The 3 Most Popular NFL Bets for Week 3
This past week, the public got two of three spot on. The spread and moneyline bets on Dallas to defeat Washington paid off, but thanks in part to a key injury to Drew Brees the Saints and Rams came up 16 points short of hitting the over on their Week 2 total.
To kick off this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars held serve at home against the Tennessee Titans, winning 20-7 while covering the 1.5-point spread in favor of the visitors. They also returned $110 for every $100 bet on the moneyline and, in holding the Titans to one score, kept this comfortably under the 38-point total.
Sunday and Monday provide plenty more opportunity to get in on the action at FanDuel Sportsbook. This week, we have another 15 games on tap, including two in primetime and two with a spread of three touchdowns or more.
But which games and lines are getting the most action? Thanks to numberFire's new oddsFire tool, we can see exactly that -- where the public is laying the most bets and what percentage of money is on which team and which side of the total.
Using oddsFire as our guide, let's dive into the three lines (one spread, one moneyline, one over/under) getting the most love with the goal of deciding whether the numbers support or contradict the public's heavy investment.
Heading into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, the Cleveland Browns haven't gotten off to their ideal start through two games. They are 1-1 with a 30-point home loss to the Titans, and are coming off a 23-3 win over the Sam Darnold-less New York Jets. And it's that inconsistency that has them 21st in our power rankings and in the bottom five offensively.
As for the Los Angeles Rams, they seem to be building off last year's 13-3 Super Bowl appearance. They're 2-0 with victories over the Panthers and Saints, which positions them fourth in our power rankings -- 12th offensively and 6th defensively.
Even with the Rams' early success, it is somewhat surprising to see the public so heavily against the promising Browns for Sunday night's game in Cleveland. Per oddsFire, LA has received 96% of the bets and 95% money being put on the three-point spread. That line has remained stagnant throughout the week, too, so that might just indicate that the sharps are on the home Browns in a close on or in a straight-up win.
Recent history is on the sharps' side based on both venue and spread. According to Killer Sports, since 2017 home teams getting between three and five points have covered at a rate of 52.4% with six pushes to their credit. The Browns have covered in 8 of their last 13 games as underdogs and went 4-2 with the points in six such home games last season. Meanwhile, Sean McVay's Rams went 5-4 against the spread as road favorites. However, they were 2-2 with an average margin of just one in the four games they were favored by less than a touchdown.
The Browns are in a good spot to cover here, but could they play complete spoiler and take down the Rams outright?
The moneyline bets are not on par with the one-sided nature of those being placed on the spread, but the discrepancy is still very noteworthy with the difference in betting odds. After all, the Rams are drawing 78% of the bets and even more -- 89% -- of the money at odds that would bring back just $62 for every $100. The Browns, at +140 currently, would return an additional $78 on the same bet.
That Browns line looks even more desirable because of the boost to their potential return, from +128 at the open. Can we expect them to actually pull off the win though?
Within the previous sample sizes, the Browns are only 4-8-1 when listed as underdogs in the sportsbooks. They did manage a 3-2-1 mark on their home turf, including a 3-1-1 record in games with shorter than a touchdown line. The Rams were 7-2 as road favorites last year, but when we narrow the scope to games with a line of 4.5 or shorter they were merely 2-2. The door is open for the Brown to put the majority in a bad spot come Sunday night.
It's also worth noting that as of Friday morning the Jets actually took over the lead for the percentage of bets on the moneyline. As 22-point 'dogs, they have odds of +1750 on FanDuel Sportsbook, which has piqued the interest of many longshot bettors only to account for 7% of the money on that specific line.
For the first time in this article, we aren't breaking down a total on a Saints game. We are sticking in the NFC, though, with the Chicago Bears visiting Washington in a Monday night clash. But neither team has been an offensive juggernaut early on. While Case Keenum and company rank sixth in our offensive metrics (in large part due to negative game scripts), Mitchell Trubisky's offense is 27th and scores just 19 points per game through two contests.
Matt Nagy's offensive mindset hasn't been enough to offset the lack of improvement from Trubisky, and couple with their fourth-ranked scoring defense, the Bears have led the under to win out in both of their contests. Their 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers came up a full 33 points short of the set total and was only followed by a 16-14 win in which they were still 10 points below the 40-point total.
Pace has played a factor as well. According to Football Outsiders' situation-neutral pace, the Bears are the ninth-slowest team in the league, but if you thought that was slow, Washington's offense operated at an even slower rate after accounting for the situation. They are 29th in the league at 34.06 seconds per play -- more than a second slower than the Bears.
So, it is fitting to have 91% of bets and 88% of the money coming in on the under. It's been enough to push the opening line down from 42 total points and to as low as 40.5 at other books. Betting the under is well supported, and it could pay off for all those expecting to make some money from a low-scoring affair in primetime.