It was a good NFL weekend for sportsbooks, as multiple books told VSiN they had winning Sundays. That will happen when eight underdogs cover, including six outright victories.
The biggest early win at multiple sportsbooks was the Cincinnati Bengals (+ 7) beating the Tennessee Titans outright 31-20. Over 80% of the handle at BetRivers sportsbooks was on the Titans, including 91% of the moneyline handle. One bettor at The Borgata in New Jersey had the Titans ML as part of a $105,000 four-leg parlay (Bills, Packers and Chiefs moneylines were other legs) that didn’t come home.
“The Titans [losing] was the biggest result for us,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews told VSiN. “We had money on Vikings, but moneyline and teasers on Packers helped.”
The Vikings-Packers game was another one of the worst results for bettors as the public was all over Green Bay getting under a touchdown at home against a 1-5 Minnesota team. At William Hill sportsbooks, an astronomical 91% of bets and 91% of handle was on the Packers. The game had the highest handle of any early game at BetRivers and SugarHouse sportsbooks. The Vikings (+ 6.5) won 28-22 at Lambeau.
“It was a good day,” director of trading at William Hill Nick Bogdanovich told VSiN. “Titans and Packers losing were the best results.”
“Biggest decision for us in the early slate was Cincinnati winning outright,” Thomas Gable, Borgata sportsbook director said.
One of the biggest early wins for bettors was the public underdog Pittsburgh Steelers (+ 4) winning 28-24 over the Baltimore Ravens. The majority of spread money at multiple sportsbooks, including 60% at PointsBet, was on Pittsburgh. One bettor at BetMGM wagered $105,000 on the Ravens -4.5. Baltimore outgained Pittsburgh 457 yards to 221, but committed four turnovers, including a pick-six.
"We did extremely well on the morning games," Station Casinos sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. "There were five outright dog winners and six out of eight dogs covered. The two largest we needed were the Vikings and Bengals, but we also did well to the Pats and Dolphins."
One of the worst beats of the day happened on the total in the Miami Dolphins-Los Angeles Rams game. The total closed at 46.5, and the Dolphins were enjoying a comfortable 28-10 lead at halftime. Miami would go on to run 26 plays for 76 total yards and zero second-half points, but the Rams managed just a touchdown in the second half. The Dolphins won 28-17, and the game stayed Under the total of 46.5.
The Kansas City Chiefs (-20) covered the spread in a 35-9 win in one of the more interesting games from a gambling perspective of the season. Over 73% of bets and 68% of the money at PointsBet sportsbooks was on the Chiefs. Several large moneyline wagers came though on Kansas City, including a $60,000 wager at a William Hill book in Iowa at -2800 odds. The bet won $2,142.85.
In the late games, bettors enjoyed a victory in the Seattle Seahawks’ 37-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers a 1-point favorites. The line opened Seattle -3.5 or -3 at most books, but was bet down to PK at one point Sunday, before settling at Seahawks -1. Over 73% of the bets at multiple sportsbooks was on the Seahawks. One bettor at Borgata in New Jersey lost a $115,000 wager on the 49ers 3.
One of the most interesting bets came during Sunday Night Football, as a bettor at PointsBet wagered $270,000 at -270 odds on the Eagles first-quarter moneyline. The Eagles scored a touchdown with :02 left in the first quarter for the bettor to cash. At the Borgata in New Jersey, 83% of the tickets and 85% of the money was on the Eagles. Philadelphia won -- and covered -- 23-9 as a 10-point favorite.
-- Ben Fawkes
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-1.5, 52)
Carolina WR Curtis Samuel was the star of the first half with a 12-yard TD run and a 29-yard TD reception from Teddy Bridgewater, but a Matt Ryan 13-yard TD run and three FGs from Younghoe Koo put the Falcons ahead 16-14 halftime. The game was well on a pace to fly over the closing total of 52, but scoring dried up after intermission as the teams exchanged FGs in the third quarter and then Todd Gurley’s 3-yard TD run with 11:01 left in regulation put the Falcons ahead 25-17. However, Koo missed the PAT to keep it a one-score game -- and keep Carolina backers’ hopes alive of a rally and another Atlanta collapse -- but they moved to the Falcons’ 30-yard line with just over a minute left and Bridgewater was intercepted to end the threat.
Final score: Falcons 25, Panthers 17
ATS winner: Falcons
Total: Under 52
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5, 49) at Detroit Lions
The Lions jumped out to a 7-0 lead (what else is new?) but the Colts responded with three second-quarter TDs to take a 20-7 halftime lead. This looks like a rout, but the Lions were actually only trailing 20-14 early in the fourth quarter and driving for a potential go-ahead TD when Matthew Stafford was sacked by Darius Leonard and fumbled. The Colts marched right down with Jordan Wilkins scoring on a 1-yard TD run and also running in the two-point conversion to put them comfortably ahead 28-14. On the very next play, Kenny Moore intercepted Stafford and ran it back 29 yards for another TD and the rout was officially on, though Stafford’s second TD pass to Jones put it officially Over the total.
Final score: Colts 41, Lions 21
ATS winner: Colts
Total: Over 49
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6, 48)
The Packers drove 75 yards in 13 plays on their opening drive with Aaron Rodgers hitting WR Davante Adams on a 5-yard TD pass for the first of three times they would connect for TD passes on the day -- and you would think that would be the big news out of the game. However, Dalvin Cook ran 30 times for 163 yards and three TDs of his own and added a 50-yard TD reception for his fourth TD overall that put the Vikings ahead 28-14 with 5:52 left in the third quarter. The game went Over 48 points (note: this was bet down from a high of 55 earlier in the week due to sharps jumping on Unders due to weather concerns in the Midwest) on the third Rodgers-to-Adams TD with 2:42 to play as the Packers also cut the lead to six points with a two-point conversion. Green Bay had one more shot, but the final drive fell short with Rodgers losing a fumble before being able to throw a Hail Mary.
Final score: Vikings 28, Packers 22
ATS winner: Vikings
Total: Over 48
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-4.5, 41)
This was a battle as the AFC East incumbent Patriots tried to hold onto power against the Bills. Buffalo drew first blood with an 8-yard TD run by Zack Moss and then -- after the Patriots stuck around with two second-quarter FGs by Nick Folk -- moved ahead 14-6 on Moss’ second TD run early in the third quarter. The Patriots weren’t going to go without a fight and tied the game 14-14 on Damien Harris’ 22-yard TD run and a two-point conversion with 3:03 left in the third quarter. It was a slugfest from there as Josh Allen and Cam Newton exchanged 2-yard TD runs in the fourth quarter before Tyler Bass’ 28-yard FG put the Bills ahead 24-21 with 4:06 to play (it also put it Over the low betting total, but short of covering the spread). The Patriots still had a chance to win the game late (or at least send the game to OT as they were in FG position) but Newton fumbled on a designed run at the Buffalo 14-yard line to end the threat.
Final score: Bills 24, Patriots 21
ATS winner: Patriots
Total: Under 41
Tennessee Titans (-7, 49) at Cincinnati Bengals
In the biggest upset of the early games (moreso than the Vikings as the Bengals closed as 7-point home underdogs and + 290 on the money line after being as low as 3.5-point dogs on last week’s advance line and + 5.5 earlier in the week), the Bengals never trailed and were really in control throughout. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter and led 17-7 at halftime. The third quarter was scoreless, so the Titans still had a chance, but then Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd with a 7-yard TD pass with 13:55 to play to put the Bengals ahead 24-7. The Titans scored two garbage TDs to make the final score look respectable with the final TD putting it over the closing betting total of 49 (though, this was also one of those early-week Unders by the sharps as it was as high as 55.5 and those early bettors cashed while those late to the party lost).
Final score: Bengals 31, Titans 20
ATS winner: Bengals
Total: Over 49
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-1, 47.5)
This was played in windy and wet conditions in Cleveland and this was a stone-cold Under (bet down from 53.5) unlike those others. The two teams managed only 532 combined yards with Josh Jacobs (128 rushing yards) being the only offensive star. The teams also only managed two FGs apiece through the first three quarters before Derek Carr hit Hunter Renfrow for a 4-yard TD pass with 14:53 to play. Daniel Carlson added his third FG of the game for the final score of 16-6, though Cody Parkey missed a FG in the wind that would have made it a one-score game late.
Final score: Raiders 16, Browns 6
ATS winner: Raiders
Total: Under 47.5
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-19.5, 49)
Patrick Mahome (416 yards passing, 5 TDs) hit Mecole Hardman with a 30-yard TD pass to start the scoring and also hit Tyreek Hill for a 36-yarder in the first quarter, but the Jets stuck around with three first-half FGs by Sergio Castillo. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce with a 3-yard TD pass for a 21-9 halftime lead and then Demarcus Robinson with a 26-yarder with 2:15 left in the third quarter to make it a rout at 28-9, but the huge point spread was still in doubt as the Chiefs only led by 19. The Jets only managed 221 total yards and Mahomes put in the dagger to underdog bettors with a 41-yard TD pass to Hill to close the scoring, though it stayed Under the total.
Final score: Chiefs 35, Jets 9
ATS winner: Chiefs
Total: Under 49
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5, 46.5) at Miami Dolphins
This wasn’t as big of an upset at the Bengals, but equally as shocking as the Dolphins routed the Rams in Tua Tagovailoa’s first start (though he was just 12-for-22 for 93 yards passing). The Rams actually led 7-0 on Robert Woods’ 4-yard TD run on their opening possession. Tagovailoa threw his first NFL TD pass to Davante Parker on the final play of the first quarter. The Rams looked like they were driving for a go-ahead score but Jared Goff’s fumble was returned 78 yards for a TD by Andrew Van Ginkel to turn the game around with the Dolphins going up 14-7. Then, after stopping the Rams on a three-and-out, Jakeem Grant returned the ensuing punt 88 yards for a TD as the Dolphins took total control at 21-7 despite doing next to nothing on offense (they ended with just 145 yards of total offense against the Rams’ defense). They did add a 1-yard TD run by Myles Gaskin to lead 28-10 at halftime and then coasted in an uneventful second half.
Final score: Dolphins 28, Rams 17
ATS winner: Dolphins
Total: Under 46.5
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-4, 44.5)
The battle for first place in the AFC North lived up to the hype. The Steelers got on the board first when Robert Spillane picked off Lamar Jackson and ran it back 33 yards for a TD less than a minute into the game. The Ravens seemed to take control and led 17-7 at halftime, but Jackson’s second INT led to the Steelers pulling with 17-14 early in the third quarter on Ben Roethlisberger’s 18-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron. The two rivals traded TDs back and forth, so the Ravens still led 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger’s 8-yard TD pass to Chase Claypool put the Steelers ahead 28-24 with 7:29 to play. That mostly assured Pittsburgh backers of covering, but moneyline bettors of around + 175 had to sweat out a final drive as Baltimore drove to Pittsburgh's 23-yard line but came up empty.
Final score: Steelers 28, Ravens 24
ATS winner: Steelers
Total: Over 44.5
New Orleans Saints (-5.5, 41) at Chicago Bears
This was a wild back-and-forth battle. The Saints jumped out to a 3-0 lead but then Nick Foles hit Allen Robinson with a 24-yard TD pass and two Cairo Santos FGs put the Bears ahead 13-3. The Saints cut it to 13-10 on Drew Brees’ 16-yard TD pass with just :03 left in the first half. Two Will Lutz FGs and a 20-yard TD pass from Brees to Taysom had the Saints looking totally in control at 23-13 with 9:57 left in regulation. However, the Bears rallied to force OT on Santos’ 51-yard FG with :13 left (though many Chicago backers were no doubt hoping he would miss since they were already covering). The teams exchanged punts in overtime and the Saints settled for Lutz’s game-winning 35-yard FG with 1:36 to play.
Final score: Saints 26, Bears 23 (OT)
ATS winner: Bears
Total: Over 41
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-1, 54.5)
This NFC West battle was nearly scoreless for the first quarter until Russell Wilson (261 yards, 4 TDs) hit DK Metcalf on a 46-yard TD pass on the final play of the quarter. The 49ers responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive capped by JaMycal Hasty’s 1-yard TD run to even it at 7-7, but another Wilson-to-Metcalf TD pass put the Seahawks ahead 13-7 at halftime and they continued that momentum with two more Wilson TD passes in the third quarter to pull away at 30-7. The 49ers did score 20 points in the final quarter to help put the game Over the the total (technically on Seattle RB DeeJay Dallas’ 1-yard TD run with 3:33 to play) after it seemed unlikely after the slow start.
Final score: Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
ATS winner: Seahawks
Total: Over 54.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 44.5) at Denver Broncos
The Chargers led 24-3 with 7:33 left in the second quarter and this looked like a highlight-reel game for Justin Herbert (278 yards passing, 3 TDs). It seemed harmless at the time when Phillip Lindsay rambled 55 yards for a TD to cut the lead to 24-10 on the next possession, but Drew Lock (248 yards passing, 3 TDs of his own) hit Albert Okwuebunam on a 9-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-17 and we had a game. Chargers K Michael Badgley hit a 47-yard FG to put the lead back at 27-17, but Lock responded with a 40-yard TD pass to DaeSean Hamilton with 7:30 to play to make it 27-24 and put the game Over the betting total -- but the game wasn’t over even though Denver backers were thrilled to be looking at a Push on 3. Badgley added another FG to have the Chargers covering again at 30-24 with 2:30 left, but Lock marched the Broncos right down the field and hit KJ Hamler with a 1-yard TD pass as time expired. After review held up the TD, Brandon McManus added the PAT for the upset as + 135 underdogs on the money line.
Final score: Broncos 31, Chargers 30
ATS winner: Broncos
Total: Over 44.5
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-10, 43)
In the Sunday night battle for the NFC Least lead, the Eagles were 3-point favorites on the advance line before Dallas second-string QB Andy Dalton suffered a concussion last Sunday. The line was adjusted to Eagles -7.5 early in the week but all the money came in against third-stringer Ben DiNucci making his first NFL start and it closed Eagles -10. However, the Cowboys stuck around in the first half, leading 9-7 at halftime thanks mostly to Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz’s four turnovers (2 INTs and 2 lost fumbles).
It was an ugly game as the Cowboys actually gaining more yards than the Eagles (265-222), but Wentz hit Travis Fulgham with a 9-yard TD pass with 1:54 left in the third quarter to put the Eagles ahead 15-9 after converting the 2-point conversion. The Cowboys still had a chance to pull the upset until Rodney McLeod picked up a fumble by DiNucci and ran it back 53 yards for the clinching TD with 5:18 to play. A safety made it 23-9, still way short of threatening the Over/Under, but Al Michaels and NBC viewers were still on the edge of their seats as the Cowboys marched toward a possible back-door cover only to come up 5 yards short on the game’s final play.
Final score: Eagles 23-9
ATS winner: Eagles
Total: Under 43
-- Dave Tuley