November was a historically good month for sportsbooks, with underdogs on track for their best record since 1980 with help from 23 outright upsets in the month.

  • Underdogs covered the spread in nearly 60% of November’s NFL games, with 23 point-spread underdogs completing outright upsets.
  • Six of the 14 NFL matchups this week feature 7-point spreads or larger, pointing to another potentially big week for both underdogs and sportsbooks.

LAS VEGAS – November was one of the worst months for the American betting public in recent memory, according to veteran bookmakers. Coming into this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup, underdogs had covered the spread in nearly 60% of November’s NFL games, with 23 point-spread underdogs pulling off outright upsets.

On top of that, November continued a trend of primetime upsets, with favorites going just 8-15 against the spread in primetime games this season. Overall, underdogs are 99-78-1 against the spread and on track for their best record since 1980.

Chuck Esposito, a veteran Las Vegas bookmaker with Station Casinos, spoke about the unusually bad luck the legal sports betting public has had in 2021.

“From week to week, things appear to change dramatically,” said Esposito. “Dominant teams earlier in the year have come down to earth, and dogs have been covering at a much higher clip. There are 24 teams that are still fighting for playoff spots.”

Esposito is not the only veteran bookmaker to talk about how good of a season it has been for sportsbooks. Jeff Stoneback, an over 30-year veteran bookmaker who currently runs BetMGM’s Las Vegas sportsbook, also went on record, saying:

“There was one week where the players had only one game that they won, and another week they only won two games,” he said. “We did have big wins, yes, but the number of wins, percentage-wise for us, was unbelievable. I was shocked.”

Over the last 30 years, sportsbooks have averaged a 5.5% “hold,” the total profit after all bets are settled. Las Vegas sportsbooks are reporting 6.25% hold for November, a remarkable increase.

One factor playing into the big month for sportsbooks (and bad month for the public) is the month of October. In October, there were three weeks in which sportsbooks suffered a loss (and, therefore, players enjoyed a profit) – juicing up players’ bankrolls. A good chunk of these winnings were lost in the first week of November, NFL Week 9, which was headlined by a huge upset by the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Buffalo Bills.

Six of the 14 NFL matchups this week currently feature 7-point spreads or larger, meaning another potentially big week for sportsbooks and underdogs alike.

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