Tim Benz: Jets, Dolphins are historic underdogs vs. Patriots, Cowboys
Searching for a sure thing in your NFL survivor pool?
This week, it should be smooth sailing, especially if you haven’t used the New England Patriots yet. And if you have, this could be a wise week to burn the Dallas Cowboys.
Because this Sunday, the Patriots and Cowboys are two of the biggest favorites in the history of the National Football League.
New England opened up as a 22.5-point favorite over the New York Jets. The Patriots look unbeatable. The Jets look terrible. And New York is down to its third-string quarterback, Luke Falk.
Meanwhile, Dallas is a 21.5-point favorite over the Miami Dolphins. Miami could be the worst NFL team ever assembled. And that was underscored Monday when they traded away last year’s first-round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Where did he wind up, again?
Keep in mind, the Dolphins just lost 43-0 at home to the Patriots. Yet, they are still considered a slightly better bet than the Jets are to win in Foxborough.
You know what? I can’t fault the oddsmakers there.
If you are someone who — help me out, Brent Musberger — ”listens to the guys in the desert,” this is nearly unprecedented territory.
We haven’t seen a weekend with two underdogs of 21-plus points since 1987. And those were strike games where the favorites — the San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys — had more regular players cross the picket lines.
The underdogs — Atlanta and Philadelphia — had fewer.
In both cases, the underdog Falcons and Eagles covered the spread. The last time that happened in a non-strike year was 1977.
David Purdum did that research for ESPN.com. He also wrote that “only 35 times has a team been favored by 21 points or more since 1966. … Teams favored by 21 or more are 35-0 straight-up but only 11-22-2 against the spread.”
So, in other words, expecting New England or the Cowboys to win is pretty much a lock. But laying the points could cost you money.
Here’s the problem, according to Foxbet.com: You have to risk $5,000 to win $100 if you are betting on the Patriots straight up, without the spread. And if you are betting on the Cowboys, it’s $3,300 to win $100.
A lot of risk, very little return. As you should expect.
Somehow, I feel like it’s totally safe, though.
If you are interested in the Le’Veon Bell vs. Antonio Brown matchup in the Patriots-Jets game, on that site, the odds of Bell breaking 100 yards rushing are set at +230. Meanwhile, Brown’s line is at +270 to hit 106 receiving.
Eh, I’d suggest finding an over-under somewhere on both of those props and bet against both ex-Steelers.
It’ll be a rare time when rooting for the under is more fun.