Notable bets: 31 entries forget picks for $9.2 million NFL survivor pool

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Maybe you were among the bettors who loaded up on Atlanta Falcons receiver Drake London to have over 51.5 receiving yards against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. More money was bet on London’s receiving yards prop than any other player prop at DraftKings. London came up short, finishing with 0 yards on 0 receptions. He was targeted once.

Bryce Young and the Panthers were unable to overcome London’s performance, however, in a 24-10 loss as 3.5-point underdogs. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the last 15 quarterbacks picked No. 1 overall are now 1-14 against the spread when making their first career starts.

Maybe your opening Sunday ended bluntly with a carefully considered bet on the Giants, the 3-point home underdog who fell behind 26-0 at halftime and battled to a 40-0 defeat to the Cowboys. The only bet I made Sunday was on the Giants.

Don’t worry about it. Shake it off, because no matter how atrocious our worst bet of the weekend was, it wasn’t as bad as these. Thirty-one entries into Circa Survivor, a high-stakes NFL survivor pool with a $9.2 million prize, run by a Las Vegas casino, failed to submit their pick for Week 1 ahead of the Saturday deadline. It’s an interesting strategy.

On the bright side, those 31 entries — at $1,000 a pop — are now worth just as much the 68 contestants who took the Kansas City Chiefs over the Detroit Lions in the season opener last Thursday.

So, clearly, a select portion of the betting public — including yours truly — is beginning the season with some room for improvement. Hopefully, we’ll peak at the right time and have a plump bankroll to risk on the over/under of the length of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

In the meantime, here is this week’s edition of Notable Bets.

NFL notables

  • Road teams are off to a 12-3 start against the spread entering Monday. If the favored Bills cover the 2-point spread against the Jets, road teams will be 13-3 ATS, the second-highest cover percentage by road teams in a single week in the last 25 years, according to ESPN Stats and Information (13-2-1 Week 16 of 2018).

  • PointsBet reported one-sided action in live betting on the Giants +18 in the second quarter, with Dallas leading 26-0. Those bets didn’t get there.

  • Fanatics, the merchandise powerhouse, kicked off its first NFL weekend as a bookmaker Sunday. The company reported “nice crowds” at its new retail sportsbook at FedEx Field, where the Washington Commanders hosted the Arizona Cardinals. The sportsbook inside the stadium was allowed to be open on game day for the first time, due to a change in NFL policy earlier this year.

  • Chris Fargis, senior director of trading risk for Fanatics, told ESPN that the betting action was extremely lopsided, “98%” on the Commanders to beat the Cardinals, both online and on site at the stadium. Washington also was the No. 1 pick in Circa Survivor, the massive survivor pool mentioned above.

  • The Commanders trailed entering the fourth quarter but prevailed 20-16.

  • “The public was all over the obvious favorites. 49ers, Eagles, Commanders,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook, told ESPN ahead of the primetime game. “We did well on the Cardinals covering. The Eagles game was the worst game of the day, so far. Will be rooting for Big Blue tonight.”

  • The Packers have covered the spread in nine consecutive games against the Bears, after Sunday’s 38-20 “upset” in Chicago. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur has covered the spread in all nine of his games against the Bears.

  • The Ravens and Jaguars covering their spreads were the worst results of the early slate for Caesars Sportsbook. “The sharps were on the Colts,” Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars, said.

  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson attracted the most bets in PointsBet/Fanatics’ anytime touchdown scorer market on Sunday. Jackson failed to find the end zone in the Ravens’ 25-9 win over the Texans.

  • Tom Gable, sportsbook director for The Borgata in Atlantic City, found himself in an unfamiliar position ahead of Sunday’s early kickoffs. His book needed the favorite to cover the spread in each game. “Rare,” he said. “Biggest need is the Bengals.” The Bengals lost to the Browns 24-3.

  • Favorites went 4-4 against the spread in the eight early games.

  • The Lions-Chiefs game attracted a record $130,000-plus in trades on Sporttrade, a betting exchange that operates in New Jersey and Colorado.

  • “We’ll definitely need the Bills tomorrow [against the Jets],” Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said.

  • Entering the season, the Jets are the biggest liability in Caesars’ odds of winning the Super Bowl.

Week 2 opening lines (via the Superbook)

  • Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 48.5)

  • Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 46.5) at Tennessee Titans

  • Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5, 4)

  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-2.5, 41)

  • Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions -3, 51.5

  • Chicago Bears (-1.5, 44) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-9.5, 47.5)

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 52) at Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Baltimore Ravens at Cincinatti Bengals (-3.5, 47.5)

  • New York Giants (-5.5, 38) at Arizona Cardinals

  • San Francisco 49ers (-6, 42.5) at Los Angeles Rams

  • New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys (-3, 46.5)

  • Washington Commanders at Denver Broncos (-3.5, 41.5)

  • Miami Dolphins (-2, 45) at New England Patriots

  • New Orleans Saints (-1.5, 42.5) at Carolina Panthers

  • Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 43.5)

College football notables

Speaking to U.S. sportsbook sources, I’d estimate upwards of $60 million was bet on the Colorado-Nebraska game, which was by far the most heavily bet game on a Saturday that featured Texas at Alabama.

FanDuel reported taking a $1 million bet on the Buffaloes -2.5, which won easily, and added that more money was bet on Nebraska-Colorado than any other sporting event on Saturday, including the UFC middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland.

“I hope Prime keeps winning at Colorado,” Murray of the SuperBook said. It’s great for business having another high-profile team that everyone is interested in watching and betting on. And I’m assuming eventually the tables will turn our way on a CU game.”

Colorado opened as a 19-point favorite over Colorado State. The line quickly jumped to Buffaloes -23.

Week 3 opening lines [via Circa Sports]

Some notable early line moves at Circa Sports [via Caesars Sportsbook]

Florida State from -25 to -29 over Boston College
Tennessee from -4 to -7 over Florida

Updated odds to win the College Football Playoff

Georgia Bulldogs (+210)
Michigan Wolverines (+500)
Texas Longhorns (+850)
Ohio State Buckeyes (+900)
Florida State Seminoles (+1,000)
USC Trojans (+1,400)
Penn State Nittany Lions (+2,000)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+2,000)
Alabama Crimson Tide (+2,200)

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