Two juggernauts face glaringly different starts to NFL Week 3.
The San Francisco 49ers, the league’s first 3-0 team, can watch the rest of the NFL scramble for victories after they pasted the New York Giants 30-12 on Thursday night.
The Niners are amazingly consistent, tallying exactly 30 points in three straight victories.
Opposite news greets the Dallas Cowboys, whose 10 points yielded in two games is the league’s best.
Dallas lost star cornerback Trevon Diggs for the year with a torn ACL in practice on Thursday. He is a big cog in one of the league’s most dominant defenses.
While both teams assess their developments, bettors count down to a loaded Sunday and Monday slate.
There are again two Monday night contests, as the Philadelphia Eagles invade the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -5 and the Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams at -3.
Here is Bontempo’s NFL Week 3 betting beat.
NFL Week 3 Injury Updates
Three teams protecting about $325 million in quarterback investments will be tempted to sit their injured stars this weekend.
First up is Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts.
There’s no reason to rush him back against a hard-hitting Baltimore Ravens defense.
Richardson suffered a concussion during Indy’s 31-20 triumph over the Houston Texans last week. Although he’s exciting, Richardson takes too many direct hits and has already been knocked out of his first two games.
Richardson has a four-year deal worth just under $34 million.
As of Friday, Indy looked ready to select Gardner Minshew, who played well in relief of Richardson last week. Granted, it was the Texans, but he was 19-of-23 for 171 yards, one touchdown, and no picks.
Teams can do far worse than Minshew as a backup. He’s only four years removed from “Minshew Mania,” when he took the league by storm and had a career-best 3,271 yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He’s who Indy should start, but that hasn’t been announced.
Next is Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers.
Young is expected to sit against the Seattle Seahawks. The top pick of the 2023 Draft missed his second straight practice on Thursday with an ankle injury.
He has a $38 million contract over four years.
Veteran Andy Dalton took all the first-team snaps and is the starter, as of now.
That leads to Monday and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The highest-paid player in NFL history — $275 million over five seasons, or $55 million a year — has an additional day to rest the calf injury he aggravated in the Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The DraftKings line ballooned from Cincinnati -1.5 to -3 on Thursday. Under normal circumstances, that would indicate Burrow would play.
But he hasn’t played well and this new contract looks like the bust of all time.
Jake Browning will start if Burrow sits.
DraftKings bettors still back the Rams with 53% of the handle and 55% of the tickets, but the line movement shows a healthy respect for Cincinnati.
Bettors’ Biggest NFL Week 3 Faith in the Over
The Atlanta Falcons-Detroit Lions, Over 46, has 78% of the DraftKings handle and 73% of the bets.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said this will be one of the book’s biggest Week 3 liabilities.
The total was up a point and a half over the opening line on Thursday. It would not be surprising to see that number hit 47.
Bettors’ Biggest NFL Week 3 Faith in the Under
The Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, Under 43, has 90% of the handle and 59% of the bets.
The 31% gap between handle and tickets is the largest this week at the sportsbook. It indicates that the heavier bets are going on the Under.
Bettors already put one chalk cover in their pocket with San Francisco clearing -10.5 on Thursday night.
They show strong support for two other whopping favorites. The public backs the Cowboys at 89% of the handle and 83% of the bets at -12.5 against the host Arizona Cardinals.
Gamblers support the Kansas City Chiefs with 77% of the handle and 71% of the bets at -12.5 against the visiting Chicago Bears.
NFL Week 3 Betting Trends on the High-Low Show
Gamblers are going with the flow on the games with the highest and lowest totals.
With the total high, they bet the Over. And when it goes low, they take the Under.
The Los Angeles Chargers-Minnesota Vikings clash features the only game above 50 points. It’s 54. With such a demand, gamblers could be tempted to go Under. But 65% of the handle is Over.
The New England Patriots and New York Jets have an anemic total of 36.5. It wouldn’t take much to clear that. But gamblers agree with the book’s low number, as 68% of the handle was on the Under when the Niners and Giants kicked off the week.
Gamblers Thinking Outside the Box
Prop bets continue producing high leverage and high rewards for bettors who can project a longshot.
Call this one the Benny Bonanza.
A DraftKings bettor turned a $100 three-legged parlay into more than $92,000 last weekend.
The ticket combined three first-touchdown scorers, a difficult prediction.
The wager cashed with quarterback Richardson of the Colts, tight end Jake Ferguson of the Cowboys, and running back Raheem Mostert of the Miami Dolphins all tallying the first TD of their respective games.
What a combo.
Richardson was +650, Ferguson +1200, and Mostert +850.
“We’re always excited about a crazy bet like this winning big and although it may sound easy when we talk about it, that’s not the case,” Avello told Gaming Today. “We get many bets like this that never hit, every day. But for one that does become a collection, it can be life-changing to some people. This is kind of the dream of the whole betting idea. People love to take a few dollars and try to make a big score.”
A person doesn’t have to put $100 on this to score big.
Even $10 would have paid back more than $9,000. That’s an entry level many people would choose.
This is an extremely difficult bet to convert.
There are countless variables, including a player being stopped just short of the end zone, which may enable a score from someone else on the following play. There are penalties. Or, the other team may have the ball and score first.
There was a similar bet to this last year in Week 3. One bettor had the same three-leg wager. The first two involved a tight end to score, which occurred. The final leg was on CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys. He took an early bomb and looked ready to reach the end zone, but was stopped half a yard short.
That’s half a yard short of about 100 G’s.
Talk about “ouch.”
That’s why the bets that make it all the way through make news.
Cinderella Ching: Sanders Elevates NFL and College Football Synergy
What do NFL bettors do on Saturday?
They wager on college football and now enjoy a perfect bridge between the two circuits in Deion Sanders.
The former NFL star and sports analyst has dropped a lightning bolt into betting totals for the upstart Colorado Buffaloes.
The popularity stampede began in the first game when Colorado delivered a rousing upset of TCU at +21 and paid +700. Suddenly Sanders caught fire and the books bask in the warmth of enhanced betting interest.
Who’d have thunk it?
“When Colorado played Colorado State last week, it was the last game of the night and its handle was double any other college game,” Avello said. “That’s not going to happen very often. Even with them being a big underdog this week and missing (injured star Travis) Hunter, they are going to be one of the biggest bet games of the week. It’s in a great time slot (3:30 p.m. ET).
“Deion talks it up a lot and he is a public figure, which has brought a lot of interest to this team,” Avello added. “It also helps that people remember him from the NFL.”
Sanders played 14 NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens as a cornerback and return specialist. MLB bettors also recall his exploits with the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants.
Always flashy, Sanders drives attention to begin with. But this year, there is more.
The reasons can range from Sanders’ mother Connie delivering a pre-game speech, telling the team to “kick some butt” and cursing in response to some unfavorable comments people had made about how she raised Deion.
“Yeah, Mama cussed,” Sanders laughs, sheepishly, and it resonates.
This is a show and he knows it.
Sanders has a public halo similar to Shaheen Holloway, head coach of the 2022 St. Peter’s team that became the first-ever No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight in March Madness.
Or that of 104-year-old Sister Jean, the chaplain and unofficial matriarch of the Loyola University basketball team. She gained high visibility during the NCAA tournament a couple of years back.
High-level personalities elevate teams’ popularity and betting interest.
In the sportsbook world, magnetism is money.
Early DraftKings NFL Week 3 Winners
One gambler bet big on short money, plopping $120,000 on the Niners moneyline at -525 to get back $143,000. A small payout, but never in doubt.
Deebo Samuel’s TD worth was worth +105 at DraftKings and Daniel Jones’ first pick on his last pass paid -115. Bettors sweated that one.
Christian McCaffrey’s market-leading prop of 80.5 rushing yards collected at -115 after he reached -115.
BetMGM Gamblers Collect on McCaffrey, Jones’ Last Toss
George Kittle was the most heavily bet prop to score first and anytime but was kept out of the end zone.
Bettors banked Christian McCaffrey exceeding 78.5 yards at -115. It was the third-highest bet prop and 99% of the gamblers had the Over. McCaffrey did just enough, with 85 yards.
But on another, he did a little too much. The book nailed the prop with his number of carries. It was 17.5 and 92% of the bets went on the Under. McCaffrey toted it 18 times. Two plays after his 18th carry, he was rested.
While McCaffrey’s last carry burned many gamblers, Daniel Jones’ last pass elevated them. He had a price of -110 to throw at least one pick and 99% of the money was on the Over.
It took until his final toss, with 3:48 left, for Jones to throw the interception.
That sudden rescue can have mobile users texting their friends or an entire brick-and-mortar book erupting in glee.
Famed Commentator Reminds Bettors of Another Time
Hard to believe that when networks flash in-game props and changing lines, it was long considered taboo.
Prior to Paspa’s 2018 repeal, Al Michaels was an underground hero on the NFL telecasts.
He endeared himself to viewers with phrases like a kicker “pushed” it left, describing a missed field goal that left an Over-Under or spread bet deadlocked.
Michaels had one more gem for bettors on Thursday night.
As Tyrod Taylor danced out of the end zone, barely averting a safety that would have rewarded the Over 43.5 gamblers, Michaels said Taylor avoided a sack “many people wanted him to take” and never missed a beat.
The gamblers knew exactly what he meant.
FanDuel Early Weekly Specials
Favorites in Two Categories
Highest Scoring Game
Los Angeles Chargers-Minnesota Vikings, +270
Chicago Bears-Kansas City Chiefs, +650
Denver Broncos-Miami Dolphins, +750
Atlanta Falcons-Detroit Lions, +900
Jacksonville Jaguars-Houston Texans, +1000
Lowest Scoring Game
New England Patriots-New York Jets, +460
Tennessee Titans-Cleveland Browns, +600
Carolina Panthers-Seattle Seahawks, +850
New Orleans Saints-Green Bay Packers, +900
Dallas Cowboys-Arizona Cardinals, +950
Pittsburgh Steelers-Las Vegas Raiders, +950
Gamblers have been cashing in on mid and high levels.
Highest Scoring Team Top Choices
Kansas City, +550
Green Bay, +100
Baltimore and Jacksonville, +1200
Lowest Scoring Team Top Choices
N.Y. Jets, +950
Washington, Chicago, and Tennessee all, +1200