- Dave Tuley, ESPN Insider
LAS VEGAS -- In last week's debut of this "Opening Line" column, I talked about how the point spreads for Week 2 were posted at the LVH SuperBook here even though two afternoon games were still in progress.
Well, with the 69-minute lightning delay in the Saints-Buccaneers game (which struck me like a bolt as to why the NHL franchise on Florida's Gulf Coast is called the Tampa Bay Lightning) on Saturday, it was the first time I could recall that the next week's line being posted while a game was still in the third quarter. But like the postman (neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night), the LVH delivered the lines for all 16 Week 3 games.
Or as Keith Olbermann likes to say on his new show: Time marches on.
And that's what this weekly column is all about. Even though we have the Monday night game to complete the current week in which underdogs have gone 9-6 against the spread, with four outright upsets (Chargers over Eagles, Dolphins over Colts, Bills over Panthers and Cardinals over Lions), it's time to start breaking down next week's games. I'll start by giving my takeaways from the weekend's action from a gambling perspective, and then we'll apply those lessons to next week's games, as well as examine the early line moves. We'll also look at any injuries that have affected the lines or kept games off the betting boards.
Editor's note: This has been updated to reflect the a change in the line of the Week 3 Jaguars-Seahawks game.
1. Put SuperContest consensus in perspective
If you've been following my Twitter feed, you know that the SuperContest consensus went 4-11-1 ATS in Week 1, with the top 5 most-selected teams going 0-4-1 ATS. The consensus picks are now 4-11 ATS in Week 2 heading into Monday night, with the top 5 going 2-3 ATS and the top two picks of the Saints and Giants going down the drain. The most common comments I hear are "those guys suck" and "the sharps aren't so sharp," but keep in mind that the SuperContest -- with the explosion up to a record 1,034 entrants this year that put up $1,500 apiece -- isn't just wiseguys in Vegas but instead is a barometer of the betting public, both sharps and squares, as a whole. A lot of people -- and probably including the very same people taking shots at the inanimate SuperContest -- are struggling to pick winners so far this NFL season.
Dave Tuley looks back at Week 2 in the NFL from a gambling perspective and gives his take on the early line moves for Week 3.