Underdogs are flying to start the 2022 NFL season, so we’re looking at three of the big upsets in recent years with an eye on Week 9.
After covering at only 50.1% in 2021, the start of the 2022 NFL season has been one for the underdogs. Through to the end of Week 8, underdogs have covered the spread in 56.7% of matches.
Against the Spread Trends
Away dogs, in particular, are proving to be more fruitful at 58.3%
The lack of scoring is having an impact on how close underdogs can keep to the favourites. Unders has cashed in on 58.7% of games after eight weeks. If we check the touchdown totals of the first seven weeks of the season, we can see just how much the scoring has dropped.
Total NFL Touchdowns Scored Through 7 weeks:
2020: 660 (559 after W6, 101 total TDs in W7)
2021: 611 (531 after W6, 80 total TDs in W7)
2022: 517 (447 after W6, 70 total TDs in W7)
Really gotta pick your spots now for TD betting. Hopefully we see an uptick in Week 8.
— Gilles Gallant (@GDAWG5000) October 25, 2022
With scoring down and teams getting a headstart consistently beating the spread and, at times, winning the game straight up, we’re going to take a look at some of the biggest underdog wins in recent years with Week 9 in mind.
Carolina Panthers (+13) def. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We only need to go back two weeks to kick things off here.
While the 13-point head start isn’t the biggest number to cover, the state of the Carolina Panthers when going up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made this one an underdog victory to remember.
The Panthers had recently fired their coach and traded away Christian McCaffery – their best player. Fans had lost hope as empty seats welcomed the team to Bank of America Stadium.
As the Panthers carried a 7-0 lead into the break, the expectation was for Brady and the Bucs to make the necessary adjustments and pull away in the second half. Instead, D’Onta Foreman’s 60-yard run set up Chuba Hubbard to make it 14-0 before P.J. Walker – considered the third-string quarterback at the time – threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Tremble to secure the 21-3 win.
Notably, the Panthers win dropped Brady below .500 for the first time since 2022 at this point in the NFL season.
“While Brady sprayed his teammates, the man himself struggled. He finished with a passer rating below 100 for the sixth time in seven games this season. Exceptionally poor numbers for a player of his calibre.” – Week 7 In Review
The Buccaneers went on to lose to the Baltimore Ravens as favourites in Week 8. In Week 9, they’ve opened as -2.5 favourites against the LA Rams. Can they arrest the slide of losing as favourites, or is this really the end for Tom Brady?
Jacksonville Jaguars (+16) def. Buffalo Bills
We’re one year removed to the week from Josh Allen and the Jacksonville Jaguars beating Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills as 16-point underdogs.
In a horror season in which Urban Meyer was exposed and subsequently sacked by the Jaguars, the team did give their fans one thing to celebrate in Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season.
Jacksonville not only covered the 16-point spread but beat the Bills 9-6 straight up. This a Bills team plenty were starting to talk about as Super Bowl contenders given the play of their Josh Allen. He finished with 264 yards on 31 of 47 passes, but two of those passes ended up intercepted while he failed to get another away resulting in a fumble.
The big moment involved that fumble and both Allen’s. Pressured by Dawuane Smoot with just over five minutes on the clock, Josh Allen fumbled possession. Who was there to collect it? Jacksonville’s Josh Allen, obviously. Shortly after, Josh Allen sacked Josh Allen to make NFL history as the first time a player sacked a quarterback with the same name. It wasn’t pretty, but the final result and the Allen on Allen crime late in the piece makes it an underdog victory to remember.
This is a different Bills team now. They’re heavy favourites to win Super Bowl LVII at $3.50. Still, this game will surely be on their minds when heading into Week 9 of the NFL season as -12.5 favourites against the New York Jets.
Detroit Lions (+13) def. Arizona Cardinals
Having started the NFL season with seven wins on the bounce, the wheels had fallen off the Arizona Cardinals by Week 15. Still, now 10-3, they were expected to beat a Detroit Lions team with only one win to their name. Wheels fallen off or not, this was the team with the best record in the NFL going up against the worst. The 13-point line, at the very least, signalled a likely Cardinals victory while ESPN marked them at 83% to win.
However, a scratchy performance from Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray helped the Lions cause an upset. He connected on only 23 of his 41 passes for 257 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Just 4:40 remained with the Cardinals down 15 by the time Murray threw that touchdown. Of note, he finished up with only three rushing yards on four carries.
The Lions defence put in a shift, and the offence took the opportunity to pile up points.
Jared Goff threw three touchdowns, Craig Reynolds rushed for 112 yards, and Amon-Ra St. Brown reeled in eight of his 11 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Cardinals: Most consistent team in the NFL for 14 weeks.
Also Cardinals: Down 10 vs the Lions in Week 15.
This season been on one long DMT tour.
— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) December 19, 2021
This became the third instance that the team with the NFL’s worst record beat the team with the best (min. 8 games). Unlike the 1995 Cowboys and 2004 Patriots, the Cardinals didn’t go on to win the Super Bowl that season.
Once again, the Lions will go into Week 9 of the 2022 NFL season with the worst record in the league. Nothing much has improved since they pulled off the big win over the Cardinals last season. However, they have an opportunity to pick up a rare victory over a Green Bay Packers team in disarray at the moment. They’re 3-5 and calls are coming from the stands to move Aaron Rodgers along. Nobody would have picked a line so short six weeks ago, but the Lions are just +3.5 underdogs and at $2.38 to complete the upset this week.