Sports betting winners and losers: Saints, Jets cover in prime time as NFL underdogs keep rolling

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The NFL underdog trend hasn’t flipped yet.

Underdogs were already having a big Week 9 and then both prime-time dogs were easy wins. The New Orleans Saints closed as three-point underdogs at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won by 35. The New York Jets’ line kept rising, and they easily covered as 9-point underdogs against the New England Patriots, though they blew the straight-up win late in the fourth quarter. The line grew to Jets +10 before coming back a bit — 62.1% of tickets and 65.3% of money bet on “Monday Night Football” were on the Patriots, according to BetMGM — and the cover was never in doubt.

If you like betting NFL underdogs, you had another good week.

Underdogs went 9-5, and that was after the Green Bay Packers covered as favorites to start the week. in Week 8 underdogs went 10-4. Underdogs are 76-57 this season, a 57.1 winning percentage.

There has been good value on the moneyline in recent weeks too. Five underdogs won straight up in Week 9.

Oddsmakers are reluctant to shift their lines, figuring the trend will regress to the mean, but there are reasons to believe underdogs performing well isn’t simply random variance. Road teams went 9-5 straight up in Week 9. That brings the season record of home teams to 65-67-1, under .500. Road teams are 71-62 against the spread. There is zero home-field advantage in this strange season played through a pandemic. It was easy to predict that could be the case, and it is coming to pass.

Yet, home teams are favored in nine of the 13 Week 10 games listed at BetMGM as of Tuesday morning. Old habits die hard and we’ll forever be used to giving the home team a bit of an edge, even if it doesn’t exist in 2020.

It is a weird season for many reasons. Usually trends come back to the mean. But it doesn’t seem like underdogs are going to let up.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith celebrates his touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with running back Alvin Kamara (41). (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith, right, celebrates his touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with running back Alvin Kamara (41). (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Here are the winners and losers from the past week in sports betting:


Masters betting in November: The Masters will look like it never has before.

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It’s also the first time we’ll have the final round of the Masters competing against the NFL on a Sunday. That should be interesting.

There are plenty of ways to bet golf tournaments, especially majors. For the Masters at BetMGM there are golfer vs. golfer matchup odds, your run-of-the-mill prop bets (Will there be a hole in one? Yes is -200, no is +140), some unusual prop bets (you can bet on which left-handed golfer will have the best score; Bubba Watson is the favorite at -200), and odds for each golfer to finish in the top five, top 10 and top 20.

But the one that draws everyone in is which golfer will win the tournament. Defending champion Tiger Woods is 40-to-1. The highest percentage of bets on the 2020 Masters champion at BetMGM is on Woods, who has gotten 8.6 percent of the bets. That includes a $5,000 bet to win $200,000 on Woods.

Here are the top five favorites with their odds:

Bryson DeChambeau +750
Dustin Johnson +900
Jon Rahm +1000
Justin Thomas +1100
Rory McIlroy +1200

New Orleans Saints: If you had faith in the Saints, hopefully you took them to win the Super Bowl before Sunday night’s game.

The Saints were +1400 to win the Super Bowl before kickoff against Tampa Bay. When the Saints went out to a 31-0 lead in the first half, the Saints’ Super Bowl odds took a big drop to +900.

You generally don’t see a futures line move that much during a game. The Saints were that impressive. By Tuesday the odds took another dip, down to +800.

Surprisingly, the Buccaneers are still the favorite to win the NFC at +275, despite being swept by the Saints. New Orleans is second to win the NFC at +400. If you buy the Saints finally breaking through and making a Super Bowl there is still a little value, but far less after their great win against the Bucs.


Chicago Bears: The Bears have been disrespected by oddsmakers all season, and that was taken to a new extreme when Week 10 lines were released.

The Bears, who are 5-4, are 2.5-point underdogs to the 3-5 Minnesota Vikings at home on Monday night. The Vikings lost 40-23 at home to the Atlanta Falcons a few weeks ago.

The spreads for the 2020 Bears have consistently been a little higher than you’d think for a team with their record. But overall, Chicago has been just fine against the spread. They’re 5-4 against the number. Last week, the Bears were 6.5-point underdogs and lost by 7 to the Tennessee Titans. Chicago’s offense makes them tough to watch and they’re not enjoyable to bet on, but the books clearly are hoping you bet the Bears.

Clemson, Georgia and Michigan: BetMGM had a profitable football weekend, in part because three popular favorites took straight-up losses.

Clemson, without quarterback Trevor Lawrence, lost in double overtime to Notre Dame. Georgia got out to a lead against Florida and then the Gators took over for a 44-28 win. Michigan was handed a 38-21 loss at Indiana, continuing a disappointing start to the season.

It is already a weird season in college football. Indiana is in the AP top 10. Coastal Carolina and Liberty are also in the top 25. Some of the sports’s top programs like Michigan and Penn State are nowhere to be found. Louisiana is in the top 25 while LSU is not.

Underdogs are dominating in the NFL, and the normal powers aren’t reliable in college football either.

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