Books take it on the chin

Several key players had severe injuries during Week 2 of the NFL and Nevada sportsbooks followed suit by getting beat up by the bettors. The favorites would only go 7-7 against-the-spread, but they’d go on to win 13 of the games outright capped by a Seahawks’ 35-30, win against the Patriots in the Sunday night game where Seattle was -4.

“When you don’t get one upset you know it’s going to be a rough NFL Sunday,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “Our entire day came down to needing the Chiefs to lose, and that didn’t happen. Not a good day.”

I told Kornegay that Gaming Today readers like hearing that the books lost and he understands that. But please don’t jeer him when seeing him stroll out in the book mingling with all his guests. He’s not complaining or whining, he’s just answering a question I asked him. He’s adamant about not wanting sympathy from anyone and says not to send him doughnuts or a bun cake for condolences. He’s one of the most awesome guys I know.

The one upset was the Rams (+2) 37-19 win at Philadelphia, but that was a pick ‘em game for most of the week. It’s not like it was a solid money-line ‘dog win to brag about. But all the other favorites won. All of them.

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William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich’s mood at 5 p.m. didn’t sound optimistic about the day falling in line with others. It was a quick simple text to the point.

“Every favorite won outright,” he said. “Not good.”

This dude is a living legend. The dented cabinets at the old Horseshoe sportsbook office Bogdanovich ran have lots of tales about him losing games for the house. It crushed him. I always liked that about him. He cared so much. But those poor metal file cabinets took some abuse.

So did Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, Jimmy Garoppolo, Drew Lock, and Saquon Barkley. It was a brutal day for the 49ers and others with injuries, but the 49ers would cover -7 and win 31-13 at the Jets. And what’s the deal with Adam Gase and this “genius” title bestowed upon him by someone? I saw Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning lead him to big wins in Denver, but as the No. 1 leader for anyone I haven’t seen the genius.  

One of the biggest games of the day for the books was the Chiefs (-8.5) at the Los Angeles Chargers in their So-Fi Stadium debut. William Hill books had 94% of the written on the Chiefs and 97% of the actual cash wagered making it their most lopsided game of the week. The money line bet that helped so many bettors cash their money line parlays was the Chiefs (-400). The Chargers almost got the win behind first-round draft pick QB Justin Herbert making his NFL debut.

“Herbert looked like a rookie at times, his decision-making was poor, but he didn’t look timid at all,” Kornegay said after the Chiefs’ 23-20 overtime win.

Tyrod Taylor was supposed to start for the Chargers but had an injury during warmups and Herbert got the nod, but the spread didn’t move.

“There was no adjustment to the number,” Kornegay said of the rookie starting over Taylor. “The Chiefs winning was the biggest swing of the day for us because all the teasers and money-line parlays cashed to it. Even though they didn’t cover the number, the win mattered more for our day.” 

Station Casinos’ books were in the same dilemma except for their regular locals action had several key teams in teasers.

“Not good,” Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick said of their NFL Sunday. “Teasers were very very good to the bettors. The Dolphins and Broncos saved the morning from disaster. The 49ers, Packers, Cardinals, and Ravens were great games for our players.”

To save their day, Stations needed the Patriots to win outright and also staying under (45) the total. The Seahawks would win a close game with Cam Newton showing he could throw while also running for two TDs in both games so far. Russell Wilson threw five TD passes in the win.

“We (needed) the Patriots outright but it won’t get us out the day,” Kornegay said.

One of the few chains I’ve heard to have a decent day was the MGM Resorts operation in Nevada.

“We’re a small winner, almost break even,” said sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “Most of our success (Nevada) came from second-half wagers; we had a couple of house players playing halftimes for a lot of cash.”

The books featured lots of excitement from the bettors and fans, but I get the feeling from most of the bosses that they don’t want to publicize the excitement for fear of backlash amid COVID-19. But regardless, it was a party of epic proportions at several Strip books on Sunday.

“Our best game of the week was the Colts (-3.5) beating the Vikings (28-11) and our worst was the Ravens (-7.5 at Houston) who we took a $200,000 wager on early in the week,” Stoneback said after the Ravens 33-16 win. “The Chiefs game didn’t turn out well because of all the active teasers and money-lines parlays going into them.”

In addition to the Sunday NFL sweat, the NBA also figured prominently in the Nevada MGM results.

“We need the Nuggets as well,” Stoneback said about Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. “One guy that has been betting with us regularly laid -7.5 with the Lakers for $150,000 and someone else laid $100,000 on the Lakers at -8.” 

The Lakers won, but they didn’t cover, winning narrowly, 105-103. It was a cold-blooded game and so-worthy of a side-by-side viewing experience at your favorite sportsbook featuring cocktail service.

NFL Totals went 9-5 to the over helped by a few games that featured video game-like plays, which includes bad tackling. Mitch Trubisky and the Bears are 2-0, the Cowboys should still be good under 9.5 wins bet despite an improbable 40-39 win against the Falcons (+4) in front of 20,000 Cowboys fans in Arlington, TX.