The chalk domination continued in the NFL on Sunday with favorites cashing at a whopping 9-3 ATS clip and 12-3 ATS if you were to include the 3 games that took place on Thanksgiving.
Over the course of the last 6 weeks of the regular season, favorites in the NFL have cashed tickets for bettors at a 70% clip for a 54-23 ATS mark. It has been a very rough stretch for bookmakers across Las Vegas and in the offshore markets in regards to the NFL over the last month and a half.
There seems to be a very clear divide between the very best and very worst teams in the NFL which have contributed to these results. Many of the favorite covers came on late scores as well specifically Carolina, Atlanta, New England and Cincinnati with several of those swing games providing mostly negative results for the books. The Green Bay Packers wire-to-wire cover (and near outright win) as 2 TD underdogs in Pittsburgh on Sunday night helped minimize the damage to a certain extent for the majority of sportsbooks but overall it was still not a pleasant day to be a bookmaker.
There is no doubt the track record of favorites during the course of the last several weeks has been a gaudy and dominant one but now the question is will there be a reversal of fortune for underdog bettors in the NFL? I have to believe there will be. Some of the elite teams in the NFL like New England, Philadelphia, Minnesota and New Orleans among other squads that are heavily favored most weeks are not only laying more points by the week but also getting closer to clinching available goals such as division titles and seeding for the upcoming playoffs.
Once that gets close to happening for some of the teams listed above, the pendulum should indeed start to swing and a price point will show that presents opportunities to go against some of these ‘pointspread machine’ NFL teams. One team that hasn’t been a machine lately–they’ve been anything but is the Kansas City Chiefs who were one of only 3 favorites to lose ATS on Sunday but the Chiefs also lost the game outright when they were as many as 10 point favorites early in the week against the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City’s perfect 5-0 SU and ATS start has been washed away by a dismal 1-5 SU and ATS skid in their last 6 games with the only win coming against Denver.
The KC offense with QB Alex Smith and company has declined rapidly during their recent struggles. Smith was getting plenty of early season NFL MVP talk and now over the Chiefs last 3 games which were losses to Dallas, NY Giants and Buffalo, Smith has thrown more INT’s (4) than TD’s (3). It has been a stark drop-off in production and performance for the Chiefs on offense. Kansas City has a 5.9 yards per play average on offense for the season but in their last 3 games, that number drops to 5.0 yards per play and they averaged just 4.1 yards per play in their loss on Sunday against Buffalo.
On the other side of the football, the Chiefs defense is giving up 5.9 yards per play on the season ranking them 25th in the NFL. Kansas City won’t have an easy time of it getting out of their funk when they go on the road to face the NY Jets in Week 13.
The Playoff picture will be decided following Conference Championship weekend with several of this week’s Power Five conference title games going a long way to determining the 4 team CFB playoff and a couple of which will be defacto playoff elimination games. In the SEC Championship, it will be a rematch between Georgia and Auburn from their Nov. 11 regular season meeting which the Tigers won in convincing fashion 40-17 while outgaining the Bulldogs 488-230 in total yards.
Auburn is a slight 2 point favorite for the SEC title game in Atlanta. In the ACC Championship, Miami will battle Clemson. The Clemson Tigers (defending national champions) are a 9.5 point favorite against the Hurricanes in Saturday’s game which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Big 12 Championship will see Oklahoma take on TCU in yet another rematch of a game that took place during the regular season. Oklahoma defeated TCU 38-20 in Norman as 6 point favorites with the Sooners outgaining the Horned Frogs by 109 yards in the victory. In the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will face undefeated Wisconsin which enters that game with an unblemished 12-0 record. Ohio State is currently a 6.5 point favorite in that game over Wisconsin with that game unfolding at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
In terms of which one of these is particularly appealing to me from a betting perspective, Georgia as a slim +2 to +2.5 point underdog to Auburn may be worth a look. Auburn has to somehow regain focus in a hurry following their exhilarating Iron Bowl victory against rival Alabama last weekend and prepare themselves for the SEC Championship game against Georgia in a game the Bulldogs will look to avenge their ugly loss in Auburn a few weeks ago.
The SEC title game takes place in Atlanta making this a venue which should have plenty of fan support for the Bulldogs. On top of the situational disadvantage for Auburn is the injury concern surrounding RB Kerryon Johnson who is arguably the centerpiece of the Tigers offense. He is expected to suit up on Saturday despite a shoulder injury sustained in the game against Alabama but whether his effectiveness is impacted or not by it remains to be seen. I believe that Georgia is sitting in a solid situation here to exact some revenge and knock of Auburn on Saturday in the SEC title game in Atlanta.