In these unpredictable Coronavirus times, trying to predict which NFL teams might benefit
As if experienced bettors did not have enough challenges trying to isolate which NFL team or teams to select wagering upon every Sunday, they can add one more element to it. Scheduling. Due to the ol’ COVID-19 sticking around, the NFL schedule changing is more confusing than the offensive playbook.
And by the way, I should not say every Sunday. It could be Thursday. Or maybe Monday night or hope you didn't tune into the premiere of The Bachelorette this week on Tuesday night and miss out on the Bills-Titans game. Yes, just about any night of the week is ripe for a potential NFL matchup now.
The Obvious Reason
Despite having an "immune US President" we do not have rapid tests with near 100% accuracy for COVID-19 yet. There are still strong chances that infected players will take the field on game day with the virus. And because football does not lend itself to physical distancing, the potential for outbreaks will continue. Looking back it is amazing the Vikings still have no positive cases after taking the field against the Titans two weeks ago, and should be thankful they got lucky thus far.
We are more than one quarter through the NFL season and some action needs to be taken beyond a "wait and see" attitude since the virus is not going anywhere. Everyone must live with the virus until there is a vaccine, which means we are going to play football with the virus, which means wait and see is a ticking time bomb.
Which NFL teams might benefit?
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. After whipping the 49ers in San Francisco 43-17, instead of staying on the West coast and heading to always tough Denver, the Dolphins find themselves back at home in Miami to face the consensus NFL worst team, the 0-5 and 0-5 ATS New York Jets. That is followed up by a bye week and then another home game against the LA Rams. That means the Fins will not play football away from South Florida until November 7th. Almost like a pleasant quarantine.
Los Angeles Chargers
Ok, if any team deserves a break it is the Chargers, who seem to find a way to lose close games every week this season. Instead of flying home from New Orleans this week and being forced to play on short rest in Week 6, the Chargers now get a bye. Under the old schedule, the Chargers had a Week 10 bye with a game in Week 6 (vs. Jets). Now they will be able to rest, regroup and figure things out after their latest collapse against the Saints.
Kansas City Chiefs
Once again, who said life was fair. Thanks to the new schedule, the Chiefs do not have to play again on Thursday night, which often messes with any teams practice routine. Playing Thursday means players only get at best three days of rest after playing the previous Sunday. With the upcoming Week 6 against the Bills now on Monday, the Chiefs double the amount of rest between weeks. Keep a handicapping note of that.
Which NFL teams might NOT benefit?
Many have been putting holes in their undefeated record thus far as they have not played a strong team yet or have been beating up on teams with significant injuries. The acid test comes real soon combined with their realigned schedule. With a bye week switch, the Steelers now have to play three straight games on the road. None of those games will be easy as the Steelers must travel to Tennessee, Baltimore, and Dallas. Playing three straight road games is one of the toughest and certainly unusual challenges an NFL team is asked to accomplish. Playing three good teams makes it even more difficult.
New York Jets
Might want to consider a few of those 0-16 props on the list of top online sportsbooks if you can find them. And yes, schedule changes are the least of the Jets problems right now. However, instead of a Week 11 bye they now fly across the country to play a decent LA Chargers team. After that you can figure a 'L' to the Seahawks in Seattle two weeks later. Following that defeat, they go back to Los Angeles again to face the Rams. That is about enough frequent flyer mileage to earn them a free trip somewhere besides the guaranteed first pick in next year's draft.
This is a tricky one because it does not involve their roster talent, more about rest and recovery. The NFL COVID-19 schedule makers moved up their bye week from Week 8 to Week 7.
Because of that switch the Ravens will now have to play five straight games against definite playoff contenders with no break. After that Week 7 bye, the Ravens schedule will be: Pittsburgh Steelers, at Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, at Pittsburgh Steelers. The changed bye week between the first Steelers game and the Colts game in Week 8 might make a significant season difference. We will see.
More changes. Stay tuned
What comes next is anybody’s guess at this moment while the NFL is praying the Coronavirus stays limited to a handful of players and no team suffers an outbreak mandating more changes in the schedule. If so, some potential suggestions have been discussed. They include:
Creating Week 18. Being that the Super Bowl is a locked-in date, the league might have some room to eliminate that extra week in between the NFC/AFC Championships and the Super Bowl. This could allow for some sort of emergency playoff seeding involving make-up games, etc.
The Bubble Concept. This is not likely and requires different type of logistics compared to the NBA. Getting stadiums in say California, Texas, and Florida plus availability for several teams in one or two locations does not seem feasible at this point.
BREAKING NEWS: At least the Coronavirus was responsible for something “good” involving changing the NFL season schedule.
The NFL announced Wednesday that the 2021 Pro Bowl game will be canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pro Bowl was originally slated to be played in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium on Jan. 31. The 2022 Pro Bowl will be awarded to Las Vegas, per the league.
Now you won’t have to decide this season upon why they even play this meaningless game or whether you play Over or Under 73.5.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.