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How Favorites Have Fared Against the Spread in the NFL

December 15, 2021
How are favorites doing ats in 2021 NFL?

Betting favorites in Week 14 of the NFL season was like Christmas coming early. After the Monday night game, betting favorites totaled 12 wins in 14 games. What’s interesting is that favorites really excelled against the spread in Week 14 going 11-3 ATS. That has not been the case throughout the 2021 season.


Favorites Struggle ATS

To say NFL favorites have struggled against the spread this season might be a bit of an understatement. Favorites have really had a hard time covering spreads in 2021. That’s why Week 14 was a big surprise. There were five favorites of at least 8.5 points that covered.

Denver (-12.5), Green Bay (-12), and Kansas City (-10) all won as double-digit favorites. Seattle (-9.5) and the Chargers (-9) both commanded a double-digit victory and Tennessee (-8.5) won 20-0 over Jacksonville. 

Through 14 weeks now, favorites are just 97-110-1 against the spread. That’s a cover percentage of just 46.9 percent. Will that right itself over the next four weeks? If Week 14 was an indication – favorites were 11-3 ATS – the answer to that question could be in the affirmative. Favorites are 124-79-1 (61.1%) straight up this season. Maybe more covers are in the works over the final weeks of the season. 


The Underdog

If favorites are having trouble covering, bettors are certainly looking to cozy up to the underdogs. Where bettors should really focus this season is on the road underdog. So far this season, the road underdog is 70-51-1 ATS (57.9%)

Take Week 14 as an example. Even though favorites performed well against the spread, the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons both covered as road underdogs. In fact, both teams won their respective games. The Rams, a 3-point underdog at Arizona, won 30-23 on Monday night. The Falcons were a 2.5-point dog and beat Carolina 29-21 on Sunday.

It makes sense that road underdogs are having some success in 2021. Road teams in general are covering the spread at a 56 percent clip. Away teams are 116-91-1 against the spread so far this season.


Game Totals

Another interesting trend in 2021 in the NFL is related to game totals. In Week 14, 10 of the 14 games saw the total go Over. That has not been the season trend. The Under has reigned supreme this season.

The Under is 111-94-3 so far this season. In games that did not go to overtime this season (190 of them), the Under is 110-80. Nearly 58 percent of games have gone Under the total. Since people love to bet OVERS this has been good for the sportsbooks.

There have been 17 overtime games this season and, not surprisingly, 13 of them have gone Over the posted game total. Minnesota and Indianapolis lead the NFL in Over percentage (61.5) with an Over/Under record of 8-5. With that win on Monday night, the Rams Over/Under record moved to 7-5-1 for the season.