What a week.
As the Seattle Seahawks conclude NFL Week 4 with their Monday night invasion of the New York Giants, bettors savor one wild ride.
Beyond the chalk going 8-5-2 and the Under holding an 8-7 edge, gamblers catch their breath over some heart-stopping finishes.
- The Denver Broncos returned roughly +600 to DraftKings in-game moneyline bettors who backed them when they trailed the Chicago Bears, 28-7, in the third quarter on Sunday. Denver’s monumental rebound forged a 31-28 win. Kudos to any gamblers who took a winless team when they trailed by three touchdowns on the road.
- In the gambling world, even blowouts form riveting theater. The San Francisco 49ers are the chalk of the walk, owning the league’s only moneyline and spread record of 4-0. They overcame a season-high betting line of -14 and needed a dropped Zach Ertz pass at the half-yard line in the waning moments to preserve the 35-16 spread-beating margin over the Arizona Cardinals. Millions of betting dollars literally went into and out of Ertz’s hands. The Cardinals are nonetheless 3-1 against the spread, even with a 1-3 moneyline.
- A relatively new term gains center stage. It’s called “The Brotherly Shove,” a play on Philadelphia’s city moniker of Brotherly Love. It concerns a quarterback-sneak play the Philadelphia Eagles brought to the NFL last year. Running backs stand behind the quarterback propelling him forward. It’s almost impossible to stop. But for some teams, it’s been nearly impossible to learn and it impacted a couple of games.
Between now and when the Washington Commanders visit the Chicago Bears to launch NFL Week 5 on Thursday night, bettors will pause and consider trends emerging in the league.
We have reached the end of the first quarter of the season, more or less. Patterns are starting to form.
Here are our NFL Week 4 betting results.
Niners’ Offense Dressed to the Nines
The Niners are a machine, but watch for teams to start shadowing all-world running back Christian McCaffrey. He had a monster game against Arizona, tallying four of the team’s five touchdowns.
McCaffrey has been a cash register for gamblers. He had 27 touches on Sunday and is able to dart free as a running back and find room in the flat as a receiver.
The rubber meets the road in Week 5. The Dallas Cowboys, who just thumped the New England Patriots 38-3, visit the 49ers.
It shapes up as San Francisco’s toughest test, a possible playoff preview and a fascinating matchup of a premier defense against the San Francisco machine.
If Dallas finds a way to contain McCaffrey, the blueprint will go viral throughout the league.
Young Guns Make Big Mark
The league has been infused with quarterbacks performing above expectations. Here is a look at players gamblers are beginning to trust:
Starting in place of injured Kyler Murray, he has authored two strong games in a row for the Arizona Cardinals.
After piloting the 28-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, he had the Cardinals’ offense humming in the second half against the Niners.
Dobbs engineered as long a drive as you can, 99 yards in 11 plays, chewing up 6:25 and throwing the TD that put the Cardinals within 21-16 late in the third quarter.
Who does that against San Francisco?
He also guided the Cardinals into cover position for bettors who had Arizona at +14, but the key goal-line drop by Ertz denied the cover.
The team nonetheless trusts him. Dobbs’s arm has been better than anticipated, he can run a little and is beginning to gel with this team.
The Cardinals, showing life under new coach Jonathan Gannon, host the sputtering Cincinnati Bengals. There will be noise about keeping Dobbs in even after Murray returns.
He guided the Indianapolis Colts all the way back from a 23-0 third-quarter deficit to force overtime in Week 4. Had the Colts won the coin flip, perhaps they would have been the team marching down to score the game-winning touchdown.
Richardson is the only rookie in NFL history to have three rushing touchdowns in his first three games. Coaches want to be sure that’s not a dubious honor. He’s already been knocked out of two games and suffered one concussion.
Nonetheless, he is electrifying when he’s in there.
Richardson will battle a good defensive unit in the Tennessee Titans, who annihilated the Bengals 27-3 in Week 4.
Break up the Texans. They are 2-2, winners of two straight, after toppling the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-6 in Week 4. Hmm. Routs of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Steelers on successive weeks. Impressive. He threw for 306 yards against a good Steelers’ defense, with no picks.
The Texans visit the Atlanta Falcons in a battle of 2-2 teams.
One Level Down
He will take his lumps this year in Carolina. The Panthers did everything except beat the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Young surrendered a critical game-tying fumble resulting in Minnesota’s go-ahead touchdown in the 21-13 loss.
He was steady, going 25-32 with no picks, but gamblers are not going to trust the Over on his yardage totals right away. Look at Adam Thielen with him, however. Thielen had another strong game for the Panthers, now 0-4.
They may now literally be fed to the Lions. Carolina plays the 3-1 Detroit Lions, who just seized the NFC North lead.
Stepping up for Jimmy Garoppolo, he became comfortable in the second half of the Las Vegas Raiders’ 24-17 setback to the Los Angeles Chargers.
O’Connell directed his team to 10 second-half points. Take away the disastrous late-game pick, and he was a pleasant surprise. For many bettors, he salvaged a push once the line went to Los Angeles -7.
The Raiders now host the Green Bay Packers.
Not Playing Well
He was thrust into the starting role against the Baltimore Ravens after Deshaun Watson became a late Week 4 scratch with a shoulder injury. He threw three picks and endured four sacks in the 28-3 loss.
It was a tough spot to throw him in. The Ravens went from +3 to -2 at many sportsbooks after news of Watson’s absence.
Cleveland has suffered stifling injuries to Watson and star running back Nick Chubb. It can’t get any worse unless you found out they were playing the 49ers this week.
And guess what? They are.
Something bad has happened to his Bengals. Not only was he bad, tossing for only 165 yards, but the able Bengals’ defense gave up chunk plays to a Titans’ team that had only scored three points one week before.
This may be the last time the Bengals fool bettors. Nearly 80% of the DraftKings handle backed Cincinnati at -2, but this team can’t make big gains. Their offense is sleepwalking.
The Bengals already trail division-leading Baltimore by two games and have lost to the Ravens head-to-head. Before the season started, gamblers circled their Week 5 game against Arizona as a W.
They won’t be as confident now.
“Everybody Loves a Gambler…”
The Los Angeles Chargers have been in the bettors’ doghouse for reckless fourth-down gambles in recent years.
And they hurled one of the league’s largest dice rolls of the season on Sunday with a 24-17 lead. On 3rd-and-10 from his own 11 with less than two minutes left, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert went deep. Fifty-one yards deep.
This is bold, like diving off a cliff and hoping there’s water below.
Justin Palmer grabbed the aerial and the Chargers killed the clock.
Had the pass fallen incomplete, the Raiders would have had plenty of time to seek a tying score.
This was a second dagger, added to the end-zone pick by O’Connell a couple of plays earlier.
The Washington Commanders converted a 4th-and-1 from the Philadelphia 15 on its first driver rather than kick a field goal. Washington converted and then found the end zone.
“Until He Loses”
The Chargers failed on the Brotherly Shove in the fourth quarter, giving the Raiders a short field they nearly converted into a game-tying touchdown.
More teams are tying the Brotherly Shove. Those who fail haven’t shown the quick break from the quarterback or the muscle from the people behind him.
Philly was 1-1 with it on Sunday. The Eagles were offside on the first one, forcing a punt. They mastered the second one.
The Eagles embraced both parts of the Everybody Love a Gambler statement on Sunday.
They could have nearly killed the clock and tried for a potential game-winning field goal against the Washington Commanders with the game tied 24-24.
Philadelphia attained initial glory, as Jalen Hurts hit A.J. Brown for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
But a Brown taunting penalty gave Washington good field position and then Philly suffered bad luck. A pass bouncing incomplete left one second on the clock and Washington scored on the final play.
Why — bettors wondered — didn’t the Eagles milk the clock and try to kick a game-winning field goal a couple minutes before?
Philly escaped in overtime, 34-31, preserving the NFC East lead and building a 4-0 mark before visiting the Los Angeles Rams.
NFL Week 4 Betting Highlights at Major Sportsbooks
One ticket had $173,500 for Pittsburgh-Houston Under 42. The game went Under and the wager won $157,728.85 at DraftKings.
The late end-zone pick by the Chargers frustrated Raiders’ bettors. But few more than the gambler who put $100,000 to win $90,910 on the game to go Over 48.
The result looked to be in the gambler’s hip pocket. The Raiders were on the 3, about to go in and tie the game 24-24. Any score in the last two minutes or then overtime would have brought a profit near six figures.
That’s a tough beat, a turnaround of nearly $200,000.
Adam Thielen, as we’ve been touting him, was the sportsbook’s leading prop getter. He produced at -115 for more than 4.5 receptions, gaining seven.
“Two most bet games this week are Bills-Dolphins and Chiefs-Jets,” said Seamus Magee, Sports Trader for BetMGM.
“In the early game, the best outcome for the sportsbook would be for the Bills to win but not cover. We can’t get anyone to wager on the Jets. The Chiefs -8.5 is the public’s, and probably Taylor Swift’s, favorite bet this weekend.”
Well, the Jets did the book a big favor in covering.
Here’s a BetMGM overview:
Most Bet Games (Tickets)
Most Bet Teams (Tickets)
- Chiefs -8.5
- Jaguars -3
- Dolphins +2.5
Good result for the sportsbook, with the Chiefs and Dolphins losing against the spread. The Jags covered, beating the Atlanta Falcons 23-7 in London.
Most Bet Teams (Handle)
- Jaguars -3
- Chiefs -8.5
- Bills -2.5
This was interesting, as the bettors won two of three here. Heavier money was on the Bills, and the bettors were prophetic with that in Buffalo’s definitive 48-20 triumph.
Most Bet Overs (Tickets)
- Dolphins-Bills 53.5
- Falcons-Jaguars 42.5
- Broncos-Bears 46.5
Bettors took two of three, with the Dolphins and Broncos games going Over.
Most Bet Unders (Tickets)
- Steelers-Texans 42
- Ravens-Browns 40.5
- Bengals-Titans 41
A sweep for the gamblers, who wisely noted the combo of strong defensive teams and struggling offenses.
We mentioned Friday that bettors might read between the lines listing the Buffalo Bills at +850 and the Miami Dolphins at +1600 to lead the league in points. Seemed like the sportsbooks loved the Bills.
And so did the gamblers who jumped on board this and rode that fat +850 payday. The Bills are a threat to collect this honor every week.
Many of the winning tickets are being cashed in the +800 to +1000 range each week. Bettors will likely pick up on that.
Otherwise, there was money in the second line of anytime betting scorers for Buffalo-Miami.
Gabe Davis was a solid +250 for Buffalo and Braxton Berrios brought home +470 for Miami.