Most seasoned bettors including myself were shocked and astonished last Sunday morning as they rolled out of bed, into their sofas or recliners to watch the Buffalo Bills face-off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in merry old England. We grabbed the remote control to scan through the channels to click on the game befuddled and confused. Huh? What?
Better call Comcast or Direct TV to find out why we can't locate the game. Buffalo was favored by -3 at Diamond Sports, JustBet, Bovada and most leading online sportsbooks were settling in on that number. We traditionally got our bet down via telephone or computer but oh my, where am I going to WATCH this game I have a crucial bet on??
Surprise, football fans. The NFL casually did not announce or at least advance whisper that for the very first time their football game would NOT be telecast, opting for the first Yahoo Network "netcast". I realize the popular Steelers are not taking on America's team Cowboys but do the Bills and Jaguars deserve this much disrespect? Or is this the NFL's minor way of saying that dirty eight letter word "GAMBLING" isn't part of their sport. Hmmmm.
Ironically, if you were attending the game live in London, there was no problem whatsoever. For your convenience there are many kiosks available to wager at Wembley Stadium from respected bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes. But if you were parked on your sofa or La-Z Boy, a fan had to either locate a computer to search "Yahoo sports" or find "NFL Mobile" on your cell to watch the game with a wager.
As I was staring at the 2 and ½ inch screen on my cell phone for almost 3 hours on Sunday morning I felt like a fool. I had all but given up on my Buffalo -3 bet as Jacksonville opened up a 27-3 lead in the second quarter. Amazingly, the Bills stampeded to a 31-27 comeback. The only worry now seemed to be losing the charge on my phone.
You know what happened. The lame & tame Jaguars managed a late TD and won the game outright 34-31 while people in the Wembley stands were cheering for both sides. No doubt, many irate "Uncle Leo's in Brooklyn" were screaming last Sunday morning calling Comcast and cable outlets. "What the F is a Netcast and what channel is the damn game on"!! It was not only a heartbreaking loss for the Bills and anybody else who bet on them, but reinforced an important lesson I learned many years ago. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAGER ON EVERY FOOTBALL GAME JUST BECAUSE IT IS TELEVISED. In this case, not televised.
The Get-Out Games
While the NFL remains the most hypocritical organization known to mankind, they would never admit to how they schedule the times of their games. The primary motivation is to induce television ratings. And therefore, including the mass audience that wagers upon them.
By far, the most popular game of the week, the most heavily watched & the most wagered is NBC NFL Sunday Night Football. The primary reason Al Michaels left ABC and why NBC paid the most money to the NFL for its rights. It's also known as "the get-out game" by all Vegas and offshore sportsbooks. For example, a BetOnline takes more action on the Sunday Night game than any other game of the week. If a bettor is having a good day, he'll likely try to reinforce it by upping his average wager to fall asleep that much happier. Should he tank during the day, he might push the envelope by trying to get out by over-betting the game.
Either way, it is a terrible bad habit and one situation to avoid at all costs. Bottom line, no matter how well (or not) you might be doing for the day, the week or the month, if you don't have a specific opinion on a game, just because "it is televised" don't bet on it! Decide well before the game your course of action and stick to it. Tomorrow is another day and another College or NFL play. If you're having a great College football Saturday, you are not compelled to wager Utah St.-San Diego St. on ESPN 3 at 1AM. The better bet would be seeing if you could name 3 Utah St. players.
Penalty – 15 Minutes for Wagering
Another genius innovation the NFL instituted about seven years ago was moving the kick-off of most of the late games back from 4:05 PM EST to 4:25 PM EST. They insisted it was simply to improve the game and help competitive play, especially toward playoff time. But we all know it helped bettors the most, allowing the early games to end with final results, thus enabling them to then wager more on late games. Both Vegas and offshore books applauded and have reaped financial benefits ever since.
A big penalty flag has come at the expense of bettors. There have been instances where NOT knowing the final results of early games may not have allowed bettors to foolishly wager on late games they didn't have strong opinion on. Again, betting weak opinion games "doubling-up" after a big early Sunday win or pressing to recover from an early loss.
Is Monday the Beginning or End of the Week?
The absolute worst habit is making it a mandatory rule to wager on NFL Monday Night Football. Yes, I know this one is tough. With all day Monday to either savor your Sunday success or perhaps recover from a beating, by Monday evening we all sense a purpose of either revival or redemption.
Again, the only advice here is trying to convince yourself this game is played on Sunday or Wednesday or whatever night you want. If you have a strong opinion, go for it. If not, please check out the other 286 channels for entertainment or watch the NFL Red Zone. Remember, it's only 72 brief hours until NFL Thursday Night Football, where you'll be asking yourself to make the same smart decision.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding NFL previews and picks from Glenn, click here.