Value of ‘3’
NFL bettors are conditioned to think about the pointspread number
of + or -3 as being the single most important or ‘key’ number in football
betting. That certainly holds true for
the regular season, when nearly one out of every seven games finishes with a
final margin of three points.
But in August, coaches don’t play for overtime. We saw two prime examples of that this past
weekend. Jacksonville rallied from 17
points down against the Giants, scoring their final TD with two minutes left in
the fourth quarter.
Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game – making it
quite likely that one of the two teams would win by a field goal – Jacksonville
head coach Mike Mularkey went for the two point conversion and the win. The Jags made that conversion and won the
game by a single point; a great result for line shoppers and a lousy result for
On the very same night, the Lions were a three point home favorite
against the Browns. Cleveland, like
Jacksonville, rallied from a double digit deficit in the second half. With just over six minutes left in the fourth
quarter – plenty of time – Browns head coach Pat Shurmur made the same decision
that Mularkey had made. Instead of
kicking the extra point to tie the game, the Browns went for the two point
conversion, which failed.
Bettors who were hoping for a ‘push’ with their Lions -3 tickets
were not happy campers. Cleveland ended
up kicking a game winning field goal in the closing seconds to win by two;
otherwise the Lions would have won by one.