After two weeks, Brett Favre might regret returning for another NFL season. And after two weeks, crowds of bettors almost certainly wish the entire league had not come back.
The love-hate relationship the betting public has with football on Sunday just turned ugly.
Favre accounted for four turnovers in the Minnesota Vikings’ 14-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Vikings dropped to 0-2, and if Favre is miserable, he has plenty of company.
“As far as the public goes, the first two weeks of the NFL has been disastrous,” Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller said. “The public is 0-2 as far as betting goes.”
The opening week had its ups and downs, and was OK for some. But Week 2 was a doomsday scenario for almost everyone — sharps, squares and pear-shaped bettors alike. The books were taking bets, and keeping most of them.
Several significant line moves were wrong. (See: Cleveland, Baltimore, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Carolina, Jacksonville, New England and the New York Giants.)
Losses by the Vikings and Dallas Cowboys turned countless parlay and teaser tickets into trash.
Miller termed the day “phenomenal,” and no book director wants to rub losses in the faces of bettors, but there is no sugarcoating this one.
“It was one of those banner days when everything just rolled our way from the get-go,” Miller said. “The morning was just rockin’ and there really weren’t any bad games for us all day. It was one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long time.”
The teams that looked the best in Week 1 — the Titans, Patriots and Ravens — did nothing in Week 2.
The New York Jets and quarterback Mark Sanchez were horrific in their opener. A week later, Sanchez passed for three touchdowns, and Tom Brady tossed two interceptions, as the Jets stormed back from a 14-7 deficit to upend the Patriots, 28-14.
The Patriots, who closed as 3-point favorites after the line opened at 1½, attracted heavy action all week. It looked too easy, and I fell into the same trap. It recalls this theory: When an NFL game looks too easy and everyone is on one side, look to the other side.
“The Jets game was huge. It was the biggest decision of the day by far,” M Resort sports book director Mike Colbert said. “Believe it or not, the sharp guys got their brains beat in today. All the line moves were wrong. There was a lot of sharp money on the Eagles.”
Philadelphia opened as a 3½-point favorite at Detroit, and the line closed at 6. The Eagles led 35-17 with six minutes left, but the Lions closed to 35-30 when Shaun Hill hit Calvin Johnson for a 19-yard TD pass with 1:50 to go. Hill’s two-point conversion pass to Johnson made the final score 35-32.
“The Lions game was monstrous with the backdoor cover,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of operations for Lucky’s sports books.
Atlanta, Green Bay and San Diego posted blowout victories, but the books were seeing sharp action on the underdogs in those games. The Chargers, 7-point favorites, coasted past Jacksonville, 38-13.
“It’s nice going into the afternoon knowing you don’t have to worry about parlay cards and teasers,” Miller said. “I had all public action on the Jaguars all week. We really needed the Chargers. That was our big decision in the afternoon, and it came through easy.”
Half of the league’s 32 teams are 1-1. Houston, Kansas City, Miami and Pittsburgh are 2-0 in the AFC. Chicago, Green Bay and Tampa Bay are 2-0 in the NFC.
Matt Schaub passed for 497 yards and the Texans came from 17 down to defeat Washington 30-27 in overtime. Next up for Houston is Dallas.
The Vikings and Cowboys are stunned to be 0-2. Dallas, a 7-point home favorite, was shot down by Jay Cutler and the Bears, 27-20.
“We knocked out every teaser in the world with the Cowboys minus-1,” Vaccaro said. “It was one of the better days that any bookmaker would want to see. Obviously, you don’t get these results all the time. There are days when it goes the other way.”
The Indianapolis Colts, shredded by the Texans in Week 1, rebounded to whip the Giants, 38-14. Sharp bettors backed the Giants, and it wasn’t a sharp move. The game also went over the total of 48 after a fluke late fumble by the Colts and an Eli Manning TD pass.
San Francisco hosts New Orleans today. The 49ers were terrible last week. The Saints have been bet from 3½- to 6-point favorites. It would seem to make little sense to back the 49ers.
But then again, the NFL is all about chaos, not common sense.
Contact sports betting columnist Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. He also co-hosts the “Las Vegas Betting Line” weeknights at midnight on KDWN-AM (720) and kdwn.com.