- Favorites go 9-6 ATS in Week 14 with Unders going 11-4.
- Four underdogs pulled the outright upset in Week 14.
- Baltimore covered the Monday Night Game in bizarre fashion as a -3 point favorite.
Although it didn’t seem like it would be possible at various points this season, the NFL has now completed Week 14 and one way or another should get the entire 2020 regular season in the books. With the COVID-19 pandemic intensifying throughout the country the playoffs will be another challenge but if they’ve been able to get this far you have to think that Roger Goodell and associates will find a way to make it work.
In a year where defenses have struggled playing in empty stadiums without *real* crowd noise it was a big week for low scores in Week 14. 10 of the 14 games on Sunday’s NFL betting card went ‘Under’ the total. Thursday’s game also went ‘Under’ putting the tally heading into Monday night at 11 of 15 games failing to exceed the total. In actuality, the Under heavy result might have more to do with inept offenses than suffocating defenses. The ‘Under-fest’ was bolstered by inept offense showings from New England (3 points), Houston (7 points), Cincinnati (7 points), the NY Giants (7 points) and the NY Jets (3 points).
When one side doesn’t put any points on the board it also leads to pointspread favorites covering. For Week 14, favorites go 9-6 with a crazy finish producing a chalk ATS win on Monday night. More about that in a moment. Not every inept offensive performance helped the favorite–the Chicago Bears routed the Houston Texans 36-7 pulling the outright upset as a +1 home underdog. The Bears were one of four underdogs to pull the outright upset in Week 14 along with Philadelphia over New Orleans, Denver over Carolina and Washington over San Francisco.
POINTSPREAD HIJINKS ABOUND
If you want to enjoy consistent success betting the National Football League you *have* to be a contrarian. This isn’t optional. Going against the public is good in every betting sport but in pro football it’s essential. This week’s lesson–the Kansas City/Miami game. The public loves the Chiefs and with good reason–they’ve won 8 straight games and are 12-1 on the year including a perfect 7-0 record away from home. At the same time, they’re mired in a five game losing streak against the spread. The more wins they rack up, the more people jump on their bandwagon which leads to more people laying the points with KC. Our friendly neighborhood bookmakers knows this which is why when he posts a number on a Chiefs game he makes KC backers ‘pay a premium’ in terms of line value. We call that ‘shading’ the line. Conversely, if you play against the public in this situation you put this ‘shading the line’ concept to work in your favor.
The Chiefs led 30-10 heading into the fourth quarter but the Dolphins went to work in ‘garbage time’. The scored a touchdown early in the quarter to cut it to 30-17 and cut it to 6 with another TD with 4:15 remaining. This clearly left KC backers fearing the worst but a 46 yard Harrison Butker field goal with 1:08 remaining calmed their nerves. Or it did until Jason Sanders kicked a 44 yard field goal with 0:16 left on the clock. The Chiefs recovered the onside kick and easily ran off the remaining time to win by 6 giving the Dolphins the ATS cover as a +7 underdog. Todd Dewey at the Las Vegas Review-Journal has a good recap of the game from a betting perspective as well as comments from local bookmakers if you need some additional postmortem:
CHIEFS’ BETTORS BURNED, BOOKS BAILED OUT BY DOLPHINS’ BACKDOOR COVER (LVRJ)
Week 14 ended with more pointspread hijinks. Baltimore got a crazy cover as a -3 point road favorite. Justin Tucker kicked a 55 yard field goal with 2 seconds left to give the Ravens a 45-42 edge and giving bettors what look for the world like a ATS push. But not so fast….here’s how Jim Barnes at the Las Vegas Review Journal described what happened next:
The Browns had one snap, and they attempted the now-familiar lateral play, with players pitching the ball backward to a teammate when they are about to be tackled in hopes that someone will eventually spring free and run for a TD. But the Browns were only moving backward on their attempt, and an errant pass ended up in the end zone.
Browns receiver Jarvis Landry grabbed the ball, but he was forced out of the back of the end zone for a safety to turn all the pushed bets into winners or losers.
As so often happens, many sharp bettors were already sitting pretty. The Ravens got a ton of sharp support pushing the line from an opener of -1 or PK to the closing price. Here’s the line history from the Westgate in Las Vegas:
And from Circa Sports:
When I first started sports betting seriously one of the things that the OG’s pounded into my consciousness was the importance of getting good numbers. I can’t count how many times I was told “it’s not enough to beat the game…you also have to beat the number”. I also can’t tell you how important it is to learn this. Getting the best number is doubly important in the NFL. If you found yourself on the wrong side of this one don’t whine about a ‘bad beat’–take it as an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson that will make you a sharper and more successful sports bettor.