LAS VEGAS – That sigh of relief you heard on Sunday was from Nevada bookmakers after the winning streak for NFL favorites came to an end in Week 13 (and the other sound was the echo from underdog bettors).
Favorites had covered more games than underdogs for six straight weeks – never hitting at lower than 60% in any given week and going 54-24-7 ATS (69.2%) in that span – but underdogs went 7-7 ATS on Sunday and finished 9-7 ATS overall in Week 13 after the Bengals covered as 4.5-point home dogs in their 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
The underdog revolution began with the Thursday night game as the Cowboys beat the Redskins 38-14 as 1.5-point home underdogs.
After the recent run of favorites, the early Sunday games (the ones with 1 p.m. ET kickoffs/10 a.m. PT here in Vegas) were decidedly different with many live underdogs. Favorites actually went 5-4 ATS in those games, but all four covering underdogs won outright with the 49ers beating the Bears 15-14 as 3-point road underdogs, the Vikings beat the Falcons 14-9 as 3-point road dogs, the Dolphins routed the Broncos as 1.5-point home dogs and the Jets outlasted the Chiefs 38-31 as 3.5-point home dogs.
The five winning favorites all covered with three routs – Ravens beating the Lions 44-20 as 2.5-point home favorites, the Patriots beating the Bills 23-3 as 8-point road favorites and the Jaguars whipping the Colts 30-10 as 9.5-point home faves – but the other two not so easy.
The Packers closed as 3-point home faves over the Buccaneers and were taken to overtime but won (and covered) 26-20 on Aaron Jones’ 20-yard TD run on the Packers’ opening drive of OT.
An even bigger candidate for Bad Beat of the Week was the Texans, who closed as 7-point road underdogs at Tennessee and were trailing just 17-13 in the final minute. The Titans had the ball at their own 25-yard line and just needed a first down to go into victory formation. Derrick Henry picked up the first down but kept going 75 yards for a TD to cover the spread in the Titans’ 24-13 win.
So, including Thursday night, faves and dogs stood at 5-5 ATS with over/unders also at 5-5. The afternoon games didn’t break the tie as faves/dogs went 2-2 ATS and over/unders were also 2-2. The covering chalk were the Saints in their 31-21 win over the Panthers as 6-point home favorites and the Rams in their 32-16 win over the Cardinals as 7-point road faves. The Chargers and Raiders also won straight-up as favorites, but they both failed to cover the spread. The Chargers beat the Browns 19-10 after closing as 13.5-point home favorites and the Raiders beat the Geno Smith-led Giants 24-17 after closing as 9.5-point faves. The first two games went over and the two latter games stayed under.
Heading into the Sunday night game, faves/dogs were at 7-7 ATS (including the Thursday night game) and over/unders were also 7-7, but the Seahawks’ 24-10 upset of the Eagles as 4-point home underdogs (and staying under the total of 47) improved dogs to 8-7 ATS to guarantee that faves would be .500 at best while and unders improved to 8-7.
The Bengals capped the winning week for underdogs at 9-7 ATS while the Steelers' 23-20 straight-up victory landed on the closing total of 43 points to have unders finish the week with an 8-7-1 edge.
For the season, favorites still lead 97-86-8 ATS (53%) while unders lead 96-93-3 (50.8%).