BetUs.com is one of the leading online sportsbooks out there. If you’re into that sort of thing (I am not personally) they seem like a pretty good place to go for odds, lines, etc., on pretty much every sporting event imaginable.
But who knew that through their front page layout designs they also send subliminal messages about NFL quarterback competitions?
Earlier today, I was trying to find the point spread for the Bears-Broncos preseason game to add to Tyler’s post. My first stop when needing such information is typically BetUs (unless I want to see an amalgamation of spreads from a variety of sources, then I go to DocSports). When I traveled over to BetUs earlier today, I was surprised by what I saw on their home page.Â
Here is a screenshot:
Seems pretty normal right? It’s almost NFL season, so they are promoting their NFL sportsbook, and there is what appears to be just a generic football player used as window dressing. Generic, gray colors with no logos to associate the player with a particular team. Pretty standard stuff for what you see on sportsbook websites.
But then I did a double take. Â And I thought to myself, no, that couldn’t be…could it? So I looked a little closer:
Wait a minute…that’s not just some generic football player. It’s Derek Anderson! Quarterback of my beloved Browns! He of the surprising 2007 Pro Bowl season, and the man currently entrenched in a preseason battle for the starting QB gig in ClevelandÂ with the pretty boy golden domer.
I wanted to be sure though. The generic colors had me slightly unsure of myself, and I figured a quick Google image search might do the trick. And, lo and behold, there on the first page of the search was this picture:
This particular image (by Julie Jacobson of the AP) was found at OregonLive.com and confirmed my suspicions that, yes indeed, BetUs had chosen Derek Anderson to be the icon for their football sportsbook.
This immediately galvanized two pressing questions in my head:
1: Does BetUs know something that the rest of us Browns fans do not?
As has been well documented, Eric Mangini has said repeatedly that neither Anderson nor Brady Quinn has seized the upper hand in their battle for the starting gig. Quinn played well in the first preseason game, Anderson played well in the second one, and both will see time in the third game against Tennessee, ostensibly to decide this thing once and for all.
But BetUs’s business is making predictions. Why would they put a guy in their front page banner that was going to lose? (Unless, of course, they think Anderson will cover the spread…) Could it be that the BetUs folks have done what no else has been able to do: get a straight answer from Eric Mangini on the most important question of first Browns training camp?
Umm…probably not. Still, on a website in which pretty much every sentence is making some sort of prediction, it’s hard not to infer the subliminal message being sent here.
2: Is Derek Anderson, perhaps the most unpredictable quarterback in the NFL, really a good icon for a site like BetUs?
Obviously my insinuations in Question #1 are somewhat nonsensical. This question, however, is quite valid.
The goal of people laying their hard earned cash down on NFL games is to reduce risk and volatility in an effort to give themselves the best possible shot of winning more bets than they lose so that they can ultimately turn a profit. Bettors are always striving to find the “sure thing” wherever it may be.
Ask any Browns fan if Derek Anderson’s play even remotely resembles a “sure thing” and you will no doubt be met with cackles and guffaws as said Brown backer recounts in his or her head the unexpected rise of Anderson in 2007, his failure down the stretch when a playoff berth hung in the balance, and then his struggles last year when many people were drafting him as a #1 fantasy QB.
Sure thing? I don’t think so.
Derek Anderson is capable of flashes of greatness, and on the other hand just as capable of flashes of complete ineptitude. The problem, for his coaches, teammates, and fans, is that no one ever really knows which flash will occur when. (Or whether Braylon Edwards will actually hang onto D.A.’s perfectly thrown of flashes of greatness when they occur…)
If I were a bettor (and as I said, I am not) I would think an image of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady might be a little more comforting than Derek Anderson.Â
But then again…might the people at BetUs, trained in predicting the future and dependent on that ability for revenue, be offering up a subliminal message about the 2009 season? In a league in which the Dolphins can go from 1-15 to 11-5 and in which Derek Anderson has already made a Pro Bowl, is it that unreasonable that the Cleveland Browns, under a new regime, could be the surprise of the NFL and that Anderson could once again be a top-3 QB in the AFC?
Stranger things have happened, and now BetUs will have the ability to say “see, we told you so” if it does.
Or maybe it’s just a slow Thursday and I’m procrastinating at work and none of this means anything. Perhaps my yearning to cheer for a winner this season has led me to seek out signs of impending success where none actually exist.
Either way, Derek Anderson should be excited about the fact that he’s a cover boy. With D.A.’s starting job in question, and the other QB on the Browns likely to have more fitness magazine covers than Pro Bowl appearances in his career, such honors may be few and far between.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see if BetUs’ subliminal prediction comes true. Regardless of who Eric Mangini picks though — Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn — that player will have to play much better in ’09 than he did in ’08. Otherwise, there will be at least one sure thing in the NFL again this year: betting against the Browns.
[Full disclosure: BetUs does sponsor an ad on this site, but this was not a sponsored post.]