Rovell’s Week 3 Vegas Report: Smart Money on Big Underdogs?
Brad Penner, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Luke Falk
Good teams aren’t the story in the NFL right now.
The real story, especially in the gambling world, is the bad teams.
For the second straight week, the Patriots are massive favorites against a divisional opponent. Last week, New England easily covered as 18-point favorites against Miami, trouncing the Dolphins 43-0 in South Beach.
This Sunday figures to be another walkover for the Pats as Brady and Co. are 22.5-point favorites over the New York Jets, who will be trotting out third-string quarterback Luke Falk at Gillette Stadium.
As for those Dolphins, they are massive underdogs again this week. Miami is currently a 22.5-point underdog on the road in Dallas.
Calling Miami’s first two games ugly would be an understatement as the Fish have failed to cover the spread by a total of 69 points.
All odds above as of Friday at 12 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Do bettors have the guts to take the points with these two terrible teams? Well, you probably knew the answer to that question. According to our data, 76% of the bets are on the Cowboys and 73% of the bets are on the Patriots to beat the number.
But what about sharp bettors? Usually, professional money will come in on NFL spreads this big, but the gulf between good and bad in the NFL this season could be unprecedented.
“The public is heavy on the two favorites and the big lines haven’t done anything to change that,” said FanDuel’s head trader John Sheeran. “I think normally you’d have sharp money on the other side but they’ve gotten burned early.”
At PointsBet, the Patriots are getting 70% of the money (-22) in their matchup against the Jets and that’s the lowest number from what we’ve seen. New England is seeing 77% of the money at DraftKings and an astounding 90% at FanDuel.
There has been some support for the Jets at the big number. CG Technology’s Tony DiTommaso says the book took an $11,000 bet on the Jets at +23.
The Cowboys are also seeing a lion’s share of the money around the market. Dallas is getting 96% of the money at William Hill and 92% of the dollars at FanDuel.
“As high as Miami is, there’s just a lack of motivation from that team,” Sheeran said.
One fan is doing a favorites parlay in this game, though he has teased it down to make himself more comfortable. A $20K parlay at FanDuel on Cowboys (-13.5) and Patriots (-9.5) would net the punter $12,000 if both cover those numbers.
Biggest Decision of the Week
Since it’s an island game, Sunday Night Football always generates a big handle. But this weekend’s primetime showdown between the Rams and Browns has the attention of the guys behind the window.
The Rams opened as a 1.5-point favorite on the road versus the Browns and it has been driven up to 3. At DraftKings, it’s one of the most lopsided money games we’ve seen all year with 95% of the money on the Rams.
Why are bettors so confident in Los Angeles? Perhaps it has to do with the Browns being on short rest. Or maybe nobody thinks beating the Jets by 20 is that impressive.
“When we had it at 1.5, it got smashed,” Sheeran said. “Even at 3, we have 85 to 90% of the money [on Los Angeles], so I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets up to 3.5. I mean, that’s a huge number. It means if they were playing at home they’d be nine- to ten-point favorites.”
PointsBet took a $10,000 bet from a pro bettor at Browns +3 and adjusted to 2.5, but “a windfall of Rams money” pushed it back.
“This game is currently our biggest decision on Sunday,” said PointsBet’s head of content Matt Chaprales. “So we need the Browns big time.”
William Hill will need the Browns, too, as 92% of the money is on Los Angeles.
What is Drew Brees Worth?
According to the market, about four points. Seattle moved from -1 to -5 against New Orleans at FanDuel.
“I think it’s a bit of a market overreaction,” Sheeran said. “I don’t think Drew Brees is worth four points when you consider how serviceable Teddy Bridgewater is.”
DiTomasso says that there are more parlays involving the Seahawks with the spread than any other games. And yes, Cowboys-Dolphins and Pats-Jets are second and third.
Are the Chiefs The New Public Darling?
The public loved the Chiefs in Week 1 against the Jags and it wasn’t even close after Nick Foles got hurt. While they only scored 28 points against the Raiders, it all came in one quarter, showing how explosive they could be.
The Chiefs take on another 2-0 team, the Baltimore Ravens, this week as 5.5-point favorites. FanDuel says 90% of the bets are still coming in on Kansas City, despite how hot Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have looked.
There’s at least one person that doesn’t like it. CG Technology’s biggest bet so far this week is a $22,000 bet on the Ravens (+6.5) to net $20,000.
In-play Betting Picking Up
The NFL in-game betting business is picking up. FanDuel’s Sheeran, who is from Australia, says that in-game betting now makes up 25% of FanDuel’s overall NFL betting business and nearly 50% of its total bets.
“I’m encouraged by how fast Americans have picked up on it,” he said.