Bloody Sunday for Nevada sportsbooks

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Business was booming all over Nevada for two NFL tripleheaders sent from the betting gods.

The short story is that the books scooped up all the chips in Saturday’s wild card action as all three underdogs covered. Amazingly, 14 of the last 15 wild card ‘dogs had covered the spread. But that would change fast on Sunday as favorites bounced back to go 2-1 ATS which helped beat the books.

“We have a house player taking us to the woodshed and we lost the first two games,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay.

Any chance of getting it back with the Browns or Steelers in the late game?

“No chance of getting out,” Kornegay said. “We’re in damage control mode.”

The Saints’ 21-9 win over the Bears Sunday was the breaking point for most bet shops, the result that sunk the ship. The Saints opened 9.5-point home favorites at the SuperBook and closed at -11 and were spared the push on their most bet number (11) when the Bears didn’t kick the extra point on their only touchdown to end the game.

“Saturday was great but we gave it all back today (Sunday),” said Nevada BetMGM director Jeff Stoneback. “We lost both games to start with the Saints being the worst with teasers — the Saints and Buccaneers teaser was the most popular. Everyone was also on the Saints under (48).”

The Saints owned the time of possession battle, 38:58 to 21:02. Now they’ll welcome the Buccaneers (+3.5) to town in a divisional playoff in what will be their third meeting this season with the Saints winning the first two, one of which was a merciless 38-3 slow death blow in Week 9. The Saints offense? Dink and dunk, dunk and dink, 10 minutes gone, TD.

Teaser bettors did a lot of damage over the weekend because a two-team NFL teaser bet is probably the best value in the casino. The books always lose to them in the playoffs, so why not bet what they lose on the most? They went 10-2 on Saturday and 8-4 on Sunday which closed out the six-game, two-day marathon with the Browns wiping out the Steelers, 48-37.

“There’s no way out on the day for us no matter who wins tonight,” Stoneback said before kickoff in Pittsburgh. “And we just took a large six-figure wager on the Browns and another on the Steelers money line (-230).”

The Browns opened as 4.5-point road dogs and moved to +6 when news of COVID-19 procedures was keeping the head coach and all-pro guard out of the game. It closed +5 at BetMGM, and +5.5 at most shops, and total at 47. The win ended a 17-year losing streak at Pittsburgh

Now the Browns get a rested Chiefs next week at Arrowhead Stadium, the defending Super Bowl champions who are favored to go back-to-back. The Steelers just closed the season on a 1-5 ATS run. Along the same train of thought, keep in mind the Chiefs closed out the season on a 1-7 ATS run.

Wiseguys were on the Colts (+6.5 at Buffalo), Rams (+5 at Seattle), and Titans (+3.5 vs Ravens), and of course, they came out ahead at 2-1 ATS.

Not all of the books got beat up. William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich said the Browns win would give them a couple of bucks on the day, or in other words, a small win or ham sandwich as legendary bookmaker Jerry Zimny would say. The South Point avoided a loss as did Atlantis-Reno and Station Casinos.

“Saturday was great. We lost the first two games Sunday but thank goodness for the unders,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick who also said they had high teaser liability on the Steelers.

The over went 3-0 on Saturday and risk carried over to Sunday where parlays died with the first two games staying under. Over went 4-2 on Wild Card weekend.

Coming up this week, the favorites showed up in the Divisional playoff round the last two seasons, going 6-2 ATS combined. The reasons rest with the top two seeds in each conference at home simply being better than the Wild Card winners while also having a week off to rest.

That may be true this year too, although only two teams had last week off. The Chiefs and Packers are both strong teaser plays this week, as well as the Bills and Saints.

Why teasers? Teasers in the playoffs were not allowed by several Las Vegas books in the past because they consistently got beat by them. But competition forced the issue with those that were reluctant to offer. Four-way, all-way winners on teasers happen often in the playoffs. It happened twice on Saturday. There’s a huge edge in the playoffs compared to the regular season and it all starts with the proper team rating.

Of all the sports in the world, the NFL team rating is the sharpest most sound number. How many times have you heard someone say, ”Boy, those guys in Vegas really know what they’re doing” after a side or total lands on the number. The NFL point spread is gold, so when being able to add 7 points onto either side or total, it’s a nice edge.

In the regular season, the two-team 7-point teaser is a strong play if angling around key numbers of 3,4,6,7, and 10. But the regular season has bad teams that sometimes don’t play to their full abilities. However, in the postseason, teams play closer to their rating. It’s why they made the playoffs.

No matter what side or total you picked in Saturday’s Bills and Buccaneers games, you won. That’s 8-0 for the player, and 0-8 for the book. Hard to believe a casino back in the day initially signed off on a proposition where the house can lose all sides and at best go 2-2 on a game.

COVID-19 Sixers

Oddsmakers and bookmakers are working overtime babysitting the NBA lines they post as COVID-19 has now come into play.

No bubble this season. Eight 76ers players were out Saturday against the Nuggets who started as 5-point road favorites because Ben Simmons and Seth Curry were already out. But when their top two players (Joel Embiid, Tobia Harris) were out along with other players, the number ran to Nuggets -13.5. Only seven of the eight players who suited up played, but they battled and got the cover in the Nuggets’ 115-103 win.

Give them credit for playing. The Celtics had seven players come in COVID-19 contact and Sunday’s game against the Heat was postponed. For now. SuperBook VP of risk management Jeff Sherman thinks it’ll be an ongoing trend.

“We just assess who is in, who is out, and then make a number,” he said.

But the point here is that information like that is critical and wise guys usually get it three minutes before it hits the wire. An already hard job of babysitting NBA players’ attitudes after the first of back-to-back night games and wondering if they’ll play the next game just got harder and more intense. 

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