We’re down to the stretch run of the NFL season. As the games get bigger, so do the stakes and the wagers.
Players got stung on late upsets across the schedule but there were some wins for the bettors. In Pennsylvania, both home teams got bet as underdogs and won outright in the first weekend betting was offered in their cities. In Pittsburgh, the first legal bet was an $11,000 wager on the Patriots (-2.5) that lost.
Thursday night ends with a bang
There was an interesting split with the Chargers-Chiefs game at William Hill Thursday night. While the Chiefs had a slight edge on the spread bets, giving 3.5 at home to clinch the AFC West, the Chargers had 65% of the cash bet on the money line, where they were a +170 underdog.
You think you were sweating out those last few minutes? That two-point conversion swung thousands across three states. Overall, Thursday night games delivered big handle to the books, thanks to an improved schedule.
Wild weekend action
Week 15 is the first of the NFL season to feature Saturday action. While the games lacked some of the luster of Sunday’s showdowns, they had playoff implications. The public successfully backed the Texans (71%) to cover at New York and the Browns (70%) who won outright in Denver.
Late action significantly moved games and some lines. Most notably, the bettors flipped the Giants from 2.5 point favorites with 53% of the spread money to a 1-point dog to the visiting Titans, who got 67% of the money bet on the line.
Late money flipped the Colts, Ravens, and Bears to favorites at home. Along with the Titans, these teams covered and won big games for their postseason plans. The Colts got the third-most handle on Sunday.
Bettors scored winners with the Vikings and the Falcons. Two of the most popular teams on Sunday didn’t cover, as the Bills (82%) won but not by the 2.5 they were favored by against the Lions, while the Raiders (77%) got smoked in Cincinnati.
Late afternoon kickoffs were responsible for the two most heavily bet games of the week. New England got the highest percentage of spread money with 87% at Pittsburgh. Seattle sold 84% of the tickets but only took 57% of the cash wagered in the weekend’s highest handle game. Both favorites lost.
The primetime games were kind to the underdogs but not the bettors. Fans backed the Rams (71%) and pushed the line from 9 at the open to 13 at kickoff. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles returned and gave the Eagles a stunning win in Hollywood.
Monday Night saw 67% of the money bet on the Saints giving 6 to the Panthers. New Orleans won to reclaim the top seed in the NFC but only by 3. Had they converted the two-point conversion after their lone TD, they would have covered. However, the Panthers picked off the pass and scored a defensive 2-pointer.