The Las Vegas sports books all lost on the most one-sided bet game in Sunday’s Week 16 NFL action, but because only four of the 12 favorites covered on the day, the books were able to come away with a win.
MGM books reported they had a 20-to-1 ratio on ticket counts with the Packers (-12) over the Buccaneers, and the 20-3 win was bad news for the house, but with so many underdogs covering – four winning outright – many Packers parlay and teaser bettors had the win wash away as it was tied with losing selections.
“Pittsburgh was the only early game where I lost on straight bets,” South Point sports book director Bert Osborne said. “The rest of the damage was all from parlays and teasers and that Packers game was massive, but fortunately for us, many of the games bettors chose to attach to the Packers didn’t cover.”
The Packers’ road cover was only their third in eight games this season.
“The Packers were our worst decision,” said Westgate’s Jay Kornegay. “They slept walked to a cover on the road. When (QB Aaron) Rodgers got hurt it was apparent that they didn’t want to open the whole play book, but the defense stepped up big time for them.
“Houston and Oakland covering turned out well for us, but our best decision turned out to be the Bears covering,” Kornegay said. “The last few weeks we’ve seen the Bears on national TV and they looked horrendous, so when the Bears made the QB change, that seemed to make it easy for bettors to make a decision and take the Lions, and the Lions played very sloppy throughout.”
The Bears, behind QB Jimmy Clausen, gave the Lions a fight at Soldier Field and even covered the original number of +6.5 in their 20-14 loss.
After Jay Cutler was benched on Tuesday, the spread was bet up to 9.5 by kickoff.
“We had a good day,” said Osborne. “It wasn’t enormous, but between Houston and the Jets covering early in the day, and killing all kinds of teaser liability, we did okay. We did well in the morning, but split in the afternoon. Oakland beating Buffalo was great for us, but the Dallas landslide (vs. Colts) was a killer. It worked out that any of the live stuff we had from the morning seemed to be tied into Dallas.”
The Raiders 26-24 home win over the Bills (-7) was one of four underdogs to win outright, along with the New York Giants (+6.5), Houston Texans (+6.5) and Atlanta Falcons (+6).
After showing a profit from the first 11 games, the books all needed Arizona at home to cover 9.5-points against Seattle, a number that started at 7.5.
“We needed the Cardinals,” said Kornegay. “It’s not huge, but it’s not small either. It kind of falls in line with the light handle over the weekend. The last Sunday before Christmas is always our slowest of the season.
The Seahawks would roll to a 35-6 victory as they harassed fourth-string QB Ryan Lindley all game, but it wasn’t enough to keep the books from winning on the day.
Next up is the tricky Week 17 where every bookmaker has to be on their toes for any kind of instant news surrounding what a playoff bound coach may do with playing time as the win might not be as valuable as keeping star players healthy and ready for the postseason.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].