NFL week 3 Against The Spread (ATS) results: Breaking even is hard to do

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 18:48 EST

Trying to recall the old expression about breaking even in a week of NFL betting…

“Breaking even is hard to do?” No, that’s “breaking up.” Breaking *up* is hard to do.

“Breaking even is like kissing your sister?” No, that’s a tie. *A tie* is like kissing your sister.

Wait, I’ve got it! It’s “breaking even is a f*&*&* of a lot better than losing.” That’s it!

All right, that’s not even a real expression – but it certainly should be. On a week in which we covered a 22-point favorite, wagered on Matt Patricia’s Lions and went against Patrick Mahomes’s Chiefs (OK, against Mahomes’s Chiefs’ defense, to be honest), NFLbets’ll take a push at the sportsbook cashier. After all, we took some chances, had some fun and all it cost was some sweat. And the vig. Damn the vig.

NFLbets’ roundup of week 3 results – win, lose or (gasp) didn’t wager on – with scores adjusted for point spreads, runs below; scores marked in bold indicate those games in which the SU and ATS result differed.

• Jacksonville Jaguars 20 at Tennessee Titans 5½
• Houston Texans 27 at Los Angeles Chargers 17
• Los Angeles Rams 17 at Cleveland Browns 13. The proverbial Vegas was well too kind to all three home teams in these games; better yet, this is no 20/20 hindsight call: NFLbets is on the record as covering the Texans -3 and the Rams -3, plus we were too lazy to post on the Thursday night game. (Besides, even if NFLbets was degenerate enough to bet on TNF, we sure can’t publicly endorse that sort of behavior…)

Cincinnati Bengals 17 at Buffalo Bills 15½. Yet another loser ATS at home! Buffalo may be a surprise to NFL fandom at 3-0 SU, but Cincinnati’s two away ATS wins are far more attention-grabbing for NFL bettors. How to justify the annihilation brought upon them by the 49ers in Cincy? What kind of adjustment might we expect to see in Bengals lines going forward? How much longer can this run of questions be sustained?

• Detroit Lions 27, Philadelphia Eagles 17½. But nevermind the Bengals: Through three weeks, the Lions are probably the 2019 NFL’s biggest bet-killer. After tying SU as a 2½-point favorite in Arizona on opening weekend, Detroit then got back-to-back SU wins as underdogs against two playoff teams from last year. This week, they’re at home versus Kansas City –should be an easy bet, if Matt Patricia misplaces his smoke and mirrors, that is…

• Indianapolis Colts 26, Atlanta Falcons 24. Can we now all acknowledge that an officially long time has passed since the third quarter of Super Bowl LI?

• Dallas Cowboys 9, Miami Dolphins 6
New York Jets 14 at New England Patriots 9½. And from the historical outlier department came these two results. Until last week, only once since 1980 had two NFL games in a single week carried point spreads of 19 or more (going back to week 4 of 1982). Meanwhile, the 2009 Dolphins became the first NFL team since ’80 to have been an underdog of 19 or more points in consecutive games. Finally, the Patriots and Dolphins became just the second and third teams, respectively, to have played consecutive games of 19-or-more point spreads after playing one another this week.

Summation with special attention to relevance to the present: The Jets are destroyed by injuries, the Patriots are better than the competition than ever, and the Dolphins are terribly, brutally bad.

• Minnesota Vikings 25½, Oakland Raiders 14
Green Bay Packers 20, Denver Broncos 16. Remember all that stuff at the season’s beginning about how the Raiders and Broncos had drawn the league’s most and second-most difficult schedule? Now you see (again) how that plays out. Bad for the teams on the receiving end, good for the prescient NFL bettor.

• Carolina Panthers 38 at Arizona Cardinals 17½
• New Orleans Saints 33 at Seattle Seahawks 22
• New York Giants 32 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26. Three substitute QBs, three interesting (and perhaps costly) results. And whereas the first two wins can be chalked up in no small part to a force of nature of the winning team – in the latter case, Christian McCaffrey for 188 total yards and a TD; the former, Alvin Kamara and his 161 and 2 TDs.

But in New York? The Giants were minus Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning was certainly not taking a benching too hard with the odds most were giving the G-men going forward. Instead, rookie Daniel Jones made Sterling Shepherd and Even Engram look like viable offensive options again – for at least 60 minutes, anyway.

NFLbets is not exactly twisting ankles jumping on the Jones and the Giants bandwagon. The truth is that those five sacks taken by Jones – not to mention the 32 points surrendered – indicate that the roster is still the same old Giants material. The hype will nevertheless doubtlessly be shrieking after a New York win over Washington, but we’ll see how this team really looks when they draw the Vikings then Patriots in weeks 5 and 6.

• Pittsburgh Steelers 20 at San Francisco 49ers 17½. Not an unimpressive ATS win here by Pittsburgh, but SU wins are what this club is going to need desperately, with the Ravens looking as good as they are…

• Chicago Bears 26, Washington 15. To be fair, in hindsight, covering under 41 points in an NFL game is pretty risky business, particularly against a below-average defense like Washington’s. But in NFLbets’ defense (so to speak), who knew that Case Keenum would personally turn the ball over five times, once for a pick-six and twice more setting up the Bears offense with a short enough field for even Mitchell Trubisky to navigate a touchdown drive.

In week 4, the over/under for the Chicago-Minnesota game is an incredible 38; try and stop NFLbets from going to that well again…