Sports betting is becoming more and more prevalent in the average sports fan’s life. In 2021, DraftKings saw a 60 percent increase in third-quarter revenue from a year prior. Compared to other countries with more mature gambling systems already in place like the UK, only four percent of gross gaming revenue in America was generated online while 45 percent was generated online with our neighbors across the Atlantic.
As more and more people get into this form of online gambling, they will look for different ways to make money. You could dedicate hours of your life every week into dissecting each matchup, create algorithms designed to predict the outcomes, and turn sports betting into a science that still will only win you at most about 60 percent of your bets. You could also place all your money on gut feelings. Sometimes intuition is the best system. Or, you could be like Reddit user Crantastic and bet your entire life savings based on how well each team’s last meeting with the Chicago Bears turned out.
Crantastic’s method went 6-for-6 during Wild Card weekend and even predicted the final scores with shocking accuracy. Their method picked the Bengals to win by eight (Bengals won by seven), the Bills to win by 19 (Bills won by 30), the Bucs to win by 27 (Bucs won by 16), the 49ers to win by 18 (49ers won by six), the Chiefs to win by 21 (Chiefs won by 21), and the Rams to win by nine (Rams won by 23). One game was dead-on accurate and another was within one point of being correct. If you had bet on the spread for each of these games based on this theory, you would’ve won a lot of money. So, what is this theory and how does it predict the rest of the playoffs will turn out?
The theory itself is pretty simple. Just take the last time each team in the playoffs played the Chicago Bears and use the score of that game to determine the outcome. For example, for the Raiders-Bengals game that happened last weekend, the Raiders last played the Bears in Week 5 of this season. The Bears won that game by 11, giving the Raiders a rating of -11. The Bengals played the Bears in Week 2, losing 20-17, giving the Bengals a rating of -3. The Bengals’ rating is eight points higher than that of the Raiders, therefore, the Bengals were set to win the game by eight points. Pretty easy, right?
This isn’t the first time this theory has worked either. This strategy posted a very solid record for the 2018 playoffs as well. That year, the strategy had a record of 9-1-1. Although the method predicted a first-round exit for the Jaguars that year (instead they reached the AFC Championship), the theory did say that first-round game between the Jags and Bills would be very close, specifically, the Bills were supposed to win by two points. Ultimately, the Jags won by seven in one of the most difficult-to-watch playoff games in recent memory. I mean, by George, Tyrod Taylor versus Blake Bortles? That was never going to be a classic.
Nonetheless, after that game, the strategy went undefeated, predicting the Eagles to beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship and the Patriots to beat the Jaguars in the AFC Championship.
The only other game that year the theory didn’t win outright was the Super Bowl. The Patriots’ last meeting with the Bears prior to Super Bowl LII happened in Week 8 of 2014. The Patriots won by 28. The Eagles’ last meeting with the Bears happened in Week 12 of 2017. The Eagles won that game by 28. The algorithm couldn’t determine a winner because both teams equally dominated the Bears in their most recent meetings. However, it should be stated that while everyone and their mother thought Tom Brady and the Patriots were going to wipe the floor with the Nick Foles-led Eagles, this method of predicting winners thought the game would be very close. Lo and behold, the Eagles ended up winning the game in a shootout, so technically speaking, this method was better at predicting the Super Bowl than most American bettors that year.
So, how does this theory foresee the rest of the 2022 playoffs going down? For one, there’s already a tie on the slate for the Divisional round as both the Bengals and Titans lost to the Bears by three points when they last met. It’s funny, this is the game that many people think will be the most hotly-contested of the Divisional Round and of course, this theory points to that idea as well. Aside from Bengals-Titans, the theory suggests that the Packers should beat the 49ers by four points, the Bucs should beat the Rams by 15, and the Bills should beat the Chiefs by three. All very believable outcomes.
In the conference championships, regardless of whether the Bills play the Bengals or Titans, Buffalo should be the victor by 29 points. Meanwhile, the Bucs should beat the Packers by 20. Geez, what an unfun Championship Weekend that would be, huh?
And finally, in Super Bowl LVI, the combatants should be the Buffalo Bills and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tom Brady’s current team and the team he used to take behind the shed twice a year for two decades during his time in New England. And according to the theory, Brady’s dominance over the Bills will continue as his Buccaneers should beat the Bills by nine points.
As accurate as this Bears method has been so far, I really hope we don’t see another Tom Brady Super Bowl victory. Am I a hater? Absolutely, but the man’s got seven Super Bowl rings already. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the Super Bowl, but for goodness sake, let Stefon Diggs get a ring. Let Micah Hyde get a ring. Let Jordan Poyer get a ring. Let Sean McDermott get a ring. Jim Kelly didn’t beat cancer three times to see his Bills lose to Brady again. Call in Buffalo Wild Wings if you have to. Just don’t let Brady win again!
Obviously, there’s still a long way to go before the Super Bowl and anything can happen. As accurate as the Bears method has been thus far, it’s not foolproof. I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t bet your life savings on a theory you don’t trust. While it’s always good to bet against the Bears, it’s much more risky to place bets based on how badly the Bears played any given weekend. Still, it’s a fun trend to follow.