Calling all gamblers: Here comes the second-half NFL betting kickoff via the Week 10 schedule.
The midpoint — also marked with a bye week for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL’s two most heavily-backed teams — enables bettors to step back and assess their results.
Bontempo’s NFL Week 10 Betting Beat looks at the wagering landscape based on personal observations, interviews, and insights shared by top bookmakers.
Do you want to tweak your second-half approach? Try to capitalize more on major strengths?
This is a good time to determine what is working best.
NFL Second-Half Wagering Overview
Gamblers try to master one idea: Be a prophet to turn a profit. They want to match their strengths from the first half of the season into the overall NFL betting flow.
Part of that means knowing when to bet big small, or not at all.
“A smart bettor finds his spots,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today. “If those edges aren’t there, you don’t play it.”
How do bettors find those spots?
Deciding Who to Trust
“Look at who the bad teams are,” Avello noted.
“See if they are covering or not. Right now, the Arizona Cardinals are a tough team to bet. The Giants, stay away from them. The New England Patriots are close to being at that point, too.
“There may be a few other teams in which you figure they have to pick it up and maybe they will, but it’s important to know how badly the bad teams are playing,” he added.
And whether they get injected with something to stimulate them.
The Cardinals began the season 3-0 against the spread (ATS). They are in a 1-5 recent funk and would normally be dismissed. But there’s a Week 10 wild card with the expected return of Kyler Murray. He could re-energize this team.
Answers should emerge from this week. The Cardinals are in a near pick’em game at home against the Atlanta Falcons. If they are going to show up, this is the week.
Going forward, they are probably a spot play if gamblers like the spot.
The Giants have endured misfortune. This is a playoff team from last year that led the league ATS. A myriad of injuries and clock management issues cripple them this year.
Big Blue has averaged less than 10 points in its last four games. They have Tommy DeVito from the taxi squad at quarterback. Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor are hurt. Even offseason tight-end star Darren Waller has been sidelined.
This high expectation team may put one game together and pop someone during the second half. But week to week, they are hard to trust. Who would think that a playoff team figuring to improve is +16 against the Cowboys this week?
Catching the Up Trend
On the flip side, overachieving teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers are considered lively every week.
There are also streak teams like the Cincinnati Bengals. They have four straight wins and covers. Gamblers can take them at +270 (Best Live Odds: ) to rally to repeat as AFC North champions, down from +470 two weeks ago.
If the Bengals beat the Texans on Sunday and the Ravens next week, their division odds will approach even money. If they lose to the Ravens, their division shot is done.
Where do bettors want to be positioned?
Wagering into Low Scoring Totals
The Over bets won’t catch up with the Under, trending at about 60%. That’s because the NFL sports a bevy of backup quarterbacks.
Gamblers may have to tease totals down, pay the juice, and link in another selection to get a price.
They can also embrace the lack of offense. The Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons champion their kicking game. Field goal and point totals for Justin Tucker and Younghoe Koo hit the Over more often than not.
Hey, field goal digital wallet money spends just as well as funds from covering the spread.
It’s good to know the type of bets you have cashed. Maybe it’s alternate spreads and alternate totals. Perhaps two-legged parlays come in, but multi-legged ones don’t.
Maybe you like teasing a three-point favorite down to -2.5, and to make up for the juice, linking it with another pick. By eyeing the results for each type of bet, a gambler gets a feel for how he/she is “seeing it” this season. And if it matches past years.
Knowing the Landscape
There are certain teams you get a feel for in a given year. That may come from watching them and spotting tendencies in big situations. You sense when they will get hot or fade.
There are other teams you can’t ever figure out. You zig when you need to zag.
Trust where those instincts lead you. Instinct is often better than pure data, which is based on past performance.
Data is a Good Servant, Not a Master
Interpret the data, but don’t chase it. Instinct tells you when a longstanding pattern might change. Just ask the Denver Broncos bettors who took them when they ended a 16-game winless streak against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks back.
Here is the backdrop against which to apply pointers gleaned from midseason assessments.
Start with a look at the league’s most heavily supported teams.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3 ATS) — NFL Week 10: Bye
Verdict: The public has come out ahead.
The public has jumped on the defending Super Bowl champions all year.
The tough part about being a Super Bowl champion is the difficult lines for most games. Kansas City has an uphill battle against the spread each week.
Their only win-but-no-cover was a magnanimous gesture. They topped the New York Jets, 23-20, at -7. Patrick Mahomes was going in for the covering TD but instead slid down to ensure victory formation.
They also nabbed a half-point home cover against the Broncos.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-2-2 ATS) — NFL Week 10: Bye
Verdict: The public has come out ahead.
It’s hard to remember a team playing so close to the spread number in so many games.
The defending NFC champs covered by half a point against the New England Patriots, pushed against the Washington Commanders and Minnesota Vikings, and then scored a narrow cover in Week 9. They beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-23 at -3, aided by Dak Prescott stepping on the end line during a potential two-point conversion.
But they do just enough to win most weeks.
How do they keep getting by? Attitude. They come up with the big play on the very last drive in many cases. They also have a gamebreaker in AJ Brown.
Looking ahead, the Eagles are without star tight end Dallas Goedert for several weeks. They also have a brutal stretch against the Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, and the Cowboys again.
Bettors will decide if they can keep rising to the occasion or if they are due for a fall.
San Francisco 49ers (4-4 ATS) — NFL Week 10: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Verdict: Bettors have cooled off.
They were a cash register until injuries hurt them in moneyline losses to the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and Cincinnati Bengals.
This is a team that pummeled the Dallas Cowboys, 42-10, earlier in the year and can regain its swagger when healthy. As they exit the bye, Deebo Samuel comes back.
Samuel returned to practice this week and may soon help upgrade the offense. Some of his contribution occurs as a decoy. He is so fast that when placed in motion, he must be accounted for. That usually helps somebody else.
No Trent Williams yet. And maybe not for a while.
The Niners have a stiff test in Jacksonville, but bettors wasted no time jumping on them. They had 86% of the handle at -3 (Best Live Odds: ). We’ll see what Sunday brings, but early action conveys the belief that bettors think the Niners will be OK.
Detroit Lions (6-2 ATS) — NFL Week 10: @ Los Angeles Chargers
Verdict: The public is way ahead.
While the Lions have noted firepower, one big surprise has been their defense. They allowed no more than one touchdown in victories over the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Las Vegas Raiders (although the Raiders scored a defensive TD).
This team continues its breakout from last year.
Bettors who jumped on them around this time last season are a whopping 14-4 since then.
Lions sparkplugs are Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, and an offensive line that opens big holes.
David Montgomery is expected back for Week 10, giving Detroit more potent weapons.
The Lions face a rejuvenated Chargers team that pasted the Chicago Bears and New York Jets back to back.
Calling the Lions a consensus pick this week is an understatement. They took 97% of the early money at -2.5 (Best Live Odds: ) on the road.
Buffalo Bills (3-6 ATS) — NFL Week 10: vs. Denver Broncos
Verdict: Bills bettors are leaking oil.
A popular team is sputtering. The Bills haven’t covered in five straight weeks. That’s unlike a Josh Allen-led group, but this team looks just a little above average.
For the first time this year, the Bills were actually getting points in their last game. But the +2.5 against the Cincinnati Bengals was not enough in a 24-18 loss.
Buffalo has been giving margins like 15.5 and 10 points at home but no longer warrants that.
Even the Monday line of -7.5 (Best Live Odds: ) looks a little fat against a Broncos team that just tripped up the Chiefs. It will be interesting to see where this line ends up.
When teams slump, bettors keep watching them, however. Eventually, the line will settle in an attractive place.
BetMGM First-Half Evaluation
BetMGM just reported a 26% YoY increase in NFL betting. The most bet teams, the Chiefs and Eagles, are Super Bowl favorites.
“It has been a great NFL season so far at BetMGM. Favorable outcomes in primetime games and unders hitting at a high rate are the main factors in making this season a success for the sportsbook,” said Christian Cipollini, Trading Manager at BetMGM.
Player props continue to increase in popularity. Through the first nine weeks of the season, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was the most popular pick for anytime touchdown scorer.
The top-three most bet players in all prop markets except for touchdown scorer are Jared Goff, Josh Allen, and Breece Hall.
During NFL Weeks 8 and 9, BetMGM’s three largest winning wagers of the NFL season occurred:
- $394,000 to win $358,540: Chiefs -1.5 (-110) against the Dolphins in Week 9
- $400,000 to win $390,000 (2-leg parlay): Eagles moneyline (-115) vs. the Cowboys and Browns moneyline (-500) vs. the Cardinals in Week 9
- $50 to win $149,564 (15-leg parlay, +299128): There’s a lesson in that Week 8 bet, noted below
It doesn’t cost much to make much. It just takes a lot of legs, on a parlay.
This gutsy call was handsomely rewarded. But, as the bet shows, this was not some erratic stab. There was an angle. The gambler took a loaded moneyline ticket and then caught some breaks.
$50 to win $149,564 (15-leg parlay, +299128) in NFL Week 8:
- Vikings moneyline (-120)
- Dolphins moneyline (-400)
- Jets moneyline (-166)
- Titans moneyline (+115)
- Cowboys moneyline (-303)
- Panthers moneyline (+150)
- Saints moneyline (-131)
- Eagles moneyline (-303)
- Jaguars moneyline (-135)
- Seahawks moneyline (-212)
- Bengals moneyline (+170)
- Ravens moneyline
Did this ticket need some luck? Hell yeah. The Jets were all but buried against the Giants and needed a miracle in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, where they won.
The wager also needed a last-play field goal by the Panthers and a road upset by the Bengals against the heavily-touted 49ers.
Sportsbooks quickly point out that very few of these bets hit. But when they do, they can be life-changing.
Team Performance ATS and Totals
Some results are slightly different than at other books because of the final line at kickoff.
Best Teams Against the Spread
- Jaguars 6-2 ATS
- Lions 6-2 ATS
- Eagles 6-2-1 ATS
- Chiefs 6-3 ATS
- Dolphins 6-3 ATS
Best Over Teams
- Colts 6-3
- Bears 6-3
- Cowboys 5-3
- 49ers 4-3-1
- Eagles 5-4
- Dolphins 5-4
- Cardinals 5-4
Best Under Teams
- Giants 8-1
- Steelers 7-1
- Saints 7-2
- Chiefs 7-2
- Vikings 7-2