One measurement goes up, one goes down. That’s the NFL adjustment in Week 11, reflecting a new status for several teams after the Canine Massacre, or underdog uprising, in week 10.
Changes were coming after four road dogs — the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Seattle Seahawks — prevailed outright. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, home underdogs, also produced upsets.
NFL Week 11 has a different look. No team is undefeated now, fortunes are balancing out and the lines reflect more parity.
Only two teams, the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings, are favored by double digits. The Raiders give 10.5 to the Cincinnati Bengals at most New Jersey sportsbooks and the Vikings are generally -10.5 against the visiting Denver Broncos.
While spreads are going down, what’s going up? The totals. Three games — the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night in Mexico City, the New Orleans Saints-Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Baltimore Ravens-Houston Texans carry over-under totals above 50.
Those are big numbers and books, in general, reflect higher scoring totals than in recent years. But all that being said, there are a couple local matchups and longshots worth noting for this weekend’s NFL festivities. Let’s dive in.
Ups and downs of support for Philadelphia Eagles
We lead off our NFL betting tour with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots visiting the Philadelphia Eagles.
Matt Stetz, the COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse online sportsbook, noticed an interesting pattern with Eagles bettors in this matchup. Philadelphia’s two-game winning streak hasn’t swayed public perception.
“This is the lowest enthusiasm we have seen for them all season,” Stetz said regarding New England’s 77% support, rare in a game with a road team giving 3.5 points to a team having won two in a row.
“It appears to be difficult to go against New England for the bettors.”
This is the first game that betting preference bucks the trend of the Eagles’ on-field fortunes. Support was near 90% for them in week two, just before the Eagles fell to Atlanta. Bets then fell below 50% as the team struggled with blowout losses to Minnesota and Dallas.
But after a road win in Buffalo, Philadelphia wagers roared back to life, peaking near 80% before the Eagles played the Chicago Bears two weeks ago. The support was rewarded with a late Eagles cover.
But this is the first time the performance on the field goes in the opposite direction of wagering sentiment.
Super Bowl revenge? Nah, it was two years ago that Philadelphia captured its only Super Bowl championship by beating New England. Do grudges last that long?
Patriots vs. Eagles current odds
Place your bets on the Buccaneers
In other games, Stetz indicated that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to be a dependable source of shootouts.
“This is the third straight week that the Bucs are one of our highest over-under point totals,” Stetz said. “With the over-under number being 50.5, we see 60 percent of the betting is on the over.”
Tampa Bay’s vulnerable defense and respectable offense have made it prime targets for the over. Tampa indeed provided a cash for over tickets with its 30-27 triumph over Arizona, one week after its 40-34 overtime loss against Seattle delivered another over collection.
The variables in this game are New Orleans’ defense, which looked stingy until being torn apart by the Falcons last week. The linemakers are indicating they believe the Saints’ 26-9 drubbing by the Falcons was a fluke.
Bettors have a lot to ponder with Oakland giving 11.5 to winless Cincinnati. Stetz said 84% of the wagering favors Oakland, which has notched two straight victories. Cincinnati looked horrific in a 49-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and the question is whether the Bengals will play with a pulse against Oakland.
In the matchup of phenomenal young quarterbacks, Stetz said the Baltimore Ravens have a slight, but not decided edge in the betting “polls.”
The battle of Lamar Jackson of Baltimore and DeSean Watson of Houston, two mobile young players revolutionizing the position, propelled bettors to award Baltimore an early 58% advantage. Baltimore is a four-point home favorite.
Buccaneers vs. Saints current odds
Or maybe opposites attract — cha-ching!
Some people play favorites. Some people play dogs. An excellent combination of both provided a sizzling payout for a SugarHouse bettor last week, according to Stetz.
The $5 moneyline bet contained favored Baltimore, the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. It also packed three underdogs in Atlanta, Miami and Tennessee.
This had more twists and turns than a movie car chase. There were two easy picks with Baltimore trouncing Cincinnati and Green Bay slipping comfortably past the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta and Miami, SugarHouse bombs at +525 and +410 respectively, provided the longshot component the big hit required with their upsets over New Orleans and Indianapolis.
The dice roll and sweaty palms involved needed wins for Cleveland and Tennessee. Cleveland, trailing 16-12 late in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills, benefitted from a replay overturn of the strip-sack and fumble the Bills had run in for the game-clinching touchdown. The Browns, favored by three points, scored the winning touchdown on the same drive and survived a game-tying field goal attempt on the final play.
Tennessee trailed the Kansas City Chiefs 32-27 before a muffed Chiefs field goal attempt gave the Titans the ball late. They scored with all of 23 seconds to go and had to block a game-tying field goal to win.
Regardless of whether one hits a four, six or 12-team parlay, it’s never easy. This required two monumental upsets and missed field goals on the final play.
The $5 wager returned about $1,423. A well-deserved payout and a vicarious thrill for the gambling community.
Cherish the great divide: Three games with intrigue
PointsBet revealed three upcoming games with enhanced betting intrigue. They are marked by a difference of opinion between the public and the professional gamblers, who look for an edge in the line and apply heavy financial muscle.
The New York Jets and Washington Redskins are one of those matchups. New York receives 88% of the tickets, with Washington gaining 61% of the spread handle. That means there are fewer Washington bettors, but they are wagering heavily.
The line has bounced between the Jets receiving 1 and 2.5 points at varied books.
Buffalo, giving anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5 points to host Miami, received 82% of the tickets, but Miami annexed 89% of the spread handle.
Minnesota gains 55% of the tickets while Denver got 75% of the heavier bread.
In these battles, neither the public nor the “pros” win all the time, but it’s an interesting disparity. Some players bet more when the public and pro positions line up. Some consider the different views an opportunity to make larger bets, believing the other side missed something.
Books thank longshots and love the upsets
Just as players dream of the big parlay, books need to see a prohibitive favorite lose.
Gone are the days when establishments balanced their ledgers, trying to coax equal betting on both sides. The practice has settled into books setting a number at which they think the game will finish, period. They may have to go out on a limb to maintain an ability to do business. As a result, they become gamblers.
Upsets aid the books because they tear parlay cards to shreds. That was the case for PointsBet and other sports betting apps in NJ when New Orleans and Indianapolis lost as double-digit favorites last week.
Kansas City’s unexpected late loss to Tennessee, brought about from a botched field goal, a defensive touchdown surrendered with 23 seconds left and a blocked game-tying field goal, had an even bigger impact.
“While a great deal of our liability on that Chiefs-Titans game was tied up in parlays, making it a bit difficult to exactly pinpoint the swing, we can confidently say that it was close to a half a million dollars,” said Patrick Eichner, director of communications at PointsBetUSA.
That’s an enormous sum to be decided in the final seconds.
Win big, lose big
Whatever happened to a penny a point? It became $75 a yard!
PointsBet reported the magic of both going big and staying conservative on a couple of significant wagers last week. Each produced a handsome reward.
A client took a stake of $75 on Alexander Mattison over 30 rushing yards on Sunday for Minnesota against Dallas. Mattison had 52 rushing yards, which was 22 times above where the line was set. The client won 22 times the betting stake of $75, resulting in a total payout of $1,650. Picture the thrill of this one. You have already cleared the 30-yard total and the back shakes free for a 10-yard run. ONE PLAY, a simple run, can produce $750.
Imagine that back busting a 50-yard play. That would be $3,750 yards, in seconds.
No wonder people dream big.
In a more conservative vein, there was a client stake of $2 on Dak Prescott going over 274 passing yards. Prescott had a total of 397 passing yards against the Vikings, going over the line by 123. On this bet, the client won 123 times their stake of just $2, resulting in a $246 total payout.
It would be easy to wonder why only $2 until one considers the flip side. If Prescott gets hurt early in the game, every yard below 274 costs $2.
The books have varied approaches when a quarterback is uncertain to play.
For the second straight week, Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford has establishments watching and waiting.
While SugarHouse Sportsbook had Dallas favored by 4.5 at Detroit earlier in the week, a hint that he won’t play, it also only had one prop associated with the game compared to more than 100 different selections on other games.
Most establishments did not even post the game throughout much of the week. But all of that has changed now that it is known Stafford will be out for a second week. At SugarHouse, the oddsmakers have Dallas favored by 7 in Detroit.
When Stafford was scratched from the starting lineup last Sunday morning against the Chicago Bears, the Lions soared from +3.5 to +7 faster than one’s blood pressure after a Bad Beat. The books were right on it, as the game ended 20-13.
Earlier last week, William Hill boldly moved Kansas City from a 3.5-point pick to -6 with the anticipated return of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes against Tennessee.
Other alternatives for your NFL bets
Of course, there are plenty of places to shop. The Buffalo Bills are -6.5 against the host Miami Dolphins at DraftKings and -6.5 at PlaySugarHouse.
The New York Jets are +2.5 at DraftKings and +2.5 at PlaySugarHouse, as of Friday, Nov. 15.
FanDuel reports that 92% of its tickets are on the Arizona Cardinals, +11 against the host San Francisco 49ers and 92% for Kansas City -4 against the Chargers in Mexico City.