“When” has become one of the biggest words in NFL betting.
Savvy line shopping impacted bankrolls surrounding the Seattle-Tampa Bay and Indianapolis-Pittsburgh matchups, while late money on the Dolphins against the Jets bore the wisdom of wait-and-wager in Week 9.
The “When” also became a big concept for Eagles backers. They bet in high numbers for the team’s game against Chicago and were rewarded just 25 seconds from the finish. That’s when a late field goal elevated a push into a victory.
Around the league, late drama, razzle-dazzle calls, and dramatic finishes capped an intriguing, weeklong tug of war with the point spreads.
Major books like DraftKings, FanDuel, PlaySugarHouse, William Hill and PointsBet reported lively line movements leading up to game time.
And an overtime in-game journey at DraftKings Sportsbook revealed the speed of up-to-the-second wagering. Do you think pass-rushers are fast? They can’t match these blinking figures.
Eagles rescue bettors
Eagles wagering, re-energized from a Week 8 win in Buffalo, soared to 85% support at several establishments, with the line of -5 against Chicago.
As they were trying to run clock with a 19-14 lead, the Eagles almost ran it out. They bled the clock for eight minutes with 16 plays. One play before they would have hit victory formation, the Eagles were stopped on the Chicago 20.
Jake Elliott then kicked a field goal for an eight-point win and a cover. That also rewarded an in-game over 35 at PlaySugarHouse.
PointsBet NJ reported the Jets taking 81% of the tickets but just 51% of the handle before they visited Miami. Late money poured in on Miami with the spread moving from the Jets -5.5 to as low as 2.5.
The support was prophetic, as Miami triumphed 26-18. Don’t look now, but the 1-7 Dolphins are one of the league’s hottest spread teams. They have covered four weeks in a row.
Some generous double-digit lines have been applied to their games, but that’s likely to tighten up a little now.
It’s all about timing
Timing had a major presence in two games.
The Colts received an astounding support level of the mid-80s percent range, as their line was changing against Pittsburgh. The Colts went from a 1-point favorite to 1.5-point dog against the Steelers, strictly on wagering sentiment. There was no injury mystery attached to this.
Colts fans felt poised to be geniuses when Adam Vinatieri lined up for a game-winning field goal. But one of the greatest all-time NFL kickers hit one on the laces and missed the kick he’d usually make in a 26-24 loss. A successful kick would have given early Colts bettors a push and late wagering a victory. The line was right where this game was.
All of Indy’s games are close. They are the Cardiac Colts.
Pittsburgh, of course, would have been sick had Vinatieri connected. The Steelers were called for a questionable pass-interference call keeping the final drive alive.
A different saga involved Seattle-Tampa Bay. It was line shopping at its finest.
Seattle’s 40-34 overtime thriller not only provided a top game, but the entire week produced a substantial line juggle impacting betting bankrolls.
The line dripped like ketchup from a bottle, with Seattle sliding from -6.5 at midweek to 4.5 just before game time at most books. There was no injury report attached to this one either, just betting sentiment about the ability of the teams.
The decision of when bettors pulled the trigger determined whether they cashed. Seattle winning by six burned its early supporters and rewarded late action.
Near the end, most big bettors needed blood pressure pills anyway.
Seattle backers, regardless of when they’d wagered, looked to have this one in their pockets. The Seahawks came within one play of covering during regulation. Tampa had 4th-and-5 on the Seattle 35, down 34-27 with less than two minutes left. A stop on one more play and it’s over.
But the Bucs converted, scored a touchdown and drama stage two unfolded. Seattle marched down the field and lined up for the game-winning field goal. Tampa spread bettors wanted it, Seattle backers did not. When Jason Myers’s kick sailed wide right, Seattle backers gained a reprieve.
What good would a 3-point Seattle victory give them, unless they’d pounded the moneyline or had moneyline parlays?
Seattle won the overtime toss and the saga hit phase three.
Blink by blink: The in-game OT journey
When overtime unfolded, DraftKings provided an interesting blink-and-bet scenario via the moneyline.
The totals read Tampa +250 and Seattle-335 after a second-down Seattle incompletion put Tampa in a position to hold and launch a game-winning march.
But a defensive holding penalty followed. First down Seattle. Digits went up. They came back down to +260 and Seattle -345 after a second down incompletion with Seattle at the edge of field goal range.
But then a spectacular completion put Seattle inside the 10. Boom, Tampa Bay zooms to +480, Seattle -770. That was the final number and Seattle went on to score the winning touchdown.
The changing odds told their own story. During the in-game wager, Seattle bettors had to refrain. The money on this bet occurs by making the wager when the team you favor is on defense. One bets into the expectation of a defensive stop.
There’s also the risk of the next play being run before your bet can be completed. Blink… and you’ll miss it.
Two games offset the shift
Line swings accompanied facts replacing rumors in Kansas City.
Quarterback Pat Mahomes was ruled out of a comeback effort against Minnesota, propelling that line from -2.5 to -5.5 on Minnesota at DraftKings. That’s a lot for a road team to cover. And the Vikings did not, losing 26-23.
Denver-Cleveland was a big line mover at a number of books. The Broncos went from a 1.5-point favorite to a 3-point underdog given the loss of quarterback Joe Flacco in their game against Cleveland. But the Broncos beat the mistake-prone Browns outright, 24-19.
Ravens win was in the SugarHouse numbers
Matt Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates SugarHouse Sportsbook in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, noted New England’s lowest support level all year at his establishment prior to the Sunday night game.
It was the first time the defending Super Bowl champions were not one of the top five teams supported by the public. It was also the first time since Week One that New England had been favored by a touchdown or less.
Ravens wagering actually drove the line to 3.5 at some books. And the prognosis was true, as the Ravens came of age by handing the defending Super Bowl champs their first loss, 37-20.
PointsBet and Points Betting: a different world
Win big? Lose big? That’s the lane PointsBet patrons can engage in by playing the Points Betting section of the app.
One Sunday example in the Jets-Dolphins matchup revealed the winning and losing side of big coin.
The losing prop was a $30 stake on the Jets giving 4.5. They were beaten by eight, 26-18. Adding the eight to the 4.5 spread produced a stake loss of 12.5 times the $30 bet. The wager lost $375.
On the other side, a Dolphins bettor wagered $50 with Miami getting 2.5. The eight-point winning margin, added to the 2.5 spread, equals 10.5 times the stake. Multiply 10.5 times the bet and it returns $525.
PointsBet, of course, also offers standard wagers. But where’s the fun in that?
The next score remains a viable bet on the ensuing possession of a blown scoring chance.
The Jets missed a field goal to go up 10-0 and Miami went right down to tie the game 7-7. Oakland missed a field goal to go up 20-14, and Detroit answered with a field goal to tie it. Seattle missed a field goal and Tampa delivered a touchdown on its next possession.
This happens often enough that it’s a worthwhile consideration for in-game players using NJ sports betting apps.
And did you notice? Excellent razzle-dazzle from Riverboat Ron Rivera with Carolina and Jon Gruden of the Raiders. Both called for fake punts in their own territory early in the second halves of their respective games. Both were converted. Carolina scored a touchdown off of it. The Raiders got into field goal position but missed.