NFL Mid-Season Truths
Nine Sundays down, nine Sundays to go, in the 2023-24 NFL season.
Some things that we knew back in August have been confirmed. Other information that we now have as we head to the second weekend of November is brand new.
Drop the Rookie Qualifier on C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud isn’t just a great rookie quarterback anymore. He is a great quarterback, period. On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he threw for 470 yards (a new NFL record for rookies) and five touchdowns. The last of the five came in the closing seconds with the Texans trailing by four points.
Before the season BetUS.com had Stroud at +700 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He is now paying -650 and is the huge favorite to win the award.
Stroud’s 14-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio is the best among any quarterback with at least 100 pass attempts. His 2,270 passing yards is more than Jared Goff, Brock Purdy, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, and Trevor Lawrence. He has 35 pass plays of at least 20 yards, and that is tied for second in the league.
The second overall pick in this year’s draft is one of the biggest stories of the season, and for NFL bettors, he is becoming one the safest bets in football.
AFC North Supremacy
In 2014, the AFC North set a record when each of the four teams were two games over .500 through 10 games. Each team right now has played at least eight games (the Baltimore Ravens have played nine) and all four teams are at least two games over .500.
Ohio online sports bettors are loving life at the moment. The Cleveland Browns are 5-3, they’ve won three of their last four games, and on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, they recorded their first shutout since 2007.
The Cincinnati Bengals have won four straight games, taking their record to 5-3 with Sunday night’s win over the Buffalo Bills. BetUS.com now has quarterback Joe Burrow at +650 to win the NFL MVP, placing him fourth behind Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts.
Speaking of Jackson, he has the Baltimore Ravens on top of the AFC North with a 7-2 record. That’s after another dominating win over a fellow division leader. In Week 7, the Ravens beat the Detroit Lions, 38-6, and in Week 9 they hammered the Seattle Seahawks, 37-3.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the last of the 5-3 teams in the AFC North, and holding up their end of the state for Pennsylvania sports bettors. The team on the eastern side of the state, the Philadelphia Eagles, improved to 8-1 on Sunday. The Steelers are at home this week against the Green Bay Packers, and the favorites to get to 6-3 with a win. The Eagles have a bye.
The Dallas Cowboys Are Still in It
The Eagles did beat the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia on Sunday. But the Cowboys showed more than enough life to give their fans reason for optimism.
Dallas had a chance to win on the final play, but Dak Prescott’s completion to CeeDee Lamb came up four yards short. The completion to Lamb took his total for the game up to 191, and Prescott finished the game with 374 passing yards.
The Cowboys offense played well enough to win, and the Cowboys defense forced three punts in the fourth quarter to keep them in the game. In the end, the difference was the superior Eagles pass rush that made the final difference.
The Cowboys drop to 5-3, but up next are games against two of the worst teams in the NFL, the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers. They will also play the Washington Commanders and the Seattle Seahawks before facing the Eagles again in Week 14.
The Eagles have a gauntlet of a schedule between now and that Week 14 game in Dallas, with games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers.
BetUS.com has the Eagles at +225 to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and the Cowboys at +450.
Sportsbetting isn’t yet legal in Texas, but there are plenty of good online sportsbooks elsewhere in the country.
Big Brain as Important as Big Arm for Quarterbacks
Some quarterbacks win games with their arm. New Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks Josh Dobbs – playing on his fifth team in 11 months – wins with his brain.
Dobbs was traded last week from the Cardinals to the Vikings, and took zero snaps in practice. He didn’t know the offense, and he didn’t even know the full names of the wide receivers he was throwing to. Head coach Kevin O’Connell had to describe each play to Dobbs as he was calling the offense.
But Dobbs is one of the smartest players in the NFL. He was an aerospace engineering major in college, graduating with 4.0 GPA. He’s also worked in the off-season with NASA. Using his brain throughout Sunday’s game with the Atlanta Falcons, he learned the offense, and eventually led the Vikings back to a last-second win.
Minnesota is paying +675 at Bovada.lv to win the NFC North. The Lions remain the heavy favorite, but with a rocket scientist now leading the Vikings, don’t count them out.