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SLIPS: NFL Week 6 A Wild Ride for Sportsbooks – and Bettors

Josh Katzenstein for Bookies.com

Josh Katzenstein  | 8 mins

SLIPS: NFL Week 6 A Wild Ride for Sportsbooks – and 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 betting “slips” in the NFL and college football, including where the money went, the bad beats, amazing covers, stunning parlays and more.

Week 6 of the NFL slate started so well for bettors before a wild Sunday left many people scratching their heads.

The New England Patriots, one of the safest bets for nearly two decades, covered a sizable 17-point spread at home with a 35-14 win over the New York Giants. At SugarHouse , 80 percent of the point-spread tickets were on the Patriots, and Mattias Stetz, C.O.O. at Rush Street Interactive called it “a huge win for bettors everywhere” in a news release Friday.

The early Sunday game in London seemingly helped bettors, too, as the Carolina Panthers easily covered as 2-point favorites, winning 37-26 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. William Hill, where the line was Panthers -2.5, had 64% of point-spread tickets on Carolina.

CHECK OUT: Road Underdogs Show Teeth Again in NFL Week 6

Then, starting at noon Sunday, a rollercoaster day for betters and sportsbooks began, and the wild ride continued through the night game.

Underdogs went 8-3 against the spread, as well as 6-5 straight up, in the afternoon and night games. Straight up losses by the Chiefs -4.5, Cowboys -7 and Chargers -7 wrecked countless parlays and teasers.

“From a booking standpoint, I don’t think it could’ve been any better,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill, told Bookies.com. “Plenty of wild stuff, which is good.”

The Sunday slate also featured Miami’s first ATS win as the Dolphins +5 covered against Washington. The Jets covered for just the second time this season, winning outright against the Cowboys -7.

Where the NFL Bets Went

William Hill took the highest percentage of total tickets, 16%, on the Seahawks-Browns game, and the Seahawks winning and covering surely saved some bettors. SugarHouse saw significant change on that line, opening at Browns -2.5 before shifting to Seahawks -2. As of Friday, 92% of bettors were backing the Seahawks. At William Hill, the game was actually a pick’em, and 77% of point-spread tickets were on the Seahawks.

SLIPS: NFL Week 6 A Wild Ride for Sportsbooks – and Bettors 1

However, there were enough sharps on the Browns that the Seahawks win didn’t hurt William Hill much, Bogdanovich said.

Seahawks backers must have been nervous when the Browns took a 20-6 lead early in the second quarter and then another 28-25 lead with 9 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Seattle scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:30 remaining to win and cover. Despite the offseason hype, the Browns continue to be unreliable in real life and for gamblers.

The next four most popular point spreads at William Hill all saw the underdog win outright: Cowboys-Jets at 15%, 49ers-Rams and Saints-Jaguars at 12% and Texans-Chiefs at 9%. The Cowboys -7, at 83%, were the most-backed team on a point spread. The Jets welcomed back starting quarterback Sam Darnold after a bout with mononucleosis, and he led New York to a 24-22 home win, which included a 21-6 halftime lead that surely had Dallas backers second-guessing themselves.

More Money Pits

The 49ers – receiving little respect from sportsbooks and bettors despite a 4-0 start – had an easy 20-7 road win over the Rams. At William Hill, 54% of point-spread tickets took the 49ers +3. The Saints were also underrated going into the road game in Jacksonville, and 62% of tickets at William Hill were on New Orleans +2.5.

The Chiefs were a costly bet again this week, and they’ve failed to cover in three straight games – and lost two in a row straight up – after starting 3-0 ATS. William Hill saw 73% of spread bettors back the Chiefs -4, but the visiting Texans pulled off the upset with a 31-24 win.

A couple of less popular games proved to be money pits, too. The Falcons -3 had 79% of point spread tickets at William Hill, but the home Cardinals won 34-33 and secured the upset after Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant missed an extra point with 1:53 remaining in regulation.

The Titans were the preferred team in a road game agains the Broncos with 64% backing Tennessee +1.5, but Denver managed to win, 16-0, and cover as the favorite.

“There just wasn’t any bad games, which is very rare,” Bogdanovich said. “Usually, you have one of two that are very big decisions you have no chance in. There wasn’t a bad game yesterday. Solid day for the books.”

Disparity Between Sharps And Public

Six of the 11 afternoon and night games Sunday showed a disparity between the sharps and the public, according to the action at William Hill, and the sharps out-bet the public 3-2 in those games.

  • In the Bengals-Ravens game, 59% of point-spread tickets were on the Ravens -10.5, but 72% of the handle was on the road Bengals, who covered in a 23-17 loss. That’s a win for the sharps.The Saints-Jaguars game saw 62% of spread tickets on visiting New Orleans +2.5, but 72% of the money was on the Jaguars. The Saints won, 13-6, so that was a win for the public.
  • The Eagles +3.5 were slightly preferred with 51% of point-spread tickets, but 66% of the money came in on the home Vikings, who won handily 38-20. That’s another win for the sharps.In the NFC West battle, 54% of tickets had the 49ers +3, but 65% of the handle was on the hosting Rams. A 20-7 win by San Francisco made this a win for the public.
  • The final disparity at William Hill was on the Sunday night game. The Chargers -6 saw 65% of the point-spread tickets, but 69% of the money was on the visiting Steelers. Pittsburgh and third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges won the game, 24-17, to give the sharps another win.

Lock of the Day?

Pope Francis accidentally gave an NFL team a shout-out when he sent a tweet Sunday morning that included #Saints, which automatically added the New Orleans logo to the tweet. Surely, this made anyone backing the Saints feel much better while making Jaguars bettors nervous prior to New Orleans pulling off the road upset.

Florida Frustrates Bettors

No. 5 LSU opened as a 13.5-point favorite against No. 7 Florida, and anyone who jumped on the Tigers early had the bet pay off. Many sportsbooks saw the line settle at LSU -14, and the half-point shift was crucial for many bettors and books.

The game didn’t feature a lead of more than 7 points until LSU took a 42-28 lead with 5:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, and that Tigers touchdown came after LSU picked off Florida in the red zone. The Gators still had a chance to cover easily, but despite reaching the LSU 2 on their next drive, they failed to score, leaving their backers devastated.

“Florida was the right side,” Bogdanovich said. “All you got to do is look at the box score and the game. If you had Florida, it was a rough beat or push.”

At William Hill, where the line was still LSU -13.5 on Saturday, 57% of tickets and 67% of the handle were on the Tigers and the relatively high spread for a top-10 matchup.

Big Bets

William Hill took a $280,000 bet Sunday morning on the Browns in their pick’em against the Seahawks, helping the sportsbook have an even better day, according to Bogdanovich.“The public was all over Seattle with both hands, but we got bailed out,” he said. “We played lucky there.”

The same bettor had $280,000 on Jacksonville -2.5 and another $250,000 on the Jets +7. At least the Jets saved the bettor a bit.

One fortunate bettor hit one a 10-leg parlay this weekend at DraftKings. His combination of spreads and moneylines included the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS, Penn State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, USC +11, Kentucky, Florida +15.5, the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins -1.5.

The $100 parlay paid out $14,476.02. The bettor with surely be the happiest person in his or her office on Monday.

Odds & Trends

  • The underdog has now won five of the last six Sunday Night Football games after the Steelers upset the Chargers.
  • The Jets ended a streak of seven straight home losses by beating the Cowboys on Sunday.
  • The Broncos also stopped an ugly streak as they had failed to cover in their previous eight games as a home favorite.
  • The Rams had won nine straight NFC West matchups when favored to win before their loss to the 49ers.
  • The over has hit in seven straight games when Arizona plays an NFC South opponent. The total against Atlanta opened at 47, moved up to 52.5 and still hit easily as the Cardinals won, 34-33.
  • Miami covered the spread for the first time after seven straight ATS losses.
  • Baltimore has now failed to cover in seven straight divisional games.
  • The Saints have won nine games in a row against AFC opponents, and they’ve covered in 10 straight October games.
  • The Seahawks have won six straight games against the AFC North.

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.