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NFL 2023 Midseason Betting Recap: "Unders" Go Over The Top

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 10 mins

NFL 2023 Midseason Betting Recap: "Unders" Go Over The Top

The NFL betting regular-season has reached its halfway point. 

And “unders” have gone way over the top. 

Through 136 games and nine weeks, the under on the projected points total is 83-52-1 (61.0%) this season, according to the traders at Caesars Sportsbook. If you did nothing but wager $100 at -110 on the under in each NFL game thus far this season, you’d be up $2344.70 

Not a bad payday considering the unpredictability of the NFL and the overall success the books have enjoyed against the public this season. 

In Week 9, the unders continued their run of success across NFL betting apps, hitting in 11 of 14 games, including the Chargers 26-7 win over the Jets. 

The projected totals have been adjusted. 

Still, the unders are all but unstoppable.

In Week 9, the under hit in five games with a total below 40 points: Giants-Raiders (38.5); Cardinals-Browns (38 points); Rams-Packers (37.5), Steelers-Titans (37), and Jets-Chargers (39.5). 

'It's Been Crazy'

NFL 2023 Midseason Betting Recap: "Unders" Go Over The Top 1

Just 7 of the NFL's 32 teams are over .500 when it comes to going above the points total. Four are .500. The rest have been underwater in hitting the over.

“Just a run of unders this year. It’s been crazy,” Caesars VP of Trading Craig Mucklow said Sunday night. “It's not like we've hit November and all the weather's come up. There's been a couple of weather games, (but) no real major rule change that you think makes a difference. The defenses are playing well.”

The drop in offense has been a subject of considerable speculation throughout the NFL Metaverse. And it has impacted the betting world in a big way. 

“I'm at a loss. That's something that we have to keep our eyes up for, not only in football, but every sport. There haven’t been rule changes are the reason, but sometimes it just happens like that. Some of these, the quarterbacks, they're having a little bit of off years. But they're still producing wins,” added Caesars VP of Trading Adam Pullen

Mucklow and Pullen spoke exclusively to bookies.com Sunday night about the season-long NFL betting trends. 

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Top AFC Teams Dominate On The Under

Look no further than the AFC No. 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Taylor Swift are 7-2 straight up, 6-3 against the spread, but 2-7 on the over. 

If the season ended today, all four AFC North teams would make the playoffs. But not a single team in the division is over .500 above the total. And the division as a whole is a whopping 22-11 (.666) on the under.

“Maybe the defenses have figured things out,” Pullen said. “It’s just one thing we always have to be mindful of. It’s not like the public's always blindly betting the under.”  

The run on unders is industry-wide. 

“Bad QB play, a lot of backups, is a factor in the unders hitting,” BetMGM's John Ewing told bookies.com Sunday night. 

Oddsmaker and DraftKings Director of Race and Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello began writing tickets in Las Vegas nearly 40 years ago. 

"Total points under the total continues to thrive at an improbable pace, I attribute a portion of that to a multitude of rookie quarterbacks playing in the league this year," Avello told bookies.com.      

Sunday saw 7 rookie QBs start in the NFL. Nine rookie QB have taken snaps this season. 

This is also the NFL first season without Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers in whole or part since 1998.

Longtime Borgata AC Director of Race and Sports Thomas Gable also cites “bad QB play” as the main factor in the success of unders this season. But not the only one.

“We are at that point of the season where teams are dealing with the effects of injuries. We probably weren’t adjusting totals down far enough in the beginning of the season to account for what we were seeing,” Gable told bookies.com Sunday night. 

 

Expect Plenty Of Totals In Low-Mid 30s

NFL 2023 Midseason Betting Recap: "Unders" Go Over The Top 2

Mucklow and Pullen said we can expect to see plenty to totals in the low-to-mid 30s as weather becomes a greater factor in northern climes. Caesars had a total of 32 points on the Saints-Browns last Christmas Eve. That game landed on the under as the visiting Saints won 17-10. 

The three lowest totals at Caesars since PASPA was overturned in 2018 have all landed on the under. The game cited above, the Texans-Titans game from last Christmas Eve (a 19-14 final on a total of 35), and the Jets-Giants matchup in Week 8 (13-10 OT final on a total of 35.5). 

Look for a similar number when the worst-in-the-AFC Patriots visit Denver on Dec. 24.  

Last season, there were 38 games with totals between 30-39.5 points. This season, there have already been 21. And the weather has been relatively calm thus far. 

Will we ever see a total in the 20s?

"Only if Iowa is playing," Mucklow said.

NFL Betting Report: Public In Red At Halftime

Overall, the public clawed back slightly in Week 9. 

But it’s been a successful season for the books.

The favorites are running slightly ahead overall, going 66-61-8 (52.0%) thus far in 2023. But several losing favorites have been significant, wiping out thousands if not millions of parlays and teasers in their wake. 

“The public has had a few rough weeks. Whenever you have the Niners lose to the Browns; the Eagles loss to the Jets; Dallas losing to Arizona. Anytime you get those results, those are tough with the public,” Pullen said. “The unpredictability of the NFL, there's a reason why we do so well in the NFL. You think you have a beat on it, you think you know what's going to happen the next week after last week. Well, you almost have to take this week and just throw it out the window because those things can change just that quickly. Whenever there is unpredictability, that usually means it's tougher on the public and that's definitely been the case for the NFL in recent history.”

Books coast-to-coast hand landed in the black through the first half of 2023. 

“It’s been a pretty good first half of the season for us. It’s definitely been a little rough on the public the last few weeks,” Gable said. 

But no oddsmaker is ever going to be caught spiking the ball in the betting end zone, especially in November. 

“Decent season so far, long way to go,” said Circa Sports Director of Operations Jeffrey Benson

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Week 9 Breakdown By The Book

BetMGM: Like its counterparts, a potentially soft week for the book turned South Sunday night.  “The public is on the Chiefs, and we’ll be rooting for the Dolphins in this week’s matchup in Frankfurt, Germany. There’s been one way action all week on the Eagles and the Bengals. We’ll be cheering for Dallas, and Buffalo might end up being the biggest need of the week come Sunday night,” BetMGM’s Seamus Magee said his note Sunday morning. At BetMGM, the Chiefs (-1.5) were the most-bet spread team by handle. The book was also swept on its top-three most-bet unders by ticket: Cardinals-Browns; Rams-Packers; and Giants-Raiders. 

Borgata AC: Cincinnati’s win and cover Sunday night delivered for the book. “We got off to a good start this morning with all the Miami money that showed up. Best game of the day was the Vikings-Falcons. Needed the Vikings and the over, and both came in. Biggest loser of the day for us was the Ravens-Seahawks, closely followed by Packers-Rams. Sharp money was on the Bears +9 today along with some unders in the Seattle/Baltimore game and Indy/Carolina,” Gable reported. 

Caesars Sportsbook: The book was slightly up heading into Sunday’s nights Bengals-Bills game but needed the Bills and the under to finish in the black. “Might be like a breakeven day. Small win, small loss. The favorites held serve, no big upsets, outright upsets,” Pullen said. 

Circa Sports: The Chiefs 21-14 win, cover and under against Miami in Germany was a win for the book. “That got us off to a great start,” Benson said. The book gave back on the Browns big win and cover against the Cardinals and the under. Cleveland (+8) won 27-0 on a total of 38. 

DraftKings: The Boston-based book scored big with the Commanders win at New England. The Patriots are 2-7 straight up and 2-7 against the line, both worst in the AFC. The Patriots at -2.5 were the most-bet team in terms of overall handle at kickoff at DK. Washington won 20-17. The book lost on its top-five most-bet by handle games on the moneyline. And it saw red Sunday night with the Bengals 24-18 (-1.5) win and cover at home over Buffalo. In that game, 80% of the spread handle rode with Joey B. and the Cincy Cats. 

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Circa Betting Pool Update

Most of remaining players in the Circa Survivor pool rode out the week by backing the Browns and Saints. Both won outright with ease. The Falcons loss to the Vikings knocked out 39 players. Heading into the Monday night game between the Jets and Chargers, 1,146 players remained out of 9,267 entries, or 12.3%.

Major Wagers Of Note

DraftKings

Payout: $30,010 on $10 10-Leg SGP Tackles & Assists 

Loss: $22,400 on Bills +3 (-112)

Caesars Sportsbook

Push: $110,000 Saints -7 (-110)

Payout: $420,000 on $220,000 Bengals -2 (-110) 

Loss: $55,000 on Giants +2 (-110)

Loss: $60,000 on Dolphins -1.5 (+112)

FanDuel

Odds Boost: $3.3 million total payout on Joe Burrow and Josh Allen Both Over 250 Passing Yards (+180)

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.