By Patrick Everson
FOX Sportsbook Writer
There is no real debate about which game is the biggest in this week’s NFL betting market. How can you argue otherwise when you have two first ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks 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 is information on that matchup and several more betting nuggets on NFL Week 3 odds and College Football Week 4 odds.
Rodgers vs. Brady
Sharp bettors are not always going to be right. If they did, they would all be millionaires. But they spend a lot more time and effort on analysis, analysis, models and whatnot. Therefore, 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 on a regular basis felt great about the +3 Saints on the spread last week. But the Buccaneers’ defense put up another big effort and New Orleans lost 20-10.
Still, this smart player is fine fading the Bucs again this week. Tampa Bay’s wide receiver corps is suspended (Mike Evans) or dealing with injuries (Chris Godwin/Julio Jones). And the Bucs’ offensive line is banged up, too, heading into this national broadcast on FOX at 4:25 pm ET on Sunday.
“Tampa’s offensive line is a mess. Green Bay is the play. I took the Packers +3 game opener,” he said. “Green Bay is solid in the trenches on both sides. Brady’s got the guns banged up and down.”
You can no longer get +3 Packers, as that lane was only available earlier in the week. Depending on where you bet, Green Bay is now down either 1.5 points or 1 point, because the sages didn’t stop at +3.
“We accepted a bet from a respected player on the +2 Packers on Tuesday,” said WynnBet dealer John Manica, noting that his store is among those with the +1 Packers.
Most punters will need the Indianapolis Colts to meet this weekend and take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Rex Beyers, now head of bookmaking at PlayUp USA after previous stops at The SuperBook and Caesars Sports, among others, hopes to be in the rare place of needing the Chiefs.
“The Colts have looked absolutely abysmal and horrible. They’re banged up and they weren’t very good last week,” Beyers said, highlighting Indy’s shock 24-0 loss at Jacksonville. “Now the Colts are going home against a team that’s coming off an extra break.”
In fact, KC beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in Thursday night’s Week 2 game. However, the Colts have sparked a lot of interest in PlayUp.
“If they give me a team to win the Super Bowl right now, I’m going with the Chiefs,” Beyers said. “My power rating makes this game Chiefs -6. But there’s an All-Star team of wise guys in the ‘dog at +6.5 and +6, and that’s why this game is at 5.5. As it is Right now, we’re going to need the Chiefs, so we’re going to be in the minority. It could change, but I don’t think it will.”
The matchup kicks off at 1 pm ET.
“It’s going to be a game where we have to hang in there and hope the Colts are as bad as we think they are,” Beyers said, noting that Indianapolis could be that bad. “The number is big. That’s a Colts team that embarrassed themselves last week, and I would expect an effort from them.”
Everyone knows that Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills can score points. But people found out in the fourth quarter of Miami’s Week 2 win over Baltimore that the Dolphins can score, too. Trailing 35-14 early in the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa & Co. scored four touchdowns and won 42-38.
That led to a big change in the total.
“The Bills-Dolphins total opened between 50 and 51 on [last week’s] early numbers,” WynnBet’s Manica said. “Then we saw the Dolphins put on a late offensive display, along with the Bills’ [41-7] the Titans pummeling, and a substantial move in the Over quickly took place to 54”.
There was some resistance once the total hit 54, bringing the total down to 52.5 by midweek.
“I think most models have this lower total as they will be meeting two divisional opponents. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this close lower than the current market of 52.5 or 53,” Manica said.
Back to school
We interrupt all of this NFL information to bring you information on college football Week 4 odds. Fourth-seeded Michigan aims to keep rolling in its first Big Ten game at home, against undefeated Maryland at noon Saturday ET on FOX.
WynnBet opened the Wolverines as 17.5-point home favorites, dropped to -17 almost immediately on Sunday night, then dipped to -16.5 a short time later. 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 an increase in competition. I think you’ll see a flood of money in Maryland if the market goes above 17, and probably a lot of Michigan sponsors on anything less than that.”
Sunday night mix
Okay, back to the NFL. One of the biggest line moves of the week so far is in Sunday night’s clash between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. Denver opened with a consensus 2.5-point favorite, but the line jumped the fence Monday and San Fran is now -1.5.
And that’s with the Niners losing starting QB Trey Lance for the season after he suffered a broken ankle last weekend. The aforementioned shrewd gambler certainly likes the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo back at 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 quarterback. Denver is banged up, too. And the 49ers are better off with Jimmy G at quarterback.”
WynnBet’s Manica noted that early Niners love this week as well.
“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, alluding to a loss in Seattle and the struggle to beat the visitors. from Houston. “We’re seeing a step up in competition from the Broncos against a solid 49ers squad. San Francisco is an angle that a number of people like. The team is helped somewhat by the loss of Lance as it reduces variance. of results they would have”. have with a younger quarterback.
“Jimmy G has a strong history with Shanahan and he’s going to try to build on that as the Broncos are still trying to figure it out with the new pieces they have.”
Justin Herbert looked pretty good in Thursday night’s Week 2 game in Kansas City. He had the Chargers on the verge of taking a lead in the fourth quarter before throwing an interception that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Los Angeles went on to lose 27-24, although the Bolts took cover as 4-point underdogs on the road.
But, late in the game, Herbert suffered rib cartilage injury, and it remains unclear if he will play Sunday at 4:05 pm ET against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Still, several sportsbooks have the Jaguars-Chargers game available for betting, with Los Angeles the local favorite by 7 consensus points. Beyers has none of that, with Herbert too valuable to the spread to consider posting a line in this game, yet.
“I have no interest in signing 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 on until we know who’s playing. The line and total won’t close anywhere near where they are now, 7 and 47.5. The difference will be 3 points higher or 3 points lower, depending on whether Herbert theater plays.”
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a lead 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 golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites to get information on games, news and more.