Sportsbooks demolish public as Cardinals, Panthers lose outright

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Las Vegas sportsbooks collectively had an outstanding Sunday in Week 3 NFL, despite giving back some cash in the isolated night game when the Cowboys covered -6.5 in a 31-17 home win against the injury riddled Bears.

Everyone seemed to like the Cowboys, but the only reason the decision didn’t hurt the books too much – like in most weeks when the public gangs up on the favorite – is there weren’t too many live parlays from the day waiting to cash.

William Hill sportsbooks’ most lopsided ratio with tickets written all went the book’s way. Their 108 locations across Nevada wrote 83 percent of their tickets on Pittsburgh (-4) at Philadelphia, 82 percent on Arizona (-5.5) at Buffalo, 78 percent on Tampa Bay (-3.5) against Los Angeles and 73 percent on the 49ers (+10) at Seattle. All five of those popular sides would lose straight-up on a day where the favorites went 7-7 with six underdogs winning outright.

“Buffalo was the key outright win, which helped us with big money-line parlay exposure and teasers,” said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “The Vikings win was great for us as well for the same reason. So those two shot us out of the gate quickly and gave us a big cushion going into the afternoon. And then the Eagles won, too, so our three biggest games on the day went our way.”

Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz continues to shine and his 301 yards and two TDs led them to an impressive 34-3 home win against the Steelers, who many consider one of the best offensive clubs in the NFL. Wentz still hasn’t thrown an interception and the Eagles join the Patriots, Vikings, Ravens, Broncos as the only teams still perfect this season. Forgotten in the Wentz praises is how good Jim Schwartz’s defense has been in getting to 3-0.

Carolina had 60 percent of the tickets written on them and Minnesota didn’t even need the 6-points on the road. They won 22-10 and the result paid +240 on the money-line. It was the Vikings’ ninth straight road cover.

Great defenses always seem to travel well. The Panthers have played two pretty good ones so far (Denver in Week 1, too), which has sent them to a 1-2 record. Let’s not call it a Super Bowl loser hangover just yet, but there does seem to be a pretty good blueprint for defenses to follow on how to frustrate Cam Newton.

“Our best games were Miami and Cincinnati not covering,” said Wynn sportsbook director John Avello, who gets a little bit of a different clientele between his Wynn and Encore books.

The Dolphins tried all they could to give the Browns a win in a battle of 0-2 teams, but Cleveland couldn’t capitalize despite a decent performance out of rookie QB Cody Kessler (21-33, 244 yards) who made his first career start – on the road, no less. Tough spot.

They also got a fantastic multi-purpose game out of Terrelle Pryor who caught eight passes for 144 yards while also lining up at QB, running for a score and completing 3 of 5 pass attempts. However, despite the 30-24 overtime loss, the Browns did cover the 10-point spread. They’re getting 10 again at Washington this week.

Another QB making his first career road start was Denver’s Trevor Siemian and all he did was throw for 312 yards and toss four TDs with no picks at Cincinnati. No other QB in the history of the NFL has been that successful in his first road start. What stood out the most is how calm, cool and collected he was in the fourth quarter of a close game against a team most believe to be playoff contenders. He was the star of Denver’s 29-17 win, and Denver’s team rating gets a major bump because of it.

Kornegay, a Broncos fan himself, was impressed, too.

“I was watching some show and I saw Emmanuel Sanders talking about Siemian’s first road game and he kept talking about his confidence and leadership abilities on the sideline and in the huddle. This is his team and his road game against a quality team went well.”

Denver is one of five teams that have won and covered all three games in the young season. It was surprising the only one of those winning teams the public jumped on Sunday was Baltimore, who won at Jacksonville 19-17, covering -1.5.

Usually when the books do well, it means the sharps were there picking up the scraps and riding the money train as well. The wise guys got there with Washington (+3.5) at the Giants, Baltimore, Buffalo, Los Angeles and Detroit, where they took +8, +7.5 and +7 at Green Bay. The Packers won, 34-27, and sharps got the cover or push. But there was so much straight bet action on the Lions they eventually forced the line down to -6. It was similar to the Week 1 game at Jacksonville when Green Bay helped middle the books. The big difference here is Green Bay parlay risk was minimal because there were few public winners to tie the side to.

The most surprising public selection of the week was seeing the 49ers bet so much at Seattle. Sure, the Seahawks had scored only 15 points between their first two games, but it was so uncharacteristic of the regular Joe’s to side with a 10-point dog when it was against one of their favorite traditional teams to side with. Come on guys, you always love Seattle. You zigged, and Seattle zagged with an easy 37-18 win.

Bettors have a lot to think about after three weeks of action and you can bet on the idea that all those perfect ATS team won’t go unnoticed at the bet windows in Week 4. The Eagles and Packers have byes this week, but they’ll be on Denver (-3) at Tampa Bay and New England at home against Buffalo. They’ll also be all over the Steelers and Arizona at home coming off a loss.

Best of luck in all your Week 4 betting strategies. The books have you right where they want you right now, which is guessing and reaching a bit more and taking you out of your normal handicapping philosophy and routine. Don’t let them do it. Look at the entire body of work of each team from the first three weeks rather than strictly believing what you saw last in Week 3.

Twitter: @MicahRoberts7

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