The heavy chalk thrived, mid-level favorites encountered chaos, and the betting majority had a bumpy ride through realms of frustration and education.
They are some of the major angles from a frenetic Week 12, which concludes with the Indianapolis Colts hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.
For gamblers, frustration arose from several bets that were one play short of cashing in before losing.
Education involved future betting patterns as two coaches bypassed overtime and their teams garnered game-winning two-point conversions in the final seconds. Those unlikely decisions skewered the tickets of bettors laying 3 points or less and hoping to snatch an overtime cover.
Gamblers wonder if this is the new NFL blueprint.
Here’s the Week 12 breakdown.
The Strong Survived
Point spreads reached 15 points for the first time this season, and the colossal favorites lifting that number came through.
The Kansas City Chiefs covered -15.5 at DraftKings by halting the Los Angeles Rams, 26-10. The Chiefs notched the spread-covering field goal with less than two minutes remaining.
The Miami Dolphins defeated the Houston Texans, 30-15. Although it was a push on the final line of Miami -15, early gamblers recorded this as a victory. The Dolphins took money at -13.5, -14, and -14.5 for several days until the final line move.
The Philadelphia Eagles covered -6.5 in their 40-33 triumph over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. They prevailed in style, notching 363 rushing yards, their highest one-game total since 1948.
In becoming 10-1, the Eagles also made winners of bettors who had taken the Over on their projected win total of 9 and then 9.5 before the year began.
In a pass-the-baton development, the Packers may have ushered in the Jordan Love era. He took them to two scoring drives after Aaron Rodgers, already beset with a thumb ailment, injured his ribs. With the 4-8 Packers going nowhere, it may be time to groom Love.
The Overtime and Near-Overtime Spectacle
This involved four games, and two featured a new philosophy.
New paradigm, version one, was the end of the Los Angeles Chargers-Arizona Cardinals game.
The Chargers, -2.5 across the sportsbooks, tallied an apparent game-tying touchdown with 14 seconds to go. That pulled them within 24-23. Their bettors hoped for a successful extra point and a winning overtime score.
But Brandon Staley crossed them up. The Chargers coach went for the win and got the two-point try with Justin Herbert hitting Gerald Everett. The Chargers prevailed, 25-24.
Staley apparently liked the chances of his offense on this play more than the prospect of stopping the elusive Kyler Murray in overtime.
Bettors got burned on this one, as 66% of the DraftKings handle was on Los Angeles in the -2.5 to -3 range.
New paradigm, version two, involved the thrilling finish of the Jacksonville Jaguars-Baltimore Ravens contest.
Ravens bettors at -3 hoped for overtime after the Jags tallied to get within 27-26 with 14 seconds left. But Jacksonville coach Doug “Vegas” Pederson, known for calling the Philly Special in the 2018 Super Bowl, rolled the dice again.
And Trevor Lawrence made it a winner 7, hitting Zay Jones for the all-or-nothing conversion. The Jags triumphed, 28-27.
This was bold play-calling by both coaches, who put all of their hopes into one play.
Gamblers must now handicap this into future considerations for Jacksonville, Los Angeles, and perhaps other teams. This may scare bettors off of the -2, -2.5 or -3 favorites line.
The majority took this one on the chin. The Ravens had 91% moneyline handle and 78% of the handle at -3.
Two games featuring traditional strategy did go to overtime. And they were ruled by dogs.
Nick Chubb’s overtime TD gave the Cleveland Browns an unlikely 23-17 triumph at +3.5 over the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Josh Jacobs capped a monster day for the +4 Las Vegas Raiders, taking an 86-yard game-winning run to the house against the Seattle Seahawks in a 40-34 stunner.
The Raiders have back-to-back walkoff OT road victories. Derek Carr should cry more often. The team has played with renewed attitude after he broke down in tears when his team lost to the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago.
The Cleveland victory was a great win for the slick contrarians. Only 17% of the DraftKings handle went on the Cleveland moneyline at +155.
Bettors viewed the Raiders as a live dog. They garnered 32% of the moneyline handle at +160.
Ravens Fail to Deliver for Betting Masses
How tough is it to hit an NFL game?
Here’s a journey through the wagering fire, indicating the razor-close verdict affecting a majority of gamblers in a heavily-bet game.
The most wagered spread at DraftKings was Baltimore -3.5.
For the majority of Ravens bettors who placed that wager, here was the late roller-coaster ride:
First, it looked bad.
The Ravens trailed 20-19 with 2:02 to go. Pederson had used two of his timeouts. This was shaping up as a Ravens field goal to go up by 2 and try to hold the Jags off. Not enough.
But the Ravens got a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Now it was 27-20, and that looked good.
And then it became very good. The Ravens recorded a sack, forcing Jacksonville into 3rd and 21 with no timeouts from its own 14. The Ravens are one of the better defensive teams in the NFL.
Not on this drive.
Lawrence threw a 16-yard completion, and it was 4th and 5. Still, one stop equals ballgame.
Not on this day.
Lawrence converted, threw a series of subsequent clutch passes, and took his team into the end zone with 14 seconds left. Spread bettors sagged immediately when Pederson went for 2, squashing overtime.
Moneyline bettors were right behind them after the Jags converted.
Just to bring the torture to one more level, Justin Tucker lined up for a 67-yard game-winning field goal. It would have been the longest in NFL history, longer than the 66-yarder he hit to beat the Detroit Lions last year.
Tucker hit it true, but 67 yards was just a little too far. For the Ravens moneyline bettors who used this to anchor multi-legged parlays, it was heartbreak.
The Ravens had numerous chances to close this out, but did not.
On the other side, it was Jacksonville Jubilation for the minority.
Prop Betting Highlights
We have mentioned Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo as money under the radar throughout the season. He was money again on Sunday, but not under the radar.
At DraftKings, Koo was the most bet prop to notch Over 1.5 field goals, at +105. He complied with three pointers in the first and third quarters, although the Falcons lost to the Washington Commanders, 19-13. Another nail-biter. The Falcons were picked in the end zone on their final drive.
Tough Break for Henry Bettors
Derrick Henry was going in on a long first touchdown score. DraftKings bettors were about to pocket +360 for him to do that. Henry was just five yards short of the end zone when stripped of the ball from behind. It rolled into the end zone where the Titans recovered for the first touchdown of the game.
It just didn’t belong to Henry.
Bettors did convert on Travis Kelce to tally the first touchdown at +340 in the Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Rams contest.
Historic Rams vs. Chiefs Spread
With Kansas City (-15.5) and Miami (-15) sporting the league’s largest spreads of the season, historical context came into play.
Including Thanksgiving, double-digit underdogs had covered in 73 percent of the games this season, going 11-4 ATS with three outright victories.
Based on the lines at kickoff, these big dogs went 0-1-1 Sunday, snatching a push on the Texans and losing with the Rams, who set a record they would have liked to avoid.
No reigning Super Bowl champion had ever been an underdog of 14 or more points, according to Caesars Sportsbook. The Rams changed that at +15.5 and were nosed out for the cover.
Twice before, a defending champ was a 13.5-point dog, and each won outright – in 2018 the Eagles beat the Rams (30-23) and in 1995 the 49ers downed the Cowboys (38-20).
Caesars bettors placed 63% of the spread bets on the Rams, while 93% of the spread handle went to the Chiefs.
The Dolphins had not been favored by 12 or more points since a Week 1 home game in 2003 against the Texans, who pulled off a 21-20 upset while getting 14 points. History did not repeat itself in 2022 and the majority of bettors were happy. Miami racked up 64% of the spread tickets and 85% of the spread handle.
Hot Teams Clash in Nashville
The Bengals and Titans were the only winning teams to face each other on the Sunday schedule.
And they’ve been the league’s two hottest teams.
Cincinnati and Tennessee each opened this season with two losses. Since Week 3, however, the Titans had been 7-1 and the Bengals 6-2. They were the two best teams in the NFL against the spread (Titans 8-0, Bengals 7-1) over that span.
Cincinnati kept it rolling with a 20-16 victory and pulled even with the Ravens in the AFC North. The Bengals still have a tougher schedule than the Ravens, but they have made up a game. The teams meet in Cincinnati in the final game of the season.
Jets Deliver as Big Chalk
The Jets were 7-point favorites for just the second time over the last seven seasons. In Week 10 of 2018, they were 7-point home favorites over the 2-7 Bills and were promptly walloped, 41-10.
With New York’s 31-10 triumph, the Bears are now 4-19 straight up and 7-16 against the spread as underdogs since the start of last season.
The Jets took 57% of the tickets and the Bears had 57% of the handle. Coach Robert Saleh sent a message to his team in starting Mike White over Zach Wilson, the second pick in the 2022 Draft.
White may have put a stamp on the job with his 315-yard, three-touchdown performance.
The most lopsided betting margin was the 89% moneyline handle on the Ravens. This led to several parlays being torched.
As for individual props, bettors missed out on the Henry score at -180 because of his fumble.
They waited until 19 ticks left in overtime before being rewarded on a Nick Chubb anytime score. That was a break for bettors, as Cleveland could have kicked the game-winning field goal. Most teams would, but the Browns gave him one more crack at a score and he delivered at -115.
Kelce scored right away to provide a payout of -145.
Highest-Scoring Game Prop at FanDuel
Weekly Special bets gave the bettors quite an adventure.
The highest-scoring game was the Raiders-Seahawks. That prop returned +600. Bettors who saw the Raiders score late got another crack at the prize in overtime. The 74-point total nudged the Eagles-Packers at 73.
FanDuel bettors received a tough loss in the category of whether every team would score a touchdown in the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET windows. It would have paid +650, but the New Orleans Saints were twice denied the end zone in the fourth quarter and lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 13-0.
There was another consolation to that, however. The nothing-burger was worth +1000 for the Saints to be the lowest-scoring team of the week. They hadn’t been shut out since 2001, ironically by the 49ers. That’s why the futility was high-priced.
Turkey Day Takeaways: Games of Inches
The New York Giants collected a back-door cover against the Dallas Cowboys.
A touchdown with eight seconds left and the all-important extra point carved the 28-20 final that made winners of New York +10 bettors on Thanksgiving Day and at + 8.5 early in the week
New England Patriots bettors did not get the inch against the Minnesota Vikings. Hunter Henry just missed coming down with the ball in a potential go-ahead touchdown. Then came a slight rush and a running into the kicker that kept Minnesota’s game-winning drive alive. And a Pats defender missed, by about an inch, of deflecting the game-winning score. Those inches added up to a 33-26 win for Minnesota at -3.5.