Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

Books win big in Week 4

The underdogs were barking loud in Sunday’s NFL Week 4 action to the extreme extent that seven of the nine 'dogs covering the spread didn’t even need the points, winning their games outright.

“Sharps did well, and we went 2-4 in games where we took six figures, but it was still by far our biggest win of the season,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “We did really well to parlays and teasers with so many underdogs covering and winning on the day.”

When nine 'dogs cover on an NFL Sunday it’s usually going to be an awful week for the betting public and the books scoop most of the chips. Stoneback’s example of losing to large money and wiseguys and still winning big shows just how important the regular Joe is to the bottom line. He went a step further to clarify how good the week was.

“If we compare today’s results to all last season's regular season Sundays and all of this year's (Sunday) it would rank in the top-5 best results,” he said.

There’s always that big root game to parlays either flourishing early and gaining momentum throughout each result posted on the day, or crushing the parlay dead right out of the gate. Week 4 had a big one, and lots of other little exterminators helping out.

“Our biggest win of the day was the Chiefs not covering,” Stoneback said of the Chiefs (-7.5) 34-30 win with a TD in the final seconds. “And after that our best decisions were the Browns, Chargers, and Jaguars.”

An outright Chiefs win would have immediately destroyed thousands of teasers, but there were plenty of other popular teams hovering past key numbers that would fall later. Teams like the Ravens were seven-point home favorites and the ideal number to tease, but they lost outright to the Browns, 40-25. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook was offering the Browns moneyline at +300.

The crazy thing about the Browns win is that they were a popular public bet the first three weeks after being one of the biggest Super Bowl futures coming into the season. But after watching them look so pathetic on the big stage last Monday night, the public abandoned ship and bet against them. Now the books have the public right where they want them for the next few weeks second-guessing themselves. Don’t always believe what you saw last.

However, that theory may not apply to the sad Dolphins who lost 30-10 at home to the Chargers. But as bad as the Dolphins are, the number usually levels things out with a stink tax added to the spread which was about four points added to the number this week that wiseguys had to bite on. They pushed the number from -16 down to -14.5. The public wasn’t excited about laying the big number in straight bets, parlays, or teasers so didn't get Chargers money anywhere making it was one of the few games the books beat the sharps on this week.

The Dolphins are the only NFL team not cover a spread this season at 0-4 against the spread. Another ATS note is that all three teams that had been a perfect 3-0 ATS coming into Week 4 all failed to cover Sunday (Chiefs, Rams, Patriots).

The Broncos had been -3 at home against the Jaguars most of the week, a number which traditionally has been a steal with them at Mile High, but when Station Casinos moved them to -2.5 on Saturday no one came running to the bet windows with urgency. Sharps sniffed the stench out and said "no thanks" while the public was reliving old memories of Von Miller winning the Super Bowl MVP. “Laying less than a field goal at home, playing the Jaguars who will be playing without cornerback Jalen Ramsey? Sure I’ll throw the Broncos onto my parlay,” is what a typical thought process was this week for some.

But the Broncos would somehow blow another late lead at home and lose 26-24 to drop to 0-4 making it eight straight losses dating back to last season. Vic Fangio’s first head coaching job at any level in his career isn’t going so well, but his defense did get finally its first sack of 2019.

Other games that went against the public was the Panthers 16-10 win at Houston (-5.5), the Bills (+7) 16-10 home loss to the Patriots, and the Raiders 31-24 stomping at Indianapolis (-5.5), a game that never felt as close as the final result.

“It was an incredible day,” said Caesars Palace sportsbook director Jeff Davis. “Everything went right.”

One of those games the public liked on their parlays and teasers were the Rams as 9-point home favorites and proceeded to get pounded 55-40 by the Buccaneers.

However, Stoneback’s MGM books were one of the few to take it on the chin with the Bucs.

“Our worst game was the Buccaneers because we had a large six-figure wager on them,” he said.

Circa Sportsbook offered a Nevada-best moneyline on the Bucs at +390.

The week started well with the Eagles (+5) winning at Green Bay on Thursday and the hot roll was so good that hardly anything carried over into the night game. CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTomasso said: “the game was a win-win, in the black whoever wins.”

A win-win on the late game rarely happens, but it did in Week 4. The Saints won 12-10 against the Cowboys (-2.5) as a home 'dog.

Overall, favorites went 4-9 ATS Sunday and 4-10 ATS including the Eagles' Thursday night win and six of the 14 games went over the total. I also found it interesting that 11 of the 14 games were won by the road team.

Excluding the Week 4 Monday Night game, road teams have gone 35-26-1 straight up and 40-21-1 (65%) against the spread this season. 


Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 15 years.

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