Plenty of points push NFL Over in Week 3

The first two weeks of NFL play produced a record for points scored and Sunday’s early Week 3 action kept lighting up the scoreboard from the outset with seven of the first eight games going over the total making Over bets 27-14 in 2020. The only early game that didn’t go over the total was the Bengals-Eagles 23-23 tie which barely stayed under 47 points.

Overall on Sunday, the Over would go 9-5, and favorites would go 8-6 ATS with four underdogs winning outright, three of them in the afternoon games which helped Nevada sportsbooks slow bettors momentum gained from the morning.

“It was the best week so far in the early going of the season,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “We had a couple of ‘dogs win outright which always makes a difference in the bottom line.”

The 2-0 Cardinals were one of the most lopsided public games of the week with William Hill showing 84% of tickets written on them over the visiting 0-2 Lions. But the Lions kicked the winning field goal as time ran out to win 26-23 and paid +220 on the money line at the SuperBook.

The only outright ‘dog of the morning was the Bears coming from a 26-10 deficit in the third quarter at Atlanta (-2.5), led by back-up QB Nick Foles, to win 30-26. It’s the second straight week the Falcons have blown a big lead where they allegedly had only a 2% chance to lose in each.

“It was a good day, the morning went well for us,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback regarding Nevada operations. “The Lions win was our best game of the day and the next best was the Bears coming back against the Falcons.”

The Bills’ 35-32 win against the Rams was the thriller of the day that featured lots of exciting moments. The Bills (-2.5) went up 28-3, but the Rams stormed back to take a 32-28 lead. There was a late flag on fourth down in the final 15 seconds that gave the Bills life and the win.

Backup QB Nick Mullens threw for 343 yards in the 49ers’ 36-9 win against the Giants (+3) at MetLife Stadium for the second consecutive week after beating the Jets 31-13 there last week. The new MetLife turf is responsible for many of the injuries on the 49ers. Even with many of San Francisco’s best players out, the backups’ box score was impressive.

“Our worst game by far was the Raiders which dropped down to -5 on Thursday and then we closed at -7 on Sunday,” Stoneback said of the Patriots’ 36-20 win against Las Vegas’ team. “The Bucs were also a bad decision for us.”

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The Broncos had garnered some sharp money in the middle of the week to push the number down to Tampa Bay -5.5 only to be bet up to -7 at MGM books on Sunday which gives me the thought of a false move by respected money to show movement on the screen and hope other books follow. It’s a trick to fool the bookmakers. But it only works once for one face.

They can get down on the desired side for up to $1 million by seeding smoke screens early in the week for less than $100,000, give or take a few thousand. When Stoneback told me about his Patriots moves, it immediately had me thinking of a well-known respected sports bettor being back in action after a short stint in a jail cell for other indulgences.

Circa Sports book director Matt Metcalf said they had a solid day but Seattle covering (-5.5 vs. Cowboys) ruined what would have been a monster day for the book. The Seahawks won 38-31 and flew over 56.5, the highest total posted in Week 3. But not all the books fared as well.

The late Sunday game meant the day for several books needing the Packers (-3) and under to salvage something. The MGM books in Nevada weren’t one of those.

“We need the Saints, nothing big, but the under (53) is more important for us. Either way, it won’t hurt our day too much,” Stoneback said.

Despite room occupancy being down on the strip, the MGM books have been able to stay almost flat in pro football handle through the same first three weeks of 2019.

“Handle was down a little from last year’s Week 3 just because we didn’t have some of our big players in town this week,” Stoneback said. “The first two weeks of the season gave us similar handle results from 2019.”

But books at Station Casinos, The Wynn, William Hill and South Point needed the Packers and under combination to enhance winnings of an unprofitable Sunday, one week after most books got beat up.

“It’ll save the day (Packers and under) but it’s not our only savior,” said Wynn sportsbook director Doug Castaneda. “We also still have eyes on Orlando as the NBA game attracted fierce action.”

The Packers’ offense rolled 37-30 at New Orleans, the Packers lowest scoring output of the season. They came in averaging 42.5 points-per-game and are now 3-0 ATS along with the Seahawks.

Heat delivers

Castaneda said Wynn’s optimal position in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals was the Heat (+3) and over (214) and both came in for the house in the Heat’s 124-113 win over the Celtics to clinch the series and set up a Lakers-Heat Finals.

The NBA Playoffs in September are very weird, but I’ve enjoyed the bubble games much more than I thought I would and so have some of the bookmakers.

“You know, after not having anything and the books closed (at the start of a pandemic), it was kind of cool to see the NBA games start early and staggered daily on weekdays as we were getting back into our routines,” Stoneback said.