A review at the halfway point of the NFL season
Before reviewing the halfway point of the NFL season let's look back at what we all hopefully agree on now. The meaningless value of the NFL pre-season and its supposed indicator of the season ahead.
It's a distant memory now but it was only a few months ago in August that promising things were predicted for "wise-guy teams" like the Jacksonville Jaguars who sit now at 2-6 straight up. Or the Carolina Panthers, coming off a Super Bowl appearance are a mysterious 3-5. Let's forever keep it in our minds the NFL pre-season and pre-season betting means zero point zero. Nothing more than a four-game moneymaker the league forces upon its fans.
Fast forward to the more important regular season and many surprises already have taken shape, in not only the regular win-loss records but marked against the spread as well. The following are some grades passed out based on statistics provided by very reliable sportsbook barometer StatFox.
But keep in mind a half point either way in many of these games could dictate a different outcome at all the preferred offshore sportsbooks they are measuring. There is no "one enforced line", measuring the spread or Over/Under Total for all games. That half point difference at major online sportsbooks surveyed, including Bovada, BetOnline, Diamond Sports, etc., will determine wagering fate.
Head of the Class
Time to groan if you're not a fan of the 'boys. But their 7-1 record and more important 7-1 record ATS speaks for itself. Everything has gone right for Dallas bettors this season as if determined by some outside force. Including that lucky overtime touchdown cover against the Eagles. Tony Romo's injury may have delivered their next star QB in Dak Prescott, similar to how Tom Brady stepped in fatefully that Monday night when Drew Bledsoe went down. Remember that? Tom should deflate his paycheck for linebacker Mo Lewis of the Jets, whose devastating hit on Bledsoe changed his life. But not so fast. Might want to keep Tony around and getting healthier. Dak could also turn out to be the next RGIII.
New England Patriots
Speaking of Tommy, does this guy do anything wrong? After sunning himself at his mega mansion with his model wife during the first four games, he casually drops in to deliver four consecutive easy Patriots wins and covers. And may I remind you this guy is not 26 years old. Maybe the suspension was the best thing to happen, keeping him fueled rest for the season. When proving life is not fair, a picture of Tom Brady is the purest evidence.
Like Dallas, New England is 7-1 and 7-1 ATS. More incredible, besides that 16-0 flop against the Bills, all seven wagering wins were relatively easy, leaving bettors little anxiety in the fourth quarter. Caution: after a huge test coming up this week against the Seahawks, three consecutive games loom, where the Pats might be giving double digits and an eventual turnaround in wagering fate could be reasonably expected.
New Orleans Saints
Simply put, when you have Drew Brees in at quarterback, you are always in the game.
Factoring in great head coach Sean Payton provides the nucleus for why the Saints aren't the predicted disaster most experts thought they'd be before the season. Their 4-4 record is not impressive, but per StatFox, they are a very noticeable 5-2-1 against the spread including excellent wins over top teams like the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks. Their defense is basically awful but somehow Brees has won so many of these shoot-outs over the years, we've lost count. The fact the Saints now usually get points, may be the reason why their ATS record shines.
Can't blame anyone getting gun-shy on this team the second half of the season. They turned in a very poor report card in 2015 after racing out to a 6-0 start and ATS and subsequently fell apart the rest of the year. Early MVP candidate QB Matt Ryan has been sensational tossing TD's but more important avoiding killer interceptions. Their steadier 6-3 straight-up record matches their 6-3 against the spread number this year.
Big question involving the Falcons Super Bowl aspirations focus on defense. They've been a weekly lock for "Over" players when playing the Total. Eight Overs matched against just one Under thus far. You can almost count on a shoot-out every week with the Falcons games checking in at 63,65 and 71 points the last three games. Should Atlanta have any serious deep playoff ambitions, look for that to settle down soon with perhaps a solid opportunity to bet UNDER the Total.
San Francisco 49ers
What a mess but at least the Niners are consistent. They're both 1-7 straight-up and 1-7 against the spread. No one can say this wasn't a surprise as San Francisco was predicted to be the NFL's worst team guided by new coach Chip Kelly. They were designated an Over/Under season win Total of 4.5 by all major offshore sportsbooks including BetOnline and Heritage. They haven't disappointed thus far and not looking good to get past 5 wins.
The 49ers are also a great example of not counting your chickens long before they hatch. Their opening day blowout over the new L.A. Rams 28-0 had many boasting. But not back-up QB Colin Kaepernick, who's stolen most of the game headlines with his personal protests. Since the Rams win, the Niners have lost every game except for one by double-digits! Not to get political, but if you want to feel sorry for someone, 49ers Bettors Lives Matter.
No doubt the Chicago Bears (2-6 ATS) and obviously, Cleveland Browns (2-6 ATS) are failing and could easily join this list. But the Bengals have too much talent and too healthy to be where they currently are. A 3-4-1 regular season record and a very disappointing 2-5-1 ATS. Remember this was the NFL's best team last year against the spread (12-4) and perhaps this is just a situation of the numbers reversing themselves.
A good bet might be checking the first fired NFL Head Coach prop provided by most of the top online sportsbooks. The Bengals Marvin Lewis has been around way too long without delivering, including many player discipline problems. The odds could be good to make a juicy side score. In the meantime, more likely for the Bengals to turn it around the second half of the season. That extra point or two you'll be getting the next few weeks because of their recent failures may make the difference. That includes the recent London 27-27 tie disaster against the Redskins, where their normally reliable kicker Mike Nugent, suddenly has also gone bad.
NOTE: Against the spread records are significantly different than an NFL team's straight up record. It has been proven virtually impossible for any team to win more than 12 games against the spread NOR lose more than 12 games against the spread in a 16-game season. Keep that stat in mind as the season roles on.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.