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Las Vegas sports books enjoyed a winning NFL Divisional Playoff weekend where the favorites went 1-3 ATS with only one underdog won outright. That underdog, Indianapolis, was the key to such a strong win.

Not only did the books like the South Point see Denver jump from a 7-point favorite up to -10 before settling at -9.5, they also had loads of teaser carryover risk from the previous three games where all sides were winners.

That’s 6-0 for teaser players heading into the Broncos, who were the most lopsided teaser risk (6-to-1 ratio) of the weekend, and the risk was compounded even more with live 6- and 8-team teasers waiting for the Broncos to just win the game.

“With all the teaser risk we had in the first three games with the favorites winning, prior to the Colts win, it reminded me of when all the favorites won in the World Cup quarterfinals and the public had the right side in each of them hooked up in parlays,” joked South Point sports book director Bert Osborne, who was staring at a much larger risk Sunday than the World Cup could ever produce.

“An all-way teaser win in the Broncos game would have hurt us bad, but the Colts win saved the day,” he said.

The Colts’ improbable 24-13 win paid out +360 on the money-line for those who had the faith, and the books didn’t mind paying that number off compared to the alternative of the Broncos simply winning or covering the large spread.

“We had a very solid day with the Colts winning, even though we did have quite a few bettors side with them on the money line – it took a chunk out of our winnings,” said Westgate SuperBook executive director Jay Kornegay.

“Our best scenarios all weekend were basically the same for each game where we needed the favorite to win, but not cover. That worked out perfect for us Saturday with New England and then again today with the Packers (Cowboys bet big on money line). We gave a little back with the Seahawks covering, but did very well in the other three,” he said.

Next for Peyton?

Is there one year left in Manning’s weary right arm, or is the better question whether or not Denver wants to see it again. If it’s known the future isn’t very long with Manning as QB, might the Broncos like to weigh out their QB options for 2015 and hope Manning retires?

“I can tell you right now that (back-up) Brock Osweiler isn’t the answer,” said Kornegay, a die-hard Broncos fan.” He’s been there three years and never improved. He’s looked lost and scared when he’s been given the time.”

Kornegay is a strong supporter of Manning, but knows it’s possible things could change quickly.

“Something just doesn’t look right with Manning’s arm, and it’s been that way for a while. But what are the other options? It’s not Osweiler, and what are the free-agent options?”

This was supposed to be the year of redemption for Manning, coming off an embarrassing Super Bowl loss as the organization brought in some of the top free-agents in the market. But instead it turned into the second one-playoff-game-and-out in three years and ninth over his career.

The gamble here is whether or not Denver wants to roll the dice for one more try. The regular season is where Manning operates best, so they can expect at least one playoff game if he returns for 2015. After that, there’s less confidence he can bring a Super Bowl trophy to Denver. Manning turns 39 in March.

Broncos GM John Elway, who retired when he was 38 after winning two straight Super Bowls, may still have faith in Manning, but does he have it with head coach John Fox? It’s Manning’s job to get the team to the playoffs, but coaching has to take just as much blame as the quarterback and Fox failed for the third straight year when being considered an elite team.

Offensive coordinator Adam Gase is going to be wined and dined the next few days for his services as a head coach elsewhere, as will defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. Maybe a coaching change is needed for one last fresh outlook in one final year with Manning.

If the Denver plan is to ride Manning for one more year, they should do some redecorating with the coaching staff and maybe consider keeping one of the coordinators for the head coaching job.

If Manning still wants to play, the Broncos should give him that opportunity. Why move on to the unknown future when the chances of being two wins for the Super Bowl are still a reality for 2015?


Big paychecks

Westgate SuperBook paid out their top two SuperContest winners on Saturday and both received record-setting checks. First-place winner “CH Ballers” received $736,575 and second-place “General TSO” got $294,000.

There were over $2.1 million in cash prizes paid out from the record pool of 1,403 entrants who ponied up $1,500 to enter the most prestigious sports handicapping contest in the world. Both big winners were one of four contestants to pick games at OVER 67 percent, which came with an added bonus of $15,000 to be shared among them all.

Executive director Kornegay says he has seen growth of almost 20 percent in entries each of the past five seasons and attributes it to exposure from ESPN personalities like Bill Simmons and Chad Millman participating in the contest as well as them talking about it on television and radio.

There’s also been a barrier knocked down with people across the country now realizing they can enter the contest with one visit to Las Vegas and hire a proxy service to enter their picks weekly.

CH Ballers is a group of four friends, three of whom played football and graduated from Campbell High School in Los Angeles in 2003, hence the name. They scored 64.5 points out of a possible 85 – a remarkable 76 percent on the season.

We can expect an even bigger number of entries and prizes next season. Rumor has it Kornegay may be featuring some kind of satellite series during the season for free entries to next year’s SuperContest, similar to what the World Series of Poker does for its big event. We’ll keep you updated as more details become available.

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. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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