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NFL Week 15 betting roundup: Jets historic upset saves MGM from 'truly awful day'

Sam Cooper
·6 min read
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The New York Jets finally won a game.

The Jets entered Sunday with an 0-13 record and were massive underdogs — 17 points at BetMGM — on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. Adam Gase’s team managed to emerge with a 23-20 upset victory, and it’s one of the biggest upsets in NFL history from a point-spread perspective.

According to the Stathead database, which goes back to 1978, the Jets became just the fifth team to win straight up as an underdog of 17 or more points.

At BetMGM, the Rams received 76% of the point spread bets with 84% of the money also going the Rams’ way. The discrepancies were even bigger for moneyline bets. A whopping 97% of those bets were placed on the Rams, with 84% of the money also going on the Rams.

Needless to say, the Jets winning was also a big win for the sportsbook.

“Sunday did not go BetMGM’s way with many popular teams covering. The Jets upsetting the Rams kept it from being a truly awful day,” said Jason Scott, VP of Trading for BetMGM.

The Jets covering the spread has actually been a pretty common occurrence in recent weeks. Though the Jets failed to cover the spread in their first six games, they are actually 5-3 ATS over their last eight games.

Overall for the season, the Jets are 5-9 against the spread. That’s tied for second-worst in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans. Only the Dallas Cowboys (4-10) have been worse at covering the spread this year.

Dolphins, Bills reliable for bettors

Two AFC East teams continue to cover the spread at an extremely high rate: the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

The Dolphins closed as one-point underdogs at home against the New England Patriots on Sunday, but covered the spread easily in a 22-12 win. With the win, the Dolphins are now an NFL-best 11-3 against the spread. That’s a 78.6% clip.

The Dolphins have now covered in nine of their last 10 games and are 7-1 ATS as a home team, 7-2 ATS as an underdog and 5-0 ATS coming off a loss.

The Bills are on an even better ATS run as of late. The Bills covered the six-point spread easily in a 48-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday.

Buffalo has now covered the spread in its last six games and have become quite popular for bettors. Against Denver, Buffalo received 73% of the bets and 80% of the money at BetMGM. That included a $220,000 bet to win $200,000 on the Bills -5.5.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Washington continues to cover

Another team that has been strong against the spread is the Washington Football Team. Washington is now tied with the Bills for the second-best ATS record in the NFL: 9-5.

Washington lost to the Seattle Seahawks 20-15 on Sunday, but covered the spread as six-point underdogs. The loss snapped Washington’s four-game winning streak, but increased its ATS winning streak to five. Washington covering was a win for the house as 60% of the bets and 62% of the money came in on Seattle.

Another win for the house was the Dallas Cowboys winning outright against the San Francisco 49ers as 3.5-point underdogs. As previously mentioned, Dallas has been the worst ATS team in the NFL this season, but they have now covered in back-to-back weeks thanks to Sunday’s 41-33 win over the 49ers. With those two wins, the Cowboys are 4-10 against the number in 2020.

BetMGM received a $220,000 bet on the 49ers -3, but that bet failed to cash.

Another underdog, the Atlanta Falcons, was also a winner for the house on the day. The Falcons covered the spread as seven-point home dogs against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. MGM received a big bet — $220,000 to win $200,000 — on the Bucs -6, but that failed to cash.

Cardinals-Eagles ‘significant’ loser for MGM

One of the more dramatic games of the day was the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were favored by 6.5 and would end up narrowly covering the spread in a 33-26 win.

The Cardinals wouldn’t have covered if it weren’t for a botched extra point and two late-game defensive stops.

The Eagles fell behind 16-0 early but battled back behind rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. Eventually, the Eagles tied the game at 26-26 with 55 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but could have gone ahead by a point with an extra point.

The Eagles’ kicking unit was in a precarious spot. Punter Cameron Johnston serves as the team’s holder, but he left the game with a head injury. That forced tight end Zach Ertz into the game as the team’s backup holder. And the only time he went out there to hold resulted in a botched extra point. Except it wasn’t Ertz’s fault. Long snapper Rick Lovato bounced the snap. Ertz was able to corral it, but not in time for kicker Jake Elliott to attempt a kick.

From a betting perspective, that point was very important. The Cardinals would go ahead with a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter and eventually stopped the Eagles offense twice in the final minutes to preserve the win — a seven-point win, 33-26.

According to Jeff Stoneback, the Director of Trading for MGM Resorts, the Cardinals covering the spread was a “significant loser” for the house.

Titans, Colts rough for house in teasers

Even though the Indianapolis Colts did not cover the spread as 7.5-point favorites against the Houston Texans (the final score was 27-20), that game was still a big loser for the house.

Stoneback said the Colts and Tennessee Titans were big plays as parts of teasers on Sunday, resulting in big losses for the house.

“A couple of our games were teaser losses for the house. Those were the Titans beating the Lions. And the Colts, even though the number fell right on seven, there was a lot of teaser liability on the Colts so that was a big loser for us,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.

One six-point teaser on the Colts -1 and the Titans -2.5 paid out $115,384.60. Another teaser bet that cashed was $150,000 to win $100,000 on the Titans -1.5 and the Baltimore Ravens -5.5 (teased down seven points). Both teams won in blowout fashion with the Titans knocking off the Detroit Lions 46-25 and the Ravens beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-14.

Another bettor at BetMGM bought a point and bet $165,000 on the Colts -6.5 at -145 odds. That bet cashed for a win of $113,793.10.

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