What a week for NFL bettors.
Underdog bettors made major scores, some favorites pleased the gambling majority, and milestones galore marked an action-packed menu.
Before Monday’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, dogs dominated in Week 5. They held a 9-5-1 edge at DraftKings, and the push for the Los Angeles Chargers at -2 for their 30-28 triumph over the Cleveland Browns is considered a dog victory in many circles.
Underdogs are 45-31-3 against the spread heading into the Week 5 MNF game.
DraftKings gamblers jumped on Cleveland at -3 and -2.5 all week before the line hit -2 on Sunday.
At PointsBet, the line was Los Angeles -3, so Cleveland line shoppers pocketed a ticket there.
Revealing the parity in the Week 5 matchups, five favorites prevailed on the moneyline but did not cover the spread. And two of those lines were less than a field goal.
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Here is a look at major results for underdog and favorites betting in Week 5.
Big Favorites Failed Chalk Players
The most wagered teams at DraftKings — the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles — all failed to cover the spread as favorites.
The Packers (-8) squandered a 14-point lead and lost outright to the New York Giants, 27-22. Moneyline backers of Big Blue pocketed the biggest return at the book, +300.
The Dolphins (-3.5) were crushed by the New York Jets, 40-17.
Although the Eagles rewarded moneyline bettors by topping the Arizona Cardinals, 20-17, they could not cover the -5.5 spread.
Other dogs had big days, too.
The Houston Texans (+7) returned +270 on the moneyline for their 13-6 upset victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a surprise, yes, but it’s also Houston’s ninth consecutive victory against Jacksonville. And it means every NFL team now has at least one victory.
Biggest Majority Triumph
The public nailed the San Francisco 49ers’ 37-15 triumph over the Carolina Panthers. Although it was not one of DraftKings’ most heavily bet games, 84% of the betting handle was on the Niners at -6.5.
Biggest Win for Contrarian Bettors
The Chicago Bears, with 26% of the handle, squeaked by at +7.5, losing to the Minnesota Vikings 29-22.
Notable First Touchdown Payout
Jalen Hurts of the Eagles returned +650 at DraftKings for getting into the end zone first in the Eagles-Cardinals contest. Maybe tight end Dallas Goedert should get half of that for literally pulling Hurts into the end zone for the tally.
MNF Props: TD Scorer Bets for Raiders vs. Chiefs
Sultans of the Spread
Hail to the Atlanta Falcons, the only 5-0 team versus the number. In a 21-15 setback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons showed that +10.5 at DraftKings was money. The line had shot up from +8 to +10.5 between Saturday and Sunday, as Tampa Bay money drove the spread up.
The Falcons rallied from a 21-0 third-quarter deficit with two touchdowns and would have gotten the ball back except for a questionable roughing the passer penalty against them on quarterback Tom Brady late in the game.
The NFC Beast?
The NFC East was derided two years ago, as no team could get above .500.
The Eagles are football’s only 5-0 team after surviving a scare against the Arizona Cardinals.
They finally won after backup kicker Matt Amendola, who had missed wide right throughout practice, did the same thing in the waning moments on a potential game-tying field goal for Arizona.
The Eagles surpassed their win total from 2020, when they were 4-11-1, prompting the demand for Hurts to quarterback the team and for Carson Wentz to be traded in the off-season. Wentz now quarterbacks the Washington Commanders.
The Dallas Cowboys also have an unbeaten quarterback. Cooper Rush is 5-0, including 4-0 this season, backing up injured Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Rush followed the formula of playing mistake-free football and essentially letting the defense win the game in Sunday’ 22-10 triumph over the host Los Angeles Rams.
In four games backing up Prescott, Rush has not committed a turnover.
The Cowboys and Eagles meet for the division lead in Philadelphia on Sunday night in Week 6. Prescott wants to return, and bettors will monitor that.
The Giants, meanwhile, beat the 2021 No. 1 playoff seed.
This may be the most improved team in the league. The G-Men were 4-13 last season. They have already tied their victory total from 2021.
The Commanders nearly made it an NFC East sweep, but they were stopped at the goal line by the Tennessee Titans in a 21-17 setback.
Red Zone Report
According to NFL Red Zone, there were 14 plays that covered at least 50 yards on Sunday.
That’s an interesting number for prop bettors, who can wager at various books on bets such as whether there will be a completion over 40 yards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady improved to 11-0 all-time against the Atlanta Falcons, tying John Elway (11-0 vs the Patriots) and Andrew Luck (11-0 vs the Titans) as the most dominant by a quarterback against one team.
The only quarterback since 1950 with more straight-up wins without a loss against an opponent (including playoffs) is Otto Graham (12-0) against the Cardinals.
Steelers Spotted Biggest Number in Team History
One team established a trend it does not want.
The Pittsburgh Steelers shot up to +14.5 at DraftKings before the kickoff against the Buffalo Bills.
Pittsburgh had been the only team since the 1970 merger that had never been a 14-point underdog, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That changed when the Steelers faced Buffalo, which has not lost at home as a double-digit favorite since Week 14 of the 1992 season.
Since being upset by the Jets (24-17) as 17-point favorites in that game, the Bills are 17-0 straight up and 11-4-2 when laying 10+ points at home.
The bettors were divided, with 53% of the tickets going on Pittsburgh, but 60% of the handle placed on Buffalo.
Kenny Pickett became third first-round QB in the Super Bowl era to start for the Steelers as a rookie — joining Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger, who combined to help bring the ‘Burgh six Lombardi Trophies.
The Steelers had Buffalo 3rd-and-10 at its own 2 on the first series of the game. Buffalo responded with a 98-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Gabe Davis. It’s the longest play in the NFL this year.
Pittsburgh then muffed the ensuing kickoff, and a couple deep passes from Pickett to his receivers were ruled out of bounds by inches.
The combinations of those plays set up the snowball that Buffalo used to roll Pittsburgh, 38-3.
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Jets Off the Divisional Schneid
While the Steelers established a history they didn’t want, the Jets got rid of some history that annoyed them.
They broke a 12-game moneyline losing streak against AFC opponents by beating Miami.
The Jets had also been 3-9 ATS in their last 12 division games, being outscored by an average margin of defeat of 16.3 points per game.
According to Caesars, this was the worst differential over a span of 12 division games since the Bills were outscored by a margin of 17.2 points against AFC East opponents from 2010-2012.
Bettors were primarily split over whether the Jets would snap out of this problem. Caesars reported 56% of the handle in favor of Miami at -3.5.
The Dolphins lost Teddy Bridgewater early in the game, hurting the favorite’s chances.
According to Caesars, home dogs were 15-10-2 against the spread and 11-15-1 straight up through four weeks
In Week 5, the Jets, Cardinals, and Browns helped the home dogs go 3-1. That would make the 2022 numbers 18-11-1 ATS and 12-17-1 straight up. Bettors will pay attention to this nugget.
Did You Know?
- The Carolina Panthers are 1-27 under Matt Rhule when they allow 17 points or more. That’s an indictment on the Panthers offense and a hint to bettors not to wager on Carolina if they foresee a high-scoring game. Rhule, though, was fired Monday morning.
- Hurts is tied with Jamaal Williams and Nick Chubb for the NFL lead in rushing touchdowns with six. That would be nice enough if Hurts was a running back.
- This is why he’s treated with deference on the prop line at the sportsbooks. Hurts at +650 to score first on Sunday at DraftKings was the type of line reserved for at top back or receiver. So was his payout of -105 to score first. Most quarterbacks are above +450 to score a touchdown anytime during the game.
- The Cincinnati Bengals, who lost to the Baltimore Ravens 19-17 on Sunday night, are the only NFL team that has not yielded a second-half touchdown.
Big Dice Rolls
As always, there were some notable decisions to bypass punts, even when coaches were deep in their own territory.
The Arizona Cardinals faked a punt late in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles. They succeeded and tallied a field goal at the end of the half.
The Los Angeles Rams didn’t score off of this but succeeded with a fake punt against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter.
Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not trust the defense in the Browns-Chargers shootout.
With the Browns trailing 24-21, he went for it on 4th and less than a yard from his own 34, the Browns ran a running play that was stuffed. That led to a Chargers field goal.
It was significant because that’s the first time Cleveland was stopped on fourth down this year. The Browns lead the league in fourth-down conversions with six.
Getting Too Fancy and Rolling Craps
The Bengals tried the Philly Special on 2nd-and-goal from the Baltimore Ravens 2 when trailing 13-10 in the third quarter. It resulted in a sack. After Joe Burrow then hit Ja’Marr Chase to the 2-yard line again, the Bengals tried a shovel pass on 4th-and-goal. Another blank.
This was a big blank to draw in a game they lost 19-17.
The Chargers could have punted the ball away late to the Browns, but tried to kill the clock on 4th down from their own 46. They failed to convert, and that enabled Cleveland to rush downfield and get a 54-yard field goal attempt from Cade York to win the game.
Well, York yanked it. Just as he did with an earlier field goal.
The kicker who was the toast of Cleveland with a 58-yard field goal to win the team’s opening game has been missing several kicks over the last couple of weeks. The problem is the same: wide right.