Upset specials in the NFL

Earlier this year, just on a whim, I decided to take a season-long look at how the underdogs would fare against the favorites.  It’s the way I’ve always liked to bet so I figured why not look at how much I stood to gain or lose by strictly betting underdogs to win across the board.

Any Given Sunday Movie PosterIf we’ve learned from watching football, it’s that on any given Sunday, one team can beat another, hence that God awful movie by Oliver Stone.

Understanding that the project could end up costing me a pretty penny if favorites ran roughshod through this NFL season, I decided not to bet real money but only track their success on paper.

Well, after Week Two, as some of my readers suggested, I probably should have placed the wagers.  In Week One, out of the sixteen games played, six dogs won.  That still resulted in a losing week.

In Week Two, the dogs turned Las Vegas on its head.  Sports books probably ended up winning money – they generally do – but if you bet the underdogs outright this weekend, you made an absolute killing.

Years ago, when my kidneys, liver and lungs were healthy enough to tolerate three straight days in Vegas, some friends and I would roll out to the desert and try our luck at the sports book.  I always liked to go early in the season.  My philosophy, albeit perhaps flawed, was that odds makers hadn’t quite figured out the teams yet.  Following that logic, betting lines would be inaccurate and there was money to be made.

Las Vegas signThis week was the week to go to Las Vegas.

Out of sixteen games played this weekend, nine underdogs not only covered but WON THEIR GAMES OUTRIGHT!

The Thursday night game was our first indication we were in for something special.  After a rough opening week which led all of us to shovel dirt on Peyton Manning’s career, the Broncos were a three point underdog going into Kansas City.  They won that game by a touchdown.

After losing at home to the Tennessee Titans, nobody gave the Buccaneers a fighting chance in New Orleans.  They were ten-and-a-half point underdogs.  They won by seven.

Speaking of Tennessee, they were a slight favorite in Cleveland.  I guess Browns players didn’t take too kindly to being considered a dog in their own building.  They won by fourteen.

All we’ve talked about all season is how dysfunctional the Redskins are.  The Rams, who beat Seattle in Week One, would certainly go into our nation’s capital and take care of business.  Wrong!  Redskins 24, Rams 10.

There was no way the Giants couldn’t give away another game like they did in Week One.  They did.  The Falcons were two-and-a-half point underdogs against the G-Men and won.

The Oakland Raiders surely couldn’t beat the Baltimore Ravens.  Guess again.  Raiders 37, Ravens 33.

The Jaguars are horrible.  The Miami Dolphins are a potential playoff team.  Betting Miami to win was a no-brainer.  Or rather you had no brain if you bet the Dolphins.  Jags took care of business.

Cowboys, Eagles?  This upset I actually liked.  The Cowboys were a five-point underdog against a team that is struggling to live up to its hype.  Chalk one up to Dallas even though they lost their quarterback in the process.

Indianapolis-Colts-Andrew-Luck-300x200And who thought the Jets, a seven-point underdog, could force Andrew Luck into throwing four interceptions on Monday night?  Those inside the Jets locker room, that’s who.

That’s, count ‘em, nine underdogs.

I’m in an eliminator pool this year.  Eliminator pools, otherwise known as survivor pools, are where you bet one team to win each week, no point spreads.  If your team wins, you move on and are not allowed to choose them again.  If your team loses, you’re out and done for the season.

I entered three and am fortunately still in one.  The one I’m in had 2,368 entries to start the season.  After Week Two, only 269 of us are left.

Now clearly, in any week other than this one, betting underdogs can be dangerous business.  But if you bet strictly underdogs across the board this week, you would have won better than ten times your money!!!  That’s not a bad return for a weekend’s work.

I haven’t been tracking this long but I would dare to venture that’s pretty much unheard of.  So I hope you wagered wisely this weekend for I can almost guarantee that won’t happen again this season.

I think.

13 thoughts on “Upset specials in the NFL

  1. Stats buddy. Know the stats. Vegas does… which is why they win more frequently. I would be interested in learning last seasons Dog performance ratings.. if you get around to building a spreadsheet

  2. Wasn’t Monday Night Football indeed the perfect cherry on the sundae of the NFL weekend and the overall status of play right now? When it gets this tough to pick straight-up winners that’s a no-brainer sign me up for the underdog since they’re getting points to play with before kickoff. Now…with these quarterbacks getting dinged up all over the place things might settle down in future weeks but boy do things look wide, wide open right now in the NFL. That Week Two eliminator number of survivors left is laugh out loud funny.

  3. All I tracked last year, Tree, was my own miserable performance against the spread.

    Clearly, I’d never bet every game but I got roped into doing it by a friend who thinks he can pick games better than me… and does.

    So far this season, I’m off to my usual torrid pace, picking games ATS with 44% accuracy.

    Since no one in their right mind bets every single game, I plan on mixing it up next year BUT I will still track the dogs.

    It’s been interesting so far, that’s for sure.

    As you suggest, however, things have to even out eventually. I mean, they do, don’t they?

  4. Burnsy…

    After a Week One loss, there was no way I thought Indy would not only win that game but cover last night.

    I guess the Jets are for real. Who knew?

    Their starting quarterback getting punched in the piehole in preseason was all we focused on and not that they have one of the best secondaries in football.

    Perhaps I should start paying more attention to detail.

    Ah, what fun would that be?

  5. Andrew Luck through two games looks as if he and Colts are like a deer caught in headlights. So many turnovers after two games and already Chuck Pagano has thrown his quarterback under the bus.

  6. Yea, Al, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with the Colts. I’ll admit I drank the Kool-Aid.

    Still early in the season but they were unable to do anything at all against a Jets team that I didn’t think much of.

    Just shows to go ya’, I guess.

  7. Chris

    If Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano is already throwing Andrew Luck under the bus after two games into the season, then what does that tell you about the team’s problems ?

    Brandon Weeden will now be asked to steer the Cowboys quite possibly for the rest of the season? I wonder how that’s now going to work out with Romo now being sidelined with a broken clavicle .
    Do you think Jerry Jones is walking on hot coal ?

    Mark Cuban believes he would prove to be a better Presidential candidate than Donald Trump ? That’s all the country needs, two narcissistic billionaires whose collective IQ and business acumen remains a joke. A four-time bankruptcy recipient (Trump) and a @ss (Cuban), who made both the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and the US Justice Department seem like a bunch of frigging morons as he fleeced them .

  8. How about them Falcons????? Just kidding, don’t worry – they’ll find a way to blow it somewhere down the line just like Bama did by throwing the ball on the ground 57 times against Ole Miss. And SC, anytime you feel bad about Florida, just go back and watch the Auburn tapes with Jeremy Johnson at QB. You might want to ask for a walk-on there, they just might take you up on it.

  9. Is he throwing him under the bus, Al, or trying to light a fire under his ass?
    Either way, I think the Colt have too much talent to not be able to turn things around. At least that’s what they’re hoping in Indy.

    Weeden, huh? I guess it goes to show how much confidence they have in him by going out and trading for Matt Cassel while the bandages on Romo’s clavicle were still fresh.

    You know it’s bad when you hear Drew Bledsoe named as an option.

  10. Oh, I don’t feel all that bad about Florida… yet, Moose. I’ll let you know after this weekend.

    One would think Atlanta should be able to go into Dallas and take care of business this week, yes? I mean, how is Dallas going to be able to control the ball on offense.

    And I think I’m drinking the Kool-Aid on these Falcons. This looks like a ten-win team.

    Damn, I can’t believe I just said that.

  11. I liked the Underdog cartoon on the main page… was going to go that way in my Week 3 write-up but had saw this and needed to take a different spin. So I talked about that silly coin.

    Anyway, Week 2 was insanity. I’m shocked I managed to go 7-9.

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