NFL Betting: NFL Handicapping Observations from NFL Week Three
9/25/2012
by Team Del Genio

Every week during the NFL Season, former linesmaker Lenny Del Genio and his team will break down Sunday's results and offer some observations to hopefully help you handicap future games. For the complete oddsmakers edge, make sure you subscribe to Lenny's football picks on a weekly or monthly basis right now! Lenny has won each of the first three Sundays this NFL season and is now 8-3 with his 11 NFL Plays as well as 16-8 with his last 24 dating back to the preseason!

It was a Sunday full of overtime games and wild upsets in Week 3. Let's take a look and survey the damage.

Three games went into overtime, two of them with the underdog winning outright. The most surprising came in a battle of 0-2 teams - the Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints - as the Kansas City Chiefs dropped the New Orleans Saints to a stunning 0-3 after overcoming a 24-6 deficit. The New Orleans Saints defense is just horrible right now, surrendering an average of 479 YPG. With the Packers on deck, in Green Bay, you can pretty much earmark an 0-4 start for the New Orleans Saints and bye-bye to the playoffs. Only two teams in the Super Bowl era have ever given up more yards through the first three weeks. Incredibly, of the three teams they've played so far, each achieved their only victory against the New Orleans Saints.

The day's wildest, and perhaps best, game was the Detroit Lions at the Tennessee Titans. The teams combined for the second highest scoring fourth quarter in league history with 46 points and the Detroit Lions became the 1st team in league history to score two touchdowns in the game's final 18 seconds to force overtime. The final one came on a Hail Mary from backup QB Shaun Hill, who filled in for the injured Matthew Stafford, who is questionable for next week's game vs. the Vikings. However, it was not enough to overcome the Titans' NFL record five touchdowns of 60+ yards. Nor was it enough to overcome a terrible decision by either head coach Jim Schwartz or Hill, who elected to go for it on fourth down, rather than kick a game-tying field goal.

The final overtime game Sunday was an ugly one with the New York Jets overcoming the Miami Dolphins, 23-20, just sneaking in the cover for us (were -2.5 pt favorites). Still, the Sanchez-Tebow dynamic is not working and the New York Jets do not look good. The loss of CB Revis for the season will certainly hurt - literally and figuratively.

Just how big a loss is Revis? According to ESPN Stats and Info, no CB in the league had played in a higher percentage of snaps since 2008 (98.3%). He is one of four DB's in the league to be selected to the Pro Bowl each of the last four seasons. Without him on the field, the Jets defense has allowed a completion percentage of 62.5% the last two seasons with a 5-0 TD-INT ratio.

The aforementioned Minnesota Vikings led another winning day for home dogs Sunday (4-3 ATS). Last week, it was five outright wins by home dogs and this week saw the Minnesota Vikings, the Tennessee Titans, the Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals all come through. Note that the Pittsburgh Steelers is now 0-8 their last eight road games on grass. The San Francisco 49ers shocking loss to the Minnesota Vikings probably leaves the discussion of just who is the best team in the league down to two teams: Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. But it is another NFC West team that is also 3-0 SU, that being Arizona, who has now beaten the Seattle Seahawks, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles - all outright as dogs. The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are also 3-0 ATS.

The Arizona Cardinals will meet another 2-0 team in Week 3, the Philadelphia Eagles, who are the 1st team in NFL history to open its season with back to back one-point victories. Obviously, the high profile Philadelphia Eagles are 0-2 at the betting window, dropping them to 5-13 against the spread the last 18 games in which they've been favored. Of course, that's not even the worst record as chalk within their own division as the Dallas Cowboys are now 4-16 against the spread laying points following its outright loss at Seattle (we had the Seahawks) in Week 2.

The only other 3-0 against the spread team in the league right now is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who is only 1-2 SU. A late field goal snuck them "in the money" at Dallas despite gaining only 166 yards for the game. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-1 SU for the year, but is now a money burning 4-17 against the spread as a favorite the last three seasons. Home teams dominated Week 2, winning all but two games straight up. Road teams were far more successful Sunday with six outright victories and including the New York Giants blowout of the Carolina Panthers Thursday night, they are 7-8 SU for the week entering Monday night where the Green Bay Packers are a small road favorite in Seattle.

We've already mentioned the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets overtime road victories and joining them Sunday were the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans. Houston was off back to back 20-point victories and led the Denver Broncos by 20 heading into the final quarter. The Buffalo Bills were another road favorite that dominated, never trailing in Cleveland. The Cincinnai Bengals cashed for us at Washington, a game which would have been the wildest of the day if not for Detroit-Tennessee. The Jacksonville Jaguars were probably lucky to win at Indianapolis, getting an 80 yd touchdown pass in the final minutes. They had been outgained significantly for a second straight week before pulling off the improbable win. Cincinnati is favored at Jacksonville next week.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions were the four teams Sunday that outgained their opponents yet lost. Bye weeks start in Week 4 with only the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers getting the week off.

There had been much discussion about the replacement refs and their effects on totals players. Oddsmakers made a clear adjustment setting what was probably the highest across the board O/U lines we've seen for any week in recent memory. Our big total play was an Under (Eagles/Cardinals), as Under bettors prevailed 8-6. The Thursday night game went Under as well.

We have yet to even mention the Week 3's most controversial game - the New England Patriots at the Baltimore Ravens, a wild ending that gave the Baltimore Ravens a small measure of revenge for last year's loss in the AFC Championship Game. However, it was Patriots bettors that left with the cash as QB Tom Brady moved to 12-1 against the spread all-time as a dog off a loss. This is the first time the New England Patriots has been under .500 since Week 1 of the 2003 season.

There are several teams at 0-3 against the spread after three weeks, one of them the Philadelphia Eagles, who have already turned the ball over an astounding 12 times thus far. The New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions are also 0-3 ATS. Rookie quarterbacks have been a major storyline early in the year. The four that played Sunday (Seattle's Wilson plays Monday night) all lost while second year QB's (Dalton, Ponder, Locker and Gabbert) were 4-0 SU/ATS. How good is the Oakland Raiders' kicker Sebastian Janikowski? Since 2008, he is 118 of 140 in field goal attempts with thirty-three makes of 50+ yards. What a great former first round pick!

The longest active losing streak in the league belongs to the Cleveland Browns at nine straight games. They are off to a 0-3 start for the third time in five seasons and join the New Orlenas Saints as the only winless teams in the league. They will open Week 4 at the Baltimore Ravens as one of two double digit dogs on the card (other is Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans).

How about those home underdogs? Peeking ahead to Week 4 sees the Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots), New York Jets (vs. San Francisco 49ers), Kansas City Chiefs (vs. San Diego Chargers) and Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cincinnati Bengals). Three of the four road favorites next week are coming off a loss. (Note that the Seattle Seahawks should also be a road favorite at St. Louis depending what happens Monday night).

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