The Muffed Punt: What NFL game would you travel back in time to bet?

We are rapidly approaching one of the most important happenings in sports betting history. No, not nation-wide legalization (although it might not be too far off after this Nevada daily fantasy ruling). I’m talking about October 21, 2015.

“What’s so important about this coming Wednesday?” you ask.

Well, that’s the date Marty McFly traveled forward in time from 1985 and had the brilliant idea to bring back a Grays Sports Almanac, containing the results of every sporting event from 1950 to 2000, in order to bet on games in the past while already knowing the outcome.

(Crazy Back to the Future II note: While in the future 2015, Marty sees a breaking news alert that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series as a 100/1 long shot. In reality, Cubbies opened 40/1 this season and are priced at 9/4 now.)

Of course, Marty’s get-rich-quick scheme didn’t go according to plan. Old Biff Tannen scooped the almanac up and used Dr. Brown’s time-traveling DeLorean to go back to 1955 and give his younger self the Golden Goose of sports betting.

Then all hell broke loose. Biff built an empire from his winnings and Hill Valley 1988 morphed into something out of Mad Max – all because of the evils of gambling! Or so Robert Zemeckis would have us believe.

So with October 21, 2015 so close – it’s actually been tabbed “Back to the Future Day” which is amazing – we asked some sports betting types, “If you could go back in time and bet on any NFL game – already knowing the outcome – which game would it be?”

Here’s what we got after gunning it to 88 mph:

Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports for MGM Reports Las Vegas

“I’m betting the Patriots’ upset over the Rams – moneyline,” Rood says of New England’s stunning 20-17 victory over St. Louis as a 14-point underdog in Super Bowl XXXVI back in February 2002.

“You could get the highest score with the highest betting volume and it would go unnoticed,” says Rood, who believes the Patriots would have been paying 6/1 odds to win the game outright.

According to Rood, MGM sportsbooks took their largest wager ever on Super Bowl XXXVI, with one high-roller betting $6.7 million on the Rams moneyline, a costly bet and one definitely made without any knowledge of the future.

“That would be the game I want. Everyone was so enamored with ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’.”

Scott Kaminsky, sportsbook director TheGreek.com

“Oh man, I’ve actually thought about this on more than one occasion,” laughs Kaminsky. “How much money could I have made and who would I bet?”

Kaminsky took a few seconds to come up with his answer, putting his bet on the New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III back in January 1969. The Jets were 18-point underdogs – about 11/1 to win outright – and made good on Joe Namath’s guarantee with a 16-7 win.

Kaminsky, who was a 16-year-old Pennsylvania kid at the time, actually did have a wager on that game, betting his buddy (who would also go on to work in the sports betting business) that New York would have a 100-yard rusher in the game – and they did in Matt Snell, who ran for 121 yards and a touchdown.

“I would bet Jets moneyline,” says Kaminsky. “And it was such a cool time too and Namath was just so cool, sitting by the pool making that guarantee. With all that money, I’d bankroll sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll leading into the early 70’s.”

John Avello, director of race and sports Wynn Las Vegas

“It would certainly have to be a Super Bowl, because I could get the most money down,” says Avello. “And I’d make sure it was a blowout too. I’d be worried about messing up the whole time line element, so I’d want it to be a blowout so I couldn’t change the outcome too much with the space-time thing.”

After much deliberation, Avello picked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII squash of the Oakland Raiders, winning 48-21 as 3.5-point underdogs which is about a +175 moneyline winner outright.

Ted Sevranksy, Covers Experts handicapper

Sevransky also went with the Patriots’ upset win in Super Bowl XXXVI but would love to go back in time and play New England more than others. See, he rode the Pats all through the playoffs but jumped off at the Super Bowl.

“It was my first couple years in Vegas, and when I saw how many points the Rams were giving – two touchdowns – I thought, ‘OK, the fix is in with this one’,” Sevranksy recalls. “They couldn’t be giving this many points. It just looked so bizarre. So I bet the Rams. That was when I realized the disconnect between Vegas and the real world.”

Sevranksy says he would have bet “a bagillion dollars” on the Patriots moneyline had he known the outcome before the game – a nice win to kick start what was a budding handicapping career back in 2002.

“It would have given me a bankroll for life.”

Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology

“The first game that comes to my mind is the Tyree catch,” says Simbal, recalling Giants WR David Tyree’s thrilling helmet catch in New York’s 17-14 win over undefeated New England in Super Bowl XLII. Oddsmakers had the Giants as 12.5-point underdogs.

“You get a historic game with possibly the greatest team ever going into the game. The price was crazy on New York, like 5/1 or 6/1,” adds Simbal. “No one has had a season like the Pats did and the Giants shouldn’t have even been there, they snuck into the playoffs.”

Simbal also discloses why this game would be so sweet to relive again – with or without action on the G-Men.

“I’m a huge Giants fan too.”

Got a past NFL game – or any sporting event – you’d like to hitch a ride with Doc and Marty to for the purposes of a huge gambling score? Give us your best one in the comment section below.

Primetime pups

Last week, we featured a stat on NFL primetime games going to the underdogs. That trend stayed true through the remainder of Week 5 and beginning of Week 6. After the Saints stunned the Falcons as home underdogs Thursday, primetime pups are 11-5-1 ATS in games played on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights. On the season, NFL underdogs are 40-36-2 ATS – covering 52.63 percent of the time.

The Big 5-0

The Green Bay Packers enter Week 6 in rare company. They are just one of 13 teams to begin the regular season 5-0 SU and ATS since 1985, posted as 10-point home favorite against the Chargers for their sixth game.

The Cheeseheads are the public darlings of the 2015 NFL season which means books are jacking up Green Bay’s spreads knowing that there’s going to be one-sided money on Aaron Rodger & Co. With inflated spreads comes ATS losses, as expectations go beyond the results.

Teams that have started the season 5-0 SU and ATS are a combined 85-47 SU and 59-72-1 ATS – covering just 45 percent – during their remaining schedule. However, in their sixth game of the season, those previous 5-0 teams finished a collective 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS.

Another interesting note: Seven of those previous 12 teams to start the regular season 5-0 SU and ATS have played in the Super Bowl that season. Three have gone on to win the Big Game.

Green Bay is an even money fave to win the NFC and priced at 5/2 to win Super Bowl 50. Just throwin’ it out there.

Pants-pooping Trend of the Week

The Colts certainly are getting enough points to keep this one going…

Underdog is 14-6-2 ATS in the last 22 games between the Patriots and Colts (70 percent). However, Pats have covered in four straight versus Indy, three of which as favorites. So, poop your pants at your own risk.

Bacon wrapped in bacon

It’s Friday, which means I have to move furniture around and hijack my kid’s Xbox to discuss the NFL Week 6 odds with Rob Cressy at BaconSports.com. Fun times as always.

The Madden Project

We’re simulating some of the more interesting NFL games on Madden 16 for Xbox One each week, to see if there is any value using the popular video game to handicap real life action.

This theory does not apply to all video games, as my “Duck Hunt Project” did not yield a heaping pile or dead ducks or a laughing dog. It did, however, yield a Level-10 full-on soaker (should have worn rubber boots) and a tick bite my wife had to dig out of my back with tweezers. What does lyme disease feel like?

This week’s sims:

Carolina at Seattle: 20-31/14-17/23-31 – Seattle wins 26.3-19
San Diego at Green Bay: 38-41/41-44/27-24 – Green Bay wins 36.3-35.3
New England at Indianapolis: 43-19/34-27/34-27 – New England wins 37-24.3

Last week: 2-1 ATS
Madden 16 season: 11-8 ATS (58%)

“See you in February”

That’s what slinged-up Tony Romo said to Tom Brady after the Patriots violated the Cowboys in Arlington last week. It was awesome. Some fans would see this as brash or cocky – or even take it as a tongue-in-cheek remark. But as a Cowboys fan, I love it. So much so, I might just put my money where Tony’s mouth is and throw a flyer on a Dallas-New England Super Bowl 50 showdown, which is paying +8,000 at Sportsbook.ag.

Biggest line move

Bengals at Bills. Some books opened this game as low as Buffalo -1, but instantly took sharp and public plays on the undefeated Bengals which pushed the spread well over the fence and as high as Cincy -3.5 before wiseguys bought back Buffalo at the half-point hook. The injuries to the Bills offense are big but this game reeks of scalp, with sharps riding the steam and betting Buffalo where they wanted to.

Wiseguys love…

The Jets. This line opened at New York -5.5 and has bounced to -7 as of Friday afternoon. Early wiseguys action took Gang Green to rough up the Redskins, with N.Y. coming off a bye and playing some surprisingly solid football. But watch for the buyback on Washington, especially if it goes higher than a touchdown. The Jets are in a lookahead spot with the Patriots on deck in Week 7.

Books are sweating…

Patriots at Colts. The Sunday night game is always a tough one to sit through for bookmakers, especially when it’s as big and bad as this rivalry. The “Deflategate” revenge spot for either team has a ton of money coming in on this game, with parlays and teasers tied to New England. This one has moved from Colts +8.5 down to +7 and back up to +10, which means books are vulnerable to the middle if bettors played their cards right.

Banker Game of the Week

Patriots at Colts. Books have a ton of liability tied into this Sunday Night Football game, especially if favorites do well in the afternoon games. That means a lot of teasers and parlays will still be alive and kicking come the night game – and they’re all taking the Patriots.

Earlier in the week, books reported having 10 times more tickets on New England but more money bet on the Colts, with sharps taking Indianapolis early. However, once the public shows up at the books this weekend, expect the Pats money to grow.

Daily Fantasy Player of the Week

We went out on a limb last week with Raiders TE Mychal Rivera, who actually had a career DFS day with 4.8 points. It’s not winning any $1 million DFS pools but it’s a start considering how god-awful my DFS PoW picks have been. And I’m not about to go easy on myself now… OK, maybe a little.

DFS Player of the Week: Larry Donnell TE New York Giants ($5,300)

With Odell Beckham Jr. and Ruben Randle nursing injuries, and Victor Cruz out for what seems like forever, Eli Manning needs to throw to someone. Cue Donnell, who finished with six catches on seven attempts for 35 yards and a touchdown – a TD from Manning that pushed me into the money in my DFS league in Week 5. This week, I think this Eagles-Giants Monday nighter disintegrates into a shootout, which means plenty of points on the board. Some of those have to come Donnell’s way, right?

Tell me I’m right… now tell me I’m pretty.

Injury you should know

Each week I’ll point out an injury that may not register with the oddsmakers, as far as importance to the spread, but could still have a huge impact on how the game trickles out. This week’s injury you should know…

Theo Riddick, RB Detroit Lions

Riddick is an important part of this struggling Lions offense, more so through the air than on the ground. He has 30 receptions already – just two less than Calvin Johnson – for 228 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He missed practice Friday with a groin injury and is questionable for Sunday. Without him, Detroit is forced to put the ball in the greased-up hands of rookie RB Ameer Abdullah, who was bench for fumbling twice last week. Good thing his dad isn’t Tim McGraw.

We know how to pick’em

Not sure who to bet when the oddsmakers sit on the fence? Each week, we take the game with the pick’em spread (or closest thing to it) and turn the debate over the cheerleaders – because they know best. This Sunday, Houston visits Jacksonville (which opened pick) in the unsexiest matchup on the Week 6 board. Well, it’s about to get a whole lot sexier…


Sunday’s menu

It’s my birthday this weekend and my wife is an excellent baker. I saw a grocery bag stuffed with cake-making goods in the kitchen, including two giant tubs of peanut butter. So I can only assume she’s making my favorite cake. This is obviously a blatant hint (please make that cake babe) but who am I kidding, she doesn’t read this. If she did, she’d give me $hit for the cheerleader pic above.

Song for Sunday

The Dallas Cowboys – my favorite team in the whole, wide world – have given me the most thoughtful birthday gift they could this weekend: a bye week. That way, my special day isn’t ruined by sub-par quarterbacking and the stress of worrying if we’ll ever be able to dig ourselves out of this hole. But since it’s a Cowboys-free birthday Sunday, I’m going to turn it over to my man Fifty – AKA Ferrari F-50…

Follow Covers Features Editor Jason Logan on Twitter @CoversJLo. Check out JLo’s Covers archive for his latest features and columns, including his NFL’s biggest betting mismatches Week 6.

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