The early Week 4 NFL betting trends  

September, 27, 2011

Every Tuesday during the NFL regular season, Dave Tuley of will provide an update on the Hilton SuperContest.

LAS VEGAS -- As a whole, the 517 entrants in the Hilton SuperContest were struggling through the first two weeks of the NFL season, compiling a losing record with their best bets as well as their overall plays.

But that all changed in Week 3.

SuperContestants rebounded big-time, as the top five consensus plays went 4-1 against the spread, the overall consensus went 11-5 ATS and the entire field (except for one contestant who didn't put in his picks) went an impressive 1,491-1,089 (57.79 percent). For the year, the top five plays each week have improved to 7-6-2, overall consensus is now 24-21-1 and all plays are 3,691-3,487 (51.42 percent).

The poster child for the SuperContestants' resurgence is new leader Sans Souci, which in French means "without care," and is similar to the contemporary phrase (especially for the parents out there) Hakuna Matata from the re-released movie, "The Lion King." Sans Souci went 5-0 against the contest's lines in Week 3 and is an impressive 13-1-1 overall for 13.5 contest points (wins are worth one point and pushes are worth a half-point). Sans Souci has a 1.5-point lead over Mister P. and Samswins.com2, and Babania is another half-point back at 11.5, going 5-0 after entering the week at 6-3-1.

The one thing the leaders all had in common was avoiding the trap of the Philadelphia Eagles minus-6.5 versus the New York Giants. That was the contest line that was posted last Wednesday before it was known whether or not Michael Vick would start for the Eagles (he suffered a concussion in Week 2). When it was announced that he was cleared to play, the line went up as Eagles minus-8.5, so 169 SuperContestants took what they thought was a really advantageous line, making it the top consensus play, with only 18 taking the bad number on the Giants. However, the Giants won 29-16 and kept the players from putting up really ridiculous numbers, as the next five-most selected teams (154 on the Raiders plus-3.5, 131 on the Dolphins plus-2.5, 130 on the Vikings plus-3.5, 127 on the Ravens minus-4 and 124 on the Saints minus-4) all covered. In fact, except for the Lions, who played the Vikings, every other team covered that was selected by more than 100 SuperContestants: the Bills, Panthers, Seahawks and Redskins.

Where is the money going in Week 4?

Even though the official contest lines don't come out until Wednesday, the Hilton posts its openers around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, so we can usually see what the wiseguys have been betting early and project what the popular trends will be for the coming weekend.

Dave Tuley

ESPN Staff Writer
Dave Tuley has covered the Las Vegas race and sports book scene since 1998 and runs his own website,