Preseason


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

Tuesday, 08 September 2020 12:37 EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- written by Os Davis


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

Sunday, 06 September 2020 18:48 EST

NFL over/under win totals, 2020Here’s a traditional proposition bet that will prove well more challenging than usual to NFL bettors in 2020: over/under win totals. Preseason games and rumors out of training camp are hardly a bonanza of information for betting the NFL, but geez, some information is better than none. And pragmatically speaking, season-ending injuries to players before opening day have certainly saved many a bad regular-season prop bet.

Nevertheless, what are you going to do? Not bet the over/under win total propositions? Don’t be ridiculous! Today, a brief look at the overs we’re recommending the NFL bettor cover in this prop in 2020.

• Kansas City Chiefs, over 11½ wins
• Baltimore Ravens, over 11½ wins
. No brainers both, really. NFLbets always says that some change must be figured in when predicting the upcoming NFL season, the reasoning being that not every playoff team will make the playoffs again, not every sub-.500 team will again have a losing record. Kansas City won 11 of Patrick Mahomes’s 14 starts last season and lost no major parts from the most dynamic offense the NFL has seen in a while.

Meanwhille, the Ravens were rewarded for their 14-2 season with the league’s easiest schedule for 2020 (based on 2019 win-loss records of opposition). Even if you believe the Cleveland Browns will be improved (NFLbets does) or that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be competitive (NFLbets doesn’t), it’s still pretty difficult to imagine Baltimore dropping five games on this schedule – hell, they might not have five games against playoff teams…

• Dallas Cowboys, over 10 wins. NFLbets says 2020 is a put-up or shut-up season for the Cowboys and we believe they will in fact finally put up some quality wins. Word from Cowboys camp on first-round draft pick WR CeeDee Lamb is outstanding; if so,  Lamb plus Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup could be the best receiving corps big 3 in the league. Throwing to them is Dak Prescott, certainly feeling disrespected in a contract year and Ezekiel Elliott, probably the biggest breakaway threat in the league.

O, and the new head coach. How best to summarize how much an improvement any coach – never mind the Super Bowl-winning, .618 winning percentage having Mike McCarthy? How about the fact that Jason Garrett’s record as head coach of the Cowboys from 2010 to ’19 was a pathetic 6-16 SU (and just 4-18 ATS) in all games played on fewer than seven days off? The ’Pokes were 8-8 SU in 2019 and have two short weeks this year. This much talent plus competent coaching should be good for at least 10 wins and the push.

• Cleveland Browns, over 8 wins. Yes, skepticism regarding the Browns is justifiably high after too much hype preceded last season. But, like the Cowboys, these Browns feel like a collection of great talent waiting for competency at head coach. We’ll give ’em one more shot.

• Atlanta Falcons, over 7½ wins. NFLbets likes the Falcons to at least go .500 in 2020 for two reasons: quality of division and continuity. Heretical though it may be, NFLbets is not buying the hype on the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams too dependent on aging QBs, all lifetime achievement aside. And the Carolina Panthers are in serious rebuilding mode.

NFLbets has discussed the possible importance of continuity in 2020 with its limited preseason prep time previously, but here’s Atlanta’s case one more time: Going into ’20, Matt Ryan is the NFL’s longest-tenured starting QB for his present team, and Julio Jones has been his no. 1 receiver for the past nine seasons. As recently as ’18, Jones led the NFL in receiving yards per game and while the Falcons have been through a few OCs since Ryan’s debut in ’08, the offense has nine times been top-10 in total yardage and has never been lower-ranked than no. 16.

• Arizona Cardinals, over 7½ wins. NFLbets is a bit baffled by this number. Sure, the Cardinals had a poorly protected rookie QB and a bottom-5 defense last season, but offseason 2020 was very good to Arizona. Headlines were made by stealing away WR DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans, but on the defensive side, the Cards grabbed LBs Devon Kennard and DeVondre Campbell, CB Dre Kirkpatrick and DT Jordan Phillips in free agency to fill some holes on the defensive side.

Plus, even if you don’t believe that the Cardinals could grab wins against the downward-trending San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, games against the Lions, Panthers, Dolphins, Jets and Giants alone should match the 2019 Cardinals’ win total of 5…

–written by Os Davis

 


Free Money Odds Boost Lock from Mybookie

Saturday, 05 September 2020 14:15 EST

NFLbets previously considered three NFL teams who likely helped their chances for success in 2020 by means of coaching changes. This time around, we’re considering seven teams whose sideline switches may not do any good – or even make matters worse. Adjust bets accordingly. (Odds listed are those currently posted in MyBookie’s “To Win Super Bowl 55” proposition bet.)

From the Your Guess Is As Good As Ours Department are the Tennessee Titans (30/1) and Carolina Panthers (100/1). Incidentally, Titans backers for the 2020 season, in which anything could happen up to and including Ryan Tannehill winning Super Bowl MVP, have got to be loving those odds.

In Carolina, the front office has shifted into fourth gear of rebuilding. At the top are three rookies to the NFL coaching game: Head coach is Matt Rhule of Baylor, who brings with him his Bears DC Phil Snow as well as some 10 others. At offensive coordinator is Joe Brady, who takes a big step up from Florida Gators WRs coach.

Whether or not these mostly young new guns can enjoy immediate success in 2020 is questionable, but two things are certain about these Panthers: a coaching staff from the college ranks will certainly be useful for the NFL draft after a year of no college football, and Christian McCaffrey will be the no. 1 in fantasy football stats in ’20.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the Titans are still without a defensive coordinator, which they’ve been since Dean Pees retired in January. The Tennessee D declined some from its showing in 2018., but the ’19 team generally had a better showing under head coach Mike Vrabel. Should we presume that Vrabel will take over the defense playcalling as well? NFLbets doesn’t trust that enough to label it an “improvement.” Vrabel’s mentor Darth Belichick got away with that, sure – *after he won the Super Bowl already*.

Same goes but even more so for the Los Angeles Rams (55/1). With Wade Phillips retiring out of the defensive coordinator spot, the Rams took on Brandon Staley, the former Denver Broncos LBs coach and seemingly a decent enough hire. For OC, in comes Kevin O’Connell, former offensive coordinator and QBs coach in Washington, who last year headed up the offense dead last in points scored and passing yards.

But good (?) news! Sean “Wunderkind No Longer” McVay will be handling the offensive playcalling with an offense “powered” by his preferred QB Jared Goff (Goff’s got pictures on him, obviously) and with no Todd Gurley, who sadly will ultimately go down as having atrophied for his two years under Jeff Fisher. Hell, O’Connell might even fail right up into that head coaching job by the end of this season as the Rams settle into last place in the NFC West…

Taking over as Chicago Bears (40/1) offensive coordinator is Bill Lazor, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, and … wait a minute, the Bears have an offense?

You know those guys who make terrible head coaches but notably good coordinators? You know, like Wade Phillips. NFLbets would put Pat Shurmur and Jay Gruden, new OCs for the Denver Broncos (40/1) and Jacksonville Jaguars (175/1), respectively, in that group. However, neither has proven himself a miracle worker and the past, and these two offenses might require a team of Jesuses in 2020… will get to prove they’re among that lot in 2020.

And finally, there are the New York Giants (100/1). Former New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge is now head coach, becoming the first NFL head coach to make that leap into the position since John Harbaugh in 2009. Among his new staffers are Jason Garrett as OC and Freddie Kitchens, who has been returned to his level as a TEs coach. So maybe Judge is Harbaugh 2.0, but, likesay, NFLbets doubts it.

–written by Os Davis


Three teams who improved their Super Bowl LV chances with coaching hires

Friday, 21 August 2020 14:03 EST

Prior to any normal NFL season, those making predictions cleverly must account for coaching changes. NFLbets, for one, places well more emphasis on a solid coaching hire than a marquee free-agent signing or high draft pick: We guarantee that in the NFL, head coaches would lead the league in Wins Above Replacement if they were measured by the metric alongside players.

As with any factors in predicting the 2020 season, the effect of coaching changes could well turn out as variable as the lack of homefield fans – but we’re guessing not. Below runs the NFLbets take on three teams who improved their sideline circumstances in offseason 2020. Adjest bets accordingly. (Odds listed are those currently posted in MyBookie’s “To Win Super Bowl 55” proposition bet.)

Member the 2019 Cleveland Browns?Do we dare begin with optimism about the Cleveland Browns (30/1)? Typically, the turnover of head coach and both coordinators indicates a franchise-wide churn is in effect as rebuilding begins but roster-wise, this Browns team is fairly identical to the 2019 version. (‘Member them? The team that was favored to win the AFC?) 

History now shows that Freddie Kitchens, the man promoted from quarterbacks coach, wasn’t exactly the right guy to coach up a squad full of name players including a handful dominant at their position. And so once again the Cleveland front office cleaned house, hiring Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach before his charter flight left San Francisco following the Vikes’ divisional round loss.

At offensive coordinator are Alex Van Pelt, who was Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach last season; Stefanski will reportedly be handling playcalling, however. At defensive coordinator will be Joe woods. In 2019, Woods was DBs coach in San Francisco and was DC for the Denver Broncos in 2017 and ’18. The jury is definitely still out on Van Pelt, but the two-dozen years of experience Woods brings is more than the Browns have seen from, what, their last nine coordinators combined?

Young though Stefanski may be, the Browns’ coaching moves clearly make a step up. Overtaking the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North is another story, but NFLbets’d calculate a couple extra wins for Cleveland in 2020.

Backers of the Washington Football Team (125/1)have certainly been poring over recent Carolina Panthers’ stats ever since their Football Team announced the hiring of “Riverboat Ron” Rivera and his sidekick QB coach-now-OC Scott Turner. Those records show that Rivera’s Panthers had four playoff runs in eight years – but all between 2013 and 2017 – but only once a truly elite offense.

On the defensive side, Washington broke Jack Del Rio out of the cryogenic chamber in which he’d been resting for two NFL seasons. Del Rio is one of those guys who performs significantly better in a coordinator role as opposed to head coaching: As a head coach with the Jaguars and Raiders, he’s just 94-97 in all games, but in four seasons as DC with the Panthers and Broncos, his teams made the playoffs all four years, three times with a top-5 defense in yardage allowed, twice top-5 in points allowed.

In a division with the perpetually underwhelming Dallas Cowboys and (at least since the Super Bowl win) Philadelphia Eagles, this new/old coaching staff alone could get Washington into the race.

Who knows what head coach will ever cure the snakebit Minnesota Vikings (28/1) of their playoff woes, but at least their front office is attempting to keep the team competitive. For 2020, OC Stefanski moved on to Cleveland, while six-year DC George Edwards departed for Dallas. The Vikings brain trust did not panic, though: They instead promoted from within, a decent call considering the team has gone 52-32-1 SU (.617) over the past five years.

Last year’s assistant coach Gary Kubiak becomes Minnesota OC for 2020, while the defensive coordinator duties will be taken on by the tandem of Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson, formerly of the DL and LB coach positions, respectively. While we should all be appropriately skeptical of any duo working a single NFL coaching spot, in this instance the move feels natural as both have been nurtured in Edwards’s defenses. And if continuity proves as important in ’20 as NFLbets thinks it might, the familiarity Minnesota’s keeping can only be a plus.

As for those unlucky turns so many Vikings playoff runs take, that’ll have to remain an unknown. On the other hand, we are talking the 2020 NFL season, a year destined for high weirdness and a bizarre outcome. Cleveland Browns-Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl LV, anyone…?

–written by Os Davis


CFL 2020 season canceled – All bets are off

Tuesday, 18 August 2020 23:14 EST

It’s official: There will be no 2020 CFL season.

The CFL Commissioner’s office announced the cancellation of the entire 18-game regular season and Grey Cup playoffs on Tuesday, August 17, which would have been the exact midpoint of the 20-week 2020 season. For those sick NFL bettors who can stand to restrain themselves from betting on professional football for the eight weeks before the NFL even kicks off – the news is irrelevant. After all, the 2020 NFL season is full steam ahead, and nothing will cancel the games short of a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 on top of the first wave of Covid-20 plus the Earth actually cracking in half to release a horrible planetoid-sized Cthulhu-like Destroyer of Worlds.

In fact, from a purely NFL-centric standpoint, the cancellation of CFL 2020 unleashes about 225 American players – and about the same number of Canadian players – to serve as backups for the inevitable players lost to positive coronavirus tests.

For those of us who dig on Canadian football and/or CFL betting, however, this hardly surprising news is cause for concern. The reason why the large U.S.-based sports leagues can afford to shorten the season, play games before empty stadiums, even enact a bubble environment is because of billion-dollar TV deals. The CFL, along with professional sports leagues, likesay, the American Hockey League and even the again-defunct XFL, are dependent to a (very) large extent on ticket sales.

Indeed, with three markets in which weekly sellouts are far from guaranteed – Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal – and the league cemented into second-best within its sport, the CFL had been running in the red well before coronavirus was doing its work. Back in early May, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie went before a Canadian House of Commons committee to request bailout money, a request ultimately denied

At that time, Ambrosie admitted that the league was looking at $30 million in debt – interestingly just about the same amount former CFL aspirant Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson paid to get XFL 2.0 out of hock – going into the would-be 2020 season and would need $120 million more to keep the league going in ’21 and beyond.

ICFL football done for 2002t’s that “and beyond” which is the truly scary bit. In the dog-eat-dog capitalistic pro sports universe of North America, few charitable bailouts exist for a failing franchise – and no league has ever been granted a bailout. Yet this is the situation the CFL finds itself in today. Though nearly all of the league’s nine franchises have deep, entrenched histories with their communities (the Toronto Argonauts, for example, is the longest continuously run sports franchise in North America), the intertwined public/private partnership such as those enjoyed by European sports clubs doesn’t exist in Canada. On the other hand, the CFL wants to portray itself as a major-league enterprise like the NFL, but without the lucrative advertising sales, business partnerships and, yes, tv contracts that bring in billions.

The recent closures of the ultimately fly-by-night AAF and XFL 2020 were hardly surprising and will ultimately be little more than a footnote in sports history, but the Canadian Football League is nearly as old as its home country itself. The Canadian Football League goes back to a period before the sport was clearly delineated from rugby, never mind decades before the forward pass was developed. And all of it could go poof thanks to incongruities of mid-level pro sports in the 21st century.

This is a sad day in all of sports, and worse yet may be a harbinger for North American sports in the next decade.


If offensive continuity is king in NFL 2020, here are four teams to consider betting

Friday, 14 August 2020 15:53 EST

Betting on pandemic NFL footballPandemic conditions have jiggered the NFL bettor’s mojo for 2020, and NFLbets has been feverishly – don’t worry, it’s not that kind of feverish – been seeking any sort of indicator to help us adjust wagering accordingly. And we discovered an avenue to explore thanks to the Bill Simmons Podcast.

Earlier this week, Simmons chatted with sportswriter/reporter Kevin Clark about the upcoming NFL season, specifically with regard to the recent cancellation of the college football season and just how this potentially quite wacky season might play out. About 21 minutes into the ’cast,  Clark gets Simmons attention – and ours – when riffing on what he believes the secret to winning in 2020 will be:

“I think teams will adjust [to a lack of crowd noise] and they’ll have more dummy calls,” Clark speculated. “I remember when the put the microphone on the center or guard around 2012, and then teams started coaching their quarterbacks or even linemen to start yelling out more dummy calls, because the TV couldn’t pick up on that stuff. And so you’re gonna have the smart teams trying to figure out how to use that to their advantage and speak gibberish.”

He continued, “I have this theory that it’s going to be a very simplified season. So if you have Julio Jones or you have Odell Beckham or you have Michael Thomas, you’re just gonna hand them the ball and the defense won’t be able to tackle them because [of less practice]. When I was running that by folks this weekend, they said, ‘That’s kind of it, but it’s not the whole way. If you have continuity, you want to make things as complicated as possible.’ The teams that are going to win this year are the teams that have been together for four, five, six years, they almost have a sixth sense of where everyone’s going to be and they can run complicated schemes against a bunch of defenses that aren’t going to be able to be complicated.”

Now, that’s something NFLbets can work with. Let’s assume 2020 is an above-average season for scoring (or at least for a good first half of the season as defenses catch up) and that the experience of the offense is key. With these premises, NFLbets would suggest adjusting expectations for the following teams upward. (As always, odds listed in parentheses are those currently on offer in MyBookie’s “To Win Super Bowl 55” proposition bet.)

The Atlanta Falcons (33/1) are Exhibit A in Clark’s argument, and with good reason. Going into 2020, Matt Ryan is the NFL’s longest-tenured starting QB for his present team, and Julio Jones has been his no. 1 receiver for the past nine seasons. As recently as ’18, Jones led the NFL in receiving yards per game and while the Falcons have been through a few OCs since Ryan’s debut in ’08, the offense has nine times been top-10 in total yardage and has never been lower-ranked than no. 16. Here’s to thinking the Falcons will keep defenses hustling all season long.

As long as miracles weren’t expected, Las Vegas Raiders (50/1) backers should be at least pleased with the job Jon Gruden has managed with the Black-and-Silver since becoming head coach. The famed “Quarterback Whisperer” may not have transformed Derek Carr into a shiny new Bradymobile, but most would certainly acknowledge that Carr has certainly very nearly had his talent maximized under Chucky’s tutelage – and this while losing Amari Cooper, then the Raiders’ biggest name on offense.

Continuity among the receivers isn’t great, but Vegas returns all their top-two RBs in Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard, who were both good for over 8.0 yards per catch in ’19, plus last year’s no. 1 WR Tyrell Williams and last season’s breakout TE Darren Waller. Combine these guys with the league’s youngest roster yet relatively low turnover rate of the past three seasons and Vegas could surprise within a fairly weak division.

NFLbets is including the New Orleans Saints (10/1) on this list – with an asterisk. In each of the past three seasons, the Saints have been unhappily bounced from the playoffs due to a fluke play and/or blown call. And since 2008, Peyton ‘n’ Brees have enjoyed an offense top-10 in yardage every season and top-10 in scoring every season except ’10, when they ranked 11th. And superstars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas show no signs of slowing.

Why a timid asterisk, then? It’s Drew Brees, man. NFLbets realizes it’s heretical to call out an aging quarterback before he self-acknowledges his breaking-down body. (Remember Emperor Peyton Manning’s new clothes for the 2015 season? Yeesh.) The truth is that the Saints passing offense managed to top 300 yards just five times in 17 games last season and went a measly 1-3 against playoff teams. New Orleans certainly has the talent to win games in 2020, but one should consider the possibility that Brees won’t necessary be pulling rabbits from hats at the frequency he’s used to.

Finally, as though they needed it, the Kansas City Chiefs (6/1) are worthy of an uptick on this basis as well. Superduperstud QB Patrick Mahomes plays like a man far more veteran in the NFL, and that full season of bench-riding behind Alex Smith is still producing dividends. And factoring into the pandemic conditions the very scary fact that LeSean McCoy and his 646 total yards represents the sole departure from the Kansas City offense for 2020. Odds of 6/1 on these guys might be too long in the time of coronavirus…

–written by Os Davis


Defining homefield advantage (if any) for NFL betting in '20

Tuesday, 11 August 2020 13:36 EST

Betting NFL 2020: homefield advantage?As NFLbets has bemoaned recently, a sharp learning curve will make betting on the NFL in 2020 quite a bit trickier during at very least the first quarter to third of the season. In an attempt to read the tea leaves on what should prove the oddest football season since 1987, NFLbets is again testing out some factors which might(…?) help bettors in ’20.

Since the biggest contast between the no-crowds model of Major League Baseball and the NFL versus  the bubble model of the NBA and NBA is travel, aspects of home field are especially worthy of attention in the upcoming season. (All odds noted are those listed in MyBookie’s “Super Bowl 55 – To Win” proposition bet.)

Consider if you will the effets of…

•  No home crowds. MLB and NBA games may run with an undercurrent of piped-in fan noise overlaid with business-as-usual incidental music, but no apparent difference is made to the players. Whether or not home crowds make a difference, the “Los Angeles” Chargers (40/1) stand to benefit. With maybe (maybe!) a handful of fans at every contest in L.A., the Chargers offense has to resort to tactics like the silent count at home, as was the case in week 15 against the Minnesota Vikings last season. (For the record, the 1-point underdog Chargers were smoked SU/ATS by the Vikes, 39-10.)

You’d also think that the Seattle Seahawks (18/1) would be hampered by the lack of their infamous loud-ass “12th Man” as well: The Carroll & Wilson Seahawks are an impressive 53-16 SU and a decent 38-30-1 ATS in all home games since 2012. But last season? Seattle was just 4-4 SU/2-6 ATS and didn’t even cover a spread at home until week 9. In 2020, we might put more weight on the actual travel visiting teams are making to play the ’Hawks.

•  Homefield advantage/disadvantage. With about a half-dozen games each under their belts, NBA teams are noticing a couple of trends among players: The lack of travel results in more energy, and the bubble state results in more focus. The NFL is taking a page from MLB on scheduling, i.e. not changing a thing, and thus inherent advantages for certain teams should as the Denver Broncos (40/1), who went a nice 5-3 SU/ATS at home, but 2-6 SU/4-4 ATS in away games.

•  And, inevitably, weather conditions. In the time of coronavirus, far too many self-styled experts are barging into opinionating on coronavirus; NFLbets will hardly add to the wad by predicting a timeframe for a vaccine and such. However, we should recall some remedial science. To wit: Covid-19 is an airborne virus like, say, influenza or the common cold. A person becomes more susceptible (or, in the case of the coronavirus, *even* more susceptible) to viruses when his/her immune system is tasked with other matters. Natural defenses can be lowered, for example, by exposure to colder temperatures; this is why most folks are well more likely to get a cold in the wintertime.

So in 2020, we’ll have professional athletes testing their physical limits in a high-contact sport in, likesay, Foxborough, Green Bay, Chicago, Pittsburgh or Buffalo in December with, for all we know, various spikes in cases throughout the U.S. Again, we’re no medical experts, but we’d say more exposure to extreme cold, the more positive tests the team is likely to experience.

We’d start reducing our likelihood of not only the aforementioned teams, but any who play in such climes enough times – so probably the entire AFC East and AFC North straight away. Meanwhile, the big winner in the warm-weather sweepstakes may be – would you know it? – Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+850 and falling). TB and TB play at Denver in week 1, at Chicago in week 3 and at the New York Giants in week 8 on November 2; beyond these, all Bucs games are in Tampa, south of the Mason-Dixon Line or indoors. And make of this what you will, but Brady-led teams playing outdoors in temperatures of 60⁰F or higher are 77-40 SU; not including games at Miami, that rises to 69-31 for a .690 winning percentage.

Nothing like old folks retiring to California, eh…?