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Books rebound in Week 4
By Micah Roberts

Las Vegas sports books had lost two of the first three NFL Sunday’s and needed a boost to kickoff the start of the fiscal fourth quarter after failing miserably in the third quarter with a rough baseball season. The NFL season was supposed to be the savior for the books, but it turned out to be just the opposite.

So when book directors were looking at the risk charts for NFL Week 4 action, they saw seven teams they needed to beat down as the gateway to a winning week, and those seven teams had combined to go 17-4 (81%) against the spread through three weeks. They were the popular teams. They were the teams blowing everyone out, covering spreads and making every regular betting Joe’s wallet fat.

Seven Teams






Green Bay


If the books were to lose five of those games, a losing day would occur. If they lost six of those games, it would be a disaster. If they lost all seven, it would be ‘Black Sunday’ with almost every big parlay cashing.

However, things cycled around as they usually do in pro football where the point spread eventually catches up with teams. The books would end up winning four of the seven games the public loved and it was enough of a hiccup in the popular parlay across town to make the books a winner.

“Solid day for the book,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick.

“The Jets and Dolphins all made us get up early, but it was worth it for the public who cashed on the Jets. The Bears, Redskins, Rams and Vikings were all good for the books.”

The sports books barely blinked when Jay Cutler was announced as the Bears starting quarterback where the Raiders ended up closing as 3-point road favorites. But Cutler actually showed some heart and emotion in a 22-20 win. The Raiders were 2-1 ATS before the game while the Bears were 0-3 ATS. The Raiders are fun, the Bears stink and that’s the way the public bet it.

The Eagles won back some support from bettors by winning at the Jets last week while the Redskins looked bad on national television the week before for everyone to witness. Yep, the Eagles should cover -3 easy, right? Nope. It would be the Redskins winning by three points, 23-20, and be one of four outright underdog winners on the day.

The Broncos had covered all three of it’s games so far and despite being down on an aging Peyton Manning, the public is starting to warm to the Broncos new and improved defense under Wade Phillips. The Vikings had played well this season, but the majority had no trouble laying -7 with Denver. The Vikings would play very well, but still lose. Denver wins 23-20, but doesn’t cover the number.

The back breaker for most of the public on Sunday was the Cardinals losing its first game of the season. Arizona had covered its first three games of the season by an average score of 42-16. Laying only seven-points at home against the Rams who had lost its previous two games seemed like easy money. In addition to being the most popular parlay game, it was also a huge link to several teasers. The Rams would pull off the 24-22 upset.

And that’s the perfect recipe for a winning day at the sports books for the individuals behind the betting counter.

Lots of other things happened in the nine other games that included some wins for the players, but they just couldn’t gain any momentum when those four key games didn’t come through.

“The Packers, Falcons, Panthers and Bengals, who are all undefeated, continue to cash tickets for the public,” said McCormick.

Those four teams are a combined 15-1 ATS (94%) so far, and you can believe next week the public will be all over them again except for Carolina, who is on its bye week.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 11 years.