It was another wild week of NFL betting, and a winning day for sportsbooks. Favorites are 8-6 against the spread in Week 16, and overs are 6-8.
The New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals winning outright were two of the biggest wins for most sportsbooks, although the Kansas City Chiefs winning by three (failing to cover an 11-point spread and knocking out teasers), along with the Dallas Cowboys winning outright were big as well.
Here is a roundup of some of the bigger bets we saw:
Winning notable bets
$500K on Panthers ML -115
$220K to win $200K on Jets + 6.5
$177,727 on Packers ML -170
$148K to win $40K on Bears ML -370
$110K on Steelers PK
Losing notable bets
$240K to win $200K on Titans + 3.5
$220K to win $200K on Colts -1.5
$220K to win $200K on Eagles -2.5
-- Ben Fawkes
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-6.5, 49.5)
Alvin Kamara stole the Christmas Day show as he tied an NFL record with six rushing TDs against Minnesota. The Saints led 24-14 at halftime (all 3 TDs by Kamara), but the Vikings made a game of it with two Kirk Cousins-to-Irv Smith Jr. TD passes (sandwiched around Kamara’s fourth rushing TD that put the game Over the total with 4:36 left in the third quarter) to pull within 31-27 entering the final quarter. Kamara scored his fifth TD with 12:01 to play, then Taysom Hill vultured Kamara’s chance to get his sixth TD earlier with 4:00 left, but Kamara tied the record on a 3-yard TD with 1:50 to go to wrap up the scoring.
Final score: Saints 52, Vikings 33
ATS winner: Saints
Total: Over 49.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12, 55.5) at Detroit Lions
The Lions lost Matthew Stafford to a lower leg injury on the first series of the game, but it’s hard to imagine the outcome would have been much different as the Buccaneers dominated both sides of the ball in outgaining the Lions 588-186. Tom Brady threw four first-half TD passes sandwiched around a Leonard Fournette 4-yard rushing TD as the Bucs led 34-0 at halftime. Brady sat out the rest of the rout, but it took Blaine Gabbert just one play to hit Rob Gronkowski for a 25-yard TD pass and a 40-0 lead. Over bettors had to be feeling confident, but scoring slowed down from there with each team scoring just one TD apiece the rest of the way and the game stayed Under 55.5.
Final score: Buccaneers 47, Lions 7
ATS winner: Buccaneers
Total: Under 55.5
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (-6, 49)
The 49ers have been decimated by injuries all year, but third-string QB C.J. Beathard threw 3 TD passes and backup RB Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 183 yards as the 49ers upset the Cardinals, who lost control of their wild-card destiny.
Beathard hit Wilson for a 21-yard TD late in the first quarter to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead and they led 7-6 at halftime, as the defense forced the Cardinals to settle for FGs instead of TDs. Beathard’s 9-yard TD pass to FG Kyle Juszczyk put the 49ers ahead 14-6 in the third quarter. Kenyan Drake scored a 1-yard TD with 12:08 left in the game, but the 2-point conversion failed to keep the 49ers ahead 14-12. Beathard hit Juszczyk for another TD pass to put the 49ers ahead 20-12. Robbie Gould missed the PAT to keep the Cardinals within 8 points, but Kyle Murray didn’t have another miracle in him as he drove the Cards to the 49ers’ 20-yeard line before throwing his lone INT of the game and then they turned it over on downs on their final possession. The 49ers closed at an average of + 232 on the money line in Vegas.
Final score: 49ers 20, Cardinals 12
ATS winner: 49ers
Total: Under 49
Miami Dolphins (-2.5, 50.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
This looked like a stone-cold Under for the first three quarters and, in fact, Jason Sanders’ 22-yard FG for Miami tied it at 16-16 with just 4:01 left in regulation as it was still 18.5 points short of the betting total. But that’s when the craziness began.
Nelson Agholor took a pass from Derek Carr and rambled 85 yards on the next play from scrimmage, but Daniel Carlson missed the PAT to keep the Raiders’ lead at 22-16. Miami RB Myles Gaskin then took a short pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick (who had replaced Tua Tagovailoa earlier and led the tying FG drive) and turned it into a 59-yard TD pass with Sanders’ PAT giving the Dolphins a 23-22 lead with 2:55 left. But the craziness still wasn’t over. The Raiders moved into position for what they hoped would be the winning FG -- even avoiding the chance to score a TD. Carlson put the Raiders ahead 25-23 with just :19 left, however, that was still enough time for Fitzgerald to move the Dolphins into Raiders’ territory on a 34-yard completion (plus a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty) to set up Sanders’ game-winning 44-yard FG with :01 left.
Las Vegas backers at least covered as 2.5- to 3-point home dogs. Oh, and the winning FG also put the game Over by half a point with 22 points in the final 4:01.
Final score: Dolphins 26, Raiders 25
ATS winner: Raiders
Total: Over 50.5
Cleveland Browns (-6.5, 45) at New York Jets
The undermanned Browns took an early 3-0 lead on Cody Parkey’s 44-yard FG, but the Jets scored 20 unanswered points on a 43-yard TD pass from WR Jamison Crowder to WR Braxton Berrios and two traditional TD pass from QB Sam Darnold to TE Chris Herndon and Crowder to take a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter. The Browns mounted a rally with TD runs by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to pull within 20-16 with 12:38 to play. Sam Ficken tacked on a FG to put the Jets ahead 23-16. Baker Mayfield was driving the Browns to a potential tying TD, but fumbled on a fourth-down attempt to end the threat.
The Browns just needed to beat the lowly Jets to end the league’s longest playoff drought, but they were without seven players due to COVID-19 issues (including their top four receivers) and the Jets pulled their second straight upset, this time at + 245 on the money line. The Brown also failed as a popular eliminator/survivor contest play, including a week-high 12 entries losing on them in the $2.39 million Circa Survivor.
Final score: Jets 23, Browns 16
ATS winner: Jets
Total: Under 45
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-7.5, 46)
There were no NFL playoff implications in this game, but it might have had a huge impact on fantasy football championship games as the Cincinnati QB Brandon Allen threw for 371 yards and 2 TD passes, RB Samaje Perine ran for 95 yards and 2 TDs and WR Tee Higgins had 6 catches for 99 yards and a TD while Houston QB answered with 324 passing yards and 3 TD passes, RB David Johnson rushed for 128 yards plus a TD and WR Brandin Cooks caught 7 passes for 141 yards and 2 TDs. For those that bet the game, the two teams traded scores with ties at 10-10, 17-17 and 24-24. Watson hit TE Darren Fells for a 22-yard TD with 6:15 to play to give the Texans a 31-27 lead and chalk players the hope they could still cover the spread, but the Bengals went ahead on Perine’s 3-yard TD run with 1:57 to play and added a FG for the + 280 upset on the money line.
Final score: Bengals 37, Texans 31
ATS winner: Bengals
Total: Over 46
Indianapolis Colts (PK, 42.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
This line closed at a consensus pick-’em in Las Vegas after the Colts were short road favorites all week. The Steelers were such a popular side that they were the second-most selected team in both the Circa Sports Million. They looked like a totally dead play as the Colts dominated early on both sides of the ball to take a 21-7 lead into halftime and going up 24-7 on a Rodrigo Blakenship FG with 9:23 left in the third quarter. The game really looked over when the Steelers failed on a fourth-down play at the Indy 2-yard line with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
However, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense finally started clicking and Big Ben hit Diontae Johnson for a 39-yard TD pass, Eric Ebron for a 5-yard TD pass (putting the game Over with 14:52 to spare) and JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 25-yard TD pass on their next three possessions to take a 28-24 lead with 7:38 left. The Colts had plenty of time, but Philip Rivers threw an INT on the next drive and their final drive only reached the Pittsburgh 33-yard line.
Final score: Steelers 28, Colts 24
ATS winner: Steelers
Total: Over 42.5
Chicago Bears (-9, 47) at Jacksonville Jaguars
This game was actually tied 10-10 late in the first half. Mitchell Trubisky threw an interception in the end zone, but Mike Glennon returned the favor with an INT that the Bears turned into a Cairo Santos 40-yard FG for a 13-10 halftime lead. Trubisky scored on a 6-yard TD run on the Bears’ opening possession of the second half and the rout was on as the Bears scored 31 unanswered points (putting the game Over the total on Artavis Pierce’s 3-yard TD run with 11:47 to play) before the Jaguars added a garbage TD. The Bears took control of the playoff destiny (though they have to beat the Packers in Week 17) while the Jaguars lost their 14th straight game and clinched the No. 1 draft pick with the Jets winning.
Final score: Bears 41, Jaguars 17
ATS winner: Bears
Total: Over 47
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5, 43.5)
The Ravens jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Graham Gano kicked FGs for the Giants to keep them within one TD of covering the spread at 17-3 late in the first half and 20-6 late in the third quarter, but Lamar Jackson’s 8-yard TD pass to Dez Bryant with 14:55 to play even put that thought to rest. A garbage-time 3-yard TD pass from Daniel Jones to Sterling Shepard wasn’t enough to get this game Over the betting total.
Final score: Ravens 27, Giants 13
ATS winner: Ravens
Total: Under 43.5
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs (-11, 54)
The Falcons were 11-point road underdogs but were in the game throughout, actually leading 7-0 and 14-10. However, they weren’t able to hold on for the big upset (+ 450 money line) as the Chiefs rallied once again. They had a chance to secure the upset with 2:01 to play, but A.J. Terrell dropped a potential INT and Patrick Mahomes hit Demarcus Robinson for a 25-yard TD pass on the very next play to take a 17-14 lead. The Falcons moved downfield only to have Younghoe Koo miss a 39-yard FG with :09 left. The Chiefs improved to 14-1 SU (though only 7-8 ATS) and clinched the No. 1 seed and first-round bye in the AFC.
Final score: Chiefs 17, Falcons 14
ATS winner: Falcons
Total: Under 54
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-2, 47.5)
The Chargers jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead in this game of also-rans, but allowed the Broncos to chip away at the lead and tie it up at 16-16 on Brandon McManus’s 52-yard FG with 2:42 to play. Justin Herbert marched the Chargers 56 yards in seven plays to set up Michael Badgley’s 37-yard FG for the victory and covering as 2-point home favorites on the closing line. A lot of earlier bettors pushed on + /-3, including a lot of contest players like those in the Circa Sports Million and Westgate SuperContest.
Final score: Chargers 19, Broncos 16
ATS winner: Chargers
Total: Over/Under 47.5
Carolina Panthers (-1, 42) at Washington Football Team
Washington was the team with something to play for (needing a win to clinch the NFC East), but Carolina controlled this game from the start. Still, the Panthers didn’t take a 6-0 lead until Brandon Zylstra recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a TD with 1:42 left in the first quarter. Mike Davis scored on a 1-yard TD run and Teddy Bridgewater hit Robby Anderson on a 14-yard TD pass to give the Panthers a commanding 20-0 lead with 3:06 left in the first half. It seemed especially insurmountable as Washington QB Dwayne Haskins was ineffective at 14-for-28 for just 154 yards and 2 INTs and only led two drives that ended in FGs by Dustin Hopkins. Coach Ron Rivera, who had to start Haskins as Alex Smith wasn’t ready to return, benched Haskins for third-stringer Taylor Heinicke early in the fourth quarter and it eventually produced Washington’s first TD of the game on a 29-yard pass to RB J.D. McKissic with 1:50 to play, but it was too little too late.
Final score: Panthers 20, Football Team 13
ATS winner: Panthers
Total: Under 42
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5, 47.5)
This was a defensive battle from the start for the NFC West title as both offenses only managed two FGs apiece in the first half for a 6-6 tie. The Seahawks finally surged ahead 13-6 on Russell Wilson’s 4-yard TD run with 10:32 left in the third quarter. Rams QB Jared Goff also dislocated the thumb on his throwing hand when he hit it on a defender’s helmet in the third quarter. He finished the game and led the Rams to a 33-yard FG by Matt Gay to cut the lead to 13-9 with 12:49 left in the game, but Wilson sealed the win with a 13-yard TD pass to Jacob Hollister to give the Seahawks a 20-9 lead with 2:51 to play. The Rams were held to a season-low nine points by a Seattle defense that had been on a historically bad pace in the first half of the season but has now held five seven straight opponents to 21 points or fewer.
Final score: Seahawks 20, Rams 9
ATS winner: Seahawks
Total: Under 47.5
Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 50.5) at Dallas Cowboys
In an NFC East elimination game, the Eagles looked like they might turn this into a laugher when DeSean Jackson took a pass from Jalen Hurts and danced his way to an 81-yard TD for a 14-3 lead with 5:48 left in the first quarter. However, the Cowboys responded with two TD passes by Andy Dalton to Michael Gallup in the second quarter as Dallas took a 20-17 into halftime. Dalton, who threw for 377 yards, hit WR CeeDee Lamb on a 52-yard TD pass on the opening drive of the second half. Greg Zuerlein booted a 21-yard FG for a 30-17 lead with 8:31 left in the third quarter and then Lamb added a garbage-time 19-yard TD run with 1:53 left to put the game Over the total.
The Cowboys kept their playoff hopes alive and can still capture the NFC East with a win over the Giants in Week 17 if Washington then loses to the Eagles in the Sunday night finale.
Final score: Cowboys 37, Eagles 17
ATS winner: Cowboys
Total: Over 50.5
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (-3, 52)
The Sunday nighter was played on the frozen/snow-covered tundra of Lambeau Field, but it certainly didn’t slow down the Packers’ offense as it racked up 488 yards led by Aaron Rodgers (21-for-25, 231 yards, 4 TDs) and a breakout running game by rookie A.J. Dillon (124 yards, 2 TDs and 1-for-2 in Lambeau Leaps). The Packers jumped out to a 19-0 lead with 10:46 left in the second quarter as Rodgers threw two TD passes to Davante Adams (11 catches, 142 receiving yards, 3 TDs) and another to Equanimeous St. Brown. Ryan Tannehill got the Titans back in the game with a 12-yard TD pass to Jhonnu Smith just before halftime and then a 45-yard TD run on the opening drive of the second half, but Rodgers answered with a 66-yard drive in just three plays capped by an 8-yard TD pass to Adams for a 26-14 lead. Dillon scored the last two TDs with 3:35 left in the third quarter and 2:25 left in the game, the latter putting the game Over the closing total of 52 points (though earlier Under bettors cashed as the total was around 56 points before the line was bet down due to the inclement weather reports).
Final score: Packers 40, Titans 14
ATS winner: Packers
Total: Over 52
-- Dave Tuley