We are officially at the halfway point of the 2023 NFL season, and it is the perfect time to take a look at the standings and determine which teams are contenders and pretenders for Super Bowl LVIII based on their records. However, experienced bettors know that just looking at records does not paint the complete picture for those looking to make some money from betting. There are teams that perform exceptionally well against the spread (ATS), even though they may not have impressive straight-up (SU) records. Conversely, there are teams that have strong SU records but do not perform well against the spread.
To assess how the first half of the season has played out, FOX Sports Research has compiled a comprehensive analysis of the best and worst-performing teams, as well as how teams faired toward their totals. Additionally, we will look into the first-half betting favorites to win major individual awards. Some of the top contenders may be surprising.
The first half of the season has identified the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars as the top performers against the spread. Both teams have a 6-2 ATS record, indicating that they have been favorable for bettors. The Lions, who are also 6-2 SU, have become a favorite among bettors. Last season, they ended with a 12-5 ATS record, which was the third-best in the league. This season, they have managed to convert those ATS wins into SU wins and are in contention for a playoff spot. The Jaguars, with a balanced attack led by Trevor Lawerence and Travis Etienne Jr., have also impressed both SU and ATS, holding a 6-2 record in both categories.
On the other end, the Carolina Panthers are the worst team ATS, having secured only one win in eight games. With rookie quarterback Bryce Young leading the team, they have struggled to put points on the board in most of their games, failing to score 20 points in five of their eight matches. Additionally, the New Orleans Saints, with a 5-4 SU record, have an unimpressive 2-6-1 ATS record, making them one of the worst performing teams against the spread.
Looking at the totals, the Under has dominated this season. Through nine weeks and 136 games, the Under has won 83 times, accounting for a substantial 61.5%. This trend is attributed to the substantial changes occurring across the league, including new offensive coordinators for half the teams this season, resulting in lower-scoring games.
Rounding off the midseason recap is a look at the favorites for the six major awards in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes (+300) is the leading contender for the Most Valuable Player award, closely followed by Jalen Hurts (+325) and Lamar Jackson (+350). Other categories include Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year, with Dan Campbell (+150) currently leading the pack.