Realization set in real quick with Las Vegas bookmakers that the Browns weren’t going to be of any help in limiting risk in NFL Week 9 action and the other half of the awful-two – the 49ers – were quickly making it evident they would be no help either. The Cowboys (-7.5) rolled 35-10 at Cleveland as did the Saints (-5.5), 41-23, at San Francisco.
Same story, different week.
The books find themselves in this position weekly with bettors going against the two worst teams in football, and with the Patriots having a bye week, they needed to find one other team to complete their 3-team parlay. That fill-in team would be the Packers laying 7-points at home against the Colts, and it would be one of the few games the public was wrong on collectively as the Colts won 31-26, paying +310 on the money-line.
Hey, Jay Kornegay, did that game help out your Las Vegas SuperBook?
“Yeah, I’m finishing off a thank you letter to the Colts right now,” he said with a straight face, but slight chuckle. “It would have been very ugly if the Packers won and covered the game.”
The ugly part would be paying 6-to-1 odds to almost every Joe Public 3-team parlay made on the day. The books can’t make up those kind of payouts no matter how much sharp action they get on the other side.
“We knew coming into the week that we were going to have to knock out one of these big 6 or 7-point favorites, not just cover, but have one of them lose outright,” said Kornegay. “The Packers were that team.”
There were four of those of those teams on Sunday and the fifth, Seattle, plays Monday night. The Lions would win, 22-16, at Minnesota (-6) in overtime, but after the Vikings failed to cover their last two games, the public wasn’t all that enamored with them anymore. Another large favorite that didn’t cover was Kansas City (-7) at home against the Jaguars.
“The Jaguars’ back-door cover was big for us because Kansas City had some early risk,” said Kornegay.
The Chiefs won, 19-14, and bettors with tickets on them had to go through a roller coaster of emotions in the fourth-quarter. After settling for KC field-goals on four of five scoring drives in the game, there was an uneasy feeling that the wasted opportunities would bite them in the end.
But bettors still had the slim cover, up 19-7. They even got a gift, a Jags fumble in the end zone during the fourth quarter. But then the back door happened with a Jags TD with just over two minutes left in the game.
With the Jaguars helping the books early and the Colts winning in the afternoon, it was just enough of a boost to slow the momentum of the Cowboys cover and help the sportsbooks.
“We ended up being a small winner on the day,” said Kornegay. “We’ll take it.”
Other books weren’t so lucky.
“We can’t fade the Saints or Dallas,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich before kickoff of the Sunday night game. “It’s just a matter of how much we’ll lose. We need Denver.”
William Hill books had over 90 percent of their cash taken on the Cowboys-Browns game on Dallas. And Denver would lose the battle for the AFC West lead, 30-20, at Oakland (pick ‘em). The 20-point fourth quarter would help the game go Over 44.5, which most books didn’t need.
On the day, favorites would go 5-4-2 against the spread with the Over going 6-5. It was the type of mix that would usually help the books do well and keep the bettors off-balance, but the Cowboys got everything started and most books were chasing all day until there were no games left to recoup the losses.
Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller said he loves what Cowboys QB Dak Prescott brings to the team with his legs and could see their beefy offensive line making a run all the way to Houston for the Super Bowl. Dallas has now won and covered seven straight games.
He said he’d make the Patriots 6-point favorites in a possible match-up against Dallas while his head oddsmaker Aaron Kessler said the Patriots should be -7. No lines posted yet for wagering, but the Westgate SuperBook has the AFC -3.5 over the NFC posted right now.
Breeders Cup huge
Several sportsbooks reported huge increases in Breeders Cup handle, close to 20 percent, over last year’s figure.
Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick said it was a fantastic two-days of action and Kornegay said his room was completely packed over the weekend.
This is a wonderful upward trend for horse racing as a whole in Las Vegas just because the sport appears to be not attracting the attention of the millennial generation. But the weekend results show horse racing still has its appeal and is reaching new audiences.
Westgate SB No. 1
Congratulations go out to Kornegay and his SuperBook staff for being voted as the best sportsbook in Las Vegas in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s readers’ poll. Red Rock’s sportsbook was voted No. 2.
In each case, both books have spent millions over the past year to give their guests the best viewing presentation in town with a futuristic video display that makes watching any game better than being at the event itself.
They both also have very liberal complimentary drink policies, which surely factored into many of the voters’ decisions. Just a note, when running out of drink tickets: Red Rock, and all Station books, offer Bud and Bud Lights for just $1.50 whenever a live football game is televised.