NFLbets rants and opinionates on football

Opinions? You bet NFLbets’s got some opinions – strong enough opinions to be called rants, in fact. Because let’s face it: The NFL is fodder for quite a few rants, in terms of both on- and off the field.

For example, take the league’s so-called stand on domestic violence and related issues. To start off the 2018 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback giggled his way out of public shaming on a sexual assault case of three years previously to get a three-game suspension; getting caught smoking marijuana on the first offense gets a six-game suspension. So what is the league saying? Big pharma is at least twice as important as the female half of the population?

How about all that stuff in the mid-2010s about three franchises – two of which claimed fans of above-average loyalty – whose management sought to relocate the teams, come hell or high water. By 2015, management of the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers had all announced intentions to ditch their former homes because on unfavorable stadium deals, i.e. local populations refused to pay extra taxes for a free romper room for incompetent sides. After a dumbshow of a process which the NFL insisted would be objective, all three franchises relocated anyway.

As for Deflategate, well, NFLbets is certainly not set to ally with the Trump-loving New England Patriots, but that little debacle showed just what sort of tomfoolery the NFL’s interests are capable of – even with no evidence, reason or truth behind it. (Bitter lefties might call the Patriots’ punishment karma, except that in the same season QB Tom Brady missed four games, the team won the damn Super Bowl.)

But hey, let’s not forget the on-the-field shenanigans. Most would agree the refereeing is at its all-time worst in the NFL, yet the league has no interest in making the zebras, likesay, actual full-time employees of the league. With instant replay and coach’s challenges now a part of the TV-enslaved game, NFL referees are getting into a nasty laissez-faire habit of letting the replay decide key plays. Except sometimes the ref must make the call – and it’s inevitably botched.

Or how about simultaneously celebrating the bone-crunching, brain-scrambling hits we see every Sunday, yet somehow trying to change the rules to eliminate them? Players are encouraged to destroy but then fined or penalized for doing so; all the better to get more commercial breaks into the telecast, we think.

Or how about the stupid rule which obliges a team which just won the game by scoring a touchdown with zero time remaining on the clock to kick (or at least set up) an utterly unnecessary extra point? At least this will probably change with the expansion of sports betting the US post-2018, but damn is that the stupidest rule ever – good only to screw those betting point spreads and over/unders with a ½-point on ’em.

So yeah, if you’re seeking rants and hot(tish) takes like these, this is the page of NFLbets for you.

Do Major League Baseball’s woes portend badly for 2020 NFL season?

Thursday, 30 July 2020 21:47 EST

The three major North American sports leagues scheduled to resume play have shown mixed results in their startup/restart efforts in the year of coronavirus – but most of all MLB’s troubles concern NFL fans (and bettors!) the most.

The NBA re-tips off the 2019-20 season tonight, July 30, in the Orlando bubble. We’ll have to wait and see how much the physicality and close proximity of players spikes the incidences of coronavirus cases among the teams but since the bubble was sealed (presuming that is the correct verb), the NBA is on a run of 10 days without a new positive case.

Also resuming is the NHL, in two bubbles stationed in Toronto and Edmonton. This league has gone a week without a positive, which some are crediting to Canada’s low rates of Covid-19 relative to the US generally, which in turn can be attributed to … ah, NFLbets isn’t gonna go there…

Then there’s Major League Baseball, who apparently relished the chance to again whiff in the clutch to instead go with the idea that essentially nothing will change with regard to travel or enforcing certain day-to-day activities. Just a week into the 2020 irregular season, the Miami Marlins have tested some 19 players (and counting?) positive, which led to the “postponement” of two games against the Washington Nationals.

Most recently, one, no, now three *staff members* of the Philadelphia Phillies tested positive after their team’s series with Marlins – including an 11-6 win in which Miami was down 17 players to Covid including starters at pitcher, catcher, first base and leftfield. O, and Phillies have now shut down all activity at Veterans Park “until further notice.”

So here’s the NFL, famous for its disregard for player safety and its players well aware of the brevity of career, once again looking to have all the football with the maximum exploitation. One would think that the players of  a contact sport likesay, football or basketball or hockey , would be even more at risk at contracting coronavirus that baseball players. But in their infinite wisdom, the NFL (at least originally) has decided upon having its cake and eating it, too, with no bubble in a full contact sport.

You know how Trump wanted to stop the CDC from releasing test case numbers so that America would appear to have no new cases? Cancellation of the 2020 preseason (and thus a new season of Hard Knocks, o darn) is a good Trumpian tactic to help “prove” that NFL players needn’t worry about coronavirus spread, because there are no cases detected.

And at the one pilot event for football sans social distancing in the time of coronavirus, namely Tampa Bay Buccaneers workouts for Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and 10 of their new teammates, one positive case has resulted – after a handful of coaches and staff also showed positive.

The point of all this from NFLbets’ perspective? If you can find a “Will the 2020 NFL season be played?”, the betting on NO is looking better all the time…

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




I’m really really sorry. I apologize unreservedly … for being a dumbass and betting on my favorite team

Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:38 EST

Advisory: The following has nothing to do specifically with the NFL or NFL betting, but a lesson is reiterated which is of valuable use to the NFL bettor. If only I’d remembered at the time…

Sometimes we all do stupid s*** in Las Vegas. Last time yours truly was out there meeting with El Jefe and assorted sordid types that congregate there every so often, we made a bet. As a Denver Nuggets fan armed with irrational confidence and Nikola Jokic, the bossman bet l’il ol’ me on the relative fortunes of his team against the team of my boyhood fandom, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Through sheer embarrassment, the terms of the wager won’t be detailed here, but the bet involved relative numbers of wins, with a cap on a 10-win difference. The cruel fact that I’ll be paying the maximum has been evident for at least a month now, a bad four weeks filled with nearly daily trash-talking from El Jefe on the subject of my folly.

(Whatever happened to “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” anyway…?)

The prospect of an imminent fat payout apparently isn’t enough for El Jefe, forever, and he’s now demanding an apology appearing here on the pages of NFLbets. He claims that I called him “out of his mind” for backing the Nuggets in the bet, tossing in a characterization of the man as “congenitally insane” to boot.

This is clearly a distortion, NFLbets argued, as I’m clearly one of the most peaceable and uncontroversial folks you’ll meet. And why should I apologize when he’s set to win actual cash? Whereupon the conversation that followed went pretty much precisely like this:

Hey, NFLbets’ll admit that getting hung out a high window was deserved for forgetting an absolutely crucial tip for gambling success: <strong>Never play favorites when the goal is winning money.</strong>

Naturally on that dark day in Vegas was I deceiving myself into thinking that I was thinking objectively about the Lakers. I justified making my fanboy bet with arguments that only Laker fans who’d somehow managed to watch this team eyes uncovered for the past three seasons knew how good these young guys were/are: Brandom Ingram, though slight of build so fearless at driving the paint; Kyle Kuzma, the late first-round sensation with five different shots in his arsenal; Josh Hart, a sneaky sharpshooter coming in off the bench. Hell, I was (and still am) a defender of Ivica Zubac, a guy who came up playing on Team Croatia youth sides with Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja.

As for Lonzo Ball, a player who has attracted a disproportionate amount of vitriol from haters on all sides, the truth is that the lad’s shooting numbers are up while his defensive and passing sills are indisputably top level.

Adding Lebron James – even with ancient Rondo and a grab bag of C-listers joining him in lieu of a second marquee free agent – to this roster alone should have been worth a playoff spot, not to mention hitting the over on the preseason over/under line of 49½ wins. Hell, King James got the Cleveland Cavaliers well far many times with worse rosters than this, right?

Except a not-so-funny thing or 12 happened on the way to the 2018-19 NBA Finals. James Harden and Chris Paul managed to set a speed bump directly in front of the starting gate, getting Rondo and Ingram suspended for several games each after some grade-A trolling from the Rockets.

Then Lebron gets injured – Merry Christmas, Lakers Fans! – and as it turns out, Luke Walton’s miracle run at the helm of the record-setting Golden State Warriors taught him f***-all about coaching defense. As it turns out, having Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green at your behest isn’t actually a strategy. On this, Javale McGee’s 5-foot jumper was left behind in 2018 (if it ever made to, likesay, 2014-15, in the first place, that is), Zubac was traded for nothing and the other young ‘uns may as well have been traded with all the psychological good the Anthony Davis speculation did this team.

As this stifling snowball of death steadily rolled downhill into the fifth level of Lakers hell, well, let’s just say I saw a lot of Ls on the forehead from El Jefe – and said letter did not stand for “Lakers” or “Los Angeles.”

I should have, for I deserved it absolutely and thoroughly. NFL bettors, please remember the simple fact that it literally just does not pay to be a fan, and my frivolous, stupid loss will not have been in vain. So here’s your apology, boss, and I think I’ve learned my lesson.

Unless, of course, you want to go double or nothing on the Butt Nuggets advanced out of the first round of the NBA playoffs…

If you believe in conspiracies and/or game-fixing, you’re betting on the Rams in Super Bowl LIII

Friday, 25 January 2019 09:15 EST

NFL betting conspiraciesAll but the most rational of NFL fans and bettors have wondered just how much in-game tampering has been ordered by league higherups in a game here or there, i.e. “The fix is in!”

NFLbets would say that at least 29 of the league’s 32 teams – we figure the Texans’, Lions’ and Browns’ woes are utterly self-inflicted – can point to specific instances when an entire game was stolen in order to present one narrative or another. The New Orleans Saints can now join the ranks of the screwed, “thanks” to the infamous no-call in the waning minutes of the 2019 NFC Championship Game.

Said no-call was certainly damn egregious, maybe even the worst non-call of all time and all that, but suspiciously bad calls have tuned games to the benefit of the league. Patriots haters and Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders fans can cite the Tuck Rule Game (and ignore the phantom “roughing the quarterback” penalty of the 1976 AFC Divisional). The Seattle Seahawks have Super Bowl XL as an exemplar of league favoritism toward the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Deflate-gate Game presents an interesting example in which both sides could argue victimization by conspiracy.

So if you believe that game-fixing – or, likesay, game result-influencing – exists in the NFL, you’ve gotta love the narrative building around the Los Angeles Rams just in time for Super Bowl LIII.

Start with the pass interference call itself. From the perspective of the NFL bettor, the last quarter perhaps even more of a rollercoaster ride than for fans. As the Saints drove the ball for their last chance at the endzone in regulation time, the score was 20-20; not only would a New Orleans touchdown have flipped every ticket reading “Rams +3½” and “Saints -3½”, but bets on under-56½ would become extinct with a subsequent Rams TD. Instead, we get the no-call, an overtime, and just 9 more points scored.

Why is this relevant? Because you can bet (so to speak) that the majority of the money at the sportsbook was on the Saints; the 3-point spread for the AFC game didn't budge, so the balance of bets was certainly not radically far from 50/50.. As for the Super Bowl, the line of Rams -1 shifted to Patriots -2 wihtin about six hours of its release; guess where most money is on this game, and how much the bookmakers stand to gain from a 3-point Rams SU win...

We can also consider the current situation of the Rams franchise. The Generation X-aged fans of Southern California returned to Rams fandom immediately upon the team’s return to Los Angeles, but the Rams reamin at very best a second-favorite to the Raiders in L.A. and southward. Meanwhile, franchise owner Sam Kroenke is footing the bill for construction of a reported $1 billion dollar stadium facility, and he certainly wants assistance for saving a money-losing NFL franchise. The team’s appearance on Hard Knocks garnered some interest locally, as has the performance of boy wonder head coach Sean McVay.

But this is Los Angeles, man! The world’s largest entertainment factory and second-largest football market, as we were reminded constantly in the years leading up the Rams and Chargers relocations. This team needs more mass media coverage than a freakin’ Chunky Soup commercial with Todd Gurley in it; they need Nick Foles and Aaron Donald and Johnny Hecker to be trading witticisms with Jimmy Kimmel and his ilk. Lemme tell ya, as a resident of South California, a single appearance on the Tonight Show might go further than an NFC Championship Game win with these far-weather fans.

And the opponent for this team, franchise and city to vanquish on the path to glory? Who better than that force of EEEEevil themselves, the New England Patriots?

NFLbets will be detailing later what we believe to be the Rams’ roadmap to victory over the Patriots , but we’ve been saying since the matchup was set that every neutral without a betting stake in the Patriots will be backing the Rams in Atlanta. For the first time this season, the Rams will play before something resembling a home crowd.

And if you think the NFL digs on narratives, how utterly karmically perfect would a Los Angeles Rams victory over the very same coach-and-QB combo that went from plucky underdogs to merciless dominators be? Indescribably so – that’s how much.

And how about the stealth commissioner himself? After getting put in embarrassing and over-complicated positions by the New England franchise since that very first Super Bowl win and Spygate, how much do you think Roger Goodell wants the Patriots to win this game? (Answer: What’s less than zero?)

Finally, consider this. The term “franchise fatigue,” typically applied to another sort of franchise such as Star Wars or Star Trek, has entered fandom’s vernacular in 2018 in reference to those New England Patriots. If such a thing even exists – NFLbets isn’t entirely sure it does in any real sense –

It all seems to add up to a pretty convenient narrative now, doesn’t it? The conspiracy is all in favor of the Los Angeles Rams.

Note to Michael Thomas, Saints: You’re not getting a do-over because you f#*&#*&ing lost

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 14:25 EST

NFLbets couldn’t f*&#*&@ing believe the headline over at Yahoo Sports this morning: Michael Thomas cites NFL rule book, calls on Roger Goodell for a do-over of NFC championship.

Come on, now, seriously?

For one thing, yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre. Goodell is too busy employing the best practices of How Not To Be Seen By The Media, lest he find himself having to answer for another case of domestic violence, franchise relocation or deflated balls, to address this little piddly issue. Besides, when was the last time an NFL game result was overturned? (It may or may not have involved the Pottsville Maroons…)

Secondly, you, Michael Thomas, your guys the New Orleans Saints and your coaching staff – not any member/members of an NFL officiating crew – lost the 2019 NFC Championship Game. Your team scored on its first three possessions, one of which started nearly inside the zone, dominated the first quarter completely and took an early 13-0 lead. And lost.

Your Saints defense, in two drives bookending the fateful non-call, allowed the Rams to run off 18 plays for 130 yards while notching zero tackles for a loss. Jared Goff – a guy who your coaching staff was apparently daring to lead the Rams downfield for the win; why else pass on first down with 1:58 remaining? – complete passes to five different receivers, not one of which has the ball-catching skills as you do, Michael. Goff ended up going 8-of-13 for 133 yards after the third quarter.

And what about Michael Thomas himself? Just nine days ago, pundits were tripping over themselves to label Thomas as The Greatest Wide Receiver in the Game Including Odell Beckham while NFL bettors like yours truly were trying to figure out just how the hell Marcus Peters – who has been brutally bad most of the season – and Aqib Talib were going to handle the man without letting every other Saints WR loose.

Instead, Thomas disappeared in Rams’ zone coverages and somehow became even less relevant when a nickel package was out there. Thomas’s long, a reception of 19 yards, came about 11½ minutes into the game when Drew Brees found him single-“covered” by Peters. After that catch, Thomas caught a whopping two passes.

As though an important game has never been decided on a bad call. All you righteous New Orleans fans can surely recall Robert Meachem dribbling the ball off the Superdome turf in the 2010 NFC Championship Game, yet ultimately credited with a catch that put Garrett Hartley in position to kick the game-winning field goal. Did the Saints and their fans ascribe this win to an unfair call? Of course not! They were instead far more (justifiably) likely to bring up the Vikings’ three lost fumbles, for example.

Thomas’s argument is based on NFL Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1:

“The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which he deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”

And Thomas reckons that the “appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures” are to replay the game at some point before Super Bowl LIII kicks off.

(Incidentally, NFLbets believes that Thomas was given the idea by way of either that morning’s Bill Simmons Podcast or ESPN’s afternoon airing of Pardon the Interruption, both of which mentioned the given rule.)

A replay would be quite the extreme measure indeed and would be utterly unprecedented in NFL history, if not all of American sports history. The closest such instance that NFLbets can recall would probably be Major League Baseball’s so-called Pine Tar Game of 1983 between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees; but that was a regular-season game and for the “replay”, only the final out of the top half of the ninth was required for the replay.

Thomas’s case for a full-on replay seems quixotic at best, beginning with the argument that somehow *this* call in *this* game truly was The Worst Call of All-Time in an age of incessant hyperbole – Geez, what about the Dez Bryant catch/no-catch? How about the 2005 Seattle Seahawks? We can hardly imagine this complaint even getting to an official level. Soon, no one outside the greater New Orleans area will give a damn anyway, and that’s fine.

Why? NFLbets has a go-to line in situations like this, which happen incredibly often and are even more common among the NFL bettor crowd. It goes like this:

If you don’t want to lose because of a bad call by an official, don’t put the game’s outcome in the hands of the officials.

In other words, if you can’t win by two scores and/or give the opposition multiple chances to stay in the game, you should be prepared to lose a close one on a referee’s call. If you go up 13 points on your home field with a top-5 offense led by the most accurate QB of our time, yet that game can still ultimately be decided on a single play, well, you shouldn’t be surprised to lose.

And the record will forever show the New Orleans Saints lost the 2019 NFC Championship Game. Which they did.

Too bad.

(Besides, you can't just re-shoot all those “Saints fans react” clips on YouTube...

NFLbets bets that all you haters missed out on the anti-Tennessee Titans parlay last week

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 14:17 EST

So, yeah, that Music City Miracle 2.0 thing didn’t happen for Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans and thus does their season end on a realistic note rather than flukily sneaking into the playoffs a la the 2017 team – no 5,000-to-1 payout for you!

However, if all you hater bitches out there had the cajones to back up your questioning of NFLbets’ skills would’ve thrown a few Moneys at the anti-Titans Miracle parlay, a bet which would have look like so:

• Houston Texans win (-330) vs Jacksonville;
• New England Patriots (-600) win vs the New York Jets;
• Baltimore Ravens win (-265) vs Cleveland; and
• Indianapolis Colts (-110) at Tennessee.

This would land the bold NFL bettor almost exactly 3/1 odds, with a payout of exactly $299.74 won on a $100 wager. Not exactly millionaire territory, but a nice Sunday at the office to be sure – and a great way to back up that smack we know you’re talking.

Except NFLbets didn’t really endorse the miracle parlay and you didn’t play the anti-Titans parlay, did you…?

Haters lose again.

Jason Witten, ESPN decry domestic violence, promote NFL's institutionalized racism instead

Wednesday, 05 December 2018 14:44 EST

To paraphrase a line from a recent South Park episode, “Jason Witten, will you and the other neo-liberal types knock it off? Don’t you know every time you casually drop that racial slur into your discourse that you make the rest of us look stupid?”

And by “the rest of us”, NFLbets is referring to any fans of or betting on USA football.

This writer’s blood instantly rises to boiling several times a week when researching NFL games and/or cruising the newsfeeds. But since another prime time appearance by the team of high-profile racist/sexist Dan Snyder, I’m busting blood pressure monitors here over the repeated bigotry from professional talking heads who really should show more backbone.
The self-righteousness of Witten and Booger McFarland, among innumerable others all too willing to mindlessly get on the bandwagon of neolib dogma, decrying the potential signing of alleged (innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, right?) monster Reuben Foster. 

After the initial outcry caused by the Washington football club’s announced intention to claim Foster after his release from the San Francisco 49ers, the club’s “brain” trust apparently decided it would be a good idea for VP Doug Williams to go, likesay, chat up a local sports talk radio station. 

Said Williams in part, “Oh yeah, we knew [the backlash] was going to happen, and like I said, rightfully so with all the stuff that is going on in this country. We’ve got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, and if you look at it realistically, they’re still up there. This is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there...”

While mainstream media – not the “liberal media,” for very little real liberalism exists in the mainstream – certainly appreciated Williams’s shading of Donald Trump and everyday sexual harassers, such actions would not stand without harsh commentary that’s certain to influence real change.

With an air of composed indignance, Witten teed off on Washington when the subject of Foster was brought up in the third quarter, game well in hand and a sizable fraction of the audience already tuned out. The quote was later reported in headlines dripping with smugness like the Washington Post’s “Jason Witten says the Redskins ‘used horrendous judgment’ in claiming Reuben Foster” or blatantly (and utterly unjustifiably) triumphant without pretense to objectivity, like MSN News’ “Jason Witten crushes Redskins for claiming Reuben Foster.”

(Hmm, seems to us that, post-“crushing,” the franchise still exists…)

Proclaimed Witten: “I believe the Washington Redskins used horrendous judgment in claiming this guy. And I understand that it’s an ongoing investigation. But my family’s been affected by domestic violence. I understand the anguish that it causes. And you know, young players just have to understand that there is no tolerance for putting your hands on a woman. Period.”

Uh huh, I see. So if the speaker, given a public forum, has been personally affected by a social problem, then it’s legitimate to call out the overriding institution. 

This must be why the noted former white TE has no problems parroting ad infinitum the racial slur that passes for a team name in American professional sports. As with nearly every white American, he was never personally affected the way a marginalized population taunted with a denigrating reminder of genocide is nearly every time they wish to enjoy an NFL game.

“The NFL takes a lot of criticism,” Witten later added between swigs of the league’s kool-aid, “but I do know that they’re working to educate, to provide around-the-clock services for these guys, to understand that you know what, whatever you’ve experienced in your life, you now have a chance to change that” and “I just think it sent the wrong message when the Redskins claimed Reuben Foster, and as I said, I understand that it’s ongoing, but this isn’t his first time with this happening.”

For a brief moment, McFarland seemed like he’d bring some sensitivity to the matter at hand. “We talk about domestic violence in the NFL like it’s an NFL problem. It’s not. It’s a societal problem, and if the NFL really wants to do away with it in their league, they’re going to have to figure out a way to make the punishment a lot tougher.” 

Right, like other pressing societal problems: Racism, respect for one another and such, right, Booger?

He continued, “That way the Redskins –”

Aw, hell.

Then, as is so often the case with this morally rotten organization, more trouble followed. During the game, second-string quarterback Colt McCoy was knocked out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg. Enter Mark “The Butt Fumble” Sanchez to lose the game, followed by reporters who couldn’t wait to ask about their ostensible hero Colin Kaepernick. 

NFLbets has no issues with Kaepernick whatsoever: After all, this is a guy whose stated moral/ethical stances have had actual real-life consequences that, like a true hero, he bore.

Unfortunately, Kaep has become a symbol of the bravery the neolibs media-side would love to show but simply cannot under the pretense of objectivity.

And by “objectivity” here, NFLbets means “the acceptable party line dictated by the corporation issuing the paychacks.”

Some intrepid news types were quick to ask coach Jay Gruden on Monday about the possibility of Kaepernick coming to play for Washington. Gruden gave out the old jockspeak classic about the team going in a different direction (downward, apparently), but later revelations told that higherups had stifled any notions of extending an offer to Kaepernick for political reasons.

Every sports action leads to reaction. ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” was just one of the 18 or so hours’ worth of daily babblefests to address the issue. Tony Kornheiser, who once suggested that the Washington NFL team could keep the name if they changed their logo to a bowl of potato chips, concluded the segment devoted to the Kaep and the Washington mess with “If Colin Kaepernick stands for social justice, can he go to a team that signed Reuben Foster, can he go to a team named ‘the Redskins?’”

Well, geez, Tony, Jason, Booger and the rest of y’all, aren’t you for social justice? Aren’t you just as much against racism as you are against domestic violence? Words are your stock in trade: Don’t you think they mean something? Don’t you feel dirty every time you say the R-word? And if not, why not? Is it possible that you’re as much a victim of the NFL’s institutionalized racism as every other non-Native American? Most importantly, how can you demand that the NFL take social responsibility seriously when you positively reinforce the most obvious symbol of racial inequality in all of American sports, if not the entire popular culture?

No, wait: Let me guess. It’s likely that employees of ESPN, which is owned by Disney and beholden to the NFL by dint of a billion-dollar contract to produce Monday Night Football, are likely to be obliged, under unwritten agreement at least, to put as much positive spin on the NFL as possible. Naturally, ESPN personalities can speak out when the league ham-handles another case of violent physical abuse perpetuated by an NFL player, because that’s bad. But accepting that Washington team name as just another mascot that causes no harm to anyone is correct.

Proof of this came in 2015. As Disney looked to turn the so-called Worldwide Leader into another money-printing machine, layoffs came. The on-website or on-camera personalities that were jettisoned that year were, suspiciously, among those most critical of the NFL: Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd, Keith Olbermann (again) and Gregg Easterbrook, among others. Whether on the league’s blind eye to domestic abuse problems or the covering up of concussion-related issues, such dissent on matters for which the NFL might actually have to produce results to answer accountability is not to be tolerated.

But if you think it’s impossible not to slur Native American folks while still talking about the NFL, catch a few episodes of “Around the Horn.” Without broadcasting the fact, host Tony Reali does show after show in which Snyder et al’s latest follies are discussed regularly and yet *never mentions the racist team name.* Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

In any case, NFLbets has had it up to the frontal lobes with those claiming to care about “issues which affect us all” and proclaiming the “positive effects sports can have on society” while ignoring the incredible insensitivity of the institutionalized racism they celebrate. Against racial inequality and social injustice on all levels? Prove it, big talkers.


NFLbets hates Hue Jackson – There, we said it! (Take the Browns straight up at Cincinnati)

Sunday, 25 November 2018 12:27 EST

OK, NFLbets will state this straight out: We’re calling the below wager an official NFLbets Best Bet for week 12, but we admit that our bet could well be considered mostly irrational – And really, isn’t any wager on a post-Bountygate Gregg Williams-led team mostly irrational? So please feel free to ignore our advice on, and even bet against our picks for…

Cleveland Browns +1 at Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals hello kittyNFLbets is advising NFL bettors who don’t mind gambling on karma a bit to take the Cleveland Browns ML at 1/1 odds at Cincinnati. Not as unpopular a pick as one might guess, this line has gone down from Browns +3½ at some sportsbooks online on Monday. Wait a second – the Cleveland Browns armed with inconsistent quarterback are gaining points from NFL bettors in week 12? What gives?

To be honest, we’re not sure. The Browns are 0-4 SU (2-2 ATS) in away games, and the +1 line essentially makes this line a “pick ’em” unless, of course, it ends in a tie which, given the Browns’ presence, is not entirely unlikely. On the other side are the Bengals, an unspectacular 2-3 ATS at home, but fighting to stay alive in the playoff race, yet not given the ridiculous amount of respect clear also-rans like this year’s Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles have been getting – and they’ve been playing better competition than the Cleveland Browns.

One may point to the Bengals’ injury list, expansive even from an NFL team in week 12. A league-high 11 players are currently on the IR, three more are out, A.J. Green is listed as “doubtful” for this game and up to five now-starters will be playing dinged up. But still, man, this is *the Cleveland Browns*.

So what do the Browns have to their credit? The coaching advantage – and to say (write?) that about a post-Bountygate Gregg Williams-coached team is borderline outrageous, we realize.

The truth is NFLbets hates the free pass that Hue Jackson somehow gets for incompetently coaching two NFL franchises to a combined 11-44-1 record before skipping off to a division rival, reportedly in an unpaid “consulting” role. For Cleveland, Jackson wasted quality time in the careers of could-be superstars such as Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield, Jabril Peppers and Denzel Ward, and for what? A bullshit “when you sit in the chair” moment on Hard Knocks?

So after Browns “management” gave You-Know-Hue more chances (too many) to straighten this team’s hash out than actual wins accumulated (three) for Cleveland, Jackson bolts for his old Cincinnati home, certainly with a nudge-nudge wink-wink agreement exchanging Hue’s wisdom for a phony, made-up position for the club.

NFL bets Cleveland Browns logoBut Williams, who in his own egomaniacal fantasy land, surely imagines himself the victim of Jackson’s tyranny, self-justified in his own belief that all his preseason subversion of club morale was warranted because he, and not Condoleeza Rice, is The Perfect Guy For The Job. Thus do we believe that this is Williams’s own personal Super Bowl and that he will therefore do whatever it takes to vanquish his foe.

(Gregg Williams vs. Marvin Lewis and sidekick Hue Jackson? On a “battle of wits” level, this is just about akin to Donald Trump vs. Kim Jong-il…)

Backing a Williams-led team is tough to stomach, but right now the hate for Hue is too great for NFLbets not to relish his old/new team getting demolished by a former forever laughingstock.

Go Browns!

To those complaining about Todd Gurley’s non-TD: Quit your bitching and stop playing DFS

Monday, 29 October 2018 11:55 EST

Morpheus donEven more predictable than the post-game hyperbole proclaiming the 2018 Los Angeles Rams to be The Greatest X of All-Time or the Greatest Team Since Y were the pitiable lamentations of fantasy football “team” “owners” over the missing pointage Todd Gurley cost them in the final minute.

What was different about this perceived slight was the insistence by mainstream media that Gurley’s brilliant time-expending play that gamblers would be outraged. Within 30 minutes of the final gun, those well-known sports betting experts at the Business Insider had posted an internationally-distributed piece entitled “Todd Gurley stops short of the end zone on final play to swing millions for sports bettors.”

Naturally, this story was devoid of concrete statistics and completely ignored the reality that the Green Bay Packers are consistently a top draw for NFL bettors and Wisconsin homers. NFLbets would guess with littler fear of contradiction that a lot more money was wagered on Green Bay +7½ than the favored L.A. minus the points. Equally as naturally, scads more like stories followed this one, and literally none have a firm grip on current U.S. gambling law.

But NFLbets isn’t here to criticize uninformed journalists. We’re here to rant. Specifically about those small-minded complainers. To those bitching about Todd Gurley for fantasy reasons, grow up and realize that you’re gambling. Quit stroking your ego about when you guessed correctly – that’s right: *guessed*, f^^#%^@ers – and realize that you sound like a slots player bragging about a system. Just for starters, we suppose you knew that James Connor would “outscore” Gurley or that Marvin Jones would have a “better” game than Antonio Brown or that the Rams’ top receiver would be Josh Reynolds. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrre.

That’s the thing, though, isn’t it? Any game in which a poor man’s LeVeon Beall is more highly rewarded than the league’s MVP who demonstrated football intelligence above and beyond is straight-up bunk. Any football-based game in which one may have to “play” without a quarterback due to some random injury is absurd. And football wherein the offensive line has absolutely zero impact on the final outcome is already called f^&@+&@ing flag football.

But we suppose if you didn’t again take note that some dude with an algorithm cruncher and perhaps a passing knowledge of football won your DFS contest again, you probably never will.

Incidentally, none of this is to say that daily fantasy or traditional fantasy football isn’t fun or even worth throwing a few bucks at. But the proper fantasy football player must realize that DFS is straight-up mostly-unskilled gambling. Blaming Todd Gurley, who’s surely saved thousands of players’ bacon every week this season, for your fantasy team’s loss sounds trivial at best and insulting to the intelligence at worst.

As for those who took the Rams -7½ points – a wager that NFLbets emphatically did not prescribe – and might today be whining about Gurley passing up the touchdown, you sound even weaker than the bellyaching DFS losers. First off, you should know that nobody likes “bad beat” stories anyway, and this one would rank pretty damn low on the list regardless.

Secondly, you presumedly took the Rams minus more than a touchdown against a plucky Packers side based at least in part on the game smarts that Sean McVeigh has instilled in his players, a hallmark of all great NFL teams. By taking the uncommonly clever option over the selfish stat-padding choice preferred by fantasy football players, Todd Gurley “screwed” you all for the exact reason you bet on his Rams.

Finally, imagine the alternative: Say Gurley runs in the touchdown and Greg Zuerlein connects on the extra point for a 9-point Rams lead with over one minute to play. At this point, who doesn’t believe that Aaron Rodgers can work the magic again and at least heave-ho for a touchdown? Bam, suddenly it’s a 2-point game again and you lose on Rams -7½ anyway. Plus then you get to hear all the stories from the DFS players about how even though they had Gurley, the team they were playing had Rodgers and/or Davante Adams.

Look, even if you’re purely an NFL bettor with no loyalties to anything but the win ATS, you simply have to appreciate what Gurley and the Rams are doing in 2018. If he cost you a bet at the sportsbook, sorry. If you finished out of the money in DFS, boo hoo. Or as the man himself put it, “Man, forget fantasy and forget Vegas.”

(And you know he wanted to use another f-word in there…)

NFL Kickoff Game: Recommendations if you really must bet (but realize you’re basically gambling)

Thursday, 06 September 2018 15:25 EST

Betting week 1 in the NFLThis is NFLbets’ NFL Betting Tip #3: Do not bet in week one. The principle goes double for the NFL Kickoff Game, on which way too many NFL bettors traditionally tend to believe that the current season will be very much like the previous (spoiler: It won’t be) and wager real money accordingly.

If you realize that there is a high (high!) element of luck involved in betting NFL Kickoff Games, fine – skip to the end of this column to consider NFLbets’ lukewarm recommendation. For everyone else, it’s ranting time…

The doublethink about preseason NFL football

A strange sort of doublethink take over the pervades the NFL bettor’s mind going into week 1. While he/she has spent the past month or two railing about he useless nature of preseason games, of watching games with never-weres that you’ll never see play again, of competition between 10 players for the 53rd spot on the roster. And even most viewers of Hard Knocks would admit that, by its very nature as “reality” tv, much of what makes the HBO-screened episodes is staged and/or exaggerated.

Yet … yet way too many will throw money based on “evidence” from the offseason. Preposterous! How can one believe that preseason games are useless but simultaneously believe real information has been gleaned? How can one freely admit that extremely little actual football comprises each episode of Hard Knocks but also insight they’ve gained insight worth squandering money on? Come on!

The X-factor in week 1 of the NFL: Only about 29 teams Think about it: How many teams will reveal far more in week 1 about the season ahead than at any point in the pre- or regular season? Answer: The great majority, if not all.

Just off the top of NFLbets’ head here … the ostensibly Super Bowl-contending Minnesota Vikings have switched quarterbacks, while the Indianapolis Colts welcome one back they haven’t seen in two years and the Houston Texans return a QB whose incredible rookie season was interrupted. How will these offenses work? How good is the revamped Cleveland Browns roster? How bad is the Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver corps? And how about those Rams? (Recall that most of L.A.’s blue-chippers played not a down in the offseason, yet they’re second-favorite at most sportsbooks to win the Lombardi in February.)

The answer to all these questions is pure conjecture – until the week 1 results are in

Vegas is much better at this than you are

Easy picks in the NFL Kickoff Game? Come on! Vegas is smarter than you are on opening night, and it’s not even close.

Sure, home teams are 12-2 SU in this game since the traditional Thursday night opener has featured the defending Super Bowl champions – but ATS, the home teams/defending Super Bowl Champions/favorites are a more realistic 7-4-4. Decreasing the sample size makes things for NFL bettors look even worse: Favorites are just 3-3-2 in the last eight and have lost the last two games ATS.

The point here: The sportsbooks probably do far better in opening week than their customers. If you insist on covering the Philadelphia Eagles minus the points tonight, they’d better be blowing out the Falcons by the end of the first, like 14-0, or you may as well throw your ticket away at halftime and enjoy the inevitable ensuing 1-point SU Eagles win.

Just don’t do it.

If you must bet, our pick

All signs in the immediate short term, likesay tonight, point in the Atlanta Falcons’ favor. WRs Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins are out due to injury; CB Deiondré Hall and LB Nigel Bradham will miss due to suspension. DE Michael Bennett as well as RBs Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement will play hurt. And of course in lieu of the still-recovering Carson Wentz is Nick Foles, who likely turned back into a pumpkin a short while after the Super Bowl limelight faded.

So NFLbets is thinking about taking the Falcons, particularly with so much action coming in on the Eagles to move this line from as high as Falcons -5½ to as low as -1 – essentially a pick ‘em – on game day, but one tiny fact remains in our collective face: WE REALLY DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THIS TEAM YET. On top of this, NFLets is verrrrrrrry suspicious about all the hype being thrown this Falcons offense supposedly ready to recapture the stat-bending 2016 season.

Except Steve Sarkasian is still the offensive coordinator and, despite shaving an average of over 12 points per game from this offense’s output, should still be expected to provide competence at best, but this team ain’t spinning any scoreboards – particularly against stingy pass defenses like the Eagles’ (appears to be).

So while NFLbets is kinda thinking the Falcons SU and/or -1 might be worth a flutter, we’re thinking the better bet, with one offense hurting and the other Sarkasianed, is to take the under on an O/U of 44½ points – but you really shouldn’t be betting in week 1 at all.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you…