NFL Betting Trends for Week 9: Bettors Love the Favorites and the Under

Gamblers love two early themes for NFL Week 9: the favorites and the Under.

Only one underdog gained prominent early betting dominance. That was the Tennessee Titans, who open the league slate at +3 (Best Live Odds: ) and with 76% of the DraftKings betting handle when visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

New quarterback Will Levis and veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins add a potent punch to the Titans’ offense.

The Washington Commanders had a small majority of 57% handle when they invade the New England Patriots at +3.5 (Best Live Odds: ).

Otherwise, the early betting is on the favorites.

Here’s a further look at the chalk ruling the walk and the wonder of the Under for the launch of NFL betting trends for Week 9.

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NFL Week 9 Favoritism

The public jumped on several chalks.

The Kansas City Chiefs have 83% handle at -2 (Best Live Odds: ) versus the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany. That’s a special 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoff.

Kansas City comes off the 24-9 loss in Denver, while the Dolphins handled the New England Patriots 31-17.

The Indianapolis Colts show 82% betting love against the host Carolina Panthers at -2.5 (Best Live Odds: ). This is an interesting perspective with Indy losing three straight and yielding more than 30 points each time. Colts bettors are glued to that -2.5 number and will presumably back off if it hits -3.

Carolina enters off its first win and cover, topping the Houston Texans 15-13. This is the second straight home game for the Panthers.

The New Orleans Saints commanded 83% of the initial handle at a fat -7 (Best Live Odds: ) against the Chicago Bears. It’s Derek Carr vs. Tyson Bagent. Saints bettors said, “Check please.”

Dog Bettors Back Commanders

Washington and New England come off big efforts in losing games last week. New England played better than the 31-17 finale against Miami indicated and Washington took the 7-1 Philadelphia Eagles to the wire before losing 38-31.

Washington also began building for the future on Tuesday. It traded defensive stars Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears and Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers. Gamblers may view this as Washington being weaker defensively in the short term, prompting its game totals to go up.

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“Under” Standing Low Point Totals

Scoring is down around the league from other years. That’s no accident according to Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings.

He attributes the change to the injury rash to high-profile quarterbacks. That runs the gamut from Aaron Rodgers to Kirk Cousins, both presumably gone for the year.

“What’s going on is that there are a lot of rookie quarterbacks in the league and if the rookie isn’t starting, it’s a backup,” Avello told Gaming Today.

“The coaching strategy is to not make mistakes. They want to stay clean and take advantage of the opportunities they do get to try winning the game rather than give it away with a mistake. That’s why there are not a lot of wide-open offenses out there.”

There is an interesting dynamic regarding the Under totals the public jumped on this week.

Low totals theoretically entice Over betting, as the target does not look too hard to reach.

But gamblers read the low total as a sign of an extremely low-scoring game. They have been diving on the Under and hitting it.

This is similar to low MLB totals coaxing more betting on the Under than the Over.

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Top Under Selections for Bettors

Bettors love the Green Bay Packers-Los Angeles Rams game Under 40 (Best Live Odds: ) to the tune of 94%. What the Rams gave up to the Dallas Cowboys last week — 43 points — would cover this total alone.

But gamblers see a low-scoring affair.

The Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings notched 81% handle at Under 37.5 (Best Live Odds: ). The Vikings were expected to start Jaren Hall, a significant drop-off from Kirk Cousins, who is lost for the year with an Achilles injury.

On Tuesday, that may have changed. Minnesota obtained the more experienced Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals. Dobbs is a mobile running threat and throws a good ball. The question will be how much of the Vikings offense he can learn in one week and whether he can get in sync with Minnesota receivers.

The total reflects the uncertainty regarding Minnesota’s quarterback situation. One thing Dobbs has over Cousins is being a threat to run the ball near the goal line.

The betting line moved only slightly, from Atlanta -5 to -4.5, after the trade. It’s nonetheless a big spread for an Atlanta team that has won only one game by more than a field goal this season.

“We had that line at 1 when it was up a couple weeks ago,” Avello said. “It shot to five after Cousins was hurt and there is uncertainty about how the next Vikings quarterback can handle the offense.

“This is a good move for the Vikings,” Avello said. “I was thinking the Arizona Cardinals would keep Dobbs and get rid of Kyler Murray because this kid has played well.

“Dobbs goes to a team now that has one of the most elite receivers in the game with Justin Jefferson once he is able to come back.”

Minnesota won and covered three straight with Cousins.

Atlanta may use Taylor Heinicke, who played well enough in relief of Desmond Ridder to earn a Week 9 start. The Falcons may also go with Ridder, who was ineffective and then went into concussion protocol in Week 8.

The Cleveland Browns-Arizona Cardinals match has a low number of 37.5 (Best Live Odds: ) and a high Under backing of 83%. This is after the Cardinals played to a total of 55 and the Browns 44 last week.

What gives? Maybe it’s the wind.

Games in Cleveland have yielded astonishingly low totals this year: 27, 30, and 36. Sunday’s forecast calls for showers and 17 mph winds. Anything above 15 usually impacts offenses.

This is something bettors will monitor right up until game time.

At first glance, this game should go Over. But conditions have an impact there.

Bettors will be paying close tabs on whether Murray returns to action or whether rookie Clayton Tune starts for the Cardinals.

The New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders have a total of 37.5 (Best Live Odds: ). Of course, they do. The Giants have reached 20 points just once this year. That’s one more than the Raiders, the only NFL team not to have cracked that mark this year.

The Giants may be in line to get Daniel Jones back from a neck injury. That could not have happened at a better time.

Coach Brian Daboll’s team is due for a good break. They lost by not converting two different plays from the Buffalo Bills 1-yard line in an earlier game.

Last week, they were snakebit against the New York Jets when a long pass completion, spike, last-play field goal, and then an overtime pass interference call happened in succession. Their 13-10 loss was bitter. New York easily could and should have four wins, not two.

There are several low betting totals this week, but none are anywhere near a record. Avello said he recalls numbers in the 28 range several times. The most recent occurred two years ago when severe winds dropped the New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game into that territory.

And the Under covered even that one in New England’s 14-10 win.

Over Bets Gamblers Like

The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills have a total of 49 (Best Live Odds: ) and 82% of the handle. That makes sense with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase clicking again for Cincinnati, which topped the San Francisco 49ers 31-17 last week.

Buffalo has been skidding but did squeak past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18 last week.

Gamblers also pounced on the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles total of 46 (Best Live Odds: ), hitting the Over at 78%. This is expected to be a wide-open affair.

CeeDee Lamb for Dallas and AJ Brown of the Eagles are on fire. Brown owns an NFL record of six straight games with more than 125 yards.

BetMGM Sportsbook Insights: NFL Division Futures

AFC East

  • Favorite: Dolphins -190
  • Highest Ticket%: Bills 30.9%
  • Highest Handle%: Bills 57.7%
  • Biggest liability: Bills

There is betting value on the Bills at +200. They trail the Dolphins by one game. Fittingly, Buffalo visits Miami in the final week of the season.

AFC North

  • Favorite: Ravens -135
  • Highest Ticket%: Bengals 29.1%
  • Highest Handle%: Bengals 26.7%
  • Biggest liability: Steelers

Cincinnati has improved to +320 from +480 with its three-game win streak. The Bengals resemble a horse that has fallen lengths behind the lead and begun a strong run. At 4-3, they have only one more loss than the 6-2 Ravens, but have also lost to them. The teams play again in Baltimore on Nov.16.

The Steelers are the big liability for the book but have trouble scoring. The team drops slightly if Mitchell Trubisky plays ahead of Kenny Pickett.

AFC South

  • Favorite: Jaguars -400
  • Highest Ticket%: Titans 40.7%
  • Highest Handle%: Jaguars 43.9%
  • Biggest liability: Titans

AFC West

  • Favorite: Chiefs -750
  • Highest Ticket%: Chiefs 41.0%
  • Highest Handle%: Chiefs 83.6%
  • Biggest liability: Chiefs

NFC East

  • Favorite: Eagles -200
  • Highest Ticket%: Eagles 32.7%
  • Highest Handle%: Eagles 63.8%
  • Biggest liability: Commanders

The Cowboys are +155. If they beat the Eagles on Sunday, this becomes pick ’em. If Philly wins, Dallas goes back over +200 and would trail by two games, but still has one home game left against the Eagles.

NFC North

  • Favorite: Lions -2000
  • Highest Ticket%: Lions 47.0%
  • Highest Handle%: Lions 60.2%
  • Biggest liability: Lions

Bettors killed it on this one. They loaded up before the season on Detroit, which had slight minus numbers to win the division. Now they have a two-game lead. Only the Vikings, who trail them by two games, have a remote chance to catch them. And they don’t have Kirk Cousins anymore.

NFC South

  • Favorite: Falcons +100
  • Highest Ticket%: Saints 48.2%
  • Highest Handle%: Saints 63.9%
  • Biggest liability: Saints

Opportunity galore. Every team has four losses. Tampa Bay has lost two straight and settled at +450 for the best value.

NFC West

  • Favorite: 49ers -300
  • Highest Ticket%: Seahawks 39.2%
  • Highest Handle%: 49ers 74.8%
  • Biggest liability: 49ers

Hard to believe the Seahawks are +250. This division was mailed in to San Francisco by the analysts back in September.

Maybe it will be mailed back. The Niners have lost three straight. They are grateful for the bye.

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FanDuel Seasonal Props

Touchdown Pass Leader for the Season

Both the fragility and opportunity of prop betting are on full display with this FanDuel menu.

Kirk Cousins was tied for the NFL lead with 18 touchdown passes before he was lost for the season with an injury. It can happen to anyone.

Here’s a look at the updated odds and totals.

Tua Tagovailoa +300

He has the lead with 18 touchdowns. The Dolphins are a passing machine. This fits right up his alley.

Josh Allen +300

Right there with 17 touchdowns for the Bills. His penchant to run for some scores could hamper his total a bit.

Patrick Mahomes +400

He has 17, just one off the lead. Benefits from the little shovel passes near the end zone that count as scoring tosses.

Justin Herbert +850

He has 13 touchdowns with one less game played. Factor that in and he’ll be right with this group, at a price.

One of the game’s best pure passers, but this Los Angeles Chargers team just doesn’t punch it in enough.

Russell Wilson +900

Say it ain’t so. The Broncos can barely score, but he has 16 TD passes, just two from the lead. Would be a shock, but he’s in the hunt.

Running Back Touchdown Leaders for the Season

Raheem Mostert +300

The chalk leads the circuit with 10 touchdowns for the Dolphins. He gets more opportunities because of the explosive Miami defense but also loses some chances because of how many TD passes Tua throws.

Christian McCaffrey +350

He has nine touchdowns and managed to fight back from injury to play the last two weeks. Now he’s on a bye. A solid choice if he is healthy because he is the glue of the San Francisco 49ers offense.

Jalen Hurts +750

Here’s a quarterback considered an outside possibility to score the most touchdowns. He has six for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Travis Etienne +850

The Jacksonville Jaguars running back has seven and can cap off drives launched by Trevor Lawrence.

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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