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On The Money | NFL Week 4 Betting Recap: ‘Over, Over, Over’

Bill Ordine for Bookies.com

Bill Ordine  | 6 mins

On The Money | NFL Week 4 Betting Recap: ‘Over, Over, Over’

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The public loves betting the Over and this NFL season, it’s been a profitable flirtation.

For the first three weeks of the season heading into Sunday’s games, the Over had hit at a little more than 61%, and after the dust cleared in Sunday’s NFL betting action Sunday, that percentage held steady.

Continuing a trend, scoring surged Sunday with the Overs having another strong day. In the early window of games, the Over was a solid 6-1, with one game a push at most books (Carolina 31, Arizona 21, O/U at 52). In those eight games, 58 touchdowns were scored. <.p>

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The offenses slowed down in the three later day games and the Sunday Night Game where the Overs generally went 0-3-1 (with some exceptions due to varying lines). And in a couple of games where the Under prevailed, it just by a point or half-point. For instance, the Philadelphia-San Francisco game, which the Eagles won 25-20, fell short by a point at some books but was an Over winner at BetRivers by a half-point.

One DraftKings bettor took the Over in the Jacksonville at Cincinnati game at a reduced line of 42 laying -263 with $1.4 million on the line and collected $531,000 when the Bengals posted a 33-25 win.

Obviously, every matchup poses its own challenge for oddsmakers but the scoring and the consistency of Overs hitting has caught the linemakers’ collective attention. In the first three weeks of the NFL season, a total of eight games had O/U lines posted at 50 points or better. In Week 4 alone, nine games were listed at 50 points or better, and yet it still didn’t turn the tide in favor of the Unders.

“It’s true. It’s absolutely true,” DraftKings director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello said. “We’ve actually boosted the totals up a little bit. The bettors may have thought we boosted them too high, they bet them Under and the games still went over. That was the case with Saints-Lions.”

The visiting Saints beat the Lions, 35-29, with the Over easily clearing a line set at 52 to 52.5.

Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts, said the public seems undaunted regardless of how high the over-under is set.

“Today, 11 teams scored 30 points or more. It’s a trend that doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down. It’s only been four weeks but it’s been a steady Over, Over, Over,” Stoneback said.

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Why the Overs Keep Hitting

There are several theories regarding the steady rise in scoring. Avello offered that the proliferation of multi-threat quarterbacks are a factor and there’s a sense that officials aren’t calling offensive holding — an almost certain drive-killer — quite as often.

Stoneback pointed to the empty stadiums.

“The defense doesn’t get as pumped up, they don’t have the same intensity,” Stoneback said. “Go back to the NBA when they were in the bubble, we were getting killed on the Over then, too. Both of those sports, without the crowd, the Overs have hit in a big way.”

And still another element to be considered is that without a hostile home crowd roaring trying to disrupt visiting offenses, the visitors don’t have to resort to silent counts and they get to run their plays as if they were on a practice field. It’s difficult to quantify how many points that adds to games on average.

“Once these teams get into bigger games later in the year, things will tighten up,” Avello said. “But having said that, how do you stop (Kansas City QB Patrick) Mahomes, how do stop (Baltimore QB Lamar) Jackson. To assume those guys are going to get only 14 points in a game doesn’t seem realistic. “

Stoneback said there’s a betting equilibrium at some point for the Over-Under.

“The oddsmakers have adjusted but the public is going to bet the Over even if you put it at 55, 56 and they’re still scoring in these 60-point games,” Stoneback said. “Are we going to see some 60s (Over-Under lines)? I don’t know.”

Big Parlay Pays Off

Among hefty bets, DraftKings was looking at a seven-figure wager Sunday.

In one case, a DraftKings bettor parlayed money-line picks on two college football winners, Florida and Tennessee, with the L.A. Rams. When L.A. completed the parlay by beating the New York Giants, 17-9, the $2 million wager turned a $1.1 million profit.

At BetMGM, a bettor took the Seahawks for $500,000 getting the worst of the line giving 6.5 points (the line later moved to -4.5 Seattle) but it didn’t matter. The Seahawks covered against Miami, 31-23.

“That was a big losing game for us but we offset that with the Cardinals-Panthers game. Earlier in the week, we had a $300,000 bet on the Cardinals (31-21 losers to Carolina in an upset) and last night we took another $230,000 to win $200,000 on Arizona), so those offset,” Stoneback said.

Results that favored the betting public Sunday were the Saints beating the Lions, Tampa Bay over the L.A. Chargers, and the Seahawks outlasting the Dolphins.

The books were happy with the Indianapolis Colts beating the Chicago Bears and especially with Cleveland upending Dallas. The Cowboys were 3.5-point favorites and their 49-38 loss was especially damaging to parlay tickets.

Closing Out the Day With an Upset

On The Money | NFL Week 4 Betting Recap: ‘Over, Over, Over’ 1

There was a significant line movement on the Sunday Night Football game as the spread opened with the 49ers a 3.5-point favorite over the Eagles but steadily rising to the 8-to-9 point range.

Stoneback said his book took a $100,000 wager on the Eagles just before kickoff.

“We had one player who went all-in on the Eagles. He took the Eagles first quarter; he took the Eagles first half; he took the Eagles on the money line, he took the Eagles on the money line first half,” he said. “We went from needing the Eagles to rooting for San Francisco.”

The Eagles upset the ‘Niners, 25-20.

In that same game, a DraftKings bettor made a nice score when Philly QB Carson Wentz ran 11 yards for the game’s first TD. A $703 prop wager on Wentz paid out $35,853.

About the Author

Bill Ordine for Bookies.com
Bill Ordine
Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years and was lead reporter on a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.