How Adding A 17th Regular Season Game Will Change NFL Betting Forever
This fall, the NFL will debut their 17-game regular season format, ushering in many changes that some fans and bettors may not see coming. NFL betting sites can be expected to update their futures odds accordingly due to the change but there are several other factors to consider.
In 1947, the National Football League confirmed to a 12-game regular-season schedule and statistical norms were established across the board.
In 1961, the NFL extended the regular season to include 14 games, and further stretched the season by another two games in 1979 bringing the total to 16.
In 1990, a bye week was inserted into the season to give all 32 NFL teams a break, upping the regular season to 17 total weeks and pushing the Super Bowl 7 days back as well.
This latest incarnation offered forth by the NFL and the NFL Players Association features an 18-week long schedule that pushes betting on the Super Bowl into the second week of February.
Pros – Positive Developments Resulting From A 17th NFL Game
No More .500 Records
Creating for an uneven total number of games removes the ability for an NFL franchise to achieve a final record where their wins equal the number of losses. Teams will either finish above .500 or below with no room for perfect mediocrity.
While this does not remove the ability for a team with a losing record to quality for the NFL Playoffs, it does take away a franchise’s ability to coast in the middle and feign success.
Extra NFL Football Games
The offseason just got one week shorter with the additional game, and that means one more week of game lines, props, and other NFL bet types. It also means one extra Sunday of the calendar year for bettors and fans to enjoy an afternoon of NFL games and rake in some cash with winning bets made at online sportsbook sites.
Less Pre-Season Games
The NFL pre-season is now limited to 3 total games which comes as a relief to players, fans, and pro football bettors. This is a result of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated between the league and the NFLPA, but for some odd reason, a sticking point was that there be no second bye week added and that the season totals out at 18 weeks. The NFLPA must have preferred extra off-season over extra in-season rest.
Cons – Why The Extra Week Will Have A Negative Impact
More Late Season NFL Betting Lines Could Become Obsolete
Even with a 16-game schedule, the NFL still features late-season contests where teams have locked up their playoff positions and are resting players. While these occurrences do not remove NFL betting lines from the boards, the odds are much less intriguing and don’t inspire action.
Adding a 17th game will only add another dud to the NFL bet schedule in these cases, and it also provides an opportunity for other teams to secure a playoff spot by earning an easy victory. This will affect the outcome of preseason NFL Playoff futures, divisional odds, and betting on the NFL Playoffs overall.
The Odds For An Undefeated NFL Team Just Got A Whole Lot Slimmer
The 1972 Miami Dolphins can now celebrate their undefeated 17-0 season a little more because the addition of a 17th game to the NFL schedule almost ensures that there will not be another franchise that finishes their campaign unblemished.
The two teams that came the closest were the 1985 Chicago Bears whose only loss was in the regular season to the Miami Dolphins, and the 2008 New England Patriots who lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
Despite the decreased odds of another undefeated season, NFL prop bets will still feature the likelihood of a 20-0 team.
NFL Records For Season Stats Will Fall
All current NFL records for single-season statistics are set on the 16-game standard that was formed in 1979. Adding a 17th game to the schedule has several implications on single-season records. Expect an uptick across the board in all individual player and team statistical futures props.
Eric Dickerson’s Single Season Rushing Record Of 2,105 Yards – There have been a few running backs that have come close to eclipsing E.D.’s mark that he set with the Los Angeles Rams in 1984, but now that an extra game has been added to the schedule, his total will be cemented for all of History for a 16 game effort.
Expect Derrick Henry to challenge this number in the next couple of seasons, but Dickerson’s mark has now been etched in stone as the single greatest rushing season of all time.
6,000 Passing Yards Will Be Surpassed – Peyton Manning’s 5,477 passing yards that he threw for with the Denver Broncos in 2013 will be easily achievable by the top tier of NFL quarterbacks each year, and it can be expected that 6,000 yards or more will be tallied by the likes of Patrick Mahomes or another talented QB soon.
Manning also set the record for touchdowns thrown that same year but his mark of 55 will likely be safe for a few seasons as that number still represents a 3.2+ TD average per contest even at 17 games.
Receiving Records: 2,000 Receiving Yards And 23 Touchdowns Will Be Exceeded – The league has become more pass happy over the last several years with rules put in place to protect the quarterback and to grant receivers more space on the field.
1,964 yards set by Calvin Johnson (DET) and 23 receiving TDs set by Randy Moss (NE) were already in danger, but now these two marks could be topped by the same player in the same year.
Increased Chances Of Injury
The opportunity for statistical achievement in the National Football League also provides the opportunity for injury, and logistically speaking, more occurrences equal more chances for both. All late-season dud games aside, extra snaps will equate to the additional injury of players, and it won’t be long before that affects betting on the Super Bowl.
Uneven Number Of Home And Away Games
One of the largest components in setting an NFL point spread is the home team, and with an odd number of games now on the regular season schedule, half of the league will hold the home field advantage more often than the other.
Generally speaking, a three-point advantage is often delivered to the home team in the NFL, so extra home games matter a lot when it comes to oddsmakers set point spreads in the NFL.
Final Analysis – Regular Season NFL Betting At 17 Games
Ultimately, fans, bettors, and oddsmakers will adjust to this new normal of an 18-week regular season in the NFL. Pro football betting odds will change along with the times, and so will the expectations and actions of NFL bettors.
Sure, there’ll be some stumbling blocks over the first season or two, and there might even be a few consequences that were unexpected, positive, or negative, but betting on NFL odds is the biggest sportsbook revenue driver in the USA, and we don’t see that status changing any time soon.