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For the fourth straight week the Denver Broncos won and covered the spread as they demolished Carolina as 4-point favorites on Sunday.

Already one of the more popular public teams for the last few decades, now Peyton Manning is on his comeback crusade and the bandwagon is almost at full capacity. Just about everyone is jumping aboard for the apparent free cash the sports books are giving over the last month.

The books have been rapidly adjusting the Broncos rating every week and it hasn’t been enough – especially during their current run against some of the not so best teams in the league. Manning had to play a murderous schedule during the first five weeks of getting acclimated where they went 2-3 with losses against some of the best teams in the league, such as the Patriots, Texans and Falcons. Now they are 6-3.

Outside of the Falcons game when he threw three interceptions in the first quarter (his only three of the first five games) Manning got pretty high marks for being a player who had missed a season.

Most betting experts thought he would have a minimal impact before the season started. The season win total for the Broncos opened at 9½ wins and was quickly bet UNDER down to 8½.

Since the 31-21 loss to the Patriots, the Broncos have averaged 34 points a game and won them all. After Sunday’s 301-yard passing performance, Manning is now the top rated QB in the league, just like his days with the Colts, and it could be argued he’s having one of his best statistical seasons ever.

While they had a tough go of it right out of the gate with their schedule, playing six playoff teams from last season in their first eight games, the only playoff team from 2011 remaining on their schedule is a road date with the Ravens on Dec. 16.

It looks like the Texans have the inside track to having home field edge in the AFC, but Denver with their light schedule could be a top contender for the bye during wild card week. The LVH dropped the Broncos odds to win the Super Bowl down to 6-to-1 and this week they also lowered the NFC Super Bowl spread from -2½ to -1½.

The Broncos are 7½-point home favorites this week against the Chargers, their largest spread of the season. The spread is indicative of the Broncos rapidly increased rating, as well as the Chargers rating declining.

Last week it was the Broncos who were the ring leader of Las Vegas sports books’ worst Sunday ever as they were the root to almost every successful parlay in town. On Sunday, they again were the most popular team played, except they didn’t have any of the early popular teams charging up the hill against the books with them.

The Patriots, Giants and Lions were part of the core four with the Broncos. The Patriots beat the Bills but didn’t cover the 13½-point spread while the Bengals and Vikings won outright as underdogs – two of four on the day that won straight-up.

The bettors came back in the afternoon with the Cowboys and Seahawks, but the 49ers could manage only a 24-24 tie and didn’t even come close to covering their 13-point spread. Had bettors gone two out of three in the late games with two of the four early games getting there, they might have sent the books to a losing weekend. But the liability wasn’t there because no traction was gained early on.

By the time the Texans played the Bears in the Sunday night game, it really didn’t matter who won the game. The books needed it to stay UNDER, which had dropped to 38 because of rain – and it did in the Texans’ 13-6 win.

A few sports book directors said it was “an above average day,” which basically means it will take another two weeks like Sunday to recoup what was lost last week.

Savoring Saturday

The sports books had a good Saturday with key teams like Louisville, Alabama, UCLA, Arizona and BYU failing to cover the spreads. The shocker was Alabama losing as a 13-point favorite at home to the Aggies, which sets up Kansas State and Oregon to be the National Championship game.

The LVH has dropped Oregon down to 6-5 and Kansas State to 7-5 to win the BCS title game. Alabama is now 6-1.

Rumor Mill

Word on the street is that LVH Super Book vice-president Jay Kornegay has been offered to run a prominent sports book operation in town. Kornegay did not have any comment on what is just a rumor, but it’s an exciting thought to ponder.

Just thinking about being able to bet all the wonderful fair odds and props they now offer at the LVH at multiple locations in the future is an exciting prospect to hope for.

Kornegay is one of the brightest sports executives in the city. In addition to being very creative in all facets of bookmaking, marketing and the business side, he also takes a strong stand with his staff to fully comply with all GCB regulations, which makes him the total package. 

If the rumor is true, then it’s a good bet that deal includes a package deal to bring manager Ed Salmons and assistant manager Jeff Sherman with him. We’ll update as more details surface.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday.  ontact Micah at [email protected]

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