It was another wild week of NFL betting, and a mixed day for sportsbooks with several reporting small wins before the result of the Sunday Night game. Favorites ending up going 8-6 against the spread on Sunday, but many unders came through as well (10-4 on the day).
The biggest win of the early games was the Miami Dolphins (+ 7) covering against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs won 33-27, but a late Miami field goal with 16 seconds left got Dolphins backers the cover. The game was the most-bet early game at PointsBet sportsbooks (80% of bets, 91% of spread money on Kansas City) and had the most money and bets of the early games at William Hill US books. The Chiefs have now won but not covered their last five games, becoming the first team since the 2007 New England Patriots to accomplish that feat.
Sportsbooks also did well on the Chicago Bears (+ 1) dominating the Houston Texans 36-7. Despite the Texans having multiple offensive skill-position players out, the public flocked to back Houston, with 77% of bets and 88% of handle on the Texans at PointsBet. It was the second-most bet game at PointsBet, and the best result of the day for the book.
The public also was upset to see a late Detroit Lions (+ 8.5) field goal give Detroit the cover in a 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers. A whopping 89% of spread handle at BetRivers books was on Green Bay -7.5 and 86% of bets and 83% of handle at William Hill sportsbooks was on the Packers to cover. The Lions were the biggest afternoon need for PointsBet. One fortunate BetMGM bettor cashed his wager of $225,000 on Green Bay -6.5 at -180 odds, after buying two points.
The biggest upset of the day -- Philadelphia Eagles beating the New Orleans Saints 24-21 as 7-point home underdogs – was a huge result for books. At William Hill US sportsbooks, a massive 85% of the bets and 91% of the money was on New Orleans to cover. At BetMGM, the Saints money included a huge $192,000 bet on Saints -7, which failed to cash. In terms of the total, more than 90% of the money at William Hill was also on Under 42.5 points, which failed to come through. At BetRivers sportsbooks, only 8% of moneyline bets were on the Eagles.
“In the early games, we were really hurt on the teasers since a lot of people had teased the Chiefs and the Buccaneers together,” Thomas Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata in New Jersey, said. “Luckily for us the Eagles beat the Saints outright and eliminated a lot more teaser liability.”
One of the best games for bettors was the Tennessee Titans (-7.5) beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-10. At multiple sportsbooks, over 80% percent of bets and money were on the Titans to cover.
Bettors also did well on the Tampa Bay Bucs (-7) beating the Minnesota Vikings 26-14. It was the worst result of the early games at The Borgata and the third-most bet game at PointsBet sportsbooks on the day, with 68% of the bets and 70% of the money on Tampa Bay to cover.
-- Ben Fawkes
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams (-5, 43.5)
The Rams jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and then Kenny Young intercepted Cam Newton and ran it back 79 yards for a TD to really break open the game and basically coasted the rest of the way. Jared Goff only threw for 137 yards for the Rams, but he didn’t need to do any more as Cam Akers ran for 171 yards and the defense held the Patriots to just 220 yards of total offense and just one field goal.
Final score: Rams 24, Patriots 3
ATS winner: Rams
Total: Under 43.5
Tennessee Titans (-7.5, 53) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars moved the ball on their opening possession, but Aldrick Rosas’s 53-yard FG attempt was blocked and the Titans jumped ahead on Ryan Tannehill’s 37-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown on a flea-flicker. Rosas did kick a 53-yarder with 3:27 left before halftime, but Derrick Henry (215 yards, 2 TDs) scored on a 36-yard run and the rout was on as the Titans ran off 24 unanswered points. Gardner Minshew II did hit Keelan Cole Sr. on a 5-yard TD pass with 2:59 left in the third quarter to make it 31-10, but that was it for the scoring as the game stayed Under the total with a scoreless fourth quarter.
Final score: Titans 31, Jaguars 10
ATS winner: Titans
Total: Under 53
Dallas Cowboys (-3, 44) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals literally fumbled away any chance of an upset as a fumble on their first drive led to a Greg Zuerlein FG, a fumble on their second possession was returned 78 yards by Aldon Smith for a TD and a fumble on their third drive led to an 11-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton to Amari Cooper. The Bengals did cut the Cowboys’ lead to 17-7 at halftime on Brandon Allen’s 5-yard TD pass to A.J. Green with :08 left in the second quarter, but that was it for the Cincinnati highlight reel. The Cowboys outscored the Bengals 13-0 in the second half as the game stayed a TD short of the Over/Under.
Final score: Cowboys 30, Bengals 7
ATS winner: Cowboys
Total: Under 44
Arizona Cardinals (-3, 47) at New York Giants
Daniel Jones’ return to the lineup didn’t help as the Giants’ offense was held to 159 total yards, just 10 first downs and their only score came after trailing 20-0 with 5:38 left in the third quarter. The rout could have been worse as Jones lost the ball on a strip-sack on the opening drive of the game as the Cardinals drove down to the Giants’ 1-yard line but turned the ball over on down. Still, the Cardinals moved the ball consistently throughout the game (390 yards of total offense) with Kyle Murray throwing for 244 yards and a TD and Kenyan Drake rushing for 80 yards and the other TD to go with four FGs by new kicker Mike Nugent.
Final score: Cardinals 26, Giants 7
ATS winner: Cardinals
Total: Under 47
Houston Texans (-1, 46) at Chicago Bears
It’s not likely to quiet the criticism of the Bears taking Mitchell Trubisky before Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft, but Trubisky went 24-for-33 for 267 yards and 3 TDs to outduel Watson in their first meeting. David Montgomery’s 80-yard TD run put the Bears on the board first and Trubisky made it 14-0 with a 5-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham. Watson hit Keke Coutee with a 5-yard TD pass with 8:37 left in the second quarter as it looked like this game might turn into a shootout; however, Khalil Mack sacked Watson for a safety and Trubisky threw his other two TD pass before halftime to put the Bears ahead 30-7. They coasted from there with just two second-half FGs as the game stayed just Under the total. The Bears pulled the minor upset at -103 on the money line.
Final score: Bears 36, Texans 7
ATS winner: Bears
Total: Under 46
Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers (-4, 45.5)
Denver’s Diontae Spencer returned a punt 83 yards for a 6-0 lead (after a missed PAT) and the Broncos were leading for another score when Carolina’s Jeremy Chinn strip-sacked Denver QB Drew Lock and Efe Obada returned the fumble 54 yards to set up Mike Davis’ 3-yard TD run. But that was about the only mistake for Lock as he completed 21-of-27 passes for 280 yards and 4 TDs. The Broncos were in control, leading 25-10 heading into the fourth quarter. After a 7-yard TD run by Teddy Bridgewater and a 26-yard FG by Joey Slye, the Panthers were within 25-20, but Lock hit KJ Hamler for a 49-yard TD pass to put the game away and also put it Over the betting total.
Final score: Broncos 32, Panthers 27
ATS winner: Broncos
Total: Over 45.5
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7, 52.5)
After a scoreless first quarter, Dalvin Cook put the Vikings ahead 6-0 with a 1-yard TD run early in the second quarter. Yes, the PAT was missed as kicking woes hurt a lot of teams and bettors on Sunday, none moreso than the Vikings and their backers as Dan Bailey was also 0-for-3 on field goals. The first two missed FGs allowed the Buccaneers to score 23 unanswered points to take a 23-6 lead less than 5 minutes into the second half. The Vikings pulled within 23-14 on Kirk Cousins’ 14-yard TD pass to Irv Smith Jr. with 1:36 left in the third quarter. Bailey’s third missed FG, a 46-yarder with just over 9 minutes to play, could have pulled the Vikings within one score (and within the spread for our purposes). Ryan Succop’s 47-yard FG put the Bucs ahead 26-14 with 5:16 to play, but the Vikings still had a chance to cover. However, Jason Pierre-Paul’s strip-sack of Cousins with just over 2 minutes to play clinched the Bucs’ win and cover.
Final score: Buccaneers 26, Vikings 14
ATS winner: Buccaneers
Total: Under 52.5
Kansas City Chiefs (-7, 51.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins continued their run as the only team to get a turnover in every game so far this season, picking off Patrick Mahomes not once but twice in the first quarter (after he had only thrown 2 INTs all season). The defense helped the Dolphins jump out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, but then the Chiefs’ offense started clicking and ran off 30 unanswered points as Tyreek Hill ran 32 yards for a TD, Mahomes (393 yards passing) threw two TD passes -- one to Travis Kelce and another to Hill -- and Mecole Hardman returned a punt 67 yards for a TD. It looked like a KC blowout, but then Tagovailoa rallied the Dolphins with a 29-yard TD pass to Mike Gesicki and a 1-yard TD run to pull them within 30-24 (and within the spread, plus also putting the game Over 51.5 points). Harrison Butker kicked a 46-yard FG to put the Chiefs back ahead by two scores at 33-24 (and above the spread again), but the Dolphins had Jason Sanders kick a 44-yard FG with :16 left to get back within one score (and cover the spread).
Final score: Chiefs 33, Dolphins 27
ATS winner: Dolphins
Total: Over 51.5
Green Bay Packers (-8.5, 55.5) at Detroit Lions
These teams each scored TDs in the first and second quarters as it was tied 14-14 at halftime. Aaron Rodgers (26-for-33, 290 yards, 3 passing TDs) had a 6-yard TD run in the third quarter and then hit Robert Tonyan on a 4-yard TD pass with 12:01 left in the fourth quarter as the Packers pulled ahead 28-14 and looked like they might cover. However, Detroit RB Kerryon Johnson’s 2-yard TD with 6:30 left pulled the Lions within 28-21 (and within the spread). Mason Crosby nailed a 57-yard FG to please Packer backers with 3:30 to play as the Packers were again covering at 31-21, but a big kickoff return led to the Lions’ Matt Prater kicking a 32-yard FG with 1:49 left to cash for Detroit backers. The FGs kept it just Under the betting total.
Final score: Packers 31, Lions 24
ATS winner: Lions
Total: Under 55.5
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5, 52) at Las Vegas Raiders
Philip Rivers hit T.Y. Hilton on 7- and 41-yard TD passes in the first half and Rodrigo Blankenship added two first-half FGs, but the Colts only led the Raiders 20-14 at halftime and it was still only 27-20 after a third quarter highlighted by Indy RB Jonathan Taylor’s 62-yard TD run. However, the Colts blew it open in the final quarter as Taylor added a 3-yard TD run (putting the game Over 52 points at 34-20), Blankenship booted his third FG and then Khari Willis picked off a deflected Derek Carr pass and ran it back 50 yards for the clinching TD and a 44-20 lead. Carr had a 5-yard TD run to pad his fantasy stats as he also threw 2 TD passes. In fact, the Raiders led 26-25 in first downs and were only outgained 456-424, but the difference was the three turnovers by the Raiders (including 2 INTs thrown by Carr).
Final score: Colts 44, Raiders 27
ATS winner: Colts
Total: Over 52
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks (-16.5, 49)
The Jets actually took a 3-0 lead on Sergio Castillo’s 45-yard FG to cap their first drive. After Russell Wilson (21-for-27, 206 yards, 4 TD passes in less than three quarters of work) hit Freddie Swain and DK Metcalf for a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter, Castillo missed two FG attempts in the second quarter that could have kept them in the game, but the Seahawks improved their lead to 23-3 at halftime and the rout was on. Wilson threw two more TD passes to Will Dissly and David Moore in the third quarter and then traded in his facemask for a face mask. The Jets’ lack of scoring kept it Under the total.
Final score: Seahawks 40, Jets 3
ATS winner: Seahawks
Total: Under 49
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers (-1, 49)
This looked like a shootout early as Justin Herbert hit Keenan Allen on a 10-yard TD pass in the first quarter and Russell Gage (yes, not Matt Ryan) hit Calvin Ridley on a 39-yard TD pass. After the two teams traded FGs in the second quarter, Ryan hit Laquon Treadwell with a 9-yard TD pass to put the Falcons ahead 17-0 at halftime. Herbert’s 12-yard TD pass to Tyron Johnson tied the game at 17-17 with 1:10 left in the third quarter, and then the teams traded punts and then traded interceptions as it looked like neither of these also-rans wanted to win. The Falcons were on their way to a potential game-winning FG with under a minute to play when Ryan was intercepted by Chargers CB Michael Davis. An unnecessary roughness penalty after the INT forced the Chargers to start from their own 26-yard line with :30 left in regulation, but Herbert quickly led them downfield, highlighted by a 25-yard pass to Johnson. Michael Badgley hit the game-winning 43-yard FG as time expired for the win and cover.
Final score: Chargers 20, Falcons 17
ATS winner: Chargers
Total: Under 49
New Orleans Saints (-7.5, 42.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
This was a defensive battle early as the first score didn’t come until Jalen Hurts’ 15-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery with 13:25 left in the second quarter. Jake Elliott added a 44-yard FG and then Miles Sanders broke free for an 82-yard TD run against the Saints’ usually stout run defense to put the Eagles up 17-0 at halftime. The Saints rallied in the third quarter with a 5-yard TD run by Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 37-yard TD pass to make it 17-14 after three quarters. Sanders tacked on a 1-yard TD run with 6:22 left to make it 24-14 before Hill hit Jared Cook on a 20-yard TD pass with 1:24 to play, though it wasn’t enough as the Eagles recovered the onside kick to secure the upset at 300 on the money line. The final TD did put it Over the betting total for just the fourth Over on the day (as Unders went 10-4), despite the scoreless first quarter.
Final score: Eagles 24, Saints 21
ATS winner: Eagles
Total: Over 42.5
Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers (-3, 43.5)
The 49ers took a 7-0 lead on Jeff Wilson’s 1-yard TD run late in the first quarter, but the Washington defense took over as the Football Team scored 23 unanswered points without the offense scoring a single TD. Chase Young, the No. 2 draft pick out of Ohio State, dominated the game by forcing a fumble and then returning another one 47 yards for his first career TD. Washington led 13-7 at halftime and made it 16-7 on Dustin Hopkins’ third FG before Kamren Curl returned a Nick Mullens INT 76 yards for a TD to put Washington ahead 23-7. Mullens did hit Kyle Juczczyk for a 6-yard TD pass (and Kendrick Bourne for the 2-point conversion) to make it a one-possession game at 23-15 with 10:18 left, but the Washington D didn’t let the 49ers get anything else going to pull off the upset at 130 on the money line and move the Football Team into first place in the NFC East at 6-7.
Final score: Football Team 23, 49ers 15
ATS winner: Football Team
Total: Under 43.5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-2, 49)
The defenses dominated early and held each other scoreless in the first quarter. The Steelers drew first blood on Ben Roethlisberger’s 19-yard TD pass to James Washington and it was still 7-0 inside the two-minute warning in the first half when Tyler Bass kicked a 34-yard FG for Buffalo and Taron Johnson intercepted Big Ben and ran it 51 yards for a TD to suddenly put the Bills ahead 9-7 (as Bass missed the PAT). Josh Allen took over with TD passes of 19 and 13 yards to Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis on the Bills’ first two possessions of the second half to go ahead. Roethlisberger did make it a one-possession game with his 3-yard TD pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster with 12:18 to play, but Bass added a 23-yard FG to put the Bills ahead by 11 and they coasted from there for the win and cover.
Final score: Bills 26, Steelers 15
ATS winner: Bills
Total: Under 49
-- Dave Tuley