Thursday Night Football betting

Who the hell likes football on Thursday nights? Not coaches or players, who must fear that turnovers and injuries on a shortened week of practice. Not fans who are just as often treated to a mistake-ridden slogfest or a blowout as a watchable game. NFLbets dares say that perhaps not even the paraphernalia creators dig on the NFL Network’s TNF games as much as previously, because clearly NFL Marketing is taking a bath on the exclusive “Color Rush” jerseys. Seriously, who like those things?

The Thursday Night Football games – broadcasts, beginning in 2018, on Fox! – also have a bad reputation among NFL bettors as tough to call. One would expect more variance in these games, of course, given the aforementioned short week and the amplified issues with East Coasts-to-West Coast travel.

But are TNF games in actuality so difficult to predict? Consider the lists below, which include all Thursday night football results during the 2016 and ’17 seasons, adjusted for point spread and including prime-time games on Thanksgiving. Those in bold are games in which the favorite lost SU; those marked with an asterisk (*) are ATS results which differed from the SU results.

New York Jets 37 at Buffalo Bills 30
New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 0
Cincinnati Bengals 14½, Miami Dolphins 7
Arizona Cardinals 29½ at San Francisco 49ers 21
San Diego Chargers 21, Denver Broncos 10
Green Bay Packers 18½, Chicago Bears 10
Tennessee Titans 33, Jacksonville Jaguars 22
Atlanta Falcons 38½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28
Baltimore Ravens 20½, Cleveland Browns 7
*New Orleans Saints 20, Carolina Panthers 19½
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Indianapolis Colts 7
*Minnesota Vikings 15 at Dallas Cowboys 14
Kansas City Chiefs 17½, Oakland Raiders 13
Seattle Seahawks 9, Los Angeles Rams 3
Philadelphia Eagles 22½, New York Giants 19

Houston Texans 13 at Cincinnati Bengals 4
*San Francisco 39, Los Angeles Rams 38
Green Bay Packers 27½, Chicago Bears 14
New England Patriots 15½ at Tampa Bay 14
Philadelphia Eagles 28 at Carolina 20
Oakland Raiders 31, Kansas City Chiefs 27
Baltimore Ravens 37, Miami Dolphins 0
New York Jets 34, Buffalo Bills 18
*Seattle Seahawks 16 at Arizona Cardinals 16
Pittsburgh Steelers 33, Tennessee Titans 17
Los Angeles Chargers 27, Dallas Cowboys 6
Dallas Cowboys 38, Washington 12½
Atlanta Falcons 17½, New Orleans Saints 17
Denver Broncos 22 at Indianapolis Colts 13

Stats we can glean from the above sampling of 29 games:

•  On Thursday nights, underdogs won SU seven times of 29 for a winning percentage of just .241; that’s significantly poorer than the usual .326.

•  Favorites were 18-10-1 ATS for a .638 winning percentage, also a significant difference from the usual .550 mark.  

•  The home team is 19-10 on these Thursday nights and 20-8-1 ATS. Once again, these compare quite favorably (so to speak) to expected results SU historically, which give the home team a 57% to 60% to win SU in a typical NFL game.

So there you have it: Though a slightly small sample size historically, these two seasons should indicate that the trend in Thursday night football games is pretty much as NFLbets suspected: Take your usual safe-betting skills and apply them ever more extremely.

Not so tough after all – in theory…

Betting Giants-Eagles on Thursday Night Football: Which team wants it less?

Thursday, 22 October 2020 14:07 EST

After a one-week absence, Thursday Night Football is back – albeit with another mediocre-looking divisional matchup of low-watt offenses. Though the game itself may not be particularly scintillating, the line sure is. So let’s look into betting on…

New York Giants +5 at Philadelphia Eagles

Right. NFLbets is advising that bettors take the New York Giants +5 at Philadelphia. Now admittedly, some fraction of the impetus behind this bet is Costanza Logic, i.e. always do the opposite; if every betting instinct you have is wrong, than the opposite would be right. NFLbets’ instinct on following the math has resulted in two oh-fers in the past three weeks, thus opposite time temporarily.

Here’s the other minus for the Giants: Offensive coordinator Jason Gerrett. As Dallas Cowboys head coach, Garrett was an incredibly lucrative 6-16 SU/4-18 ATS in all games in which his team had less than seven days to prepare. To his “credit”, Garrett wasn’t even calling plays for the last few years of his tenure for either of his coordinators but this nearly unbelievable career mark must reflect on Garrett somehow. Giants bettors will have to hope that Joe Judge knows what he’s doing on just his second short week as head coach – hey, he’s 1-0 ATS in the stat so far, right…?

(And if you find NFLbets unfair for judging Garrett as incompetent based on one demonstrative stat, well, there’s a reason his offense is statistically bottom-3 in points scored, total yards, passing TDs, passing yards, rushing TDs, rushing yards, first downs, etc.)

Nevertheless, the truth is that these New York Giants are all about the defense. In three games of six has the opposition scored over 19 against the G-men in 2020 and at Dallas in week 5, one Daniel Jones fumble was returned for a TD while another set the Cowboys up on the 17. Statistically, the NY D is average in most areas except getting past the offensive line: The Giants are top-10 in tackles for loss and QB sacks – good enough to go with an injury-riddled OL which has somehow allowed more sacks than even the Cincinnati Bengals.

Speaking (writing?) of injuries, the Eagles’ subtraction is the Giants’ addition. With RB Miles Sanders and TE Zach Ertz out, the Eagles offense loses nearly 33% of its total yardage thus far.

Finally, there’s Doug Pedersen’s career mark. NFLbets typically doesn’t like using statistics such as “record against the division” – There’s just too much movement of players, coaches and coordinators to render such statistics meaningless. However, the NFC East is worthy of exception because this division has been a hallmark of disastrous incompetence since Eli Manning was considered a viable quarterback. The situation has been akin to that of the AFC East since 2003, but without the Patriots.

These numbers say that Pedersen’s Eagles are a respectable (I guess) 18-11 SU against the NFC East since 2016 – but just 13-16 ATS against teams which know the Eagles best, including a 3-5 SU/ATS record against Garrett’s Cowboys.

All in all, this game feels like confirmation that the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles simply aren’t playoff contenders; the Giants ML of +200 looks really good right about now…


NFL Week 5 ATS results: Head coaches come, head coaches go…

Thursday, 15 October 2020 16:18 EST

Not even coronavirus could slow the interesting results of week 5: Both of last year’s Super Bowl participants got 40-burgers run up on ’em, Tom Brady forgot how many downs NFL football plays with, Romeo Crennel coached a team to a win for the first time since 2013 and the Titans reemerged to swamp the 2020 media darlings and get to 4-0.

The following are the results for the week 4 games of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Chicago Bears 20 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15½. Perhaps most shocking of all shocks about the ostensibly shocking Chicago Bears is that NFLbets has yet to hear any talking head on tv or podcast proclaim that the Bears are The Worst 4-1 Team of All-Time. The more rational explanation is that maybe the Lions, Giants, Falcons and, yes, Buccaneers just aren’t that good; neither is Indianapolis, to whom the Bears lost SU/ATS in week 4. Chicago gets Carolina this week, so we’ll tell you in advance that we’re letting it ride on the Panthers.

Carolina Panthers 23 at Atlanta Falcons 13½. Speaking of the Falcons, the Game That Got Dan Quinn And Thomas Dimitroff Fired will one from the 2020 schedule that will be looked upon with much WTF.

Arizona Cardinals 23 at New York Jets 10. Repeat after NFLbets: Do note overestimate the Cardinals … do not overestimate the Cardinals. Remember that the Jets’ sole purpose in the 2020 season appears to be to make the league’s 31 other teams look better. (Must remember, must remember…)

Las Vegas Raiders 40 at Kansas City Chiefs 21
Miami Dolphins 43 at San Francisco 49ers 8½
. This is just about the point in the season when we realize that a) repeating as Super Bowl champions is really difficult (the back-to-back hasn’t happened in 15 years) and b) the Super Bowl hangover really does cripple teams (of the past 18 Super Bowl-losing teams, just 8 made the playoffs the following season and the only such team that improved year-on-year in the regular season after losing the Super Bowl were Kurt Warner’s Cardinals.).

Houston Texans 23½, Jacksonville Jaguars 14. Get this: If the Texans cover the 3½ points at the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, their interim head coach Romeo Crennel (career record SU 29-55) would be lifted to a career record of 42-42-2 ATS? The man is living proof that bookmakers know their business.

Minnesota Vikings 26 at Seattle Seahawks 20½. Unless the Seahawks are peaking early, NFLbets is absolutely considering Seattle the team to beat in the NFC – though should the season play out on relatively the current note, a Seahwaks-Packers NFC conference championship would probably come down to the final drive…

Cleveland Browns 31, Indianapolis Colts 23. not sure when to start believing in the 2020 Cleveland Browns, but this is one bandwagon that NFLbets won’t mind joining late.

New York Giants 34 at Dallas Cowboys 29½
Pittsburgh Steelers 30½, Philadelphia Eagles 29
Los Angeles Rams 23 at Washington FT 10
. Could the luckiest team in football be the 1-3-1 SU/1-4 ATS Philadelphia Eagles? As the Eagles are being torn apart by injuries, age and the magically disappearing Carson Wentz, their 1-3-1 is good enough to keep them in playoff contention: The Giants’ OL is as bad as ever and Saquon Barkley is out; the Football Team likewise has no offense and will continue to lose despite a couple of badasses on the defense; and the Cowboys just lost the QB on the best statistical run in franchise history. All jokes and kidding aside, Philly’s 6-9-1 could be enough to take this infuriating NFC Least…

Los Angeles Chargers 27 at New Orleans Saints 23. Trade Michael Thomas!

Baltimore Ravens 14½, Cincinnati Bengals 3. NFLbets hasn’t broken down the numbers yet, but we believe there is a direct correlation between the number of points the Ravens beat a given team by and that team’s overall quality. And Cincinnati is just not very good.

Tennessee Titans 42, Buffalo Bills 13. So much for breaking up the outlier’s numbers: The Titans are now 4-0 SU/1-3 ATS and NFLbets is just blaming it all on the havoc wreaked by Covid…

–written by Os Davis.

Super Contest, week 5: Five point spread picks from NFLbets’ card

Thursday, 08 October 2020 15:56 EST

Despite some daring (read: thiiiiiiiis shy of insane) picks on our MyBookie Super Contest card last week which sank us, NFLbets is overly optimistic about week 5. Why? Because in their infinite wisdom and mercy, the MyBookie bookies decreed that prize money is paid to top predictors quarterly. In effect, then, despite a mostly brutal opening four weeks’ worth of pick-fiving, NFLbets is currently tied for first at 0-0-0 going into week 5. Nice.

So without further exposition, the following are NFL Bets’ five picks in the MB Super Contest.

Best bet: Pittsburgh Steelers -7 vs Philadelphia Eagles. Whether caused by the Covid-19 situation, the general evolution of the game into pass-wackiness, poorer player development in college or some combination thereof, the truth is that many NFL games in 2020 will come down to simple offense vs. offense.

This game is such a case. To cite just one stat, Carson Wentz leads the league with 7 interceptions through four games and the Eagles are second-worst in turnovers; the Steelers bring a top-10 rushing offense and a QB who’s thrown just 1 pick – albeit in three games. P.S. “Three games” means Pittsburgh is essentially coming off a bye week.

Seattle Seahawks -7 vs Minnesota Vikings. Maybe NFLbets should be warier about these pointspreads of 7 or more after last week’s debacle but the clever NFL bettor knows that if one trend should be completely ignored, it should be one’s own trends.

To wit: NFLbets suspects we bet on the Seahawks way too often and overestimate Seattle’s homefield advantage (particularly given the team’s current 4-7 ATS run in home games), but this offense is humming at 31 points minimum per game in 2020 and just might go for 40 here.  

Cleveland Browns +1½ vs Indianapolis Colts. Statistically, the Colts defense is no. 1 in quite a few areas – points allowed, first downs allowed, interceptions and net yards per pass attempt among them – but considering the schedule (at Minshew, vs Cousins, vs Darnold, at post-midnight Cinderella Foles) and the fact that it’s 2020, welllllll … as for betting on Cleveland to essentially win is a risky proposition: As demonstrated last week, the Browns have the talent to score in bunches, but will they produce…? They is way, NFLbets supposes, they call it gambling.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3½ vs Chicago Bears. How overrated can Nick Foles and these Chicago Bears get? Maybe, like NFLbets, the sportsbooks are considering homefield advantage as a factor, but can the absence of O.J. Howard be worth this much when Tom Brady connected with 9 receivers last week, including 5 he hit for touchdowns? Against a team that scored 11 last week…? Come on.

Carolina Panthers +1 at Atlanta Falcons. NFLbets realizes these NFC South games should generally be considered stayaways, but we’re rethinking due to scintillating play by the new-look Panthers and rookie-led coaching staff in addition to the daggers the Falcons have taken this season like clockwork. This should be the last week the sportsbook underrates the Panthers; Carolina’s been the underdog for all five games, but host the Bears in week 6…

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–written by Os Davis

NFL Week 4 ATS results: Big wins for Bengals, Bills, chaos and disorder

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 18:50 EST

In week 4, Covid-19 officially reared its virulent head in the 2020 NFL season after hanging over everything for the entirety thus far. At least coronavirus is making NFL betting a little simpler by removing homefield advantage even further out of the equation that in the 2010s: Home teams went 5-10 SU and 6-9 ATS last week, dragging homers down to 31-31-1 SU (no really) and 29-34 ATS on the season. Plus, for the first time in forever, the over didn’t dominate the over/under lines, going 7-7-1.

Compared to the rest of the weeks in this NFL season – such as it could well be – week 4 may be the last normalcy we see in ’20. Hope we can refund all those Super Bowl preseason props…

The following are the results for the week 4 games of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Covid 19, Tennessee Titans 0. The 2020 NFL season was build on the unsteady foundation of NFL fans’ willing delusion and the desperation of players to squeeze out every playing minute of a short professional career. After news of a coronavirus outbreak among Titans players and staff last week, that shaky structure is positively tremulous.

As in Major League Baseball, the Titans’ Covid cases (and soon thereafter the Patriots’) forced the league to first postpone until later in the week, then in the season, the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In week 5, Bills-Titans, Raiders-Chiefs, Dolphins-49ers, Broncos-Patriots are in doubt. Should the rollover effect of contagion from one team to their opposition continue, all games will be cancelled by week 8.

So, NFLbets supposes, enjoy it while it lasts!

Denver Broncos 37 at New York Jets 27. You can tell the under is particularly beleaguered in 2020 when the Broncos trot out a third-string quarterback and the Jets steadfastly remain the Jets, yet the cellar-dwellers still put together 65 points.

Indianapolis Colts 15½ at Chicago Bears 11. Though, on the other hand, Colts-Bears was a classic destined-to-go-under game. And now that Nick Foles has at least temporarily ran out of magic dust, we might yet see many more unders from these two in 2020.

Philadelphia Eagles 25 at San Francisco 49ers 11½
Cleveland Browns 49 at Dallas Cowboys 34½
New York Giants 9 at Los Angeles Rams 3½
Washington FT 17, Baltimore Ravens 16½
. Just in case you’re craving the “old normal” (That would be the opposite of the “new normal”, right?), go ahead and follow the NFC East for the rest of the season. Right now, Philadelphia’s weakass tie to Cincinnati in week 3 has them at 1-2-1 SU and in first place in the division.

NFL bettors, on the other hand, may enjoy betting against the NFC East until the interdivisional games hit the schedule: The NFC East combined, despite the three ATS wins last week, is still a combined 5-11 ATS against the league’s other 28 teams, and the Cowboys are 0-4 ATS all by their lonesomes. The NFL can’t expand the playoffs enough for this division, it seems…

Cincinnati Bengals 32, Jacksonville Jaguars 25. Joe Burrow, who’s beginning to resemble a one-man show in Cincinnati, finally got his first NFL win with the Bengals – and the expression “a W’s a W” has never been truer.

Carolina Panthers 31, Arizona Cardinals 18. Teddy Bridgewater for MVP!

Seattle Seahawks 26½ at Miami Dolphins 23. Ever since the scintallating Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl, NFLbets fears overrating the Seahawks. Nevertheless, we always end up betting them to our own detriment – this was particularly egregious in 2019, when Seattle went 7-10-1 ATS in all games, including a still-baffling 4-4 SU/2-6 ATS at home. For the nonce, however, there appears to be no overrating these Seahawks.

Minnesota Vikings 31 at Houston Texans 19½
Green Bay Packers 25, Atlanta Falcons 16
New Orleans Saints 32 at Detroit Lions 29
. Bill O’Brien became the first coaching casualty of the NFL season after another limp Texans loss. Meanwhile, fans of the Lions, Falcons and Jets are wondering, “What doesn’t O’Brien have that our coach does…?”

“Los Angeles” Chargers 31 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30½. Four games into the season and Tampa Bay Tom Brady finally put in a decent showing – especially if you’re willing to overlook the pick-six. The hype should be on the border of unbearable for this week’s game at Chicago, but the team’s first true test is in week 6 when they meet Green Bay.

Buffalo Bills 27 at Las Vegas Raiders 23. Look, all the bandwagoneering the Bills are experiencing is great and all, and NFLbets seeks not to disparage the good vibes. Though we just can’t stop thinking that the Bills are going to get the chance to become the first franchise to go 0-5 in Super Bowls. Especially if we bet on them…

Kansas City Chiefs 15½, New England Patriots 10. Goddamn it, where was the reporter asking Bill Belichick whether a field goal at the end of the first half would have changed the complexion of the game for the Patriots? Who wouldn’t have paid good money for that reaction?

NFL results Against the Spread (ATS): What NFLbets learned in week 3

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 11:55 EST

What NFLbets learned in week 4: Miami and Carolina aren’t quite that bad, Denver and the Chargers are.

  • Cincinnati’s on the upswing, Philadelphia’s on the downswing and hastily accelerating.
  • The Packers are the over/under breakers in 2020 and the lines will begin to reflect this.
  • Also Seattle.
  • Buffalo is for real. At least until the (extended!) playoffs begin, though we can’t imagine Belichick not pulling out all stops to prevent the Bills from winning the AFC East.
  • Arizona’s final SU win-loss record will be worse than most of us thought – a team can’t take an L to Detroit while trying to stay in the 2020 NFC West race.
  • And finally, we may never bet a Titans game for the rest of the season … or at least until next Sunday.

The following are the results for the week 3 games of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Miami Dolphins 31 at Jacksonville Jaguars 10½. Have both of these teams been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet? On the other hand, NFLbets supposes that the 2020 Miami Dolphins aren’t *that* bad – figure the Fins to go 5-11 SU/6-10 ATS…

Chicago Bears 30 at Atlanta Falcons 23½. What the bloody hell is going on with the post-Super Bowl LI Falcons? NFL bets has postulated several theories:

  1. Dan Quinn is trying to pull some bizarre meta-goof on the Atlanta Falcons franchise and quite possibly the entire NFL and its fandom.
  2. Dan Quinn has been bought off by large-scale gambling concerns and thus deliberately throws these games.
  3. Dan Quinn literally has PTSD caused by the panic-inducing onslaught of Bill Belichick and his EEEeevil New England Patriots.
  4. Dan Quinn just isn’t a very good head coach right now.
  5. His players have completely lost confidence and/or given up on Dan Quinn.

Obviously, the best move for the Falcons to make is to keep him coaching for at least two more weeks. Obviously. But how can he top the collapses of the past two weeks?

Cincinnati Bengals 23 at Philadelphia Eagles 17½. Looking back, the SU tie makes a lot of sense: Joe Burrow and the Bengals are at that stage in their ascension to competitiveness where they’re tying games; Carson Wentz and the Eagles are meanwhile at the parallel stage in their decline.

Carolina Panthers 21 at “Los Angeles” Chargers 10. We may have to begin taking the Panthers seriously. Okay, semi-seriously.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22 at Denver Broncos 10
San Francisco 49ers 33 at New York Giants 9
Indianapolis Colts 23½, New York Jets 7
. “Which New York football team (FT?) is worse, ask a zillion talking heads, podcasters and online writers, with varying levels of jokiness. Well, for NFLbets’ purposes next week, we’re saying the Giants. Why? They’re getting nearly two TDs at the Los Angeles Rams and they’re not even gonna cover that. The Jets in week 4 are +3½ at home against the Denver Broncos, who are just about as likely to go 1-15 as the New Yorkers.

Detroit Lions 26 at Arizona Cardinals 18½. So much for that Kyler Murray-for-MVP talk…

Cleveland Browns 26½, Washington Football Team 20. Since management in Washington appears deadest on the “Washington Football Team” name, can we Europeanize that for the sake of coolness? You know, like F(ootball) C(lub) Barcelona – They could be Washington FT. They should be Washington FT. NFLbets is calling them Washington FT.

Seattle Seahawks 32½, Dallas Cowboys 31. Yeeeah, that preseason bet NFLbets has on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl is looking pretty useless right about now…

Buffalo Bills 33½, Los Angeles Rams 32. How can Aaron Donald turn in such a dominant performance, but the defense still gives up 35 points and the team loses? How does a team score 28 unanswered points in the second half and lose? Worst of all, how does an ostensible Super Bowl contender with a ridiculous force of nature like Aaron Donald be covering the spread with 30 seconds left and then blow our bet? How, I ask you, HOW?!?!?!?!?? Not that we’re bitter or anything…

Minnesota Vikings 30, Tennessee Titans 28. No, NFLbets cannot explain the Titans’ maddening 3-0 SU/0-3 ATS record thus far. The bad news is that Tennessee is up to +2 versus Pittsburgh in week 4; this makes the logical bet of taking Titans plus the points along with the Steelers money line a bit of a tricky proposition – so to speak.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24½, Houston Texans 21. And this result sets up the match between the 3-0 SU Steelers and 3-0 SU Titans – but also the 0-3 SU Vikings and 0-3 SU Texans. And if you think we’re even considering betting that Texans-Vikings game … wait a minute, Texans -3½? Hmmm…

Green Bay Packers 37 at New Orleans Saints 26½. Geez, Green Bay probably doesn’t have to be quite this good to win the NFC North, but it should make betting the over in Packers games easy for a while.

New England Patriots 29, Las Vegas Raiders 20. If any team can solve the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs, it’s these Patriots, who are running the ball at will on offense and are tops in the league in turnovers on defense…

Kansas City Chiefs 34, Baltimore Ravens 16½. …ah, who are we kidding? This Chiefs offense appears unstoppable – or at least as infallible as the 1999 St. Louis Rams. In week 4, the Patriots (or at least those betting on the Patriots) might consider covering the spread (New England +7) and/or keeping the score under 54 total points a moral victory. Damn, these Chiefs are good.

–written by Os Davis



NFL week 2 ATS results: Normalcy returns as visitors and underdogs dominate ATS

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 15:50 EST

All right, now *this* is the kind of NFL betting that NFLbets expects! In week 2 of the 2020 season, things returned to about as normal as they can get in the time of coronavirus – and that means point spreads were too high and homefield advantage is nearly as nonexistent as it was in ’19, when home teams went 106-140-10 ATS for a winning percentage of .434.

In week 2, home teams were 9-7 ATS and a whopping seven SU losers won ATS. While only two underdogs – the Los Angeles Rams (who should have been the favorites) and the Las Vegas Raiders –won outright in week 2, 9 ’dogs covered and New England missed earning a push by a single point. Now this is some normalcy. Sort of.

The following are the results for week 2 of the 2020 NFL season, adjusted for the point spread. Game results listed in italics are those for which the SU and ATS result differed.

Cincinnati Bengals 30 at Cleveland Browns 29. Awesomeness of Joe Burrow aside – Dude, he threw like 61 passes without an interception, dude! – NFLbets is just happy for the man’s perseverance in the fourth quarter to put together a 75-yeard drive and score the 2020 season’s best garbage-time spread-covering TD so far.

Los Angeles Rams 35½ at Philadelphia Eagles 19. NFLbets is still baffled by what happened with the fluctuating point spread on this game. History will forever record the Rams went into this game with a clearly playoff-missing Eagles team as a 1½- or 2-point favorite. History is weird.

San Francisco 49ers 24 at New York Jets 13. From the Winning The Battle Losing The War Department are the 49ers, who will definitely be without Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Reheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, and probably without Jimmy Garoppolo for week 3 based on injuries taken in this game. Meanwhile, not even the Dolphins, it seems, can save the Jets from 0-16 this year.

Atlanta Falcons 39 at Dallas Cowboys 37. In blowing a 16-point fourh-quarter lead and a 98% win probability, the Falcons looked like a Super Bowl team. Unfortunately, that team is the 2016 Atlanta Falcons…

Arizona Cardinals 22½, Washington Football Team 15. Daniel Snyder may have finally earned himself some karmic points for dropping his franchise’s racist moniker, but all the karma in this plane of existence clearly won’t be enough to stop what Kyler Murray has going on in Phoenix…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23½, Carolina Panthers 17. On the other hand, the Panthers in week 2 may have disproved the existence of karma. After the brand-new coaching staff agreed the goal was not to tank the season despite a roster replete with unknowns, the team’s sole bona fide superstar Christian McCaffrey is out for several games minimum.

New York Giants 13 at Chicago Bears 12½. Now combine the McCaffrey injury to the end of Saquon Barkley’s season, and you’ll understand why NFLbets doesn’t play that fantasy football shit.

Indianapolis Colts 24½, Minnesota Vikings 11. So … the Vikings are playing in 2020 for the sole purpose of making their opposition look good, right?

Baltimore Ravens 25½ at Houston Texans 11. At eight sacks allowed in the first two games, the Texans are again putting the “offensive” in offensive line. Houston is now on pace to give up 64 sacks for the season, hardly as outrageous a number as it appears at first glance: The Texans allowed 62 in 2018. As he’s already racked up an incredible 133 sacks in 40 games played, the Texans QB is worthy of the sobriquet “Poor DeShaun Watson” – except he’s getting paid quite well.

Green Bay Packers 35, Detroit Lions 21. NFL fans have complained for years that one reason the Patriots have stayed competitive for two decades plus is due to the perpetual weakness of their division mates. This year, it’s clear that the Packers are playing in an AFC East all their own…

Denver Broncos 21 at Pittsburgh Steelers 20. Poster child for Covid-19 wreaking havoc with the NFL? At 0-2 SU but 2-0 ATS, it’s gotta be the Denver Broncos…

Jacksonville Jaguars 30 at Tennessee Titans 26. …unless it’s the Tennessee Titans, now 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS. As of this writing, they’re giving 2½ to the just terrible Vikings in Minnesota. A few more spreads like these, and NFLbets’ll have to swear off betting the Titans for the rest of 2020…

Miami Dolphins 31, Buffalo Bills 22½. So the Bills could well be a playoff team. They might even win the AFC East for the first time since 1995 – but these point spreads have got to come down a bit, eh…?

Seattle Seahwaks 31, New England Patriots 30. This was another dandy between the Seahawks and Patriots and, though seeming more probable every week, NFLbets is rooting against a Seattle-New England matchup in Super Bowl LV. Who wants to predict that outcome?

“Los Angeles” Chargers 20, Kansas City Chiefs 14½. NFLbets wishes we had significant insight into this game, but we’re still trying to parse just what the hell went on here. We can’t possibly be supposed to believe that the loss of Sammy Watkins destroys the explosiveness of the Chiefs offense, nor that the Chargers D is lights-out against the pass. We’d chalk it up to homefield advantage, but…

Las Vegas Raiders 34, New Orleans Saints 20. Fanlessness or no, Nevadans are certainly happier with Raiders Fever than the coronavirus. Chucky lives!

–written by Os Davis

We’re on to week 2 of the Super Contest…

Thursday, 17 September 2020 15:33 EST

There are times when the Belichick philosophy comes in handy for NFL bettors. Like after a week 1 when your My Bookie Super Contestcard goes 0-4-1 and only then because you got the SU-winning/ATS-losing Tennessee Titans at -3 instead of at -2½. So as The Dark Lord says, “We’re on to week 2.”

Pick of the week: Kansas City Chiefs +8½ at “Los Angeles” Chargers. Look, you watched the NFL kickoff game on Thursday Night Football. You saw how scoreboard-spinningly efficient this Kansas City offense is – it was like week 22 of the 2019 season out there, for Lombardi’s sake. Do you believe the Chargers, who needed 47½ minutes to score a touchdown against the Bengals in week 1, can keep pace with Mahomes & Co.? Of course you don’t.

Cincinnati Bengals +6 at Cleveland Browns. Can you say “backlash”? Sure, the Ravens, current favorite to win the Super Bowl, were the ones smoking the Browns 38-6 last week – but the truth is that the Browns got smoked so hard the bandwagon jackknifed on the highway and spilled all occupants. And why wouldn’t Joe Burrow’s first NFL win come over the Cleveland Browns?

Los Angeles Rams pick ’em at Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles may have unwittingly handed over the keys for more than a temporary spell to the NFC East in the second half of their game against Washington FT; across the board, Philly looked outguessed, outcoached and outclassed. The offense, incidentally, has scored 17 points or fewer in three of the last four games. On top of this, consider that Sean McVay’s Rams are 6-1 SU/ATS in the Eastern Time Zone. Unfortunately, Money Line (ML) bets are off at My Bookie for this game, but a -105 payout on the current line of Rams -1 is a fine deal.

Buffalo Bills -6 at Miami Dolphins. Talking heads like to temper overreaction to week 1 results with “It’s just one week.” Except it’s not just one week. It’s week 1, after which we have far more information about all these teams than going into week 1, at which point we had, likesay, zero information – perhaps even less than zero in 2020. Week 1 certainly reinforced to those paying attention the prospects of the Buffalo Bills’ playoff bid. Against what looks like a top-3 defense, the Dolphins meanwhile bring, um, fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who still hasn’t figured out how to brain the ball to his receivers.

Carolina Panthers +8½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After what we saw from “Tompa Bay” last week, 8½ points is seriously way too much to be giving a team that went for 30 last week. In proactive response to (completely justifiable) argument that the Panthers’ opposition was the Las Vegas Raiders, who in 2019 were 31st overall in defensive DVOA, go ahead and guess what team placed 32nd in that category. Hint: The initials are T.B.

Substitute pick: In case you missed getting in a card before the Thursday Night Football game or you simply don’t like one of our picks, we’d also suggest Green Bay -6½ vs the Detroit Lions. Matt Patricia’s Lions stayed true to form in week 1; Patricia is now 9-23-1 SU/15-18 ATS as Detroit head coach, and little evidence suggests that the 2020 Lions are any better than a 5-11 team, even with Matt Stafford at 100%. Interestingly enough, Patricia's Lions are 4-0 ATS against Green Bay, but come on now...

–written by Os Davis

The top 5 Biggest Losers in NFL betting, 2019-20

Monday, 03 February 2020 14:58 EST

So no matter which side you backed in Super Bowl LIV, you probably lost money in prop betting or an the over/under, thanks to underwhelming statistical performances all around and an outcome few expected – just repeat the mantra “that’s why they call it gambling” and get back on the horse. (Assuming you didn’t put the horse on San Francisco 49ers +1½…)

In the meantime, under the proviso that “misery loves company,” NFLbets’ll attempt to cheer you up with a list of folks who lost bigger and harder than you did. Following our first annual Top 5 Losers in NFL Betting list. Happy schadenfreude!

Honorable mention. Howard Ratner. The protagonist of Uncut Gems, essentially the sports bettor’s Trainspotting, cannot technically be included in this list because ol’ Howie’s poison was NBA betting and because he’s, likesay, fictional. However, this character’s status as a big-time loser cannot be underestimated. Even when hitting an incredibly stupid three-bet parlay for upward of $1 million, he still manages to lose his shop and (SPOILERS!) his life right there on Netflix in front of everyone. Combine with the Academy’s snub of Adam Sandler for an Oscar nomination – to be fair, a very strong five make up the nominees in this category this year – and it adds up to a big L.

5. Patrick Mahomes bettors. Those expecting big returns from Kansas City Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV proposition bets got burned all over the place, as Mahomes passed for less than 300 yards, had zero TD passes and threw and interception. But at least until the 4th quarter, he had crept over the 33½ to 36½ yards to cover on most “Pat Mahomes rushing yards” props; then came three successive kneeldowns to subtract 15 yards and bam went all those bets as well. Mahomes’s performance was pretty negative for those wagering on him, but those kneeldowns finished ’em off: At least four major US sportsbooks reported that between 66% and 75% of bets in this prop had been put on the over.

4. Jade Roper Tolbert. Kicking off year 2020 was the sordid tale of former Bachelor in Paradise stars who may or may not have cheated at online fantasy football and thus were denied a $1 million grand prize won during a wild-card weekend contest hosted by Draft Kings. Tanner and Jade both entered their max 150 entries in the contest, but after Jade was congratulated for her first-place finish, an investigation by DK revealed that every one of Jade’s and husband Tanner’s entries were unique – quite a coincidence. Naturally, Tanner took to Twitter to cry sexism; no matter: Citing the zillions-to-1 odds required for 300 unique entries to be filed honestly, DK ultimately rescinded the $1 million. Just goes to show: DFS is pure gambling.  

3. Mattress Mack. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is the embodiment of the gambler with far more money than brain. Like Howard Ratner, Mattress Mack’s main area of betting is outside football; however, McIngvale’s story should be a lot more directly useful to the average NFL bettor than does Ranter’s. As an unabashed fan of the Houston Astros, McIngvale lost some $13 million alone in bets on the Astros to win the World Series – before losing to the Washington Nationals. As it turns out, McIngvale had offered a refund for the full price of a mattress from any of his Texas furniture stores if the Astros won the World Series and $13 million would have covered that promise financially with a profit. The lesson for football bettors: Hedging doesn’t pay.

2. Josh Shaw. On November 10 at Caesars sportsbook in Las Vegas, Josh Shaw placed at least one odd parlay involving three second-half point spreads and lost. Happens every Sunday during NFL season, right? Yes, but. As it turns out, Shaw was under contract with the Arizona Cardinals and, when the illicit wager was discovered, earned himself an open-ended suspension from the league. Worse yet, one of the ends of the parlay had the Cardinals on the losing side. Still worse yet, the Cardinals covered the second-half spread, but lost SU and busted Shaw’s parlay. Dude, it was the Buccaneers – you should’ve taken the over…

1. Anybody who bet on the Cleveland Browns at season’s beginning. NFLbets is not counted among the lot who figured a team which blew its last realistic shot at a Super Bowl in 1988 and was two seasons removed from an 0-16 finish – and so could harangue with impunity, but we’ll spare you. After all, the embarrassment of throwing good money at a team led by a QBs coach, “powered” by a guy who seemed to have dropped football awareness from his retinue altogether, featuring a helmet-swinging psychopath and a prima donna WR who taught teammates only to jokingly ask for trades to other teams should be enough. How the hell were these guys getting better odds than the Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in the preseason? 2019 may have put NFL bettors off the Browns permanently. (Now watch the 2020 Cleveland Browns win Super Bowl LV starting the eason at 80/1. We may already have an early entry for next year’s list...)

–written by Os Davis

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NFL week 13 ATS results: Even the losers…

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 12:46 EST

You know what's great about NFL betting? (Well, one thing that's great about NFL betting.) That, as Tom Petty once crooned, even the losers get lucky sometimes. Judging NFL teams' performance Against The Spread (ATS) can be far more illustrative of their seasons.

For example, the Chicago Bears' Cinderella story of last season -- until the doink-doink, that is -- was reflected in the team's league-best 12-5 win-loss record ATS. To this point in the 2019 NFL season, the leader on the ATS standings board is the Buffalo Bills at 8-3-1; going into week 14, the Bills appear poised to be the lone truly surprising playoff team.

Rounding out the top 7 are the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams at 8-4 ATS, along with the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals each at 7-4-1 ATS. With the exception of the Rams, this half-dozen has also exceeded expectations to a measurable degree, i.e. wins against the spread.

(Incidentally, a further oddity within the 2019 Rams season is the team's insane 6-1 ATS in games outside of Los Angeles.)

Looking at the NFL through bettors’ eyes can even make the execrable NFC East look good -- well ... better, anyway. These four teams are a pathetic 10-26 SU (a .278 winning percentage) combined against the league's 28 other teams. Against the spread, though, they're 15-21 (.417)!

Okay, we tried.

NFLbets’ roundup of week 13 results with scores adjusted for point spreads runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

• Chicago Bears 24 at Detroit Lions 22
• Buffalo Bills 26 at Dallas Cowboys 8½
• New Orleans Saints 26 at Atlanta Falcons 25. Hope you killed it on Thanksgiving like NFLbets did, despite the anomaly of all three away teams winning ATS.

• Houston Texans 28, New England Patriots 18½.
• Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Cleveland Browns 12. Those of you already looking at playoff props take note: Pittsburgh is now looking at a four-game stretch which includes three games away, where they’re 2-3 SU (1-4 ATS). Meanwhile, the Patriots, as though desperately needing a break from the league, have three of four at home to close out the season.

• Tennessee Titans 30 at Indianapolis Colts 17. One more time: Don’t bet these AFC South games – unless you’re taking the under in a Jaguars game.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 at Jacksonville Jaguars 11. Like we said. Also, has anyone informed the Jacksonville front office and/or medical staff that the Jaguars have, likesay, zero chance at making a run at this thing and thus have no need to rush back Nick “Miracle Worker” Foles in 2019? Come on now…

• Cincinnati Bengals 22, New York Jets 3½. The Jets put together three consecutive 34-point games against bad or fading teams (the Giants, Washington, Oakland/Las Vegas) before managing a whopping 6 at home against the heretofore winless Bengals. Time to get off that bandwagon, NFL bettors.

• Green Bay Packers 27½ at New York Giants 13. Likewise, did anyone put good money down on the Giants in this one? Next time, just send it to Os Davis c/o this website, mmmkay?

• Los Angeles Rams 31½ at Arizona Cardinals 7. Insanely enough, as the Seahawks took the lead in the NFC West, they also helped keep the Rams in the race for the final playoff spot. What should make NFL bettors verrrrrrrrry hesitant to bet on the Rams the rest of the way – aside from Jared Goff, of course – is that 6-1 ATS record away from L.A.; two of the four games remaining are away, and NFLbets is expecting them to lose both ATS.

• San Francisco 49ers 17 at Baltimore Ravens 14. Here’s another great thing about NFL betting: Hilarity often ensues in the closing seconds of nearly any game with a score within a couple TDs’ worth of scoring differential.

If you bet on the 49ers +3½ or more, you spent over 59 minutes pulling for San Francisco … until Justin Tucker lined up for a FG to break the 17-17 tie. At that point, your allegiance suddenly shifted to the Ravens so that the game ends on a Ravens SU win but ATS loss.

Meanwhile, if you had the Ravens -3½ or more, your former backing of the Ravens was just as quickly blown away when Tucker trotted out. At 17-17, the only way your bet had a chance of hitting was for Tucker to botch the field goal attempt, have the game go into overtime and the Ravens win by a touchdown.

• Kansas City Chiefs 28½, Oakland Raiders 9. Don’t give up on the Raiders sneaking into the AFC playoffs just yet: They’re 6-1 SU against sub-.500 teams, and three of the last four (vs Jacksonville, at Chargers, at Denver) are also against losing teams. Hold up the crossout pen for just one more week – Chucky & Co. are at Tennessee for week 14.

• Miami Dolphins 37, Philadelphia Eagles 20½. Same goes for the Eagles: a 7-9 record is all that’s necessary to win. Thus, the division could be decided – no matter who wins – in the week 16 Dallas at Philadelphia and week 17 Washington at Dallas games.

• Washington 29 at Carolina Panthers 9½. That’s right, sports fans: Washington could still win this freakin’ thing with a 4-0 run. Considering they get the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys in the final four weeks … geez, this NFC East is absolutely brutal.

• Denver Broncos 23, San Diego Chargers 15½
• Seattle Seahawks 34, Minnesota Vikings 30. The teams with the biggest imagined home field advantages are ones for NFL bettors to watch coming down the stretch. The Broncos who, crazily enough, have posted the second-worst home record ATS over the past 15 years, are a big 5-1 ATS at home in 2019. Seattle, on the other hand, entered this season with the second-best home record, yet earned their first home win in this game. At this point in the year, NFLbets is definitely expecting these numbers to regress to the mean…

–written by Os Davis

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NFL Week 12 ATS results: No more leaving bets to chance!

Thursday, 28 November 2019 11:05 EST

Finally, the last incomplete week of NFL football is over: Under the current scheduling system in the league, week 12 is the last one in which proper NFL bettors can blame themselves for not betting “upsets” and/or claiming too many unknowns are in play. Every team has played 11 games now and, though one or even two unexpected teams may rise to end the season on a surprise winning streak, we can fairly well glean where most will finish at regular season’s end.

We can expect to see more balance on the table as the sportsbooks tune the lines and odds even more finely as well. At an even 11 games played, just 12 of the league’s 32 teams are within one game of ½00 either way, as opposed to the 21 or so we should expect after 16 games.

So let’s put that last week of chance to rest with the NFLbets’ roundup of week 12 results with scores adjusted for point spreads runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

• Indianapolis Colts 17 at Houston Texans 16½. NFLbets has warned anyone who will listen or read to stay away from these AFC South interdivisional games, but you wouldn’t listen, would you…?

• Tennessee Titans 37½, Jacksonville Jaguars 20. …all right, this one was actually pretty easy.

• Carolina Panthers 31 at New Orleans Saints 24. Same goes for these interdivisional NFC South games. Wait, what’s that? New Orleans at Atlanta on Thanksgiving? Ah, well, there are exceptions to every rule – especially the rules that you make up yourself.

• Cleveland Browns 30, Miami Dolphins 24. This game featured the 2019 Cleveland Browns that we expected at the beginning of the season: TDs by Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt; over 300 yards passing from Baker Mayfield; four sacks and two picks from a defense playing without Myles “The Swinger” Garrett.

Good for Cleveland – and NFLbets fully expects the Browns to take their next two ATS – at Pittsburgh, vs Cincinnati – as well. But weeks 15 and 16 put Cleveland at Arizona and vs Baltimore, leading us to believe that this preseason vogue pick in the “To Win the 2019 AFC Cahmpioship” prop is destined for an 8-8 finish. Place your bets elsewhere after week 14…

• Washington 19, Detroit Lions 12½. Here NFLbets was, thinking the Lions were set to go on a mini-run of SU wins to end the season, get Matt Patricia an extension and fool everybody into betting on them through September 2020. But, ah, it just ain’t gonna happen.

• Cincinnati Bengals 10, Pittsburgh Steelers 9½
• New York Giants 14 at Chicago Bears 13. Here’s a good bet: You can pretty much take the under in any game involving any of these teams for the rest of the year.

• Dallas Cowboys 9 at New England Patriots 7½. The greatest mystery in the NFL is just how Jason Garrett manages to hold on to his job in Dallas. To say Jerry Jones rewards loyalty has become a parodic understatement.

• Buffalo Bills 16½, Denver Broncos 3. For more on the Bills (as well as the Cowboys and Garrett’s, likesay, inability), click here. Look, NFLbets just wants to see how these guys perform against, you know, a team with a winning record.

• San Francisco 49ers 34, Green Bay Packers 8
• Seattle Seahawks 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 8. NFLbets wasn’t surprised one whit by either of these results, but reckons that the next Seahawks-49ers should be one serious bitch to bet – and a potential NFC divisional game? Forget it. Hope it doesn’t happen.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31½ at Atlanta Falcons 22. Can we all agree that a 2-0 SU/ATS run by the Falcons is no big deal? At 4-6-1, hey’re still bottom-10 ATS, and NFLbets figures they’ll be bottom-5 by the end of 2019…

• New York Jets 34, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders 0• Baltimore Ravens 42½ at Los Angeles Rams 6. We’re sorry. We’re so so sorry...

–written by Os Davis

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