Opening Line Report – Week 3

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We're two weeks into the regular season, and we're starting to get a good idea about which teams are going to be contenders and which are going to be trash. We head into Week 3 with a few intriguing games on the NFL slate. The two combatants from Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, are looking to rebound after road losses in the Sunshine State.

The Cleveland Browns also head into Thursday's game with the New York Jets as favorites despite the fact they're limping in on an 0-18-1 winless streak which extends 633 days and counting.

(Consensus Odds as of Tuesday)

Thursday, Sept. 20

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-3 -120, 39)

The Browns opened as a field-goal favorite across the board at a majority of the books, while Treasure Island had slightly less faith in Cleveland, opening them as 2 1/2-point favorites, although that line was bet up to 3 1/2 by late afternoon on Monday. The Stratosphere was the lone Vegas book to open the Browns at 3 1/2, but that was quickly bet down to three points, getting in line with everyone else. Most books are holding Browns -3 with a little extra tax (-120). 

The Browns are 0-18-1 straight up in their last 19 games, including 0-1-1 so far this season, although they showed a lot of spunk in Week 1 by erasing a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to knot up the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-21, while losing by a whisker on the road against the New Orleans Saints 21-18 due to deficiencies in the kicking game. The last time the Browns tasted victory was back on Dec. 24, 2016. You have to go back to Dec. 13, 2015 when the Browns were actually favored at home, a streak of 19 straight. They topped the San Francisco 49ers that day by a 24-10 count as 2 1/2-point faves. So far this season Cleveland is 2-0 ATS, while the Jets are 1-1 ATS, including 1-0 SU/ATS on the road.

Sunday, Sept. 23

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5, 48)

The Colts ripped off a victory on the road in D.C. last weekend as road 'dogs by the same exact margin, but can they upend the champs? Vegas is backing the Birds at home, especially now that they have QB Carson Wentz (knee) back from knee surgery. He could have a little rust after his long layoff, however. Will late money flow in on the Colts?

Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers (-3, 43.5)

The Bengals have won each of their first two games by the same exact score, 34-23. Despite Cincinnati's impressive start, Vegas and the global books are in almost entire agreement, listing the Cats are three-point favorites. [...].lv trusts the Panthers slightly more, opening them at 3 1/2, but they were quickly bet down to three points in a few hours.

The Bengals have covered in four of their past five road games, including Week 1 in Indianapolis, and they're 11-4 ATS in their past 15 games on a grass surface. The Panthers have covered five of their past six at home, including Week 1 against the Cowboys. For whatever it's worth, the Bengals are 11-2 ATS in their past 13 games in Week 3, while the Panthers are 0-4 ATS in their past four Week 3 games. Don't take that seriously, although it is interesting nonetheless.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5, 39.5) 

The Titans were forced to use QB Blaine Gabbert in their Week 2 win against the Texans, as it wasn't a complete disaster as expected. Meanwhile, 'Sacksonville' took care of the defending AFC champ Patriots to send Duuuval into party mode. Suddenly, national talking heads are seriously starting to talk about the Jags as contenders, so can they handle themselves with aplomb against the Titans?

Only a few global books are offering this game due to the uncertain status for QB Marcus Mariota (elbow). Even with Mariota, the Titans could be in trouble since they're 15-40-4 ATS in their past 59 against the AFC, and 17-36-3 ATS in their past 56 inside the division. Meanwhile, the Jags have covered seven of their past nine against AFC South foes.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-3 -120, 53)

[...] opened the Falcons at -4, although a majority of Vegas books opened them at -3, including the Westgate Superbook. There hasn't been a lot of movement on this game, pehaps because no one knows which version of these teams is going to show up. The Falcons were listless on offense on the road in Week 1, but were decent in Week 2 despite the fact they were without RB Devonta Freeman (knee). Atlanta also lost two key defensive components to long-term injuries in the opener, as LB Deion Jones (foot) is on the Reserve/Injured Designated-to-Return list, with S Keanu Neal (knee) done for the season. Can the Saints show some consistency and take advantage of those absences?

The Saints are 14-5 ATS in their past 19 road games, but they're just 1-4 ATS in the past five inside the NFC South. The Falcons are 4-1 ATS in the past five games at home, while the home team has connected in nine of the past 13 in this series. This line is one of the highest totals of the young season, but it is expected to fall. While the over is 7-3 in the past 10 for New Orleans inside the division, the under is 8-0 in Atlanta's past eight against NFC foes and 4-0 in their past four divisional games while going 13-3 in the past 16 overall. The under is 7-3-1 in the past 11 meetings in this series, and 7-2 in the past nine meetings in Atlanta.

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-5, 43)

The Broncos have found a way to win in each of their two games, but nearly all of the books opened with the Ravens as five-point favorites, as Denver just isn't trusted to win on the road yet. Mirage-MGM opened at -4.5, as did Southpoint and Treasure Island as the only exceptions. The lack of trust in the Broncos likely stems from their 1-9 ATS mark over the past 10 games.

New York Giants at Houston Texans (-6, 41.5)

The Giants are in the Lone Star State for the second consecutive weekend. Both of these teams are looking for their first win, and they're looking for their first cover, too. The 'under' might be the way to go, cashing in seven of the past eight for the G-Men, including 4-1 in the past five road games. The under is also 6-1 in Houston's past seven, and 12-4 in their past 16 following a non-cover.

Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins (-3 -120, 44)

The Dolphins are 2-0 SU, while the Raiders are 0-2 SU so far, but the books aren't buying Miami. Only the Stratosphere opened them at -4, while all over books gave Miami the three-point home advantage and that's it. These teams just met last season on Nov. 5, with the Raiders coming away with a 27-24 victory as three-point favorites.

Green Bay Packers (-3, 46) at Washington Redskins

The Redskins returned home after a convincing Week 1 win in Arizona, but now that win is looking less impressive since the Cards appear to be one of the worst teams in the league, and the 'Skins were also humbled by the Colts at home as six-point favorites. Now, Washington opens as an underdog in their second straight home game. The Pack has hit the 'over' in each of their first two games, averaging 26.5 points per game (PPG) while allowing 26.0 PPG. 

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings (-16.5, 40.5)

The Vikings are the largest favorites of the 2018 season so far, with a majority of the books installing the Bills are 16- or 16 1/2-point 'dogs on the road. Only Treasure Island has the Vikings as low as 15 1/2 for now among the Vegas books. The Vikings were double-digit favorites three times in 2017, going 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS while outscoring opponents 30.0 PPG to 11.0 PPG in those three outings.

San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5, 56)

The Chiefs traded QB Alex Smith to the Redskins during the offseason, so we were cheated out of the Smith revenge game against the 49ers. However, QB Patrick Mahomes looks like the right guy to hitch a wagon, as he has 10 touchdown passes through the first two games, an NFL record to open a season.

Vegas is buying the high-octane offense, as the total opened at 56. [...] opened this game at KC -4 1/2 and 52 1/2, and it was quickly bet up to 6 1/2 and 56 in under 24 hours. It looks like everyone is buying the Chiefs.

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7, 48)

It's the Battle of L.A., but the rivalry is still budding to say the least. This could be a high-flying game, however, and the total opened at 47 1/2 and is quickly up to 48 1/2. The Caesars/Harrah's  book gave bettors the chance to take the Rams at 6 1/2 briefly, but it only took a few hours to move to seven to get in line with a majority of the other books in town. 

Chicago Bears (-6, 38.5) at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have managed a total of six points through two games, easily the worst offensive performance among all teams in the NFL. As such, the Bears are favorites away from home for the first time since Nov. 13, 2016, a span of 12 road games. They failed to cover in that game, and they're 0-2 ATS as road favorites since their last cover away from home on Sept. 22, 2013, a 40-23 win in Pittsburgh.

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks (-1, 41.5)

The Cowboys have a tremendous defense and a suspect offense so far this season. The same can be said for the Seahawks, who are an uncharacteristic 0-2 SU/ATS. Most books opened the Seahawks as three-point favorites, with Stations as the lone exception at -2 1/2. Westgate offered up the initial total of 42 1/2 before Seattle's Week 2 loss on Monday night, while the number was as high as 44 1/2 global with [...].

New England Patriots (-6.5, 51.5) at Detroit Lions

It's a battle between one of head coach Bill Belichick's disciples, as head coach Matt Patricia tries to show the master what he has learned. So far, it hasn't looked like much, as the Lions are 0-2 SU/1-1 ATS to date. The defense has been a disaster for the Lions, as they're allowed 39.0 PPG through two games. Now they'll face an angry Patriots team coming off a whipping in J-ville.

New England hasn't won back-to-back games since dropping an overtime game on the road Dec. 27, 2015 against the Jets and Jan. 3, 2016 in a meaningless game with starters resting in Miami.

Monday, Sept. 24

Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5, 51.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Steelers defense has been ugly over the past five quarters, yielding 63 points. Now, they'll try and cool off 'Fitz-magic' in front of a national audience in Tampa. Most of the Vegas books aren't feeling the 2-0 SU/ATS Bucs despite their impressive start. Most everyone opened them at 2 1/2, with Mirage-MGM one of the exceptions at -2. The line was bet down to -1 1/2 at Southpoint late on Monday night, too, as well as - 1/2 at Jerry's Nugget

The Steelers head to Tampa just 1-7 ATS over their past eight games overall dating back to last season, although they are 23-9-2 ATS across their past 34 road games against teams with a winning home mark. Despite Pittsburgh's ugly defense, the 'under' might be the way to go. The under has cashed in 23 of Pittsburgh's past 30 road outings, while the under is 5-1 in Tampa's past six home contests.

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