When it comes to betting on the NFL, the public prefers betting on favorites to cover the spread and games to go over the total. It makes sense as people would rather back the better team and they'd rather root for points than punts. However, it certainly hasn't been a good start to the 2022 season for those two sides.
We still have two Monday night games tonight, but through 30 games so far in the young season, betting unders and underdogs has been the way to go. Week 2 saw unders go 9-5 and underdogs go 10-4 against the spread. Through two weeks, unders are 20-10 and underdogs are 18-12.
Both the New York Giants and Detroit Lions opened last week as favorites. However, by kickoff, they closed as 1-point underdogs. The line movement was wrong in both cases, as the Giants beat Carolina and Detroit handled Washington. Overall, underdogs went 10-4 against the spread and seven of those underdogs won their game straight up. If you bet every underdog on the moneyline this week, you'd be up 4.95 units so far.
As far as totals, scoring is way down compared to the early parts of recent seasons. In 2020, Week 1 saw an average of 47.4 points per game while Week 2 averaged 53.3 ppg. In 2021, those numbers dropped to 48 ppg on average in both Week 1 and Week 2. In Week 1 of 2022, games averaged just 42.1 points per game. So far in Week 2, we're seeing an average of 44.1 points per game. The average closing total so far has been 46.1 points. However, we're seeing just 43 points per game which has led to unders cashing at a 66.7% rate.
With more and more teams barely playing starters in preseason, we've seen some sloppy football in the early going. A lot of premiere quarterbacks like Joe Burrow and Russell Wilson look very off. Offensive lines are struggling to protect them as well. Chemistry is a big deal on the line and the only way to get that chemistry is game snaps. If this trend of foregoing the preseason continues, the early season lack of scoring is something to keep in mind for future seasons.
Cowboys upset biggest of the Week
Week 1 of the NFL season was a bloodbath for survivor pools as five of the six most popular picks were eliminated. If you survived the first week, there's a very good chance you didn't survive Week 2 as the second and third most popular survivor picks lost outright.
The biggest upset of the day from a spread perspective came in the Cincinnati vs. Dallas game. The Cowboys were a 7.5-point home underdog with Cooper Rush under center. Dallas came out to a 17-3 first half lead as Rush moved the offense decently well and Joe Burrow couldn't get anything going offensively for the Bengals.
In the second half, Burrow and the Bengals cut Dallas' lead down to eight thanks to two field goals from Evan McPherson. Dallas was driving to extend their lead back to two scores, but Dalton Schultz had a costly fumble. A few drives later, Burrow led a 19-play, 83 yard touchdown drive that took almost nine minutes. The drive was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Tee Higgins. The two point conversion was successful as Burrow found a wide open Tyler Boyd and the game was tied.
The Bengals defense forced a Cowboys' punt on the next drive and it felt like the Bengals had all the momentum. All Burrow had to do was lead a game-winning field goal drive with 2:20 on the clock. It certainly felt like Cincinnati would survive and at least get a win. However, Dallas' defense bowed up and forced a three-and-out and it was Cooper Rush who led the game-winning drive instead. Brett Maher knocked through a 50-yard field goal as time expired to cash for anyone who had Dallas at +275 on the moneyline. Cincinnati became the first team in the Super Bowl era to lose its first two games despite being favored by at least a touchdown in each game.
Jets, Dolphins and Cardinals stun bettors
The New York Jets were 6.5-point underdogs against the Cleveland Browns entering Sunday. The Browns were a popular bet, as 69% of the money was backing them to cover as a favorite.
Nick Chubb scored with 2:02 left, but Cade York missed the extra point for Cleveland. That score gave the Browns a 13-point lead. Cleveland bettors had to realize the missed extra point was leaving open the potential of a back-door cover, but what followed was actually a lot worse.
Joe Flacco quickly found Corey Davis for a 66-yard touchdown. It was a blown coverage by the Browns as there was nobody within 20 yards of Davis. An extra point from Greg Zuerlein cut the Browns lead to six. Bettors who had the Browns -6.5 were in trouble, but anyone who teased Cleveland or had them on the moneyline just needed an onside kick recovery.
However, Amari Cooper misplayed the onside kick and the Jets somehow recovered. Flacco moved the Jets 53 yards in nine plays. He found rookie Garrett Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown with 25 seconds remaining and the Zuerlein extra point gave New York a 31-30 lead.
The Browns looked like they had a chance to get into field goal range for York, who showed his massive leg with his game-winning kick against the Panthers in Week 1. However, Ashtyn Davis picked off Jacoby Brissett. The Jets kneeled the game out and cashed at +225 on the moneyline. Down 13 with two minutes left, the Jets were 35-to-1 on the live moneyline.
The Jets' comeback was just one of the crazy comebacks we saw on Sunday.
The Miami Dolphins were down 28-7 at halftime and down 35-14 at the end of the third quarter to the Baltimore Ravens. However, Tua Tagovailoa threw for 199 yards and 4 touchdowns in the fourth quarter to bring Miami all the way back. With 5:19 left, Tua found Tyreek Hill for a 60-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35. With 2:23 left, Justin Tucker booted a 51-yard field goal to give Baltimore a 38-35 lead. However, with 19 seconds left, Tagovailoa found Jaylen Waddle for the go-ahead touchdown. At one point, Miami was 25-to-1 on the live moneyline.
In the late slate, the Las Vegas Raiders had a 20-0 lead at halftime against the Arizona Cardinals. At the end of the third quarter, it was 23-7. However, Kyler Murray led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. He converted plenty of fourth downs in the process. He also successfully converted two separate two-point conversions. On the final play of regulation, the Cardinals' took a delay of game to move the try back five yards but Murray found A.J. Green anyway. That wasn't even the most impressive two-point conversion Murray had in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, the Cardinals got the ball first but turned it over on downs after the ball was dislodged from Marquise Brown on a fourth down reception. Las Vegas just needed a field goal to win, but Isaiah Simmons stripped Hunter Renfrow and Byron Murphy Jr. returned the fumble for a 59-yard touchdown.
The touchdown was also massive for over bettors. The game closed with a total of 51.5-points. If the Raiders settled for a field goal, the game would have went under. Instead, Murphy's score caused a 29-23 final score. That's 52 points and an over.
Overall, the Cardinals cashed at +200 on the moneyline. For live bettors, they were as high as 16-to-1 at one point.
Falcons late surge covers spread
A 28-3 score in a game involving the Atlanta Falcons means chaos is about to ensue.
As a 10-point favorite, the Los Angeles Rams took a 28-3 lead over the Falcons early in the third quarter. It looked like they were on their way to an easy cover. With 12 minutes left, Matt Gay kicked a field goal to give Los Angeles a 31-10 lead.
However, Marcus Mariota and the Falcons weren't done. Mariota found Olamide Zaccheaus for a touchdown with just over eight minutes remaining. The Falcons' defense forced a Los Angeles punt on the next drive. Troy Anderson blocked Riley Dixon's punt and Lorenzo Carter picked it up and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion to Drake London cut Los Angeles' lead to just six. Atlanta was now somehow covering the spread.
Atlanta even had a chance to win the game when Cooper Kupp fumbled with three and a half minutes remaining. However, Marcus Mariota threw an interception and Los Angeles survived. However, anyone who had them covering the spread couldn't help but being confused as to what happened in the fourth quarter.
Sunday Night football controversy
The Green Bay Packers were a 10.5-point favorite over the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. The total closed at 41.5-points. The Packers covered the spread as a favorite in a 27-10 win and the under hit, but it wasn't without some controversy.
On fourth and goal from the Green Bay 1-yard line with a little over eight minutes remaining, Justin Fields attempted a quarterback sneak. He was ruled to be stopped short, but plenty of people seem to think he broke the plane of the goal line.
If Fields was ruled to have scored, the Bears would have cut the lead to seven points. There's a pretty good chance they would have covered the spread. Additionally, that touchdown would have put the game at 41 points. Mason Crosby ended up kicking a field goal later in the game that could have potentially pushed the game over the total.
However, replay officials determined there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the field, which was short. Green Bay went on to cover as the favorite and the under hit as the game ended with just 37 points.