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Upsetting the Odds

Sports are fantastic for fans of statistics. There are plenty of numbers you can look at that will tell you who the best team is on paper. What's on paper doesn't always translate to the field though and every once in a while, a team will make an absolute mockery of NFL betting lines.


We aren't just talking about a victory for a plucky underdog, we're talking about massive shocks, events that simply shouldn't have happened. These once in a lifetime results show that betting on the NFL can sometimes be tricky, but boy is it fun to watch.


1934 NFL title game

In 1934 the weight of expectation was on the Chicago Bears. The weight wasn't a particularly heavy one as they'd played a perfect season with relative ease. Thanks mostly to Beattie Feathers and Bronko Nagurski the Bears had a 13-0 record for the season going into the game against the New York Giants. The Giants had lost five games and were widely expected to lose this one.


But here's what happened. It was nine degrees that day and the field was like a sheet of ice. At halftime the Bears led 10-3, but the Giants had something up their sleeves. Or on their feet. Cleats were proving useless on the surface and the Giants came out for the second half wearing sneakers. It worked and they powered to a shock 30-13 victory.


Superbowl XXXIII

The Brett Favre days, remember him? He was like a mastermind, standing at the back with his fingers on all the controls and powering Green Bay to victory after victory. It almost became boring how good the Packers were with him. In the run up to this game, nobody could see anything other than a Green Bay victory on the cards, which would have seen them lift the trophy for the second year running.


The Denver Broncos were 13 point underdogs going into this, which basically made them chanceless. Denver laughed in the face of NFL betting lines and cruised to an unanticipated 31-24 in a game were Favre was pretty much anonymous.


1987 NFC divisional game

Sometimes the big stars don't shine at all. In the 80s Candlestick Park was full of people who were there to witness one man, one legend. Of course, it was Joe Montana. The 49ers were a real force and when the Vikings rolled into town for this divisional game, there were few who gave the Minnesota outfit any realistic hope of not being on the wrong end of a beating


The weather hadn't been factored in to the equation. It had rained. A lot. The field was like a mud bath and players were slipping all over the place. This suited receivers better than rushing play and with Montana at QB it should have been no problem for San Francisco. Except that it was like Joe Montana hadn't really turned up that day and his ineffectiveness led to him being benched for the first time in nine years. His replacement didn't do any better and the Vikings ran out 36-24 winners.


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