Many football fans were in disbelief when the 2019 NFL regular season began with the Minnesota Vikings playing host to the Los Angeles Rams, a team they had lost to just once in their history. Having previously defeated the Rams 12–1 in California earlier this year, Minnesota were the apparent outsiders looking in at Rams’ Park Place Stadium.
It didn’t take long for some clever fans to come up with an answer to the question ‘what does D/ST mean in sports betting’?
“Desperation” or “statistically speaking” refers to the idea that the underdog has a better chance of winning when they are highly motivated to do so. Los Angeles are currently 10-point underdogs for Sunday’s game, which makes them statistically the underdog, and as the saying goes, statistics can be misleading when applied to sports betting.
However, when looking at the entire NFL regular season, which consists of 16 games, the teams are actually nearly even. Los Angeles have a 50.62% win probability compared to Minnesota’s 49.38%. The fact that the teams have been almost evenly matched all season indicates that something is going on that the books haven’t taken into consideration. Could it be that some of these games have been fixed?
Sports betting is a controversial topic, and even the most avid fans can admit that there is a level of corruption that exists in professional football.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that in 2011, the NFL launched a task force to combat corruption in football, and since then, there have been numerous measures put in place to ensure fairness in the game. Still, one has to wonder if some fixers have evaded these measures to continue operating successfully in the black market.
The spread between the win probabilities of the two teams in question at the start of the Rams-Vikings game was 19 points. That’s not an unusual spread for an NFL game. In fact, the average spread over the past five years is 22 points. The only game with a smaller spread was the Chicago Bears’ 38–10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, which has a win probability of 53% for the Bears and 47% for the Rams. (Pro-Football-Reference.com)
The Rams and Vikings have a lot at stake in Sunday’s game. Not only do they want to keep their playoff lives alive, but they also need to beat each other to ensure that their fan bases remain divided. The Rams desperately need to win this game, as their young nucleus of talent isn’t good enough to carry the team all season long. They also need to avoid getting too overconfident, as a loss to Minnesota would seriously dent their playoff hopes.
On the other side, Minnesota need to stop the bleeding. The Vikings have already lost three of their last four games, most notably their most recent defeat to the Washington Redskins, and with the season winding down, they need to win as many games as possible to secure a wild-card spot in the NFL playoffs. A loss to the Rams would further damage their already tenuous playoff hopes, and it’s possible that it could even cost them a spot in the postseason altogether.
It’s a win-win for the fans of both teams, as they get to enjoy a memorable game on a beautiful day in Minnesota, while also doing their part to root for the underdogs. For those who aren’t big fans of either team, there is no reason to watch a boring game on a Sunday. On the other hand, for those who are looking for a hard-fought battle, this game has all the makings of a shootout.
Who Has A Better Chance Of Winning This Game?
With a huge NFC West title on the line, the fans of the Seattle Seahawks have every reason to be motivated to watch this game. The Seahawks are currently leading the division with a 6–2 record, and they desperately need to keep their perfect record intact to have any chance of making the playoffs. Seattle are also in the fortunate position of playing a weaker NFC North rival, as the Green Bay Packers are only 4–3 and haven’t beaten the Seahawks since 2016. It’s not impossible to imagine Seattle cruising to an easy victory in this one, especially since Aaron Rodgers will be attempting to avoid a third straight defeat to his former team.
Will The Over/Under Rebound?
Last year, both the Vikings and the Rams hit an average of 5.2 yards per pass, which was the highest in the league. The year before that, Minnesota were once again the highest-scoring team in the NFC North with an average of 27.2 points per game, while the Rams were a close second with an average of 26.4 points per contest.
One would expect that the passing attacks of these two teams would fall off significantly this year, given the extreme volatility that currently exists in the NFL world. Still, many fans will be looking for some sort of a rebound in this game, particularly since the over/under for passing yards has hit 47.5 for each team, which is the highest average since 2015. (SportsBetting.com)
This number could still come down a bit, as these averages include the Vikings and Rams’ undefeated games from last year. However, with the parity that currently exists in the NFL, this year’s games could end up being more similar to last year’s games than one would assume based on all the pre-season hype.
Who Is More Dangerous On The D/ST Front?
Depending on how much money you’re willing to risk, you can make a case for either team being a dangerous play on the D/ST front. On one hand, the Rams are the highest-scoring team in the league over the last two years, and they’ve also been a popular choice among D/ST bettors. It wouldn’t be surprising if 2017 was the high point of a recent resurgence, as the Rams offense scored 29 or more points three times last year, including a season-high 65 against the Seahawks in Week 15.
The fact that they only lost three games last year is even more impressive, considering they were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Simply put, the Rams are dangerous anytime they have the football because they can beat you in a number of different ways. On the other hand, the Vikings scored the fewest points of any team in the NFC last year, and it’s fair to say that their offense wasn’t good enough to keep up with the high-scoring defenses they faced in 2018.
If you’re feeling daring, you could opt to back the Rams and receive +250 on the over or the Seahawks and land on the under. The over/under for points scored has hit 27 for these two teams, and anything less than a high-scoring game wouldn’t be surprising. Still, the fact that each team is only dangerous in one direction makes this pick much less risky.
The Oversized Box Score
Since 2016, the NFL has implemented a number of measures to make the scores and boxscores more accessible to the average fan. An example is the emergence of “box scores” and “over/under” trends, which are used by many wagering websites to keep things interesting for casual fans who are looking to place a few bets during the game. Still, there is something to be said for watching the entire game and following the action as it unfolds, which is why many fans continue to watch the NFL despite all these changes made to make the game more accessible to the casual fan.
As mentioned by the Pioneer Press, the average spread in the NFL over the last five years is 22 points. (ProFootballReference.com)
In some cases, teams have been so far off the charts that trying to compare them to the NFL average is like comparing apples to oranges. The Atlanta Falcons were 7–0 ATS in 2015 and the following year, collapsed to a 4–7 ATS mark. Last year, the 4–1 Patriots were an outlier, as they averaged 13.3 points per game while boasting one of the better offenses in the NFL. (ESPN.com)
For the most part, though, the numbers can be pretty close to what we’d expect, considering the parity that currently exists in the NFL.