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NFL Week 5 betting roundup: Bettor loses $290K wager on Seahawks, public profiting from Jets' misery

Sam Cooper
·5-min read

Entering Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks were a perfect 4-0 against the spread so far this season. One bettor at BetMGM was hoping to capitalize on that consistency in a big way.

The Seahawks opened as 7.5-point favorites, but the line closed at -6.5 in what ended up being the most-bet game of the weekend. With the spread under a touchdown, the aforementioned bettor pounced with an enormous wager: $290,000 on the Seahawks -6.5.

Early on, the bet was not looking good. The Vikings stormed out to a 13-0 halftime lead, only to see the Seahawks score three third-quarter touchdowns in the span of 1:53 of gametime (thanks to two Kirk Cousins turnovers) to take a 21-13 lead.

Minnesota fought back, though. Cousins hit Adam Thielen for two touchdowns, one to cut the Seattle lead to 21-19 late in the third and another to put the Vikings ahead 26-21 with 7:08 left in regulation. The second Cousins-to-Thielen connection capped off an epic 15-play, 97-yard drive that took more than eight minutes off the clock and left a cover for Seahawks backers looking bleak.

Bleak, indeed. Russell Wilson threw an interception on Seattle’s next drive, but would come through in the end. After the Vikings failed on fourth-and-1 inside the Seattle 10-yard line, Wilson led a 13-play, 94-yard scoring drive in just 1:42 that was capped off by a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf with just 15 seconds left in regulation.

It was enough for a 27-26 Seahawks win, a win that improved the team to 5-0. But it wasn’t enough to cover the spread as Seattle dropped to 4-1 against the number.

Had Seattle covered, it would have yielded a $263,635 return (and a total payout of $553,635) for that bettor. Instead, it’s a $290,000 loss.

Underdogs come through for the house

Sunday was a positive day for sportsbooks with three underdogs winning outright, including the Las Vegas Raiders upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs as 10.5-point underdogs. The Miami Dolphins (+8.5 at San Francisco 49ers) and Carolina Panthers (+2.5 at Atlanta Falcons) were the other two underdogs to win outright, but the Raiders’ victory over the defending Super Bowl champions was the most impactful.

“We finally had a Sunday where we can say we had a good Sunday. The Raiders beating the Chiefs was really big,” Jeff Stoneback, Director of Trading for MGM Resorts, told Yahoo Sports. “We didn’t win a whole lot of straight bets on that game. That game opened at 12.5 and we closed it at 10.5. We did take a $100,000 bet on +10.5 right before kickoff, but that game with the teasers and parlays — we did well with the Raiders knocking all of those out. That was a big game for us.”

Other big winners of the day for MGM were the Los Angeles Rams covering the seven-point spread against Washington and the Baltimore Ravens covering 12.5 in their win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams opened at -9 but were down to -7 before kickoff, so there was significant late money that came in on Washington. There was also action on the Bengals, as that line dropped from 13.5 to 12.5.

“It’s not too many times that we’re rooting for the Ravens and the house actually wins when they cover,” Stoneback said.

Public continues to fade the Jets

The easiest NFL bets to make in 2020 have been against the New York Jets. The Jets dropped to 0-5 on Sunday with a miserable 30-10 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Not only are the Jets 0-5 overall, they are also 0-5 against the spread. And it hasn’t been particularly close in any of those games as the Jets are failing to cover the spread by an average of 12.5 points.

  • Week 1: Jets (+6.5) at Bills - Bills 27, Jets 17

  • Week 2: Jets (+7) vs. 49ers - 49ers 31, Jets 13

  • Week 3: Jets (+12.5) at Colts - Colts 36, Jets 7

  • Week 4: Jets (-1) vs. Broncos - Broncos 37, Jets 28

  • Week 5: Jets (+6.5) vs. Cardinals - Cardinals 30, Jets 10

The Cardinals’ blowout win over the Jets was one of two wins for the public at BetMGM on Sunday, Stoneback said. The other was the Cleveland Browns covering the 1-point spread over the Indianapolis Colts.

“That’s like a broken record with the Jets every week — we’re on the losing side,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports. “The Browns-Colts game was big. We opened with the Colts as a 2.5-point favorite and the Browns went to a 1-point favorite. Those were the only two bad games for us today.”

In addition to the Jets, two other NFL teams are winless against the spread in 2020: the Dallas Cowboys (0-5) and Tennessee Titans (0-3).

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, right, talks to quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
The New York Jets are off to an 0-5 start in 2020 and have yet to cover the spread. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

A win for the under

For the first time all season, there could end up being more games going under the total than over.

Including Thursday night’s Bucs vs. Bears game, seven of the 12 NFL games played so far in Week 5 went under the total. With two more games on deck to round out the week (one on Monday night, another on Tuesday night), it’s possible the over could rebound to get the over-under balance to 7-7 on the week.

Still, the over’s three-week streak of dominance is guaranteed to come to an end. The over-under had an even 8-8 breakdown in Week 1, but the over was hitting at a 64 percent clip (30-17) over the past three weeks.

With two games left in Week 5, here is the over-under breakdown through five weeks of NFL action:

  • Week 1: 8-8

  • Week 2: 11-5

  • Week 3: 10-6

  • Week 4: 9-6

  • Week 5: 5-7

Overall: 43-32 (57.3 percent)

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