Amid their ascendance toward the top of the NFL with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs have been a very popular team among bettors.
During their march to the Super Bowl in 2019, the Chiefs amassed an excellent 13-5-1 record against the spread, including a streak of nine consecutive games without an ATS loss to close out the year.
That hot ATS streak carried into 2020, with the Chiefs opening the year with a 6-2 record against the number. Since then, though, things have gone downhill from a bettor’s perspective.
Since the Chiefs covered as 19.5-point favorites over the New York Jets on Nov. 1, 2020, they have gone 2-13-1 against the spread. The only two times they covered the spread were last week in a 42-30 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and in last year’s AFC Championship Game victory over the Buffalo Bills.
The Chiefs were favorites in all but one of those games — a Week 17 game where they rested their starters — and the public has continued to bet heavily on the Chiefs every week despite the horrid results.
But that changed this weekend.
The Chiefs were favorites at home on Sunday night against the Bills in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game. The line opened at Chiefs -3, but dropped to -2.5 as money — both public and sharp — poured in on the Bills. As of Sunday morning, 63% of the bets and 70% of the money at BetMGM was on the Bills covering the spread.
Bills backers proved to be correct as Josh Allen and company cruised to a 38-20 victory.
The Bills-Chiefs game was the most-bet game of Week 5 and the Bills covering turned out to be a big loser for the sportsbook.
“The lone underdog winner for the public was the Bills beating the Chiefs,” Jeff Stoneback, the director of trading for BetMGM, told Yahoo Sports.
The Chiefs, now 2-3 on the year, opened as 6.5-point favorites on the road against the Washington Football Team in Week 6. Will the public stay away? Or will they hop right back on the Kansas City bandwagon. The books are almost certainly hoping for the latter.
Packers-Bengals chaos is big loss for book
The public loves favorites, and the public favorite plays cleaned up in Week 5.
The Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals all attracted at least 70% of the bets at BetMGM and covered the spread comfortably.
Another public favorite that covered the spread was the Green Bay Packers. In the second-most bet game of the day, the Packers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 25-22 in overtime in what was easily the wildest game of the day.
The Packers opened as 3.5-point favorites, but the early sharp money was on the Bengals as home underdogs. That moved the line under a field goal, and the public was all over the Packers at -2.5.
The game was a close one. Trailing 22-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Bengals embarked on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. They eventually tied the score at 22-22 on a Joe Mixon touchdown run and two-point conversion with 3:27 to play.
Before the end of regulation, there were three missed field goals. Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed from 36 at the 2:14 mark, Cincinnati’s Evan McPherson narrowly missed from 57 at the 26-second mark, and then Crosby missed again from 51 as time expired.
In overtime, both Crosby and McPherson would miss again, making it five consecutive missed field goals. Eventually, Crosby ended it by connecting from 49 yards out with 1:55 left in overtime to give Green Bay a 25-22 win.
The Packers winning by three points was the worst possible outcome for the sportsbook.
“Packers over the Bengals was a big winner for the public. Early money — sharp money — came in on the +3.5 on the Bengals. And then the public came in on the Packers -2.5, so we lost. We got middled on that game. Everybody won there except the book,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.
Bettor wins $200K on the Lions
There were only three winners on the day for the house: the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles winning outright as road underdogs, and the Detroit Lions covering the spread vs. the Minnesota Vikings as 10-point underdogs.
One BetMGM customer was all over the Lions as double-digit dogs on the road. This bettor wagered $230,000 on the Lions +10.5 and won $200,000.
The Lions nearly won outright, but lost another heartbreaker when Minnesota’s Greg Joseph hit a walk-off 54-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 19-17 win.
The Vikings led 16-6 with 4:28 to play, but the Lions managed to kick a field goal at the 2:30 mark and then go ahead with a touchdown and two-point conversion with just 37 seconds left in regulation. But it wasn’t enough.
The Lions dropped to 0-5 with the loss but are 3-2 against the spread.
Jets-Falcons bad beat in London
If you bet on the under in the New York Jets vs. Atlanta Falcons game in London, you started your Sunday with a bad beat.
For most of the week, the total was either 45 or 45.5 points. The Falcons maintained a 20-9 lead for much of the second half and the under seemed safe — until it wasn’t.
The Jets scored and converted a two-point conversion with 6:55 to go, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 20-17. The Falcons then responded with a scoring drive of their own to make the lead 27-17 with 2:19 to play.
That created drama for both the total and the point spread. The Jets closed at +3, and both Jets backers and under bettors would end up unhappy.
The Jets were able to move into Atlanta territory, but rookie quarterback Zach Wilson took a bad sack on a second-and-10 play from the Falcons’ 14-yard line. The Jets lost 17 yards on the play, so coach Robert Saleh sent the field goal unit out on third-and-27 with just 22 seconds remaining.
The Jets needed two scores anyway, so he decided he might as well get the three points now and then try for an onside kick. Matt Ammendola connected from 49 yards out, cutting the Falcons lead to 27-20 and putting the game over the 45.5 points.
The subsequent onside kick was recovered by the Falcons and the game went final: Falcons 27, Jets 20.
That’s a tough one.