How’s that for drama? One of the most exciting finishes of this season highlighted a consequential week for the NFL and for bettors. Here are five betting takeaways from Week 10.
Cardinals win thriller vs. Bills
Where were you when DeAndre Hopkins made that catch? It’s one of those plays that will be etched in the memories of NFL fans – and bettors – for years.
For those who bought the Bills early as 2-point underdogs, Sunday’s contest was hard to stomach after Buffalo had seemingly iced the game with 34 seconds left. Instead, on the final play from scrimmage, Kyler Murray worked his magic as seemingly only he can:
Then came the extra point, which will arguably be just as memorable for anyone who had the Cardinals -2.5/-3. Instead of booting it through the uprights, Arizona kneeled on the extra-point try to prevent any craziness from the Bills’ defense, abruptly halting any celebration from those who thought the Cardinals’ miracle heave meant their own miracle win.
From a futures perspective, there isn’t much to glean from this. Both defenses still have some work to do, but both offenses should feel good about Sunday’s effort, which leaves each side in at least a split of their respective division leads through 10 weeks.
Injuries shake up NFC South race
The Saints (-9.5) took care of business against the 49ers, but it may have come at a cost. Drew Brees was pulled at halftime of Sunday’s 27-13 win after injuring his ribs on a hit from 287-pound lineman Kentavius Street, and he watched the second half from the sidelines as Jameis Winston struggled in his first extended action since signing with the team this summer.
Brees could be out for an extended period due to five fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. New Orleans survived an extended absence from Brees a year ago when Teddy Bridgewater guided the team to a 5-0 record, and upcoming games against the Falcons and Broncos suggest the Saints could be fine this time, too. Still, they can ill afford to slip up with just a half-game lead in the NFC South.
Speaking of Bridgewater, the Panthers quarterback also left early in Sunday’s 46-23 loss to the Buccaneers (-6), though he’s considered day-to-day with an MCL sprain; he could even suit up this week against the Lions. His absence wouldn’t have as dramatic of an effect on the league – Carolina is 3-7 and is a long shot to make the playoffs – but his health is still significant for one of the more intriguing teams to bet each week.
Ravens stumble on SNF
Is there something wrong in Baltimore? The Ravens have only lost three games this year – with two coming against the top two seeds in the AFC – but Sunday’s loss to the Patriots (+7) is a jarring result that puts a bigger spotlight on this team’s inability to score points.
A year after leading the NFL with 33.2 points per game, Baltimore’s offense has scored 17 points in consecutive contests and has scored more than three touchdowns in a game just twice this season. The Ravens rank 21st in yards per play (5.5) and 28th in first downs per game (19.7), and their inability to find traction in the passing game should concern anyone eyeing their Super Bowl odds (+1200).
Meanwhile, the Steelers (+550) have now built a three-game divisional lead – plus a tiebreaker – heading into the final seven weeks. We’ve detailed Pittsburgh’s offensive concerns in detail, but there’s no denying this team’s upside amid a 9-0 start after Sunday’s blowout win over the Bengals (+7). That’s trouble for the Ravens, whose lofty goals of earning another first-round bye have all but evaporated.
Dolphins keep hot streak alive
Trivia time: Which NFL team has the longest active winning streak against the spread? Sure enough, it’s the Dolphins, who built an early lead over the Chargers (+2) and never relinquished it in Sunday’s 29-21 victory, extending their winning streak to five games straight up and ATS.
Miami followed a similar script to its previous wins. It didn’t ask too much from Tua Tagovailoa (169 yards, two touchdowns), who became only the third quarterback since 1950 to throw for at least five touchdowns with zero interceptions over his first three starts. Instead, the Dolphins relied on their chaotic defense, which forced Justin Herbert into arguably his worst game as a pro.
The best part for bettors is that this team is just getting started. Miami faces the Broncos, Jets, and Bengals over the next three weeks and could easily be undervalued in all three games. We’ve been riding this train for weeks, but it’s not too late to hop aboard.
Russ loses grip on MVP race
For weeks, this year’s MVP award looked like Russell Wilson’s to lose. He may have finally lost it Sunday.
The Seahawks quarterback had his worst game in two years in a 23-16 loss to the Rams (-2.5), whose defense held him to 248 passing yards with two interceptions, a fumble, and zero touchdowns. It’s Wilson’s third multi-interception game in the last four weeks, all in losses, and his 10 interceptions trail only Carson Wentz through the first 10 weeks.
Wilson is now +280 to win the award, second behind Patrick Mahomes (+175), and a tick ahead of Aaron Rodgers (+300). If Wilson is outdueled by Murray (+800) in Thursday night’s clash with the Cardinals, it could be hard for him to make up ground in the final five weeks.