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A perfect storm brewing was Sunday afternoon at Las Vegas sportsbooks where popular Week 2 NFL favorites started out with a bang, forcing the books into a must win situation with the final four afternoon games. With their backs up against the wall, the books got exactly what they wished for and were bailed out from what initially looked to be a certain losing day.

“The way the morning was shaping up, we’re fortunate to be where we’re at,” said MGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood prior to Atlanta’s 34-23 win at home (-3) over Green Bay. “We’re down a bit following the Broncos win, but if the Falcons cover we’ll come out a slight winner on day.”

Rood closed the total at 55 after being as high as 56 and low as 53.5.

Over at Station Casinos’ hub office at Red Rock Station, director Jason McCormick was in a different situation where he needed “Packers or Under, but not both Falcons and Over” to hit, a scenario that has now happened the past four times the two teams met. McCormick said they were sitting with a win on the day no matter what happened in the Sunday night game.

The two chains of books needed different outcomes to the game, but both got to that point in similar fashion with parlay risk being the cause for not having a big winning day.

“We had a lot of big money-line parlay risk on the Patriots (-270), Ravens (-360), Steelers (-400), Raiders (-1,100) and Seahawks (-1200) to all payout together,” Rood said. “And the regular (pointspread) parlays also hit with Patriots, Steelers, Ravens and Raiders. Lots of people were betting on the Cowboys in the late game, so that was big for us, and so was Seattle not covering. If San Francisco could have won outright, we would have had a really good day.”

Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay struggled with those same teams as well and his bet shop ended up a small loser on the day.

“We didn’t get that big upset we needed with one of the favorites in the 5-to-9-point range, Kornegay said.” The Broncos winning outright as a small home dog isn’t that big of a deal to the overall picture even though we did well with that game. This week was about the money-line parlays and teasers doing the damage. The Colts (+6.5), Bills (+6.5) or 49ers (+13.5) winning outright would have helped us out.”

Kornegay also said he had a house player in town who did well Sunday, which helped put the SuperBook in the red. Only three underdogs won outright on the day and the biggest spread was San Diego -3.5 in their Los Angeles (Carson) opener, a 19-17 loss to the Dolphins where Jay Cutler looked sharp. It paid +170 on the money-line. The Redskins’ 27-20 win at L.A.’s other new team paid +145, and the Broncos’ 42-17 thrashing of Zeke Elliott (9 rushes, 8 yards) and the Cowboys win paid +135. It was easily Dak Prescott’s largest loss.

The Broncos look very interesting right now at 2-0 and part of it is because of the outstanding QB play. Defense wins championships and Denver’s D is in any conversation when discussing the NFL’s best. They man-handled the NFL’s top offensive-line on Sunday. Denver has eight of their next 14 games on the road, so we’ll see how far this goes. The Trevor Siemian era began last season when he started 4-0, but Denver finished a ho-hum 9-7.

The Seahawks scored their first TD of the season in the fourth-quarter to win 12-9 after closing as 13.5-point home favorites. Sharp money took the 49ers at it highest (+14) earlier in the week, and proved to be much too high. Seattle ruined several large parlay payouts. The 49ers money-line would have paid out at +800. It was one four straight underdogs the sportsbooks posted in the afternoon following the Raiders 45-20 win against the Jets. The day’s losses quickly shrunk as each one was posted.

The Raiders are already a favorite for bettors prior to their move to Las Vegas. When they win and cover it hurts the books pretty good. William Hill reported 12 percent of their bets on the day were on the Jets-Raiders game and 91 percent of that cash was laying with Oakland. The next most wagered game was the Patriots at New Orleans (10%) with 85 percent of the tickets written on the Patriots. That two-team parlay was cashed a lot on Sunday.

And how about the wrath of a scorned champion coming off a season-opening loss. The Patriots got embarrassed last week and the public knew to trust Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the rebound situation. They were correct in a 36-20 Pats win at New Orleans where the Saints immediately knew this was a focused Patriots squad. Brady, in his 18th year, just had the best first quarter of his career with 3 TD’s. The champs will be just fine, but Miami is in first-place in the AFC East at 1-0.

Overall, Sunday favorites went 8-6 ATS – 6-2 ATS in the early games – and the total went 7-7.

“We actually won more games than we lost,” said Kornegay, “but the parlay payouts were more substantial on a few of the games.”

Let’s just call Sunday’s NFL action a draw between the public and sportsbooks, keeping with the weekend theme.

Triple Garbage

The big Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight on Saturday night ended with a controversial Draw, which didn’t work out so well for the house, but some in the public were absolutely loving it.

“Just like most books around the city, I can’t imagine the draw worked out well,” said Rood. “We had it 30-to-1 and closed it at 15-to-1, and it always is a popular wager in the big bouts. We won on the rounds props, but the draw was no good.”

Rood said Saturday’s college football action turned out well for them with Mississippi State beating LSU being their biggest win. “We had lots of risk rolling into the LSU game,” he said. MSU would win 37-7 as 8.5-point home underdogs. “It’s hard to have a really big day in college football with so many games; things seem to even out more, but some of those late games really mushroom into huge risk.”

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