Betting on pro football has become an arduous task. Heck, simply watching the NFL has developed into a painstaking activity.
It’s a massive problem that the NFL may have to address at some point and one that could even be impacting the NFL betting landscape. From most reports, the real money gambling on the sport has been down quite a bit this year.
A once thrilling sport has been severely watered down over the years and in 2017 specifically, has become far too unpredictable in the worst way possible.
That alone specifically hinders NFL bettors, but the sport itself has become borderline unwatchable.
Protests and Collusion
One of the biggest issues in the NFL right now has been the ongoing protests. Colin Kaepernick started a necessary conversation by sitting down during the national anthem last year, but things have admittedly gotten out of hand.
For one, some have argued that Kaepernick’s initial message has gotten lost in the chaos. On top of that, there is growing speculation that Kaepernick has been blackballed by the entire league.
It’s fair to say Kaepernick has regressed over the past few years and is no longer an elite quarterback, but when NFL fans are watching the likes of Tom Savage, Brett Hundley, Drew Stanton and other quarterback winning teams, it certainly makes you wonder.
The protests themselves were always harmless and one could even argue that they were extremely important. There is no denying that the evolution of these protests have been distracting, however, and that the entire process has kept a competent passer out of a job.
The fact that Kaepernick doesn’t have a job is one thing that stands out in the wake of some seriously terrible football.
There are a number of reasons why the NFL is regressing as a whole, but when teams are knowingly bypassing quality talent just to prove their collective point, we’ve got a problem.
Whether you believe Kaepernick is getting hosed or not, the NFL is not putting forth a good product and it’s arguable that the former San Francisco 49ers could help rectify that for at least one team.
Kaepernick wouldn’t save the entire league, though. There are a handful of elite teams, but once you hit the middle of the pack, this league has turned into hot garbage.
It’s not just about quarterback play, either. Even the most average of defenses appear to be better than they probably are and offenses that should be putting up points simply aren’t getting the job done.
An incredible 15 NFL teams are averaging 20 points or fewer on the year. That’s way up from last year’s number (8), while we haven’t seen offensive struggles this bad since 2009. In the past decade, we’ve seen this many teams struggle to score this much just twice.
The lack of scoring has understandably leaked into team success, too. Up until two weeks ago, the league had a whopping three winless teams and as week 11 rolls around, exactly half of the league is at .500 or worse.
That by itself isn’t that crazy, but collectively this shows a gross picture of ineptitude across the league.
A huge reason why the quality of play has dropped has been a severe rash of injuries across the NFL. This has naturally drastically impacted how people bet on NFL games, while it’s also held numerous teams hostage on both sides of the ball.
The New York Giants were thought to be Super Bowl sleepers before the 2017 season started. They lost top wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. early on and have quickly turned into one of the worst teams in the league.
Would-be playoff contenders like the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers), Arizona Cardinals (David Johnson), Houston Texans (Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt) and others have failed to meet expectations due to brutal injuries to top shelf NFL talent
You could argue that these teams need to suck it up and incorporate the “next man up” mantra, but it clearly isn’t that easy. It’s even harder when the banged up bodies continue to mount.
Per Spotrac.com, the San Francisco 49ers lead the way with current injured reserve members (21) and unsurprisingly got their first win of the year in week 10.
They’re just one wrecked ship in a sea of sadness, however, as a whopping 22 teams have 10+ players on injured reserve. In all, the NFL has a ridiculous 382 players on injured reserve heading into week 11, which is astonishingly only 106 off of what we saw in all of last year.
The reasoning can change and we might not have any one clear answer. Perhaps it’s the scheduling, bad luck, a lack of true safety on the field, reffing, team specific healthcare – the list goes on. The point is players aren’t staying on the field and it’s contributing to an increasingly terrible product.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that the NFL has a glaring saturation problem. The league is clearly so obsessed with expanding globally and getting exposure to our everyday lives that they put the overall product and player safety to the side.
It’s all about the benjamins, as the NFL continues to force teams out on short/long weeks, whether it be horrid Thursday Night Football games, overseas trips to London or prime time affairs on Sunday Night or Monday Night Football.
All of these schedules are different and extremely difficult to conform to. Football is already an insanely violent and physical sport that is also ridiculously demanding from a mental and emotional perspective.
The shot callers in the NFL are only making it worse by forcing players to play on short weeks, overseas or late at night when they otherwise probably shouldn’t be playing.
The safety of the players is the greater concern if we look at this thing unfolding as human beings. However, as fans of football and NFL betting enthusiasts, it’s important to note that the entire show is suffering from all of the above.
The injuries and scheduling clearly impact the way teams prepare and perform and the NFL doesn’t care. Unfortunately, it is an issue that is only worsening and as it does, it cheapens the football betting battlefield.
That could, in time, make the NFL less desirable for anyone looking to win big in sports betting. Any fan who watches knows full well it’s already made one of the bests sports ever feel like one of the worst.