This was Moneyline Mardi Gras.
Four significant underdogs not only covered the point spread but delivered tremendous returns with outright victories to spark a dog-friendly NFL Week 6.
Regardless of favorites holding a 7-6 point spread edge before the Monday Night Football matchup between the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, four Wonderdogs took bettors to the house on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, New York Giants, and Atlanta Falcons yielded sizable payoffs with their upset wins. They also helped sportsbooks torch an avalanche of moneyline parlays tied to favored teams.
Here’s a recap, with DraftKings betting odds.
- The Steelers (+10) had the best moneyline payout, toppling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-18 at a whopping +350 to their moneyline backers.
- The Jets (+7.5) put a 27-10 whipping on the host Green Bay Packers and paid out +265 on the moneyline.
- Their MetLife Stadium counterparts, the Giants, would not be outdone. At +5.5, they stunned the Baltimore Ravens 24-20 with a furious fourth-quarter rally and paid +200 on the win line. The G-Men tallied 14 fourth-quarter points. In winning, they also forged their best start, 5-1, since being 5-0 in 2009.
- The Atlanta Falcons continue to be a bettor’s dream.
Not only did the Falcons topple the San Francisco 49ers 28-14 at +4 .5 and return +190 to the moneyline bettors, they remain undefeated against the spread this season. The Falcons are the only 6-0 team vs the number.
This victory was particularly sweet to the small number of bettors who played them on the moneyline. Atlanta obtained only 13% of the moneyline handle.
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Dogs That Covered Spreads in Week 6
Dog bettors also roared as a vocal minority in the spread-wagering pools at DraftKings.
The best bet for favorites players, 71% of the handle, went on Baltimore. But the contrarians who made up 29% of the handle on the Giants cashed out.
With Tampa Bay -10 receiving 69% of the betting handle against Pittsburgh, only 31% of the handle was on the Steelers to cover.
The top instance in which the majority of the handle was on the winner was 60% for the Cincinnati Bengals -3 against the New Orleans Saints. Cincinnati’s 30-26 victory came in the final two minutes.
The largest percentage of money on an underdog was the 59% handle placed on the Dallas Cowboys (+ 6.5) against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. It nearly came in but missed by a matter of inches, as Brett Maher’s 59-yard late field goal was slightly wide right near the end of the game.
That made the spread difference, as Philadelphia covered, 26-17. The Eagles remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team.
The largest cover by a favorite was the Los Angeles Rams (-10), beating the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.
Also read: What are the odds the Eagles go undefeated?
Brady Loses to a Rookie
The GOAT, Tom Brady, had never lost to a rookie quarterback. Well, he has now if one considers the Pittsburgh combination of rookie Kenny Pickett and veteran Mitchell Trubisky.
The Steelers never trailed. Pickett got them out in front, and after he was injured, Trubisky took them home.
Pittsburgh kept Brady from completing a two-point conversion that would have tied the game, and Trubisky then helped the Steelers run out the clock. They were playing with desperation after being humbled by the Buffalo Bills 38-3 one week earlier.
Flashback to First Win
New England’s Bill Belichick notched career win 324 (including playoffs), tying George Halas for second on the all-time victory list. The 38-15 victory came at the scene of his first triumph, Cleveland.
Belichick was the Browns’ coach when he notched career win No. 1, 20-0 over the New England Patriots in 1991.
Belichick is now 9-2 straight up and 8-3 against the Browns, including five straight.
Only Don Shula remains in front of Belichick with 347 wins, per NFL.com.
A Dubious First for LaFleur
The Packers have suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in the Matt LaFleur era, covering 55 games. They were toppled by the Giants in England last week and then by the Jets on their own turf in Week 6.
Aaron Rodgers misses Davante Adams, who now plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, and this 3-3 team looks long in the tooth.
The Packers are being booed at Lambeau Field.
Times are changing.
How that affects bettors …
Those who felt the Packers were slipping were still getting odds that reflected past reputation. The Packers gave eight points to the Giants and 7.5 to the Jets. That presented gamblers an excellent opportunity to go against them.
But that’s going to be adjusted. The Packers, in the near term, will be treated as a good team, but not an exceptional one.
Green Bay is priced between -5 and -5.5 at Washington next Sunday.
Openers: Early NFL Week 7 odds
Other Firsts That Unfolded Sunday
First Touchdown Catch: The Steelers obtained their first touchdown reception by a wide receiver this season. Chase Claypool, criticized for not running full routes, hauled in the game-winning score and made some clutch late catches in Pittsburgh’s upset over the Tampa Bay Bucs.
First Touchdown Pass: Kenny Pickett hit Najee Harris out of the backfield for his first career touchdown pass. Pickett played reasonably well before leaving on account of a head injury.
First Interception: The Giants had been the only team without a pick this season. They obtained one at a big time, setting up what became the winning touchdown against the Ravens
First First-Quarter Points: The Arizona Cardinals had been outscored 38-0 in the first quarter this season. They notched a field goal in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks.
Unfortunately for them, it was all the points scored by their offense in a 19-9 setback to the Seattle Seahawks. They got their touchdown from special teams.
First Time JuJu Looks Like a Fit in Kansas City: Sunday marked the first touchdown of the year for Kansas City Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who spent his earlier career with the Steelers.
For the first time this year, Smith-Schuster looked like a player who can replace Tyreek Hill, who went to the Miami Dolphins in the off-season. He caught five passes on five targets, notched 113 yards, and a score. Better than the catches, he sped to significant yardage after he caught the ball.
Although nobody goes deep for Kansas City like Hill did, Schuster advertised himself as a force.
Prop players will keep their eye on him. He’s ready to bust out.
Sunday Night Football Results
Sanders, Lamb Ring Financial Bell for Bettors
Gamblers have a difficult task selecting the first-touchdown scorer, especially with the Philadelphia Eagles, because quarterback Jalen Hurts has six rushing touchdowns.
Hurts is tied for second in the NFL with six rushing touchdowns with Jamaal Williams of the Detroit Lions (Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns has seven). That’s bad news for a bettor who wants to take a running back or wide receiver with the first TD prop.
But on Sunday night, FanDuel bettors who selected running back Miles Sanders got the first score payout at +700.
The book also paid out a +250 Super Boost with Hurts reaching 25 rushing yards, Zeke Elliott surpassing 40 yards on the ground, and Eagles receiver A.J. Brown getting more than 50 yards.
Gamblers who took CeeDee Lamb at +340 to haul in the most receiving yards will testify there is no such thing as garbage time. Lamb collected 31 yards in Dallas’ final drive, including a 24-yard catch that gave him a game-high 68, one more than Brown.
Rush Errorless Streak Snapped
The law of averages indicated the Eagles would break Cooper Rush’s streak of four games without a turnover.
What seemed like a good angle was anticipated, however, as books had bettors laying juice from -135 on up on Rush tossing at least one pick.
Rush threw three interceptions, in fact. Those willing to lay the juice picked up some money.
Eagles Own Second Quarter
The Eagles outscored the Cowboys 20-3 in the second quarter on Sunday night. They are an awesome second-period team, outscoring opponents this season,112-27.
They have also been coasting as a result of that. Bettors will notice that the Eagles have been outscored in the second half two straight weeks and may want to fade them in second-half bets.
Taking an angle into Week 7: The Cowboys showed mettle after falling behind 20-0 and outplayed the Eagles considerably in the second half. The Cowboys expect to have Dak Prescott back against the Detroit Lions this week, but Rush has also developed enormous confidence should the team need him for another fill-in role.
This is a good team.
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PointsBet Avoids Prop-Bet Slam
PointsBet did not have to pay out on its most wagered touchdown prop of Browns running back Nick Chubb at -135.
They also dodged the bullet on Mike Evans of Tampa Bay and Aaron Jones of the Packers as touchdown scorers.
They paid out +105 for Leonard Fournette’s late tally for Tampa Bay and Dalvin Cook’s touchdown at -125 for the Minnesota Vikings.
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Winner Sevens: Pittsburgh had to try this on its first series: On 4th and 1 from the Tampa Bay 11, the Steelers handed off to Jaylen Warren and he squirmed through to move the chains. Two plays later, Pickett followed with his first-ever TD pass.
Brady would later add two successful fourth-down conversions. Combined, the teams went 3-for-3 on 4th down, with two TD’s following the conversions.
The Browns, incidentally, are the best fourth-down team in the league. They went 3-for-5 in this category on Sunday.
Craps: The Cardinals were not only 1-for-5 on 4th down and passed up three field goal attempts to go for unsuccessful conversions. Their 19-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks included on offensive touchdowns and a missed extra point.
The counter-argument to passing up the field goals is the trouble they are having in the kicking game. Either way, they left 10 potential points on the field in a game they lost by 10.
Stay current: Updated odds to win Super Bowl 57
NFL Week 7 Odds
Here are live odds for NFL Week 7 from around the various sports betting apps.