NFL Underdogs Generating Heavy Action

Posted on: September 19, 2020, 10:59h. 

Last updated on: September 19, 2020, 05:49h.

Every dog has its day. This week, two NFL underdogs are having their days at sportsbooks.

Jacksonville Jaguars Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew (15) and the Jacksonville Jaguars are seeking their second consecutive big upset on Sunday against Tennessee. (Image: Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports)

At William Hill, the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars have attracted the majority of tickets and dollars wagered in their games this week.

Minnesota’s line barely has budged – it remains a three-point underdog against the Indianapolis Colts in a battle of major Week 1 disappointments.

On the other hand, in a game that looked like a colossal mismatch at this time last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars have gone from +11 to +7.5 vs. the Tennessee Titans. The rebuilding Jaguars pulled off last week’s big upset by stunning Indianapolis.

The Jaguars did some impressive things on offense,” Glenn Herzog, the senior sportsbook risk manager at Circa Sports, told “The addition of Jay Gruden, along with decent QB play from Gardner Minshew (who may be tank-proof), have made them a serviceable team. The notion before the season that this team would just lay down for the No. 1 pick has to be thrown out.

“Taking out this sentiment, coupled with a decently creative offense, has helped drive this price down from -11 for the Titans before Week 1 to now -7.5. Even with A.J. Brown out for the Titans, it begs to ask has this over-adjusted and is now a good value to bet on a Titans team that looked decent at altitude against a well-organized Broncos defense.”

As of Friday at William Hill, Minnesota has garnered 85 percent of the bets and money wagered against Indianapolis. Jacksonville has received 71 percent of the bets and 85 percent of the money wagered vs. Tennessee.

Lions at Packers: Rising Over

Two games on this week’s schedule stood out to Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. One of them was the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers. Coming off a big Week 1 win, Green Bay opened as a 6.5-point favorite. That’s where it stood as of midday Saturday, though it dipped to 5.5 earlier in the week.

Where the movement has been is on the over/under, which started at 46 points and is up to 50.5.

That’s a pretty big move on the over,” Avello told “The Lions had just a terrible loss last week. This team is projected to win eight or nine games so that’s not a good start for them. Maybe there’s some coaching issues there. But, on the other side of the game, you have the Packers at Lambeau. (Aaron) Rodgers had a great week last week so any doubters for Rodgers, I think he put that to rest. I would expect the Lions hanging in there on this one.”

The game features two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes in last week’s upset win at Minnesota. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 21 touchdowns vs. three interceptions in his last 10 games against Green Bay. The Packers won both games last season. They didn’t lead for even 1 second in those games, with Mason Crosby booting walk-off field goals as time expired.

Panthers at Buccaneers: Bounce-Back Brady

Quarterbacks are central in this game, too. Last week at New Orleans, Tom Brady made his highly anticipated Tampa Bay Buccaneers debut. It didn’t go well. Brady threw two interceptions and posted a meager 78.4 passer rating as they lost to the Saints 34-23 in a big NFC South showdown.

Tom Brady struggled against a really good Saints team but people feel Brady’s going to bounce back,” Avello told “That’s the reason for the initial move. You get the feeling he comes up with a better game this week and that’s probably where the money will fall. You have to slow down (Panthers running back Christian) McCaffrey. That’s the name of that game.”

Tampa Bay opened as an 8.5-point favorite and that’s where it stood on Saturday. However, it’s swung from 7.5 to 9.5 to 8.0 and back to 8.5 the past few days. The over/under was 49 on Tuesday but 47.5 on Saturday.

One other noteworthy swing was the Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys. Dallas was -7 with a total of 50.5 earlier in the week at DraftKings. As of Saturday, it was Dallas -4 but with a total of 53.5.

Here are this week’s games, with the spreads from DraftKings.


(All times Eastern)

  • Buffalo at Miami, 1:00 p.m. (+5.5)
  • San Francisco at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. (+7)
  • Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m. (-1.5)
  • Denver at Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m. (-7)
  • Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1:00 p.m. (-8.5)
  • New York Giants at Chicago, 1:00 p.m. (-5.5)
  • Minnesota at Indianapolis, 1:00 p.m. (-3)
  • Washington at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. (-7)
  • Atlanta at Dallas, 1:00 p.m. (-4)
  • Detroit at Green Bay, 1:00 p.m. (-6.5)
  • Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1:00 p.m. (-7.5)
  • Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. (+8.5)
  • Baltimore at Houston, 4:25 p.m. (+7.5)

Sunday night

  • New England at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. (-4)

Monday night

  • New Orleans at Las Vegas, 8:15 p.m. (+5.5)