One week after the Las Vegas sportsbooks experienced their worst single day of the year with collective losses close to $7 million, they experienced one of their best on Sunday as most of the popular NFL Week 16 favorites lost outright or failed to cover the number.
The most heavily bet games of the week went sour for bettors and it was a long list of failings. The only heavily wagered game that went the bettors’ way was Arizona (-4) beating Green Bay 38-8, but by the time that game was posted, bettors had already been beaten to a pulp with losses on their parlays.
Last week, everything seemed to go the bettors’ way with popular teams covering. In Week 16 action, it was the complete opposite. New England (-3), Carolina (-7), Seattle (-10.5) and Pittsburgh (-11) all lost outright and when a popular bet did win like Kansas City (-11.5), they failed to cover.
With so many big favorites failing to cover, it also meant the books scooped up all the chips in big money-line parlays and teasers. By the time the late game arrived with Minnesota (-7) beating the Giants 49-17, there were no games tied to it. While the books lost a little, most of the damage was just on straight bets with no parlay jeopardy.
The Panthers lost their first game of the season, 20-13, in a flat effort at Atlanta. The Falcons covered their second straight game after failing nine straight. It was only the fifth time this season the Panthers failed to cover a number.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has moved Carolina from 4-to-1 to 9-to-2 to win the Super Bowl. Arizona was listed at 5-1 last week but has been bumped up to 7-2 as co-favorites with the Patriots.
The Patriots also looked sluggish in a 26-20 overtime loss at the Jets. They have been winning by an average of 12-points all season, but the Jets have now gone 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings with their biggest rivals and are now almost set for a playoff berth.
The Steelers had scored 30 points or more in their last six games, but came out flat in a 20-17 loss at Baltimore who got a great effort out of newly signed QB Ryan Mallett.
Pittsburgh was on a 9-1 ATS run in December and was looking like a bonafide Super Bowl contender, but now they need a lot of help just to make the playoffs as they sit outside looking in. The Westgate adjusted their Super Bowl odds on Pittsburgh from 6-1 up to 10-1 following the loss.
The Chiefs have won nine straight (7-2 ATS), but failed to cover at home against Johnny Manziel and Cleveland in a 17-13 victory. They have all kinds of the momentum going for them, but will have to play their playoff games on the road and are listed at 20-1 to win the Super Bowl at the Westgate.
While all those popular teams lost bettors millions, the Cardinals took center stage and truly have the look of a Super Bowl caliber team while riding a nine-game win streak. They are a popular choice to win it all and it’s well deserved.
Arizona completely dismantled Green Bay in all facets between the offensive line protecting Carson Palmer well and opening up gaping holes for its third string running back David Johnson. There really doesn’t look to be a team in their class – even the Patriots.
Arizona has the Super Bowl look and usually at this time of the year you can sniff out who those really great teams are. The Cards are that team right now and as long as Palmer stays healthy, they’re the one to beat.
Next up for Arizona is Seattle who just lost 23-17 at home to the Rams, which ended a five-game win streak. St. Louis swept the Seahawks this season and while Seattle will have to do all its playoff damage of the road, they are still rated by most as the top team from a pointspread perspective in the NFL.
Still, Arizona is a 4.5-point favorite at home this week as they look to sweep Seattle as well.
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. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].