Sunday’s Week 3 NFL action featured six quarterbacks making their starting debuts this season, two games with 20-something spreads, the wise guys getting their first win in three weeks of NFL play, a barrage of 10-teamers and teasers cashing, but the big story of the day was the Rams 20-13 win in the late game at Cleveland that rocked most Nevada sportsbooks.
Books reported anywhere from break-even to ugly losses on the day.
“It was a terrible day for us as we got hit on a few 10-team parlays,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “If it weren’t for those parlay cards, we would be only a small loser on the day.”
The parlay cards that hit were 10-teamers from the ties win cards paying out at 550-1 odds.
“We went 1-2 in our biggest decision with the Browns pending, winning the one with the Jets (+21 in 30-14 loss at New England) and losing the two on the Broncos (+7 at Green Bay in 27-16 loss) and Cowboys (-22.5 in 31-6 win against the Dolphins),” he said.
Both the Jets and Dolphins featured new starters in Week 3. Luke Falk engineered only 105 yards of offense for the Jets, but after the Patriots let up on a 30-0 lead, the Jets scored on a special teams fumble return in the third quarter and then returned an interception off of Tom Brady’s backup in the fourth.
Josh Rosen moved the ball better for the Dolphins, but the Cowboys kept piling it on late and got the cover. Rosen was the only QB of the six new starters not to cover the spread on Sunday. Mason Rudolph, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen and Daniel Jones also got covers with three of them winning outright.
The bookmakers went through a roller coaster of emotions sweating out the first 13 games of the day where favorites went 5-8 against-the-spread only to have one game determine the fate of their entire Week 3. The Rams opened -3 (Even) and moved up to -4.5 by kickoff in part because of bets made closer to game time but also because of large parlay and teaser risk waiting to cash with the Rams covering.
“We’re getting beat up,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback before kickoff of the Rams game. “And we can’t get out of it even if the Browns win. There’s no way out, we’re destined to lose and if the Rams win it’ll be a semi-ugly day. Not a Black Sunday type of loss, but still semi-ugly.”
Books at Station Casinos, Caesars Palace, and CG Technology had good results in the first 13 games also needed the Browns to stay in the black for the day.
“We’re break even on the day heading into the Sunday night game,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTomasso. “We get crushed with the Rams. We lost more games than we won today and we took lots of action from sharp guys, and this week we had some new sharp guys betting with us that did well,”
The combination of sharps doing well, the public hitting a few parlays with the Rams sealing the deal was huge, and then there were also the teasers showing how damaging they can be for the house.
“Seven of the eight home favorites in the early games won on the teasers and our teaser loss on the day accounts for half of our overall loss on the day,” Stoneback said.
MGM books got saved, kind of, from the Eagles not covering on the teaser, but they got triple whacked in sharp straight bets taking the Lions.
“The Lions were bet down from +7 to +4, the sharps were all over them this week,” Stoneback said. “It was our worst game of the day (until the Rams).”
The Lions’ 27-24 win at Philadelphia was also an attractive play for teaser bettors getting over the key number of going across +7 and past +10.
Sharps also did well with the Ravens forcing the Chiefs to drop from 6.5-point home favorites down to -4.5 by kickoff.
“For once we were in a position to be rooting the Chiefs and Over, but the Ravens got there,” Stoneback said.
Technically, the Chiefs covered the closing number with the 33-28 win, and the game went over 52 total points, but the damage was done on the way down the spread ladder.
Stoneback also said there was a missing element in Week 3.
“Sharp money overwhelmed the public’s money for the first time this season,” said Stoneback.
The usual situation is that sharps and the public are on different sides so when paying out a bunch from one side there’s always that surplus from the other side. But the big parlay action wasn’t there at MGM books on the Strip like it was the first two weeks, both weeks where their books did well while the sharps didn’t.
“We had sharp money also on the Steelers and they bet the Cowboys early at -21 and we got late Carolina money also,” Stoneback said. “The Saints actually saved us from a total disaster on the day. They bet the Seahawks at -4 up to -5.5. We also needed Tampa Bay (-5.5).”
How about the new era of the Giants with rookie QB Daniel Jones? A sensational debut for the sixth overall draft pick throwing for 336 yards and accounting for four TD’s, the last being a 7-yard run with 1:16 remaining to take their first lead of the game 32-31. The Bucs drove down to the field to set up a winning 34-yard field goal for rookie Matt Gay, but it went wide-right just like another Giants opponent did at the buzzer in a Super Bowl played at Tampa in 1991.
“The Giants were one of those teams that were popular with sharps and the public because there was a lot of hype surrounding Daniel Jones after he had a stellar preseason,” Stoneback said.
As the Giants new era begins on a high note, they also lost RB Saquon Barkley with a high ankle sprain and he is expected to be out from six to eight weeks.
“We’ve got to upgrade the Giants’ rating because of Jones playing so well, but at the same time there’s a downgrade of almost the same upward adjustment on Barkley being injured,” DiTomasso said. “So it’s kind of a wash in that aspect, but he’s definitely an upgrade from Eli Manning. The one thing now, though, is that opposing teams have a full tape of his game to study.”
Overall, the favorites went 6-8 ATS on Sunday aided by all five afternoon-road-underdogs covering and the over went 9-5.
One last note about how CG books did in college football.
“We did well on Saturday holding about 5 percent on the day, and that’s after losing a $55,000 bet on Troy,” DiTomasso said. Troy won 35-7 at Akron as 18.5-point favorites.
College football is always a grind shifted a few percentage points on how the late games fare. If the public has a rough night with popular favorites, such as Georgia (-13 in 23-17 win against Notre Dame) and Texas (-7 in 36-30 win against Oklahoma State) not covering Saturday, it means that the books usually did well.