NFL betting: Fading the public has worked, unpopular teams covering at a high rate

If something looks too good to be true, it is. Multiply that by 10 times for NFL betting.

The NFL betting public isn't off to a great start this season. Through four weeks there were 27 games in which at least 60 percent of the bets were on one side. Those sides have lost two-thirds of the time, according to BetMGM data analyst John Ewing.

The most unpopular sides in the NFL this season, the ones getting less than 40 percent of bets, are 18-9.

Blindly fading the public isn't always the right way to go. But so far this NFL season it has been profitable.

Unpopular teams are covering this season

The New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were examples of teams getting less than 40 percent of the bets last week that covered.

The Jets were getting about 33 percent of the bets as a 3.5-point underdog at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jets were mostly bad their first three games. Quarterback Zach Wilson, coming off a disappointing rookie season, was making his debut. Nobody wanted to back the Jets. They won straight up.

The Falcons were another unappealing team. The Cleveland Browns were 2-1 and who wanted to take the Falcons as a small underdog? More than 70 percent of the bets were on the Browns. The Falcons won straight up.

The Los Angeles Rams were another popular bet on Monday night. The 49ers opened as 2.5-point favorites, but coming off an ugly loss to the Denver Broncos the money came in in the Rams and the line moved to 49ers -1.5. After all, the Rams are the reigning Super Bowl champs, who wouldn't bet them to win? The 49ers won easily, holding the defending Super Bowl champs to nine points.

Many weeks the best strategy in the NFL is to find the ugliest teams nobody wants to bet on, hold your nose and hope that they find a way to cover. This season, 67 percent of the time those ugly teams have covered for you.

New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios (10) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Steelers. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios (10) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Steelers. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

Unders are beating the public too

The house must be off to a good start this NFL season. The public generally likes favorites and overs, and underdogs and unders have dominated.

The public is betting overs in most games, and the games are going under.

There are some ugly sides this week. You're not going to brag to your friends about betting on the Chicago Bears or Carolina Panthers getting points. You'll hear through the week about how this team or that team doesn't have a chance to win on Sunday.

We know better. It's the NFL. The gap between the best teams and worst teams is never as wide as you're led to believe. Just remember, if everyone is betting on the same NFL team with you, you might be in trouble.