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Chalk one up for the little guy! For the first two weeks of NFL season, the small bettor with parlays linked between all their favorite teams had been wiped out cold.

If you can’t trust the Saints or Broncos, who can you trust, right? Their favorite teams went 1-6 ATS in Week 2. But in Week 3, their faith in those teams paid off, and the way some of these teams came back was brilliant. Bottom line: The sports books finally lose, kind of.

It was a mixed report around town after the top public favorites went 6-2 ATS and the entire card of favorites would go 8-6 ATS. The local chain of books in neighborhoods off the Strip did worse than Strip properties just because the majority of their clientele likes to bet small to win large. The same people bet the same teams, the same way and are at the same book every Sunday. Strip visitors come and go daily. New crowds tend to be less versed in betting skills, but most of the time more efficient.

MGM Resorts was able to get out of the hole Sunday with the Steelers’ 37-19 win at Carolina (-3), but others weren’t so fortunate such as neighborhood sports books in the South Point chain and at Station Casinos’ 18 locations. The Westgate SuperBook also felt the bettors’ comeback at their Paradise location, which is basically a locals joint in the same sense the old Stardust was.

“It’s not a ‘big loser’ for us in terms of being enormous,” said Westgate SuperBook executive director Jay Kornegay, “I mean, it’s not like I’m going to lose any sleep over it, but it was a pretty good jab in the gut.”

The high point in the drama for both bettors and bookmakers alike came when those first five morning games went 5-0 ATS in dramatic fashion, which set up the book for near seven figure losses if favorites in the remaining games covered. At that point, bettors dreamed of buying new things while bookmakers were thinking of the worst and all the explaining they’d have to do.

“The Cowboys, Saints, Colts and Bengals secured our loss,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick. “The Raiders and Cardinals saved it from being a disaster.”

The Cardinals’ 23-14 win as 3-point home underdogs to the 49ers was the game that ultimately saved just about every book in town from experiencing one those Black Sundays that happens every couple of years. Up until that point, everything went the bettors’ way such as the Cowboys erasing a 21-point deficit in St. Louis to cover or the Ravens kicking a game-ending field goal to cover 1.5-points in a 23-21 win. Then there was New Orleans getting a late touchdown to cover 10.5-points in a 20-9 win over Minnesota.

The perfect storm was brewing in the first 10 morning games and the books needed some relief.

“The Cardinals with their backup quarterback actually saved our day,” said Kornegay. “Yes, the outright win by the Cardinals saved us from having long payout lines at 4:30 p.m. It was basically a two-teamer in the afternoon with the majority of our crowd having Seattle and San Francisco, and if they only had one, it was Seattle. But paired together, and both coming in, that would have been a rough one. We had to have one of those games lose for us.”

At the beginning of the day, Seattle wasn’t included as one of those public teams, but the liability on them grew throughout the day as small parlay bettors laid 5-points with the Seahawks in the Super Bowl rematch with Denver from last season.

“The Seahawks win punched us pretty good,” said Kornegay. “They loaded up on them when that second rush of bettors came for the 1 p.m. games. There were only three games to choose from and that was the one most were unified with.”

“It was a rough day, but not the type that is rough enough to give back what we won in either of the first two Sundays,” said South Point’s Bert Osborne, who did mention he was pleased bettors got some money back after the past two weeks.

Congratulations people! Keep up the good work and bang them again in Week 4.

Wrong about Jags

I truly believed we’d see drastic improvements right out of the gate for Jacksonville in Gus Bradley’s second season, but that hasn’t been the case after a 17-point loss at Philadelphia, 31-point stomping by Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, and the most recent 44-17 loss in their home opener to Indianapolis on Sunday.

I thought their rating would improve each of the weeks, but here they are 0-3 ATS and actually have their rating dropping to the point where they are about 16.5 points worse than the best – Seattle – on a neutral field. Rookie QB Blake Bortles takes over Sunday, but will do so clear across the country at San Diego where the 2-1 Chargers are 13-point favorites. It still looks like a lot of points. I couldn’t lay it, but I may talk myself into taking it if somehow it goes to +14 – doubtful – the number Oakland got when covering in a 16-9 loss at New England Sunday.

Thursday night

How about just for the sake of it, we bet the home team to cover in every Thursday night NFL game this season. It doesn’t matter who it is, just because of the advantage home teams have on a short week. Last week we saw a tired Buccaneers squad rushed into a game to get roasted, 56-14, at a more well rested and prepared Falcons nest.

The day of travel is what really gives the advantage. The Bucs are bad, but they aren’t that bad. So far the home team is 3-0 ATS this season and this week Washington (-3) is hosting the Giants. I’ll keep betting it until it stops, and even longer if the extra point to the rating doesn’t get factored into the home field equation.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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