- The New York Jets seem to be in the perfect position to begin tanking the season to get the No. 1 draft pick next year.
- Professional athletes and coaches are never for initially losing a game but there are obvious rewards of being the worst team and it is definitely known throughout a franchise.
- Sports betting is affected by tanking because betting against what seems to be a tanking team has guaranteed money written all over it.
NEW YORK– After six weeks of NFL football the winless New York Jets have already positioned themselves to have the worst record in the league and many are betting this will led to a “tanking season” for the franchise.
If the Jets continue down the path of having the worst record or begin tanking and start losing games on purpose, they will guarantee themselves the first pick of the NFL Draft which is currently a -750 favorite to be Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence.
Although it’s only been three years since the Jets selected QB Sam Darnold as the third-overall pick, tanking the season for a quarterback of Lawerence’s caliber still seems practical.
Though being a bad team helps you get the top pick, most recently we’ve seen that it may cause people to speak out on the subject of whether or not top talent should decline the offer from such a bad team.
“It would be awful for [Trevor Lawerence] to get drafted by the Jets because they do not know how to put anything together over there as far as quarterbacking, weapons around the quarterback, as far as anything that has to do with offensive talent,” said Roddy White, former NFL wide receiver.
This begs a couple of questions. Is tanking real, and if so, how are sports bettors taking advantage of these purposefully bad teams?
Is Tanking Real?
Last week, the Jets received their sixth straight loss by multiple scores and have now been outscored 185-75 in those games. The team simply has not been competitive in games at all and that is highlighted by the fact that the Jets have failed to cover the spread in any game this season.
It calls into question if the team is truly that bad or with such a good deal on the table, are they looking to cash in on the No. 1 prize.
NFL teams and coaches normally do not seem to be initially losing games and definitely would never say if they were, but it’s always interesting to wonder if tanking is a real plan for the team.
“Tanking is a reality for the front office (the roster builders) of an NFL franchise and the media,” said Geoff Schwartz, former NFL offensive lineman. “It’s not for the coaches and players, who bring it every Sunday. The best part of our job is winning. Winning makes the entire building happy, and it’s what we attempt to achieve all week. So that’s why you never see coaches or players actively tanking in games.”
The Jets players and coaches may not be working to lose the game but once the media outlets and fans begin to put a tanking label on a team, it has now begun to have an even deeper effect on sports.
Sports Betting & Tanking
Tanking has always been a very popular talking point in the NFL but in fact other leagues such as the NBA have worked to try and discourage it because not only were teams manipulating the system, now, so are legal sports bettors.
In 2017, the NBA worked to change the rules to lessen the benefit of tanking including making the worst three teams have the same odds to get the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
Though the rules were effective for the 2019 draft, sportsbooks were still having to deal with bettors get winning “easy money” on moneyline bets against tanking teams.
In a game last year between the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns, it proved how difficult it was to make odds for a game at the point in the season where the Suns have one of the worst ATS records in the league and are the perfect tanking candidate.
“It doesn’t matter what we put up,” said Chris Andrews, South Point Sportsbook director. “The Warriors are a [-2000] favorite. That’s ridiculous for an NBA game, but that’s what they are. And the money is on the Warriors … When people are betting the (moneyline) parlays, it’s almost like a free winner.”
With sports betting on the rise in the country, it will be harder to figure out how to try and avoid obvious tanking teams because it could become dangerous for sportsbooks.
Honestly, it may be a lost cause because tanking will always be a part of professional sports due to the fact that top draft picks will continue to be the key to rebuilding a bad team.
Adia has a background in sports writing and strives to provide content that gives the readers accurate information. As a storyteller, she also works hard to create stories that are engaging to the audience. Whenever she’s not writing on sports betting news, she is getting her heart broken by every sports team in Georgia.