NFL Point Spread Report: Winners Still Winning, Losers Still Losing

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris runs with the ball during the first half against the New York Jets
Image Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to win betting the NFL, they say. It’s way too unpredictable, they say. You’re just throwing your money down the toilet, they say.

Well, let’s just see how right “they” are, shall we? Before diving into Week 8 NFL betting trends, here’s a look back at Week 7’s highlights:

— The Packers, who had won and covered five straight games, hosted a Washington Football Team that was an NFL-worst 1-5 ATS. Green Bay rolled 24-10 as an 8.5-point favorite.

— The Chiefs, who covered the spread against Washington in Week 6 but hadn’t once cashed in consecutive games during an ongoing 3-13-1 ATS slump, traveled to Tennessee and got blitzed 27-3 as a 4-point road chalk. Make it a 3-14-1 ATS slump for K.C. 

— The Colts, who had cashed in three consecutive games, traveled to San Francisco to face a 49ers squad with a 1-4 ATS mark. Indianapolis won by 12 as a 3-point underdog.

— The Patriots — who had defeated the Jets 11 straight times, winning seven of the past eight by at least two touchdowns — welcomed New York to Foxborough and won a 54-13 laugher as a 7-point choice.

— The undefeated Cardinals, who also opened the season 5-1 ATS, spotted 20 points to a Texans squad that had dropped five in a row overall and was mired in a 1-3 ATS funk. The Cardinals fell behind 5-0, then scored the game’s last 31 points.

— Those same Cardinals were one of three double-digit favorites in Week 7. All three won and two of them covered, pushing double-digit favorites to 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS this season.

Hmm. Perhaps “they” may be wrong?

Let’s get on with the Week 8 NFL Point Spread Report …

All statistics based off closing numbers per

Trends Last Week Season Overall
Favorites SU 9-4 68-39
Favorites ATS 7-6 50-57
Over/Under 5-8 47-58-2

Big Favorites Deliver Big Bucks

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Justin Zimmer looks over Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett after sacking him
Image Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 produced yet another modest victory for NFL favorites, who went 7-6 ATS. Chalk has now prevailed in three consecutive weeks to the tune of 31-12 SU and 24-19 ATS.

Bigger favorites did the bulk of the damage last week, as teams laying 6 points or more went 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS. Of course, that includes yet another stellar performance by double-digit favorites, who continue to defy all logic by covering at a 72.7 percent rate.

Will that continue over the final 10 weeks of the season? Highly doubtful. But are you willing to step in front of this freight train just because your 10th-grade statistics book suggests regression is absolutely coming? (After all, your 10th-grade physics book suggests you probably won’t survive stepping in front of a freight train.)

Either way, that train is picking up steam once again in Week 8, as four more double-digit favorites dot the NFL odds board — and three of them are visitors: The Bills (-13.5) vs. Miami; the Rams (-14.5) at Houston; the Bengals (-10.5) at the Jets; and the Chiefs (-10) at the Giants.

Let those last two sink in for a moment: The Bengals are a double-digit road favorite, as is a team that’s cashed three times in its last 18 games. Even the Knicks think the Giants and Jets are an embarrassment. 

Before moving on from the “chalk” talk, here’s one more trend to ponder: The biggest home favorite of the week is 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS this season (the Buccaneers and Rams shared biggest home favorite honors in Week 1). And over the last five weeks, the big home chalk is 5-for-5 ATS. (Don’t trip and fall racing to bet the mortgage on the Bills!)

Hey, What About The ’Dogs?

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams catches a pass for the winning touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs
Image Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

By now you’re probably wondering if you should wager on another NFL underdog this season. So this is where we point out that pups still hold the overall edge at 57-50 ATS. That includes 39 outright upsets.

The best plan of attack if you’re an underdog bettor: Grab the points in prime-time games, and roll the dice with short underdogs on the money line.

Uh, you got numbers to back that up? Does a bear sh … yes, yes, we have numbers. Underdogs in marquee Thursday/Sunday/Monday night games are just 6-15 SU, but 14-7 ATS. That’s a very interesting stat from one specific perspective: For the entire season, straight-up winners in prime-time games are only 12-9 against the number. In every other game, straight-up winners are 77-9 ATS (89.5%).

In other words, if you like an underdog in the early or late Sunday window, you might as well take a shot on the money line. Because odds are the point spread is going to be meaningless. Just make sure those are short underdogs, because pups of 6 points or more are only 8-34 SU. Conversely, ’dogs of 3.5 points or less are 24-23 SU — yup, 24 of the 39 outright upsets this season have involved short underdogs.

Now, that’s not to say mid-range underdogs never get it done on the scoreboard. In fact, we’ve tracked the “Big ’Dog of the Week” all season — that is, the biggest underdog that wins outright — and uncovered a neat little trend:

Big Dog of the Week: 

Steelers (+6.5) vs. Bills (Week 1)
Titans (+6.5) at Seahawks (Week 2)
Chargers (+7) at Chiefs (Week 3)
Giants (+7) at Saints (Week 4)
Bears (+5.5) at Raiders (Week 5)
Titans (+6) vs. Bills (Week 6)
Bengals (+6) at Ravens (Week 7)

That’s seven straight weeks that an underdog of 5.5 to 7 points has sprung an upset. If you’re a believer in streaks, you’ll be looking at making a moneyline investment on either the Packers (+6.5 at Arizona) or Patriots (+5.5 at LA Chargers) this week.

A ‘Totally’ Different Perspective

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is sacked by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack
Image Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we close with some league- and team-specific totals trends. For the season, Unders continue to outpace Overs (58-47-2), particularly when it comes to lower totals, as games with an Over/Under of 45 points or less are 19-11-1 to the Under (61.3%).

The Cowboys (5-1) and Rams (5-2) remain the top Over teams, while the Bears (1-6), Seahawks (1-5-1), Chargers (1-5), and Steelers (1-4-1) have been money for Under bettors.

On the prime-time front, two trends continue to stand out: The Over on Sunday (5-1-1) and Monday (5-2) night games is a combined 10-3-1, but five of the seven Thursday contests have stayed low. Those five Unders? They’ve hit in the last five weeks.

So much for that Aaron Rodgers-Kyler Murray/Packers-Cardinals shootout on Thursday night …