Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM

Vegas Money Moves - Week 4

Over Tickets Continue to Cash

The Broncos 37-28 win at the Jets (-1) on Thursday night made away teams improve to 26-25 against the spread and underdogs also pushed their mark to 26-25 ATS. What was more important from the Week 4 opener is that Denver and New York combined for 65 points and shredded the closing total of 41. 

Including that result, the 'over' has gone an incredible 30-19 (61.2%) this season.

Thursday’s game was between two winless 0-3 teams that had trouble scoring in the first three games and third-string Denver quarterback Brett Rypien was making his first career start on the road.

The amazing part about the 37-28 score is that the total of 41 was by far the lowest total of Week 4 with the remaining games having an average total of 49.7.

I’ve never seen anything like it, but there are plenty of theories why the totals are so high during the 2020 pandemic with little practice time and no pre-season games. Injuries have been a small part of the rise, the tackling has been horrendous, but the main thing is the officiating that is calling the offensive hold penalty at a much slower pace through three weeks.

It’s not just a wild 2020 coincidence. It was mandated to help the game go faster and help create more scoring, and generate more fun for the fans, and improve viewership during a tumultuous time. Or at least that’s my theory. But stats don’t lie.

Through the first three weeks, there have been 95 flags thrown for offensive holding penalties which are 59% less than 2019 at the same time.

Fifty-Something

The Pittsburgh-Tennessee game was rescheduled as up to 14 members of the Titans organization has tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 14 remaining games, eight of the games have totals posted at 51 or over, and one of them -- the Jaguars-Bengals matchups -- is set at 49 after opening 48.

The Baltimore-Washington total initially opened at 52 but reopened Tuesday at 45.5 following the Ravens 34-20 home loss to the Chiefs on Monday night. No major injuries except for Washington playing without rookie efensive end Chase Young and another Buckeye wide receiverTerry McLaurin being 'questionable' with a thigh injury.

Public & Sharps both backing Ravens

One of the more popular bets of the week from both the betting public and sharp money has been the Baltimore Ravens which has moved past -13 and -13.5 up to -14 against the Football Team. If Washington lays down like they did late last week at Cleveland, it’s going to start the ball rolling for a rough day for the sportsbooks.

Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick says their biggest public liability (parlays) rests first with the Seahawks (-6.5 at Miami), then it’s the Saints (-3.5 at Detroit), and Ravens. He says his top sharp plays of the week are the Jaguars (+3 at Cincinnati), Panthers (+3.5 vs. Arizona) and the Patriots (+7 at Kansas City).

The Patriots have been adjusted now to +7 -120, the Jaguars +2.5, and the Panthers +3 (+100).

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay says their sharp play this week has been the Colts (-2.5 at Chicago), Chargers and Ravens. His public play has been all over the Chiefs, 49ers (-7 vs. Eagles), and Rams (-13 vs Giants).

Handicapping New England vs. Kansas City

The Patriots at Chiefs game is a tough game to gauge with New England head coach Bill Belichick and his newfound running game scheming a way to kill the clock and keep KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes off the field.

The Chiefs (-3) won 23-16 in New England in early December last season. The total was 49.5 for that game and this week it’s 53. It seems like a solid bet under the total, but in this 2020 climate with officials being told to stand down, or whatever they were told, betting a total under these days seems like a bad idea.

“The straight bets are dead even (Patriots-Chiefs), but most of the parlay play and teasers have the Chiefs,” William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich said.

WH cheering for Cleveland

The Cowboys have remained 4.5-point home favorites against the Browns all week long, as has the total set at 56. It’s as if the entire betting world is at a crossroads with both teams and are just gingerly betting in teasers with the Browns and parlays with both sides and both over and under.

“We’re definitely going to need the Browns to cover this week,” Bogdanovich said.

Sunshine State Games Noticed

The sharp play on the Chargers against the Buccaneers needs to be preached to me because I haven’t seen much out of the Chargers to suggest that they're live 'dogs after the home loss last week to the Carolina Panthers, who were playing without running back Christian McCaffrey. Rookie Justin Herbert will again start in a matchup of the youngest QB against the oldest in Tom Brady.

Bogdanovich says the Chargers have been bet by sharp money at his books, but it doesn’t compare to the public play betting the Buccaneers. “We need the Chargers and Dolphins the most this week,” he said.

The Seahawks are one of two perfect 3-0 ATS teams (Packers the other) and they’ve been set at -6.5 all week despite the small public money adding up large. The books haven’t seen any respected money come in on them so they’re staying at -6.5, but they know they’ll eventually be at -7 and expect sharp to take it then.

Late Fade or Follow?

The Buffalo Bills have gotten the push to -3.5 after being -3 most of the week for their game at Las Vegas. The Raiders looked like the Raiders from 2019 last week with one blunder after another at New England in a humbling 36-20 loss. The Bills looked Super Bowl worthy in last week’s 35-32 thrilling win against the Rams despite nearly blowing a double-digit lead to Los Angeles.

The 49ers have beat up both New York teams at MetLife Stadium the last two weeks and are seven-point favorites against an underperforming Eagles squad, who are coming off off a 23-23 home tie against the Bengals. The total has moved up, of course, from 45 to 46.

The highest total of the week is on Monday Night Football with the Falcons-Packers matchup sitting at 57 and the Packers being a steady -7.

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 16 years.

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