Like the great Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan til they get punched in the mouth” and the same can be said for sports betting. No matter what system you use or how you come up with your wagers, shit can go sideways very quickly in the National Football League. So, today we’re gonna have a little venting session and talk about the worst ways to lose NFL bets. Tell us about your bad beat experiences in the comments section below!
#3: Quarterback injury
It doesn’t happen that often, but I’ve had some serious bad beats when it comes to the most important position in sports. A few years back, I took Green Bay in a teaser and woke up late for the game and go to check my phone 45 minutes after kickoff and it’s Vikings 24 Packers 10…and I’m like what in the hell?!?!? How?!?!? Go to check what happened online and come to find that Anthony Barr effectively ended Rodgers 2017 season.
It goes under the radar, but the back up quarterback position is extremely valuable in the National Football League. I respect organizations like the Cowboys, Saints, and Browns for understanding how important it is to have a serviceable backup. If Russell Wilson gets knocked out of the game in the 1st quarter(knock on wood) the live line is going to move FAST towards the opposing team. The difference between Russell Wilson and Geno Smith is absolutely immeasurable. You look at a team like Carolina last year where Cam Newton gets shut down after week 2 and the Panthers go on to win just 4 games the rest of the year.
Not only can an injury to the starter have a huge impact on the spread, but it can also kill an O/U bet very easily as well. If you have an over on 52 points and oh man here comes Matt Shaub strolling into the game, you may as well hedge right then and there. AND not only can a QB going down have an effect on the spread and O/U, but how bout some futures bets as well! If you grab the Ravens over 11.5 wins and Lamar gets hurt(again let’s pray that doesn’t happen) RGIII isn’t leading that team to 12 wins. Injuries are unpredictable and I’ve been a victim of many lost wagers because the QB went down. Horrible way to lose a bet.
#2: Pass interference
This one is pretty obvious and if you’ve bet on football as long as I have, I’m sure it’s happened to you. The fact of that matter is that the rules of football are pretty vague. So far through the 2020 NFL season I must say that the officiating has been even worse than it normally is, especially when it comes to pass interference. I didn’t bet on this game, but in the DAL-LAR game last Sunday night the Michael Gallup offensive pass interference with a minute left was the biggest play of the game. I thought it was clean, but the official saw it differently. That one decision by one referee legitimately swung hundreds of millions of dollars in Vegas. That was a HUGE play and the game was ultimately decided by the refs.
I haven’t looked into any statistics or anything, but it seems that any time there’s any slight contact by a defensive back at all they’re throwing a flag this season. Not only that, but it happens all the time, a wide receiver will fall down then get up and starting jawing at the ref and a yellow flag comes flying in…every time. The officials get intimidated.
Pass interference is the most impactful penalty in football and NFL teams know this. Joe Flacco used to do it all the time, but when there’s a 60 yard bomb down the field, quarterbacks aren’t necessarily trying to complete the pass, a lot of the time they’re throwing it just for a chance at a PI call.
One pass interference call can legitimately decide a spread or O/U. If it’s 3rd and goal on the 10 yard line and they call PI in the end zone, the balls placed at the one and there is like a 96% chance the offense just runs a draw play and boom 7 points on the board. I’ve seen pass interference affect a lot of underdogs recently, where you think the Patriots are just going to dominate the Dolphins, then Miami gets a free 40 yards on a PI and they’re back in the game. In the world of NFL betting, seeing that little yellow ‘flag’ icon pop up on the screen is the worst feeling ever. The refs have a massive impact on the game and I even know a few handicappers that research which refs are officiating different games, so they can stay away from certain matchups.
#1: Special Teams TD/Miscues
Where my week 2 Falcons bettors at?? Special teams are the forgotten part of the game of football and it’s even more forgotten when it comes to wagering on the NFL. I remember taking the under in a Lions-Eagles game a few years back and it was looking great, then Detroit’s kick returner takes one to the house and immediately puts up 7 points in 12 seconds. Brutal.
There are a laundry list of ways that special teams can fuck up your football bets. I can remember a game back in 2005 where the Vikings returned a kickoff for a TD, a punt return for a TD, and their defense had a pick six. How can you even begin to try and predict that? Simple answer: you can’t.
I think my absolute least favorite way for my O/U or spread picks to go down the drain is when a punt returner fumbles the kick on their own 10 yard line. When deciding on a team to bet on, you’re betting on the quarterback, you’re wagering on the weapons around him, your taking into account the defensive line, etc. You’re not picking a team based on their undrafted return specialist.
No matter what projections you look at or what system you use to bet, special teams play isn’t factored in much. From the hands team not jumping on an onside kick to a kick returner running out of the end zone then changing his mind and not knowing the rules resulting in a safety, special team miscues and touchdowns are hands down my least favorite way to lose an NFL wager.