Week 9 was another good one for sportsbooks and a tough one in general for the betting public, as underdogs went 7-5 on the week with the Ravens-Colts game going off at pick-‘em.
There were many good results for sportsbooks, but the biggest win at multiple books was on the Carolina Panthers covering the 10-point spread against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs won 33-31, but didn’t cover, in the most-bet game at BetRivers and SugarHouse sportsbooks. Kansas City only winning by two points was huge for sportsbooks as it knocked out all the teasers (down from -10) on the Chiefs.
“Having the Panthers knock down Chiefs teasers was the best-case scenario for us,” Chuck Esposito, sportsbook director at Station Casinos, said.
“For the early games, the biggest decision in our favor was the Chiefs-Panthers game,” Borgata sportsbook director Thomas Gable noted. “The way that game fell knocked out a lot of parlay and teaser liability for us.”
Another giant decision in favor of sportsbooks was the Bills ( 3) winning outright 44-34 over the Seattle Seahawks. It was the biggest decision of the morning for Station Casinos, and over 85% of bets at William Hill and PointsBet sportsbooks were on Seattle. One bettor at PointsBet wagered $500 per point on the Bills ( 1.5), and set a max win/loss at $10,000. With the Bills winning by 10 points, the bettor won $5,750. The game was the biggest win of the day for PointsBet books. The Borgata took a $110,000 wager on the Bills 7 in the second half, which cashed. There was a $100,000 wager on the Seahawks -3 at BetMGM, which lost.
“Biggest game of the morning was clearly the Bills wining outright,” Esposito said, “We had more straight, parlay and ML action on the Seahawks than any other game. Some huge five-figure ML parlays were all tied to Seattle.”
Two other big wins for books in the afternoon were the Pittsburgh Steelers (-14) winning 24-19 but not covering against the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins ( 4) winning outright 34-31 over the Arizona Cardinals. Over 88% of the bets and 93% of the spread handle at William Hill US books was on the Steelers, and Dallas knocked out Pittsburgh teasers as well. There was late steam on the Cardinals, as the line moved from up to Arizona -6 on Sunday. One BetMGM bettor lost a $160K 6.5-point teaser at on the Cardinals 1.5 and Washington Football Team 3.
One William Hill bettor was happy to see the Steelers win, as it closed out the last leg of a $4,000 seven-leg college football and NFL parlay. The bettor won over $438,000.
Here were the legs:
Appalachian State -1100
Iowa State -600
Ohio State -15000
The worst result of the day for sportsbooks was the Baltimore Ravens (PK) beating the Indianapolis Colts 24-10. Public bettors were all over Baltimore, while respected money showed up on Indianapolis, pushing the Colts from a 3-point underdog to a 1-point favorite on Sunday morning, before the line closed at pick-em. The game was the worst loss of the day for PointsBet. Over 89% of ML bets and 78% of spread bets at BetRivers sportsbooks were on Baltimore.
Bettors did well on the Las Vegas Raiders (-1) escaping with a 31-26 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, as a TD scored as time expired was reversed. The game was the second-biggest loss for PointsBet books.
“Both sharps and the pubic were on the Raiders as the favorite flipped,” Esposito said. “We also needed the Raiders-Chargers under, which went sailing over. We did well on the Dolphins winning outright and the Cowboys covering the big number and [knocking out] teasers.
“Overall a very good day for our side of the counter heading into the Sunday night game, where we’ll be rooting for the Saints and under big time tonight!”
The Saints ( 3) won 38-3 in the Sunday night game over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading to another big loss for the public. However, there was one big winner, as one BetMGM bettor wagered $500,000 on the Saints ML at 155 odds and won $775,000.
— Ben Fawkes
Green Bay Packers (-6, 48) at San Francisco 49ers
Aaron Rodgers (highly efficient 25-for-31 for 305 yards and 4 TDs) capped the opening drive of the game with a 36-yard TD pass to Davante Adams. Except for a 22-yard FG by Robbie Gould near the end for the first quarter that cut the lead to 7-3, the 49ers (who were playing without several starters and looked like it) were never in the game as the Packers led 21-3 at halftime and 31-3 at the end of the third quarter. Green Bay scored 27 unanswered points. Nick Mullens did hit WR Richie Adams (who filled in admirably for a depleted WR corps with nine catches for 184 yards) with a 41-yard TD pass with 5:00 left. Under bettors felt they were dealt a bad beat when 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon scored another garbage-time TD with just :04 to play to cash for lucky Over bettors.
Final score: Packers 34, 49ers 17
ATS winner: Packers
Total: Over 48
Seahawks Seahawks (-3, 55) at Buffalo Bills
With unseasonably nice weather in Buffalo, this was a shootout from the start, though the Bills were mostly in control, jumping out to leads of 17-0 and 24-7 as Josh Allen (415 yards, 3 TD passes) threw all three of those in the first half. The Bills only outgained the Seahawks 420-419, but won the turnover battle 4-0, including Seattle QB Russell Wilson throwing an uncharacteristic 2 INTs. Wilson did rally the Seahawks within 27-20 by the end of the third quarter, but Zack Moss and Allen added short TD runs to widen the score and coast to victory as 150 home underdogs on the money line. We don’t recall ever seeing a second-half Over/Under of 30.5, but these two teams flew Over that with 44 second-half points.
Final score: Bills 44, Seahawks 34
ATS winner: Bills
Total: Over 55
Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons (-4.5, 50)
The Falcons have won two games in a row (and didn’t blow either lead, though the Broncos did outscore them 24-14 in the second half to make it interesting). The Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after Matt Ryan (25-for-35, 284 yards, 3 TDs) threw a 51-yard TD pass to Olamide Zaccheaus. They also led 20-3 at halftime and 27-6 after three quarters before Denver QB Drew Lock threw two fourth-quarter TD passes — the second of which to Tim Patrick put the game Over the total with 3:53 to play — and then added a 10-yard TD run to close the scoring.
Final score: Falcons 34, Broncos 27
ATS winner: Falcons
Total: Over 50
Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans (-6, 47)
The Titans were in control from the start as the Bears’ offense was non-existent through the first three quarters. But Chicago’s defense kept them in the game as the Titans only led 10-0 thanks to Ryan Tannehill’s 40-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown. And it wasn’t the fault of the Bears’ defense when Tennessee’s Desmond King scooped-and-scored on a fumble by David Montgomery to put the Titans ahead 17-0 through three quarters. The Titans ended up needing Tannehill’s 2-yard TD pass to Jonnu Smith as the Bears scored two late TDs to make it deceptively close at 24-17 before final onsides kick failed to secure the win and cover for Tennessee backers.
Final score: Titans 24, Bears 17
ATS winner: Titans
Total: Under 47
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 43)
Dalvin Cook (206 rushing yards, 2 TDs) carried the load again for the Vikings as he opened the scoring with a 5-yard TD on the Vikings’ opening drive and then closed their scoring with a 70-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that extended their lead to 34-13 and put the game Over the betting total. In between, Kirk Cousins threw two TD passes to Irv Smith Jr. and another to Ameer Abdullah. This line closed at Vikings -3 after Detroit QB Matthew Stafford was cleared to play after spending the prior five days in COVID-19 protocol. Stafford threw for just 211 yards before being bench for Chase Daniel.
Final score: Vikings 34, Lions 20
ATS winner: Vikings
Total: Over 43
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts (PK, 48)
We actually had an old-school defensive battle in NFL 2020. Indy rookie RB Jonathan Taylor’s 1-yard TD run put the Colts ahead 7-0 midway through the first quarter, but then he gave it right back on the next possession as his fumble was returned 65 yards by Baltimore’s Chuck Clark for the tying TD. The Ravens’ defense also held the Colts to 10 points, but the Indy D was just as impressive, holding the Ravens to a mere 266 total yards. The Colts led 10-7 early in the third quarter with the Ravens having first-and-goal at the Indy 3-yard line when LB Darius Leonard recovered a fumble by Gus Edwards to keep the Colts in the game. The Ravens eventually took the lead on Edwards’ 1-yard TD run with 5:43 left in the third quarter and Lamar Jackson added a 9-yard TD run with 11:08 to play to take control.
Final score: Ravens 24, Colts 10
ATS winner: Ravens
Total: Under 48
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs (-10, 51.5)
Everyone knows the game plan to beat the Chiefs: keep the ball away from Patrick Mahomes & Co. (Panthers led 38:01 to 21:59 in time of possession) and convert red zone possessions into TDs instead of FGs. The Panthers executed that game plan as much as anyone could expect (and threw in a fake punt) but still only led 17-13 at halftime. The Chiefs took a 20-17 lead on a 4-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes (372 passing yards, 4 TD passes) to Clyde Edwards-Helaire with 4:42 left in the third quarter and went ahead 26-17 on Mahomes’ 28-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill early in the fourth quarter, but Harrison Butker missed the PAT to keep the Chiefs from ever being ahead by the point spread. Teddy Bridgewater nearly rallied the Panthers as he ran for a 4-yard TD run (to go with two earlier TD passes) and — after another Mahomes-to-Hill TD pass — Christian McCaffrey added a 1-yard TD run with 1:53 left. After a failed onside kick, the Panthers actually got the ball back for one last shot at the upset but Joey Slye’s 67-yard FG attempt sailed wide right as time expired.
Final score: Chiefs 33, Panthers 31
ATS winner: Panthers
Total: Over 51.5
Houston Texans (-7, 48.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jake Luton, starting at QB for Jacksonville in place of injured Gardner Minshew, connected with DJ Chark on a 73-yard TD pass on just the Jaguars’ third play from scrimmage. But that wasn’t the only long TD of the game as Houston’s Deshaun Watson responded two plays later on a 57-yard TD pass to Brandin Cooks and also threw a 77-yard TD pass to Will Fuller with 6:05 left in the third quarter to put the Texans ahead 27-16. However, it still wasn’t enough to cover as Josh Lambo hit a 30-yard FG for the Jaguars to make it a one-score game with 1:11 left in the third quarter and then Luton scored on a 13-yard TD run with 1:30 left in regulation to make it 27-25 (and put it Over the betting total of 48.5). Alas, the two-point conversion failed and the Texans held on for the SU win though they didn’t cover.
Final score: Texans 27, Jaguars 25
ATS winner: Jaguars
Total: Over 48.5
New York Giants at Washington Football Team (-3, 43)
The Giants jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Graham Gano’s first of three FGs and a 2-yard TD run by Wayne Gallman. Dustin Hopkins booted a 48-yard FG early in the second quarter, but then Gano kicked a FG and Daniel Jones hit Evan Engram on a 16-yard TD pass to put the Giants comfortably ahead 20-3 at halftime. Washington mounted a second-half comeback highlighted for Alex Smith’s 68-yard TD pass to Terry McLaurin for the first TD pass of his comeback season. That pulled the Football Team within 23-20 with 10:24 to play (and put the total points on 43, right on the closing number), but the Giants, who were outgained 402-350 but won the turnover battle 5-0, held on for the upset at 145 on the money line.
Final score: Giants 23, Washington 20
ATS winner: Giants
Total: Push on 43
Las Vegas Raiders (-1, 52.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Neither of these teams play in their original cities, but this was reminiscent of an AFL shootout in the 1960s. The Raiders drew first blood on a 23-yard TD run by Devontae Booker, but the Chargers led 17-14 by halftime. Las Vegas’ Derek Carr threw two TD passes in the third quarter to put the Raiders ahead 28-17, but the Chargers rallied to within 28-26 on Justin Herbert’s 4-yard TD pass to Gabe Nabers that also put the game Over 52.5 points. Daniel Carlson added a 31-yard FG to make it 31-26 and force the Chargers to go for a TD on their final drive. The game and spread hung in the balance when the Chargers were at the Raiders’ 4-yard line with :01 left on the clock. Herbert hit TE Donald Parham Jr. for the apparent game-winning TD on the right sideline of the end zone; however, replay showed that Parham didn’t maintain control all the way to the ground and the TD was overturned to give the Raiders the win (and cover).
Final score: Raiders 31, Chargers 26
ATS winner: Raiders
Total: Over 52.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-14, 44) at Dallas Cowboys
When Andy Dalton was declared out for the Cowboys, this line went up with the Steelers favored by around two touchdowns, but it wasn’t that easy for Pittsburgh to stay undefeated (and also for a week-high 104 players in the Circa Survivor contest who thought they would have an easy win). Two Greg Zuerlein FGs sandwiched around a 20-yard TD pass from Garrett Gilbert (who last started in the defunct Alliance of American Football in 2019) to CeeDee Lamb gave the Cowboys an unlikely 13-0 lead with 3:46 left in the second quarter. Pittsburgh pulled within 13-9 by halftime, but two more Zuerlein FGs still had the Cowboys leading 19-9 through three quarters before the Steelers rallied the hard way with Ben Roethlisberger hitting JuJu Smith Shuster on a 31-yard TD pass with 14:51 to play to make it 19-15 (after Chris Boswell’s PAT was blocked), then Boswell’s 43-yard FG with 7:11 left only pulled them within 19-18 and then Roethlisberger’s 8-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron finally put the Steelers ahead 24-19 (with the 2-point conversion failing as the game stayed 1 point Under the total). The Cowboys snapped an 0-8 ATS streak and improved double-digit underdogs to 6-4-1 ATS on the season, including three straight with the Panthers earlier Sunday and the Giants last Monday night.
Final score: Steelers 24, Cowboys 19
ATS winner: Cowboys
Total: Under 44
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals (-6, 49)
Tua Tagovaila improved to 2-0 as a starter, and he did more this time as he went 20-for-28 for 248 yards passing and 2 TDs. But just like last week when the Miami defense sparked the 28-17 upset of the Rams, Shaq Lawson’s 36-yard scoop-and-score gave the Dolphins an early 7-0 lead. Arizona QB Kyler Murray (21-for-26, 283 yards passing, 3 TDs) threw two TD passes to put the Cardinals back in the lead, but Tagovailoa hit Preston Williams on a 9-yard TD pass with 12:14 left in the second quarter to put the Dolphins back ahead 21-14. After the two teams traded FGs, Murray put the Cardinals ahead 31-24 (and Over the betting total) with another TD pass and a 12-yard TD run, but Tagovaila hit Mack Hollins with an 11-yard TD pass and then led the winning drive to set up Jason Sanders’ go-ahead 50-yard FG with 3:30 left to play and the Dolphins held on for the biggest ML upset so far in Week 9 at 215.
Final score: Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31
ATS winner: Dolphins
Total: Over 49
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5, 51.5)
The fact that the Saints upset the Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football wasn’t that big (after all, the Saints beat the Bucs in Week 1, and the money line was just 155), but it was shocking in how easy it was. The Saints led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter on two TD passes by Drew Brees (26-for-32, 222 yards, 4 TDs) and poured it on in the second quarter to lead 31-0 at halftime. There was no scoring in the third quarter as it became apparent it wouldn’t challenge the betting total of 51.5 points. The Saints outgained the Buccaneers 420-194 and made Tom Brady look like a rookie, intercepting him three times.
Final score: Saints 38, Buccaneers 3
ATS winner: Saints
Total: Under 51.5