The betting public enjoyed its best Sunday of the NFL season in Week 12, when favorites covered the spread in nine of the first 11 games of the day.
The New England Patriots covered as 17-point favorites in a 35-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins, and the Philadelphia Eagles covered as 13.5-point favorites in a 31-3 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Favorites have dominated in November overall, going 37-15-4 against the spread. It's the best month for favorites against the spread in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"It was setting up to be a players' day, and it has been," Jay Rood, the vice president of race and sports at MGM, said Sunday afternoon.
The Carolina Panthers-New York Jets game Sunday was the largest decision for multiple sportsbooks. Carolina kicker Graham Gano made a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining to give the Panthers, who were favored by less than a touchdown, a 35-27 victory.
NFL favorites went 9-3 against the spread Sunday, leading to a banner day for the betting public. "Once you realize who's horrible and who's really good, that's when the public really pounds these teams," Jason Simbal, VP of risk for CG Technology, said. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills, who upset the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10, were the only underdogs to cover the spread in the early slate.
"If we didn't get the Bills, it would be twice as bad as it is now," Rood said.
Heading into the prime-time game between the Green Bay Packers and heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, William Hill's Nevada sportsbook was stuck seven figures. If the Steelers covered the 14-point spread, the loss would have reached multiple seven-figures, according to a William Hill official.
A manager for Caesars Palace sportsbooks told ESPN that if the Steelers covered the spread, "we're on path for one of the worst NFL regular-season Sundays that I can remember."
Pittsburgh won the game but did not cover in a 31-28 victory over the Packers. It helped, but wasn't a cure-all for the books.
"We went 2-9 in the early games," Jason Simbal, vice president of risk for Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology, said.
The run of favorites began on Thanksgiving, when the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Redskins all covered the spread. Those teams were on many of the parlays that were live entering Sunday.
"We had a $500 six-teamer that hit for $24,000," Simbal noted, while listing the bevy of parlays that hit Sunday. "Falcons, Panthers, Eagles and all three favorites from Thanksgiving."
CG Technology had a minus-20 percent hold on parlays after the after slate of games.
"It's like 10 weeks in, once you realize who's horrible and who's really good, that's when the public really pounds these teams," Simbal said. "These scores might have been the same scores that happened in Week 4, but by then you didn't know the Eagles were the best team or that the Vikings were really good, so you didn't get as much action on them."