The 3 Most Popular NFL Bets for Week 6
This past week, two of the public's top three bets hit. Against the Chicago Bears, the Oakland Raiders again hit the over when the public went under, but New England covered their big spread against Washington while the Arizona Cardinals got their first win on the road versus the Cincinnati Bengals.
Heading into the sixth weekend of the season, we got things started on Thursday with the Patriots taking down the New York Giants by 21 and paying out the 88% who laid the 16.5 points on the home team and the 78% that took them outright. The game also stayed below the 56-point total, which benefited the 50% that bet the under as opposed to the half who were on the over.
Sunday and Monday provide plenty more opportunity to get in on the action at FanDuel Sportsbook. This week, we have 13 games on tap, including seven with a spread shorter than a field goal.
But which games and lines are getting the most action? Thanks to numberFire's new oddsFire tool, we can see exactly that -- where the public is laying the most bets and what percentage of money is on which team and which side of the total.
Using oddsFire as our guide, let's dive into the three lines (one spread, one moneyline, one over/under) getting the most love with the goal of deciding whether the numbers support or contradict the public's heavy investment.
In Cleveland, we'll get one team on the up against one team the public has seemingly given up on. The former, the Seattle Seahawks, are led by the dazzling MVP-like play of Russell Wilson while the latter, the Cleveland Browns, are struggling under the direction of a floundering Baker Mayfield. So naturally, everyone and their brother is on the 'Hawks.
At this point in time, Seattle is drawing 94% of the bets and 92% of the money on the spread line, which now sits at 1.5 after opening at 1.0. The lack of a discrepancy gives us no hint of smart money on the home Browns, but they have given little reason for optimism.
After five weeks, Cleveland is 26th in our team power rankings, positioning them a whole 12 spots back of 14th-ranked Seattle. A big reason for that is the combination of the Browns' pass blocking and Mayfield's slow release time, which has yielded a 7.7% adjusted sack rate (tied for 19th). But Seattle has just a 5.6% adjusted sack rate on the road.
The Browns' play at home isn't very encouraging at first glance, either. Since the beginning of last season, they are 5-4-1 straight up and 5-5 against the spread at FirstEnergy Stadium. However, according to Killer Sports, they are 4-3 against the spread as home 'dogs and 3-2-1 in those they have gotten four or fewer points. In that same time, Seattle is 5-3-2 away from the Link, but they have only been favored three times -- and they've bested the points only once.
Recency bias is really feeding into all the Seattle love, but recent history actually gives a slight edge to Mayfield and company. We'll have to see if there is a correction in the lead-up to Sunday's game.
Like Seattle/Cleveland, this matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings projects to be a good one. The spread is three points in the home team's favor, and both teams figure to compete for a top spot in the NFC playoffs. But oddly enough, the visiting Eagles are drawing the wide majority of bets (96%) and money (93%) on the moneyline.
There is more value on Philadelphia than when the oddsmakers first released the lines. The Eagles have gone from +139 to +146 to win outright with the Vikings at -168. Are the Eagles, in fact, the better play?
Going back to when Doug Pederson came aboard back in 2016, Philadelphia is 12-15 on the road. In that sample, though, they are 4-2 in their last six away games and 3-1 in their last four as road underdogs. When the spread's within three, they are 3-2 in those situations.
Meanwhile, the Vikings are 31-13 at home under coach Mike Zimmer; 27-5 as favorites. Since bringing Kirk Cousins on, Minnesota is 7-3 at home and 7-2 as home favorites. In games with shorter than a one-score line, they are 4-1.
For the second time, it would appear that the public is slightly off here. While there is some understandable value, the Vikings are a tough team to beat up at U.S. Bank Stadium, and it looks like Cousins and the passing game are back on track. If you have yet to lay down your bets, it would be best to zig while everyone else is zagging in this spot.
In sticking with exciting games with short betting line, the 3-2 Houston Texans are four-point road 'dogs on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, fresh off their first loss of the season. Oh -- and, ya know -- we get a matchup between two of the youngest and more exciting quarterbacks in the league in Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.
It is worth noting that Mahomes is a bit banged up and could be without one or both of his top receivers. Tyreek Hill has continued to be limited in practice and Sammy Watkins has failed to practice all week. It seems more likely that Hill is back out on the field at Arrowhead, but if both are out this could play a part in limiting the amount of points scored -- at least on the Chiefs' end.
It could be for that reason that we have seen the total drop by half a point since opening at 55.5 despite the public piling up 84% of the bets and 76% of the moneyline on the over. Watson and Mahomes owners, as well as DFS regulars, are all hoping as much.
So far this season, the Texans and Chiefs have watched their games go a combined 5-5 between the over and under. They average 26.2 and 29.6 points per game, and their defenses give up 22.0 and 22.6. That's a good recipe for a high-scoring game, and when you consider games with these large totals the over has fared surprisingly well. Last week's Chiefs/Colts game had just 32 points (23 short of the 55 total), but going back to 2017, the over has won out at a 59.1% rate in 23 games.
The public seems to be on the money here. And I think I speak for all football fans when I say, "Let's hope so."