Week 1 NFL report: ATS recaps, big bets and how sportsbooks did

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 



It was a wild Week 1 in the NFL, with two teams coming back from 17-point deficits to win, the Las Vegas Raiders winning (and covering) in their first-ever game and the Los Angeles Rams taking down the public-backed Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

Here is our look at how the books did, the biggest wagers and an against-the-spread recap of every NFL game.

Book report

In the early games, favorites went just 4-4 against the closing line, as late Falcons money moved them to consensus pick-em against the Seahawks, while overs were a robust 7-2. In the afternoon slate, favorites were 1-1-1 ATS and overs were 1-2, although some books got middled on the Chargers-Bengals game; it opened Chargers -3.5, was bet down to -2 at some books and landed 3 after the Chargers won 16-14.

The best result of the early kickoff for many books was the Jacksonville Jaguars (+ 7) beating the Indianapolis Colts 27-20. Several sportsbooks reported having over 90% of the money on moneyline bets on Indianapolis, and PointsBet, William Hill and DraftKings all had at least 75% of the spread bets and handle on the Colts.

It was an even better result at the sportsbook at the Indiana Grand Casino, just outside of Indianapolis, where 98.7% of the spread money was on the hometown Colts. “Jacksonville winning was a good result for us,” Austin Herdina, sportsbook director at the Indiana Grand told me Sunday, somewhat underselling it. “We haven’t paid out many moneyline parlays or teaser tickets tonight, which isn’t a surprise knowing how many guests were holding Colts tickets.”

Another great result for sportsbooks was the Philadelphia Eagles losing outright 27-17 as 5.5-point favorites against the Washington Football Team, after Philadelphia held a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.

“That game was huge in terms of knocking out a lot of parlay liability for us,” Tom Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata in New Jersey, told VSiN. More than 80% of spread bets were on Philadelphia at his shop, but he noted it wasn’t that big a win since they got some “decent Washington money late.”

At the Rush Street Interactive-owned books in Pennsylvania, 37% of the entire NFL Sunday handle was on the Eagles as of early Sunday night, Mattias Stetz, Rush Street’s chief operating officer told VSiN.

“We won a lot on the Colts and the Washington Football Team,” John Murray, sportsbook director at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, said over the phone. 

On the other side of the ledger, several books reported losing biggest on Baltimore (-7.5) routing Cleveland 38-6, Las Vegas (-3) beating Carolina 34-30, the Buffalo Bills (-6.5) winning 27-17 over the New York Jets and the New England Patriots (-7) beating the Miami Dolphins 24-14.

“We lost on Baltimore, but Buffalo and the Raiders were the two worst since the public was heavy on the Raiders and the game went over,” Murray said.

“The worst result for us by far was the Bills-Jets game,” Gable lamented. “It’s really odd for us to need the Jets in a game easily in the season in Atlantic City, but the Jets money just never showed up today.”

The worst game for Rush Street Gaming’s books was actually the Chicago Bears ( 2.5) coming back from down 17 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Detroit Lions 27-23. At one point in the fourth quarter, the in-game odds for the Lions were -2500 (1-25) and the Bears +  1200 (12-1) at William Hill US books.

The two biggest reported wagers were both on the Patriots -7: $525,000 at the Mirage and $275,000 at a William Hill book. 

Overall, it was a mixed day for books with comparable handle to last year, if not down in some places. The SuperBook reported a very good Sunday after the Rams won, with the South Point a small winner as well.

“Our handle was down year-over-year a bit, but I there there are two reasons for that, Murray said. “The first is less foot traffic than on a normal NFL Sunday, and the second is the lack of parlay money coming over from Saturday because the college football card was so bad this week."

Biggest bets of the week

$525,000 on Patriots -7 (BetMGM at Mirage)

$275,000 on Patriots -7 (William Hill)

$200,000 on 49ers -7 (BetMGM)

$175,000 on Lions -2.5 (BetMGM at Aria)

$150,000 on Cowboys-Rams Under 52

$120,000 on Seahawks 2H -1 (BetMGM)

$110,000 on Browns +  7.5 (BetMGM)

$110,000 on Cardinals +  7 (BetMGM)


-- Ben Fawkes

ATS recaps

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7, 41.5)

Cam Newton won in his New England debut with two rushing touchdowns, though he only passed for 155 yards in a very different-looking Patriots’ offense. The Patriots never trailed. However, the Dolphins pulled within 14-11 (and within the spread) with 10:31 to play, but the Patriots tacked on a 1-yard TD run by Sony Michel to secure the victory and the cover for New England, which was a popular favorite as this spread was lower than a touchdown all summer before closing at a full touchdown. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an INT late in the end zone to seal Miami backers' fate.

Final score: Patriots 21, Dolphins 11

ATS winner: Patriots

Total: Under 41.5

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7, 47.5)

Defending MVP Lamar Jackson (20-for-25, 275 yards, 3 TDs) and the Ravens’ offense picking up right where they left off last year (at least pre-playoffs). The Ravens jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and then, after giving up the Browns’ lone TD, ran off 28 more unanswered points the rest of the game to win and cover easily. The Browns let down late bettors who bet this down from +  8 to + 7.

Final score: Ravens 38, Browns 6

ATS winner: Ravens

Total: Under 47.5

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-6.5, 39)

Josh Allen threw for two TDs and ran for another as the Bills jumped out to a 21-0 and coasted to the easy win and cover. The game might have been even more lopsided if Allen hadn’t lost two fumbles. It looked like another Under but Jets RB Josh Adams scored on a 2-yard run with :53 left to push the final score Over the total.

Final score: Bills 27, Jets 17

ATS winner: Bills -6.5

Total: Over 39

Las Vegas Raiders (-3, 48) at Carolina Panthers

The Under never had a chance in this track meet led by the running backs, Josh Jacobs (93 yards, 3 TDs) for the Raiders and Christian McCaffrey (96 yards, 2 TDs) for the Panthers. The Raiders took a 27-15 lead in the third quarter before the Panthers rallied to take a 30-27 lead on Teddy Bridgewater’s 75-yard TD pass to Robbie Anderson with 8:29 to play, but then Jacobs added his third TD with 4:08 left to give the Raiders the win and cover. The Raiders were popular road favorites as they were bet up to -3.

Final score: Raiders 34, Panthers 30

ATS winner: Raiders

Total: Over 48

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (PK, 49.5)

Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw two first-quarter TD passes to RB Chris Carson, and then after the Falcons but the lead to 14-12 at halftime Wilson added two more third-quarter passes (to WR DK Metcalf and TE Greg Olsen) to break open the game. Late money on Atlanta actually pushed this game to pick-’em after Seattle was favored since the game opened in April.

Final score: Seahawks 38, Falcons 25

ATS winner: Seahawks

Total: Over 49.5

Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5, 41.5) at Washington Football Team

The Washington football team started its new era with a +  195 ML upset of rival Philadelphia. The Eagles actually jumped out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter but Washington’s defense finally figured things out as they shut out the Eagles the rest of the way and Dwayne Haskins Jr. did enough to lead the offense to 27 unanswered points. The Eagles burned a lot of people in survivor pools with the outright loss.

Final score: Washington 27, Eagles 17

ATS winner: Washington

Total: Over 41.5

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-2.5)

The Lions were in control of this game for the first three quarters, leading 23-6, and it looked like Chicago QB Mitchell Trubisky was on his way to being replaced by Nick Foles. However, Trubiksy threw three fourth-quarter TD passes, including the game-winner with 1:54 left to Anthony Miller, as the Bears scored 21 unanswered points to pull off the upset as 115 dogs. The Lions were small favorites during the offseason, the line went to -3 after it was announced Trubisky was starting and then settled at -2.5.

Final score: Bears 27, Lions 23

ATS winner: Bears

Total: Over 42.5

Indianapolis Colts (-7, 44.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars fell behind 7-0, 14-7, 17-14 and then 20-17, but responded the first three times with tying scores as Garner Minshew II (19-for-20, 3 TDs) worked the magic we saw early last season and then took a 24-20 lead with 5:56 left on a 22-yard TD pass to Keelan Cole. Josh Lambo added an insurance FG with 2:50 left to also push it over the betting total. The Colts also burned a lot of survivor pool players as the Jaguars won as 265 underdogs on the money line.

Final score: Jaguars 27, Colts 20 

ATS winner: Jaguars

Total: Over 44.5

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-1.5, 44.5)

Aaron Rodgers (32-for-44, 364 yards, 4 TDs) was in midseason form as he repeatedly teamed with his go-to WR Davante Adams (14 receptions, 156 yards, 2 TDs) and also threw TDs to Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Allen Lazard. Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen combined for two TD passes after the game was out of hand. The Packers also cashed as short +  105 road underdogs.

Final score: Packers 43, Vikings 34

ATS winner: Packers

Total: Over 44.5

Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 41) at Cincinnati Bengals

The Under was a clear winner as this game was pretty uneventful except for Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow’s 23-yard TD run in the first quarter. Pretty uneventful, that is, until the fourth quarter when the Chargers scored 10 unanswered points to take a 16-13 lead. Burrow led a 3-minute drill late and it looked like he had led the Bengals to an outright upset in the closing seconds, but his TD pass to A.J. Green was nullified for offensive pass interference on Green. Randy Bullock then missed a 31-yard FG that would have sent it to overtime. The Chargers covered against the closing number, though earlier bettors on the Bengals cashed at +  3.5.

Final score: Chargers 16, Bengals 13

ATS winner: Push

Total: Under 41

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-7, 48.5)

The 49ers jumped out to a 10-0 and appeared in control as its defense had Cardinals QB Kyler Murray running for his life, but he ran for a team-leading 91 yards with a TD and completing 14 of his passes to offseason steal DeAndre Hopkins for 151 of his 230 passing yards to keep Arizona in the game. The Cards took the lead on Kenyan Drake’s 1-yard TD run with 5:03 remaining and held on for the +  250 upset on the money line.

Final score: Cardinals 24, 49ers 20

ATS winner: Cardinals

Total: Under 48.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-4, 48.5)

In the “Game of the Week” between Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks, Tom Brady gave the Bucs a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter with a rare rushing TD, but that was the last time the Bucs looked in control as the Saints led 17-7 at halftime and then went up 24-7 on Janoris Jenkins’ 36-yard interception return off Brady. The Saints pretty much coasted from there with a balanced attack as they covered as 4-point favorite after being bet up from -3.5, though there was plenty of backers of Brady and the Bucs.

Final score: Saints 34, Buccaneers 23

ATS winner: Saints

Total: Over 48.5

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (PK, 52)

Sunday Night Football was more like Sunday Night Fights as the Cowboys and Rams had a back-and-forth battle that could have gone either way, vindicating the fact it closed pick-’em as the Cowboys were favored since the Week 1 lines were posted in April with late money coming in on the Rams. It closed exactly PK at just three Vegas books but also closed Cowboys -1 at some books and Rams -1 at others. 

The Rams drew first blood on Malcolm Brown’s first of two rushing TDs, but the Cowboys took a 14-13 lead into halftime. Brown's second rushing TD put the Rams ahead 20-14 with 5:53 left in the third quarter and the Cowboys could only muster a field goal the rest of the way. That 14-13 halftime score had it on pace to go Over 52 points, but the two teams only combined for 10 points after halftime.

Final score: Rams 20, Cowboys 17

ATS winner: Rams

Total: Under 52

-- Dave Tuley

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