From Thursday through Monday, the books will have a five day stretch of activity that can make it one of the toughest on the revenue sheets.
While most of us are looking forward to spending time with family and eating great food over the Thanksgiving weekend, Las Vegas sports book directors take a deep breath before the first game Thursday and hope by the time the late game is over the liability heading into the rest of the weekend is manageable.
Unlike a regular weekend schedule of Saturday and Sunday games that culminate with a Monday game – one that is routinely a four-way loser for the books because of weekend liability – the sports books now have the added pressure of hoping to skate through Thursday and Friday.
The ultimate hope for the sports books is to beat at least three of the six major decisions on Thursday’s NFL games, which more than likely includes beating the favorites.
Recreational bettors come from all over to get a part of what has become a tradition on Thanksgiving, having a little action on the games. Most of these players like the reward of betting a little to win a lot, which is why they parlay. The popular play is always the favorites to the OVER.
“I think the real key to any successful Thanksgiving for us is to beat the OVERS,” said South Point sports book director Bert Osborne. “We’re fortunate this season that we have a competitive Lions team along with Miami playing some great football lately. Then in the late game with the Harbaugh brothers going head-to-head, I think we can expect great two-way action there.”
Osborne did concede that despite Detroit and Miami playing well, the public is still going to be on two of their weekly favorites, the Cowboys and Packers. However, he still likes the numbers.
“Usually we get a couple of large favorites for the two early games and then the late game is a mismatch,” said Osborne who opened the Packers -5½, Cowboys -7 and Ravens -3½. “That’s not the case this year, we’ve got some great matchups, which gives us a fighting chance.”
Should all those favorites come in for the public with all three of the OVERS getting there, it will start a chain reaction of events that begin with having one of their worst individual days of the season on top of having massive risk heading into Friday’s college games.
“We’ve had a couple of those Thanksgivings before and it’s like a snowball effect where the liability just gets bigger and bigger each day, with 5 and 6-team parlays just waiting to hit on almost every game posted the next few days because of the live tickets from Thursday,” Osborne said.
Regardless of how many games the sports books win on Thursday, there is still going to be that chain reaction of liability, but it’s always nice to get off to a winning start and then worry about the other days as they come – knowing that Monday is still going to be a lose-lose situation.
Look for the Packers to take advantage of the Lions’ mistakes and make them pay before they can get back into the game like they did last week. Packers 34-20.
The Dolphins have been playing a terrific brand of football and will give Dallas all they can handle. Taking the points here should get the money. Cowboys 21-20.
The 49ers have to travel back east for the fifth time this season. They’ve won the previous four, but this one will be too much to ask. Ravens 27-16.
The sports books were able to survive last Sunday’s NFL games despite not getting much support from the underdogs.
Although their two biggest wins of the day did come from the Bucs (+14) playing it close at Green Bay in a 35-26 loss and the Seahawks (+3) winning outright at St. Louis 24-7.
The Seahawks and Eagles (+7) were the only underdogs to win on the day, not counting Denver’s 17-13 win Thursday night against the Jets. Overall, the favorites went 5-6-2 with not a lot of big decisions on straight bets, but just enough losses in parlays and teasers to make the day an unspectacular wash.
The gateway to success for many teaser players across town was Dallas (-7½) getting the chance to kick the game winning field goal in overtime for a 27-24 win after Washington had just missed one.
In addition to Dallas, the popular 6 and 7-point teasers on the day included the Green Bay Packers (-14), San Francisco 49ers (-9½), Baltimore Ravens (-7) and Atlanta Falcons (-6).