Are they really upsets at this point?
It feels like almost every NFL team is awful this season. Even some of the ones with good records feel like impostors and I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop on their seasons (though six games into the season, maybe they are what they have shown). On Sunday, some of those teams that were supposed to be good showed that perhaps they are not, an agonizing realization for the betting public, who were crushed by upsets.
“It was a very good [Sunday],” Johnny Avello, DraftKings sportsbook director, told ESPN.com.
It was the upsets that did it. Tops on that list was the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-18. Tampa Bay was a 9.5-point favorite, making this the biggest upset of the season. As it turns out, Tampa’s offensive problems, despite Tom Brady at the helm, might not be temporary.
According to ESPN, 96% of the money on the game’s moneyline at PointsBet was put on the Buccaneers. That money line was also in more parlays than any other bet on the schedule. As Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading put it, “People thought it was a free bingo space.”
That upset overtook last week’s New York Giants win over the Green Bay Packers (-9) as tops for the season. And it just so happens that the Packers now have the dubious distinction of being victims of the third-biggest upset, as well, getting trounced by the New York Jets on Sunday as 7.5-point favorites, 27-10.
Other solid underdogs to win outright Sunday were the Atlanta Falcons over the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants, despite going into the game 4-1, over the Baltimore Ravens.
Sure, go ahead and bet on Cleveland
One Nevada bettor was single-handedly responsible for over $1 million Caesars Sportsbook’s profits on Sunday. The person laid $390,000 on the Jacksonville Jaguars at +3, $330,000 on the Buccaneers, and $330,000 on the Cleveland Browns at -2.5. The two favorites lost outright, while Jacksonville lost by 7 to the Indianapolis Colts and thus didn’t cover.
The bettor lost $1.05 million. And if you were wondering if you could beat the sportsbooks, this was a known good sports bettor. “He’s pretty sharp,” Craig Mucklow, director of trading for Caesars, told ESPN. “We move the number considerably on his action. We respect his action. He went 2-0 on Saturday.”
Honestly, that’s what you get for putting over $600,000 on the Browns and Jags.
It’s been an odd season so far, with scoring being hard to come by in the NFL. Nobody is 100% sure as to why, but one theory that has been floated in game telecasts is that more teams are employing defensive schemes that limit deep passes, requiring offenses to put together long, sustained drives to score.
The public tends to bet the over on point totals, as it is much more fun psychologically to root for more scoring, but that is not working this season. 60% of the totals have gone under. Through the first six weeks, touchdowns are down 16% from last year.