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AFC getting betting edge in Pro Bowl amidst rule changes

The NFL is changing rules in the Pro Bowl to potentially replace onside kicks in certain situations. We break down what it might mean for betting the point total.

The 2020 NFL Pro Bowl is just three days away, and while there is some money to be made for the players, the all star game does not offer serious stakes. It can lead to less than stellar quality football, but sometimes it can get funny with the random nature of the game. Whether it be a fullback leading all players in total yards or the always memorable Sean Taylor hit on Brian Moorman, there is usually something of note each year to remember.

Sports betting offers an opportunity to invest a bit in the game. DraftKings Sportsbook is offering odds on the NFL’s all star game, and the AFC is installed as a 1.5-point favorite, with the point total at 51. The AFC is -124 on the money line, while the NFC is +102.

I don’t think anybody can offer a strong opinion on who will win and cover the Pro Bowl given the turnover in the lineups. However, this year’s Pro Bowl might offer something to consider in betting the over on the point total. The league is testing out a couple rule changes, and one could potentially result in more scoring — or just be a complete disaster. Who knows.

The league is implementing a rule change to make up for the inability of teams to convert onside kicks. When a team converts a field goal (and only after a field goal, not after a touchdown), the scoring team, Team A, has the following options:

  1. Team A may elect to give Team B the ball at Team B’s 25-yard line, beginning a new series of downs with a first-and-10.
  2. Team A may elect to take the ball at its own 25-yard line for a fourth-and-15 play.
  3. If Team A is successful in making a first down, Team A will maintain possession and a new series of downs will continue as normal.
  4. If Team A is unsuccessful in making a first down, the result will be a turnover on downs and Team B will take possession at the dead ball spot.

Considering there is nothing to lose in the Pro Bowl, I am curious if we’ll see teams attempt this more often after field goals. If that happens, odds of success on a fourth-and-15 conversion are low enough that we could see teams get more opportunities near the red zone. That conceivably could lead to more scoring.

The Pro Bowl has been a bit more of a defensive contest in recent years. The final scores for the past three games have been 26-7, 24-23, and 20-13. Aside from a 22-21 game following the 2013 season, the score has gone over 50 total points every year dating back to 2006. Maybe this shakes it up and brings more scoring?

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