By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer
For the majority of those who bet on NFL Week 3 odds, the outcomes weren’t as bad as Week 2, which weren’t as bad as Week 1.
But the bottom line remains: In Week 3, oddsmakers still got the better of bettors, with sportsbooks posting another winning week.
Much of that was spurred on by the Indianapolis Colts – 4.5-point underdogs – nabbing a 20-17 outright upset of the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.
Before that game, BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott had this to say:
“We are desperate for the Colts to cover or hopefully win.”
From his mouth to God’s ears, apparently – to the chagrin of public bettors.
In Weeks 1 and 2, the Colts had a severe hitch in their giddy up. Indy opened the season with a stunning 20-20 tie at Houston. Then more shocking, Matt Ryan & Co. got blanked 24-0 at Jacksonville in Week 2.
But finally playing a home game – and desperate for a win – the Colts got a victory against one of the best teams in the league. Indy stifled the normally high-octane Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs. And in doing so, a lot of parlays/moneyline parlays/teasers tied to the Chiefs went up in flames for bettors.
“The Colts’ win was a great result for us,” Scott said.
John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, said that contest – along with Miami’s 21-19 victory over Buffalo – certainly overcame a couple of decisions that fell in favor of bettors.
“It was definitely very positive with the Colts and Dolphins winning,” Murray said. “Although we did give back a good chunk on the Bengals, Ravens and Eagles. The public loves those road favorites. Win some, lose some.”
Bettors Back Birds
Indeed, multiple sportsbooks in Vegas and across the country reported very strong support for the Ravens. Baltimore, a 2.5-point favorite at New England, delivered a 37-26 victory for the customers.
Ditto for the Eagles. Philadelphia closed as a 6-point favorite at Washington and dispatched the Commanders 24-8.
As for Cincinnati, the defending AFC champion finally got its first win and cover of the season. The Bengals had little trouble on the road against the New York Jets, winning 27-12 as 6.5-point favorites.
WynnBet senior trader Chris Youn noted positive results from the Eagles and Colts and a couple of cool cats: the Jaguars and Lions.
Jacksonville, a 6.5-point road underdog after the Chargers’ late decision to start Justin Herbert, shockingly boat raced Los Angeles 38-10. And while Detroit lost 28-24 at Minnesota, the Lions covered the 5.5-point spread.
“Overall, a good Sunday for us. We won big on the Eagles, Jaguars, Lions and Colts,” Youn said, while noting the Denver Broncos’ outright Sunday night win – an 11-10 slog over the San Francisco 49ers – was also a good result.
In fact, that game was good for most bookmakers, as the public piled on Jimmy G and the Niners.
“The Broncos were our first Sunday night win of the NFL season,” BetMGM’s Scott said. “It was a very nice weekend for bookmakers.”
Landing on the Number
Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at the South Point, pointed to a surprising game in which bettors did well Sunday: the rather nondescript Texans-Bears matchup.
Andrews opened Chicago as a 2.5-point home favorite and toggled between -2.5 and -3 a couple of times over the course of the week. The closing line Sunday pregame was Bears -3.
Then Chicago won by exactly 3 points, 23-20. So everybody who bet Bears -2.5 won, and everybody who bet Bears -3 or Texans +3 got a refund. It’s the kind of result that makes bookmakers pull their hair out.
“The Texans-Bears game falling on the number was terrible and a bad result for us,” Andrews said.
While the bookmakers generally had a good Sunday, a few had an even better Saturday with college football.
“We were a winner on both, but more so on college football,” TwinSpires Sportsbook director of retail sports Zachary Lucas said.
Casey Degnon, senior risk supervisor at The SuperBook, echoed that sentiment.
“We had a good Saturday in college football,” Degnon said. “Notre Dame winning in Chapel Hill was a great result for us, as was Maryland covering against Michigan, along with that game going under the total.”
Notre Dame, generally not looking like a team that was ranked fifth in the preseason, went to North Carolina as a 3-point underdog. The Fighting Irish proceeded to put up no points in the first quarter. But they then caught fire with a 24-point second quarter and rolled to a 45-32 victory.
Meanwhile, Maryland was a healthy 17-point underdog at Michigan. But the Terrapins stuck around pretty much all game, losing 34-27 while easily covering the spread.
Then there was Middle Tennessee State’s surprising 45-31 upset of Miami, with the Hurricanes a 25.5-point favorite. Believe it or not, BetMGM saw a decent number of Middle Tennessee moneyline tickets, at +1600 (16-1) to pull the outright upset.
“Middle Tennessee State moneyline [was] a small loser for us, actually,” BetMGM trader Seamus Magee said. “The biggest bet on MTSU was $250.”
That led to a nice little $4,000 win for that customer.
Over at The SuperBook, Degnon said only one customer thought to make an MTSU bet, at +1500.
“Three dollars on MTSU moneyline,” Degnon said.
So that netted a whopping $45. But hey, the return-on-investment percentage was tremendous!
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.