NFL Point Spread Report: Favorites, Overs Finally Exact Revenge

Green Bay Packers wide receiver DaVante Adams stiff-arms Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson after making a catch
Image Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Network

We’re pretty sure if marble had been more plentiful back in the day — and/or Moses had suffered an epic bad beat — the Ten Commandments would’ve been the Eleven Commandments, capped by the following inscription:

You shall respect the law of averages.

Those who honored that commandment in Week 14 of the NFL season probably won’t be finished counting their winnings until at least Valentine’s Day. Those who didn’t probably are going to need to break Commandment No. 8 to have any action in Week 15.

Indeed, the law of averages struck in a big way last week, as two long-overdue NFL betting trend regressions hit at the same time. In the process, three groups of people took a tire iron to the back of their collective heads: underdog bettors, Under bettors, and bookmakers from coast to coast.

We review the Week 14 carnage and update the latest positive and negative NFL betting trends in this week’s NFL Point Spread Report.

All statistics based off closing numbers per

Trends Last Week Season Overall
Favorites SU 12-2 127-80-1
Favorites ATS 11-3 97-110-1
Over/Under 10-3-1 93-112-3

Reversal Of Fortune

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle (13) celebrates with Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Gordon (19) after scoring a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium.
Image Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s how rough the first three months of the 2021 season was for NFL chalk eaters: Through 13 weeks, favorites covered the point spread just 44.3 percent of the time. What’s more, favorites “beat” underdogs ATS only five times in those 13 weeks, never finishing better than two games over .500 in any given week:

Week 5: 9-7 ATS
Week 6: 8-6 ATS
Week 7: 7-6 ATS
Week 11: 8-7 ATS
Week 13: 8-6 ATS

Then came last week, when favorites suddenly transformed into The Incredible Hulk, going 12-2 SU and 11-3 ATS.

Just how thorough was the domination? Favorites laying 3.5 points or more went 9-0 SU and ATS, all three double-digit favorites won and cashed, and road favorites went 4-0 SU and ATS. Also, a slew of public teams delivered for bettors, including the Chiefs, Packers, Cowboys, and Buccaneers. Meanwhile, every team the public loves to bet against — Jets, Texans, Lions, and Jaguars — failed to cover the spread.

As bad as the Week 14 ATS results were for bookmakers, they could’ve slowed the bleeding had the totals gone in their favor. But they did not.

After a four-week stretch in which 62 percent of all NFL games (36 of 58) stayed Under the total, the Over went 10-3-1. It was the first time since Week 5 that a week ended with more Overs than Unders.

To put last week’s zaniness into perspective, consider this: Prior to Week 14, underdogs had covered 55.4 percent of all NFL games, with the Under cashing in 56.8 percent of those contests. Those rates now sit at 53.1 percent and 54.6 percent, respectively.

Trending In The Opposite Direction 

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Image Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Great Regression that was Week 14 also impacted NFL prime-time games.

During a 10-week stretch beginning in Week 4, underdogs went 19-11 ATS in Thursday/Sunday/Monday night action. Last week, the Vikings (Thursday) and Packers (Sunday) covered the spread as favorites, while the Cardinals (-3) were upset by the Rams on Monday night.

Also, heading into Week 14, the Under had been on a 21-9-1 run in prime-time action, including cashing in seven consecutive games dating to Week 11. The three marquee matchups in Week 14? All soared over the total, with combined point totals of 64 (Steelers-Vikings), 75 (Bears-Packers), and 53 (Rams-Cardinals).

The Under also had gone 41-21-2 through the first 64 AFC/NFC matchups of 2021. Last week, the Over went 5-1-1 in interconference play.

One other noteworthy trend that went down in flames in Week 14: Through 13 weeks, at least one sizable underdog (5.5 points or more) won outright. In fact, from Weeks 8-13, at least one team catching 7 points or more pulled off an outright upset. The biggest ’dog that delivered on the moneyline last week? That would be the Rams (+3) winning at Arizona.

Going Streaking 

New England Patriots defensive tackle Carl Davis gestures to the crowd prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills
Image Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

As noted above, Green Bay (11-2 ATS) and Dallas (10-3 ATS) both got to the window in Week 14 to maintain their spots atop the 2021 NFL point-spread standings. And as noted, the Jets (3-10), Bears (4-9), and Jaguars (4-9) all failed to bring home the money, and as a result remain in the ATS basement.

Other ATS trends that are still alive heading into Week 15:

— Patriots (on bye last week) have won and covered seven straight games
— Dolphins (also on bye last week) have won and covered five in a row
— Bucs and Chiefs are both on 4-0 SU/ATS runs
— 49ers are on a 4-1 SU/ATS surge
— Jets are 1-5 ATS in their last six (only cover was at Houston)
— Panthers are 2-8 ATS after starting the season 3-0 ATS
— Jaguars are 0-4 ATS in their last four

Ongoing trends from a totals perspective include:

— Jaguars have stayed Under the total in eight consecutive contests
— Under is 7-1 in Washington’s last eight
— Under is 6-1 in Cowboys’ last seven
— Under is 6-1 in Broncos’ last seven (last week’s game vs. Detroit went Over)
— Under is 6-1 in Giants’ last seven (last week’s game vs. L.A. Chargers went Over)
— Under is 8-3 in Texans’ and Lions’ last 11
— Under is 6-2 in Chiefs’ last eight (both Overs were against the Raiders)
— Under is 5-1 in Dolphins’ last six
— Over is 3-0 in Packers’ last three, after previous seven games stayed Under
— Over is 4-0 in Panthers’ last four
— Over is 7-3 in Colts’ and Jets’ last 10

Trendy Matchups Of The Week

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott carries the ball as New York Giants safety Logan Ryan defends
Image Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

And we close with our five favorite matchups of Week 15 from an NFL betting trends perspective:

Colts (-2.5) vs. Patriots: New England has two outright upsets during its ongoing 7-0 SU/ATS run and is 3-1 ATS as a ’dog this season. The Patriots also are 6-0 on the road this season (5-1 ATS). Indianapolis, which like New England is returning from a bye, pounded the Texans 31-0 as a 10.5-point road favorite two weeks ago. The Colts have alternated spread covers in their last seven games, going 2-2 SU/1-3 ATS at home during that stretch.

Dolphins (-10) vs. Jets: Miami, which started out 0-3 SU/ATS at home, is 4-0 SU/ATS in South Beach during its five-game winning streak. That includes three consecutive double-digit home victories. New York is 1-6 SU and ATS on the road this season, the lone triumph being that Week 12 win at lowly Houston.

Cowboys (-10.5) at Giants: As part of its sterling 10-3 ATS record, Dallas is 6-1 ATS on the road and 7-2 ATS as a favorite. However, the Cowboys lost their only game as a double-digit favorite (30-16 vs. Denver as a 10-point home choice). The Giants are on a 3-0 SU/ATS roll at home. Also, in addition to their aforementioned Under runs, the Under is 5-0-1 in the Giants’ last six at home and 4-0 in Dallas’ last four on the road.

Cardinals (-13.5) at Lions: Arizona is a perfect 7-for-7 SU/ATS on the road this season. All seven wins were by double digits, with an average victory margin of 16 points per game. Detroit is 4-2 ATS at home this season, though both non-covers were blowout defeats (34-11 vs. Bengals; 44-6 vs. Eagles).

Buccaneers (-11) vs. Saints: Tampa Bay has cashed in five straight home games since falling short against the Cowboys in the season opener. The Bucs are also 5-0 SU/ATS as a double-digit favorite. New Orleans, which won and cashed at the Jets last week, has alternated spread covers in its last five road games. The Saints have yet to cover in back-to-back games this season.