The Dallas Cowboys opened the week as 5.5-point favorites at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. It seemed like a fair line as the Cowboys were 6-1 in their last seven games, and the Packers were reeling, losing five straight entering the contest. However, as we know, it isn't always that straightforward in the NFL.
Over the course of the week, the betting line was moving in favor of the Packers. By kickoff, the Cowboys were just 3.5-point favorites. Sure, Lambeau Field is a tough place to play and you don't want to disrespect Aaron Rodgers too much, but the reverse line movement was rather startling. Over 60% of bets at BetMGM were on the Cowboys, but the line was moving against them. It felt like one of those instances where bettors say to themselves, "Someone knows something."
The teams exchanged touchdowns back-and-forth in the second quarter, with each team scoring twice. At halftime, the game was tied at 14. However, in the third quarter, the game started to look a lot like most people expected. Defensively, the Cowboys were forcing punts. On offense, Tony Pollard darted in from 13-yards out and Dak Prescott found CeeDee Lamb for a 35-yard score. Entering the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had a 28-14 lead.
Including the playoffs, Dallas was 195-0 all-time when entering the fourth quarter with a lead of at least 14 points. Cowboys bettors had to be feeling pretty good. They've never lost in this situation in their entire history as a franchise. However, records and streaks are meant to be broken.
On 4th-and-7 from the 39-yard line, Rodgers found Christian Watson for his second touchdown of the night. Suddenly, early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay was right back in the game. They forced a Cowboys punt on Dallas' next drive. Then, Rodgers and the Packers manufactured a nearly flawless 10-play, 89-yard drive that culminated with Rodgers finding Watson for his third score of the night. Suddenly, the game was tied.
Dallas quickly went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, and it looked like Green Bay was going to have a chance to win this in regulation as they got the ball back with 1:38 to go in decent field position. However, Matt LaFleur and the Packers were ultra conservative, bled the clock and then punted the ball back to Dallas to all but ensure overtime.
Dallas won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. Suddenly, Cowboys bettors had life again. They needed a touchdown to cover for bettors who got them between 3.5 and 5.5 points over the course of the week. A field goal would do them no good.
Dallas drove the ball to Green Bay's 35-yard line, where they faced a third-and-3. Prescott tried to squeeze it into Lamb, who was pretty clearly interfered with.
— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) November 14, 2022
However, officials didn't make the call. On fourth-and-3, Mike McCarthy bypassed a potential 53 yard field goal to take a lead and instead went for it. Prescott was pressured and Dallas turned the ball over on downs. Rodgers and the Packers needed just a field goal to win it and only needed 30 or so yards to get into range. On a 3rd-and-1, Rodgers found Allen Lazard for a 36-yard gain. A few plays later, Mason Crosby booted a game-winning 28-yard field goal.
Cowboys bettors had a tough loss to endure. They blew a massive lead. In overtime, officiating certainly didn't help matters, but they still squandered a golden chance. On the other side, it was a nice cash for anyone who had the Packers at +180 on the moneyline. This was the first time in Rodgers' career he was a home underdog of more than three points. Overall, Rodgers is now 6-1-1 against the spread as a home underdog in his career and 5-2-1 straight up in that spot.
Bills-Vikings had an even wilder finish
While the Cowboys-Packers game provided overtime and late drama, it still somehow paled compared to what went on in Buffalo a few hours earlier.
All of the talk before kickoff centered around Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who was a game-time decision to play. The Bills opened as 7.5-point favorites earlier in the week. However, once Allen started missing practice, that line dropped down all the way to 3.5 points. When Allen was confirmed as the starter, Buffalo jumped back up to a 6.5-point favorite.
However, it ended up not mattering how many points you got with the Vikings if you bet them, as you simply didn't need them. It took a minor miracle to get there.
With under two minutes left in the third quarter, Tyler Bass kicked a field goal to give the Bills a 27-10 lead. The Bills' defense was swarming Kirk Cousins and it looked like Buffalo was going to roll to an easy win and cover. It wasn't looking good for Minnesota.
However, Dalvin Cook immediately answered the field goal with an 81-yard touchdown run to get the Vikings within 10. On the ensuing drive, the Bills drove the ball all the way down the field and elected to forego a chip shot field goal. On 4th-and-2 from the Vikings' 7-yard line, Patrick Peterson intercepted Josh Allen.
C.J. Ham capped off the ensuing 13-play, 66-yard drive for Minnesota as he found the end zone from three yards out. However, Vikings bettors who had them at +3.5 felt their hearts drop when Greg Joseph missed the extra point. The Vikings were now down four.
Minnesota forced a Buffalo punt and then had three and a half minutes to make some magic happen. They faced a 4th-and-18 when Justin Jefferson made honestly one of the best catches you'll ever see.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON CATCH OF THE CENTURY. pic.twitter.com/Cos6v0yPIC
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 13, 2022
However, the Vikings couldn't turn that magic into points. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Cook dropped a walk-in touchdown. However, the Bills were offsides and the Vikings had another chance. Kirk Cousins was then stopped on a quarterback sneak and it looked like the Bills were going to run out the clock and survive.
However, backed up in their own end-zone, Allen mishandled a snap and Eric Kendricks recovered it in the end zone for a defensive touchdown. Suddenly, the Vikings were up three points with 41 seconds left. That ended up being enough time for Allen to drive the Bills into field goal range, thanks in large part to a catch from Gabe Davis that wasn't actually a catch but wasn't reviewed. Bass hit a 29-yarder to force overtime.
The Vikings won the coin toss in overtime and it looked like they were going to march into the end zone and win the game without giving Buffalo a chance. A 24-yard completion to Jefferson set the Vikings up with a first-and-goal at the two. However, a tackle for loss and then a sack forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal.
Minnesota took the lead, but Allen and the Bills would get the ball with a chance to tie or win. With the Bills already in range for a game-tying field goal, Allen was intercepted by Peterson for a second time and the Vikings pulled off an improbable win for the ages.
Despite losing back-to-back games, the Bills are still the Super Bowl favorites at BetMGM at +400. After their massive road victory, the 8-1 Vikings went from 16-to-1 to 12-to-1 to win it all.
Late spread and total drama elsewhere
While the rest of the slate didn't quite match the drama we saw in Green Bay or Buffalo, there was still plenty of sweating going on all day, especially from a gambling perspective.
Giants hold off Texans
It wasn't a sexy game, but the New York Giants were just 4.5-point home favorites against the Houston Texans. That line felt quite low for a 6-2 team, at home, against the worst team in the league. The Giants entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead, and then their bettors held on for dear life.
Early in the fourth quarter, Davis Mills and the Texans drove the ball into the red zone. On second-and-goal from the 10-yard line, rookie running back Dameon Piece fumbled. Houston got the ball back after forcing a Giants punt and again drove into Giants territory. The Texans had a first-and-10 from New York's 14-yard line before committing back-to-back penalties. On second-and-25, Davis Mills was intercepted.
That's two red-zone possessions and zero points. Houston was still down 11 when it once again got into the red zone. However, the drive fizzled out and the Texans kicked a field goal to cut the lead to eight. An onside kick failed, but the Texans' held the Giants to a field goal. Down 11 once again, the Texans once again drove into the red zone, and then on second down they kicked a field goal to cut it to eight.
That's four red-zone possessions in the fourth quarter with only a touchdown needed to cover the spread. Instead, the Texans provided two turnovers and two field goals. That's a good insight into why they're 1-7-1. Over bettors also had to be far from thrilled, as the game finished with 40 points, going under the closing total of 40.5.
John Wolford for the over
There's nothing wrong with betting the over in a game featuring Colt McCoy and John Wolford. Absolutely no judgment from me.
With Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford ruled out, the disappointing Arizona Cardinals and even more disappointing Los Angeles Rams turned to their backup quarterbacks. As a result, the total was a very depleted 38 points.
The Cardinals kicked a field goal with just about five minutes left to take a 27-10 lead. It still wasn't enough for over bettors, who's fate was in the hands of John Wolford and his zero career touchdown passes. Thankfully for over bettors, that zero turned into a one as he found Van Jefferson in the end zone with seven seconds left.
This is a prime example as to why a lot of people feel that life's too short to bet the under.
49ers can't punch it in for the cover
The San Francisco 49ers closed as 7.5-point favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers. For most of the game, it felt like the Chargers were the right side. Los Angeles scored on its opening drive and led until midway through the fourth quarter.
With just over two minutes left, the 49ers punted the ball back to the Chargers and pinned them on their own 1-yard line. The broadcast seemed to think that the 49ers' punt coverage team got away with one as its celebration carried it into the end zone with the ball still in its hands. However, it wasn't called.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers had two minutes to get the ball into field-goal range to try to tie the game. Instead, they quickly went four-and-out and turned the ball over on downs inside their own 10-yard line. The Chargers had all three timeouts, so it wasn't a kneeling situation.
The drama at this point was obvious. A touchdown extends the 49ers' lead to double digits and covers the spread. A field goal keeps Los Angeles within the number.
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers ran the ball three times and none of those carries went to Christian McCaffrey. On fourth-and-2, the offense stayed on the field and it looked like San Francisco might go for it. Instead, it tried a hard count, called a timeout and kicked a field goal. Chargers bettors rejoiced. 49ers bettors couldn't get the lucky cover.
Up and down day for the public
It was an up and down day for the betting public on Sunday.
The most popular public bet of the day was the Pittsburgh Steelers to cover as 1-point home favorites against the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers got to the window for their backers, as they beat the Saints 20-10.
The second-most popular bet was the Giants, who survived and covered as 4.5-point favorites over the Texans.
Bettors also liked the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders in the favorite role, but both teams ended up losing outright. On the plus side for the public, Tennessee was a popular bet and it covered as a 2.5-point home favorite over the Denver Broncos.
The most popular over bet of the day was over 51.5 points in Kansas City against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately, those teams combined for just 44 points in a 27-17 win for the Chiefs. However, the public nailed their most popular under bet. The Texans and Broncos combined for just 27 points, cashing under 39.
The most popular prop bet of the day was Justin Fields to go over 62.5 rushing yards. He more than doubled that as he finished with 147.
Unders and underdogs ... again
Stop me if you've heard this before, but Week 10 saw underdogs and unders come out on top. It was close, but 7 of 13 games so far this week have gone under the total, and 7 of 13 underdogs covered the spread.
On the season, underdogs are 82-62-5 against the spread, good for a 57% cover rate. Unders are 84-63-2 (57.1%) on the year.
Of the seven underdogs who covered this weekend, six of them won outright. The Chargers were the only team to cover as an underdog but not win outright.
An underdog has covered the spread 82 times this season. Sixty of those underdogs have won the game outright.