NFL Underdogs Returning to Earth

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(Photo by All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons)
Andrew Doughty Oct 12, 2021, 2:07 PM

The San Francisco 49ers were underdogs for the first time this season in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. And the 49ers couldn’t deliver a similar blow they were previously dealt twice this season as underdogs thrived across the NFL over the first four weeks.

Entering Week 5, underdogs were 27-36 outright in NFL betting, a winning percentage of .429 on pace to top the record-high from the last 15 seasons (.418 in 2006). Underdogs were also 38-26 against the spread through four weeks, a clip of .594 that would also top the 15-year high (.576 in 2006).

In failing to cover +5.5 in a loss to the Cardinals, the 49ers were one of 12 outright underdog losers and nine ATS underdog losers in Week 5. It was the worst outright and ATS week for the season for underdogs:

WeekOutright RecordATS Record
19-712-4
25-119-7
37-99-7
46-108-8
54-127-9

Underdogs haven’t finished at least 17 games over .500 in each of the last three seasons and haven’t finished below .500 since 2017, which was the second of two straight sub.-500 ATS seasons for dogs. This is the first time over the last two decades that dogs have finished above .500 ATS in at least three consecutive seasons.

The 49ers won’t have an underdog opportunity in Week 6 (bye) and – with the Indianapolis Colts (home) and Chicago Bears (away) upcoming – may not have another opportunity until the Arizona Cardinals visit Santa Clara in Week 9.  The Cardinals, meanwhile, are an underdog against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5 (+2.5 as of Tuesday, Oct. 12). They are 2-0 outright and ATS as an underdog this season.

You can bet on the Browns-Cardinals games and view other NFL odds for Week 6, including prop bets and One Game Parlays, at the BetMGM sportsbook throughout the week.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.