NFL Inception: NFC South, West Make Solid Week for Oddsmakers
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | Dec. 6, 2012
An exiting weekend made tough wagers for football bettors.
There was a time when Week 13 was just another NFL Sunday, but fantasy sports and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell changed all that.
Week 13 in the NFL today is the last week before fantasy football playoffs kick off. It’s also when Goodell’s plan for more late-season division matchups blossoms. The combination made for one of the most exciting weeks of football in recent memory. The problem is the excitement didn’t hedge in bettors’ favor.
Our top Week 13 wagers begin with an NFC South battle between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons in Thursday Night Football. Despite an impressive 10-1 record the Falcons were just -3 (-130) favorites versus the 5-6 Saints. It was a low spread for Atlanta, likely because they were 0-2-1 in their last three games against the spread. However, a large enough audience (45%) still wagered on the Saints at +3 (+110), which was a win for the Bovada Sportsbook.
Unfortunately for bettors Saints quarterback Drew Brees wasn’t close to his dominant self against Atlanta. He threw five interceptions, the most in his NFL career, and failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 54 games. With Brees having a bad night even a solid effort from the New Orleans defense had little impact. The final score was 23-13 for Atlanta.
Where funds really shifted in Bovada’s favor were
With Seattle starting rookie QB Russell Wilson, bettors expected another victory for Chicago. Sixty-eight percent took the Bears ATS; another 84% took Chicago on the -170 moneyline. What players didn’t expect was a breakout performance from Wilson. Wilson led the Seahawks to an overtime victory with 293 passing yards, two touchdowns and 71 rushing yards. The performance makes it undeniable that the 2012 NFL Draft has three superstar QBs in the making. With Seattle’s ATS record at 8-4, we don’t expect bettors to doubt them again.
The St. Louis Rams were the other NFC West squad that cost bettors money. The Rams were 7.5 point home underdogs versus division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. San Fran is one of the best teams in football, but a couple of things foreshadowed the possibility of a St. Louis cover. One is head coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher was notorious in his 16 years with the Tennessee Titans for helping his less-talented teams overachieve. Leading into the game, the Rams were 7-4 ATS.
The second was the 24-24 tie from the Rams and 49ers Week 10 meeting. The Rams covered the 13.5-point spread on the road, and would’ve won straight up if not for a missed overtime field goal by its kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Despite Week 10, 78% believed things would be different for the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick under center. Another 86% bet on the 49ers’ -400 moneyline. After the first quarter San Francisco took an early 7-0 lead to give bettors hope. However from that score on, the Rams defense tightened up, allowing St. Louis to hang around. A brutal fourth-quarter play call caused a 49ers fumble and tied the game at 10. Back-and-forth field goals forced overtime. With +7.5 odds, overtime meant the game was already over for those who bet the 49ers ATS. The Rams sealed bettors’ fate with a game-winning field goal from Zuerlein, the goat from Week 10. The final score was 16-13 for the Rams.
What should bettors take from such a wild Week 13? Down the stretch anything can happen, especially when division rivals are involved.