NFL Week 1 Betting Results: Crazy Endings Keep Gamblers on Edge of Their Seats

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For the record, NFL favorites were 8-7 against the spread through 15 Week 1 games, prior to the Monday Night clash between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

But the numbers only scratch the surface in Week 1.

Gamblers had an emotional adventure as the 2022 season opened, marked by several games being decided on the final play:

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When the smoke cleared, there was a suggestion of change in the NFL hierarchy from last season.

  • Both Super Bowl participants – the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals — lost outright.
  • Both No. 1 playoff seeds from last year — the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans — also went down.
  • There was also some normalcy. The GOAT still hasn’t lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Tom Brady is 7-0 against them after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 19-3 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.
  • The biggest Moneyline Masters were the Pittsburgh Steelers, who returned +260 to their DraftKings backers with their bizarre 23-20 overtime win over the Bengals as a +7 dog.
  • The Chicago Bears paid +230 for their 19-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at +6.5.
  • The New York Giants (+5.5) were worth +200 after a 21-20 thriller over the Titans.

Tonight’s action: Broncos vs. Seahawks MNF odds and pick

Where the Majority of NFL Week 1 Bettors Nailed it

At DraftKings, the Ravens had the most backing at 89% against the New York Jets at -6.5. They came through handily, 24-9.

The 46 over-under total for the Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots generated 88% support on the Under. And the majority was on the right side in Miami’s 20-7 triumph.

Where Big Bettors Made Some Moves

Only 13% of the DraftKings bettors took the Giants on the moneyline. But the G-Men took 34% of the handle. That means some big wagers went down on Big Blue.

The Bears drew 18% of the moneyline bets, but 29% of the handle.

The Steelers commanded 31% of the moneyline handle on just 16% of the wagers.

Hidden Value

Four games delivered payoffs on a DraftKings promo that paid players as soon as their team went up by 10 points, regardless of the outcome.

Those who opted in were paid on the Colts, Niners, Titans, and Atlanta Falcons, all of whom blew leads of at least 10 points.

DraftKings Overview

Respect for underdogs filtered throughout the final lines. There were no spreads above 7 points, which is rare.
None of the teams cracked 90% of betting support, also rare.

After the Ravens, the next most popular team with bettors was the Saints. They had 78% backing against the Falcons at -5.5. But the minority ruled as the Falcons lost 27-26, blowing a 26-10 fourth-quarter lead but covering the number.

The Carolina Panthers collected 76% of the betting action against the Cleveland Browns, despite the odds falling from -2.5 to -1, which suggested Cleveland support from sharp bettors around the sports betting marketplace.

Panthers -1 backers thought they had a push until Cleveland rookie kicker Cade York drilled a 58-yard field goal on the final play.  The Browns put a dagger in ex-teammate Baker Mayfield and the Panthers with the 26-24 triumph

Caesars Overview on AFC North

The Browns had the longest Week 1 futility string in NFL history, 0-16-1 straight up and 5-12 against the spread, going into Sunday, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Cleveland also was 1-21 on opening day since 2000.

Big news also came from one of their division rivals.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin now has an NFL-best mark of 38-35 since 2007 when his team gets points, per Caesars.

Bettors will keep that in mind going forward.

The public did not back the Steelers on Sunday, with 65% of Caesars dollars wagered on Cincinnati. The minority who played Pittsburgh was never in doubt. The Steelers never trailed.

This was only the third time in the last 30 years the Bengals were favored by more than five points over the Steelers.

The last time it happened was 2013, a 20-10 win and cover by the Bengals as 7-point favorites.

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NFL Sunday’s Second Window

The Kansas City Chiefs look like an imminent powerhouse after throttling the Arizona Cardinals, 44-21.

The Cardinals lost each of their final five home games of 2021 despite being favored in each game. That’s the longest active home losing streak in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have won eight straight Week 1 games (6-2 ATS), the longest current run in the league. The Chiefs have scored more than 30 points in their last seven season openers, the longest streak in NFL history.

Bills Look Super in Thursday Opener vs. Rams

Josh Allen was in mid-season form for the Buffalo Bills, who throttled the Rams 31-10 on Thursday night.

Allen’s decisive scrambling kept alive the drive that put the Bills up 17-10 in the third quarter. He later scored and used his feet to buy time for Stefon Diggs’ 53-yard touchdown catch.

The Bills looked like every book’s Super Bowl chalk in a decisive victory.

Gabe Davis had a touchdown, reminding bettors that his four TD playoff performance against the Kansas City Chiefs last year was no fluke.

Updated numbers: Super Bowl 57 odds

Special Teams, Coaching Snafus in Cincy

While the Browns made a long field goal, the Bengals could not convert a short, game-winning extra point or overtime field goal after losing their long snapper. Their coaching staff also bungled two key situations.

Bengals lost long snapper Clark Harris during the game and paid dearly. His backup Mitchell Wilcox made two bad snaps. One ruined the extra point that would have given the Bengals victory with 2 seconds left in regulation. The other caused a game-winning overtime miss.

The Bengals coaching staff also will get an “F” from its fans and backers.

One crucial mistake was failing to challenge the spot on an apparent game-tying touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase with just over two minutes. Chase was ruled out at the 1, but replays indicated he had crossed the plane with the ball. The Bengals then failed to get in on four plays.

The other was inexplicable. When punting at the end of overtime, the Bengals did not run the clock down to zero. They punted with 15 seconds left on the play clock, giving Pittsburgh the extra plays that made the difference in finding field goal range.

Ultimately, the Bengals were in refuse-to-win mode.

Had those seconds run off on the punt, the game would likely have ended deadlocked. It would have been the first time since 1973 that there were two NFL Week 1 ties.

Daboll Rolls the Dice

The Giants did their own brand of riverboat gambling. New coach Brian Daboll went for a two-point conversion after his team pulled within 20-19 with 1:-6 to go. The play was stuffed, but Saquon Barkley bounced off a tackle and got in.

All the Giants had to do after that was survive some defensive holding penalties, enabling the Titans to go for a game-winning field goal, which they barely missed.

The new Giants coach is endearing himself to New York fans and bettors. Maybe they’ll call him Dice Daboll.

Where Fortunes Changed Hands

The Falcons did cover +5.5 for their backers against the Saints.

But they still shot themselves in the foot, just as in past years.

When they led 23-10, quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled at the New Orleans nine with three minutes left in the third quarter. The Saints took away sure Falcons points and punted. The Falcons did get another field goal, but they remained back on their heels.

Falcons moneyline bettors know a 26-10 lead isn’t safe. They blew that same fourth-quarter lead at home in 2020 against the Chicago Bears, losing 30-26. And they did it again here.

The Houston Texans, + 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, had Sunday’s game in their pocket. They led 20-3 after three quarters.

But in the fourth, they had the ball and a 20-6 lead when quarterback Davis Mills fumbled deep in his territory. The Colts recovered and woke up, forging the game-tying scores.

Both the Falcons and Texans perennially struggle. And bad things happen to sub .500 teams.

More Week 1 Coaching Dice Rolls

Besides Daboll, other NFL coaches took some major chances on fourth down. Some were rewarded, some were not, but all livened up their games.

When the Dolphins led the Patriots 10-0 with 24 seconds left in the first half against the New England Patriots, they had 4th-and-7 at the New England 42. They didn’t punt. Tua Tagovailoa instead threw for it. Not only did he connect with Jaylen Waddle, it went for a backbreaking score.

It was a big gamble, yet a safe one. The Patriots would not have had much clock to work with had they stopped the Dolphins.

The Jacksonville Jaguars came up short in a goal-line situation on 4th down against the Washington Commanders when trailing 14-3. They also missed a short field goal. Both came in the second quarter. There went at least six points in a game they lost 28-22.

The Philadelphia Eagles came up big for their first touchdown, with Jalen Hurts running it in on 4th-and-goal.

The Detroit Lions, later trailing 21-7 against the Eagles, ran the ball with D’ Andre Swift on fourth down from the 12. He scored.

Not all big gambles occur on fourth down.

Commanders coach Riverboat Ron Rivera endeared himself to bettors once again Sunday. When Washington (-3) trailed Jacksonville 22-20, he had 3rd-and-8 from the Jacksonville 24 with 1:46.

It had the classic look of run the ball safely, make Jacksonville burn a timeout and kick the field goal for what could become a 23-22, non-covering victory.

But not Riverboat Ron. He went up top, and quarterback Carson Wentz tossed a TD strike to Jahan Dotson.

Bullseye, the bettors had an unexpected cover. Few gamblers laying three points get rescued in situations like this.

That is why Rivera is one of the most popular coaches among NFL gamblers.

Week 1 Injuries

Tee Higgins will be on concussion protocol and could miss at least one game for the Bengals. He was knocked out of Game 1 against the Steelers.

Mac Jones of the Patriots suffered a back injury against Miami. His status must be monitored.

Elijah Mitchell of the San Francisco 49ers left the game against Chicago with a knee injury. Post-game reports made it appear he may miss time.

Steelers defender J.J. Watt is believed to have torn his pec, and running back Najee Harris was in protective boot after injuring his foot in overtime.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott injured his right thumb and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970’s. 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. He 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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