Sportsbooks Getting Hurt by NFL Favorites Covering Spreads

Posted on: December 2, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: December 2, 2017, 10:20h.

Bettors of the NFL are learning this season it is probably smart to wager on the favorite. They have been dominating at the window, covering at a 60 percent mark against the spread and sportsbooks are taking a hit because of it.

NFL betting
Gamblers have been lining up to bet on favorites at Las Vegas sportsbooks and have been cashing nearly 70 percent of the time, which is about 20 percent more than the average. (Image:

For six consecutive weeks the favorites have won and from Week 7 to Week 12 they have been ahead 69 percent of the time. Since 2003 Bet Labs reported that the preferred team has a 49,9 percent mark.

Jeff Fogle, who works for Vegas Stats & Information Network, wrote recently that the NFL is having a unique year with its teams.

“It’s not supposed to be this easy for the favorite-loving general public to cash so many tickets,” he wrote. “But we have a unique situation where almost half the league is in the playoff chase, and must keep winning to have a chance at the postseason . . . while the other half is incentivized to lose for draft position. The market hasn’t been able to find the right pricing strategy when decent teams with good quarterbacks are facing non-contenders with bad or inexperienced quarterbacks.”

The last two weeks have been even more impressive. They have a record of 22-7-1 ATS for a 75.9 mark. Last week they went 12-4 ATS. Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kansas City were the teams that didn’t cover.

Chiefs Save Sportsbooks

The Chiefs lost outright to the Buffalo Bills, 16-10, despite being given a 9-point advantage and that actually helped the venues. They were one of two squads that was supposed to win and didn’t. Jacksonville lost to Arizona, 27-24, despite giving 6 points.

Vice president for race and sports for MGM resorts told that the Chiefs game helped even things out.

“The public can always do the most damage. But at some point, the public is gonna take it in the shorts. Fortunately, they did with Kansas City,” he said. “To really crush us, they have to get it all right. Sunday was close to a complete disaster. But Buffalo outright was huge. The public was on Kansas City, and thankfully so.”

Some teams fare better than others. Philadelphia is 9-2 and Minnesota is 8-3 ATS. The LA Rams, New England, Carolina and Houston are all 7-4. Sixteen of the 32 teams have winning records, while 14 have losing marks and two are even. Cleveland, who is winless on the season, is 2-9 ATS.

College Teams More Average

The best teams in college football have more of a statistical regularity when favored. Of the Top 10 teams in the Associated Press Top 25, they have a cumulative record of 53-54-3 ATS when favored, similar to what the NFL is usually at.

The best college team is No. 4 Wisconsin at 9-4, followed by No. 1 Clemson and No. 6 Georgia at 7-4. The worst team was No. 10 USC at 3-7-1 and No. 2 Auburn at 3-5-1.

Despite gamblers taking advantage of the anomaly with the professionals and gaining an edge at the betting window, don’t feel too sorry for the casinos. Nevada sportsbooks won $31.4 million overall in October, their 51st straight winning month.