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My colleague Greg Brainos does a great weekly piece where he updates the NFL standings based on record against the spread rather than wins on the field. It's always a fun read as betting reality is often different from the real world reality. Branching off Greg's piece, I've decided to take an in-depth look at each team's last five games.
The NFL is an ever-changing league and sometimes when looking at the complete big picture, we can overlook recent trends that could line our pockets with cash. What's the opposite of "missing the forest for the trees"? We'll go with that.
Some moneymakers are more obvious than others
Over their last five games, six teams are covering the spread at a rate of 80% or better. Those teams include two of the league's best teams, a team clinging to a playoff spot by a fingernail and three non-playoff teams. Truly a mixed bag.
The New England Patriots have won six straight games, and also covered six straight games against the spread. New England has beaten the spread by 124.5 points over this six game stretch. In other words, they're beating the number by an average of 20.8 points per game. Despite this trend, the Patriots are 2.5-point road underdogs in Buffalo on Monday night.
The Dolphins are 4-0-1 against the number in their last five games as they've won four straight games on the field. Miami is now 5-7 after starting the season with a 1-7 record. Tua Tagovailoa has played well for Miami since returning from injury and Jaylen Waddle looks like a star. Miami is a 3-point home favorite against the New York Giants on Sunday.
Speaking of the Giants, they've also been money in recent weeks. The Giants are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games with their lone slip up coming against Tom Brady, who was coming off two straight losses. Hard spot to be in for New York. The Giants might not be any good at football, but they sure are good at covering the number.
Is it possible for a 9-3 team to be disrespected or underrated? That might just be the case with the Green Bay Packers who are also 4-1 against the number in their last five weeks. Green Bay is 10-2 against the spread on the season. Unfortunately the money train hits a pause this week as the Packers have their bye week.
Right when I was ready to write the San Francisco 49ers off, they've come on strong. The Niners have won four of their last five games, covering in all four of those wins. It'll be interesting to see if they continue this hot streak now that Deebo Samuel is expected to miss a week or two. San Francisco is a 3.5-point road favorite in Seattle for Week 13.
You know who else is lining your pockets? The Detroit Lions. Underdogs in every game so far this season, the Lions have been masters at keeping it close and finding ways to lose. Not great for winning games, but great for covering numbers. Detroit is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games and 7-4 on the season despite the fact they don't yet have a win. Detroit is a 7-point underdog against Minnesota on Sunday.
Which teams have been worth fading?
The above teams have been lining your pocket if you've bet on them. However, there are a few teams who are consistently failing to meet expectations and fading them on a weekly basis has also been a profitable endeavor.
Remember about a month ago when the Los Angeles Rams were Super Bowl favorites and Matt Stafford was an MVP frontrunner? The Rams have now lost three straight games and they've failed to cover the spread in five straight games. Matt Stafford is still an upgrade on Jared Goff, but the difference might not be as drastic as originally thought. Despite the recent slide, the Rams are 12.5-point favorites Sunday against Jacksonville.
The Rams aren't the only Los Angeles team struggling to cover numbers. The Chargers have lost three of five games and have failed to cover in four of those games. It seems like the team is failing to utilize Justin Herbert to his full potential while the defense has issues stopping the run. Coach Brandon Staley has also definitely been less aggressive in recent weeks. The Chargers are 3-point underdogs Sunday against the Bengals.
Speaking of coaches who have regressed, let's turn to the Cleveland Browns. Kevin Stefanski is a quickly depreciating asset. Baker Mayfield has 12 injuries. The team doesn't have a single pass catching weapon that could consistently win their routes in a man-on-man situation. Teams are quickly starting to realize that if you stop the run, you'll likely beat the Browns. The Browns have a bye this upcoming week, but they're 1-4 against the spread in their last five games.
What about totals?
If you're more of a totals bettor, you probably want to hone in on some teams who have been moneymakers in that market.
There are four teams who have seen each of their last five games go under the total. Those teams include the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Another seven teams have seen four of their last five games go under the total. Those teams are the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions.
However, betting unders is no fun. Which teams are the fun teams in the league recently? The results might surprise you.
No team has had all five recent games go over the total and only three teams have seen four of five games go over. Those teams are the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints.