There are no dominant teams in the NFL this season, and that’s perfectly fine with sportsbooks.
“As a bookmaker, parity is our friend, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the NFL now,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “It’s very unpredictable.”
In the first seven weeks of the season, there were only two outright upsets by underdogs of seven points or more as bettors held their own against the books, compiling a rare three-week winning streak.
But during the past four weeks, there have been nine such upsets as underdogs and the books have cleaned up.
“If the Steelers cover tonight, it’ll be our best day of the season,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said before Pittsburgh played the Chargers on “Sunday Night Football.”
Money was on Los Angeles (-6½) by a 10-1 margin at BetMGM. The Steelers trailed by 14 in the fourth quarter before rallying for a cover in a wild 41-37 shootout loss.
Underdogs went 7-6 ATS with five outright upsets Sunday as Tennessee and Buffalo, the AFC’s top two playoff seeds entering Week 11, each suffered stunning losses.
In the day’s biggest upset, the Houston Texans beat the Titans 22-13 as 10-point underdogs and +375 on the money line.
“We’re not only seeing parity with the top teams, we’re also seeing that with the bottom teams,” Kornegay said. “Some of the bad teams have stepped up here and there and won some key games for us.”
In another shocker, the Indianapolis Colts crushed the Bills 41-15 in Buffalo as 7-point ’dogs and +250 on the money line.
Jonathan Taylor scored five touchdowns for the Colts, who delivered one of the biggest wins for the books.
“The Colts look like a scary-good team because they can run so well,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Buffalo didn’t just lose that game. They got the you know what kicked out of them at home.
“I clearly don’t look at Buffalo as one of the top teams in the AFC right now.”
Chiefs in charge
The Chiefs are suddenly playing like one of the NFL’s top teams again after winning their fourth straight in a 19-9 victory over the Cowboys as 2½-point favorites.
Kansas City covered its second game in a row for the betting public, but books won on the total as it stayed way under 56½.
“It’s amazing how, three weeks ago, the Chiefs were in last place in the AFC West, and now they look like they’re the best team in the league,” Esposito said. “Whatever team is healthy and gets hot at the right time is going to be the scary team.”
In two big losses for bettors, the Vikings (+1½) outlasted the Packers 34-31, and the Cardinals (+4½) beat the Seahawks 23-13.
Arizona opened -2½ before the line flipped with the news that quarterback Kyler Murray would miss the game and be replaced by Colt McCoy. Money poured in on Seattle, but the Cardinals never trailed in giving BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook their biggest win of the day.
“We had huge sweats on the Seahawks,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “Almost $1 million in stakes off of one customer who bet +2½ and the money line early in the week, then came in for $520,000 at -2½.”
The Ravens dropped from -5 to -1½ over the Bears on Sunday after QB Lamar Jackson was a late scratch with an illness. Baltimore rallied for a 16-13 win and covered the closing line.
But an unfortunate BetMGM bettor lost a $357,500 wager placed Friday on the Ravens -4½.
The Raiders burned their backers for the third straight week in a 32-13 loss to the Bengals as 2-point home underdogs. Bettors also lost big on the total, which stayed under 51 despite the teams combining for 26 points in the fourth quarter.
“It didn’t take long for the local fans to jump off the wagon, as we actually needed the Raiders,” Kornegay said. “That was one of our biggest losers. I didn’t think in such a short span people would start playing against the Raiders.
“They’re really struggling offensively.”