Preseason


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


Betting Tom Brady’s successor in New England (Hint: not Jameis Winston)

Saturday, 21 March 2020 14:29 EST

Would you believe that the My Bookie sportsbook has been reduced to taking bets on Belarusian soccer matches and, even more insanely, on EA Sports’ 2K20-simulated “NBA” games? NFLbets thinks we can speak for us all when we say “Fuck this coronavirus!” (But not literally. That would certainly make you super sick and/or virulent.!

Happily, not all rational bets are off during this international quarantine season. The move of GOAT QB Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has already allowed some prescient NFL bettors to kinda sorta cash in – though most sportsbooks aren’t paying out on their variant of the “Which Team will Tom Brady Play For in 2020” proposition bet until he literally takes a snap on opening day.

And in the wake of Brady’s departure, My Bookie brings us the related prop “Next Starting Quarterback for the New England Patriots”, which features some surprisingly good value – and one option with surprisingly short odds. The table looks as follows:

Jarrett Stridham: +155
Cam Newton: +200
Andy Dalton: +500
Jameis Winston: +600
Derek Carr: 14/1
Tua Tagovailoa: 25/1
Joe Flacco: 28/1
Cody Kessler: 28/1

You see what we’re saying: Most of these lines are outrageous, the 2/1 on Cam Newton (down from 10/1 on opening) is utterly thought-provoking, and the smart money is probably on Jarrett Stridham at +155 and certain to shorten daily.

The rest can be eliminated rather easily: Covering Joe Flacco or Cody Kessler at 28/1 it throwing money away. Flacco was cut by the Denver Broncos after a 2-6 record as a starter while throwing just 6 touchdown passes against five interceptions – and a huge 26 sacks taken. As a starter at very least, he’s done, folks. Kessler? Um, no.

Tua Tagovailoa at 25/1 is certainly intriguing from either the NFL bettor’s or fan’s perspective, but Truth is that the only way this happens is for medical reports to scare enough teams off to fall to Belichick & Co. at no. 23. Unlikely, and perhaps even more unlikely is the willingness for any but the most desperate of teams dealing with the Patriots after untold fleecings perpetuated by their front office. On the other hand, Washington’s at no. 2 and the New York Giants sit at no. 4, so…

Derek Carr at 14/1 would make gobs more sense if the Las Vegas Raiders had somehow pulled off the Brady signing. Now, Chucky Gruden may be deluded enough to think he can work his “quarterback whisperer” juju on Marcus Mariota, but here’s to thinking that Carr’s going nowhere. And NFLbets would still guess that Carr is still probably the safest bet in a “Staring Quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders on Opening Day 2020” prop as well.

Throw away any consideration of Jameis Winston at 6/1, too. While Winston-to-New England certainly makes a great storyline and an intriguing reclamation project for Belichick, there is this:

Surely you’ll agree that odds on Winston now look outlandish. (Yeah, yeah, don’t call me Shirley…)

NFLbets has never understood this taken-for-granted attitude toward the Patriots signing Andy Dalton (at 5/1), either. After all, will the Cincinnati Bengals necessarily rid themselves of The Red Rifle (lolz) to make way for the incoming Dominant Force in the Universe, Joe Burrow, immediately? Particularly if in a rebuilding year, why would the Bengals front office throw Burrow out there behind a tissue-paper line and little on offense beyond A.C. Green to work with? The key to a Bengals deal

Jarrett Stridham at +155 is an excellent pick for now. NFLbets believes that if Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft agree on anything, it’s that they’ll be having none of that tanking or rebuilding bullshit. The Patriots are already entering the season with the NFL’s best defense and a top-10 offensive line. True enough, they’re poor on talent at WR and TE, but sticking with Stridham’s rookie contract would allow New England to trade for proper talent at those sports – again, if anyone want to deal with the Pats.

And then there’s Cam Newton at 2/1. In short, WFT is up with this? Okay, sure, both the NFL Network and CBS Sports have run high-profile items about the possibility in recent days, but NFLbets would sure like to find out why – unless it’s merely process of elimination – Cam’s drawing so much action in this prop. Heck, maybe with such a lack of sports, sports news outlets feel compelled to run away with “Wouldn’t It Be Great” storylines; this, however, is no justification for losing moneys.

In the end, then, we’d advise covering Jarrett Stridham and, if you really believe Newton to New England could happen, you can hedge Stridham with Newton in a ratio of 2:1 and still come out ahead.

– written by Os Davis


Tom Brady goes to Tampa Bay, shakes up Super Bowl LV odds table a bit

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 13:59 EST

Finally, officially, after two decades, the reign of terror in over: Belichick ‘n’ Brady’s New England Patriots are dead, and the Golden Boy has moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For NFL bettors, the consequences of the move will have both immediate and short-term effects.

In the short-term, NFL bettors no longer necessarily have to adjust for the hyper-dynastic Patriots’ outlier performances over the 20 seasons since a fifth-round draft pick out of Michigan came into the game for an injured Drew Bledsoe. The presence of the Patriots has distorted both Super Bowl history and win-less records ATS, but bettors need no longer affix the asterisks to such historical marks, as the Patriots may now be considered a historical artifact.

For the 2020 NFL season, of course, the big acquisition has already wreaked havoc with the odds tables in the “To Win Super Bowl LV” proposition bets. Below run the top teams on both tables; odds listed reflect those posted by Bovada and Las Vegas sportsbook odds aggregators, respectively.

To Win Super Bowl LV
•  Kansas City Chiefs: +650, +450
•  Baltimore Ravens: 8/1, 5/1
•  San Francisco 49ers: 11/1, 10/1
•  New Orleans Saints: 16/1, 14/1
•  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 20/1, 14/1
•  Dallas Cowboys: 25/1, 14/1
•  Seattle Seahawks: 25/1, 20/1
•  Philadelphia Eagles: 25/1, 20/1
•  New England Patriots: 25/1, 30/1
•  Green Bay Packers: 33/1, 20/1
•  Indianapolis Colts: 33/1, 20/1

NFLbets has already commented on the early odds table to win Super Bowl LV – and those odds on the Baltimore Ravens still look pretty good to us, by the way – so here we’ll consider the effects of the Brady move on his new Buccaneers and departed Patriots.

The jump seen by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seems fair enough; though they’re drawing shorter odds than two teams already getting well shorter odds than can be excused away only as marketability and volume betting. (Look, pragmatically speaking, the 49ers will not repeat as NFC champions and the Saints’ window of opportunity has closed.) In a what-the-hell spirit, throwing some moneys at the 2020 Buccaneers is hardly the worst bet; heck, NFLbets has Dallas penciled in as NFC champ.

But remember that those odds on Tampa Bay are based purely on potential. Bruce Arians-led teams are just 22-25-1 SU over the past three seasons – and before anyone snarkily points out he was coaching the Arizona Cardinals and the Buccaneers in those years, the Pythagorean Expectation (PE) statistic shows that those teams actually unperformed by more than 3½ wins combined.

Additionally, Tampa Bay sports quite the impressive cadre of WRs in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rashad Perriman and O.J. Howard, this last of which requires a bit of a flier, as this guy just hasn’t yet lived up to his potential in the NFL. Of course, these three guys have done little in the postseason and last year were graced with Jameis “The Coronary Inducer” Winston at QB; the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers thus oddly led the NFL in passing yardage, were no. 3 in passing TDs and were dead last in turnovers.

The defense, meanwhile, was subpar against the pass in 2019. To address this thus far, Tampa Bay reupped Jason Pierra-Paul, franchise-tagged Shaquil Barrett ... and that's about it. With the $27 million/two-year deal handed Pierre-Paul plus Brady's haul will certainly suck up a lot of cap space and eliminate certain opportunities to improve on this side of the ball.

So the Bucs are dealing with quite a fair number of unknowns going into 2020, including how much the GOAT QB has left in the tank. But, hey, NFL bettors could do a lot worse than covering Tampa Bay in a seemingly wide open NFC.

Then there’s the 2020 New England Patriots, first Pats team since 2001 expecting to start a quarterback other than Brady. Remember how, once upon a time, Bill Belichick was known as a defensive mastermind, the guy that stopped the daunting and revolutionary hurry-up offense developed by Marv Levy’s Buffalo Bills for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl? Or as the defense-first HC that stopped the Greatest Show on Turf 10 years later? Well, after all this time with a hyped-up GOAT, Belichick looks poised to turn New England into a defensive juggernaut designed to stop the high-flying offenses in Kansas City and Baltimore.

In the first half of last season, the Patriots defense was on a historically great pace: Through eight games, New England didn’t surrendered more than 14 points in a single game and allowed an average of just about 7½ ppg to that point. The defense may have been publicly perceived as the Patriots’ problem in 2019, beginning with the 37-20 week 9 loss to Baltimore, but the truth is they still finished no. 1 in overall defense per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

We can therefore expect the post-Brady Patriots to lead with the defense, at least in the immediate future – but the offense may need a thorough overhaul to stay competitive. Touchdown Tommy’s main weapon in 2019 was of course Julian Edelman, but what does anyone expect from a Brady-less Edelman? James White had a decent season with 908 total yards, but fellow RB Sony Michel mainly demonstrated his limited ability as a pass-catcher, getting just 20 targets and making a poor 12 catches. Is Rex Burkhead really the answer? And of course there’s still that Gronkowski-sized hole at TE…

On the plus side, the offensive line is still solid, having ranked no. 9 overall in DVOA and no. 5 in pass blocking. Guard Joe Thuney was the only possible starter headed for free agency and the Patriots franchise-tagged him to insure a return.

In the final analysis, then, we’ll take a wait-and-see on the 2020 Patriots making the Super Bowl. The Chiefs and Ravens still loom large and given the combination of moves made by Houston and Tennessee, NFLbets is actually quite liking the Titans’ chances as well, but 25/1 to 30/1 represents outstanding value for what could be the NFL’s best defense in 2020 – not to mention the GOAT head coach of all-time…

–written by Os Davis


NFL 2020 Over/under win totals: Six to watch in the AFC

Monday, 16 March 2020 14:11 EST

As the NFL free-agency period opens, NFLbets has a few last-minute AFC over/under win lines for you to bet online. After all, the online sportsbooks remain open and would certainly love to have your business.

The following were the current lines in the Over/Under Wins for 2020 NFL Season” proposition bet (numbers in parentheses indicate potential payout on bets on the over or under, respectively)…

Baltimore Ravens: 11 (-115, -115)
Buffalo Bills: 8½ (-105, -125)
Cincinnati Bengals: 5½ (-150, +120)
Cleveland Browns: 8 (-105, -125)
Denver Broncos: 8 (-105, -125)
Houston Texans: 8½ (-115,-115)
Indianapolis Colts: 7½ (-140, +110)
Jacksonville Jaguars: 6½ (-115, -115)
Kansas City Chiefs: 11½ (-115, -115)
Las Vegas Raiders: 7 (-115, -115)
Los Angeles Chargers: 7½ (-130, +100)
Miami Dolphins: 5½ (-150, +120)
New England Patriots: 10½ (-115, -115)
New York Jets: 6½ (-150, +120)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9 (-130, +100)
Tennessee Titans: 8½ (+100, -130)

Right, one more time, all together now: It’s way too early to be betting on this NFL proposition bet, but these are some AFC teams that NFLbets will be watching in 2020, starting now.

• Let’s talk the Tennessee Titans first. If NFLbets were a player returning to this club after a pretty nice 2019 and an apparent step forward for the team. They’ve already guaranteed the return of Derrick Henry by franchise tag and Ryan Tannehill via reup. The sportsbook here may be appealing to the dogma that the AFC South teams will beat each other up during the regular season again and that the scheduled opposition from the AFC North and the NFC North will be tougher than NFLbets believes. Even if this does pan out, we just simply can’t believe that the Titans are due for a regression from last season’s 9-7, particularly when they’re 9-4 SU (8-4-1 ATS) in the post-Mariota era. We’re thinking Tennessee’s primed for the over 8½ wins, a good value bet at +100.

• We’re also loving the apparent lack of confidence in the Las Vegas Raiders online. The payout of -115 on over 7 wins is certainly well lower in the Raiders’ new hometown. We’d say bet online and bet the over here. Bringing in a new QB – even if it’s not Tom Brady – might bolster the confidence in such a wager, as Jon Gruden appears to have hit a ceiling with Derek Carr, but truth is that Gruden has done a pretty fair job building up a team on the cheap through the draft and castoffs à la Belichick. On top of this, unless John Elway gets the Broncos’ shit together, a lack of in-division competition outside of Kansas City plus four games against the not-necessarily awesome NFC South. Over.

• NFLbets doesn’t get that 11-win over/under on the Baltimore Ravens after a 14-2 SU (10-6 ATS, including a 9-1 ATS run at finish) regular season in which Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram were the only major producers on offense? If the Ravens make any positive moves on this side of the ball, 11 wins will be child’s play.

• We’d like to thank the betting public’s apparent penchant for overemphasizing past results for resulting in +100 payouts on both Pittsburgh Steelers under-9 and “Los Angeles” Chargers under-7½ wins. We’re less confident in covering the Steelers under, as two losses to the Cleveland Browns, which would be a huge help, simply cannot be depended upon. But Pittsburgh went through three quarterbacks on the way to an 8-8 SU mark purely by dint of some clever coaching from Mike Tomlin.

As for the Chargers, this team has been an outlier since abandoning San Diego to play in a city where no one cares other than the given week’s opposing fans. What suggests a .500 mark by the Chargers beyond a single Bosa boy is not apparent to NFLbets.

• Finally, we love the Indianapolis Colts going over 7½ wins, regardless of quarterback signing, but -140 is just terrible value. We’d definitely wait on a better offer than this one…

Happy free agency season, everyone!

-- written by Os Davis


NFL 2020 Over/under win totals: Six to watch in the NFC

Friday, 13 March 2020 15:46 EST

With days to go until the free agency period opens, it’s certainly waaaaaayyyy to early to be considering betting on NFL over/under win totals for 2020 – but with the coronavirus scare, there are no freakin’ sports on! At least Xbet, My Bookie and the online sportsbooks are still open. The early table for over/under win totals are as follows (numbers in parentheses indicate potential payout on an over or under bet)…

Arizona Cardinals: 6½ (-130, +100)
Atlanta Falcons: 8 (-115, -115)
Carolina Panthers: 6½ (+100, -130)
Chicago Bears: 8 (-130, +100)
Dallas Cowboys: 9½ (-130, +100)
Detroit Lions: 6½ (-150, +120)
Green Bay Packers: 9½ (+100, -130)
Los Angeles Rams: 8½ (-140, +110)
Minnesota Vikings: 9½ (+100, -130)
New Orleans Saints: 10 (-130, +100)
New York Giants: 6½ (+100, -130)
Philadelphia Eagles: 10 (-115, -115)
San Francisco 49ers: 10½ (-130, +100)
Seattle Seahawks: 9 (-105, -125)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7½ (-115, -115)
Washington: 5½ (-150, +120)

Again, seriously too early to tell, but NFLbets definitely has eyes to see what six of these teams do on Draft Day and in free agency. These are…

• We know it’s the Arizona Cardinals, but we’re leaning toward seeing a ½-game improvement from second-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury and second-year franchise QB Kyler Murray; note, too, that the bookmakers’ -130 is an indicator of where the sharp types are leaning. After all, the Cards’ main problem in 2019 was defending the pass, with the team D dead last in total yards allowed and bottom-5 in most passing stats. Plus, Arizona will enjoy a last-place schedule plus games against the AFC East and NFC East, which we could imagine producing six teams under .500.

• We’re also counting on a continued downturn from the Los Angeles Rams. Since the neo-Cinderella run of 2017, the Rams have steadily degenerated into a team that consistently performs at a lower standard than the names on the roster would indicate. From 2017 to ’19, the Rams have gone from no. 1 to no. 11 in scoring and a +149 point differential to a +30, and L.A. went 4-4 SU in the second half of the season, including a 1-4 mark against sub-.500 teams. And on top of everything else are these garbage logos? Take the under at +110 all day.

Dallas Cowboys. For one reason or another – mostly “Why not?” – NFLbets is bullish on the Cowboys early in 2020. One would think that there’s enough talent here plus division mates who even more consistently underperform than the Rams, rebuilding or whatever the hell Washington does to get the ’Pokes to at least 9-7, though we’ll probably wait to see if/how Jerry Jones & Co. address the secondary in the offseason.

• Speaking of the NFC East, covering an under of 5½ wins is typically decidedly risky – but this is the Washington football team we’re discussing. In short, is any free gent willing to sign with what has been, since the 1980s, a shitshow? After disposing of Jay Gruden, the Washington brain trust went with Bill Callahan, who got the team a whopping 3-8 SU record under his leadership; is Washington really set to double its win output of 2019? If so, based on what?

• Finally, another couple of sacred cows to slaughter for the good of profit, namely the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints. The 2019 season represented the fourth year of the last five the Eagles “hit” the under in this prop and nothing shows that the Eagles are ready to “rebound” from, let’s face it, a smoke-and-mirrors run through the playoffs three seasons ago.

Meanwhile, anyone betting on New Orleans is apparently somehow hoping against hope that Drew Brees somehow magically morphs back into his 2017 self, but pragmatic thinkers should realize that’s not going to happen. Yes, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara were beastly again in 2019, and the offensive line was tops in the NFL by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, but will, for example, Thomas go for *149* receptions again in 2020?

So is it NFLbets or are the Saints living on borrowed time? Has or has not Sean Payton been more or less living on his Super Bowl win since 2007? Just by the sheer numbers, we can’t honestly expect a fourth straight season of 11 wins or more? Here’s more if you need it: On the three occasions when Payton’s Saints were schedule against AFC West teams, New Orleans went 7-9, 7-9 and 8-8.

So shed the dogma of the past and cover unders on the Saints and Eagles in 2020. Probably. But after the draft, likesay…

– written by Os Davis

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Easiest fake prop bet all offseason: Does the Los Angeles Rams’ new logo suck?

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 13:32 EST

Y’know, NFLbets was working on breaking down the over/under win/loss totals for NFL teams for post, but this post-psychedelic blue-and-green nightmare is eating through my brain to the point of profound distraction.

Seriously, just look at that. Gaze upon the over-designed nightmare, the screwing-with of one of the NFL’s all-time classic logos. The yellow version on the right would apparently be the primary logo; this one has been useful in drawing some good snarky comparisons on Twitter – a low bar, we realize – to pasta, Aquaman’s hair, a large latter C; and hundred unto thousands to Chargers logo(s).

So here’s a proposition bet dedicated to the Los Angeles Rams “brain” trust that came up with this fantastic (not) idea:

When Officially Adopted, Will the Rams New Logo be the Worst* in the League
Yes: -10000
No: +55000

(The asterisk here refers to any logo based on racist elements; after all, no sportsbook is about to debate the definition of “tribute” and/or “homage” to fans of the Washington football team.)

On Draft Day in April, the actual new logo will be revealed – many have speculated that this “leak” may be a bit of guerilla test-marketing or was a rejected idea that was “leaded” in order to deflect criticism from the actual real rebranded logo.

Whatever the Rams new logo turns out to be, NFL fans with any taste at all certainly have reason to fear. Chief operating officer Kevin Demoff has described the new design as having “elements [that] tie to our deep roots in Los Angeles while also providing a sleek, modern look that fits with our new, world-class home.”

And there’s the secret. Of course Rams management realizes that there’s absolutely no need to correct a logo that has, a color change or two notwithstanding, pretty well stayed the same since 1947. But the truth is that the estimated cost for construction of owner Stan Kroenke’s Pleasure Palace and Football Stadium have risen from $2.4 billion at groundbreaking to a current project price tag of just nearly $6 billion – and it’s still not done.

Now that’s a lot of overage, even for world-class cheap-labor employers like Kroenke and WalMart, which means that money beyond the standard ticket-price gouging. And *that* means lots of paraphernalia to move through America’s favorite crummy crap store. Thus that preposterous green version, which NFLbets supposes is the new “alternate logo.” Yeesh.

NFLbets would definitely advise any NFL bettor to immediately get a $10,000 (minimum loan) and just plunk it all down on YES before the NFL Draft; it’ll be the easiest $1 you ever made at the sportsbook…

–written by Os Davis

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

Monday, 09 March 2020 17:54 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Odds, picks in “Which Team Will Tom Brady Play for in 2020?” proposition bet

Sunday, 08 March 2020 17:30 EST

Here’s yet another area of sports betting in which the emotions must give way to pragmatism – if you want the bankroll to survive before the NFL season starts. We’re talking the proposition bet “Which Team Will Tom Brady Play for In 2020?”

Evidence of too many bettors succumbing to the hype of the NFL rumor mill is rife when considering the odds table. In this prop, odds on the New England Patriots have gone from -400 to -180 at the end of February to just -120 at present. This is, of course, ridiculous. Any sharps betting this prop (and, yesh, NFLbets knows true sharps almost never play props, particularly those of this sort) are certainly piling on to Brady sticking with the Patriots.

Look, we know many NFL fans and bettors *want* Touchdown Tom to go elsewhere. Many are still laboring under the delusion that Brady can still handle the workload of a dude half his age; these folks reckon that Golden Boy leaving New England means the end of the Patriots dynasty. Except that, if Tom gets paid the big bucks as suspected, New England won’t be offering the replacements so needed at many a position.

None of this is to say (write?) that one shouldn’t take a chance with a decent value bet elsewhere; a couple of teams could certainly wind up with Brady – and might get better results than did the Patriots in 2019. Firstly, NFLbets is still thinking about…

• Tennessee Titans (5/1). This one seems like a natural, with Brady’s former teammate Mike Vrabel already in town. One primary argument against Tom ditching Belichick & Co. is the requirement to learn a new playbook. Vrabel of course hasn’t teamed with Brady in over a decade, so some catchup will be required, but we’d guess that speaking the same language will cut through a lot of early chemistry-making BS. Also note that Tennessee has the cap space and a top-5 offensive line. The Titans’ll need Derrick Henry to reup, but would Brady and Henry be a swell draw for each other?

•  Las Vegas Raiders (6/1). In theory, this too looks nearly ideal for Brady. Jon Gruden has done an incredibly good job in the draft and free agency. The Raiders’ OL ranked just behind the Titans’ in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric at no. 5, RB Josh Jacobs is a beast and Jon Gruden is notably quarterback-centric.

By the sheer mathematics, Chucky and the Raiders currently have enough budget room to offer Tommy a $30 million deal – but recall the rumors that two years ago the Black-and-Silver were “forced” to deal Khalil Mack to Chicago due to cashflow problems. Too bad for them – Brady to Vegas would create even more of a splash in Sin City in the team’s first season, and Gruden with Brady would certainly create quite the interesting offense…

•  “Los Angeles” Chargers (8/1). Does Brady even know this team is still in the league? Aside from the logic of plunking down wads of millions to make L.A. sports fans cheer the city’s, what, 20th-favorite NFL team, nothing suggests Brady plays for this bunch on a franchise which may be in rebuilding mode. (It’s so hard to tell…)

•  Indianapolis Colts (9/1). Sure, Brady playing for the team that triggered Deflategate would be hilariously ironic and all, but better sources from among the rumor mill suggest that the Indy front office is focused on Philip Rivers, which seems will more likely than Brady coming aboard.

•  San Francisco 49ers (10/1). How many more superlatives will we have to apply to Bill Belichick’s future Hall of Fame plaque if he can flip Brady for Jimmy Garoppolo, the dude he wanted to start for the Pats three years ago? Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s distrust in Jimmy G. down the stretch run and straight through to the Super Bowl was incomprehensible to NFLbets – and we’re not just saying (writing?) that because we had several wagers on the Niners. At 10/1, this isn’t the worst bet on the board, but this seems very unlikely.

•  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12/1). Here’s one that appears to be getting lots of play due to sheer logic. Warm weather should extend the career of an aging QB, and Bruce Arians would certainly relish the opportunity to pair a quarterback well less erratic than Jameis Winston with the likes of Chris Godwin, Brashad Perriman and O.J. Howard. But nothing real indicates that Tampa Bay is on the Bradar.

•  Chicago Bears (20/1). The Bears have cap room, a decent OL and what might yet become a top-notch defense again (defense wins championships, don’tcha know), but with his family in New York plus homes in Las Vegas and California, what’s the draw to Chicago for Brady? (It’s the Bizarro Tampa Bay!)

•  Dallas Cowboys (25/1). You know who’s betting these odds? Gullible Cowboys fans and Jerry Jones. Look, just as with the Patriots haters, simply wanting something to happen will not necessarily make it so – even if you’re a billionaire desperate for a Lombardi Trophy…

The NFL free agency period officially opens on March 18.


A look at the 2020 Grey Cup odds after (most of) CFL free agency

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 18:05 EST

Another comparison between the NFL and CFL: Whoa, CFL free agency season is quick. Within about 10 days of opening, nearly all key acquisitions have been made and, though we still await combine and draft, plus another influx of cut NFL players, betting the CFL in 2020 is already clearer than the NFL – at least as far as NFLbets is concerned.

To the CFL bettor, the odds table on the “To Win the 2020 Grey Cup” at My Bookie (and any site taking CFL bets, really) is quite the outlier compared with recent years, namely in that the New England Patriots-like Calgary Stampeders are not the New England Patriots-like odds-on favorite to win the CFL Championship. Instead, the numbers break down like so.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats: +300. After going 15-3 and completely dominating the league all year, the Ticats got manhandled by Winnipeg in the 2019 Grey Cup. In free agency, Hamilton lost top-notch LT Ryker Matthews but, if possible, might have improved on defense with the return of LB Larry Dean and high hopes for a comeback out of Quadarius Ford. All things considered, 3/1 may be the best value you can get on the Ticats in 2020.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: +400
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: +500
Calgary Stampeders: +500
. The three West Division teams that bookmakers like the best in 2020 were all notably quiet this offseason: The Riders, oldest team in the league, re-signed nearly all their veteran FAs except Namaan Roosevelt; the defending champion Blue Bombers did likewise, losing now-backup QB Matt Nichols but little else; and the Stamps are presumably going the route of (you guessed it) the New England Patriots and looking for players to fill niche spots.

Edmonton Eskimos: +800
Montreal Alouettes: +800
. This pair of odds NFLbets doesn’t get at all. The Eskimos had arguably the worst offseason of the CFL teams, losing the most FAs overall including Monshadrik “Money” Hunter and the aforementioned Larry Dean.

Meanwhile, the Alouettes may have had the most tumultuous offseason of all: The Als bid adieu to DB Chris Ackie, who went to Toronto; DB Patrick Levels and WR Devrier Posey to Hamilton; RB William Stanback to Las Vegas Raiders; and WR Quan Bray to, presumably a federal penitentiary after getting busted alongside Cleveland Browns OL who was busted along with famous Rams draft bust Greg Robinson for trying to tote 157 pounds of marijuana across the border.

So maybe … a breakeven free agency for the Alouettes…? Nevertheless, Montreal has not lost Coach of the Year Khari Jones or breakout QB Vernon Adams Jr. Montreal at 8/1 is hardly an outrageous bet already, but those odds might get a bit better yet. The Eskimos NFLbets wouldn’t touch with an 8/1-foot pole.

BC Lions: +800. Fair enough, the Lions went out and binge-shopped again this offseason and last year’s mad-money expenditure got BC an early end to the season. However, QB Mike Reilly certainly digs on the addition of Ryker Matthews and the pieces seem to all be in place, so 8/1 certainly isn’t outrageous.

Ottawa Redblacks: +1200. CFL fans know to be wary of the Redblacks since the second year of their existence in 2015 and the prospects with Paul LaPolice coming over from the OC job in Winnipeg are none too shabby. But after hitting the reset button last year to trigger the rebuilding process and taking on former Stampeders backup QB Nick Arbuckle as the starter signals that change might come a little more slowly than the team’s first rise to CFL supremacy.

Toronto Argonauts: +1400. The Argos would likely need a well more impressive offseason than simply signing Matt Nichols, plus 3rd or 4th WRs Juwan Brascacin and Devaris Daniels from Calgary and Edmonton, respectively – particularly when the already below-average defensive lost nearly 120 tackles between Addul Kenneh and Kevin Fogg plus the additional departure of Quadarius Ford. We see this 14/1 bet as a waste of good betting money.

–written by Os Davis


Earliest Super Bowl LV odds: Chances of Baltimore Ravens, 31 other teams to win in 2021

Wednesday, 05 February 2020 14:49 EST

Sure, it’s seriously waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early to be betting on Super Bowl LV – even if you were among the reported great majority who lost on Super Bowl betting this year thanks to some underwhelming offensive performances – but it’s never too early to make snarky comments and goggle at some frankly weird lines. So let’s have at; the top spot on My Bookie's odds table is naturally held by the…

• Kansas City Chiefs: 4/1. So if Kansas City managed to go back-to-back titles by managing not lose winning Super Bowl LV, they’d be the first since the 2003-04 New England Patriots? Yeah, NFLbets isn’t ready to make that sort of commitment yet.

• Baltimore Ravens: 13/2. We’re thinking this line is only going to get shorter as the season progresses; there’s no way the Ravens front office can avoid improving Lamar Jackson’s WR corps this offseason. Ravens fans are certainly already jumping on this one.

• San Francisco 49ers: 15/2. Given that 9 of the last 19 Super Bowl-losing teams have missed the playoffs altogether the following season (7 of 15 if excluding Patriots teams) and that Kyle Shanahan has inexplicably demonstrated little confidence in Jimmy Garoppolo, what gives with this line? As for NFLbets, we’ll most likely be taking the under on 49ers wins in 2020.

• New England Patriots: 8/1. You can’t ever write off these Patriots, so – no, wait. Yes, you can write off the Patriots in 2020.

• New Orleans Saints: 15/1
• Pittsburgh Steelers: 18/1
. Even with killer offseasons, the willingness to continue running with QBs so far past their prime will eliminate the Saints and Steelers from contention again.

• Dallas Cowboys: 20/1. Sure, the Cowboys should be well improved under Mike McCarthy. We can easily imagine them winning a weak-ass NFC East, sneaking through the playoffs and finally getting smoked in the Super Bowl. What a lucrative, glorious dream…

• Green Bay Packers, “Los Angeles” Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks: 25/1. NFLbets always seems to throw a few moneys at Seattle prior to the season, and the Seahawks typically exceed expectations. Given a decent offseason, the Packers would appear to be a decent bet here as well.

• Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings: 30/1. Call this bunch the “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” Group. Or the Led by Once-Overblown Quarterbacks Bunch.

• Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans: 35/1
• Jacksonville Jaguars: 100/1
. Apparently, the AFC South winner and interdivisional games will be as preposterously difficult to predict in 2020 as in ’19…

• Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears: 40/1. NFLbets is a bit surprised that the Buffalo Bills, after two straight playoff appearances and showing real improvement in the 2019 season. Maybe it’s all in the marketing.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 45/1
• Denver Broncos: 50/1
• Carolina Panthers, New York Giants: 66/1
• New York Jets: 70/1
• Detroit Lions: 80/1
. The Rebuilding Level, we’d call this quintet – except we’re not sure what to call what the Broncos front office has been doing since signing decrepit Peyton Manning.

• Arizona Cardinals: 85/1. NFLbets hopes the Cardinals go into the 2020 season as underrated as these early odds indicate. Again, it’s way early, but we’ve got a feeling about Kyler Murray & Co...

• Cincinnati Bengals: 100/1
• Miami Dolphins: 125/1
• Washington: 150/1
. Prediction: At least 75% betting on any of these three teams in any “To Win Super Bowl LV” prop will continue to deny reality for one more season.

– written by Os Davis

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