The sports books had a great day Sunday when the afternoon games had been posted, but the day wasn’t over and the money won could still be lost in an instant.
After sweating out 14 games and showing a sizeable win, the books had one more to worry about needing the Falcons (+2½) to cover or else everything would be lost.
The Eagles-Falcons game had sports book directors feeling as though it was a lost cause with Michael Vick piling up points, but then a glimmer of hope the onslaught would stop. Vick went out of the game with a concussion.
Shortly after, the Falcons responded with a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter and eventually won 35-31 giving the sports books a winning day.
“Things went our way throughout the day with the perfect mix of results for us,” said Las Vegas Hilton Executive Director Jay Kornegay. “It was a good day with the Ravens being our best decision (prior to the Falcons win) followed by the Saints. The back-door cover by the Panthers against the Packers was good for us too.”
The gateway to success for most sports books came thanks to the Tennessee Titans.
After beating the Steelers soundly last week, the entire betting population seemed to have action on the Ravens laying 5½ at Tennessee. Most bettors had them tied up in parlays and teasers as their key game. When the Titans won 23-13, the sports books had just hit the power ball and scooped the majority of the chips.
Sharp money was on the Titans and kept the game below 6, although many sports books tried the number out briefly just because of all the mounting Ravens risk. Whenever the number popped up, it wasn’t long before the number was sniffed out by the smart money and bet.
Despite sharp money taking away some of the straight bet win, the game immediately eliminated risk from the popular parlays with the Jets, Lions and Steelers.
The Steelers once again showed their mite as teams continue to have hangovers the week after playing them. In this instance, rather than being beat up, the Titans game was a total letdown for Baltimore.
There was no way the Ravens could recreate the same intensity they had against Pittsburgh when playing against a team like Tennessee who everyone thought was done for.
Matt Hasselbeck kept the Ravens defense off balance all day throwing for 358 yards and a TD. Tennessee’s offense piled up 432 yards of offense to Baltimore’s 234. Joe Flacco was sacked three times and forced into throwing two interceptions by the Titans revamped defense.
Other sharp plays on the days had the Bills (-3), Bucs (+3), 49ers (+3), Bengals (+3½) and the Bears (+7). All but the Bears covered.
Kornegay opened the Saints as 7-point favorites and by kickoff sharp money had pushed the game all the way to -4½. It looked to be the right side when Jay Cutler led the Bears to a TD on their first series, but the Saints came marching home with a 30-13 victory.
“Probably the worst decision for us was the Steelers just because of the sheer parlay volume on the game,” said Kornegay. “On the same note, the Cowboys landing on the number wasn’t a good thing either because it was the final game posted of the afternoon games making all tickets – Cowboys and 49ers sides – coming in, either alive to the Sunday or Monday night game, or winners as the final leg of their parlays.”
Favorites went 7-7-1 with three of the dogs winning outright. That type of mix in the NFL is usually going to produce a good day for the books.
After two weeks on NFL action the sports books are 1-0-1 against the bettors. That’s something the public should feel good about when considering last season when the books reeled off nine straight weeks of Sunday wins to start off.