Winners and losers from an NFL and college football betting standpoint as September winds down

Every NFL team will pay for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady’s anger issues.


Nine home underdogs came into NFL Week 3 games on Sunday chasing the number.

More than half – the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos – not only covered the number, but cashed money line tickets.

The Colts (over the Kansas City Chiefs) and Dolphins (beating the Buffalo Bills) scored the two biggest upsets of that quintet – based on Week 3 lines and the futures markets – which have the Chiefs and Bills with the most favorable Super Bowl 57 odds. Kansas City moved from a -2.5 opening favorite at Indianapolis per VegasInsider consensus, to as high as -5 at PointsBet and DraftKings.

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Likewise, Buffalo opened as a -3.5 consensus favorite at Miami before settling at -4.5 at most books. The Bills lost to the undefeated Dolphins, 21-19, while the Chiefs fell to the previously winless Colts, 20-17, giving up a 12-yard Jelani Woods touchdown reception from Matt Ryan with 24 seconds remaining.

Miami and Indianapolis successfully stifling two of the league’s premier offenses fit the weekend’s theme. Of the five home-underdog wins, the losing favorites failed to score at least 20 points in four of them.

Putting the under in underdog

It was not pretty, but the Denver Broncos’ 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Sunday night game marked the day’s fifth home-underdog victory and fourth to go to the under. Jimmy Garoppolo returning to quarterback San Francisco with Trey Lance injured seemed to sway bettors. Denver went from an opening -2.5 consensus favorite to a +1.5 underdog.

Instead, Garoppolo’s return included his stepping out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving Denver the rare commodity of two invaluable points on a night that they came in shorty supply. The offensively anemic Broncos and 49ers could have played twice and still not hit Caesars’ 45-point Over/Under.

Carolina’s 22-14 win over the -2 road favorite New Orleans Saints came considerably closer, but still went under the 41-point mark. The Dolphins and Bills finished more than two touchdowns-with-extra points below Caesars’ 54.5, while the Colts and Chiefs totaled 14 points less than the 51-point Over/Under.

The lone exception – Tennessee’s 24-22 win over the Las Vegas Raiders — hit the over with 0.5 to spare.

Prime time is bad time for offense

According to Caesars Sportsbooks, Denver’s win over San Francisco makes it 7-2 for the under in prime-time games this season.

Although points were in short supply, DraftKings prop bettors managed to score with Melvin Gordon’s game-winning touchdown run in the fourth quarter. A Gordon touchdown any time offered +175 odds.

College football’s Wild West

Oregon’s stunning, 22-point deluge over 2:47 in the late fourth quarter Saturday at Washington State stole an improbable win for the Ducks and very nearly secured a payout for those who bet Oregon at -6.5.

A Nakia Watson touchdown with one second remaining for Washington State, however, was not enough for the Cougars to get the win – but it did cover the spread in a 44-41 finish.

Looking ahead to Week 5, three Western teams that came into the 2022 campaigns with a combined six wins between them over the prior two seasons – Arizona, New Mexico State and UNLV – are all double-digit favorites.

Arizona is -17.5 at home vs. a winless Colorado team yet to play any of four opponents to within 25 points this season. UNLV – which is 4-0 against the spread on the year – ranged from a -14.5 favorite at Wynn to -16.5 at FanDuel against 2-1 New Mexico. New Mexico State ranges from a -14.5 to 16-point favorite against woeful FIU, which is coming off a 73-0 loss to Western Kentucky.

Crown the Dukes

Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer James Madison moved to 3-0 on the season with a 32-28, fourth-quarter comeback win at Appalachian State in Week 4. In the process, the Dukes improved to 3-0 against the spread and are a nation’s best +19 against the number according to TeamRankings.com.

James Madison covered a massive -42.5 number Week 2 against Norfolk State, 63-7, and cruised past the -4.5 number Week 1 vs. Middle Tennessee, 44-7.

Middle Tennessee since recovered. The Blue Raiders, as 27-point opening underdogs, blasted Miami, 45-31, to improve to 3-1 on the season; 3-1 against the spread; and 3-0 all-time vs. the Hurricanes.

Of teams ranked in the top 11 of the AP Top 25, only No. 2 Alabama (55-3 over Vanderbilt) and No. 3 Ohio State (52-21 over Wisconsin as 21-point favorites) covered the number.

Almost 90% of money bet on No. 4 Michigan and visiting Maryland on Saturday was on the Wolverines at -17.

Michigan was 6-1 ATS against Maryland since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten and 13-4 ATS since the start of the 2021 season. Now the Wolverines go on the road to trade blows with Iowa, one of the worst offensive teams in the nation in September.

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