2021 Bookies Battle, Week 3 Picks: Bookmakers Seek Closing-Line Value With Bengals

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Bookmakers are on board with their sharp customers this week, as the Bengals, 4.5-point underdogs in Pittsburgh, are the most popular pick in Week 3 of the 2021 Bookies Battle.

We reported earlier this week that professional gamblers have taken Cincinnati plus the points, betting the number down to Steelers -3 where it sits on most oddsboards Friday morning.

About 72% of Bookies Battle contestants selected Bengals +4.5, many of them surely looking for closing-line value as the spread continues to shrink.

Bengals, 3-point dogs at Chicago last week, pushed as the second most popular Week 2 pick in a 20-17 loss to the Bears.

While Cincy is a wiseguy side this week – and casual bettors are overwhelmingly on the Steelers – the next two most popular contest selections are big public plays. About 70% of our bookmakers are laying the points with Raiders -3.5 (vs. Dolphins), and per information from PointsBet, 78% of spread bets and 64% of handle on that game are also on Las Vegas. About 65% of contestants picked Cardinals -7.5 (at Jaguars), in agreement with 90% of tickets and 83% of the money wagered at PointsBet.

Bears +7.5 (at Browns) and Cowboys -4 (vs. Eagles) round out the top-five most popular Bookies Battle picks in Week 4.

Here’s how the contest point spreads for the top-five selections compare to the market number as of Friday.

TeamPercentage of picksContest line
(Tuesday)
Market line
(Friday morning)
Bengals72.1%+4.5+3 (-105)
Raiders69.8%-3.5-4
Cardinals65.1%-7.5-7.5 (-105)
Bears62.8%+7.5+7.5 (-115)
Cowboys62.8%-4-3.5

The Leaderboard

After establishing a lead in the opening week of the season, Mike Lewis of Suncoast Hotel widened his advantage with a second-straight 11-win week in Week 2. After successfully picking Panthers -8 (at Texans) on Thursday night, Lewis has 23 winners on the season, four better than second-place Mike Smoller from Wildfire Boulder Casino.

Overall, though, it’s been a rough start for the field, as 35 of 50 contestants are picking under the 52.4% threshold it takes to break even against standard -110 vig. The bookmakers’ cumulative win percentage is just 48.1% through the first two weeks plus the Week 3 Thursday nighter.

Check out the full leaderboard here.

About the Author

Marcus DiNitto

Marcus DiNitto is a nationally recognized editor and writer specializing in sports betting and sports business. He is the editor for Louisiana Sharp. He has been managing editor at SportsBusiness Daily, USA Sports Gaming, Sporting News and The Linemakers. Marcus earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

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