There were three undefeated teams at a combined 11-0 against-the-spread heading into NFL Week 5 action and only the Vikings came away unscathed.
But the public came away 2-1 in those games, winning with Minnesota and losing with Philadelphia. Surprisingly, they jumped ship on the Broncos and hopped on the Falcons wagon. What’s going on here? The public loves winners and they usually adore betting the Broncos.
The Broncos, fresh off a Super Bowl championship, started the season 4-0 while also covering the spread in their last six games. The public loves riding streaks. Denver’s win over Tampa Bay last week was one of the most one-sided bet games of the week. But in Week 5, they chose the Falcons and were correct with their 23-16 win at Mile High, a score that doesn’t really detail the true wipeout it was.
“Yeah, they love the high octane offenses,” Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller said of the average Joe’s betting approach. “Whoever thought the public would fall in love with Matt Ryan? He wasn’t even drafted in a lot of fantasy leagues.”
The Falcons had averaged 39 points a game between their previous three wins. They’ve now won and covered four straight.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay expanded more on why Denver might have been dumped by its regular supporters at the bet windows saying, “They just don’t go with defensive teams, they never have. It’s the high scoring teams that get them excited, because they want the best possibility of having an easy blowout with their bets.”
Sharp money had bet the Falcons from +6 to +4 during the week and when it was announced starting QB Trevor Siemian wouldn’t start on Saturday there wasn’t much of an adjustment to the number. Rookie back-up Paxton Lynch wasn’t considered much of a drop off after looking good in a relief performance in Week 4 at Tampa Bay.
Kornegay, a die-hard Broncos fans, was impressed with what he saw out of the Falcons: “The Falcons were very physical and held their own on both sides of the ball. They protected well and they got a nice pass rush in. I was kind of surprised their offensive line kept the Broncos pass rush in check.”
Lynch looked real shaky in his starting debut and was sacked six times. Kornegay said after the game the drop-off between Lynch and Siemian is worth 2.5-points.
Even though the Vikings are a defensive team, and definitely not sexy offensively, the betting public stayed on board, believing in them far more than they did the Texans on the road. They laid -6 and -7 and cashed with a 31-13 win. They also laid -10 with the Patriots at Cleveland in Tom Brady’s triumphant return as he threw for over 400 yards in a 33-13 win. The Steelers (-9.5) were also a popular bet on parlays as they beat the Jets 31-13.
The only game the public needed to cash a bunch of four-team parlays in the morning was the Eagles laying -3.5 at Detroit. In another show of how the fickle public operates, they had bet the Steelers heavy in Week 3 action against the Eagles, a game Philly dominated 34-3. It sold them, and they had to wait two weeks to bet the Eagles, waiting through the Week 4 bye.
And they came strong to the windows.
The Eagles were the most sided bet game of the week – sharps liked them, too – and it became the biggest decision for the books among the first 11 games. The Lions tried to give a 21-7 lead away, but came away with the 24-23 win, which paid +165 on the money-line.
“The Lions winning was our best decision of the day,” said Kornegay. “It felt like everyone in the house had a ticket on the Eagles of some kind. Every time the Eagles did something positive the entire crowd roared.”
After getting a favorable decision with the Raiders failing to cover -3.5 in their 34-31 home win against the Chargers, the books were showing a win for the day but all the risk was tied into the Packers and Over, with a big emphasis on the Over.
“If tonight’s game goes Over (50), we will end up a small loser on the day,” Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick said prior to the Sunday night kickoff where the Packers were 7-point home favorites over the Giants.
The game stayed Under, but landed on the spread with the Packers 23-16 win. Sharp money that took +7.5 earlier in the week got paid and all the other spread bets got a refund. This hurt the books who didn’t kill any of the live parlays going into either side. Parlays from the day reduced down and both sides of the teaser won.
“Seven was bad, but 7 and Over would have been really bad,” CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal said after the game. “Teasers also stayed Under the total as well so that helped a lot.”
“Disaster,” was all William Hill’s top bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich replied with in a text regarding the Packers landing 7 at his 108 outlets across Nevada.
On the day, favorites went 6-5-1 ATS with four underdogs winning outright and the totals were split at 6-6.