An exciting weekend of NFL football with four more games finished as a winning week for most sportsbooks, despite the public cleaning up on the Green Bay Packers' win on Saturday.
Green Bay beat the Los Angeles Rams in a game in which the public loaded up on the Packers. Over 80% of bets and spread handle were on Green Bay, not to mention most parlays or teasers for the weekend began with the Packers. Green Bay (-6.5) never trailed in the game, and won 32-18, also hurting the books as the game went Over the total of 45. The biggest reported bet on Green Bay was a $400,000 wager on Green Bay -6.5 at a William Hill US book.
The night game on Saturday helped the books, as there was good two-way action. The Buffalo Bills (-2.5) beat the Ravens 17-3 as 2.5-point underdogs, and game stayed well Under the total of 50. At PointsBet sportsbooks, 64% of the bets and 69% of the handle was on Buffalo. There were multiple six-figure wagers reported on Buffalo, inslcuding a $110,000 wager on Bills -2.5 at BetMGM.
"Packers and over was good for the guests," Chuck Esposito, Station Casinos sportsbook director told VSiN. "In the second game, Bills, under and killing all Ravens teasers was good for us."
"Even with the Packers teasers and money line parlays still alive, the vast majority of them were tied into the Ravens here," Thomas Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata in New Jersey told VSiN in an email. "The Bills winning 17-3 killed all of those teasers and parlays. It was a very good Saturday for us."
The Sunday games were more of a wash for books, as the Kansas City Chiefs' 22-17 win but non-cover against the Cleveland Browns helped, and there was good two-way action on the Bucs-Saints game, though the majority of bets and money at several books was on New Orleans.
A $220,000 wager on the Browns + 10 cashed at BetMGM, while in the nightcap, a $250,000 wager on the Saints -3 at BetMGM lost, but a $200,000 bet on the Bucs + 3 came though.
Favorites won three of four games on the weekend, but were only 2-2 ATS. Three of the four games stayed Under the total.
-- Ben Fawkes
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-7, 45)
The teams traded first-quarter FGs and then Aaron Rodgers (23-for-36, 296 yards, 2 TD passes) took over with a 1-yard TD pass to Davante Adams and a 1-yard TD run himself to give the Packers a 16-3 lead with 3:29 left in the first half. Jared Goff hit Van Jefferson for a 4-yard TD pass before Mason Crosby hit a 39-yard FG as time expired in the first half to give the Packers a 19-10 lead. Green Bay covered as a 4.5-point, first-half favorite while it went Over the first-half total of 22.5.
Aaron Jones and Cam Akers traded TD runs in the third quarter, with the Packers failing on their two-point conversion and the Rams covering theirs made the score 25-18 and put it right on the 7-point spread. However, Rodgers connected with Allen Lazard on a 58-yard TD pass with 6:52 to play to secure the win and the cover for the Packers and their backers. The TD also put the game Over the total (with Packers/Over always being a popular parlay).
Final score: Packers 32, Rams 18
ATS winner: Packers
Total: Over 45
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills (-2.5, 50)
The Under was never in doubt in this defensive battle. Tyler Bass kicked a 28-yard FG for the Bills in the first quarter and Justin Tucker (who uncharacteristically missed an earlier kick) booted a 34-yard FG for a 3-3 halftime tie as the Ravens covered as 1-point, first-half underdogs. The Bills regained the lead at 10-3 on Josh Allen’s 3-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs with 9:29 left in the third quarter. It looked like the Ravens were going in for the tying score (or at least a FG to move closer) when Lamar Jackson was picked off by Taron Johnson, who returned it 101 yards for the TD and a 17-3 lead with :41 left in the third quarter. Jackson left the game at the end of the third quarter with a concussion and was replaced by Tyler Huntley. The Ravens were a very popular teaser play at + 8.5, but Huntley missed a wide-open Marquis Brown on a deep pass midway through the fourth quarter and then the Ravens came up empty on a 12-play, 56-yard drive vs. the Bills’ prevent defense. A running-into-the-kicker penalty also cost the Ravens one final possession.
Final score: Bills 17, Ravens 3
ATS winner: Bills
Total: Under 50
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-8, 56)
Patrick Mahomes’ 1-yard TD run capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive to open the game and he added a 20-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce in the second quarter along with a Harrison Butker 50-yard FG to hold a commanding 16-3 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half. The Browns looked like they were going to pull within 16-10, but Rashard Higgins fumbled stretching for the pylon and the ball went out of the end zone for a touchback (and the refs missed a helmet-to-helmet hit). Butker added another FG to put the Chiefs up 19-3 at halftime, covering as 5.5-point, first-half faves as it stayed Under the first-half total of 28.
The Browns pulled with 19-10 on Baker Mayfield’s 4-yard TD pass to Jarvis Landry on the opening drive of the second half. Mahomes was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the Chiefs’ next drive. He was replaced by Chad Henne and the Chiefs settled for a 33-yard Butker FG to extend the lead to 22-10. The Browns got within the spread on Kareem Hunt’s 3-yard TD run vs. his former team with 11:07 to play, but they punted on their only remaining possession of the game and Henne converted enough third- and fourth-down plays to secure the victory. The Chiefs opened -10 and were bet down to as low as -7.5 before closing at a consensus -8, but failed to cover again (0-8-1 ATS despite being 8-1 SU in their last nine games). The Chiefs did come through as a popular teaser play, especially when bettors were able to tease them down to -1.5 or -2 before gametime.
Final score: Chiefs 22, Browns 17
ATS winner: Browns
Total: Under 56
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-2.5, 53)
Scoring started slow as Will Lutz kicked two first-quarter FGs for the Saints (the first was set up by a 54-yard punt return by Deonte Harris and the second coming after Harris’ 67-yard TD return was called back) and Ryan Succop kicked one with 13 minutes left in the second quarter. But then Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Drew Brees and ran it back to the 3-yard line to set up Tom Brady’s 3-yard TD pass to Mike Evans for a 10-6 lead. The Saints answered with a gadget play from backup QB Jameis Winston to a wide-open Tre’Quan Smith for a 56-yard TD pass. Succop kicked a FG to tie the game 13-13 at halftime as the Bucs covered as 0.5-point, first-half underdogs with the first-half Under 26.5 still cashing.
The Saints went back up 20-13 as Smith caught a 16-yard TD pass, this time from Brees. However, the Bucs evened the score again when Brady hit Leonard Fournette on a 6-yard TD pass and then took their first lead of the game, 23-20, on Succop’s 36-yard FG with 9:52 left and then put the game away on a 1-yard TD run by Brady. The key to the game was the Bucs having a 4-0 takeaway advantage as they pulled the only outright upset of the divisional playoffs at + 125 on the moneyline.
Final score: Buccaneers 30, Saints 20
ATS winner: Buccaneers
Total: Under 53
-- Dave Tuley