In general, the public likes to bet Favorites and Overs. Thus, sportsbooks root hard for Underdogs and Unders. This is especially true in high profile and isolated games such as Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football.
When underdogs cover, the sportsbooks are usually happy. When the dogs win outright, the books are very happy. To a lesser extent, due often to lower volume, the books do better when games stay under the total rather than when they go over.
This past week was generally a bad one for the public as favorites went just 4-10 ATS with the Chicago/Minnesota game pretty much a pick ‘em at books around Las Vegas. Of the 10 clear favorites that lost ATS, eight lost outright with only Kansas City and New England winning SU but losing ATS against Detroit and Buffalo respectively.
The only favorites to both win and cover were the Giants, Chargers, Seahawks and Steelers.
Often after weeks with such one-sided results we see more of a reversal than a continuation. Perhaps the public will fare better this week.
Ravens -3.5 at Steelers: Baltimore is off back-to-back losses to Cleveland and at Kansas City while the Steelers got their first win Monday night over Cincinnati. Despite the win Pittsburgh was still unable to establish a ground game and is averaging just 64 yards per game.
Baltimore leads the NFL averaging 206 ypg and has been better at avoiding turnovers. Historically a tight series, three of the last four meetings have been decided by seven points or more, including Baltimore’s 12-point win on this field last season against a better Steelers team. RAVENS
Jets +14 at Eagles: The status of Jets QB Sam Darnold (mono) keeps this game off the board at some Las Vegas books. Both teams are rested with the Jets off their Bye and Philly off last Thursday’s upset win at Green Bay. Both teams are dealing with multiple key injuries. The Jets’ offense has been woefully inept and the extra preparation time allows the new coaching staff to make adjustments. The Eagles have gotten off to a slow start which gives the Jets a chance to pull some early surprises.
Laying this lumber may be asking too much from a Philly team looking to find consistency. JETS
Buccaneers +3.5 at Saints: Tampa’s impressive 55-40 win at the Rams was one of the early season’s biggest shockers. Equally as impressive has been the play of New Orleans, winners at Seattle and over Dallas with Teddy Bridgewater starting in place of injured QB Drew Brees.
This is a tough spot for the Bucs, who play another Divisional game in London next week. The advance Westgate line last week was Saints -6.5, indicating a three-point adjustment following Tampa’s big win. The Saints will face a weaker defense than they faced in Dallas. Tampa has allowed at least 27 points in 10 of their last 11 games on artificial turf dating back to late 2016. And the Saints remember opening last season with a 48-40 home loss to Tampa. SAINTS
Falcons +5 at Texans: Both teams have a recent history of inconsistent play week to week and are off upset home losses last week. Both head coaches are under pressure.
Houston has shown the better running game and has been less prone to turnovers. QB DeShaun Watson lacks the experience of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan but has a better overall skill set that includes a better ability to elude a pass rush.
Atlanta is just 2-10 ATS in their last dozen road games. Houston has road games at Kansas City and Indianapolis up next which places added urgency on this game after last week’s home loss. TEXANS
Packers +3.5 at Cowboys: Both teams are off losses following 3-0 starts. The Packers are on the road for the first time since opening the season with a 10-3 win at Chicago. Green Bay’s defense has been vulnerable to the run, allowing over 148 rushing yards in each of its last three games.
Dallas rushed for over 200 yards in wins at Washington and over Miami which suggests this should be a favorable matchup for the hosts. Dallas also allows the fourth-lowest average yards per pass completion, 9.5, almost 1.5 yards less than the average completion allowed by the Pack. COWBOYS
Colts +10.5 at Chiefs: K.C. eliminated the Colts in last season’s Divisional playoffs 31-13. Dating back to 2017, 10 of the Chiefs’ last 13 home wins have been by double digits.
The Colts have major injury concerns to several key players on both sides of the football (RB Marion Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton, LB Darius Leonard) which makes trading points or preventing points problematic.
Since the start of last season the Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in 17 of 22 games. In starting 4-0 three of their wins have been on the road. The Colts take to the road after a pair of home games.
This is a weaker Indy team than the one that lost here in last season’s Playoffs. CHIEFS
Last week: 4-2