No other week in recent NFL history provided as much mixture of dejection and celebration league wide as Week 3.
Last-second, garbage-time touchdowns and hefty underdogs proved costly for sports bettors last week yet padded the wallets of bookmakers.
There was Deshaun Watson picking up a touchdown pass with one second left in the Houston Texans’ 27-22 loss against the New York Giants, for example, a score that sent bettors on the total score’s under (44) into a tailspin.
Yet the story of the week, of the season, of the decade, in nearly 30 years, took place in Minneapolis. There, the 17-point underdog Buffalo Bills took the Minnesota Vikings to the woodshed, defeating the hosts 24-7 to record the biggest underdog NFL victory since 1995.
According to ESPN, some 255 moneyline bets were placed on the Bills to log the upset with William Hill US sportsbooks in Nevada and New Jersey.
At 10-1 odds, Buffalo proved to be the highlight of the weekend for bettors, particularly one patron who won $10,000. (You could have joined the party, had you heeded the words in this space last week.)
With NJ sports betting settling in, and with Week 4 of the season around the corner, it’s time to examine which NFL games could lead to a similar celebration, courtesy of BetStars NJ. (All point spreads and moneylines are as of Tuesday.)
Add ’em to the slip
Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1) at LA Rams (3-0)
Incredible how one week can change the outlook on a single team.
In Week 3, the Vikings were 17-point favorites over the Bills. Just to win outright, at least at the time of last week’s writing, Buffalo paid off +900. Now Minnesota finds itself in similar territory — and looks to knock off one of three undefeated teams left in the league.
Despite getting embarrassed by the Bills last week, the Vikings, an NFC Championship Game participant last year, still boast one of the top statistical quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins, in the NFL. Additionally, like the Rams, Minnesota features a top-10 defense in terms of points allowed.
Certainly, this game will cause bettors stress, especially considering Los Angeles ranks third in the NFL in yards per game, third in points per game and first in points allowed per game.
Yet the Rams are due for a stumble. The franchise has not defeated Minnesota since 2006, losing each of the five meetings over the past 12 years.
In their first regular-season visit to Los Angeles since 1993, the Vikings sit as 6.5-point underdogs and pays +230 in a straight-up victory.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
One of the highest over/unders on BetStars (51 points) belongs to this AFC-NFC showdown.
Top-10 scoring offenses in Cincinnati (29.7 points per game) and Atlanta (26.7) square off in Georgia. Each franchise has a rich history of disappointing their fan bases, what with the Bengals reaching the playoffs seven times since 2005 only to lose in the Wild Card each time around and with the Falcons blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl two years ago.
The Bengals come off their first loss of the season, a 10-point setback against the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons have stumbled out of the gate, falling twice in their first three games, including a 43-37 shootout against the New Orleans Saints last week.
BetStars tabs Cincy as 5.5-point underdogs, and lists the Bengals as a +195 payoff for a straight-up win. With the Falcons’ defense decimated by injuries, this week could be a reasonable payday should Cincinnati come out on top and improve to 3-1 against the spread and 3-1 straight up.
To cover and win
A select few games feature lines in which underdogs pay out relatively handsomely to both cover the spread and win. Two on BetStars are divisional matchups.
In Glendale, the Arizona Cardinals (0-3) host the Seattle Seahawks (1-2) for an NFC West clash. Across the country, the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1) for an AFC North showdown.
Both the Cardinals (+3) and Ravens (+1) are marginal underdogs, both featuring payouts of +100 for simply covering the spread. Additionally, each game (the Cardinals at +145, the Ravens at +150) boast decent margins for the underdog to win outright.
Baltimore sits among the highest-scoring teams in the NFL, playing (albeit on the road) against a Steelers defense that has ceded 30 points per game so far this season. Arizona, meanwhile, rounds out the league rankings for scoring and is among the worst in offensive production.
Pittsburgh comes off a noteworthy win against Tampa Bay, but Baltimore possesses the firepower to pick apart the Steelers’ defense. Of course, this AFC North rivalry only heightens Baltimore’s desire to beat Pittsburgh on its home field.
Seattle, meanwhile, has played lackluster, at best, while Arizona installs its first-round quarterback, Josh Rosen, to attempt to turn the tide for the Cardinals.
Long shots of the week
The logic is sound to take the favorites in two interconference games this week.
The New York Jets (1-2) have tripped over themselves since a season-opening win, turning the ball over more times than any other team in the league. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) will be without their star QB, who was injured in Week 3 and will be replaced with CJ Beathard.
The Jets and 49ers face favorable foes, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively, each of whom garnered postseason aspirations before the season began.
Yet with New York, a 7.5-point underdog, a top-eight defense (and 10th in points allowed) faces off against a Jaguars squad that mustered a mere six points last week. The Jets rank fifth in the league in takeaways, which could be valuable for rookie QB Sam Darnold. With a +290 moneyline, New York is a bold-yet-rational bet to come up big this week.
The Bills-worthy moneyline in Week 4, however, belongs to the Niners, who will pay out +370 with an outright win. Led by league rushing leader Matt Breida, San Francisco ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards per game, going up against a Chargers rush defense that is in the bottom tier. Covering the 10.5 points seems reasonable, and the daring bettor will take the 49ers to win outright for a decent payday.
Boosted Super Bowl odds
Among the various promotions offered by BetStars, including new-user signup bonuses, is an affordable and boosted-odds futures wager for the Super Bowl.
Through BetStars, bettors can wager $5 on any team to win Super Bowl LIII at 100/1 odds.
From Sept. 13 until Sept. 30, BetStars is offering the first futures bet from patrons to be used on this promotion. Only one wager can be made on this offer.
For perspective, the Philadelphia Eagles, as of Tuesday, were listed as 12/1 to win the Super Bowl. A $5 wager with those odds would result in a $22.50 payout rather than the promotional $500.
Obviously, this offer allows bettors to choose a Super Bowl favorite (like the Rams, usually at 9/2 odds; or the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, both at 9/1) rather than hope for a long shot (like the Jets at 150/1) to come through.
Where else to bet online in New Jersey
The NJ mobile sports betting market quickly expanded within the last month so BetStars is not your only choice. Since DraftKings Sportsbook went live at the beginning of August, the mobile industry has grown to eight sportsbooks.
Currently available in the Garden State (and the platforms where they can be accessed):
- DraftKings Sportsbook (browser, Android, iOS)
- PlayMGM Sport (Android)
- SugarHouse Sportsbook (browser, Android, iOS)
- FanDuel Sportsbook (browser, Android, iOS)
- William Hill US (browser, Android)
- Caesars Sportsbook (browser, Android, iOS)
- 888 Sportsbook (browser, Android)
- BetStars (Android, iOS via PokerStars NJ app)
The expansive list of mobile sportsbooks includes a deep variety of traditional moneylines, parlays, in-game betting, and futures.