The early Week 5 NFL betting trends  

October, 4, 2011

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

LAS VEGAS -- In Week 4 of the NFL season, there were a lot of games that were proverbial coin-flips.

On Sunday, seven of the 14 day games came down to the final score of the game determining the point-spread winner, and when all the games had been played by Monday night, favorites and underdogs had split 8-8 against the spread.

Because of the standard 10 percent vig that bookies charge, they love it when results are around 50/50 and games are wavering back and forth around the spread with no clear right side or wrong side (except when bettors are hitting all their teasers on both sides, but that's a column for another day).

So any sports books would love to have been booking the Hilton SuperContestants' plays this past weekend, or so far this season for that matter, as the 517 entrants (with two not putting in plays) went a combined 1,291-1,284 (50.1 percent) ATS and are now a total of 3,882-3,771 (50.7 percent) ATS on the season.

The consensus plays -- determined by the number of players who took each team -- went 7-9 ATS in Week 4 to drop to 31-30-3 (50.8 percent after tossing out the pushes) ATS on the season. The composite record was nudged over .500 by the fact that the best bets -- the top five plays ranked by the number of times they were picked -- went 3-2 ATS to improve to 10-8-2 (55.6 percent) on the year.

The New Orleans Saints minus-6.5 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, chosen by 174 SuperContestants, and the New England Patriots minus-4 versus the Oakland Raiders, picked by 162, were relatively easy winners, as was the fourth-most selected team, the Washington Redskins pick 'em versus the St. Louis Rams (with 124 Contestants taking Washington). But the 159 players who took the Minnesota Vikings minus-1 versus the Kansas City Chiefs lost 22-17 in a back-and-forth game and the 122 who chose the Atlanta Falcons minus-4.5 versus the Seattle Seahawks fell victim to a classic backdoor cover after Atlanta built a 27-7 lead early in the second half only to have Seattle rally to make the final score 30-28.

When all the dust and recycled bits of tire had settled, the SuperContestant who goes by the alias Sans Souci had gone 3-2. He (or she, to be PC) entered the lead with a 1.5-point lead and maintained that margin with an overall record of 16-3-1 ATS with Samswins.com2 alone in second place. is another entry in a tie for third place with 14.5 points along with Sons of Ditka, Robert C Best, Pagermager and

And as would be expected, there are a lot of SuperContestants around .500.

Where the money is going in Week 5?

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. SuperContestants might have a harder time finding five plays they like this week, with six teams on byes and only 13 games on the schedule after the 16 we've enjoyed each week so far.

Dave Tuley

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