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NFL Week 3 betting recap: Inside the week's biggest upsets, best bets and how it all affected the Week 4 lines

Mike Tierney reviews this past week's betting results and previews some of Week 3's line movement
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Welcome to our Monday review of the NFL weekend from a betting standpoint and a glance at line movements for the upcoming set of games.

Each Monday in this space, we will recognize the most significant outright wins by underdogs, review the baddest of bad beats, glimpse at the games that most impacted how the sportsbooks fared financially and list the matchups whose lookahead spreads were majorly affected by outcomes and injuries. 

Not a single game in Week 3 had a a line as high as seven points. Either the unusual set of small spreads is a product of league-wide parity or the public's sudden fondness with underdogs (or both). 

For the record, two of the three 6.5-point dogs covered, with the Jaguars burying the Chargers outright and Detroit nearly upending Minnesota, only to fall by four on an 11th-hour-plus Vikings touchdown. On the whole, favorites staggered away from Sunday's games 4-9-1 against the spread, with seven losing straight-up.

Top 'Dogs

The aforementioned Jaguars own the stage all to themselves. The 38-10 blowout puts them within one win of equaling last year's total (three.) It elevates them to rarefied heights — first place in the AFC South. The Chargers, in hindsight, might regret deploying quarterback Justin Herbert with ailing ribs. A day off could have accelerated his recovery.

If a runner-up must be recognized, that would be Miami. Spotted 4.5 points by Buffalo, the Dolphins triumphed 21-19. The Dolphins were unbeaten and playing in the South Florida sauna to which they are acclimated, so the outcome was not out of left (or any) field.

The Bills (2-1), despite yielding the AFC East lead to Miami, can even the score in surely more advantageous weather conditions -- Dec. 18 in chilly upstate New York.

Bad Beats

Sunday's schedule was devoid of bad beats, so the Thursday matchup wins the prize -- with an asterisk.

The Browns-Steelers total launched at 40.5 before dwindling to 38. For bettors who seized the Under at the original figure, they were looking good in the closing seconds with Pittsburgh deep in its own territory and down 23-17. Then a desperate final play resulted in a fumbled lateral and a Browns touchdown to deliver an unexpected Over.

If there were a mini-bad beat Sunday, it happened with the Bengals-Jets total of 46, which opened at 43. The figure stood at 39 with just over a minute left, and New York had advanced to the Cincinnati 17. A pass on third-and-1 fell incomplete, and a fourth-down throw was intercepted, sealing the Under at whatever number bettors landed on.

How The Books Fared

An ESPN report assessed the weekend as a major winner for the sportsbooks — chiefly because of the Chiefs. Kansas City was the most heavily bet team at some books and was tripped up by Indianapolis.

Another score for the oddsmakers was Miami over Buffalo. The Dolphins, too, triumphed straight-up as an underdog.

At Caesars, three teams drew at least four of every five dollars wagered on their games. The sportsbook made out well with Kansas City's loss but not so much with Atlanta, which pulled off an itty-bitty upset of Seattle. It did toast San Francisco's one-point setback to Denver in the evening window, given that the 49ers had flipped to a 1.5-point favorite owing in part to the so-far misguided notion that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would kick-start the offense.  

The next two most heavily bet teams delivered a split to Caesars. Las Vegas was downed by Tennessee as a slight favorite, but Detroit covered in a near-upset at Minneapolis.   

Week 4 Line Moves

Five spreads have underdone significant shifts, and all but one are understandable. The most dramatic is Green Bay going from -5 to -10.5 against New England. Patriots QB Mac Jones sustained a high ankle sprain Sunday and is iffy. The Packers won at Tampa Bay even if the highlight reel film is don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it short.

Detroit moved from -1 to -6 against Seattle, though injuries to running back D'Andre Swift and safety Tracy Walker could send the line back down. The public is judging the Lions' loss at Minnesota as less egregious than the Seahawks' to Atlanta at home.

Another losing squad on Sunday went from 'dog to fave. Kansas City, though bowing to then-winless Indianapolis, moved from +2 to -3 against offensively challenged Tampa Bay. The Brady bunch is averaging 17 points per game.  

It was V for victory in Carolina (over New Orleans) and D for defeat in Arizona (against the Rams), prompting the Panthers to go from +2.5 to -1 in their matchup.

The head-scratcher is San Francisco morphing from +1 to -2.5 against the Rams. The 49ers scrounged out all of 10 points at Denver in QB Jimmy Garoppolo's dreadful debut. Perhaps reports of Kyle Shanahan's current 6-1 straight-up streak over fellow coach Sean McVay is suddenly making the rounds.

Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp plays on the total, and props you can take straight to the pay window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview the day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is in your feed every single day by 11 a.m. ET. Subscribe right here on YouTube to watch daily, plus don't miss the Early Edge specials and live shows!

Mike Tierney

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