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At the midpoint of the NFL season, parity continues with 18 teams at or within a game of .500, pending Detroit’s result Monday night at Chicago. The Lions were 2-3 as they sought to even their record with an upset win.

Chicago was looking to improve to 5-1 with a win and hold onto the second seed in the NFC, trailing only Atlanta. The 6-0 Falcons are the only remaining unbeaten team as they return this week following their Bye.

The other top teams in the NFC are Minnesota, the New York Giants and San Francisco, each 5-2. Of that trio Minnesota is the surprise.

Houston rebounded from their shockingly one sided home loss to Green Bay with a resounding 30-point win over Baltimore, taking advantage of the numerous injuries suffered by the Ravens defense. Baltimore still has the second best record in the AFC at 5-2. New England is the only other AFC team with a winning record at 4-3 and atop the East Division following a struggling overtime win over the Jets.

The story at the betting windows continues to be the outstanding performance of underdogs. Although the results will vary slightly depending on the line source used, they are clicking at better than 60%. Overall, our record shows underdogs at 61-37-5 ATS prior to Monday night, 62.2%.

Road dogs are 39-23-4 (62.9%) and home dogs 22-14-1 ATS (61.1%). It is unlikely that the season will end with such a great rate of success. We may already have seen a reversal of form this past week as road favorites were 4-0 ATS.

Both Cincinnati and Tampa Bay failed as the slightest of underdogs (+1) while Carolina (+2½) and St. Louis (+5) also failed to cover. Interestingly it has long been espoused that home underdogs have been a very profitable way to play. For much of the past 30 years this has been true, but that’s been changing for nearly a decade.

Between 1982 and 2002 (21 seasons), home dogs cashed tickets at a 53% clip over nearly 1,500 games, generating a net profit at 11 to 10 of just over 18 units. That’s just below one net unit of profit per season.

And that’s the good news!

From 2003-2011, blindly betting on home dogs showed not just a net loss but a huge one. Over more than 700 games during the past 9 seasons, home dogs cashed at just 49% and generated a whopping 48 net units of losses.

In fact, the 18 net units of profits generated by blindly playing home dogs between 1982 and 2003 were wiped out in just three seasons. Who among us will ever forget 2005 when home dnderdogs went just 29-47-4 (38 percent)? That season followed a pair of seasons in 2003 and 2004 when they lost nearly a combined 11 units.

The point is that while home underdogs generally present the “best value” relative to home favorites, road Favorites and road dogs, the home is not the panacea that it is commonly portrayed as being.

As in all sports it is imperative that the bettor be selective in making plays and rely not on just a single piece of information, but consider each game within the context of as many variables as one has at their disposal.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston have the Byes this week. Here’s a look at the 14 games that will be played.


Bucs +6½ at Vikings (41½): The Vikes have used a solid defense and a low risk offense to achieve its success. Tampa Bay has been stronger offensively this season than in the past. Their defense has been excellent against the run but porous against the pass. That contrast could be successful against a Vikings offense that is heavily geared towards the ground game. As this is an isolated NFL game on Thursday the line may well rise to a full TD. BUCS.


Rams +7 vs. Pats (47): London is the site for the NFL’s annual trek across the pond. The Patriots lead NFL in total offense and points scored, but the defense, though not as statistically weak as last season, remains a concern. The Rams are clearly getting better under HC Jeff Fisher with a much improved defense. As such the offense does not take many chances. We could well see a sloppily played game, especially if weather becomes a factor. UNDER.

Colts +3½ at Titans (46½): The Titans may have Jake Locker back at QB although veteran Matt Hasselbeck has filled in nicely. Indy rookie QB Andrew Luck continues to learn the ropes and quickly is becoming the team leader. It’s always dangerous laying points with weak teams, especially one that ranks last in points allowed. The Titans are allowing 34 per game. COLTS.

Jaguars +12½ at Packers (NT): Key injuries to Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew and QB Blaine Gabbert. Packers return home following a three game road trip that saw them win the last two as the offense regained its rhythm. The Packers need to make up ground in the very contentious NFC North and the 1-5 Jaguars are not a team capable of slowing down the Green Bay offense or trading points. PACKERS.

Chargers -3 at Browns (44½): The Chargers are off of their Bye and had the extra time to stew about blowing that 24-0 halftime lead at home to Denver the prior Monday night. The team, and the organization, was embarrassed by that effort. Cleveland is still a team seeking an identity with an already limited offense still plagued by injuries. CHARGERS.

Falcons +2 at Eagles (46½): The Eagles are off of their Bye during which their defensive coordinator was axed. But defense is not the problem! The Falcons are a much better team at home than they are on the road. This game is critical to Philly’s fortunes the rest of the way. A loss here and they can all but write off their playoff chances. EAGLES.

Seahawks + 3 at Lions (43): Seattle is the much better defensive team. Although they’ve historically struggled on the road, Seattle did win at Carolina and was competitive in their other 3 road games, all of which were at their division foes. SEAHAWKS.

Dolphins +2½ at Jets (40½): Miami is rested following a Bye and seek to avenge an earlier home overtime loss to the Jets. Interestingly, the Jets are favored at home by the same amount by which they were in Miami a month earlier. In the interim, the Jets have played by far the much tougher opposition. JETS.

Panthers +7½ at Bears (44½): The Bears are the much better defensive team, especially against the run. They led the league in fewest points allowed but, most impressively, have forced more than 3 turnovers per game. BEARS.

Redskins + 5 at Steelers (47½): The Steelers had their best rushing game of the season in Sunday’s win at Cincy. Pittsburgh has become more of a pass oriented team this season which augers well against a porous Washington defense. The Redskins are averaging over 400 ypg on offense which suggests this game could become a shootout. OVER.

Raiders +1½ at Chiefs (42½): The Chiefs are off a Bye and likely to have backup QB Brady Quinn start. Despite their shortcomings, KC does have an outstanding ground game and are statistically the better team. Their problem has been turnovers, an issue addressed during the Bye week. At the price, the Chiefs provide value laying less than a field goal. CHIEFS.

Giants (PK at Dallas (47½): History has shown it’s dangerous to go against the Giants on the road in an important game. At the same time this is a favorable spot for Dallas as this is a single home game sandwiched between a pair of back to back road games. All three games these teams have played at the new Cowboys Stadium have produced at least 64 total points. OVER.

Saints +6 at Broncos (54½): The Saints still have major issues on defense and that plays into the strength of Denver’s offense directed by Peyton Manning. Denver’s problems have stemmed from a largely impotent offense in the first half of games, only to be explosive in the fourth quarter. This is a favorable spot for the Broncos who played back to back road games prior to the Bye and have back to back road games on deck. BRONCOS.


49ers -6½ at Cards (37): Arizona has played 6 UNDERS and just 1 OVER this season while San Francisco is 5-2 to the UNDER. In fact, the 4 NFC West teams have played a combined 21 UNDERS and just 7 OVERS with all 4 division games staying UNDER and producing 36, 32, 20 and 19 total points. This is the lowest posted total of the season, but may not be low enough. UNDER.

Andy Iskoe and his Logical Approach is one of the most popular statistical breakdowns in sports betting. Andy is also a longtime baseball and football columnist at GT. Contact Andy at [email protected]

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About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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