Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Las Vegas Sports Books Beat Up Bettors Again In Week 3 of the NFL

By Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

The parity of the NFL once again was too tough to prognosticate as the Nevada Sports Books once again raked in all the chips with the scoreboard reading: Books 3, Players 0. Week  3 wasn’t as ruthless to the players as last week where all factions of the betting public lost, but it was still  difficult as the favorites went 5-10 with seven of the underdogs winning outright. The sharp money actually did well hitting a few of their games this week, but for the average Joe betting a three or four game parlay it was lights out again.

Through the first three weeks, the regular guy’s head is spinning because it was only a year ago where it was just the opposite as they found it hard to lose. A bettor could walk in a book for the first seven weeks on the 2009 season and lay the three highest spreads and bingo, 6 to 1 odds were paid back. It was almost too easy and it left many of Vegas’ top bookmakers scratching their heads and altering their strategies that had forever been sound.

On Sunday that strategy didn’t work so well as the three double digit spreads went 1-2 with the one game covering, the Vikings at -13, getting tattooed by sharp money. The Buffalo Bills who could manage only 17 points combined in their first two games put up 30 points on the Patriots who closed as 14-point favorites. A Bills touchdown with 4:11 left in the game had players all over the state ripping up the first of many parlay tickets on the day.

Another strategy that golden last year was picking on the bad teams. This year, it’s been a bad move as four of the worst teams from 2009 have been four of the sports books best friends. The Rams, Chiefs, Raiders and Browns are pushovers no more and all covered on Sunday. While they still may turn out to be bad as the year goes on, they have raised cause for concern or caution in the back of every bettors’ mind.

Any parlay tickets that were alive that avoided the Patriots were surely doomed by picking the Ravens, 49ers and Redskins. The Chiefs had originally opened as 1 ½-point home favorites to the 49ers and by Thursday the 49ers were favored by 3. After their gritty Monday night game against the Saints where they lost by a field goal, but still covered, everyone figured the 49ers were back to be who we all thought they were, a good team capable of going far in the playoffs. What they turned out to be in Kansas City was almost an exact replica of their week one loss at Seattle by losing 31-10, almost the exact score from Seattle.

Michael Vick and the Eagles were a popular play from the public that got there easy, but the rewards from that game were never found as all the others plays went down the toilet. At the same time many of the experts, or contrarian bettors, liked the Jaguars on straight bets and made the books winners as the Eagles dominated 28-3.

In the sports books category analysis for week 3, the were either small winners or losers on the straight bets thanks to the sharps but made their killing in parlays, both off the board and on the cards. With the September ledgers about to close out the third quarter, most sports books can say that they have enjoyed one of their best Septembers ever and in the process have helped carry a large portion of the casino’s budget.  

Hail to the Back-ups
Picking on a back-up quarterback is usually a pretty good trend to go with in the NFL. Taking the Bengals last week as they played against first-time starter Jimmy Clausen got the money. A late touchdown by the Vikings secured the cover against Shaun Hill and the Lions, but on the down side of the trend, Seneca Wallace kept the Browns within the spread as well as Bruce Gradkowski of the Raiders.

Hail to the Chiefs
After only three games the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs already have a two game lead in the AFC West and are looking like this years surprise team, much in the same way Denver started out last season. They have won each of their games this season by several different methods led by defense, special teams and some tricky offensive plays. Rookie Dexter McCluster looks to be a Reggie Bush type of player that fits this team well and makes opposing defenses have to game plan for him specifically. Unfortunately, the Chiefs have a bye this week which could be a momentum killer. If using Denver as a reference, the 2009 Broncos were 6-0 going into their bye and came out of it losing four in a row and ultimately finishing the year out 2-8.    

Giants Lured
The Giants 29-10 loss to the Titans can be attributed to a few tipped Eli Manning interceptions and some crafty coaching by Jeff Fischer. Giants coach Tom Coughlin warned his players all week about the nature of a Fischer coached team provoking opposing players into personal fouls. Coughlin should know since he has went head to head against Fischer 19 times over his career while coaching in the same division with the Jaguars. The advice didn’t help the Giants as they got provoked into five personal fouls during the game with each coming at pivotal moments.    

Dead Zone
The Denver Broncos moved up and down the field at will on Sunday against the Colts with Kyle Orton throwing a career high 472 yards, but came up empty in the red zone. Denver missed all five opportunities they had inside the Colts’ 20 yard line. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels twice opted to go for a touchdown on fourth down instead of taking a chip shot field goal which ultimately changed the complexion of the game. Fans always love a coach who goes for it, but on the second attempt early in the fourth-quarter down 20-13 on the 12 yard line with a 4th-and-3 situation, the crowd had more a miffed murmuring sound -- instead of the normal cheers when coaches do it -- where they all collectively said, “What the hell is he doing.”  

Player of the Week
Michael Vick’s 291 yards passing with 3 TD passes and a 17 yard TD run against the Jaguars gives him the nod. It’s hard to imagine him being better than what he was in Atlanta, but he is. He appears to make smarter reads on defenses, better decisions and his accuracy has never been so good. He looks better than his 2006 Madden X-Box player that was virtually unstoppable on the video game. His match against the Redskins and Donovan McNabb this week should get his competitive juices flowing even more. Honorable mention goes to Seattle’s Leon Washington who showed how valuable he is with two kickoff returns for TD’s, including the clincher, against the Chargers.

This Week’s Games
We have two double digit favorites, three teams favored by a touchdown or above and five home dogs. The card looks like a tough one but the game that stands out most is the Chargers laying 9 at home against the Cardinals. The 1-2 Chargers are back at home going against a Cardinals team that I really can find nothing good to say about except to say they have a winning record. The two close wins against the Rams and Raiders don’t say as much about the team as their crushing 41-7 loss at Atlanta does. The Chargers should take out some of their frustration on the Cardinals this week, you write the score.

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