The NFL scene has had its rises and dips this year for the sports betting public. The season has seen strange happenings that have greatly affected the courses of many team’s seasons. The Minnesota Vikings were fully expected to be a higher scoring offense than they have become. At the beginning of the season the Vikings had veteran quarterback Matt Cassel under center and perennial All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Most point spreads and over/under projections estimated great scoring weeks from the Minnesota offensive squad. However, as most fans know, things changed in an instance with Peterson’s arrest and eventual suspension for child abuse and Matt Cassel’s season ending knee injury. Now the Vikings are almost always projected to score less than 20 points per game. They’ve used light armed rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a semi-effective platoon of rookie running backs.
The Dallas Cowboys weren’t projected early on to be much better than their 8-8 record of last season. The Cowboys defense was one of the worst in the league if not the worst and their start quarterback Tony Romo was coming off of a 2013 season that ended with a serious back injury and rehabilitation. Things didn’t look good after a one-sided week one loss to the San Francisco 49ers but most professional prognosticators didn’t see what was coming. After that loss the Cowboys raked up six straight wins including upsets against the New Orleans Saints and the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. Running back DeMarco Murray has helped Dallas play run first offense and has taken a ton of pressure off of the injured back of Tony Romo to give the Cowboys one of the most well balanced offensive units in the league. The patchwork Dallas defense has held it’s own as well keeping tough games close and coming up big in the fourth quarter.
There were tons of questions hanging over the heads of the Cleveland Browns coming into this season. They had quarterback Brian Hoyer who spent the last part of 2013 on injured reserve and had drafted stud rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel as the QB of the future. They were also struggling with filling out the roster of skill players, with two rookie running backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell being forced into significant amounts of playing time and a crew of young wide receivers faced with playing the season without superstar wide out Josh Gordon, who was sitting out on a suspension. The Browns held tough and won some games that they weren’t expected to like their upset wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints. Now the underdog Browns and a now healthy Hoyer are 6-4 and are battling the Bengals, Steelers, and Ravens and are within shot of the AFC Central title.
The Vikings, Cowboys, Browns are just a few examples of what can change on a dime in the first ten or so weeks of a NFL season. The good news is that we are now entering the last quarter of the season, this is a time when everyone in the sports betting community have a pretty good idea of what each team brings to the table and what match ups may be the best ones to attempt to gamble upon.
This is when some keen sports bettors can take a look at the division races and still make some good money by picking the right teams to take division titles. The Philadelphia Eagles are favored over the Cowboys for the NFC East crown but with Mark Sanchez taking over at quarterback for the injured Nick Foles the Eagles may be ripe for the picking. If the Cowboys can beat the Eagles on Thanksgiving the odds will turn quickly to put Dallas in the drivers seat, so a bet now on them to win the division may be a wise one for a prospective sports betting enthusiast.
The Cleveland Browns are in fourth place in the AFC North so their odds are the longest to take home the division crown, but they are only one game out of first and have already beaten both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and have showed that they can hang with the best teams, a bet on them would be taking a chance, but and educated chance that could pay off big time.
Teams such as the Minnesota Vikings who are all but eliminated from playoff consideration you have to judge how much effort they are going to put forth going forward in playing the role of spoiler. The Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders are all last play teams that you can expect will play out the string while giving maximum effort. All three teams are being piloted by rookie quarterbacks who are trying to improve their game and are filled with other players looking to make a case to return to starting jobs next season. Teams like these three are the kind of squads that are more likely to cover spreads as underdogs late in the year.
Other losing teams like the Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, and Carolina Panthers are stacked with veteran players who have a good bit of playoff experience. These teams will be less motivated moving forward and are teams that may have trouble covering their respective point spreads, especially in games against teams fighting for playoff contention.
Good solid veteran teams with smart quarterbacks like the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers are going to kick it up into high gear late in the season as they jockey for position in the crowded playoff picture. The signal callers and team leaders for these respective teams are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers and they are good bets to score at will against bad teams and cover every point spread in those types of match ups.
This is crunch time not only for football players and coaches but also for sports bettors. Gamblers who have broken even or are behind for the season can make all of the right moves to make up ground and still win big this year. They just need to make sure that they pick the right games on which to lay their bets. Sports bettors that are already up for the year can be more selective on which games to bet on going forward and can save some bankroll for the playoffs and Super Bowl when all bets can be put onto the table.
Whether you are watching the Jacksonville Jaguars or Denver Broncos, you will find that placing the right bet on the game can make the experience as exciting as any Super Bowl.