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Bettors watching Sunday Night Football in Las Vegas got their money’s worth for just the simple entertainment thrills of how compelling a pointspread and sportsbook environment can be together.

The NFL doesn’t like such talk, but thousands in town loved it as it was happening – at least until the final result was posted – and they were taken on a roller coaster of emotions that was basically created by the pointspread.

Despite the Patriots-Colts game hyped since the schedule game out in April because of the Deflategate scandal, and that the Colts hung tough with an early 21-20 half-time lead, the only thing that made the game compelling in the fourth-quarter with the Patriots doing a second-half shutout and up 34-21, was whether or not they would hold on and cover the 8.5-point spread.

The Patriots defense stepped up and played like Super Bowl champs while the Colts were wilting again like Andrew Luck’s team had done in four previous meetings with the Patriots. The writing was on the wall, but TV advertisers across the country rejoiced because the game really wasn’t done yet.

Just as important as who actually won or not, was who was going to cover the spread. And yes, Roger Goodell, believe it or not, it’s not just folks betting NFL games in Las Vegas. Betting makes the NFL more fun.

With 1:19 left in the fourth quarter, the Colts finally came through in the second-half and got the back door TD cover. The extra-point was blocked, which had an effect on the second-half spread. It’s now 34-27, and everyone in the books – while thrilled with their entertainment value for the past three hours – isn’t happy.

Most bet the Patriots, laying whatever the number was, and expected another cover against the Colts, and maybe even a bigger result than the past four meetings after Indianapolis tattled on them for deflated footballs in last season’s AFC Championship game.

While questioning every move of why the Patriots didn’t cover, bettors make one more attempt at praying to the betting gods for that one miracle that continually eludes. It almost happened when the ensuing on-side kickoff went right into the good hands of the team’s Rob Gronkowski, and he started booking toward the end zone. It was only shortly after that we all saw he stepped out of bounds, but we all could see he wanted to take it to the house.

In the end, the few bettors who sided with the Colts cashed as did the sportsbooks, and the books win on the ballgame was mostly thanks to the back-door cover.

“The Colts make or break the day for us,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick just as the game kicked off. “We’re loaded on the Pats and hoping they come out deflated.”

Imagine booking 11 games on the day and the 12th and final one is the one that counts the most. And, it comes down to a back-door situation.

“That last touchdown by the Colts was good news for us,” said the Stratosphere’s Hugh Citron. “We had got as high as 10 with the Patriots.”

CG Technologies vice-president of risk management Jason Simbal described his books’ day as “decent” and said their worst game was the Bengals and they “actually needed Seattle.”

Station’s McCormick said the day was “solid but not great as the Bills and Redskins let them down.”

Bettors are now 3-3 on NFL Sundays against the sportsbooks, which is still awesome. And, it took a back-door to help the house in Week 6.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].

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