It was another good weekend for sportsbooks, as underdogs went 7-5 against the spread with five outright wins on Sunday. Unders started 6-1 on the day, before finishing 7-5.
Sportsbooks won many games on Sunday, but one of the biggest was the Indianapolis Colts (+ 1.5) beating the Green Bay Packers 34-31. At multiple sportsbooks, over 80% of the money was on Green Bay, and 80% of the moneyline bets at BetRivers sportsbooks were on Green Bay. Even in Indianapolis, Austin Herdina, sportsbook manager at the Indiana Grand told VSiN that their book needed the Packers as well. Some Packers fans even visited the sportsbook.
We actually had several groups of Packers fans come in earlier in the day before heading to the stadium for the game,” Herdina said. “Fans still aren't allowed at Lambeau, so this was their best chance to see their team live. All of the large action was on Green Bay … most weeks we want Green Bay to lose, even this week against the Colts.”
Another giant game for sportsbooks was the Denver Broncos (+ 4) beating the Miami Dolphins 20-13. This was the biggest early decision of the day at multiple sportsbooks, and the best result of the day at PointsBet. Over 92% of the bets and a staggering 93% of the money was on Miami to cover the spread at PointsBet sportsbooks, as well as 95% of the ML handle. The game was also the most-bet game at William Hill sportsbooks. Miami came into the game tied at an NFL-best 7-2 ATS.
“The biggest decisions for us were the Broncos-Dolphins, Eagles-Browns and Steelers-Jaguars,” Thomas Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata in New Jersey, said. “The Broncos winning outright killed a lot of parlay and teaser money for us. For some reason, the Philly fans continue to bet the Eagles here, so that was a good result for us.”
The aforementioned Browns beating the Eagles was a mixed result for books, but did include a $250,000 wager on the Browns -2.5 (bettor bought a half point) and $105,000 wager on the Browns -3 at BetMGM books, per Patrick Everson.
Sportsbooks also did well on the Washington Football Team (-1.5) beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-9. Over 87% of the bets and 84% of the money was on the Bengals at PointsBet books, and there was a $110,000 wager on the Bengals + 1.5 at a BetMGM book. The Bengals were moving the ball well despite being only up 9-7 at halftime, but the game completely turned when Joe Burrow took an awkward hit in the third quarter and was carted off. Washington outscored Cincinnati 13-0 after Burrow’s injury.
“The two biggest bets we took today were a $100,000 wager on the Bengals second half at pick ‘em and a $110,000 wager on the Saints second half -2.5,” Gable said. “I’m sure once Burrow went down, that customer probably felt sick.”
The best game for bettors was the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) routing the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3. It was the worst decision of the day at The Borgata and improved Mike Tomlin to 2-10 ATS as a double-digit road favorite as Steelers head coach.
Several sportsbooks referred to the Las Vegas Raiders (+ 8) winning as being the “cherry on top” of a winning Sunday. That didn’t happen, but Las Vegas did cover in a 35-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the night game. The most-bet game of the day at PointsBet, over 90% of the bets and 95% of the money was on Kansas City to cover the spread. Several sportsbooks reported decreased parlay and teaser liability from public sides losing earlier in the day (New England, Baltimore, Miami, Minnesota, Green Bay).
“Overall, it was a solid day for the house,” Chuck Esposito, sportsbook manager at Station Casinos said. “The Texans, Broncos and Colts were all key wins.”
-- Ben Fawkes
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 57)
Russell Wilson (2 TD passes but no turnovers unlike last two games) hit DK Metcalf with a 25-yard TD pass to cap off a 12-play, 75-yard drive to open the game, but this didn’t turn into a shootout that many expected as it stayed more than a TD Under the total. But the SU & ATS results were in doubt until the end. The Cardinals pulled within 23-21 on Kyler Murray’s 3-yard TD pass to Chase Edmonds with 13:19 to play. The Seahawks, whose defense played better than it has most of the year in containing Murray & Co. and holding them to 314 yards and 21 points, went back over the spread on a safety with 9:12 left. Jason Myers’ 41-yard FG made the final margin 28-21 as the Cardinals didn’t have another Hail Murray in them.
Final score: Seahawks 28, Cardinals 21
ATS winner: Seahawks
Total: Under 57
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 44.5)
This was a wild one in the rain. The Eagles fumbled away a chance to draw first blood in the first quarter, then the Browns were stopped short on 4th-and-goal inside the Eagles’ 1-yard line. The only score of the first half was Sione Takitaki picking off Carson Wentz and taking it back 50 yards for a TD. The Eagles pulled within the spread at 12-10 on a Jake Elliott 43-yard FG with 11:24 to play, but Kareem Hunt scored on a 5-yard TD run and Cody Parkey hit a 28-yard FG to put the Browns comfortably ahead 22-10. Wentz’s 4-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert with :30 left was only good for those teasing the Eagles up to + 8.5 or + 9 or those teasing the Over down to 38.5.
Final score: Browns 22, Eagles 17
ATS winner: Browns
Total: Under 44.5
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3.5, 49.5)
The Saints led only 10-9 at halftime of Taysom Hill’s first start at QB, but he ran for two TDs in the second half (leading the Saints with 51 yards rushing) and finished 18-for-23 for 233 yards passing. The real story was the New Orleans defense holding the Falcons to 248 total yards and just three Younghoe Koo FGs. Atlanta lost as a popular underdog, evidenced by the line being bet down to only Saints -3.5 and being the No. 1 choice of contest players in the Circa Sports Million and the second-choice in the Westgate SuperContest and also SuperContest Gold.
Final score: Saints 24, Falcons 9
ATS winner: Saints
Total: Under 49.5
Detroit Lions (-3, 47) at Carolina Panthers
This game was off the board all week with the uncertain status of both starting QBs, Matthew Stafford and Teddy Bridgewater. The Lions were made the favorites when Stafford was cleared to play and Bridgewater was declared out. But no one told the Carolina defense, which shut out the Lions and held Stafford to just 178 passing yards and only 185 total while former XFL star P.J. Walker went 24-for-34 and 258 yards and a 17-yard TD pass to Curtis Samuel in the third quarter to put the Panthers ahead 14-0. Joel Slye added two TDs as Carolina pulled the outright upset at + 145 on the money line and the Under was never in doubt.
Final score: Panthers 20, Lions 0
ATS winner: Panthers
Total: Under 47
New England Patriots (-2.5, 49.5) at Houston Texans
The Patriots were another popular favorite (No. 5 choice in Circa Sports Million) that went down in flames. Deshaun Watson (28-for-37, 344 yards) threw first-half TD passes to Randall Cobb and Keke Coutee, the latter with :10 left before halftime to put the Texans ahead 21-10. Cam Newton did pull the Patriots within 21-17 midway through the third quarter on a 42-yard TD pass to Damiere Byrd and with 24-20 on Nick Folk’s 36-yard FG with 7:39 to play, but their last-second effort came up short (as well as the Over/Under).
Final score: Texans 27, Patriots 20
ATS winner: Texans
Total: Under 49.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5, 47.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a nine-play, 52-yard opening drive, but that was about it for the Jacksonville highlights. The Steelers’ defense shut out the Jaguars the rest of the game and held them to 206 total yards (more than a quarter of them coming on that opening drive) and just 14 first downs. Ben Roethlisberger (32-for-46 for 267 yards) threw TD passes to WR Chase Claypool and TE Eric Ebron as the Steelers coasted and covered easily as double-digit road favorites. The Under was also never in doubt as Unders went 6-1 in the early Sunday games.
Final score: Steelers 27, Jaguars 3
ATS winner: Steelers
Total: Under 47.5
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team (-1.5, 47.5)
Joe Burrow (22-for-34 for 203 yards) hit A.J. Green for a 5-yard TD pass in the second quarter and the underdog Bengals led 9-7 at halftime. However, Burrow left the game with just under 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter with a knee injury that was later diagnosed as a torn ACL and the Washington defense shut out the Cincinnati offense the rest of the game. Alex Smith hit Steven Sims for a 3-yard TD pass midway through the third quarter to put Washington back ahead 14-9 and Dustin Hopkins added two FGs for the final margin.
Final score: Football Team 20, Bengals 9
ATS winner: Football Team
Total: Under 47.5
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (-6, 50.5)
The Ravens led 14-10 at halftime and took a 21-10 lead on Lamar Jackson’s 31-yard TD pass to Mark Andrews with 9:34 left in the third quarter, but the Titans chipped away at the led with two Stephen Gostkowski FGs and then took a 24-21 lead on Ryan Tannehill’s 14-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown with 2:18 left in regulation. However, this roller-coaster ride for bettors (and NFL fans in general) wasn’t over as the Ravens marched down to set up Justin Tucker’s 29-yard FG to send the game to overtime. Baltimore went three-and-out on the opening possession of OT. The Titans took just five plays to get into FG range, but then Derrick Henry ran 29 yards for the winning TD and cash for Tennessee ML bettors at + 220. The game needed OT to go Over the betting total of 50.5, the only Over in Sunday’s early session of games.
Final score: Titans 30, Ravens 24 (OT)
ATS winner: Titans
Total: Over 50.5
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5, 52)
Aaron Rodgers three first-half TD passes to TE Robert Tonyan, WR Davante Adams and RB Jamaal Williams, plus RB Aaron Jones had a 2-yard TD run as the Packers led 28-14 at halftime. But the No. 1-ranked Indianapolis defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Packers out of the end zone and forcing four turnovers. The Colts caught up at 28-28 on Rodrigo Blankenship’s 32-yard FG with 11:12 left in regulation. Blankenship put the Colts ahead 31-28 before Green Bay’s Mason Crosby sent the game to overtime with a 26-yard FG with just :03 left as Rodgers left the field disappointed he didn’t get the game-winning TD. Rodgers was more disappointed when he completed a pass to Marques Valdes-Scantling on the second play of OT only to have Valdes-Scantling fumble with the Colts’ DeForest Buckner recovering at the Green Bay 29-yard line. The Colts only moved the ball eight yards but it was enough to set up Blankenship’s 39-yard game-winning FG and to cover the short spread.
Final score: Colts 34, Packers 31 (OT)
ATS winner: Colts
Total: Over 52
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (-7, 50)
Don’t look now, but the Cowboys (3-7) are in the middle of the NFC Least race, just half a game behind the Eagles. Andy Dalton threw two first-half TD passes to Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDeeLamb to take a 16-7 lead into halftime. Kirk Cousins threw two TD passes to Adam Thielen (who leads the NFL with 11 TD receptions) to put the Vikings ahead 21-16 with 14:57 to play, and that led to a shootout the rest of the way. Dallas backup RB Tony Pollard broke loose for a 42-yard TD to put the Cowboys back ahead 24-21, but Cousins hit Justin Jefferson on a 39-yard TD pass to give the Vikings a 28-24 lead with 9:37 to play. It looked like the Vikings might win but not cover (they never led by more than the spread the whole game), but then Dalton led the Cowboys on an 11-play, 61-yard drive that concluded with a 2-yard TD pass to Dalton Schultz for the 31-28 lead and the upset at + 270 on the money line.
Final score: Cowboys 31, Vikings 28
ATS winner: Cowboys
Total: Over 50
Miami Dolphins (-4, 46) at Denver Broncos
Tua Tagovailoa threw a 3-yard TD pass to DeVante Parker on the Dolphin’s opening drive, but he was mostly shut down by a Denver defense that allowed only 223 yards of total offense. Drew Lock (18-for-30, 270 yards) didn’t do much either, but the Broncos rushed for 189 yards (84 by Melvin Gordon, 82 by Philip Lindsay) and Gordon had TD runs of 1 yard and 20 yards to go with two Brandon McManus FGs. Trailing 20-10, Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Tagovailoa and moved the ball well, going 12-for-18 for 117 yards. The Dolphins pulled with 20-13 on Jason Sanders’ 53-yard FG with 7:51 left and Fitzgerald moved them down to the Denver 15-yard line with just over a minute to play, but Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Justin Simmons in the end zone to end the comeback and secure the Broncos’ upset at + 175 on the money line.
Final score: Broncos 20, Dolphins 13
ATS winner: Broncos
Total: Under 46
New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers (-9.5, 47.5)
Chargers CB Tevaughn Campbell returned a Joe Flacco pass 6 yards for an easy TD, Justin Herbert threw first-half TD passes to WR Mike Williams and TE Hunter Henry and Michael Badgley hit a 44-yard FG to give L.A. a commanding 24-6 halftime lead. It looked like a cakewalk for those laying the points and the 140 Circa Survivor contestants that used the Chargers. However, Flacco hit Breshad Perriman with a 49-yard TD pass to open the third quarter, and after Keenan Allen’s 13-yard TD reception from Herbert put the Chargers back up by 18, Frank Gore’s 1-yard TD run with :22 left in the third quarter put the Jets back in the game (and put the game Over the betting total). Flacco’s 6-yard TD pass to Chris Herndon with exactly four minutes to play put the Jets within the spread at 34-26. Chargers punter Ty Long took an intentional safety with :01 left to make the final score 34-28, but that only affected the few that bet the game at + /-7.5 last Monday as the Chargers’ winning margin went from 8 to 6.
Final score: Chargers 34, Jets 28
ATS winner: Jets
Total: Over 47.5
Kansas City Chiefs (-8, 56.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
It was hard to live up to the drama of earlier NFL Sunday action, but the Sunday nighter did. The Chiefs and Raiders battled back-and-forth (literally) as both scored five times with neither able to put up back-to-back scores. After trading two TDs apiece, Daniel Carlson’s 35-yard FG put the Raiders ahead 17-14 at halftime. After that, it was all TDs as the teams combined for five second-half TDs with the lead changing hands after each one. Le’Veon Bell scored on a 6-yard TD run to put the Chiefs ahead 28-24 with 5:54 left and set up the late-game drama. The Raiders drove down and took a 31-28 lead on a 1-yard TD pass from Derek Carr (23-for-31 for 275 yards and 3 TDs) to TE Jason Witten with 1:43 to play that also put the game Over the betting total. But they left too much time on the clock for Patrick Mahomes (34-for-45, 348 yards, 2 TDs), who drove the Chiefs into FG range and then hit TE Travis Kelce for a 22-yard TD pass for the game-winner with :28 left. The Chiefs, however, were never leading by more than the spread.
Final score: Chiefs 35, Raiders 31
ATS winner: Raiders
Total: Over 56.5
-- Dave Tuley