We’ve reached the midway point of the 2021 NFL campaign. Four teams are on a bye: the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Houston Texans. Here are three interesting trends to considering.
Sportsbooks lose money when the favorites around the NFL dominate and cover the spread. For a three-week stretch in October, the public was cashing in big time as favorites covered consistently. That’s changed over the past two weeks, with underdogs flipping the script. A whopping seven won in Week 9, increasing the total of outright underdog victories to 55 through nine weeks.
Additionally, the final perfect team against the spread fell. The Dallas Cowboys had covered in every game and were looking to join the 2007 Patriots as the second team this century to start a season 8-0 ATS. But Denver clobbered Dallas in Week 9 with the Cowboys slotted in as 10-point favorites.
Meanwhile, the league’s worst ATS record entering Week 10 is Washington at 1-7.
Here’s a look at three NFL betting trends to consider this week.
Saints vs. Titans Trend: New Orleans is 8-0-1 ATS over its past nine as an underdog
In addition to being 8-0-1 over their past nine as an underdog, the Saints are 3-0 ATS overall this season, though all three of those ATS wins came with Jameis Winston at quarterback. He suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8, but the Saints still managed to cover as dogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Trevor Siemian started in Week 9, and the Saints lost as nearly touchdown home favorites against the Atlanta Falcons.
Will it be Siemian (who spent some time with the Titans in 2020) or Taysom Hill starting under center this week in Nashville? Head coach Sean Payton hasn’t said yet, but this matchup could set up well for New Orleans regardless. It’s a short week for the Titans after playing in Los Angeles on Sunday night in Week 9 and shocking the Rams, and then flying back across the country.
Few thought Tennessee would win in L.A. without superstar running back Derrick Henry, who’s likely out for the season. And the Titans’ offense did squat without Henry, totaling 194 yards. The defense won that matchup while picking off Matthew Stafford twice and returning one interception for a touchdown.
Tennessee might not know how to act as a favorite, as it’s won four straight as an underdog. A natural letdown game could be coming after wins over Buffalo, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and the L.A. Rams.
Verdict: Saints +3, will hope for +3.5 (-110) ★★★
SEE ALSO: Week 10 Opening Lines and Picks
Lions vs. Steelers Trend: Pittsburgh is 0-7 ATS in its past seven at home as a favorite
The Steelers were 7-point home favorites on Monday while being very fortunate to beat the Chicago Bears 29-27 on Chris Boswell’s 40-yard field goal with 26 seconds left. Pittsburgh nearly blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead at home and lost for the first time.
The referees gave Pittsburgh that game with some highly questionable calls in the team’s favor. The Bears aren’t good offensively, yet they managed 414 yards while the Steelers registered only 280 yards against a Chicago defense missing two of its best players in Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson.
It’s a short week for Pittsburgh, while winless Detroit enters off its bye week and is getting back top offensive tackle Taylor Decker from the injured reserve. The Lions weren’t competitive in their most recent game, losing 44-6 to the Eagles. But six of their eight losses have come by fewer than 10 points.
This smells like a huge trap game for head coach Mike Tomlin’s club. The Lions won’t end their 12-game losing streak, but Pittsburgh shouldn’t be -9 against any club right now.
Verdict: Lions +9 (-110) ★★★
Jaguars vs. Colts Trend: Jacksonville is 10-1-1 ATS over the past 12 in series
For whatever reason, some teams simply play other squads well every year, even with different players, coaching staffs, etc. That’s the case in the AFC South rivalry between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.
The Jaguars have logged three wins since the start of the 2020 campaign, and one came in that year’s season opener against the Colts – although Philip Rivers was Indy’s quarterback then, not Carson Wentz. Jacksonville might be playing with some confidence right now too after winning two of its past three games. It was a 15-point home dog in Week 9 and shocked Buffalo 9-6. Maybe Urban Meyer will become a good NFL coach after all.
Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence suffered an ankle injury in that victory, but he’s expected to play in Indianapolis. As is top running back James Robinson, who sat against the Bills with a heel injury.
The Colts will be coming off of their mini bye week after defeating the Jets on Thursday in Week 9. Indianapolis has scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games for the first time since 2010, but Jacksonville’s improving defense is fresh off sacking Bills quarterback Josh Allen four times, registering eight quarterback hits, and six tackles for a loss.
It would be easy for Indianapolis to look past Jacksonville and toward a Week 11 playoff rematch in Buffalo.
Verdict: Jaguars +10.5 (-110) ★★★
Picks made 11/9/2021 at 11:56 a.m. ET