Every Monday of the NFL season, ESPN Insider will present the Monday Night Chaser, a comprehensive gambling preview of the "Monday Night Football" game, along with a recap of the weekend's games. Chad Millman will look back at the weekend's action, while Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton a veteran Vegas handicapper will provide analysis on the MNF game.
I'm going throw some numbers at you, which will look familiar to those who follow me on Twitter: As of the opening kick in all 15 games Sunday, the number of bets coming in on one side over the other exceeded 60 percent in 13 of them.
Here's the breakdown, which I lifted from sportsinsights.com, a site that tracks the bet totals from major offshore sports books such as Pinnacle, Olympic, Cris, Matchbook, Grande and 5Dimes. For example, the site showed me that in the Niners-Bengals game the books it tracks had a combined total of 21,919 bets, with 56 percent betting on San Francisco to cover as one-point underdogs. That game and the Giants (44 percent) versus the Eagles (56 percent) were the only ones that did not break the 60-40 ratio. Those that did were:
Pats (67 percent)-Bills (33 percent) on 25,041 bets.
Texans (31)-Saints (69) on 21,162 bets.
Dolphins (70)-Browns (30) on 17,538 bets.
Broncos (34)-Titans (64) on 14,393 bets.
Lions (78)-Vikings (22) on 44,639 bets.
Jags (17)-Panthers (83) on 37,385 bets.
Chiefs (24)-Chargers (76) on 27,091 bets.
Jets (61)-Raiders (39) on 17,902 bets.
Ravens (90)-Rams (10) on 21,389 bets.
Falcons (77)-Bucs (23) on 21,053 bets.
Cards (71)-Seahawks (29) on 14,827 bets.
Packers (75)-Bears (25) on 26,909 bets.
Steelers (82)-Colts (18) on 45,571 bets.
This tells us a couple things:
1. There is no denying what a little hype can do to whet the appetite of bettors. The two afternoon games with the most bets, by a wide margin, were the very much in the news Cam Newton-led Panthers and the hot team du jour, the Detroit Lions.
2. People will chase -- thus the MNF Chaser we've created below. Of the five Sunday afternoon games with the highest bet totals (in which one side received 60 percent or more of the action), the dominant side didn't cover in three of them (Pats, Lions and Chargers; congrats to you, Panthers and Packers). That's one reason, among many, why Sunday night's bet total was the highest of the day.
The fact the Steelers didn't cover is another reason why people will be chasing tonight, too.
Matchup: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Opened at Cowboys minus-4.5, now Cowboys minus-3.5
Over/Under: Opened at 45, now 45.5