LAS VEGAS — As Duane Colucci discusses the Philadelphia Eagles’ game in Arizona against the Cardinals this weekend, he lets it slip. He says he’s a bookmaker who relishes a regular wager, backing his beliefs with his wallet.
“I’m a bookmaker that loves to gamble,” says the longtime Rampart Casino race and sports manager, “and I love my teasers on Sundays.”
Not his beloved Dallas Cowboys at home against a certain point-spread line, or a total in other situations. Not going against Joes, if they’re swarming in one direction, or coat-tailing some choice Pros that he knows.
The sports-betting option Colucci favors most involves securing extra points on the sides he favors.
As a veteran oddsman, the 50-year-old Queens native knows how accurate those lines are when it comes to the National Football League. So an extra edge comforts him.
Teasers, of course, entail getting extra points in a game, but at least two games must be picked correctly. The payout is lower than a usual parlay because of those extra points.
But Colucci, whose Rampart shop is a South Point satellite, has his limits. He will not tease 6.5 or 7 points. For him, 6 is sufficient for its return rate.
At the South Point and Rampart, for example, a two-team 6-point teaser pays -125, 6.5 points are -140, 7 is -150. (A two-team parlay typically pays +260.)
And the Eagles-Cards tilt provides a sterling example of how he aims to operate. Philly had opened as a 6-point favorite, and early-week Rampmart action on Arizona had nudged that down to 5.
By tacking on an extra six points to the Cardinals, Colucci covers potential defeats by 6, 7, and 10 points, key figures that make or break bankrolls.
“I feel confident doing that,” he says. “Those are games where, as bookmakers, you could get beat on both sides of the teasers. That’s very important. That’s why we lost last weekend.”
Most Vegas books fared very well the first three weeks of the NFL season. Week 4, however, was very different — a loser — which Colucci details.
“Teasers killed us, with both sides covering in some of the key, marquee matchups. It definitely hurts. Also, the Raiders covering on the teasers, and everything, that really starts to get you as a bookmaker.
“I’d definitely tease Arizona in this situation and feel comfortable.
Bookies Battle: Colucci Finishes in the Money Last Season
For years, I’ve heard different degrees of punters chastise, if not denigrate, parlays and teasers. Vegas pillar Michael “Roxy” Roxborough, however, divulged to me for a book, Sports Betting for Winners: Tips and Tales from the New World of Sports Betting, published in 2019, the value of teasing certain NFL games to cover key numbers.
That has eroded a bit in recent years, as the return rate on those teasers has been whittled little by little, but the premise still holds and is valid, which Colucci confirms.
“How many professional gamblers are there that can beat the NFL? How much are they really making?,” he says. “For the regular consumer, it’s great to get six added points.”
“But when you’re a basic connoisseur and can add six points, it becomes very attractive. Some gamblers need that. Not everybody is a professional who can scout these early lines, get those key numbers and get down before the line becomes inflated, in one way or another.”
Each week, he sees the public salivate over parlays, teasers, and reverse teasers.
“It definitely helps. They’re very attractive ,and a lot of gamblers need that in pro football, because not many people can beat the NFL.
“If a game gets a little out of hand, you still have a chance on a back door not just covering the regular spread. With 3, 3.5 points, you’re talking about getting 9, 9.5 points. And that becomes a different ballgame.”
Philadelphia Eagles (4-0, 3-1 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (2-2, 2-2 ATS)
The Eagles are ridin’ high, but this trip has clipped their wings lately. They’ve dropped their past five games in the Valley of the Sun, by an average score of 29-20. And early sharp money has budged Philly’s line down from 6.
NFL · Sun (10/9) @ 4:25pm ET
|State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona|
People have been eager to wager on the Cards and QB Kyler Murray, for some reason. Murray is 31st in the NFL with a yards-per-attempt rate of 5.7. His scrambling ability, however, has his QBR at 85.2, 18th in the league.
The porous Cardinals’ defense yields 0.460 points per play, a spot above Detroit (0.515) in the league’s basement. That, though, isn’t what’s disturbing. Arizona (0.571) plays worse defense in its own barn, the second-worst home figure to New England’s 0.627.
Also read: NFL Week 5 Player Props and TD Scorer Bets
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3, 1-2-1 ATS) at Buffalo Bills (3-1, 2-1-1 ATS)
Until this week, the Steelers had never been a two-touchdown underdog since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. That covers a lot of stellar teams, a lot of winning and, well, a lot of spoiled fans.
NFL · Sun (10/9) @ 1:00pm ET
|Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York|
“Nobody’s ever seen the Steelers get this many points,” Colucci says. “It’s unbelievable, just to see that on paper. A shock!”
Blame Mitch Trubisky? The Steelers new quarterback owns the worst yards-per-attempt rate, at 5.6, in the league. His QB Rating of 73.7 is 31st, with only the guy in the next capsule below him.
A Play on the Total: NFL Week 5 picks include Steelers vs. Bills
Dallas Cowboys (3-1, 3-1 ATS) at Los Angeles Rams (2-2, 1-3 ATS)
This game excites Colucci since it will draw cash on both sides all week. An Under bet of nearly $6,000 Thursday morning helped drive this total down a half-point.
NFL · Sun (10/9) @ 4:25pm ET
|SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California|
Dak Prescott will rest his mended thumb another week, meaning Sub Extraordinaire Cooper Rush, the pride of Central Michigan, will try to boost his record as an NFL starter to 5-0.
As a Cowboys supporter, Colucci was pleased to see receiver Michael Gallup (two catches, 24 yards, one TD) return last week.
“This will be a low-scoring game, in my opinion, unless Cooper Kupp starts to work his magic. But I think a lot of teams are perceptive, now, to double- or triple-teaming him, because he’s so monstrous.”
Kupp has 42 receptions (on 54 targets) for 402 yards and three TDs this season, which includes a 44-yard dud two weeks ago in Arizona. QB Matthew Stafford has four TDs and six interceptions on the year, but no TDs his previous two games.
Note that the Dallas pass defense is tied with Philly, at a mere 4.8 yards per attempt, atop the league.
Preview Cowboys vs. Rams Odds and Prediction |
New York Giants (3-1, 3-1 ATS) vs Green Bay Packers (3-1, 2-2 ATS)
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, ENG, 9:30 a.m. ET
Friday’s Consensus Line: Packers -8, Total 41
In 31 previous NFL games played in London since 2007, none have involved two winning squads. Until this game. Plus, it’s Green Bay’s first tilt in England, which can now claim to have played host to every NFL team.
New York might have quarterback issues, since Daniel Jones has been nursing an ankle injury (but supposedly made mid-week progress) and Tyrod Taylor has been in concussion protocol.
Davis Webb, who has never thrown an NFL pass, is the Giants’ de facto third-stringer, while other options might include AJ McCarron, Matt Barkley, or Cam Newton.
Green Bay’s green receivers are giving Aaron Rodgers fits, so will this resemble two rams butting heads for 60 minutes?
Giants tailback Saquon Barkley leads the NFL with 463 yards, while Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have combined for 538 for the Packers.
“When [Daniel] Jones is effective, he runs. So if he can’t run and you’re relying on his arm, it ain’t happening,” Colucci says. “The Giants have a bad wide-receiver corps. Saquon has been unbelievable, but they were hiking the ball right to him. I think all that definitely plays into the Packers’ hands.
“It looks like running attack vs. running attack. Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers’s stats, is gonna win the game. I think the Giants played over their heads those first few games. Dallas exploited them. A great defense is going to stop that [Giants] team.”
Chicago Bears (2-2, 1-2-1 ATS) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1, 1-3 ATS)
US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN, 1 p.m. ET
Friday’s consensus line: Vikings -7.5, Total 44
Second-year Bears field boss Justin Fields has the worst QB rating in the NFL, at 58.7.
“I just don’t think he’s the real deal,” Colluci says. “The Bears are definitely scratching their heads now. It’s going to be tough for them to put up a lot of points, and to stop this Vikings offense. On the other hand, the Vikings defense isn’t all that great.
“I still think Green Bay is, by far, the best team in that division, even with [its] growing pains. Detroit has no defense. The Bears can’t score or move the ball. With the Vikings, there’s always that question mark.”
The Bears have won three of their past four in Minneapolis, with an average score of Chicago, 24-22. But Colucci takes the Vikings.
“I think they’re going to win, it’s just a matter of by how much? It’s sitting at 7.5 [everywhere in Vegas], getting minimal action, at best. A game a lot of people are laying off.”
Over the past three seasons, Minnesota games are tops in the NFL to the Over, at 66.7 percent.
Also read: NFL Week 5 Betting Tips and Strategies
Miami Dolphins (3-1, 3-1 ATS) at New York Jets (2-2, 2-2 ATS)
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 1 p.m. ET
Friday’s consensus line: Dolphins -3 (-120), Total 45.5
Miami had been faring so well with Tua Tagovailoa calling the signals, only to have him sidelined now with multiple concussion issues. Anyone, though, who thinks the Dolphins will sink must think again.
Their reserve is the one and only Teddy Bridgewater, who is 24-6 against the spread as an NFL starter.
Bridgewater mopped up a messy defeat in Cincinnati last week by going 14-for-23, for 193 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Miami has won seven of the past 10 against the Jets in Jersey.
For the Jets, Zach Wilson returned last week and was 18-for-36, for 252 yards and a TD, and two passes got picked. Nothing outrageous, but he guided his team to two TDs in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter for a 24-20 triumph in Pittsburgh.
“Do you know how much they’ve beaten me out of this year?” Colucci laughs. “It’s a shock the way the Jets are winning these games!”
He foresees Miami focusing on the run, with Raheem Mostert (37-yard average in four games) and, in various ways, Tyreek Hill, who has caught 31 passes for a 15.4-yard average and two TDs.
As a rookie with Kansas City in 2016, Hill ran 24 times for 267 yards and three scores. He ran for 151 yards in 2018, 123 in ’20. However, the Jets also own the sixth-stingiest run defense, at 3.7 yards per rush, in the league.
Wilson might be licking his chops, since Miami’s brutal pass defense, allowing foes 7.8 yards per attempt, would be the worst in the NFL if not for Seattle (8.7).
“The Jets,” Colucci says, “definitely have a chance here. I might be looking to take the field goal.”
Also read: Early Public Bettors Backing the Backups
Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, 2-2 ATS) at Baltimore Ravens (2-2, 2-2 ATS)
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Friday’s consensus line: Ravens -3.5, Total 48
Baltimore and QB Lamar Jackson have been jamming on offense, with 0.517 points per play, the second-best efficiency rate to Detroit’s 0.520.
However, this might be the perfect pass defense for Cincy QB Joe Burrow to soar, since the Ravens are the only team in the league allowing at least 300 yards (315) through the air per game.
Burrow has 1,099 aerial yards this season, with eight TDs and four picks. He has hit at least 275 yards in three of his four games. Lifetime against Baltimore, he is 2-1, with seven TDs and two interceptions.
“He’s definitely a gamer,” Colucci says of a training-camp appendectomy that probably affected Burrow to start the season. “This kid is the real deal, but this will be a tough battle with Jackson.
“It’s an awesome matchup. We’ll get some great handle on this one. I think Joe can pick that defense apart, but I don’t like betting against the Ravens at home.”
Las Vegas Raiders (1-3, 1-3 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-1, 2-2 ATS)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO, Monday 8:15 p.m. ET
Friday’s consensus line: Chiefs -7, Total 51
This opened at 7.5, at South Point/Rampart, and Raiders support nudged it down a half-point by the middle of the week. And, as is usually the case, the ticket count has been high in using this game to cap parlays and teasers.
“It’s early,” Colucci says, “but they’re on the Raiders.”
Over the past three seasons, Raiders’ games are second in the league to the Over, at a 62.2-percent clip.
Listen to Mr. Wong: Chiefs figure into NFL Week 5 Teaser Pick
NFL Week 5 Odds
Here are current numbers from legal US sportsbooks for the entire card: