Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

Lions save Books in Week 3

Are we witnessing the end of the New EnglandPatriots dominance in the NFL following their second loss in a row in a 26-10 Sunday night defeat at Detroit?

Or are we just seeing a typical Bill Belichick speed bump similar to last season when the Chiefs went into Foxboro and defeated the Patriots 42-27 in the season opener?

Even with that loss to Kansas City, things worked out fine last season and New England wound up in the Super Bowl again. Despite key components missing so far from the Patriots defense and wide receiver Julian Edelman being suspended through Week 4, something doesn't look right with the Patriots as we've been accustomed to know them. We saw something similar last week at Jacksonville, but I think most of us gave credit to the Jaguars defense. Sunday's loss at 0-2 Detroit was another unknown form of ugly from them.

This is the dilemma bettors are going to be dealing with in the next few weeks. On Sunday, the Las Vegas sports book industry had their entire day resting on bettors being wrong about the Patriots. The common bettor hated the Lions and loved the Patriots, and why not since quarterback Tom Brady had gone 43-10 in his career coming off a loss.

Sunday's risk on the Patriots wasn't all about the Patriots, though. It was more about parlay and teaser risk exposure being magnified because of the pay chart odds. The Patriots side was ready to pop for several bettors who linked them up with popular teams like the Chiefs, Saints, and Rams who had already won and covered.

"It was just an okay day for us, but we were definitely saved by Mississippi, they had a huge hold percentage on the day that helping us show a profit," said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback prior to the Patriots-Lions game. "We were just small winners in Nevada and New Jersey. Mississippi saved the day."

But the day still wasn't over with the Sunday night game still to be decided.

"We need the Lions pretty good," Stoneback said. "If Lions and Over get there we'll be losers on the day."

That was a common theme after the first 13 games had results posted.

"It's all coming down to the Lions," said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick. "If the Pats cover we lose on the day and if it goes Over, it just makes it worse."

Every sports book in the state was in a similar situation and it was because of the Lions win, coupled with the Under (56), that most shops came out with another solid day despite bettors having them on the ropes for a knockout.

But before that, there was plenty of hope with the early game giving bettors some momentum.

"Our best game of the day was easily the Bills (+17) winning just because it knocked out a bunch of teasers and parlays," said Stoneback of the Bills improbable 27-6 win at Minnesota. "We also had a player lay six figures on the Vikings money-line (-1800)."

Ouch, that's a tough one. Be alert at the dam for a new jumper. Wynn Resorts was offering a city best on the Bills money-line at +1100.

"The Saints was our worst loss," Stoneback said. "We had some large wagers take +3, +2.5 and also play the money-line early in the week. We basically lost on the coin flip. Neither team could stop each other, so whoever got it first was going to win."

What made the Saints decision stand out, even more, was that it was the last posted of the 10:00 a.m. PT morning games. So the tidal wave of risk from the other nine games was rolling into the Saints game with lots of big parlays and teasers waiting to cash.

The Chiefs (-6) kept rolling with a 38-27 home win against the 49ers where QB Jimmy Garoppolo was carted off the field with what looks like a season-ending knee injury. Sharp bettors liked the 49ers here, but the public was all over the Chiefs in parlays and teasers. The Patriots really messed up some chunky public payouts.

Another popular team that kept rolling was the Rams (-7) in a 35-23 home win against the Chargers in the battle for Los Angeles. Between the Rams defense vastly improved and the Patriots sputtering, the Rams are the undisputed top-rated team in the NFL. Boyd Gaming has them -7 EVEN for Thursday night's home game against the Vikings, who were the No. 2 rated NFC team. Yes, the Rams look superlicious, but they weren't the betting story in the afternoon games.

"Seattle ended up being a loser for us, but Arizona holding on helped us despite some sharp money on them," said Stoneback. "We had a big casino player lay -5.5 with the Bears and we also had a lot of public action on them with parlays. This place erupted in the final seconds the Bears had a pick-six to cover before they were called for off-sides. If there was no penalty we'd be looking at a horrendous day, and the Patriots risk would be twice as worse."

The Seahawks (-1.5) got their first win of the season, 24-13 against Dallas, after two road losses to start the season. The Cowboys have now stayed 'under' in all three games and with QB Dak Prescott having passing issues, it's a trend to keep following. Good defense, but no offense. It's a great 'under' recipe weekly.

With the Bills showing up strong at Minnesota, the lowest rating in the NFL now belongs to the Cardinals, who held on to get the cover in a 16-14 home loss to the Bears. The Cards were up 14-0 in the first quarter. After QB Sam Bradford second-half meltdown, new coach Steve Wilks threw first-round draft pick Josh Rosen to the wolves down 16-14. "Save the day, kid." I think Wilks was watching Cleveland's Baker Mayfield and Buffalo's Josh Allen doing so well and said what the hell. The Cards get a home date against the Seahawks this week.

So what we have now is the public two-team teaser and parlay with the Rams and Chiefs each week that is likely to continue the next few weeks. Why stop now? keep hammering away on them until they don't cover. They're now 6-0 against the spread combined. That's three straight weeks of cashing a two-teamer on them. And in the case of the Chiefs, they've gone Over in all three as well in a sweet 13/5 odds (Bet $100 to win $260) correlation parlay.

Week 3 action saw favorites go 7-8 ATS and the 'over' go 7-8 through Sunday's games.

As for the Patriots, they get 3-0 Miami this week where the Pats were first posted as a 9.5-point home favorite by the Westgate Superbook. That number will drop significantly when readjusted Monday. Before the season the Patriots were 1-to-8 to win the AFC East, again, and the Dolphins were 10-to-1. It's amazing to think that after Week 4 the Dolphins could be 4-0 with a three-game lead over the Patriots which includes a straight-up win over the them.

But then again, never count out the Patriots. Three straight losses? That can't happen, can it?

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.

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