NFL Point Spread Report: Packers, Cowboys Battle For ATS Supremacy

Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates his touchdown catch with Davante Adams #17 during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on November 28, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Image Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

If you asked NFL czar Roger Goodell back in August what he wanted for Christmas, he likely would’ve answered, “A lot of late-season drama.” Well, as you’d expect from someone pulling in $64 million a year, Goodell got what he wished for — and not all of the drama is COVID related.

With three weeks remaining in the 2021-22 NFL season, 27 of the league’s 32 teams are still alive for the postseason. And while three of the four NFC divisions have all but been decided, the other one (NFC West) features a two-way tie for first place.

Meanwhile, the AFC is a total crapshoot: Three teams in the AFC East are within two games of first place; the AFC North’s four teams are separated by a single game; it’s a two-horse race in the AFC South; and, like the North, all four squads in the AFC West are 7-7 or better and in the playoff hunt.

It’s all exciting stuff as the season turns the final corner and gallops down the home stretch. Also exciting: Similar drama is unfolding in the NFL point spread standings. In this week’s NFL Point Spread Report, we break down the contenders in the running for the 2021 ATS crown (and the 2021 ATS dunce cap), as well as reveal the latest positive and negative NFL betting trends heading into Week 16.

All statistics are based off closing numbers per

Trends Last Week Season Overall
Favorites SU 12-4 139-84-1
Favorites ATS 8-7-1 105-117-2
Over/Under 6-10 99-122-3

Falling Back To The Pack 

Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon reacts after a touchdown run against the Baltimore Ravens
Image Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the fourth quarter in Baltimore on Sunday, the Packers held a 31-17 lead over the Ravens. At that moment, Aaron Rodgers and Co. appeared on their way to covering the spread for the 12th time in 13 weeks while solidifying their place atop the point spread standings.

Then Green Bay allowed Tyler Huntley to turn into Joe Montana, and within a half-hour, a comfortable win turned into a 31-30 cliff-hanger (and non-cover).

Add that result to the Cowboys’ 21-6 victory at the Giants — with Dallas needing a last-minute goal-line stand to cash as an 11.5-point road favorite — and there are now teams sharing the ATS penthouse. Both the Packers and Cowboys enter Week 16 at 11-3 ATS, two games clear of the Cardinals, Colts, Lions, and Patriots (all of whom are 9-5 ATS).

As you would expect with two squads that have combined to cash in 22 of 28 games, Dallas and Green Bay are laying hefty numbers this week. The Packers are a 7-point home favorite against the ’rona-besieged Browns on Christmas Day. The Cowboys are a consensus 10.5-point home chalk on Sunday night against ’rona-besieged Washington.

Dallas, which has rebounded from a 1-3 ATS lull to cover in its last three games, caps the regular season with a pair of tough games (vs. Arizona, at Philly). Green Bay, which has followed a 9-0 ATS spree by splitting its last four against the number, wraps up against divisional foes Minnesota (home) and Detroit (road).

And Down The Stretch They Come

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (left) celebrates his touchdown reception with guard Connor McGovern (right) during a game against the New York Giants
Image Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

So which team has the edge in the battle for the 2021 NFL point spread crown? Current ATS momentum appears to favor the Cowboys — but that’s about the only edge that exists for either club.

Both will be favored in their remaining games, and both have been tremendous in that role (Dallas is 8-2 ATS as chalk; Green Bay 7-3 ATS). And while the Packers are 6-0 ATS at home, they’re 5-3 ATS on the road. The Cowboys have reverse splits, going 7-1 ATS on the road but only 4-2 ATS in Jerry’s World.

Another reason this race figures to go down to the wire: Green Bay (11-3 SU) holds a scant one-game lead over Dallas and Tampa Bay (both 10-4 SU) for the NFC’s top seed (and only bye). Thus, it’s unlikely Green Bay will have the luxury of resting its starters in Week 18.

Bringing Up The Rear

Image Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Just because a team stinks on the field doesn’t automatically mean it is a disaster at the betting window. Case in point: The Lions own the league’s second-worst SU record (2-11-1) but are tied for the third-best point spread mark (9-5 ATS).

Alas, this season, Detroit stands alone as a crappy team that’s profitable. Three of the NFL’s other four teams that have already been eliminated from the playoffs? They’ve been blow-torching bankrolls all season.

The Bears, Jaguars, and Jets have combined to go 9-33 SU and 12-30 ATS. Fittingly, this trio of misfits enters Week 15 with identical 4-10 ATS records. To put that in real-money perspective: If you had wagered $110 against the Bears, Jaguars, and Jets in each of their 42 games this season, you’d be up $1,680. (Merry Christmas!)

Thinking of jumping on that trend in Week 16? Eh, not so fast, because look what we get on Sunday: Jaguars at Jets!

While those two sad-sack franchises duke it out on CBS — has an NFL game ever gotten a negative TV rating? — the Bears visit Seattle as a consensus 6.5-point underdog.

From there, Chicago hosts the Giants and plays at Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Jets and Jaguars face brutal season-ending schedules against playoff contenders: New York faces the Buccaneers (home) and Bills (road), while Jacksonville battles the Patriots (road) and Colts (home).

It’s a pretty safe bet that the Jets’ and Jaguars’ players will mentally be in Cancun for their two season-ending games. Which means the team that fails to cover the spread in Sunday’s “showdown” at The Meadowlands — New York is a 2.5-point favorite — probably will wind up the newest inductee into the NFL Point Spread Hall of Shame.

Whatever squad suffers that ignominy — be it the Bears, Jags, Jets, or perhaps the Panthers or Raiders (both 5-9 ATS) — can at least point to this silver lining: The team with the worst point-spread record in 2020 was … the Dallas Cowboys (5-11 ATS).

Staying On Trend

San Francisco quarterback #10 Jimmy Garoppolo looks downfield for a receiver in a 2021 home game.
Image Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Image

A bunch of lengthy NFL point spread trends got sacked in Week 15. Most notably, the New England Patriots’ run of seven consecutive spread covers ended in a 27-17 loss at the Colts as a 1.5-point underdog.

Also, after remarkably winning and cashing in their first seven road games — with all seven victories being double-digit blowouts — the Cardinals suffered a stunning 30-12 loss at Detroit as a 13-point favorite.

Other streaks that went down in flames in Week 15:

— The Dolphins beat the Jets 31-24 but failed to cover as 10-point home favorites, snapping a 5-0 ATS roll.

— The Buccaneers entered their Sunday night game against New Orleans on ATS runs of 4-0 overall, 5-0 at home, and 5-0 this season as a double-digit favorite. They departed with a 9-0 loss as an 11.5-point chalk.

— Jacksonville’s 30-16 loss at Houston ended a run of eight straight Unders in Jaguars’ games, as the contest hurdled the 40-point total.

However, several point spread streaks are still alive heading into Week 16, including:

— Kansas City has cashed in five straight games, including three in a row at home. The Chiefs — the latest team to be ravaged by COVID this week — are slated to host the Steelers on Sunday.

— The 49ers are 5-1 ATS in their last six. San Francisco is a 3.5-point favorite Thursday night at Tennessee (which is in a 1-4 ATS funk).

— The Jaguars have failed to cash in five straight games, and Carolina is 2-9 ATS in its last 11, including four consecutive non-covers. While Jacksonville travels to the Jets in Week 16, the Panthers are 11-point home underdogs against Tampa Bay.

Totally Underwhelming

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (middle) is sacked by Denver Broncos outside linebackers Von Miller (left) and A.J. Johnson (right)
Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After Over bettors enjoyed their most profitable week of the season in Week 14 (10-3-1), the pendulum swung back to where it’s been throughout most of 2021, as 10 of 16 games stayed low in Week 15. For the season, the Under is now 122-99-3 (55.2%).

While Jacksonville’s eight-game Under run came to a halt in Week 15, the Jaguars are still tied with Denver for the NFL’s best Under mark at 11-3.

A slew of squads remain on torrid Under stretches, including the Seahawks (9-2-1 overall, 4-1-1 at home); Broncos (7-1 overall, 6-2 home, 5-1 road); Cowboys (7-1 overall, 5-0 road); Giants (7-1 overall; 6-0-1 home); Lions (9-3 overall); Washington (7-2 overall, 4-0 home); Texans (8-4 overall, 5-1 road); Chiefs (4-1 home); and Ravens (5-1 road).

On the Over side of the fence, the Panthers have cleared the total in five consecutive games, while Green Bay has done so in its last four. Additional teams on Over streaks include the Jets (8-3 overall, 4-1 road); Colts (7-4 overall, 4-1 road); Patriots (4-0 home); and Vikings (6-2 road).

ATS Records

Packers 11-3
Cowboys 11-3
Cardinals 9-5
Colts 9-5
Lions 9-5
Patriots 9-5

Bears 4-10
Jaguars 4-10
Jets 4-10
Panthers 5-9
Raiders 5-9

Over/Under Records

Colts 8-6
Eagles 8-6
Jets 8-6
Vikings 8-6
Rams 7-6-1
49ers 7-6-1

Jaguars 3-11
Broncos 3-11
Seahawks 3-10-1
Giants 4-9-1
Texans 5-9
Bears 5-9
Lions 5-9