The First of the NFL’s London Games Takes Place This Weekend
Back in 2007, the NFL made a decision to play one regular season game in London, in what it called the International Series. This experiment came on the back of a number of popular ‘friendly’ games that the NFL had hosted in London and other cities in years prior to the event.
In that first game on a rain soaked afternoon, the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in a packed Wembley Stadium, it quickly became apparent that the UK had a huge interest in the NFL, and the following year another game was scheduled at Wembley, this time the New Orleans Saints comng out victorious 37-32 against the San Diego Chargers.
By now the London game had grown in popularity and the NFL realised that taking regular season games around the globe could not only grow interest in the game, but also be profitable. Hence the International Series was formed.
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Over the years, the series grew to include more games, becoming a two-game fixture in 2013 and a three-game series in 2014. By 2016, in addition to three games in London a fourth game was added in Mexico City. In 2017, this was further expanded to four games in London and one in Mexico. This year, there are another four games in London, plus one in Mexico City in mid-November.
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The International Series 2019
The International series begins this week with the Oakland Raiders as the designated home team taking on the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The full list of games and venues is shown below:
- October 6th – Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
- October 13th – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccanners (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
- October 27th – Cincinnatti Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams (Wembley)
- November 3rd – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Wembley)
- November 18th – Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers (Azteca, Mexico City)
International Series Stats
By the end of the International Series 2019, the only team not to have participated in one of the games will be the Green Bay Packers.
The team with the most appearances in International Series Games is the Jacksonville Jaguars who have played one home game a season at Wembley Stadium every year since 2013. This year will be their seventh successive appearance in the game (winning three and losing three games so far).
This year’s game featuring Jacksonville and the Houston Texans will be the first time that two divisional rivals will contest an International Series game as both teams are members of the AFC South.
Other teams who have made multiple appearances in the event include Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders (4 games each) and the New England Patriots & Los Angeles Rams (3 games apiece). Both the Raiders and the Rams will increase their number of games played again this season.
The most successful team in the International series is the New England Patriots who have won all three of the games they have participated in. Jacksonville have also won three games out of the six they played, losing the other three.
Several other teams have 100% winning record in the games including a number of teams with two wins (Vikings, Saints, Giants and 49ers), as well as those who have amassed one win in their only appearance so far (Bears, Cowboys, Chiefs, Jets, Eagles and Seahawks).
The team with the worst records are the Jaguars (3 losses from 6 games), Dolphins and Raiders (3 losses from 4 games), the Rams (2 losses from 3 games) the Lions and Chargers (1 loss from 2 games) and the Buccaneers (2 losses from 2 games). The Falcons, Ravens, Bills, Browns, Broncos, Texans, Colts, Steelers, Titans, Bengals and Redskins have all lost the single game they have played in the series so far.
Betting Tips for This Weekend’s Game
This weekend’s London game sees the Oakland Raiders host the Chicago Bears in Tottenham Hotspur’s specially designed stadium. Spurs owner Daniel Levy designed this brand new stadium with hosting NFL games in mind, as the stadium boasts a special NFL pitch for the games, as well as NFL-styled changing rooms for the teams.
The Raiders sit second in the AFC West having picked up two wins from their four games so far and they face a Bears team that have a slightly better 3-1 record, their only loss coming to divisional rivals Green Bay in what looks like being a very competitive NFC North division this season.
The Bears hold the upper hand in the most recent matches between the teams winning three of the last four games and seven of the last eleven. Oakland’s last victory was a 25-20 win back in 2011, while the Bears edged a narrow encounter last time the teams met 22-20 back in October 2015.
Spread, Total and Money Line Bets
The Bears are the bookies choice to win the game as they have a -5.5 handicap applied to them which makes this game an interesting one as with the Raiders having a +5.5 handicap, and games between these teams generally being close calls, I think that they may well be the option to back on the Spread bet at odds of 10/11.
In terms of the Total number of points, the bar has been set at over/under 40.5 points and the fact that this game tends to see relatively few points scored means that I would tend to go with the Under 40.5 option for this bet (10/11)
Lastly, although I have backed the Raiders with the Spread bet, I still feel the Bears will do just about enough to win the game and I would back them on the money line at odds of 5/12.