It’s widely known in the sports betting world how much “Joe Public” loves betting on favorites, but how much chalk is too much chalk? When it comes to wagering on big spreads in the NFL, heavily favored teams have not been coming through for their bettors.
In the 2015 NFL campaign, double-digit favorites have gone 5-0 SU but just 2-3 ATS. The Seattle Seahawks closed at -16.5 versus the Jimmy Clausen-led Chicago Bears in Week 3 and easily covered that number in the form of a 26-0 shutout at CenturyLink Field, but it’s not every day one of the most imposing defenses in the league faces a backup quarterback who owns a 1-10 record as a starter.
Last season a total of 22 teams were tabbed as faves of 10 points or greater and, unsurprisingly, 21 ended up winning straight up. The only exception were the San Francisco 49ers, who fell to the St. Louis Rams 13-10 in Week 8 while failing to cover as 10.5-point faves in the process. Considering how the Niners have performed so far in 2015, one can easily presume the red and gold won’t be double-digit favorites for the foreseeable future.
2014 wasn’t particularly memorable for bettors who backed the aforementioned heavily faves. Double-digit chalk went 9-11-2 ATS during that span – not exactly what you would call a safe bet.
With Week 9 on the horizon the New England Patriots have opened as healthy 14-point home favorites over the lowly Washington Redskins, while the majority of sportsbooks offshore and in Vegas opened the high-flying Cincinnati Bengals in the -10.5 ballpark for their tilt against the Cleveland Browns.
The moral of the story here is, unless bettors are extremely confident the favored squad is going to run away with the game, big spreads may be more trouble than they’re worth. It’s common practice to see NFL coaches pull their starters off the field during blowout games, which means your bets could blow up in your face thanks to some poor performances by players who spend more of their time on the bench.