NFL odds: How punters play Packers-Bucs Week 3 games

by Patrick Everson
Author of FOX sports gambling

There’s no real debate in the NFL betting market this week about which game is the biggest. How can you argue otherwise when you’re facing two first-round Hall of Fame defensemen?

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 are the stats for this matchup and a few other NFL Week 3 and College Football Week 4 betting metrics.

Rodgers vs. Brady

Smart bettors don’t always get it right. If they did, they would all be millionaires. But they spend much more time and effort on analysis, analytics, models, etc. So they tend to make much more informed bets than…well, me, you, and most people who bet on sports.

One pro bettor I talk to regularly spoke highly of the Saints +3 on the spread last week. But the Buccaneers defense made another strong effort and New Orleans fell 20-10.

Still, the savvy player does a great job of what the Bucks are missing again this week. Tampa Bay’s wide receiver is either suspended (Mike Evans) or dealing with injuries (Chris Godwin/Julio Jones). And the Bucks’ offensive line stepped up, too, heading into this FOX national telecast at 4:25 PM ET on Sunday.

“Tampa’s O-line is a disaster. Green Bay is a game. I took the Packers +3,” he said. “Green Bay is solid in the trenches on both ends. Brady has weapons, slung and slung.”

You can no longer get the Packers +3 as this line was only available earlier in the week. Depending on where you bet, Green Bay is now a 1.5 or 1 point underdog because the smarts didn’t stop at +3.

“We accepted a bet from a well-respected punter on the Packers +2 on Tuesday,” said WynnBet trader John Manica, noting that his store is one of those that carry the Packers +1.

An unusual situation

The Indianapolis Colts will need most of the power forwards to come together this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rex Beyers, who now heads the betting department at PlayUp USA after previous stops at The SuperBook and Caesars Sports, among others, expects to be needed by the Chiefs.

“The Colts looked absolutely terrible and terrible. They’re broken and they weren’t very good last week,” Beyers said, noting Indy’s stunning 24-0 loss in Jacksonville. “Now the Colts return home against a team coming off extra rest.”

Indeed, KC defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in a Week 2 game on Thursday night. Still, the Colts are generating a lot of PlayUp interest.

“If you were to give me one team to win the Super Bowl right now, I’d take the Chiefs,” Beyers said. “My power rating makes this Chiefs -6 game. But there is an all-star team of smarts on the “dose” at +6.5 and +6, and that’s why this game is rated 5.5. In this situation, we are gathering the chiefs we need, so we will be in the minority. That may change, but I don’t think it will.”

The match started at 1:00 PM ET.

“This is 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 might actually be that bad. “The number is big. This is a Colts team that was embarrassed last week, and I would expect a tremendous effort from them.”

Serious offenses

Everyone knows that Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills can put up points. But in the fourth quarter of Week 2, Miami upset Baltimore, and the Dolphins can score, too. Trailing 35-14 early in the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa and Co. scored four touchdowns and won 42-38.

This led to significant changes in the overall bottom line.

“The Bills-Dolphins total opened between 50 and 51 [last week’s] projected numbers,” WynnBet’s Manika said. “Then we saw the Dolphins put on a late-season offense combined with the Bills. [41-7] the defeat of the Titans, and the essential transition to the Over took place quickly by 54′.

There was some resistance when the total reached 54, which took the total down to 52.5 by midweek.

“I think in most models that total is lower because the two division rivals will face off. I would not be surprised if we see this lower than the current market of 52.5 or 53,” Manika said.

Back to school

We’re interrupting all that NFL coverage to bring you college football odds for Week 4. Fourth-ranked Michigan looks to continue its Big Ten opener at home against undefeated Maryland on Saturday at noon ET on FOX.

WynnBet opened the Wolverines as a 17.5-point home favorite, dropped to -17 almost immediately on Sunday night, then dropped to -16.5 shortly after. WynnBet is still at -16.5, while most sportsbooks have -17.

“We have booked a significant number of tickets to Michigan at prices below the current market price of -17,” Manika said. “Michigan will play weak opponents and face a step up in competition. I think you’ll see money flow to Maryland if the market goes over 17, and probably a lot of Michigan backers at anything lower than that.”

Sunday Night Shuffle

OK, back to the NFL. One of the biggest line changes of the week so far came in Sunday night’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. Denver opened as a 2.5-point consensus favorite, but that line jumped over the line by Monday, and San Fran is now -1.5.

And that’s considering the Niners lost starting coach Trey Lance for the season after he broke his ankle last weekend. The aforementioned sharpshooter clearly likes the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.

“I rated San Francisco +2.5 when it opened,” he said. “Before the season, I mentioned what Russell Wilson is to Denver, a below-average QB. Denver won’t make it either. And the 49ers are better off with Jimmy Gee at QB.”

WynnBet’s Manika also noted early Niners love this week.

“The Broncos didn’t pass the eye test in their two games against what most would consider two of the weaker teams in the NFL,” Manica said, alluding to the loss in Seattle and struggling to win on the road in Houston. “We see increased competition for the Broncos against a solid 49ers team. San Francisco is a place that many people love. The team was helped in a way by losing Lance, as it reduced the scoring variance they would have liked to have with a younger defenseman.

“Jimmy Gee has a strong track record under Shanahan and he’ll look to capitalize on that as the Broncos are still trying to figure it out with the new pieces they have.”

Chargers‘QB Assignment

Justin Herbert looked pretty good in Thursday’s Week 2 night game in Kansas City. He had the Chargers on the verge of taking the 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, though the Bolts overcame a 4-point underdog.

But Herbert suffered a rib cartilage injury late in the game, and it’s still unclear if he will play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.

However, several sportsbooks are offering bets on the Jaguars-Chargers game, and Los Angeles is the consensus 7-point favorite. Beyers is having none of it, as Herbert is too valuable to the spread to consider posting lines in this game.

“I’m not interested in booking the Chargers until I know if the quarterback is playing. I don’t like 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 spread will be 3 points higher or 3 points lower depending on whether Herbert plays.”

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a prominent journalist in the national sports betting space. He lives in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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