Pats have week off, force bettors to look for other options

By The Rex Factor

Bad news for people who like to bet on the NFL: the New England Patriots don’t play this coming weekend.

For the seventh time in eight weeks, the Pats turned into the league’s version of an ATM, churning out cash for gleeful gamblers across the country. They are also 4-0 outright and against the number since the return of quarterback Tom Brady from a four-game suspension to open the season.

At this point, the Pats are resembling their 2007 unit, which went undefeated during the regular season and covered with great frequency all the way into December. A Boston bookmaker told me that during the first four weeks of the season, his volume was down at an alarming rate. People were betting on various different games, but at a much lower rate than in previous seasons.

Once Brady returned, however, all of that changed.

He told me all he can do is root for the Pats to play at 1 p.m. on Sunday, because that time slot leads to less betting and/or chasing than the 4 p.m. Eastern games or the night games Sunday and Monday. Unfortunately for him, the Pats next play against Seattle on a Monday night in Week 10.

The books also got slaughtered on Sunday night when Dallas rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Philadelphia 29-23 after Jason Witten scored on an overtime touchdown pass. The Cowboys were laying as many as 5.5 points in some spots.

But this being the NFL, it figured to turn at some point, and on Halloween night, it did. The Chicago Bears mauled the Minnesota Vikings 20-10 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close. The Vikings closed in the same range that Dallas did the night before, with this being a clear game of the public betting the Vikings and the wiseguys all over the Bears.

I looked at the numbers at two per-head places in Costa Rica and they were downright frightening. In one of the most lopsided sides of the season, the public got mauled. More than 85 percent of the straight bets out of several thousand taken were on the Vikings, with about 90 percent of the money coming for that side. Some of the enthusiasm for bookmakers was tempered, however, as a great majority of the money came on the UNDER in a game that closed at 39 and never threatened that number. But for those bookmakers that start their weeks on Mondays, the players are already buried. For those that end on Monday, there’s a good chance that some of the players gave back money won over the weekend.

For the week, the NFL favorites went 8-4 against the spread with one game closing at a PICK. Just two underdogs won outright, with New Orleans (just plus-1 at home) joining the Bears as outright winners catching points. Nine of the 13 games went OVER the total, resulting in more wins for the players. Home teams went 7-5 against the number, with fans in London getting treated to a tie between Cincinnati and Washington.

In college action, favorites went just 21-30 with half of the dog wins coming outright. Mid-American Conference midweek play begins this week with Tuesday and Wednesday action. Of the four MAC games last week, all dogs won outright, with Miami of Ohio winning as a touchdown underdog at Eastern Michigan being the lowest spread of the games. Three other dogs winning outright were catching double digits!

There were 31 UNDERS to just 19 OVERS and one push, while home teams went 23-27 against the number; the Florida/Georgia game that used to be dubbed the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” until the PC police stepped in was played in Jacksonville.

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