LAS VEGAS – NFL Week 16 was a wild ride for bettors and bookmakers over the holiday weekend, but it was all overshadowed by a “meaningless” touchdown at the end of the Christmas/Monday night game.
The Eagles-Raiders game, which had lost a lot of its luster with the way the Raiders have underperformed this season, opened a week ago Sunday with the Eagles favored by 8 points at the Westgate with other books opening at Eagles -9. The line bounced around between 8.5 and 9 most of the week with it being bet up to 10 by kickoff.
The game was also back-and-forth with the Raiders clearly the right betting side as it was tied 10-10 at the two-minute warning and look like it could be heading to overtime. Instead, Philadelphia’s Ronald Darby intercepted Derek Carr’s pass with 54 seconds left in regulation to set up Jake Elliott’s 48-yard, go-ahead field goal with 22 seconds remaining. Then, with 3 seconds to go, the Raiders attempted a desperation lateral play that (in a play that we’ve seen way more times than we can count, kinda like “It’s a Wonderful Life”) ended up in the hands of Derek Barnett who ran it in for the touchdown to put the Eagles ahead 19-10. That gave an amazing cover to those who layed -8 or -8.5 on the Eagles and an equally inexplicable loss to those on plus-8 or plus-8.5.
To further put this ending into the annals of point-spread betting lore, the Eagles took (in what has also become common) a knee on the mandatory conversion try to keep the final at Eagles 19, Raiders 10 and resulting in a push for all those that bet the game at minus-/plus-9. The late bettors at Raiders plus-9.5 and plus-10 held on for the cover while those who layed -9.5 or -10 were crying "Bad Beat" of their own. The endgame had millions of dollars changing hands for bettors and bookmakers and also affected countless contests/pools and fantasy leagues (as Week 16 is championship weekends in a lot of leagues).
I grade my betting results against the consensus closing line here in Vegas, so the underdog Raiders still covered as 10-point road underdogs with the game staying under the betting total of 46 points. That result dropped favorites to 8-7-1 ATS for Week 16 along with the Steelers’ 34-6 rout of the Texans as 9-point road favorites earlier in the NFL’s Christmas Day doubleheader. Unders finished 13-3 for the week.
The rest of this betting recap was originally filed Sunday night:
Favorites have won 11 of the 14 NFL games so far in Week 16, but they are only 7-6-1 ATS heading into the Christmas Day doubleheader.
The sports books here came out ahead as there were enough underdogs to cover as well as breaking up favorite-heavy parlays, plus unders are 11-3 so far on the holiday weekend as the public usually prefers to bet overs and also include in fave/over parlays.
The outright upsets were pulled off by the Bengals, 49ers and Seahawks. The Bengals were backed by a lot of the so-called sharp bettors, as the line was bet down from plus-5 to plus-3 despite most of the public action being on the Lions who were still alive for a wild-card spot, and they won 26-17 at plus-150 on the money line. The 49ers beat the playoff-bound Jaguars 44-33 as 4-point home dogs as Jimmy Garoppolo improved to 4-0 and the Seahawks knocked off the Cowboys 21-12 as 4.5-point road dogs after the Cowboys were bet up from -3 to -5 before closing at -4.5.
The other underdogs to cover on Sunday were the Buccaneers and Titans. The Bucs fell just short of upsetting the Panthers at plus-400 on the money line as Cam Newton led a late TD drive for the 22-19 victory, but the Bucs still covered as 10-point road dogs and killed a lot of parlay and teaser action on the Panthers. The Titans fell to the Rams 27-23, just missing at plus-210 on the money line, but also thwarted a lot of parlays as they covered as 6.5-point home dogs (though the Rams still cashed on teasers).
There was no Thursday night game, but Week 16 started Saturday with the Colts covering as 13-point road dogs in their 23-16 loss to the Ravens. The Vikings shut out the Packers 16-0 to even faves and dogs at 1-1 ATS on the Saturday twin bill, but the unders hit in both games and was a sign of things to come on Sunday as unders went 7-2 in the early window of games and 2-1 in the later games.
The ATS push came in the Chargers-Jets game as the Chargers closed as 7-point road faves and won 14-7. The books lost on that game as the line was -6.5 and they lost all those bets that moved the line to 7 while refunding all the best on plus- or minus-7.
The two biggest lines of Sunday both had the favorites covering as the Chiefs beat the Dolphins 29-13 as 10.5-point home faves and the Patriots beat the Bills 37-16 as 11-point chalk. The latter had the distinction of being the only game to cash on the popular fave/over parlay combination.
The other covering favorites in the early window of games were the Bears -5.5 in their 20-3 win over the winless Browns (who still had support as the line was bet down from an opening line of -7), the Saints -5.5 in their 23-13 win over the Falcons and the Redskins -3 in their 27-11 win over the Broncos.
While the dogs did dominate the afternoon games with the upsets by the Jaguars and Seahawks, the Cardinals did rout the Giants 23-0 as 3-point home faves.