England and the United States are no strangers to welcoming one another’s stars – whether they be the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, or, hell, Gordon Ramsey – and the NFL clearly ranks among those pop-culture imports/exports. By the end of this year, the league will have played a 16-year total of 36 regular season games in the UK.
For 2023, the matches run three Sundays in a row, having begun on October 1, when the Atlanta Falcons got trounced by the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing 23-7. But an argument can be made that the Jags had a home-city advantage. It was the team’s 10th game in London.
One more to go for Jacksonville in 2023, it is slated for this weekend, when they square off against the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (a facility designed for the hosting of pro football games and partly financed by the NFL).
What is it like to play in the UK? “It’s a lot of fun when you win here,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said on the team’s website. “It’s not so much fun when you lose, especially being so far from home.”
The final London showdown for the current season takes place on October 15, when the Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans.
For the far-flung away game this Sunday, the wizards at 888 Sports lean toward the Bills, favoring them by 5.5 points. And, no doubt, there will be plenty of betting.
According to ESPN, among British gamblers, NFL games, regardless of where they are played, generate some nine times more action than the NBA. Pro basketball stands as America’s number-two in terms of popularity for punters.
When betting on NFL games played with passports, there is at least one factor worth considering.
That proved to be the case last weekend, and it benefited those who wagered on the Jaguars. So, if you are the sort who likes to keep things simple, it’s Bills all the way for Sunday.
NFL in the United Kingdom began earnestly in 2007, when the Super Bowl winning Giants played the dismal Miami Dolphins (they went 1-15 that season). Big Blue managed to squeak out a 16-13 win. Neither team played valiantly. It was a weak start to an idea that won’t quit and gets British fans fired up.
Despite the fun for Brits, however, playing overseas is not exactly embraced by the Stateside outfits. For the side that is designated as the hosting team in the UK, one home-game gets lost.
To make it fair for all, the NFL deemed in 2022 that every team will host one overseas game every eight years. It eases the pain of losing a home-field advantage. This season, the internationally roving league is not limiting itself to games in England. Come November, two square-offs will take place at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany.
It will be Miami Dolphins vs Kansas City Chiefs on November 5 and Indianapolis Colts facing New England Patriots one week later. All of this begs a wager worth considering: An over/under on the bump in beer consumption when the NFL comes to a non-US town.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to AP Photo*