Every team in the NFL has played at least eight games so we are essentially at the halfway point of the season. Let’s break down some betting patterns you should keep an eye on the rest of the way.
Quarterback Leading Team In Rushing Not Good
When an NFL quarterback leads his team in rushing, that’s generally not a good thing, with all due respect to someone like Lamar Jackson. In Week 9, six quarterbacks led their teams in rushing:
- Colts’ Sam Ehlinger
- Bears’ Justin Fields
- Packers’ Aaron Rodgers
- Bills’ Josh Allen
- Cardinals’ Kyler Murray
- Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes
Only Kansas City won its game. Mahomes accounted for 82% of his team’s rush yards (63 of 77). That was the fifth-highest percentage by a quarterback over the last 20 seasons and the highest since Carolina’s Cam Newton hit 87% in 2017 (minimum of 50 team rushing yards).
Fields set multiple NFL and franchise records on Sunday in Chicago’s 35-32 home loss to Miami. His 178 rushing yards were the most by a quarterback in a regular-season game in the Super Bowl era, surpassing the previous high set by former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (173) in 2002.
Fields was 3 yards shy of breaking the all-time record that ex-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (181 yards) reached in the 2012 divisional playoffs. Fields also became the Bears’ single-game franchise record holder by surpassing the 127-yard rushing mark set by former Chicago quarterback Bobby Douglass in 1972.
It may be smart to continue betting over the total on Bears games, as Fields looks like a new guy the past few weeks and Chicago’s defense got much worse around the Trade Deadline as GM Ryan Poles traded away pass-rusher Robert Quinn, who set a franchise record last year with 18.5 sacks, and two-time All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith.
Keep Riding Titans?
The Tennessee Titans looked like they were in big trouble after getting clobbered 41-7 in Week 2 in Buffalo to fall to 0-2, but they enter Week 10 on the longest cover streak in the league: six in a row.
Without starting QB Ryan Tannehill for a second straight game Sunday, Coach Mike Vrabel’s club was a 14-point underdog in Kansas City. Tennessee nearly won outright before falling 20-17 in overtime. It was only the second win for KC in its last seven games against the Titans.
Tennessee became the first 14-point underdog to force overtime since 2013, when the Buccaneers managed to force OT at Seattle as a 15.5-point underdog. Tampa Bay lost that game, 27-24. It was the third prime-time OT game this season and first not involving the Denver Broncos. Tennessee is 6-2 ATS on the year, tied for the best record with Dallas and the New York Giants.
Tannehill was listed as questionable because of an ankle injury but was unable to play after testing the ankle during pregame warm-ups. It’s not clear if he will be ready this Sunday against Denver. Rookie Malik Willis has totaled just 135 yards passing in the two games. Keep hammering under the Titans’ total as long as Tannehill sits.
Incidentally, Week 9 was the first week in the Super Bowl era where four games finished with the exact same final score (20-17).
When Will Tanking Begin?
We are getting to the point where some teams are going to throw in the towel on the season. While they won’t say they are officially tanking, it’s coming. It’s expected to be a terrific draft class of quarterbacks led by Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, the Heisman Trophy favorite, and Alabama’s Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman winner.
The Carolina Panthers might already be in tank mode as for some reason they are going to start former XFL quarterback PJ Walker again Thursday night against Atlanta, even though Walker was dreadful in Sunday’s 42-21 loss in Cincinnati. Walker was benched at halftime with Carolina trailing 35-0. He completed only 3 of 10 pass attempts for 9 yards with two interceptions, giving him a 0.0 passer rating.
To those suggesting the decision to stick with Walker so Carolina (2-7) can get the top pick of the 2023 draft to select a franchise quarterback, interim coach Steve Wilks said, “I would say trust the process. Trust my decision-making. That’s what I would tell them. We all have bad games. PJ wasn’t the only one.”
Baker Mayfield took over for Walker in the loss and is clearly the better player, but might be released soon. The Panthers would owe Cleveland a 2024 fourth-round pick if Mayfield plays 70% of the offensive snaps, a fifth-rounder if he plays fewer. He has played 61.05%. In the second half Sunday, Mayfield completed 16 of 20 pass attempts for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Other teams likely to throw in the towel sooner rather than later to draft a quarterback high next year are Houston and Detroit, although the Lions did upset Green Bay on Sunday.