NFL betting numbers miss their mark
The NFL season has not gone the way that most people expected. At least that’s what the betting numbers say.
Three of the four teams that advanced to last year’s championship games are a combined 8-14 against the spread (40%). Meanwhile, the four odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl on September 6 — the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers — are 11-15-1 ATS, and Buffalo is the only one above .500.
one of the wildest seasons in recent history
There have been truly unpredictable results throughout the season. Whether it be Geno Smith entering the MVP fray, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady all looking ready for retirement, or the New York Jets challenging for the AFC East title, this has truly been one of the wildest seasons in recent history. And the madness has only just begun.
The wackiest result of the weekend was undoubtedly the 13-point underdog Carolina Panthers defeating the visiting Bucs 21-3. It was also just Brady’s ninth loss as a double-digit favorite in 22 professional seasons.
According to PointsBet, 96% of the money wagered on the Panthers-Buccaneers game came in favor of Tampa Bay. A sportsbook director for BetMGM also told the Vegas Sports and Information Network that only five bets were placed on the Panthers at +13.
one of the biggest parlay-killers of the season”
“With games like these, many [bettors] use it to fill their Sunday parlays as a banker pick, so this went down as one of the biggest parlay-killers of the season,” Kevin Lawler, head of trading for PointsBet, told ESPN.
Brady finished the game 32-49 with 290 yards, but was unable to crack the end zone. Carolina fill-in QB P.J. Walker tossed 177 yards and two touchdowns as new starting running back D’Onta Foreman rumbled for 118 yards.
Meanwhile, Brady’s compatriot in Green Bay is also struggling. That man is, of course, Aaron Rodgers, and he lost to the lowly Washington Commanders Sunday despite entering as favorites. The Packers have now lost three straight and are 3-4 on the year.
The Packers and Buccaneers were Vegas’ favorites to match up in the NFC Championship game this season. However, their Super Bowl odds have moved from +1100 and +725 to +2800 and +1800, respectively.
In a season of surprises, the only constant has been unpredictability. That rule extends beyond the blue-blood franchises, too.
At the time of writing, 13 teams in the NFL are above .500. Of those, six were absent from last year’s playoffs.
The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and Jets had a combined winning percentage of 33.8%. This season, that number has improved to 74.1%.
The effects have also been felt in spread betting, where 57.3% of underdogs have covered thus far, according to Covers. Even stranger, away dogs are more successful than home dogs, despite the lack of home-field advantage.
The over/under market has also produced lopsided results, with the under hitting nearly 60% of the time.
So, what can explain all of the problems that sports gamblers are facing?
regular contenders are playing poorly
Perhaps the biggest reason for the resounding failure in the market is the public’s tendency to rely on reputation. Many of the teams that have been around for a while and are regular contenders are playing poorly.
Another possible explanation is that the league is in a stage of transition from a player perspective. Only two of the top eight MVP candidates have won the award before, and the two that have (Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes) are 26 years old on average.
Whatever the explanation, beware of the next batch of potentially devastating odds. Lines for Week eight are already out, and three teams are listed as 10.5-point underdogs: the Chicago Bears at the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Packers at the Bills.
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