NFL Super Wild Card Weekend odds proved a wild card, indeed.
Underdogs actually had their day — or two days, as it were — which was generally good for the bookmakers. As a whole, dogs barked, going 4-1 against the spread (ATS).
But not necessarily in all instances. Such as the one that involved the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history.
Let’s dive into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ amazing rally and the rest of the NFL betting weekend that was.
The Los Angeles Chargers took full advantage of Jags QB Trevor Lawrence throwing four first-half interceptions Saturday night. L.A. built a 27-0 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half, and it seemed the game was all but over.
John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, certainly didn’t foresee what was about to happen.
“I’m running all the scenarios when it was 27-0. We were gonna win a huge number on the Chargers, especially if they covered the Jaguars teasers,” Murray said.
Teaser plays are somewhat similar to parlays, except bettors can add 6 points to the spread for the underdog or subtract 6 points for the favorite. In the Chargers-Jags game, that generally meant taking the Jaguars from 2.5-point underdogs up to +8.5, which was a popular play. Jacksonville moneyline was also popular.
But in a 27-0 hole, it didn’t appear Jacksonville would be covering any number, let alone winning outright. However, the Jaguars got a TD late in the second quarter to pull within 27-7, then continued chipping away in the second half.
Bolstered by late Chargers penalties and a missed L.A. field goal, the Jaguars ultimately pulled off a stunning 31-30 victory.
“The Chargers end up not even winning the game outright. It was terrible for us,” Murray said. “It’s a good lesson, though. In the NFL, you can never be ahead by enough.”
However, betting from one sportsbook to another often differs. BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott said Trevor Lawrence & Co. bailed water for his shop on Saturday night.
“It saved the day,” Scott said Sunday morning. “It was a very small winner, but it also killed plenty of parlays.”
The Miami Dolphins, 14-point road underdogs against the Buffalo Bills, were expected to take a beating Sunday and head home to South Beach. And it looked as if that’s exactly what would happen, with Buffalo charging to a 17-0 lead by early in the second quarter.
But Josh Allen then got a little case of Trevor Lawrence-itis and threw two INTs, leading directly to 11 second-quarter points that helped Miami tie the game at 17. The Bills snuck into halftime with a 20-17 edge, but it was game on from there.
Buffalo barely survived unheralded rookie QB Skylar Thompson and Miami, with the Bills winning 34-31. It was another underdog cover, though, and, in this case, it blew up teasers too, which bookmakers gladly accepted.
“We had a lot of Dolphins money on straight bets. But all the parlays and teasers to the Bills overtook that. So it was a good result for us,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said.
Prior to the Dolphins-Bills clash, Scott had this to say:
“This will be our biggest liability of the NFL season to date.”
And that liability was fully on the Bills. So bettors took it on the chin there.
Bengals Barely Rebuff Baltimore
The Cincinnati Bengals closed as an 8.5-point home favorite at FOX Bet in the Sunday night game. There were two outcomes strongly preferred by Andrews and his South Point risk team.
“We either need a Baltimore Ravens outright win or the Bengals to blow them out. One of the two,” Andrews said beforehand.
With the game tied at 17 — in a far better matchup than anticipated, with the Ravens still minus QB Lamar Jackson — the Bengals stepped up with a backbreaker for Baltimore. Facing third-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Ravens QB Tyler Huntley tried to leap and reach the ball over the goal line.
Instead, he fumbled, and Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard pulled off a 98-yard scoop-and-score. That proved to be the winning margin in a 24-17 Cincy victory. Which was the one outcome Andrews really didn’t want: a Bengals win and a Ravens cover.
So the bettors — and particularly the sharp bettors — got a W in that one.
“The sharpest guys took 9.5 and 9 with the Ravens. And even at 8.5 and 8, the sharper money [was] on Baltimore,” Andrews said.
Buccaneers upset Cowboys in Nick Wright’s picks entering the NFL Playoffs
Nick Wright reveals his picks for Wild Card Weekend, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover vs. Dallas Cowboys.
Monday Night Decides It All
The betting public — all those recreational bettors who like taking favorites and Overs in the NFL — got Super Wild Card Weekend off to a strong start.
The San Francisco 49ers, 9-point home favorites against the Seattle Seahawks, actually found themselves trailing 17-16 at halftime. But rookie QB Brock Purdy & Co. then scored the next 25 points and rolled to a 41-23 win and cover. Even with the Jags’ wild result proving good for BetMGM, the 49ers’ win still had bettors out in front of Scott’s shop.
However, all three underdogs covered Sunday. Along with aforementioned Miami and Baltimore, the New York Giants — 2.5-point ‘dogs at Minnesota — won outright 31-24.
“It’s a tie going into Monday Night Football on Super Wild Card Weekend,” Scott said, likening it to a boxing match. “Bettors won Saturday on points, books win Sunday on points. The decider is Monday. There are plenty of Cowboys moneyline parlays to duck.”
Late Sunday night, the Cowboys were 2.5-point favorites at most books, after opening -3 and even -3.5 at some spots back on Jan. 8. Bettors are certainly enthused by Tom Brady and the Bucs as home underdogs.
Particularly sharp bettors.
“We took some really sharp play on the Bucs,” Murray said, noting The SuperBook opened this game higher than most sportsbooks, at Cowboys -3.5. “The sharps were happy to take 3.5 and happy to take 3 with the Bucs. But I do think we’ll see some public support for Dallas.”
Caesars Sports reported one big bet thus far on Cowboys-Bucs: $110,000 on Under 45.5.
Speaking of major wagers …
I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie
One high roller at Caesars got almost the worst of the Ravens-Bengals spread and still nearly cashed the ticket. The bettor put $880,000 on Baltimore +6.5 early in the week, perhaps expecting that Lamar Jackson would be under center.
By Thursday, when it was clear Jackson wouldn’t play, the line got as high as Ravens +10. Ultimately it dialed down to +7.5/+8, and Baltimore fell 24-17 — leaving that bettor a half-point short of pushing and 1 point from a big cashout. And it took that crazy 98-yard fumble return to lose the bet.
Other big plays at Caesars:
- $250,000 Jaguars moneyline +100 vs. Chargers (win)
- $330,000 Bills -13 vs. Dolphins (loss)
- $110,000 Seahawks-49ers Under 43 (loss)
And from BetMGM over the weekend:
- $500,000 Seahawks +10.5 (-125) at 49ers (loss)
- $550,000 Chargers-Jags Under 47.5 (loss)
In fact, the Over is 5-0 so far on Super Wild Card Weekend, with first-half Overs going 4-1. Seems like Cowboys-Bucs — with a total of 45.5 — should be due for some regression to the mean. But then, it also seemed as if the Chargers should’ve been a mortal lock to win and cover.
Speaking of the Chargers, some bettors turned a little into a lot by playing Jaguars in-game moneyline after Jacksonville fell into that big hole against the Chargers. A sampling:
- $443 Jaguars in-game moneyline +2250, to win $9,967.50 at Hard Rock Sportsbook
- $1,500 Jags in-game moneyline +800, to win $12,000 at Hard Rock
- $10,000 (OK, that’s not exactly a little, but …) Jags in-game moneyline +750, to win $75,000 at Caesars Sports
Here’s hoping Cowboys-Bucs is as riveting as pretty much the rest of Super Wild Card Weekend. Keep it reasonable. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Enjoy Monday night!
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
Top stories from FOX Sports:
Download the FOX Super 6 app for your chance to win thousands of dollars on the biggest sporting events each and every week! Just make your picks and you could win the grand prize. Download and play today!
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more