Perfection is a varied virtue to NFL bettors. Several definitions of 4-0 grace the gambling landscape after one month of the NFL season.
Moneyline bettors consider perfection the 4-0 Philadelphia Eagles, the league’s lone unbeaten team after their 29-21 triumph over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon.
Spread bettors view perfection as the Atlanta Falcons, who are 4-0 against the number after a 23-20 triumph over the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons are not flashy, but play every game close and have two straight wins to become 2-2 on the moneyline and 4-0 versus the spread.
Bettors also embrace near-perfection.
That cha-ching realm includes the Detroit Lions, who are 3-1 both on the Over and against the spread. Although the Lions suffered their first spread defeat Sunday, their 48-45 setback against the Seattle Seahawks was the highest-scoring game of the day. It nearly doubled the Over of 47.5 and bettors had the money in their pocket money early in the third quarter.
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The Lions are an early-season cash register.
The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t perfect, but finally looked like the juggernaut offense gamblers have come to expect on Sunday Night. DraftKings bettors backed them in the neighborhood of 80%, even while the line moved from Kansas City -2 to +2 before the Chiefs throttled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41-31.
And the Bucs, who had three offensive touchdowns as a team before Sunday night, picked up four in one game.
The Week 4 ledger at DraftKings had a 7-6-2 lead for the favorites and 8-7 advantage for the Over before the Monday night game between the Los Angles Rams and host San Francisco 49ers.
The Book Reports (DraftKings)
The majority of bettors had some excellent calls on Sunday.
A solid 78% of DraftKings handle was on the New York Giants-Chicago Bears game to finish Under 39.5. The Under roared home in New York’s 20-12 triumph.
The biggest spread-bet majority of 72% handle came with the Dallas Cowboys -3 versus the Washington Commanders. Dallas triumphed 25-10.
Some Over Indulgences
The majority ruled when 82% of bettors jumped on the Eagles-Jaguars contest to exceed 45.5 points. And even in the heavy rain and wind-swept conditions, the teams combined for 50 points and an Over “W.”
A few slick contrarians benefitted by placing their money away from the crowd.
Only 16% of the handle was on the Over 45.5 for the Las Vegas Raiders-Denver Broncos tilt, won by the Raiders 32-23.
Just 18% of the handle was placed on Over 40.5 for the New England Patriots-Green Bay Packers afternoon battle. The total was easily exceeded, as the Packers prevailed in overtime 27-24.
Only 25% of the handle was on the Over 41.5 when the New York Jets toppled the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20. It took a last-second touchdown by the Jets to notch Pittsburgh’s first Over this season.
Finding a Sweet Spot
A good angle produces an edge.
We mentioned here last week that the Atlanta Falcons are one of the few teams that still rely on field goals in the red zone. Younghoe Koo is one of the best kickers in the league.
Some DraftKings bettors converted that philosophy into a sizable prop hit in Atlanta’s triumph over the Cleveland Browns.
Each team needed to notch one touchdown and one field goal in each half.
That happened and the payoff was +1200 (12-1).
Koo had three field goals and Cade York of Cleveland had two, enabling bettors to also cash the Over 3.5 on field goals, which was priced closer to even money.
Whether it’s highlight reel scoring plays or field goals under the radar, a hit is a hit. And this was a good price at +1200.
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Some Close Calls at Fan Duel
The book had a prop paying +600 if every NFL team could score a touchdown in the Sunday 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. games. But the Chicago Bears crushed that ticket, being the only league team not to find the end zone.
Bettors just missed on a prop for quarterbacks Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Jared Goff of the Lions, and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers to combine for eight touchdowns, at +220. They notched seven.
Bettors did hit at -110 for the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions to tally 10 touchdowns. They delivered 12.
Future Arrives for Jets, Steelers
The New York Jets just notched their biggest victory from the 2021 draft, in which they took Zach Wilson as the second selection.
On Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wilson made a sizzling return from the meniscus injury that had shelved him during the preseason and the first three games of the regular season.
First, he resurrected the Philly Special, catching a touchdown pass on the play the Eagles made famous in the 2018 Super Bowl. Wilson handed off, drifted into the flat and took a pass from Braxton Berrios to become the first Jets quarterback to ever score a touchdown.
He later led them to two impressive fourth-quarter scoring drives, helping the Jets erase a 20-10 deficit.
On the first drive, he was 5-8, including a 4th-and-7 conversion.
On the game-winning march, he was 6-for-6.
What in the name of Joe Namath is going on with the Jets, who have two gigantic come-from-behind road victories?
They may have high expectations going forward.
Pickett Elevates Steelers, Future Uncertain
Kenny Pickett made good on the inevitable decision by coach Mike Tomlin to have him replace Mitch Trubisky on Sunday for the second half.
Pickett did become the first quarterback in NFL history to score twice in his first game, according to the NFL. He was 10-for-13 and showed a live arm. He did throw three picks, but one was tipped and on the second his receiver fell down. On his interceptions, the passes were also a little too high.
Pickett put his team in position to win, but the Steelers defense, a team strength up until now, allowed two fourth-quarter TDs. Because of Pickett’s interceptions, Tomlin did not immediately name a starter for Pittsburgh’s road game in Buffalo for Week 5.
But Pickett will be getting more time. Tomlin may keep alternating the QBs for a while, posing problems for prop bettors and fantasy players regarding this position.
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New England Patriots Nearly Torch the Moneyline Parlay World
Third-string quarterback Bailey Zappe almost zapped the life out of countless moneyline parlay tickets.
Zappe was forced to enter the game against the Green Bay Packers after second-string quarterback Brian Hoyer was hurt. Zappe stayed within himself and nearly engineered an upset before the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers triumphed 27-24 on the last play of overtime.
The Packers were a prohibitive -435 on the moneyline and could likely be played only with a string of other moneyline bets. A whopping 89% of DraftKings moneyline handle was on Green Bay. A New England victory would have set off a party for sportsbook operators.
The moneyline bettors survived that scare. They didn’t have to read the Zappe Outduels Rodgers headline.
But the New England bettors who took the Patriots at +9 nonetheless got paid. That was 31% of the handle.
The Big Dice Rolls
There were some excellent ones in Week 4. Tomlin put it all out there with Pickett on his first-ever NFL possession.
With the Steelers trailing 10-6 in the third quarter, Tomlin had Pickett sneak the ball on 4th-and-inches from the Pittsburgh 31. Welcome to the NFL, kid. Here’s the ballgame. Just pick up this 4th down.
Pickett did and later rushed for two touchdowns.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell let it all hang out on the last play of the first half.
The Lions trailed 24-9. They had invested 15 plays and 5:04 of the clock and faced their fourth straight play from the Seattle 1. No field goal, not after all that.
The Lions gave it to Jamaal Williams, who cracked into the end zone on the final play of the half.
Campbell went all or nothing, and got all.
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As rain made offense treacherous, the Baltimore Ravens slogged 95 yards from their own 5 to the Buffalo Bills 1 yard-line in a 20-20 tie.
After two more plays left them with 4th-and-goal at the 2, coach John Harbaugh elected not to spend 9:30 of clock time on a field goal. Even if it would have put the Ravens ahead.
The Ravens went for the touchdown and suffered disaster.
Not only did they fail to score, but the Lamar Jackson pass was picked in the end zone, putting the ball at the Buffalo 20.
That gave Buffalo breathing room to come all the way down the field and kick the game-winner with no time left.
As a sub-plot, the line was Buffalo -3 in many locations. The Bills looked ready to punch the ball in for a touchdown in the final seconds. But they settled for kneel downs and a game-winning kick.
Buffalo bettors could not believe their bad luck. Baltimore bettors were grateful for the push, even though that involved seeing a 20-3 lead disappear.
Points to Ponder
The Eagles have scored 85 points in the second quarter this year.
Twice, they tallied 24 points in one stanza. On Sunday it was 20. And in week 2, it was 17.
In-game bettors are jumping on that trend, either by making moneyline bets after the first quarter or taking Philly in the first half.
Cooper Rush is 3-0 spelling injured Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys. The return of Michael Gallup, who scored a touchdown, improves the offense. If the Cowboys hadn’t invested so much money in Prescott, they might have faced a dilemma when he returns.
The Ravens have blown leads of 21 and 17 points in their two setbacks. They could easily be 4-0.
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