Arizona entered Sunday tied for the NFL’s best record and was the second-biggest favorite on the board at Detroit, which had the league’s worst mark.
But during a week marked by major line moves and three games postponed because of COVID-19, nothing went according to plan.
The Lions, who closed as 13-point home underdogs and +550 on the money line, dominated the Cardinals in a stunning 30-12 victory.
The upset doubled as a major win for Las Vegas sportsbooks, which had a big winning day as underdogs went 6-4 ATS with four outright wins.
“One of the key games was clearly having the Lions winning outright against the Cardinals,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “That just destroyed most teasers, parlays and money line parlays.
“I didn’t think the Cardinals were as good as the Cowboys, Rams, Buccaneers or Packers. I still had them as my fifth-best team in the NFC.”
Arizona (10-4) lost for the fourth time in seven games following a 7-0 start.
Jared Goff outplayed Kyler Murray, throwing three touchdown passes and no interceptions, as Detroit improved to 2-12-1 overall and 9-5 ATS.
“Someone said the Lions might be the best two-win team ever,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said.
New Orleans, another double-digit underdog at +11½ and +450 on the money line, capped the day with a shocking 9-0 shutout of Tampa Bay — the NFL’s highest-scoring team — on “Sunday Night Football.”
“There are so many question marks all over the place,” Esposito said. “But the Packers are clearly on top in the NFC, and the Chiefs are on top in the AFC.”
Other big winners for the books were the Jets (+10), who covered in a 31-24 loss to the Dolphins, and the Ravens (+9), who covered in a 31-30 loss to the Packers.
Ravens rally for cover
The line on Green Bay soared when Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson was ruled out. But backup Tyler Huntley accomplished a feat Jackson hasn’t in throwing for two TDs and rushing for two TDs to rally the Ravens from a late 31-17 deficit.
Baltimore went for two and the win after Huntley’s 8-yard TD run with 42 seconds left. But his conversion pass fell incomplete.
“We had sharp money come in laying 5½ Thursday, and it got as high as 9½,” Westgate SuperBook director John Murray said. “The public was all laying Green Bay. It would’ve been huge for us if Baltimore won. But covering was a good result.
“Huntley looked pretty good to me. He makes people miss. He can throw. He can run.”
Bettors loaded up on the Jaguars when coach Urban Meyer was fired and the line shot up from -3½ over the Texans to -6. But Houston had no problems in a 30-16 win.
In the other outright upset, the Bengals (+3) beat the Broncos 15-10.
The betting public sweated out winners on two popular favorites in the Bills and Cowboys. Buffalo (-14½) was up 10 on Carolina facing a fourth-and-2 at the Panthers’ 14 with 2:07 left when Josh Allen threw a 14-yard TD pass to Gabriel Davis for a 31-14 lead.
Cam Newton then drove Carolina into Bills territory before completing a perfect pass to the opponent to seal Buffalo’s win and cover.
The Cowboys (-11½) led the Giants 21-6 in the final minutes when New York third-string QB Jake Fromm threatened to deliver a backdoor cover, driving to the Dallas’ 9-yard line. But after four straight incompletions, Cowboys bettors could cash their tickets.
A BetMGM bettor lost a $330,000 straight bet on the Giants (+11½) and a $550,000 straight bet on the Falcons (+9), who lost 31-13 to the 49ers.
Atlanta turned the ball over on downs three times inside the San Francisco 10-yard line, twice at the 1.
Only 16 entries are still alive in their quest for the $6 million prize in the Circa Survivor contest. Of the 23 that started the week, five were eliminated by the Cardinals, one by the Jaguars and one by the Buccaneers. One entry selected the Vikings over the Bears on “Monday Night Football.”