Week 14 of the NFL season saw nine games on Sunday with a spread hovering around 3, but the big story was bad weather showing up at a few eastern cities like Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The snow packed quickly at Philadelphia and things got so bad neither team, the Eagles or the Lions, kicked a field goal or extra point. But that didn‘t stop them from scoring, as the Eagles – one of the many teams favored by 3 – won 34-20.
The Eagles just made it OVER the total (51), a number that began at 55 when the LVH Super Book opened the first numbers in Las Vegas last Sunday. Isn’t bad weather supposed to be associated with low scoring games where the offenses are supposed to have a hard time moving the ball?
Sunday’s happenings were odd, as not only the Eagles game went OVER, but also the Redskins-Chiefs, Ravens-Vikings and Steelers-Dolphins. So much for applying that theory.
On the day, nine of the 14 games went OVER with the favorites going 9-5 against-the-spread, which helped several bettors have a decent day. Reports around town were mixed with some sports books breaking even on the day, while others had a small loss or small win.
In almost every case around town, the Saints 31-13 home win in the late game over the Panthers as 3-point favorites was a back breaker. The Saints have now covered 19 of their 25 games at home. Bettors know this and back the Saints religiously at home.
The silver lining for the books was that the game stayed UNDER the posted total of 46½, which would have set off all kinds of big favorite to UNDER parlay payouts at 13-to-5 odds.
“The Dolphins win at Pittsburgh was big for us,” said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne. “It was the game really helped us out and knocked out a lot of parlays from the early wave of games.”
Osborne reported his book having a small win on the day, even though the popular Broncos (-12½) and OVER (49) combination came through in Denver’s 51-28 home win over the Titans. It was the third time this season that Denver has scored more than 50 and the sixth time in 11 wins they covered and exceeded the posted total, including their last 2.
The game that most of the bettors were excited about, and split on opinions, was the Seahawks at San Francisco. The 49ers opened as 3½-point favorites and closed at most books at either -2½ (-120) or 3. The 49ers picked up an important 19-17 win, but didn’t cover, making it the fourth straight game Seattle has covered against the 49ers, losing their last two at San Francisco, but getting the money in each.
With all the 3’s floating around on Sunday, creating anxiety for every bookmaker for fear of getting sided or middled, the number never came into play in any of the games. In two of the games, the dog lost, but covered and the Dolphins won outright with the favorite covering six of them.
On the season, since we can call Week 14 a draw, the sports books are now 10-1-3 against the public. That’s a very good record, almost too good, which is a sure sign that Joe Public’s day is right around the corner.
Last Man Standing: Station Casinos’ popular elimination contests for both pro and college football are now done with actually two standing for the pro phase and one in college. Two contestants will split the $93,125 prize money that was built up by 4,551 entries at a fee of $25.
The lone winner from the college side was Michael Buscio, who outlasted 2,564 other contestants to take home $52,375. Buscio correctly picked one college game against-the-spread per week and lasted longer than anyone, for 13 weeks. Pretty impressive stuff, Michael. Well done!
Downtown simply Grand: I had a chance to stay at the Downtown Grand over the weekend, the place formerly known as the Lady Luck, and had a terrific time. The hotel is absolutely beautiful, both the rooms and all their amenities, but what I found out in staying there was how much I enjoyed downtown Las Vegas.
I actually forgot about what a great jewel we have in our backyard around Fremont Street, a place that matches some of the most fun strips in the world, right up there with Beale Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
There is just a vibe surrounding Fremont Street that is edgy and hip, while also being very affordable. Between all the Cowboys hootin’ and hollerin’ at the blackjack tables, the impersonators trying to make a few bucks for being photographed and the live bands playing everywhere, I can’t believe I have been missing this place, or just filed it away in my mind as afterthought.
One of my highlights was seeing great groups like the Shaun DeGraff band at the Mob Bar inside the Grand. Who knew a Metallica cover could be so swanky and jazzy. The Golden Nugget also had a jumping nightlife scene, and then of course there is a live band on all of the stages throughout Fremont Street.
When I walked into the Plaza, I couldn’t believe how nice the William Hill sports book was. Lots of room with great TV’s everywhere and a friendly staff, and while my Buckeyes party was crashed by Michigan State, I still had the time of my life watching it with hundreds of new friends.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].