Fading the public is a betting strategy a lot of people use in the NFL. The idea makes sense on the surface. Most bettors end up losing money over time. By being on the opposite side of the public, theoretically, you should win over time as you're on the same side as the sportsbooks. However, it's not that simple when you do the math and realize the books are taking a vig on each bet while you're paying one.
Nevertheless, if you faded the public on Sunday in the NFL, you certainly have some extra money to spend on holiday gifts in the coming weeks.
Ravens were most popular bet
The Baltimore Ravens to cover as a 3.5-point road favorite against the Jacksonville Jaguars was the most popular bet of Sunday's NFL slate. It was one of those lines that seemed too easy. Why are the 7-3 Ravens laying just 3.5 points against the 3-7 Jaguars? Ahead of kickoff, 86% of bets and 71% of the money wagered was backing Baltimore to cover the spread as a favorite.
Early on, Ravens bettors knew it wasn't going to be easy. The Ravens were moving the ball, but their drives were stalling in Jacksonville territory. Baltimore's first four scores were all field goals as they couldn't find the end zone. At the end of the third quarter, Baltimore was up just 12-10.
Early in the fourth quarter, Baltimore finally found the end zone when Gus Edwards plunged in from a yard out. Baltimore was up nine and for the first time, Ravens bettors were feeling good. However, with under six minutes left, Trevor Lawrence found Jamal Agnew to cut Baltimore's lead back down to two points.
Baltimore got the ball back, but immediately turned it back over to Jacksonville after Edwards fumbled deep in Baltimore territory on the first play of the drive. Jacksonville got the ball back and kicked a field goal to give them a 20-19 lead with just over four minutes left.
Baltimore bettors now needed a touchdown from the Ravens, and Lamar Jackson delivered. Just before the two-minute warning, Jackson found Josh Oliver streaking across the field wide open. Baltimore went for two to make their lead seven points, and they converted when Jackson found Mark Andrews.
Down seven, Lawrence and the Jaguars got the ball back with the chance to go on a two-minute drive to tie or take the lead. It looked like the comeback attempt was going nowhere after Calais Campbell sacked Lawrence to bring up a third-and-21. However, Lawrence found Christian Kirk for a 16-yard gain. Then, with the game on the line on a fourth-and-5, Lawrence found Marvin Jones Jr. for a 10-yard gain.
Lawrence and the Jaguars continued to move the ball. On a third-and-6 from the Ravens' 39-yard line, Lawrence found Zay Jones for a 29-yard gain. With 14 seconds left, Lawrence found Marvin Jones for a touchdown.
Doug Pederson then decided to go for two to try and win in regulation. At that point, Ravens bettors knew they were dead. The Ravens needed the game to go to overtime if they were going to cover the spread. Lawrence found Zay Jones for the two-point conversion. Suddenly, not only were the Ravens not covering, but they were losing outright.
The Ravens still had a chance to win the game when Justin Tucker lined up for a 67-yard field goal. However, he was just short. Even if he made the kick, it wouldn't have been enough for Ravens bettors. Jacksonville covered as a 3.5-point underdog and pulled out the outright victory as a +155 underdog on the moneyline. A heartbreaker for the betting public.
Bucs, Titans, Seahawks and Bears all fail to get there as well
Baltimore was not the only popular bet that failed to cash for the betting public. Tampa Bay as a 3-point favorite in Cleveland was the second most popular bet of the day. Bettors also loved Tennessee as a 1.5-point home underdog against the Cincinnati Bengals. In terms of money wagered, Seattle covering as a 3.5-point home favorite against Las Vegas was a liability for the sportsbooks. There was also a lot of money on Chicago as a 7-point underdog against the New York Jets.
All five of those popular bets lost.
The Buccaneers looked to be in good shape. They were up seven points and the Browns faced a 4th-and-10 from the 12-yard line with 37 seconds left. However, with the game on the line in his last start, Jacoby Brissett found David Njoku in the end zone, who made an impressive one-handed catch.
— NFL (@NFL) November 27, 2022
The Buccaneers had 32 seconds to make something happen in regulation, but they botched the clock to epic proportions. However, Tampa Bay won the overtime coin toss and Tom Brady and company had a chance to walk it off. Unfortunately for Buccaneers bettors, they were forced to punt. Brady and the Buccaneers offense got another chance after their defense forced a Browns punt. It resulted in nothing, as they were forced to punt again.
It looked like we might get a tie, but on a third-and-4 from midfield, Brissett found Amari Cooper for a 45-yard gain. A few plays later, Nick Chubb barreled into the end zone to give the Browns the victory.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans were going back-and-forth in a low-scoring slugfest. After three quarters, the game was tied at 13 with each team answering the other. In the fourth quarter, Joe Burrow found Tee Higgins for a touchdown. Tennessee answered with a field goal to cut the Bengals' lead to four points, but couldn't even the game.
It looked like Tennessee was going to have a chance to tie the game. Cincinnati kicked a field goal to go up seven points with just under two minutes left. However, the Titans committed a penalty for unnecessary roughness on the kick. It came with an automatic first down and Joe Burrow kneed the game out. For the first time since Week 2, the Titans failed to cover a spread.
The Jets' dominated the Bears by a score of 31-10. Mike White threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in his season debut. The Bears were competitive for about a quarter before the game got out of hand. It ended up being a no sweat winner for anyone who laid the touchdown with the Jets.
In the late afternoon slate, Seattle was an extremely popular bet. They were laying just 3.5 points at home against the Las Vegas Raiders. It was a high-scoring back-and-forth affair, but Seattle bettors felt decent when Geno Smith found Travis Homer for an 18-yard touchdown with under six minutes remaining. However, the Raiders answered and forced overtime when Derek Carr found Foster Moreau from five yards out.
In overtime, the Raiders won the toss and got the ball first. In a questionable decision, Josh McDaniels decided to send Daniel Carlson out for a 56-yard field goal attempt. He missed, setting Seattle up with amazing field position. They needed a touchdown to cover the spread, but they had a chance. However, the Raiders defense stepped up and forced a punt. Josh Jacobs then sprinted for an 86-yard walk-off touchdown as the Raiders cashed as a +155 underdog on the moneyline.
Totals, props weren't great either
We've already established the public struggled picking a side on Sunday, but totals and props weren't much better.
The three most popular over bets on Sunday were: Titans-Bengals over 42.5, Chiefs-Rams over 42 and Commanders-Falcons over 40.5 points. All three games went under the total.
The three most popular unders were: Jaguars-Ravens under 43.5, Buccaneers-Browns under 42.5 and Jets-Bears under 38.5 points. The only one of those games to go under the total was the Buccaneers-Browns affair.
Sunday's most popular prop bet was Terry McLaurin to go over 62.5 receiving yards. He finished with just 48 yards. The second most popular prop bet was Jeff Wilson Jr. to go over 81.5 rushing yards. The game script was there, but Wilson was injured on the first drive of the second half and finished with just 39 yards.
All in all, it was a bloodbath for the betting public in every way imaginable.
Big favorites made you sweat
There were two massive favorites on Sunday's NFL slate, and while both of them cashed, it also highlighted why laying massive numbers in the NFL isn't as easy as it sounds at times.
The Miami Dolphins closed as a 14-point favorite over the Houston Texans. At halftime, the Dolphins were up 30-0. It was one of the most dominant performances you will see in any half of an NFL game. It felt like the Dolphins could sleep through the second half and still cover.
Well, Miami decided to put that theory to the test. Miami punted on five of six second-half possessions. Their other possession was a fumble from Skylar Thompson, who entered the game in the third quarter as the Dolphins decided to call off the dogs.
Dare Ogunbowale put Houston on the board late in the third quarter, cutting Miami's lead to 30-6. On Houston's next drive, Kyle Allen found Jordan Akins for a touchdown to cut the lead to 30-12. The game still wasn't in doubt as it was a three-possession game, but suddenly, the spread was very much in doubt.
Miami continued to just punt the ball back to Houston, and the Texans once again drove the ball inside Miami's 10-yard line. Thankfully for Dolphins bettors, the Texans decided to kick a field goal to cut the lead to 15.
Houston had one last chance to get through the backdoor, but Allen threw an interception with just under three minutes remaining. Dolphins bettors survived a sweat they certainly didn't deserve.
At least they won their bet. The same can't be said for anyone who had the game to go over 47 points. Miami scored 30 in the first half and even a field goal in the second half would have been enough for over bettors to get home. However, the Dolphins were shutout in the second half and the game finished with just 45 points. That's an under.
In the late afternoon window, the Kansas City Chiefs were 15.5-point favorites against the Bryce Perkins led Los Angeles Rams.
The Chiefs opened up 20-3 lead in the third quarter, and the Rams were getting absolutely nothing going on offense. However, Bryce Perkins finally lead an effective drive that included two fourth down conversions. Perkins found Van Jefferson for a touchdown to cut Kansas City's lead to 10. Suddenly, the Rams were covering.
Patrick Mahomes then threw an interception in the end zone as the Chiefs failed to increase the margin. Thankfully for Chiefs bettors, Perkins threw two interceptions late that the Chiefs turned into field goals. That got the margin to 16 points, which was just good enough for Chiefs' bettors.
The game wasn't ever close and Los Angeles had basically no hopes of winning. However, 15.5 points is a lot to cover in the NFL. Kansas City was relatively lucky to get there for their bettors.
Jordan Love can't get through the backdoor
Sunday night football featured an entertaining game. The Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles cashed the over in the first half. However, Aaron Rodgers injured his oblique in the second half and was clearly compromised. The Eagles had opened up a 37-23 lead.
At that point, the Packers turned to Jordan Love. On his first drive, Love found Christian Watson for a 63-yard touchdown. The Packers had cut Philadelphia's lead to seven. Philadelphia closed as a 6.5-point favorite.
With just over two minutes remaining, Jake Elliott kicked a 54-yard field goal to give Philadelphia a 10-point lead. While the field goal put the game away for the Eagles, it did the opposite for their bettors. Anyone who has been betting for any amount of time knew what was coming. When the Eagles were up seven points, they knew they couldn't give up a touchdown. It would have resulted in a tie game. However, with Philadelphia now up 10 points, giving up a touchdown was no longer a big deal. Except to their bettors.
Keisean Nixon returned the kickoff to midfield for the Packers and Love quickly completed three passes to get the Packers into the redzone. It looked like Green Bay was going to score a touchdown to cut Philadelphia's lead to three and get within the number.
However, the drive fizzled out and on fourth down, the Packers elected to kick a field goal to cut Philadelphia's lead to seven. Crisis averted for Eagles bettors. Philadelphia recovered the onside kick, got a first down and kneeled the game out, earning the victory and most importantly, the cover.