NFL – an important part of my My Way
I am confident that the beginning NFL season will be another winning season for me. In my entire life, the NFL has been the best league for me when it comes to the ROI per match. I have not had many losing years since I started betting NFL in 1986.
I have a lot of experience, research expertise, and a toolbox for the NFL. Even if the market gets “wiser”, I get wiser, too. In the fall of 2015, I beat over a hundred of Europe's best NFL bettors in the Spreadex Super Challenge betting competition. I called right 66% of the 85 NFL regular season games (five each week), so the first prize of £14.000 came to me "deservedly”.
However, this season did not take off too well. On the Thursday night game, I went against Buffalo Bills. I consider them the best but overrated team in NFL. After their home advantage, I expected LA Rams to have an almost equal chance to win, and Sportmarket found me +3 ½ points handicap and juice on Money Line.
Little did I know. Even with a few turnovers, Buffalo won conveniently. I thought the offensive line might be a relative weakness for Buffalo, but that did not show in the match.
However, I might need to keep betting against the Bills, because everybody else seems to love them, and their odds get pressed so low. For example, next week, I would not dare to lay 10½ points when Tennessee visits Buffalo.
My research shows that home dogs are even better bets than normally on the opening weekend of NFL. That was one of the reasons why I bet LA Rams. Another home dog, Dallas Cowboys appeared as an even better bet for me vs. Tampa Bay. The older Tom Brady gets, the more the general public seems to bet Tampa Bay – and the more I'm forced to go against the Buccaneers. Probably I need to lay them again next Sunday, getting three points with New Orleans Saints. I am not sure about the coaching of the Saints yet, but 3 points is a lot between decent over mid-table teams.
The rest of the first-round home dogs did well. Atlanta was even seconds away from beating New Orleans without a handicap. As said, I don’t know exactly yet, how good New Orleans is, but Atlanta has for sure the potential to be a 30% winning team instead of the general market estimate of 27%.
The over-scorned Detroit covered against over-hyped Philadelphia, as did Chicago Bears against San Francisco Forty-niners. I didn’t Bet on Chicago according to my first-week underdog strategy because I like San Francisco’s coaching and team profile. Similarly, I didn’t want to go against the other two strong away favorites, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. I rate them as the two strongest challengers for Buffalo, and they are not overbet by public.
Baltimore Ravens is my betting idea of the year, but I was not in a hurry to lay 7 points with them on the opening game vs. NY Jets. That was too much and in a conflict against my home underdog strategy. With their good drafting, Jets had (again) some hope for improvement, I thought.
However, a Ravens win was never at risk. It remains to be seen for a couple of weeks if the Ravens are a real champion team - simply too good for an improved Jets, or if the Jets are still as bad as they have been for as long as I can remember. In general, it is wrong to play against the New York Jets. One gets so bad value by laying the Jets, especially with the handicaps.
But Baltimore, yes.
For a few years now, I've considered Baltimore to be one of the best teams in the NFL. The team has a good defense, running power, and versatile quarterback Lamar Jackson — when everyone is healthy. Last season, however, the Ravens were very unlucky with the injuries. Now the troop is healthier, and in addition, their offensive has been strengthened by acquisitions. There will be a lot of running from behind the strong offensive line, as now healthier Jackson will also run unpredictably between his smart throws.
Even with the injury horrors of last year, the Ravens came close to being a playoff team, but they also had the misfortune of losing tight games, which they deserved to win according to all metrics.
I don’t rate Cincinnati Bengals as high as some do after Cincy’s lucky last season. Therefore, I expect Baltimore Ravens to win over ten regular season games, get a good route towards the Super Bowl – and over 10% probability to go all the way, even if Buffalo Bills are a stronger team and Kansas City Chief a little stronger.
For these reasons, I bet on Wednesday £1190.83 for Baltimore to win the Super Bowl at odds of 19x. I’ll bet more now after seeing the Jets game, even if the best price I have found now is 17x. It is a pity, that Sportmarket doesn’t call the tenders in the ante-post markets. In the individual games, their service quite often earns me and their other customers' money for free by finding the highest odds in the world conveniently. But I am happy with even 17x money on the Ravens, and almost surely, I can hedge my position profitably in the future, as I did with my 100-1 Atletico Madrid LaLiga-bet 2014.
The hedging can make a bold ante-post value bet profitable even if it is a loser. An example of that I had in my original, real My Way in January 1991. I would have reached my first million much faster if Scott Norwood had kicked Buffalo Bills the winning field goal in the dying seconds of the Super Bowl XXV. To my big disappointment, the 47 yards kick attempt narrowly curved right past the New York Giants' goal frame.
I had played the Bills to win the Super Bowl at odds of 21 and hedged it in the game by betting Giants with a six-point handicap. If the kicked goal had gone in (there was just over a 50% chance), I would have won both of my bets. Even now, it was going well for me because the Giants bet to hit, and the 11-odds half of Buffalo's Each Way bets on getting to Super Bowls. I’m happy if something similar happens this year with Baltimore Ravens, even if it would be cooler to see them winning the Super Bowl live in Arizona.
I might pick an Each-Way-bet from the NFC side of the draw if I get a good price on a decent team. The NFC is weaker than AFC this season. The AFC team will be the favorite in Super Bowl. For this reason, the LA Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles have more than a doubled probability of reaching the Super Bowl compared to the probability of winning it. Some bookmakers still offer ½ of the win odds to reach the Super Bowl.
But here we go! The autumn will go fast - with late Sunday - Monday nights. Welcome to follow - or join - My Way!
What is "My Way"?
I designated an account in Sportmarket ear-marked only for this project. I deposited there €800 + €800 in February and then €800 every month. I started to bet in the same very defensive, risk-averse way as I did when I was young. I write regular blogs on our web page www.esbc.fi, where I follow, how this experiment/mission/challenge progresses. I call this mission MyWay.
Follow MyWay! It is not only my twists and turns in this mission, not only nostalgia from my first way towards my first million. You'll learn a lot about betting strategies, my way of thinking and working, risk management, war stories" and nostalgia. Occasionally you'll learn how to win +EV equity in upcoming sporting events for free.
Welcome to join me in MyWay!