Generally speaking, the betting public tends to like betting favoured teams more than underdogs and over posted game totals instead of under. That hasn’t been a recipe for success so far this year. Underdogs went 9-7 against the spread (ATS) last week to push their record to 27-20-1 ATS, with six more underdogs winning outright. With totals, over bettors went 10-6, but through three weeks the over/under tally is 22-26.
This week’s odds board doesn’t feature any point spreads north of 20 points for a change, although the miserable Miami Dolphins do check in as 16-point underdogs at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. Week 3 also features some excellent prime time matchups with the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys at the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football and a rivalry matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on MNF. The Packers -4.5 and Cowboys -2.5 are seeing about 80 percent of early bets, while about 65 percent are backing the Bengals to cover the spread as 4-point underdogs. Green Bay and Dallas, two of the most supported teams in the NFL, head into Week 3 at 3-0 ATS.
Bettors are also showing a lot of interest in a pivotal NFC North clash between the Chicago Bears and the visiting Minnesota Vikings. Both teams come in at 2-1 outright after solid Week 3 wins, looking to keep pace with the Packers and Detroit Lions in what’s turning out to be the most competitive division in football. The Bears opened as field-goal favourites, but better than 80 percent of the early money came in on the Vikings, which forced oddsmakers to move the spread to Bears -2.5. The 38-point over/under is the lowest total on the Week 3 board, though more than 70 percent of bets are on this game to play over that number.
The puck drops on the NHL regular season in less than a week and odds are already up for opening night on Wednesday. The reigning Stanley Cup champions face off against the 2018 champs when the St. Louis Blues host the Washington Capitals. Early odds have the Blues and Caps at +135 apiece. The Toronto Maple Leafs (easily the most popular bet to win this year’s championship on the futures market at +800) open as a -155 favourite at home to the Ottawa Senators in the Battle of Ontario. Connor McDavid, who is a +350 favourite to win the Hart Trophy and his Edmonton Oilers are +105 underdogs in a late matchup with the Calgary Flames. Looking ahead, odds that a Canadian team will win the Cup are set at +300, with an American team winning at -500.
The Leafs have controversy swirling all around them as super-star centerman Auston Matthews, who most believe is the next Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has had charges brought against him for an alleged late-night incident involving a female security guard. Will this loom over the Leafs as the season kicks off next Wednesday? It’s hard to say, but it shouldn’t negatively impact the teams’ performance too much.