For Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer
There is no real debate as to which game is the most important in this week’s NFL betting market. How can you argue otherwise when two first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks are facing each other?
You know what’s even better? People on both sides of the counter have a lot to say about Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Below are insights on this matchup and several other NFL Week 3 odds and college football Week 4 odds.
Rodgers vs. Brady
Heavy punters won’t always do well. If they did, they’d all be millionaires. But they spend much more time and effort on analysis, analysis, models, etc. So they tend to make much more informed bets than… well, me, you, and most people who bet on sports.
A professional bettor I connect with regularly felt great about the Saints +3 in the spread last week. But the Buccaneers’ defense put up another strong effort, and New Orleans lost 20-10.
Still, this sharp player is good to blow the Bucs away again this week. Tampa Bay’s wide receiver is either suspended (Mike Evans) or dealing with injuries (Chris Godwin/Julio Jones). And the Bucs’ offensive line has been torn up as well, heading into this national telecast on FOX at 4:25 pm ET Sunday.
“Tampa’s O-line is a mess. Green Bay is the play. I took the Packers +3 opening,” he said. “Green Bay is solid in the trenches on both sides. Brady has broken and suspended weapons.”
You can no longer get Packers +3 as this line was only available earlier in the week. Depending on where you bet, Green Bay is now under 1.5 or 1 point, because the wise guys didn’t stop at +3.
“We took a bet from a respected player on the +2 Packers on Tuesday,” said WynnBet trader John Manica, noting that his store is among those that have the Packers at +1.
Most oddsmakers will need the Indianapolis Colts this weekend to rally and show up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rex Beyers, now head of betting at PlayUp USA after previous stops at The SuperBook and Caesars Sports, among others, expects to be in the odd place of need for the Chiefs.
“The Colts have looked absolutely abysmal and awful. They’re beat up and they weren’t very good last week,” Beyers said, noting Indy’s stunning 24-0 loss at Jacksonville. “Now the Colts return home against a team coming off of an extra bye.”
In fact, KC beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in Thursday night’s Week 2 game. However, the Colts have drawn a lot of interest in the PlayUp.
“If you gave me a team to win the Super Bowl right now, I’d take the Chiefs,” Beyers said. “My power makes this game a -6. But there’s an All-Star team of sages in the ‘dog at +6.5 and +6, and that’s why this game is at 5.5. As things stand right now, we’re going to We need the bosses, so we’ll be in the minority. It could change, but I don’t think it will.”
The game tips off at 1:00 PM ET.
“It’s going to be a game where we’re going to have to hang in there and hope the Colts are as bad as we think they are,” Beyers said, though he noted Indianapolis could be just as bad. “The number is big. It’s a Colts team that got embarrassed last week, and I would expect a hair-on-fire effort from them.”
Everyone knows Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills can put up points. But people realized in the fourth quarter of Miami’s Week 2 rout of Baltimore that the Dolphins can score, too. Trailing 35-14 entering the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa & Co. scored four touchdowns and won 42-38.
This led to a big change in the total.
“Bills-Dolphins total opened 50-51 [last week’s] previous numbers,” WynnBet’s Manica said. “Then we saw the Dolphins put on a late offensive display, along with the Bills. [41-7] the defeat of the Titans, and a substantial movement in the Over quickly took place to 54”.
There was some resistance once the total reached 54, bringing the total down to 52.5 midweek.
“I think most models have that total lower since two divisional opponents will collide. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that close below the current market of 52.5 or 53,” Manica said.
Back to school
We’re breaking through all that NFL information to give you some college football Week 4 odds. Fourth-ranked Michigan aims to continue in its Big Ten opener at home against fellow undefeated Maryland at noon ET Saturday on FOX.
WynnBet opened the Wolverines as home favorites at 17.5 points, dropped to -17 almost immediately on Sunday evening, then moved to -16.5 shortly after. WynnBet is still at -16.5, while most sportsbooks are at -17.
“We wrote a substantial number of tickets in Michigan at prices below the current market of -17,” Manica said. “Michigan has played weak opponents and faces a step up in competition. I think you’ll see a lot of money in Maryland if the market goes above 17, and probably a lot of Michigan sponsors at any lower number.”
Sunday night shuffle
OK, back to the NFL. One of the biggest line moves of the week so far is in Sunday night’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. Denver opened as a 2.5-point consensus favorite, but the line jumped the fence on Monday and San Fran is now -1.5.
And that’s with the Niners losing starting QB Trey Lance for the season after suffering a broken ankle last weekend. The aforementioned bettor certainly likes the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
“I took San Francisco +2.5 when it opened,” he said. “Before the season, I mentioned what Russell Wilson is to Denver: a below-average QB. Denver is beat up, too. And the 49ers are better off with Jimmy G at QB.”
WynnBet’s Manica also noted that the early Niners loved this week.
“The Broncos haven’t passed the eye test in their two games, against what most consider to be two of the weakest teams in the NFL,” Manica said, referring to a loss at Seattle and a fight for beat houston “We’re seeing another step up in the competition for the Broncos against a solid 49ers roster. San Francisco is a corner that a lot of people like. The team is helped in some ways by losing Lance, as it reduces the variation of results they would have with a younger quarterback.
“Jimmy G has a strong track record under Shanahan and will look to build on that as the Broncos are still trying to figure it out with the new pieces they have in place.”
Justin Herbert looked pretty good in Thursday’s Week 2 game at Kansas City. He had the Chargers close to taking a fourth-quarter lead before throwing an interception that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Los Angeles lost 27-24, though the Bolts covered as 4-point underdogs.
But late in the game, Herbert suffered a rib cartilage injury, and it remains unclear if he will play in Sunday’s 4:05 pm ET game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Still, several sportsbooks have the Jaguars-Chargers game available for betting, with Los Angeles a 7-point home favorite. Beyers is having none of it, with Herbert too valuable to the spread to consider posting a line in this game, yet.
“I wouldn’t have any interest in booking the Chargers until I know if the quarterback is playing. I’m not in the business of playing 50/50 with the NFL,” Beyers said. “We won’t put this game until we know who’s playing. The line and total won’t close anywhere near where they are now, 7 and 47.5. The spread will be 3 points higher or 3 points lower depending on whether Herbert. play.”
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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