Betting has helped the NFL |

Betting has helped the NFL

Joe Ellison
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist

Years ago professional football surpassed baseball as the most popular sport in America, and gambling has a lot to do with that. In fact, the National Football League has been constantly encouraging gambling on its sport, especially through the use of television.

In the 1970s the NFL agreed to television contracts with CBS who featured Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder putting big checkmarks under the teams he liked against the point spread, although the actual spreads were never shown then.

Now the NFL is televised on ESPN, a network that blatantly displays point spreads on tickers and features Chris “The Swami” Berman and “Hammerin'” Hank Goldberg picking sides. During Sunday and Monday Night Football telecasts when the victor has already been decided, Al Michaels and Mike Tirico sometimes will say, “people in some parts of the country are still interested,” which is in obvious reference to one of the point spreads. And that doesn’t count all the shows that promote fantasy football, in which leagues nine times out of ten involve the exchange of money.

When predictions and comments are made and player injuries are disclosed during the course of the numerous games, Sportscenters, and preview shows, they are all almost exclusively directed toward those involved in and participating with the gambling industry.

Since the NFL recognizes that its sport is boosted by gambling and does nothing to deter it, why is it then that the league refuses to allow commercials promoting Las Vegas during the Super Bowl? That would seem to be a contradiction, considering many people like to wager on football legally in Vegas.

The NFL apparently would rather have people in the United States gambling illegally through the Internet, where tens of billions of dollars have already been bet online. Or maybe the league would like people to turn to their local bookies.

The NFL definitely does not want to build up Las Vegas, where talks of there one day being a major professional sports franchise are way off in the future, if ever. Considering its popularity in the biggest gambling country in the world, it does seem hypocritical that the NFL would have a negative view toward Vegas, especially since the league was formed by many owners, coaches and players that were involved in some form of gambling or organized crime, or just liked to gamble.


According to my numbers, these are the teams handicappers should have been wagering on and against so far this year. These stats do not include last night’s game.

Best teams against the spread (ATS) – New Orleans, Tennessee, Buffalo, Chicago and Jacksonville.

Best clubs to bet against – Carolina, Detroit, Denver, Washington, Tampa Bay and Seattle.

Best home teams ATS – Jacksonville, Baltimore, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Worst at home ATS – Denver, New England, Green Bay, Houston and Carolina.

Strongest road warriors ATS – New Orleans, New England, Buffalo and Tennessee.

Weakest on the road ATS – Pittsburgh, Seattle, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Washington.

As road favorites ATS Seattle is 0-4, Jacksonville is 0-3 and Indianapolis is 1-4. As road underdogs Buffalo is 5-1 while Washington is 0-4-1.

All together road underdogs are 69-60-7 ATS. Home underdogs are 43-24-5.

The hottest teams ATS right now are Buffalo, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Arizona.

The coldest squads currently are Tampa Bay, Denver, St. Louis and Carolina.

Betting on totals can be just as profitable as betting on sides.

Best teams to bet Over on ATS – Tennessee, Seattle, San Diego, the New York Jets and Chicago.

Best Under teams ATS – New England, Oakland, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore.

Best Over teams at home – Chicago, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and the New York Jets.

Best home Unders – New England, Carolina, the New York Giants, Detroit, Cleveland and Miami.

Best road teams Over – Detroit, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Seattle, Tennessee and San Diego.

Best road Unders – Atlanta, Oakland, Baltimore and Denver.

Best Over streaks right now – Minnesota, Buffalo, San Diego and Tennessee.

Best Under teams currently – Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Oakland and New England.

Overall 100 games have gone Under, 99 have gone Over, and 9 pushed the spread.

Remember, these are not necessarily predictions on future games. These are trends, but I wouldn’t want to go against them.


Two bowl games kick off before next Friday. Here are predictions:

Poinsettia – Northern Illinois and TCU Under 47 points.

Las Vegas – BYU -3 1/2 covers against Oregon.