SLIPS: Bad Teams Win in NFL Week 13 But Chiefs Buck Trend
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Veteran sports reporter Josh Katzenstein, who has covered both the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints, takes a deep dive into the weekend’s NFL betting slips, including where the money went, the bad beats, amazing covers, stunning parlays and more.
Week 13 produced some of the most head-scratching results of any week thus far in the 2019 NFL season.
Cincinnati, Miami and Washington — probably the three worst teams in the league — all won outright and headlined an NFL betting Sunday in which underdogs went 7-5 against the spread and won six of those seven games outright.
However, it’s hard to see any of these underdogs being truly reliable for bettors during the final four weeks of the season. The main thing bettors should take away from Sunday is that the Kansas City Chiefs are back.
RT if your team 40-pieced their rival yesterday ?♂ pic.twitter.com/zVWLbMDWaC— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 2, 2019
Sure, the Oakland Raiders aren’t an elite opponent, but with a 40-9 win in Oakland the Chiefs finally looked like the team from 2018 that provided consistent value for bettors.
Injuries to Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill made the Chiefs hard to trust for much of the season, but Kansas City should be easy money in the final quarter of the regular season. Unfortunately, despite my conviction, I would recommend staying away from the Chiefs in Week 14 when they play the New England Patriots as 3-point underdogs, but I do think the Chiefs could win because the Patriots showed some flaws in Sunday’s stunning loss to the Houston Texans.
Looking ahead, though, the Chiefs face the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers in the last three weeks of the season, and I would feel confident betting Kansas City in those games regardless of the spread.
The Chiefs have already covered easily this year against the Broncos, winning 30-6 despite Mahomes exiting with an injury. They also covered against the Chargers in Mexico City in Week 11 with a 24-17 victory in which Mahomes had the second-least efficient game of his young career with a 72.7 passer rating.
Mahomes has not been the MVP-caliber player we saw in 2018, but the Chiefs still won by 31 with the quarterback completing just 15 of 29 passes. Kansas City has enough offensive talent to thrive even when he has an off day and if Mahomes plays as he’s capable, this is going to be an extremely difficult team to beat.
I don’t think bettors should read into the Chiefs’ recent defensive resurgence too much because the Raiders and Chargers are unreliable on offense. But bettors should still be a bit more confident knowing the Kansas City defense is capable of playing well in consecutive weeks.
The Chiefs were favored by 11 against the Raiders and that was the right number for books to get action on both sides. At William Hill, just 53% of spread tickets were on the Chiefs, but 72% of the handle was on the Chiefs, a sign that sharps saw value with Kansas City. Still, it wasn’t a particularly popular game for bettors as it accounted for just 7% of the tickets and 6% of the money bet on Sunday at William Hill.
The Chiefs are 7-5 ATS in 2019 and they hadn’t looked like last year’s offensive powerhouse in months. Sunday’s game was just the second time in 2019 they had 35-plus points, a mark they hit 10 times in 2018.
Moving forward, I expect the Chiefs to be an NFL consensus betting favorite and even if the public loves them, I would still bet them. Remember, Kansas City started the 2018 season covering seven straight games. They’re on a two-game cover streak, and even if the Patriots end that Sunday, the Chiefs should be easy money the last three weeks of the season.
Believe in the Buffalo Bills
I would never claim to be right all the time, but I hope some readers benefitted from my column last week about how the Buffalo Bills had been disrespected by books and bettors much of the season.
Buffalo +6.5 at the Dallas Cowboys was an absurd line, and anyone who had watched either team in the past few weeks should have seen the Bills as an easy bet.
I wouldn’t trust the Bills as much this week against the Baltimore Ravens, who are favored by 5.5 points in Buffalo, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills cover or win.
Sharps vs. Squares
Two games in Week 13 featured professional bettors clearly favoring a different team than the public, according to William Hill’s data.
In Titans at Colts, squares preferred Indianapolis +1 with 56% of the total spread tickets on the Colts, but the sharps were all over Tennessee with 72% of the total dollars on the Titans. The pros nailed this one as Tennessee won easily on the road, 31-17.
There was also a disparity in Rams at Cardinals, but the public was on the right side — though the game didn’t move the needle much for the book. William Hill had 52% of tickets on Rams -3 while 57% of the handle was on Arizona. The Rams dominated, 34-7.
It looks like sharps were somewhat wise to the Bengals, too. While 86% of spread tickets were on Jets -3, just 66% of the money bet was on New York, meaning some of the pros backed Cincinnati.
- DraftKings took a massive $565,000 bet on the Texans +4 in New Jersey. With the juice at -125, the bet paid $452,000 as Houston crushed New England on Sunday night.
- A FanDuel bettor picked all 12 winners Sunday on a moneyline parlay to run $1 into more than $10,000.
- Former Colts punter Pat McAfee tweeted that he hit a six-team parlay at FanDuel to turn $100 into more than $5,000. Among the legs were the moneyline for the Bengals and Dolphins, which is simply stunning.
- A bettor at DraftKings had faith in the Dolphins and Bengals, too. The book tweeted a $5 four-team parlay that hit for nearly $2,900 thanks to the moneyline on Cincinnati, Miami, Washington and Pittsburgh.
One customer picked the winners of all twelve NFL games yesterday to turn a $1 parlay into $10,128 ?— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 2, 2019
✅ Chiefs ML
✅ Dolphins ML
✅ Ravens ML
✅ Buccaneers ML
✅ Titans ML
✅ Redskins ML
✅ Rams ML
✅ Broncos ML
✅ Texans ML
✅ Packers ML
✅ Bengals ML
✅ Steelers ML pic.twitter.com/LgI4eUNoh2