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SLIPS: Colts Pull Off Biggest Upset Of 2019, Packers Pay Off

Josh Katzenstein for Bookies.com

Josh Katzenstein  | 7 mins

SLIPS: Colts Pull Off Biggest Upset Of 2019, Packers Pay Off

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For the second straight week, an undefeated team fell on “Sunday Night Football.”

The Kansas City Chiefs (-11) had the worst performance of the Patrick Mahomes era on Sunday as they lost to the Indianapolis Colts 19-13 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Bettors at William Hill loved the Chiefs with 74% backing them on the point spread, making them the fourth-most backed team of the week. However, the Colts, fresh off an ugly home loss to the Raiders in Week 4, managed to complete the biggest upset of the NFL season thus far.

The two big upsets Sunday, the Colts and the Oakland Raiders (+6) over the Chicago Bears, were huge for the bookmakers.

“It really carried the day for us,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill, adding the Colts and Raiders killed a lot of parlays and teasers.

This is a banner win for the Colts, who improve to 3-2 to remain tied for first place in the AFC South with the Houston Texans. Remember, when Andrew Luck retired in August, bookmakers made serious adjustments to Indy’s odds. At FanDuel, the Colts were +110 to win the division before dropping to 7-to-1 after Luck’s retirement. To win the AFC, the Colts shifted from +700 to +3200, and to win the Super Bowl, the odds ballooned from +1500 to +6000.

Five games into the season, anyone who jumped on the inflated odds should feel confident about the Colts, even after some likely disappointment following their loss to the Raiders in Week 4. Indianapolis might not be the class of the AFC, a title still firmly held by the New England Patriots, but a road win over the Chiefs is a sign the Colts are poised to be legitimate contenders. Obviously, this team is much better all-around than the Colts of 2017, who went 4-12 as Luck missed the entire season.

Mahomes was hobbled by an ankle injury a bit in the game, but it’s worth noting how the Colts defense limited the reigning MVP. This was the first time in 22 career starts that Mahomes and the Chiefs failed to score at least 26 points. Mahomes finished the game just 22-of-39 for 321 yards and one touchdown.

This was just the fifth time in his career he failed to throw multiple touchdowns, and it’s happened in back-to-back games as he didn’t throw a touchdown against the Lions in Week 4. This was also Mahomes’ second-least accurate game ever as he completed just 56.4% of his passes, better only than his second start ever in Week 1 of 2018.

The Colts’ big win comes just days after DraftKings opened its doors in Indiana.

Packers Crush Cowboys, Sportsbooks

The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys both entered Week 5 at 3-1, but it was hard to compare the two ahead of the matchup in Big D.

The Packers initially looked like an elite team with a much-improved defense in its first three games, but a 34-27 home loss to the Eagles showed Green Bay has some flaws. Meanwhile, the Cowboys feasted on an easy opening schedule against the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins before a road loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 4 provided a wake-up call.

Bettors favored the Packers in this matchup. At William Hill, 55% of point spread tickets and 67% of dollars wagered were on Green Bay +3.5, and clearly, the bettors got this right as the Packers dominated in a 34-24. Anyone backing the Packers must have felt confident the whole game as Green Bay led 14-0 in the first quarter, 17-0 at halftime and 24-0 early in the third quarter.

Green Bay has now won five straight games when they’re underdogs against the Cowboys, and the road team has covered the spread in six of the last seven games between the two teams.

NFL Underdogs, Favorites Even Out

There was sure to be some second-guessing among bettors in Week 5 after the favorites went just 5-10 in Week 4, but anyone who went chalk this week had slightly better results as the favorites went 6-6-1 on Sunday.

Of course, the Raiders upsetting the Bears, 24-21, in London was costly for bettors. At William Hill, 80% of point spread tickets had the Bears covering, and it was the most popular game of the weekend with 14% of total tickets from the slate.

Bogdanovich said books could start to treat the Raiders differently now that they’re 3-2 and have seemingly moved past the Antonio Brown drama that plagued them in the preseason.

“You got to give them some respect,” Bogdanovich said of Oakland.

Still, the books lose whenever the big favorites cover, and the New England Patriots -16.5 was the pick on 88% of point-spread tickets. The Patriots had a sluggish start, but covered easily with a 33-7 win over Washington.

The Philadelphia Eagles covering -14 against the New York Jets hurt the books a bit, too. William Hill had 57% of point spread tickets backing the Eagles. The Vikings -5.5 against the Giants also made the public some money. William Hill took 66% of point spread tickets and 81% of dollars wagered on Minnesota, which easily beat the Giants 28-10 on the road.

In addition to the Packers, the Arizona Cardinals were a popular underdog pick that hit Sunday. In a battle of winless teams, the home Cincinnati Bengals were 3-point favorites, but 78% of point-spread tickets at William Hill were on the Cardinals, who hit a field goal as time expired to win 26-23.

8-Leg NFL Parlay Comes Through

DraftKings reports one bettor score an eight-leg parlay. The $20 bet won more than $5,700. The lucky bettor had the Eagles -15.5, the Raiders +12, the Panthers -3.5, the Colts +12.5, the Saints -5.5, the Vikings -8, the Texans -4.5 and the Cardinals -2.5.

Costly College Line Shift

SLIPS: Colts Pull Off Biggest Upset Of 2019, Packers Pay Off 1

Texas opened -11.5 in its road game against West Virginia on Saturday. The line shifted down to 10.5, and the difference was crucial for some bettors.

For anyone backing the Mountaineers +11.5, West Virginia pulled off the backdoor cover by scoring a touchdown with 48 seconds left to make the final score 42-31 Texas. That last-minute touchdown wouldn’t have been enough for late bettors who had West Virginia +10.5.

Most of the money, of course, was on the Longhorns with 63% of point spread tickets at William Hill taking Texas. Timing is everything.

Odds & Trends

  • The Atlanta Falcons have now failed to cover the spread in 14 straight games against the AFC after a 53-32 loss to the Houston Texans.
  • The Vikings have won 10 straight day games after losing the week prior, and the under has hit in six straight road games.
  • With the Buffalo Bills beating the Tennessee Titans, the underdog has won five straight games in this matchup.
  • The New Orleans Saints -3 covering against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended a streak of six games in which the Saints failed to cover when favored.
  • The Carolina Panthers -3 ended an ugly streak with their 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Entering the game, the Panthers had lost five in a row when favored to win.
  • The Denver Broncos have now covered in seven of their last nine road games against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos won 20-13, easily covering +5.5 and paying off for those +190 moneyline bettors.

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About the Author

Josh Katzenstein for Bookies.com
Josh Katzenstein
Josh Katzenstein is a former NFL beat writer. He spent the past three years covering the New Orleans Saints for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. His work can also be found at Bleacher Report.