NFL Unders Continue Unreal 2022 Run With 10-4 Record in Week 6
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady
It took overtime on Monday Night Football for the Los Angeles Chargers to beat the Denver Broncos — and still, the over didn't hit.
It's par for the course this season.
Unders are 57-37 so far, good for a 61% win rate, the highest under win percentage since the 1994 NFL season. To put in context, unders through the first six weeks of 2020 and 2021 had a hit percentage of 48%.
By Week 6, bookmakers usually catch up with teams and the overall marketplace. Operators start to develop lines with equilibrium. But this year, no one has been able to figure out what's happening to offenses across the NFL.
"The Bears, Colts, Steelers, Commanders and Broncos can't score," said Johnny Avello, director of trading for DraftKings. "The Rams, Cowboys, Packers, Cardinals, Titans and Bucs forgot how to score. The Lions, Falcons, Giants, Jets and Jaguars are all learning how to score. And the Chiefs and the Bills still know how to score."
The Bills are great — and are now a ridiculously low +275 to win the Super Bowl — but their offense has probably been overrated by the market.
The Bills are 5-1 as an under team this year, with Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs going under by 11.5 points.
The Bills are joined by six other teams that are 5-1 at unders — the Bucs, the Bengals, the Rams, the Colts, the 49ers and the Broncos.
The Broncos in particular have proved historically dismal at hitting overs. Denver have hit a league-high 17 unders dating back to last season.
"Defenses have had the better of offenses so far this season," said PointsBet head trader Kevin Lawler. "There is seemingly a lack of high powered offenses with plenty of poor quarterback and offensive line play. Teams like the Bears, Falcons and Panthers have shown they aren't going to pass often, while many teams are currently playing backups at QB. Several big name QBs in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray have also struggled to get going in teams that were expected to have high scoring offenses."
The public — which ordinarily bets on the over because it's more exciting — has caught on. In Week 3, about 63% of all bets at Caesars Sportsbook on the total were on the over.
By Week 6? Only 54% were.
Only five teams are above .500 in the over department this year — the Browns (5-1), the Lions (4-1), the Raiders (3-1-1), the Saints (4-2) and the Jaguars (4-2).
Jay Kornegay of SuperBook in Las Vegas admits it's "tough to put a finger" on the run in unders, but speculates that "the defenses have caught up to all the rule changes that favored the offenses."
Unders in Week 6 went 10-4 despite having an average closing total of 45 points. Last year, in Week 6, closing totals averaged about 7% higher at 48.2 points.
Whether it's over or under, one thing is for sure — books can't figure out how to price totals this season.
There are 10 teams whose average points scored per game are at least a touchdown different from their totals through Week 6 — the widest gap being the Lions (+13.2) and the Broncos (-12.8).
To put that in perspective, there have only been five teams over the last six seasons that finished the season having deviated by an average of more than a touchdown from their season totals. That's an average of 0.83 teams per year compared to 10 teams this year.
The five teams to do so have been the 2019 Bucs, 2018 Chiefs, 2016 & 2017 Falcons and 2016 Giants.