SLIPS: Bills Lone Constant in Wild NFL Week 15 For Bettors
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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.
Bettors had a great week on paper in the Week 15 NFL slate, but anyone relying on the late afternoon games likely had a rough day.
Amazingly, NFL betting favorites went 6-1-1 in the 1 p.m. games. The Patriots -10.5, Buccaneers -6 and Eagles -6.5 were the biggest decisions for bettors at William Hill, and the Packers were a significant win for bettors at Draft Kings.
At night, the Bills +1 winning outright was a win for bettors, too, as Buffalo clinched a playoff berth and improved to 6-0-1 against the spread as a road team in 2019.
Havoc struck in the late afternoon games, however, as favorites went 1-4, headlined by the 49ers -10.5 losing outright to the Falcons. William Hill didn’t see a huge decision on the spread with 61% of tickets on San Francisco and 65% of the handle on Atlanta, but any double-digit upset tends to ruin moneyline parlays and teasers for bettors.
“We lost every early game, but we won the late games to pull us out,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill. “All in all, it was fine."
Among the other favorites to fall were the Raiders -6.5, who lost their final home game in Oakland to the Jaguars. The Raiders were a hot play for bettors as William Hill had 87% of tickets and 88% of the handle on Oakland.
The Rams -1 losing in Dallas was another decisive win for the books as William Hill saw 83% of tickets and 86% of the handle on Los Angeles. Draft Kings took 71% of tickets and 77% of the handle on the Rams, too.
Timing was everything for bettors on Sunday as the time slot for games, line movements throughout the week and wild endings all swung the action significantly.
“It is weird,” Bogdanovich said of the day. “You hope you just win a few in the morning, lose a few in the afternoon, you win a few late, you lose a few late, and you grind out a little piece. You don't want to be on the roller coaster, and if you're on the roller coaster, you’d much rather win every early game and then lose every late game.
“Because when you lose every early game, there is so much potential for disaster out there with (parlays and teasers). It was fine the way it shook out, but for an anxiety level or a heart, the opposite would have been better. All is well that ends well, I guess.”
The push in the early afternoon slate was Seahawks -6 at Carolina, but anyone who jumped on the opening line of Seattle -4.5 scored a win while some late bettors saw the line move as high as Seattle -6.5, which would’ve marked a loss for Seahawks backers.
NFL Week 15 Wild Finishes
Sunday’s games featured plenty of examples that show why gamblers have a love-hate relationship with sports.
The Eagles pulled off one of the craziest covers of the season on Sunday. Washington took a 27-24 lead with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, so any Philadelphia -6.5 backers had little hope as a touchdown wouldn’t cover and a field goal would lead to overtime in which the rules make it impossible to cover that spread.
Somehow, the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final minute to win 37-27 and cover. It started with a go-ahead passing touchdown with 26 seconds remaining. Then, on Washington’s desperation drive, quarterback Dwayne Haskins lost a fumble, and Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham returned it for a 46-yard touchdown as time expired.
Philadelphia’s cover was so bizarre that PointsBet in New Jersey issued a “Good Karma Payout” to Washington bettors, giving back five figures worth of bets to hundreds of bettors.
Philly bettors everywhere right now 😂 pic.twitter.com/RYrTyWgbZE— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 15, 2019
In the late slate, the Falcons scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead touchdown with 2 seconds remaining and a fumble recovery in the end zone as time expired, in the 29-22 upset win over the 49ers.
San Francisco didn’t cover the 10-point spread at any point in the game, peaking at a 9-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but plenty of bettors would have been happy to see the 49ers at least sneak out a win on the moneyline.
Bogdanovich said the Falcons have been “a bookmaker’s friend” this season thanks to two wins as double-digit underdogs on the road, including over the Saints in Week 10.
The Jaguars had a stunning win, too, as they scored 14 points in the final 6 minutes, including a go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds remaining, to notch a 20-16 upset win over the Raiders.
Kansas City Chiefs Stay Hot
Kansas City covered its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, but for some reason, bettors didn’t prefer the Chiefs -9.5 at home against the Broncos. William Hill took 53% of tickets and 72% of the handle on Denver as the Broncos’ 38-24 Week 14 win in Houston surely boosted bettor confidence.
“They were coming off a great game. (Drew) Lock has played well. The weather was an issue. (Patrick) Mahomes’ hand was an issue,” Bogdanovich said. “So there were a lot of things the sharps liked in that game, but the bottom line is K.C. at home with a halfway healthy Mahomes is much better.”
Two weeks ago I noted the Chiefs were heating up, and they should stay hot next Sunday night in Chicago.
Sharps Vs. Squares
The percentage of spread tickets and handle were on the same side for all but one game Sunday at William Hill. The only game where the public and pros clearly differed was the 49ers-Falcons game as 61% of tickets were on San Francisco -10.5 while 65% of the handle was on Atlanta, representing a win for the sharps.
There was also a clear disparity in the Chiefs game as noted above with 53% of tickets and 72% of the handle on Denver, but the sharps were wrong on that one.
Some sharps were keen on the Cardinals +3, too, as William Hill had 70% of tickets on the Browns but just 58% of the handle.
- A bettor at Draft Kings hit a monster 12-leg parlay to turn $5 into nearly $6,000. The legs were Texans +3, Buccaneers -5, Chiefs -10, Giants -3, Patriots -10.5, Cardinals +3, Vikings -1.5, Panthers +6 (push), Jaguars +6.5, Packers -4, Eagles -6.5 and Cowboys +1.
- Draft Kings also took a $2 bet on Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman to score three touchdowns, which paid $502.
- A winner at PointsBet secured $28,560 thanks to a $70,000 moneyline parlay on the Chiefs -525 and Patriots -525.
- Bogdanovich said one bettor had more than a handful of bets for $50,000 or more in Las Vegas on Sunday. The two biggest bets were $110,000 on Green Bay first half -3, which gave the bettor a $100,000 win, but the same person had $115,000 on the Steelers moneyline, which was a loss.
- A bettor at South Point in Las Vegas won $50,000 on an Eagles -6.5 bet.
Yesterday was a good day for this bettor...— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) December 16, 2019
$5 ➡ $5,942.48 🤑
✅ Texans +3
✅ Buccaneers -5
✅ Chiefs -10
✅ Giants -3
✅ Patriots -10.5
✅ Cardinals +3
✅ Vikings -1.5
↔ Panthers +6 (push)
✅ Jaguars +6.5
✅ Packers -4
✅ Eagles -6.5
✅ Cowboys +1#MakeItReign pic.twitter.com/OetU7XMZa6
Never In Doubt https://t.co/rvneaOo3ZV— Bookies.com (@bookies) December 15, 2019