The Las Vegas sports books fared extremely well with the Colts knocking off the Broncos, 39-33, Sunday night. They had already fared well in the first 12 games of the day, but many of the books were sitting in a situation where they could lose on the day or give back all their winnings if the popular choice of the Broncos (-7) and OVER (57) went into effect.
LVH Super Book vice president, Jay Kornegay, said it was their most bet game of the day, with also the biggest decision. The risk wasn’t only because of live parlays from earlier heading into the game, but also because everyone who was starting from scratch also seemed to have a two-team parlay with Broncos to the OVER.
When the final game of the afternoon was posted with the favored Packers (-8½) covering at home in their 31-13 win, the risk on the Sunday night game jumped up a level, and my sports betting screen lit up like a Christmas tree as almost everyone immediately moved the total on the Broncos game up to 57.
When I called Bert Osborne over at the South Point about a half-hour before the Broncos game kicked off, he was right in the middle of maneuvering to off-set the sudden risk. Some books like to gamble and roll with the big day possibility, and not offer the wise guys attractive numbers to help out.
I like Osborne’s bookmaking style. Essentially, his job is to protect the house, and if knowing he’s going to have a big loss on a certain outcome, then why not fix it and limit that risk. If he doesn’t get off a side, then he’s not bookmaking, but gambling.
While the Broncos game had the most action, the biggest roar from the sports book crowd came in the Chiefs-Texans game. Kansas City was able to withstand a solid outing from Texans quarterback Case Keenum who was suiting up in a regular season game for the first time.
Kansas City won the game 17-16, but the Texans got the money as they covered the 6-point spread, much to the dismay of the crowd who all seemed to have a wager on the Chiefs.
“The Chiefs’ victory formation was outstanding to see.” Kornegay said in reference to Alex Smith kneeling down in the final two minutes after the Chiefs had just recovered a fumble on the Texans’ 1-yard line. “We needed the Texans pretty good, and our entire crowd seemed to have the Chiefs. When Keenum fumbled the ball, the crowd went nuts, and then as the kneel came, they went nuts again.”
Kansas City is now the only 7-0 team in the league after the Broncos lost, but fell to 4-3 ATS. Because of the kneel down, the game also stayed UNDER the total (39½). It was the sixth time in seven games the Chiefs have stayed UNDER.
On the day, favorites went 7-6 against-the-spread, which is usually the perfect combination for a winning day for the house. In this case, the biggest favorites and most popular teams went down.
World Series: St. Louis vs. Boston isn’t exactly what Las Vegas was hoping for, but getting storied franchises like the Cardinals and Red Sox to meet for the fourth time in the fall classic, we really couldn’t have asked for a better matchup. What’s not to get excited about when seeing the best record in the NL and AL during the regular season finally make it all the way. We haven’t seen that since 1999 when the Yankees and Braves met.
Had the Dodgers made it, there would have been a huge buzz, not only from the large visiting population from Los Angeles, but also all the transplants who live here hailing from southern California. The bet windows would be a little frenzied and handle higher with the Dodgers involved, but when Wednesday comes around, baseball will have center stage in the books.
Right now, everyone in town is just catching their breath from the unbelievable pitching performances from each of these teams, and what they had to withstand. How did the Red Sox advance when the Tigers starting pitching dominated them? And how did the NL’s top hitting team in St. Louis manage to hit only .211 in their 11 playoff games?
Those are all questions bettors will surely have figured out by Wednesday when Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester (-120) square off in Game 1. The talk in between now and then is regarding who will win the series.
The South Point opened up Boston -125 on Sunday morning, and within an hour Boston had moved to -150. William Hill opened -140 and the LVH Super Book -125, which is where both still stood on Monday before GamingToday went to press.
This has the makings of a very high scoring series despite what we’ve seen offensively from each team in the postseason. Boston was No. 1 in runs scored (853) during the regular season, and St. Louis was third (783). Both of these teams also ranked top-4 in batting averages. One big boost for the Cardinals is getting Allen Craig back who has been out with a foot injury since early September.
Because the American League has home field advantage due to their All-Star Game win in July, the Red Sox will have only three chances at figuring out an NL lineup where Mike Napoli will likely sit while David Ortiz attempts to play first base. Playing in the field apparently has a bad effect on Big Papi as he hit only .158 in 19 at-bats at NL parks.
Sitting a power source from their daily lineup weakens the Sox dramatically, and even if they gave Napoli a catcher’s mask, their defense would still be severely crippled without David Ross or Jarrod Saltalamacchia calling the game.
I’m leaning toward the Red Sox in Game 1 and also the series just because I have more questions about St. Louis than Boston. Joe Kelly pitching Game 3 is a concern, but then again, so is John Lackey. Reminder to self: Bet OVER in that one.
Siding with the Cardinals would be much easier to digest if Michael Wacha was starting Game 1, with possibilities he’d get in three games, but Wainwright can be hit, which brings doubt on the NL team.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].