When Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez drilled a 54-yard field goal in a preseason game, Cleveland offensive coordinator Todd Haley greeted him on the sidelines by yelling, “Nice job you (bleeping) kicker.”
Haley’s comment, which was shown on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series, was probably repeated sarcastically Sunday by countless Browns and Vikings fans and bettors who were denied victories by those who man football’s loneliest position.
Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in Cleveland’s 21-18 loss to the Saints. Daniel Carlson missed two field goals in overtime, including one from 35 yards as time expired, in Minnesota’s 29-29 tie with the Packers.
“Teach your kid to be a kicker. That would be the theme of the day, I guess,” South Point sports book director Chris Andrews said.
After Tyrod Taylor threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway on fourth-and-5 with 1:16 left for an 18-18 tie, Gonzalez missed the extra point that might’ve ended Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak. Wil Lutz nailed a 44-yard FG to put New Orleans ahead with 21 seconds left, before Gonzalez missed from 52 yards in the final seconds.
“It’s a tough gig,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “There’s a lot of pressure when you’re standing out there.”
Being a sports bettor is a tough gig, too. Week 2 in the NFL wasn’t kind to the wagering public as underdogs went 11-4 against the spread with seven outright upsets (including the Bengals’ win over the Ravens on Thursday).
Popular favorites including the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, Saints, Vikings, Texans and 49ers all failed to cover Sunday as Las Vegas sports books cleaned up.
“We probably couldn’t ask for much better,” Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci said.
Matthew Stafford threw a 15-yard TD pass with 3:27 left to give the Lions the backdoor cover against the Niners, who closed as 6-point favorites in a 30-27 win.
“That was a monster game,” Scucci said. “Sharp guys and the general public were both on (San Francisco).”
Boyd Gaming also won big on the Browns, who didn’t cash as 4-1 money-line underdogs but improved to 2-0 ATS. The Saints, who closed as 9½-point favorites, fell to 0-2 ATS.
“The Saints might be a little overrated,” Andrews said. “The Browns have a pretty good roster. The big question marks are at quarterback and head coach, the two most important positions on a football team.”
A South Point bettor lost a $110,000 wager on the Texans, who closed as 3½-point favorites in a 20-17 loss to the Titans. That was one of the biggest decisions of the day for the books as sharps and the betting public both loaded up on Houston, which was the top consensus play in the Westgate SuperContest.
The top five consensus plays went 0-5 in Week 2 after going 4-1 in Week 1. The other four picks were the Steelers, Eagles, Patriots and Giants.
The sharps also lost on the Bills, who were whipped 31-20 as 7½-point underdogs to the Chargers. But the wiseguys won on the Buccaneers and Jaguars, who burned a lot of public money on the Patriots in a dominant 31-20 win.
Tampa Bay, a 3-point home underdog to Philadelphia, used some more FitzMagic en route to a convincing 27-21 upset as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 400 yards and four TDs for the second straight week.
The bearded wonder Fitzpatrick showed up at the postgame news conference wearing sunglasses and a huge gold chain in an ensemble he borrowed from receiver DeSean Jackson.
“It’s nothing man. We’ve just got to make sure we stay humble,” Fitzpatrick cracked.
Bettors would also be wise not to overreact from one week to the next. For example, the Lions covered at San Francisco after their brutal 48-17 home loss to the Jets. And New York lost 20-12 as 3-point home favorites over the Dolphins in another big win for the books.
“I’m just surprised how many people jumped on the Jets this week after they beat the Lions,” Scucci said. “They felt like the Jets was an easy winner for them. You can’t read too much into one week.”