The NFL has emerged as the most popular team game in America. With the adoption of sports betting in New Jersey and other states, there’s a good chance this popularity gap will grow. Or bettors will increase their baldness from pulling their hair from bad beats. Or both.
Let’s take a look at the wild and crazy action from Week 2.
Two division rivals coming off big opening week wins faced off Thursday night. William Hill saw the public favored the Ravens as -1 point favorites and the over. However, the bettors didn’t expect Joe Flacco to eclipse 237 yards passing (is he elite?), big games out of Joe Mixon, Michael Crabtree, or AJ Green. Interestingly, Green’s under 78.5 yards had 20% of tickets but 83% of the money.
Thursday night, like so many of those games, went unexpectedly. The Ravens lost but Flacco went for over 370 yards. The over hit, as did Michael Crabtree on his Over 4 Receptions (he had 5). While AJ Green gave Cincinnati a comfortable lead with 3 first-half TDs (no stats on that prop bet), he only accumulated 69 yards on the night.
Late Money, Late Drama
Prices shift during the week, signs of money coming into different positions. After opening at 50, the total for KC-Pittsburgh surged to 53.5 at some books. At William Hill, the public started to back the Chiefs getting 4.5 on the road. By week’s end, KC still had more tickets (63% vs 81% as of Monday) but the Steelers went from 15% to 53% of money bet.
Minnesota-Green Bay was another intriguing match-up. With Aaron Rodgers’ status in the air, the Vikings opened as a road favorite and earned almost all the early money. By Sunday morning, the public still loved the Vikes but not as much. Spread money dropped from 97% to 72%. This was a tough game to call because some books opened with Green Bay as a favorite. Naturally, kicking woes led to a 29-29 tie.
Another game the public correctly faded was Indianapolis versus Washington. Initially, the public liked the home team to cover a 6-point spread. By Sunday, that position dropped 14 percentage points on tickets and 16 on money. The Colts won handily.
It was not a good week for the three most heavily followed teams in the Garden State. The Eagles had big support on the spread entering Tampa where they were favored by 3. The Jets saw late money move their position to 87% of the spread money bet in their home opener against the Dolphins. The Giants were underdogs but had more money on their side before they played Dallas. All three teams fell.
DraftKings opened the game with the Jets a -152 ML favorite. By the time Miami took a 20-0 lead, that number was +750.