NFL Betting Awards: Moments Of Glory, Brutal Beats Highlight Wild Season
David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
When you look back at the 2020 NFL regular season, how are you going to remember it?
Do you have tears in your eyes because you can’t plop down on your couch and bet on commercial free football for 10 consecutive hours or is it because you just kissed your entire bankroll goodbye?
Personally, this NFL season was a mixed bag for me. There were some weeks where I wondered whether I was the sharpest bettor on the face of the Earth. Then, there were other weeks I had to take a long look in the mirror and ask why I continue to torture myself on this customary “Day of Rest.”
It’s only right that after a season as crazy as this one we reflect on the high and lows (mostly lows) of betting on the NFL. It’s time to laugh, smile and cry as we look back on the 2020 NFL Regular season.
The Teams We Lost the Most Money Betting On
As my dad and uncle love to say, “You never remember your wins. Just your most excruciating losses.”
It’s not about the quantity of games the Atlanta Falcons lost or failed to cover in. It’s how they did it.
Where do we begin for this football team? The beginning sounds about right.
Week 2: Atlanta (+3) held a 26-7 first-half lead over the Cowboys and ended up blowing it in Jerry’s World. In classic Atlanta fashion, it slowly let Dallas back in the game and ended up losing, 40-39, on a last-second field goal.
Week 3: The Falcons (-2.5) had a comfortable 26-10 lead with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter against the Bears.
Want to know what makes me uncomfortable? Anything involving the words “Atlanta” and “lead.” The Falcons gave up 20 fourth-quarter points and lost, 30-26, to a bonafide backup quarterback in Mitch Trubisky.
Anyone noticing a theme?
Nothing could possibly be worse than Week 7: Atlanta (-115 ML) was down two points and was 1:12, plus a field goal away from a victory. All the Falcons had to do was run out the clock and kick a chip-shot field goal to win it. Then all Hell broke loose:
The Lions got the ball back with a minute left and a chance to score. They did just what everyone expected them to do: win the game. At the buzzer no less:
It’s one thing to lose games in excruciating fashion, but it’s another to suffer the way Falcons bettors have all year. I pour one out for my fellow Atlanta backers who return to the well week after week only to come up dry.
How does one describe the pain that was betting on the Philadelphia Eagles this season?
It’s like the Eagles were the angsty teenager whose parents thought were going through a phase.
Each day, mom and dad thought their child was going to snap out of it and return to normal.
Each day, they were wrong and left disappointed. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Each week, Eagles bettors would say, “They’re being undervalued,” “they’re finally going to cover” or my all-time favorite, “Wentz is actually good. You just have to give him more time.”
Guess who never snapped out of their “phase?”
The Eagles finished the season 6-10 ATS and 4-11-1 ML, good enough for last in the NFC East in the NFL’s worst division.
Worst Bad Beats
Hold your noses, because these stink.
Eagles/Seahawks (-6.5) MNF
It’s MNF and primetime Russell Wilson is on the road against an Eagles team is in horrible form. “The sharps” are taking the home dog, but you’re not afraid to lay the points on the final game of the week.
The Seahawks are dominating the game and have a secure 14-point lead with less than two minutes to play. What could possibly go wrong? Just Richard Rodgers catching a casual Hail Mary with seconds to play:
Seahawks (-6.5) back are still safe right? The Eagles will kick the extra point, making it a 7-point game. Not so fast. Doug Pederson decided what the Hell and went 2. They converted and lost the game by six points.
Browns/Ravens (-3) MNF
This MNF matchup truly had everything.
Lamar Jackson poop jokes, Baker Mayfield airing it out and, of course, the worst bad beat of the season. The Browns were down, 45-42, on the last play of the game. The best game of the season was going to end in a push and gamblers were going to live to fight another day. Or so we thought:
“Significant to some” would be putting this bad beat lightly.
Jets ML (+295) vs. Raiders
Maybe it’s because I’m a Jets fan and maybe it’s because I decided to sprinkle money on the winless Jets to finally win a game but this one stands out to me. Cover-0 jailbreak blitz on the last play of the game because… why not? If you had the Raiders in a parlay or teaser, you owe Greg Williams a beer for this one.
Raiders ML (+110) vs. Dolphins
It started with Jon Gruden opting to run the clock down and kick a field goal and ended with one of the greatest throws in NFL history. Not only did the Raiders lose this game but it also dropped them below .500 and eliminated them from postseason contention.
The Browns (-4.5) lead by 3 against a measly Texans team that my high school squad could probably beat up on. With less than a minute to play and nothing but the end zone ahead of him, Nick Chubb ran out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
Some people will applaud him for what he did against the Texans. Me? I think it’s downright treasonous.
Did Chubb make the right decision? Probably, but that’s how you become one of the gambling LVPs — by doing the right thing. I cannot imagine the elation Cleveland bettors felt as Chubb sprinted for the end zone, only for him to step out at the one. Sickening.
An Atlanta player being one of the 2020 Gambling LVP’s?! Couldn’t be. This play was mentioned earlier, but needs to be examined in further detail.
The Falcons were down two points on the 10-yard line with 1:10 to play. The only thing Todd Gurley is hearing from his coaches and Matt Ryan is “don’t score.”
Gurley knows he is getting the play. All he has to do is fall in front of the end zone, let his kicker chip one in and Falcons (ML -115) bettors go home happy. Of course, Gurley goes full George Costanza mode and does the complete opposite of what he’s supposed to do.
The Lions subsequently drive down the field against a porous Atlanta defense, winning the game as time expires.
The irony of this situation is that Gurley burned Rams (-7) bettors a few years back against the Green Bay Packers.
The Rams lead 29-27 with 1:05 to play in the game. Gurley broke a run for a touchdown, but stopped and went down instead. Rams and over 57 backers failed to cover in the game.
And to quote the great Gurley, the least valuable of all LVP’s: “Man, forget fantasy and forget Vegas today. We got the win so that’s all that matters,” Gurley proclaimed.
NFC East against every other division in September/October:
2-15-1 ML and 5-13 ATS
Final season tally: 11-28-1 ML, 17-23 ATS
Good luck to anyone that bet on this horrific division this season.
Everyone who bet Russell Wilson for MVP:
This was just a massive tease for Wilson bettors, myself included.
He had +800 odds entering the season and had plenty of talk around him that he’d finally get his first MVP. He catapulted to the top of the leaderboard and got as high as -125 to win the award.
Media outlets everywhere were calling Wilson a sure-fire lock. Everyone that bet him wouldn’t shut up that he was a lock 5 weeks into the season.
I exchanged texts with one of my buddies every day talking about cashing our MVP tickets. We wouldn’t shut up about it.
Then, he fell off a dang cliff. He became an interception machine (at least for Wilson’s standards) and opened the door for the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and pretty much anyone else who was playing stellar late-season football.
After that, it was radio silence from Russ’ MVP bettors.
NFL Underdogs went 141-115 (55.1%) against the spread this season.
A $100 bettor would profit $1,647. The 2nd-best season for underdogs since 2006-07.
Betting on the Home Favorite
Remember home-field advantage? Yeah, me neither.
Home favorites went 67-79 (45.9%) against the spread this season. A $100 bettor would have lost $1,413. I guess betting on home teams with limited or no fans wasn’t the best idea.
I am hoping when we wrap up the playoffs In February, we will all be able to look back at the playoffs with grins on our faces and cash in our pockets.
Let’s win some money these playoffs!