Friday, March 24 2023

By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer

Each Sunday night, I have a back-and-forth with John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, about opening lines and early action on the upcoming week’s more noteworthy NFL games. This past Sunday, while looking over matchups for NFL Week 7 odds, my first thought was: What a letdown from Week 6.

Murray concurred, texting: “Yikes. Those are terrible games next week.”

But at least we’ve got Chiefs49ers, which is actually the big national game on FOX.

Following are insights on that rematch of Super Bowl LIV, along with several more betting nuggets on NFL Week 7 odds and college football Week 8 odds.

Pros vs. Joes

Kansas City was served a cold revenge sandwich in Week 6, losing at home to Buffalo 24-20. And in a rarity, the Chiefs were underdogs in that game, getting 2.5 points.

This week is back to normal, with K.C. a 2.5-point favorite at WynnBet for a 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday kick at San Francisco. But that’s down a half-point from the opening line of -3.

“Last week was an all-out effort from Kansas City, as we saw the Buffalo Bills circle the wagons for the win and get revenge for the playoff loss last year. The Chiefs are starting to feel the effects of a roster constructed without a quarterback on a rookie deal,” WynnBet trader John Manica said, noting big dollars on Patrick Mahomes – rightly so – are impacting money available elsewhere.

But that won’t take public/recreational bettors off the Chiefs. Or even some professional bettors, for that matter.

“We have seen sharp action on both sides of this game,” Manica said of betting by midweek. “It’s a nice setup off the bad loss for the 49ers, as they went down hard to the Falcons. The Chiefs still passed the eye test with a close loss to Buffalo. The house will likely need the 49ers in this one, with plenty of Chiefs backers at any number below 3 and [the public] sending it in on the [Kansas City] moneyline. It’s shaping up as a classic professional bettors vs. the public game.”

One of those professional bettors is already in on the short home underdog.

“”I’m on San Francisco +3. The 49ers are getting healthier for this matchup,” he said.

The Chiefs enter this contest – the first time these two teams have met since K.C.’s 31-20 Super Bowl victory to cap the 2019-20 season – at 4-2 straight up (SU) but just 2-4 against the spread (ATS). K.C. is 1-4 ATS in its last five games, while San Fran is a middling 3-3 SU and ATS.

The Sharp Side

Speaking of big quarterback contracts: It sure looks as if the Denver Broncos got taken for a ride on their trade for and subsequent five-year, $245 million deal with Russell Wilson.

Wilson and the Broncos’ inept offense have been held to 17 points or fewer in five of six games. Denver was dreadful again in Week 6 on Monday night, netting just one TD and three field goals in a 19-16 road overtime loss to the Chargers.

Now there’s news out of Broncos camp that Wilson has a hamstring issue, with the upstart New York Jets coming to town Sunday. The aforementioned sharp bettor I talk to each week got the best of the number on the road underdog.

“I’m on Jets +3,” he said while noting New York is now down to +1. “Once the hammy was confirmed with Russ, it’s a play on the number and currently backing teams that can score.”

Indeed. The Jets (4-2 SU and ATS) just won at Green Bay 27-10 and have scored 24 points or more in four of six games. Denver (2-4 SU and ATS) hasn’t reached 24 points in any of its six games.

“The Jets are playing solid. Excellent energy,” the professional bettor said.

More Jet Fuel

WynnBet opened the Jets-Broncos game at Denver -3 (-120), and by late Wednesday morning, the line was down to pick ‘em. By late Wednesday night, the Broncos inched back up to -1.

Manica confirmed sharp players fired on New York as the Wilson hamstring info went out.

“The biggest move of the week came with the news that Russell Wilson’s health could be in question on Sunday,” Manica said Wednesday night. “Several sharp wagers came in [Tuesday] starting at +3 on the Jets. I was at the controls during the move. After taking the first wager at +3, we moved to 2.5 quickly. The market continued to drift, bringing us down to +1.5, where we once again took a sharp wager.

“Today, another move came on the Jets, taking the market to pick, where we found our first resistance, a bet on the Broncos from a respected source.”

But it’s a developing situation, and this line will likely see more movement once Wilson’s status is clear.

“If Wilson is a go, I expect the number will immediately correct back to where it started, around Broncos -3,” Manica said. “However, if backup Brett Rypien goes, the Jets will likely end up the favorite, with the house needing the Broncos in what will surely be a publicly backed road team. The Broncos on a short week and coming off an ugly loss to the Chargers, and [starting] a backup quarterback against the Jets off their strong win against the Packers.”

That’s definitely not a combination that makes you want to take Denver. Stay tuned to that injury report.

College Football Rocks on FOX

Let’s head back to school for a few moments here. In Saturday’s Big Noon on FOX tilt, we get quite the dichotomy. No. 2 Ohio State (6-0 SU, 3-2-1 ATS), which has scored 45 points or more in five of its six games, takes on Iowa, which is college football’s version of the Denver Broncos. Perhaps even worse.

The Hawkeyes (3-3 SU and ATS) have scored 14 points or less in four of six games, including three outings in which they scored a paltry 7 points or less. Last week at Illinois, Iowa lost 9-6.

So will Ohio State be dragged kicking and screaming into a low-scoring rock fight? Or will the Buckeyes again put up a ton of points and beat Iowa by 50?

At midweek, DraftKings has C.J. Stroud & Co. as 30.5-point home favorites. That line is up 2.5 points from Sunday’s opener of Buckeyes -28. But point-spread betting is almost dead even, with Ohio State netting 52% of spread tickets and 51% of spread money.

Moving to the 3:30 ET Saturday slot on FOX, there’s a far better matchup when No. 9 UCLA (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) travels to No. 10 Oregon (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS). 

DraftKings has had Oregon as a 6-point home favorite all week, while UCLA is getting 71% of early spread tickets/76% of early spread money.

A Giant Regression?

Returning to the NFL. The New York Giants have exceeded all expectations this season, both on the field at 5-1 SU and at the betting counter with a matching 5-1 ATS mark. Now, coach Brian Daboll takes his team to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars (2-4 SU and ATS) – who started strong and are now in a rut – are 3-point favorites at The SuperBook.

Neil Fitzroy, risk manager and oddsmaker at The SuperBook, said Giants-Jags is one of the more interesting matchups. It’s a 1 p.m. ET start on FOX.

“The Giants are a popular parlay selection this week. Their new coach has made all the difference,” Fitzroy said. “But the records of both the Jags and the Giants might be a little misleading after you dive into the analytics. You would think regression is coming for the Giants, and the Jags are a competent team that should get their act together.

“We’re seeing some sharp action on the Jags among the straight bets.”

That’s why the Jags are up to -3 (-120) midweek after opening at -2.5.


Going back to the NFL, WynnBet’s Manica decided to analyze the Thursday night game between the New Orleans Saints (2-4 SU and ATS) and the host Arizona Cardinals (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS).

“The secret is out on these, let’s just be blunt, pretty horrible Thursday Night Football games,” Manica accurately stated. “The last two have been real clunkers, with the offenses stuck mostly in neutral. To no surprise, [Wednesday] we saw a move down on the total from 46 to 44. The move was injury-related, as both teams have a ton of moving parts, which is generally bad for scoring with short time to prepare.”

Manica noted a laundry list of moves and injury issues. Possibly as noteworthy, Cardinals star wideout DeAndre Hopkins returns from a six-game suspension.

“In the Arizona camp, [wideout] Robby Anderson was traded for, [wideout] Marquise Brown is on IR, Hopkins returns, and [running back] James Conner is questionable,” Manica said. “In the Saints camp, they will definitely be without two wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas. The Saints have not named a starting quarterback, with the health of Jameis Winston (back/ankle) still up in the air.”

With all those absent/possibly absent players, this might be yet another eyesore of a Thursday nighter.

“All roads are leading to another TNF knockdown drag-out,” Manica said.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles favored to remain undefeated on the season

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have taken notice to the Eagles undefeated start to the season. The team admitted they are keeping an eye on Philly’s season as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their unblemished season. According to Fox Bet Sportsbook, the Eagles are currently favored in every game the rest of the year and are 20-1 to go undefeated this regular season. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe forecast the Eagles future.

Fly Eagles Fly

With Philadelphia out to a 6-0 SU start, some sportsbooks are starting to offer prop bets on whether the Eagles can go 17-0 in the regular season. To that I’d say, have at it if you’d like, but as has been shown for decades, such a wager is very unlikely to hit. So keep your expectations and bet size reasonable if you’re inclined to jump on Philly going perfect.

Just as important, shop around with different sportsbooks to find the best odds on the Eagles to go 17-0. For example, at a couple of sportsbooks, the Eagles’ odds for a 17-0 regular season are currently +1400 (14-1). That means a $100 bet would win $1,400. But at The SuperBook, Fitzroy noted you can get +2500 odds (25-1) on that same option. So your $100 bet has the potential to turn into $2,500. 

Considering that in most states with legal, regulated sports betting, you can check odds from the palm of your hand or your computer, there’s no reason not to take a few minutes to shop and compare.

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

I would actually be lying to say I liked this next series of bets. Because anyone wagering high dollars on my offensively challenged Denver Broncos must have loads of spare cash laying around.

In Denver’s Week 6 Monday night road game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Caesars Sports reported three – three!!!! – $55,000 bets on the Broncos. Two of those bets were on Denver +5, and the third was on Denver +4.5.

Those bettors actually got the best of the number, as the Broncos were +3.5 at kickoff. And lo and behold, those bettors got paid! Denver lost 19-16 in overtime but covered the spread.

I suppose you can’t argue with the results. Here’s hoping all of you are just as fortuitous – though surely at a smaller scale – throughout the football weekend.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.

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