Football bettors have hit the halfway mark of the NFL schedule, and boy has it been a wild ride so far. There have been plenty of surprises and a lot of preseason predictions have gone up in smoke. Even the wiseguys have been shocked by some of the events in the first half of the season.
We ask some of football betting’s sharpest minds – our Covers Experts – about which first-half result has surprised them the most as we heading into Week 9 of the schedule:
Marc Lawrence – “The continued success of both the Seahawks and Colts is a bit surprising. Each team overachieved behind rookie quarterbacks and figured to take a step back this season. Especially so for Indianapolis, which made the playoffs behind Andrew Luck despite allowing more yards than they gained for the season. With Luck's favorite target, Reggie Wayne, out for the year, look for the expected plunge to happen sooner than later.”
Bruce Marshall – “The Texans looked almost flawless entering the season, with offseason upgrades that seemed to push them even closer to their first Super Bowl bid. But no one really believed the worst-case scenario for Matt Schaub, who is effectively done as the QB in Houston at midseason after being bypassed in favor of Case Keenum for the starting assignment this week against Indy. Gary Kubiak's job could be in jeopardy.”
Bryan Power – “Though I had the Chiefs improving drastically this year and making the playoffs, I think it’s safe to assume no one had them standing as the NFL's last remaining unbeaten at 8-0. One more win and they will have already exceeded their projected win total in Vegas from before the season. Some may have already won that bet as the number opened at 7.5.”
Teddy Covers – “The Chargers looked nothing short of inept in the preseason. Their offensive line was in shambles, their defense torched, and their receiving corps limited. Yet this team is a couple of plays from being 6-1. Philip Rivers looks like a Pro Bowler again and their suspect offensive line has been blowing open holes for a strong running game that was non-existent last year or in August.”
Jesse Schule – "I'm definitely surprised that the Patriots have been able to win six of their first eight games. I bet on New England to go under the total of 11 wins. They have been lucky to win close games in Buffalo and a miracle comeback against the Saints. But once again Brady and Belichick are weaving their magic in New England, keeping the Pats a contender."
Matt Fargo – "I'm going more outside the box and going with 0-7 Tampa Bay. While they likely weren't going to contend for the NFC South title, they were expected to make a playoff push as proven by their season win total of 7.5. The Buccaneers finished 7-9 last season, so expectations were high but now they have a new quarterback, a star running back lost for the season and a lame duck coach on the sidelines that many seem to think has lost his team. He very well might have."
Doc’s Sports – “I think the biggest surprise for the NFL season is the top-to-bottom strength of the AFC West. We all knew Denver would be dominant. I had the Chiefs tagged as a playoff contender, and my Over 7.5 bet on their season win total was one of the easiest bets I have ever made. However, the Chargers and Raiders have been huge surprises. Philip Rivers looks like he is playing in his prime again, and the Raiders look like they have finally found a capable quarterback in Terrelle Pryor. I think there is a good chance that the AFC West will send two teams into the playoffs as wild cards.”
Will Rogers – “The Houston Texans, despite out-gaining all but one opponent this season, are 2-5 and almost a surefire bet to miss the playoffs. With Andrew Luck already well on his way to becoming one of the best QBs in the league, it appears as if the Texans' window has already closed in the AFC South.”
What is your biggest surprise from the first half of the 2013 NFL schedule? Comment in the section below.