As the results of week 3 of the NFL Preseason seep in we recap the action and analyse how the NFL betting markets and public bettors did. Who were the big winners, bettors or bookies?
NFL Betting Recap Preseason Week 3
Often referred to as the dress rehearsal for the regular season week 3 is held the most important week in the preseason. How the public bet this week is revealing and what the ensuing market reactions and line movements were is educational.
What we look at specifically here: how markets reacted to public betting trends, whether the lines moved in proportion to the betting trend percentages or did they go against betting trend percentages. That latter of which represents reverse line movements which can be an indication of sharp money.
Of course, neither the public nor sharps can always get it right. Nor, for that matter, bookies. But online sportsbooks are in the habit of making money so how they balance action is revealing. And it’s also useful to know how all these integral cogs –public and sharps – play against each other in NFL betting markets.
So let’s get analysing…
NFL Thursday, August 25
Atlanta Falcons 6 vs. Miami Dolphins 17
Florida Citrus Bowl, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Opening Line: Dolphins -3, Over/Under Total 43.5
Midweek Line: Dolphins -1, Over/Under Total 43
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Falcons 57.1%
Closing Line: Dolphins -1, Over/Under Total 42
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Falcons 54.97%
Recap: The bookies proved to be solid winners in this game as the Dolphins defeated the Falcons 17-6. Tale told, it wasn’t even close on the scoreboard which underlines the opening NFL line that had the Dolphins installed as the -3 home chalk. Bettors, however, went against that market at early doors and as they bet up the Falcons something huge the Falcons shortened from +3 to +1 at most sports betting shops. The best bit for bookies was cleaning up nicely: of the 54.97% of spread bets recorded with the Falcons the actual money staked amounted to 60.20% with the Falcons. By that same token, the 45.03% of the spread bets staked on the Dolphins only represented 39.80% of the money.
Dallas Cowboys 17 at Seattle Seahawks 27
CenturyLink Field, 10 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Seahawks -4.5, Over/Under Total 44.5
Midweek Line: Seahawks -5.5, Over/Under Total 44
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Cowboys 54.6%
Closing Line: Seahawks -5.5, Over/Under 43
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Seahawks 54.60%
Recap: The bookies got this game right as the Seahawks went on to defeat the Cowboys 27-17, but they weren’t big winners here as mixed betting coming down the wire evened the market out to a certain respect.
Early bettors went against the NFL betting market as evinced by the 54.6% recorded in early consensus betting. It’s worth noting, however, that despite that trend the NFL line moved against the Cowboys as they swelled from +4.5 to +5.5. That’s a reverse line movement that’s in all likelihood underscored by some very early sharp betting on the Cowboys. In any event, late betting swung the pendulum towards the Seahawks. When all was said and done the Seahawks accounted for 54.60% of spread bets while the Cowboys accounted for 45.40% of spread bets. In terms of the money, the split was much closer (another indication of large bets going towards the Cowboys during the week) with the Seahawks representing 51.44% and the Cowboys 48.56% of the money.
NFL Friday, August 26
New England Patriots 19 vs. Carolina Panthers 17
Bank of America Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Panthers -3.5, Over/Under Total 45
Midweek Line: Panthers -3.5, Over/Under Total 45
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Patriots 55.4%
Closing Line: Panthers -3, Over/Under 44.5
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Panthers 51.12%
Review: When all was said and done the outcome was a lot closer than the market expected and the road underdog both won and covered. The Brady-inspired Patriots won 19-17 to come through for their backers – those were represented by 48.88% of spread bets recorded on this game. The intriguing bit is it amount accounted to 65.67% of the money risked on this game. The public and sharps were winners here, beating the books rather soundly.
Buffalo Bills 16 vs. Washington Redskins 21
FedEx Field, 7:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Redskins -3, Over/Under Total 43.5
Midweek Line: Redskins -2.5, Over/Under Total 43
Early Consensus ATS Betting: 50-50
Closing Line: Redskins -3.5, Over/Under Total
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Bills 51.69%
Review: The clash between the Bills and Redskins enjoyed some interesting line movement over the course of the week as bets poured into NFL betting exchanges. At early doors, the Redskins slipped from the opening -3 to -2.5. By closing doors, they shot back up and closed finally on a -3.5 spread line. Hopping up and down so has everything to do with how the money flows on a game, the money actually risked rather than the percentage of spread bets recorded. As you can see, the Bills did emerge with the slight edge with 51.69% of spread bets and that accounted for 59.77% of the money. The exposure was all with the Bills but the line moved against Buffalo (+2.5 to +3.5 when all was said and done) despite this lean. Redskins, meanwhile, closed with 48.31% of spread bets and just 40.23% of the money risked. Given the Redskins came through with both the win and cover the bookmakers got a tidy sum here. That said it was a nervy ending. The game could have gone either way. So you can also say the books got lucky. It’s the way the ball rolls sometimes.
Cleveland Browns 13 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30
Raymond James Stadium, 8 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Buccaneers -3.5, Over/Under Total 41.5
Midweek Line: Buccaneers -3.5, Over/Under Total 42.5
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Bucs 54.4%
Closing Line: Buccaneers -3.5, Over/Under Total 43
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Bucs 53.48%
Review: The betting on this game was peculiar to say the least. At closing doors, the Tampa Bay emerged with 53.48% of spread bets making the Bucs the de facto consensus bet. Well, be that as it may, the reality according to SBR consensus betting polls is that the money was all over the Browns, to the tune of a whopping 92.65% of the money risked. Why anybody would come out of the pocket for the Browns is confounding. Beggars belief, really. Speaking of which some bettors are out of serious cash; not to mention books won rather big here. Sure, they had to payout 53.48% of the spread bets recorded but when those accounted for just 7.35% of the money it’s a pittance.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 vs. New Orleans Saints 14
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Saints -1, Over/Under Total 45
Midweek Line: Saints -2, Over/Under Total 45.5
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Saints 69%
Closing Line: Saints -3, Over/Under Total 44.5
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Saints 55.47%
Review: For the most part the betting on this game was even as bets came down the wire for both the Steelers and Saints in equal proportions. By closing doors, Saints emerged as the consensus bet with 55.47% of the spread bets but the Steelers with 44.53% of spread bets accounted for 51.94% of the money. That explains the reverse line movement on this game, moving against the Steelers and in favour of the Saints, who went up from -1 to -3. All in all, the public and sharp bettors that backed the Steelers got it right. A bit of a loss for bookies.
Green Bay Packers 21 vs. San Francisco 49ers 10
Levi’s Stadium, 10 p.m. ET
Opening Line: 49ers +1.5, Over/Under Total 46.5
Midweek Line: Niners -2, Over/Under Total 46.5
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Niners 53.2%
Closing Line: Niners -2.5, Over/Under Total 44
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Niners 50.80%
Review: Not only did the Niners account for 50.80% of spread bets (the slightest of edges in consensus betting polls) they also raked in a remarkable 80.99% of the money risked on this game. Wow, did the public and sharps get this one wrong, or what? Suppose, everybody loves an underdog. However, in this case, the value underdog proved to be the Packers, who were backed out to +2.5 by closing doors. Still, those NFL bettors that took the Packers as the opening -1.5 road favourites cashed out too. All in all, the bookies cleaned up nicely here.
NFL Saturday, August 27
Kansas City Chiefs 23 vs. Chicago Bears 7
Soldier Field, 1 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Chiefs -1, Over/Under Total 41
Midweek Line: Chiefs -1.5, Over/Under Total 41
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Chiefs 68.9%
Closing Line: Chiefs -2.5, Over/Under Total 41
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Chiefs 61.84%
Review: The public got this game absolutely right, so much so that the volume of betting bet up the NFL betting line from Chiefs -1 to -2.5 as bookies were forced to balance the action and, arguably, tempt underdog bettors towards the Bears. Early consensus betting was all over the Chiefs with 68.9% of spread bets. As the NFL line crept up Bears action did indeed increase and brought down the percentage of spread bets on the Chiefs to 61.84%. Nevertheless, the money was wholeheartedly with the Chiefs – 66.16% according to SBR consensus betting polls. The best bit for the public: the game wasn’t even close. Those that got in on Chiefs action, be it -1 or -1.5 or -2.5 were all winners as the Chiefs covered with plenty to spare in the 23-7 road victory.
Detroit Lions 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens 30
M&T Bank Stadium, 7 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Ravens -3, Over/Under Total 43
Midweek Line: Ravens -3.5, Over/Under Total 43
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Ravens 65.9%
Closing Line: Ravens -3, Over/Under Total 42.5
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Lions 50.23%
Review: Wow, this game wasn’t even close and the public along with sharps got it totally wrong. Ravens smashed it in a 30-9 triumph at M&T Bank Stadium to the chagrin of those that backed the Lions. Interestingly, that was the majority in this game. Apparent sharp betting late in the week was all over Detroit with huge sums coming down the wire that eventually put up the Lions with 50.23% of spread bets and a whopping 91.39% of the money. In short, bookies were big winners here.
Philadelphia Eagles 33 vs. Indianapolis Colts 23
Lucas Oil Stadium, 7 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Colts -3, Over/Under Total 42.5
Midweek Line: Colts -3, Over/Under Total 43
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Eagles 64.4%
Closing Line: Colts -1.5, Over/Under Total 44
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Eagles 52.65%
Review: Right at opening doors the public and sharps got this game spot on. The Eagles were the consensus bet from the start and remained so at closing doors, despite the market share whittling down from 64.4% to 52.65%. Importantly, the money tipped towards the Eagles at 78.66% staked on an Eagles cover. The reverse line movement – Colts shrinking from -3 to -1.5 – underscores the sharp betting, but to no avail. Eagles smashed it in a 33-23 win that saw the cover with plenty to spare no matter the line the public or sharps eventually weighed in on. Talk about beating the bookie here.
New York Giants 21 vs. New York Jets 20
MetLife Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Giants -1, Over/Under Total 42.5
Midweek Line: Giants -2.5, Over/Under Total 43
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Giants 70.5%
Closing Line: Giants PK, Over/Under Total 42.5
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Giants 52.90%
Review: The Giants finally win in the preseason and, in so doing, there were winners and losers on both sides of the betting plane. Giants were the consensus bet according to the percentage of spread bets all along but that only accounted for a paltry 3.02% of the money. It goes without saying those bettors were losers on the day as far as spread bets were concerned – at -1 the Giants pushed while anything higher was a losing bet in the 21-20 victory. The bulk of the money was with the Jets. An incredible 96.98% of the money according to SBR consensus betting polls from contributing sportsbooks. Those that got in the early action with the Jets tipped at +1 pushed. Those that got in later with the Jets matched at +1.5 and higher were winners.
Tennessee Titans 27 vs. Oakland Raiders 14
Oakland Coliseum, 8 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening Line: Raiders -3.5, Over/Under Total 43.5
Midweek Line: Raiders -3.5, Over/Under Total 43.5
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Raiders 93.1%
Closing Line: Raiders -3, Over Under Total 41.5
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Raiders 59.53%
Review: Public and sharp bettors got this game totally wrong and the books cleaned up nicely. It wasn’t even close when all was said and done in Tennessee’s surprising 27-14 triumph at the Coliseum. Raiders were the consensus bet from the start and at closing doors the 60% share of spread bets accounted for 72.27% of the money. Tale told, bookies were big winners in this game.
Los Angeles Rams 9 vs. Denver Broncos 17
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, 9 p.m. ET
Opening Line: Broncos -4.5, Over/Under Total 42
Midweek Line: Broncos -5, Over/Under Total 42
Early Consensus ATS Betting: Broncos 54.4%
Closing Line: Broncos -5.5, Over/Under Total 42
Closing Consensus ATS Betting: Broncos 60.37%
Review: The general public or casual bettor got this game spot on. The Broncos were the consensus bet from opening to closing doors. The interesting bit: the money was with the Rams. In all likelihood sharp bettors fancied the Rams and the points as the 39.63% of spread bets with the Rams accounted for a massive 78.78% of the money. That’s down to large sums bet on the Rams. Tale told, the bookies got this game right and proved winners.
Check back on Monday for an update on Sunday’s week 3 matchups