NFL midseason betting report: Biggest bets, worst losses and more


Nine weeks into the NFL season, every team has played at least half of its schedule. There are plenty of uncertainties, but one thing is clear: The betting public is not off to a good start.

"The Bears and the Browns had the most tickets to win the championship prior to the season," Jason McCormick, sportsbook director for Station Casinos in Nevada, noted in an email to ESPN. "[They've] combined to go 5-11 so far."

In September, Nevada's bookmakers won $39 million on football. It was the books' fifth-best month on record.

Nationwide, sportsbooks have suffered only one losing week -- two at the very most -- on the NFL. For bettors, there is room for improvement as they head into the second half of the season.

In our midseason look, we check out the biggest bets, best and worst games for the books and more.

Stats from the first nine weeks of the 2019 season, unless otherwise noted.

Books' biggest wins and losses

• More money was bet on the Patriots-Ravens game Sunday night than was bet on any other game this season at Caesars Sportsbook in Nevada. The betting handle (amount wagered) on Patriots-Ravens was 20% greater than the handle on any other game this season, according to Caesars Sportsbook director of trading Jeff Davis. Patriots-Ravens in Week 9 also attracted more money and more bets than any other game at DraftKings sportsbook.

• More bets have been placed and more money has been staked on the Patriots than on any other team at DraftKings sportsbook. The Patriots are 6-3 ATS.

• More bets were placed on the Packers in their Week 9 game against the Chargers than were placed on any other team in any other game at Station Casinos sportsbook. The Chargers upset the Packers as 4-point underdogs, producing the largest win on a single game for MGM sportsbook in Nevada so far this season.

• The three costliest games for bookmaker PointsBet USA so far:

Week 1: Ravens 59, Dolphins 10
Spread: Ravens -7
Decision: -$734,000

Week 3: Packers 27, Broncos 16
Spread: Packers -7
Decision: -$305,000

Week 1: Packers 10, Bears 3
Spread: Packers -3
Decision: -$269,000

• At The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, more money was bet on the Week 9 Jets-Dolphins game than any other game so far. The handle on Jets-Dolphins was bolstered by two large bets on the total: $100,000 on the over (full game) and $50,000 on the over in the first half. Both were winners. "The Jets-Dolphins was our largest single-game loss of the season," said Tom Gable, sportsbook director for The Borgata.

• The San Francisco 49ers (8-0) are the only team to have reached its season-win total by this point in the season.

• The Colts' Week 5 upset of the Chiefs produced the biggest win of the season for Caesars Sportsbook and FanDuel.

• Caesars Sportsbook's largest loss came in Week 2, when the Browns won and covered in a 23-3 rout of the Jets. The Browns' win over the Jets also produced FanDuel's costliest game of the season so far.

• More money has been wagered on Ezekiel Elliot than on any other player at PrizePicks.com, a site that offers prop bets on the over/under on fantasy points players will score.

Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. have exceeded the over/under on fantasy points at PrizePicks.com only once this season.

Longest shots

• The player prop with the longest odds to cash at FanDuel in the first half of the season was the result of two quarterbacks not necessarily known for their mobility. Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady each bested 100-1 odds by rushing for two touchdowns in a game.

In Week 3, Jones scored on a pair of 7-yard runs, including the winning touchdown with 1:16 to play in a thrilling 32-31 comeback win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A bettor at FanDuel won $2,500 on his 1,000-1 bet on Jones to rush for more than 1.5 scores.

Three weeks later, Brady did the same against the Giants, scoring on two quarterback sneaks in the Patriots' 35-14 win. A bettor at FanDuel had $60 on Brady at 1,000-1 odds and won $6,000.

No sweat

• The Ravens (-7) covered the spread by 42 points in a Week 1 59-10 thrashing of the Dolphins. That is the most points by which a team has covered the spread this season and the sixth-largest cover in any game in the last 10 seasons.

• Week 1 also featured the games that went under the total by the most points, with the Packers beating the Bears 10-3. The total was 49.

• In Week 5, the Texans beat the Falcons 53-32, eclipsing the total (49) by 36 points, the most a game has gone over the total so far this season.

Biggest bets at the books

• On Sunday, Nov. 3, a bettor in New Jersey placed a series of large bets totaling more than $1.3 million online with bookmaker William Hill. Here is the timeline of the bets provided by William Hill:

11:40 p.m. ET: $356,500 on Steelers -1 (-115), won a net $310,155

12:56 p.m. ET: $57,500 on Steelers -1 (-115), won a net $50,000

4:09 p.m. ET: $385,000 on Chargers +4 (-110), won a net $350,000

4:30 p.m. ET: $57,500 on Chargers +3.5 (-115) in-play, won a net $50,000

4:32 p.m. ET: $57,500 on Chargers +3.5 (-115) on in-play, won a net $50,000

5:03 p.m. ET: $440,000 on Ravens +3 (-110), won a net $400,000

Final tally: $1,354,000 wagered, $1,210,155 net profit

• The $440,000 bet on the Ravens was the largest single wager so far this season for William Hill in New Jersey.

• Earlier in the season, William Hill took a pair of bets from a New Jersey customer totaling $506,000 on the Browns +3.5 against the Rams. The Rams won and covered in a 20-13 victory in Week 3. The same bettor battled back the following week, winning with a $275,000 bet on the Eagles +4 over the Green Bay Packers.

• In Week 7, Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology reported taking a pair of money-line bets on the Chicago Bears to beat the New Orleans Saints, totaling $540,000 to win a net $227,000. The Saints won 36-25.

• In Week 8, a bettor at FanDuel hit a $95,000 two-team money-line parlay on the Rams over the Bengals (-700) and Colts over the Broncos (-250) that paid $152,000.

• Largest successful parlay payout at PointsBet USA: a two-team money-line parlay at -128 odds on the Packers and 49ers in Week 3 that paid $304,000.

Books are winning

• Sportsbook PointsBet, which operates primarily in New Jersey, had a memorable start to its first season booking the NFL in the U.S. The book lost seven figures in Week 1. "Since then, we've taken a few additional lumps and have paid out a handful of bit bets but have otherwise had a solid season and are trending back in the right direction," PointBet's Matt Chaprales told ESPN.

• "Handle is down a little year over year, but hold percentage is up," John Murray, executive director for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN. "Increased competition both in Nevada and out of state and some lighter betting from a couple of our biggest customers had led to the decrease in handle. But I will say the majority of the handle we are missing this season is from sharper customers, so it's not a coincidence that our hold percentage is up. We really only had one bad weekend, and we had a great October and are off to a very good start in November. I have no NFL complaints, other than the officiating."

• The SuperBook offered a prop bet on "Will the Patriots go 16-0?" this season. Out of the first 148 bets, 143 were on "Yes." The Patriots lost to the Ravens in Week 9.

Road teams dominating in the NFL

• Road teams went 75-57-3 ATS, covering the number in 56.8% of games. It's the best covering performance by visitors through nine weeks in at least the past 15 seasons -- despite road teams going 1-12 ATS in Week 9.

• Road teams own a plus-46 point differential through nine weeks, the highest in the Super Bowl era. Visitors are plus-94 in second halves through nine weeks, also the highest in the Super Bowl era, per ESPN Stats & Information.

• According to the betting market, there were 50 upsets in the first nine weeks, a high but not abnormal amount. In 2016, for example, there were 55 upsets through nine weeks, the most in that time period in the past 15 seasons.

• Underdogs went 73-58-3 ATS, covering the number in 55.7% of games. It was the third-best covering performance by underdogs in the first nine weeks the past 15 seasons, behind only that of 2012 and 2010, according to sports betting database BetLabsSports.com. In the second halves of the 2010 and 2012 seasons, underdogs went a combined 114-131-5 ATS.

• The Saints and Rams have the best ATS marks at this point, at 6-2. The Falcons, Browns, Bears, Jets and Buccaneers have the worst ATS records, at 2-6.

• There were 65 overs and 69 unders.

• The Panthers, Buccaneers and Lions have been the best over teams, each at 6-2. The Chargers have been the best under team, at 2-7.