use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and “menacing”. The Colorado incident was reportedly in relation to allegations of sexual assault on Latimer’s son by an unnamed party involved.

• Finally, Ed Oliver (Buffalo Bills) was pulled over outside of Houston, Texas, with an open container in hand and so was busted for DWI; a search of the car produced a handgun, thus winning Oliver an unlawful possession of firearm charge.

Think that’s enough trouble for the NFL? Get this: All of the about alleged incidents and arrests were made within a period of four days, from May 20 to 23.

Odds on next alleged crime committed by an NFL player
Setting odds on which NFL player would be the next arrested would clearly be some bad juju for the sportsbook(s) which offered such. Plus, a Ray Lewis type (i.e. a bad-news superstar to be wary of from Draft Day on) is a once-in-a-generation phenomenon: Who might have guessed that, for example, third-stringer Josh Shaw of the Arizona Cardinals would get an indefinite suspension form the league for gambling last October?

Questions of karma aside, there’s nothing wrong with betting on upholding the law, is there? In the spirit of truth, justice and the American way, NFLbets presents the proposition bet “Which Alleged Crime Will Result in the Next NFL Player’s Arrest?

• Assault/aggravated assault: -1200
• Illegal possession/use of a firearm: -1200
• Possession of drugs: -800
• Driving While Intoxicated: -750
• Reckless endangerment: -400. We know what you’re thinking: Sue, these odds are seriously short, but an easy win, right? Wellllllll, those odds are shorter than you think. In the case of multiple charges filed, the bookmaker pays out as though a tie resulted, namely, the payout is divided among charges.

So for example, let’s say you put 100 Moneys on “Illegal possession/use of a firearm” at -1200 going into the weekend. Sure, Latimer’s arrest in the wee hours of Saturday morning win a payout, but because Latimer was also levied with three other charges not involving a firearm, the winning bet here would pay out at a paltry -4800, or 102.10 Moneys. Not such great value at all.

• Violating quarantine orders: +125. The willingness of police departments to enforce quarantine orders has varied from state to state, and which every state in the US set to loosen stay-at-home restrictions by next week, the odds on this can only go up.

• Vandalism/aggravated vandalism: +650. NFLbets’ El Jefe is convinced that Arron Rodgers is just waiting for the opportunity to trash Jordan Love’s home and car out of a combination of professional jealousy and State Farm representation. These odds indicate Bossman may be on to something…

• Influencing the 2020 Presidential Election and/or primaries: +1500. The Democrats are already making excuses for the inevitable thumping their candidate Ray Bolger’s fixing to take in November, so why wouldn’t they to blame, likesay, known Trumpet Tom Brady…? I mean, his wife was born in Brazil of German descent – that sounds like a Russian agent to us!

• Gambling: +2000. These odds would be shorter if, likesay, there were any fucking sports to bet on right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!111!!1!

• Illegal steroid/HGH/PED use: 1,000,000/1. Obviously a sucker bet – if NFL players were really taking steroids, we’re sure the NFL’s testing system would have rooted them out by now…

• All others: +200.

–written by Os Davis


2020 NFL Draft props: Anybody interested in Jalen Hurts…?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 18:38 EST

No matter who ends up with Jalen Hurts on Draft Day (or, more likely, day 2 of the NFL Draft), this QB has already had an interesting career. As a freshman for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Hurts accumulated over 3,700 yards combined passing and rushing while leading the team to a national championship title – but by his junior year, he was on the second team, playing behind Tua Tagovailoa.

And last year Hurts played for Oklahoma and produced an excellent 11.3 yards per attempt while throwing for 32 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions. His Tide-side replacement Tua, slated to be a top-5 pick in the 2020 Draft, was good for 11.2 ypa, 43 TDs and 7 interceptions. Comparable stats for mostly comparable programs, right? So why this odds table in the proposition bet “When Will Jalen Hurts Be Drafted?”

When Will Jalen Hurts Be Drafted?
Round 1: +800
Round 2: +115
Round 3: +140
Round 4-7: +300

The majority of observers have Tua going in round 3 or 4 and have him penciled in in a backup role. Most pundits are deducting points for his size, consistency and questionable decision-making – despite his nearly 70% completion rate and barely over ½ an interception per game.

But NFLbets believes even a “mere” multi-dimensional utility QB – a role the public consciousness seems to want to pigeonhole him into – will be in high-demand after a potential flurry in the first round. Quarterbacks expected to come off the board between prospective no. 1 overall Joe Burrow and Hurts are Tua, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm; the first four are essentially shoo-ins to go in the first round, and Eason is reportedly climbing draft boards to at least the upper half of the second round after a great combine performance.

But enough if we believe that Hurts is universally accepted as seventh-best QB available in the draft, the +115 offered on Round 2 in this prop is a sucker bet. In the past five NFL drafts, 34 quarterbacks have been selected in the first four rounds. Now check out the breakdown of that 34 by round:

Round 1, first half: 13 (or about 38.2% of the total)
Round 1, second half: 2 (5.9%)
Round 2: 2 (5.9%)
Round 3: 9 (26.5%)
Round 4: 8 (23.5%)

We could see some slight deviation from this trend in 2020 with both Love and Eason potentially getting their names called in the late first or second round, but NFLbets doesn’t believe that any amount of panic will drive Fromm or Hurts into the second round. Meanwhile, near the top of the third round sit Washington (at no. 66 overall), the Detroit Lions (no. 67) and the Carolina Panthers (no. 69), who may all have passed on QBs to this point, and each could certainly use at least a backup if not competition for the starting spot.

NFLbets is loving this bet. Take Jalen Hurts to be drafted in Round 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft at a nice payout of +140.

–written by Os Davis


2020 NFL Draft props: Jeff Okudah to the Detroit Lions or what…?

Sunday, 29 March 2020 18:13 EST

If rationality prevails in the 2020 NFL Draft, LSU’s Joe Burrow and OSU’s Chase Young are going no.1 and no. 2. Of course, Washington may have reason not to simply draft the beastly Buckeye with the second overall pick; NFLbets detailed possible rationales for doing so here.

Thus do we as NFL bettors move on to proposition betting on the no. 3 overall selection when, especially if Washington’s already blown rationality to hell, chaos theory takes over the draft. How aware is the sportsbook of the potential difficulty faced in the no.3 and 4 spots? Very. Here’s what the related prop’s odds table looks like:

When will Jeff Okudah be drafted?
Over-4½th pick: 10/11
Under 4½th pick: 10/13

In the third and fourth spots are the Detroit Lions and New York Giants, respectively. And while both teams would probably both be best served by drafting an offensive lineman, the former has been in such a position essentially since Matt Stafford took over as quarterback, while the latter hasn’t had a really respectable OL since their last Super Bowl win.

On the other hand, the 2020 Draft class is particularly rich in linemen : Just for starters, Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Andrew Thomas (Georgia), Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama), Derrick Brown (Auburn) and Mekhi Becton (Louisville) are touted as potential top-10 picks. For two teams who perpetually seem unable to build a good offensive line, waiting until round two to address the need is hardly unimaginable.

Plus, Okudah has gobs of NFL potential, with incredible speed to the ball whether en route or after the catch.

Supertalented or no, Okudah likely is not under consideration by the Giants brain trust: In 2019, the Giants picked CB DeAndre Baker at no. 30, trading three picks to the Seattle Seahawks to obtain the draft position. Baker started in all but one game last season and had a decent enough year to have earned the top position on the depth chart going into the preseason.

But defensively-minded Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia? How will Patricia resist such an outlier talent in what could well be his last year as a head coach with another losing season? Much to the former Patriots DC’s chagrin, his Lions were just brutal against the pass in 2019: In all passing and scoring statistical measures, they finished in the bottom quarter of the league, including ranking dead last in passing yards allowed, and bottom-3 in total yards, total first downs allowed and interceptions.

Sounds pretty simple for the boys in Detroit: If Chase Young is somehow available, that’s the pick. Otherwise, it’s got to be Okudah. Okudah in himself may not be enough to keep Detroit out of the NFC North basement, but if Patricia muffs this pick (and ruins our recommended bet), his inevitable dismissal will be justified. Take under-4½ in the Jeff Okudah draft prop.

--written by Os Davis


2020 NFL Draft props: Tua Tagaovailda, Chase Young or neither for Washington?

Saturday, 28 March 2020 21:22 EST

Come hell, high water or killer viruses, the NFL Draft remains great stuff for NFL bettors. Kudos to My Bookie for getting out its offerings in 2020 NFL Draft proposition bets a month beforehand – plenty of time to invest money which might otherwise be going on the XFL or even (gasp) other sports altogether.

As in the great majority of past drafts, the no. 1 selection is no mystery: Joe Burrow, a true man among boys in 2019 college football, the Cincinnati Bengals will be drafting the LSU Tiger in the top spot. Hell, rumor has it that the no-longer tanking (?) Bengals franchised all-time stud WR A.J. Green at Burrow’s request.

To start off a long run on NFL Draft prop-betting articles at NFLbets, then, we’re considering the no. 2 pick in the draft. With Burrow to Cincinnati a no-brainer, we see essentially two choices for the Washington brain trust, who may as well consider themselves on the clock. The odds in the two player props are currently posted as:

When will Tua Tagaovailda be drafted?
5th pick: 7/4
3rd pick: 9/5
2nd pick: 4/1
4th pick: 9/1
6th pick: 19/2
any other: 10/1

When will Chase Young be drafted?
Over 2½th pick: 13/4
Under 2½th pick: 9/50

With Burrow immediately off the board and pick no. 2 set up, the second question may essentially be translated as, “Will Washington draft Chase Young?” with the YES getting a measly -556 payout, while NO pays at +325.

Young, an utter beast out of Ohio State, certainly looks like a can’t-miss superstar in waiting – the proverbial best player remaining. And Washington, despite its general non-competitiveness in recent years, has done a reasonable job in drafts. Between the RG3 debacle and last season’s drafting of QB Dwayne Haskins, Washington has landed three-time Pro Bowler OG Brandon Scherf; WR Josh Doctson (now with the New York Jets after two decent seasons in D.C.); DT Jonathan Allen, who’s gotten 14 sacks in playing 31 of Washington’s 32 games; Da’Ron Payne, currently a second-stringer evolving from his strictly-NT days at Alabama.

So yeah, the smart money is on the under in this prop but this depends on the bettor depending on Washington to avoid overthinking this thing and rewards a measly $18 on a $100 wager. At +325, the over is well worthy of consideration. We’re not suggesting that folks necessary bet on over -2½ in the Chase Young prop, but the justification for wagering this way would go something like the following.

First, toss away the history delineated above, unless you believe that owner Dan Snyder had say or hand in any of picks. Washington’s going into this draft with no general manager. Instead, running the “war room” will be the recently-promoted Kyle Smith, now vice president of player personnel. (Interesting to note that no one within the franchise is listed as president of player personnel…) Smith introduces a significant X-factor into the equation.

Then there’s Ron Rivera. New to the job, Rivera’s already brought in veteran LBs Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis and therefore may be looking to bolster an offense that was dead last in points scored and 31st-“best” in yardage. The offensive line meanwhile ranked 18th overall, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, but just 23rd in pass protection.

This draft looks well stocked in offensive linemen, but at other “skill positions”, the field is fairly sparse. The sole halfback worth discussing is Jonathan Taylor, coming off consecutive season of 2000+ yards at Wisconsin; at wide receiver is CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma plus a handful of guys from Clemson and Alabama.

Combining the probability that Smith will want to make a splash but do right by Rivera, Rivera’s desire to win now, Washington’s unwillingness to give up on Haskins after a decent enough rookie season and that two teams (Jacksonville, Las Vegas) have two first-round picks, could Washington deal the pick? If so, wouldn’t the Jaguars love to stymie the Miami Dolphins, known to have very serious interest in Tua? Aren’t they desperate for a franchise QB not named Blake Bortles?

Or how about a scenario in which Miami leadership gets spooked enough to pull a 2017 Chicago Bears-style move and trade up a few spots to grab Tua *just in case*. Or what if the “Los Angeles” Chargers trade up in similar fashion? Either situation would then allow Smith and Rivera to flip the no. 5/6 for panicking teams desperately seeking a QB – such as, for example, Jacksonville...

One has to wonder, too, whether the anything concrete backs the speculation and rumors on the interwebs regarding the possibility of Washington simply drafting Tua themselves, with an eye to dealing Haskins, a la the 2019 Arizona Cardinals. NFLbets realizes that this is probably 95% to 99% hype with noting (absolutely fucking nothing!) on which to report, talk or write about, but…

No matter: Any of the aforementioned trade scenarios would allow Washington to draft both Taylor and Lamb (or another top-flight WR) to assemble a young and interesting offense immediately -- not to mention make for one helluva coup by Rivera and Smith.

And finally, the 7/4 odds on no. 5 in the Tua Tagaovailda prop make for a great hedge bet for those willing to take a chance on the Washington brass making the absolute worst choice or making an absolutely brilliant transaction or two. The Dolphins are the default choice for Tula’s destination should he get past no. 2, with the non-QB hunting Detroit Lions and New York Giants up at nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

In all honesty, though, there’s a reason why the payout on Young’s draft position under-2½ is that ridiculous -556. The oddsmakers don’t believe Smith, Rivera et al will botch this one, so NFL bettors probably shouldn’t test their luck on this prop: much more interesting to consider what the Lions might do when drafting at no. 3.

Next time: What the Lions might do when drafting at no. 3.


O boy o boy o boy o boy, have we got a Super Bowl LV bet for you…

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 18:00 EST

No good football betting to be had, you think? It’s way too early to be considering Super Bowl betting options, you say? (Actually, NFLbets has said this on numerous occasions.) Well, perhaps it’s a consequence of an improper ratio of time to available bets, but this line looks quite tasty:

To win Super Bowl LV
AFC champion +1 (-105) vs NFC champion (-115)

We’re not crazy, right?

Just on a pure gambling, all-things-being-equal basis, any proper NFL bettor should be jumping on the AFC champion +1. Strictly mathematically, with the actual Super Bowl teams unknown, this bet has a slightly better chance of not losing due to the push the bettor gets should the NFC team win by a single point. (Nevermind that just one in the 54 Super Bowls thus far has been decided by 1 point; it could happen again…)

The current favorites – and justifiably so, we certainly can all agree – in any “To Win Super Bowl LV” proposition bet are the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens, who whipped off a 14-2 mark in 2019. And with seven of the top 10 on the table are NFC sides (in some order, these include San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay), the bookie is basically offering Kansas City and Baltimore against the field.

Now, sure, a team that’s not among the top 10 shortest odds at season’s beginning can win the Super Bowl – the 2011 New York Giants and 2017 Philadelphia Eagles come immediately to mind – but damn if the AFC doesn’t seem rather top heavy going into ’20. Additionally, a repeat visit by Kansas City would certainly make them the favorite and so would the Ravens if they enjoy anywhere near as successful a season as last year’s.

Beyond this, the odds of -105 are likely to be excellent as compared to a comparable line once the Super Bowl LV teams are set – that’s some superb value. And on top of everything else, say a 9-7 Buffalo Bills or Cleveland Browns team somehow sneaks into the big game as a no. 7 seed to face, likesay, the 49ers, just hedge!

All in all, this is a great flyer to get while you can this preaseason. Take the AFC champion +1 to win Super Bowl LV

– written by Os Davis