Rovell: The Large Week 13 Spreads Leading To Low NFL Betting Volume
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Fitzpatrick (left) celebrates with TE Adam Shaheen.
It’s no secret that most NFL bets are made on game day, but there’s normally enough movement come Thursday that it becomes clear where the public is going to lean.
But Week 13 is marked by more inaction than usual thanks to three games with large spreads that have yielded relatively low betting volume.
Sure, a Joe Burrow-less Bengals team lost, 19-17, to the Giants last week and the Dolphins beat a winless Jets team by 17, but are the fish really 11.5-point favorites against Cincinnati?
Are the Giants, even sans Daniel Jones, 10-point dogs against the Seahawks?
And how about the Kansas City Chiefs, the most public of teams? Is anyone comfortable with them as two-touchdown favorites over Denver, who will have Drew Lock back under center?
From the sportsbooks we’ve heard from, bettors aren’t too eager to touch these games.
Let’s start with the Chiefs, who have taken over as America’s favorite betting team with the New England Patriots ceding the crown. For years, the Patriots, no matter what number bookmakers put up against the spread, were among the league leaders in covering percentage. The perception is that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are the same, though that’s not really true.
Last year, not only were the Chiefs the Super Bowl champs, but they were 13-5-1 against the spread. This year, they are 6-5, having failed to cover in their last three games, including as a 3.5-point favorite against the Buccaneers (they won by 3).
“I think our numbers have been good for the Chiefs this year,” said Chris Bennett at the Circa. “Not overinflated, justified.”
The Dolphins are tied with the Steelers as the best team against the spread at 8-3, but have only been a favorite in three of those games, having covered the spread as a favorite by an average of 14.3 points per game.
“The Bengals couldn’t do anything last week, but the sense we are getting is that at -11.5, the Dolphins are too high,” said Eric Osterman at the Superbook.
That brings us to the Giants, who Osterman said were bet by the early crowd at +7.5 against the Seahawks. The murkiness of Jones’ status has driven the line to +10.
Having seen Robert Griffin III with the Ravens and Kendall Hinton with the Broncos, the betting public isn’t too keen on dropping cash on very rusty backups which, in the Giants’ case, is Colt McCoy.
Bennett says he’s still not sure where these games will go, but says he will need the Chiefs, Dolphins, Vikings, Raiders or Seahawks to lose outright given the parlays on the large favorites.
At least at the Vegas books, the Raiders seem to be the most bet on. Bettors aren’t discounting the team for their 43-6 loss to the Falcons last week or think 8.5 is good enough to lay for any team playing the winless Jets.
“I think people think of the Dolphins and the Raiders as equivalents,” Bennett said. “The Dolphins were 7.5-point favorites against the Jets, so the Raiders would be around that number.”
Of course, the Dolphins won by 17.