NFL Odds: How Pro Bettors Are Affecting Patriots-Chargers Spread

The Patriots could be a smart play this weekend


Oct 27, 2021

It was a mixed bag for NFL Week 7 bettors as favorites went 8-5 straight up but dogs went 7-6 against the spread. Dogs improved slightly to 58-49 (54.2%) on the season. One big takeaway was double-digit favorites going 2-1 ATS.

Casual bettors often fall into the trap of seeing a big number and saying “that’s a lot of points, the dog has to cover.” But that gambler’s fallacy approach can be dangerous. We’ve actually seen double-digit favorites go 8-3 ATS (73%) this season. This doesn’t mean lay the chalk with every big number. However, don’t just blindly take the dog because “it’s a lot of points.” Take each game individually instead of betting based on generalities. 

Now we turn our attention to Week 8. Here are five games that pros are targeting.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions
This is a matchup of last-place teams desperate for a win. The Eagles (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) have dropped two straight, most recently falling to the Las Vegas Raiders 33-22 and failing to cover as 1-point road dogs. Meanwhile, the Lions (0-7 SU, 4-3 ATS) are the only winless team in the NFL. Detroit just lost to the Los Angeles Rams 28-19, although the Lions managed to cover as 16.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Philadelphia as a 3.5-point road favorite. The public sees the Eagles as the lesser of two evils and is laying the points with Philadelphia. However, we’ve seen this line fall from 3.5 to 3. This signals some respected money grabbing Detroit at home. Conference dogs +7 or less are 35-20 ATS (64%) this season. Jalen Hurts is 2-4 ATS in his career on the road and 0-2 ATS as a favorite. 

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears
These NFC opponents are looking to snap losing streaks. The 49ers (2-4 SU, 1-5 ATS) have lost four straight, including a 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, losing outright as 3.5-point home favorites. The Bears (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) have dropped two straight. Chicago just fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-3, failing to cover as a 12-point road dog. This line opened with San Francisco as a 3.5-point road favorite. The public is split down the middle. But a closer look at the line shows the Bears +3.5 being juiced up to -120, signaling liability on Chicago and a possible drop to the key number of 3. The 49ers are in the classic “Fade West Coast team going east for an early game” spot. The Bears also have buy-low value as a dog off a blowout loss of 20 points or more. Those teams are 7-4 ATS this season and roughly 58% ATS over the past decade. Pros are also leaning Under, as we’ve seen the total dip from 42.5 to 39.5. The forecast calls for 15 mph winds at Soldier Field. The Bears are 6-1 to the Under this season.

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers
These AFC teams are looking to solidify their playoff positioning. The Patriots (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) are 2-1 over their last three games and just crushed the Jets 54-13, easily covering as 7-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the Chargers (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) are coming off a bye after getting demolished by the Baltimore Ravens 34-6, failing to cover as 3-point road dogs. This line opened with Los Angeles as a 6-point home favorite. The public is happy to lay the points with Justin Herbert and Co. off a bye. However, despite this lopsided betting, we’ve seen the line fall from 6 to 5.5. This indicates some respected money coming in on Bill Belichick and the Pats plus the points, specifically at the key number of +6. Road teams that see the line stay the same or move in their favor are 41-32 ATS (56%) this season. Short road dogs +6 or less are 26-11 ATS (70%). Ron Torbert, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (58% ATS). 

Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos
These non-conference opponents have struggled mightily as of late and are looking to turn their seasons around. Washington (2-5 SU, 1-6 ATS) has dropped three straight and just fell to the Green Bay Packers 24-10, failing to cover as an 8.5-point road dog. Meanwhile, the Broncos (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) started 3-0 but have since lost four straight. Denver just lost to the Cleveland Browns 17-14, failing to cover as a 1.5-point road dog. This line opened with the Broncos as 3.5-point home favorites. Some early books opened closer to -4.5. This public sees two ice-cold teams and doesn’t know who to take. However, we’ve seen this line tumble to the key number of 3. This signals some respected money grabbing Washington plus the points. Short road dogs of +3 or less are 12-5 ATS (71%) this season. Road dogs that see the line stay the same or move in their favor are 25-17 ATS (60%). Washington also has value as a dog with a low total (43). Lower totals benefit dogs as fewer points scored makes it harder for the favorite to cover. 

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
This Sunday night matchup features two well-rested NFC opponents coming off a bye. The Cowboys (5-1 SU, 6-0 ATS) are the only NFL team to cover every game this season. In its last game, Dallas outlasted New England 35-29 in overtime, covering as a 3.5-point road favorite. Meanwhile, the Vikings (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) started 0-2 but have since gone 3-1, most recently beating the Carolina Panthers 34-28 in overtime, covering as 2.5-point road favorites. This line opened with Dallas listed as a short 1.5-point road favorite. The public is all over the Cowboys and so were early sharps, steaming Dallas up from -1.5 to -2.5. Favorites off a bye are roughly 58% ATS the last decade and road favorites off a bye roughly 66% ATS. If this line reaches the key number of 3, expect some Vikings buyback at +3. Minnesota is one of your top contrarian plays of the week. Prime-time dogs are 14-7 ATS (67%) this season. 

Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images

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