NFL Week 17 had all 32 teams in action Sunday and the first 15 games gave bettors some trouble. This had the Las Vegas sportsbooks on their way to one of their best Sunday’s of the season.
However, in the final game of the day, bettors were all over the Packers collectively and they had the total right, too, thanks to a last second Lions touchdown.
“Worst result possible; that was a very costly Hail Mary TD,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick following Matt Stafford’s 35-yard TD pass with nine seconds remaining to make the final score 31-24, which also sent the game OVER the total of 50.5.
The Packers-Lions NFC North championship game was the most popular bet game of the week and it was also one of the few offered by the sportsbooks that didn’t have regular limits cut in half because both teams had something to play for. Bettors loved the Packers all week and bet them up from -3 to -3.5 and they came with the same vigor on the total moving the number from 46.5 up to 50.5.
Before the game, CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal said they were having a good day, “but will give half of what we are up on the Packers. It will be a really good day in the Lions get there.”
William Hill’s sportsbooks across Nevada had 81 percent of its tickets written on the game taking the Packers and 75 percent of the cash taken in on Green Bay.
Because it was the last game of the day, bettors reloaded heavy after failing with their popular plays earlier and came up with the winning two-team parlay paying 13-to-5 odds. The all-way teaser also hit so no matter what combination bettors used, they cashed a teaser.
It was an ultimate get-back game for the public. Wise guys stayed away from the Packers because of the inflated number and despite there being value with the home dog, they didn’t want that either.
Tony Miller’s Golden Nugget sportsbook managed to escape the public Packers damage because he had one of his regular VIP’s, a Michigan native, bet the Lions heavy to balance things out.
Over at the Mirage, sportsbook hub manager Jeff Stoneback erased their risk by taking late large wagers on the Lions from a couple of house players.
While all the bookmakers saw the a chance at one of the biggest days of the season, and a way to kick off 2017 while say goodbye to an awful 2016 NFL season, they still managed to come out ahead because of all the results earlier in the day.
“It was excellent for us,” said Stoneback. “We held extremely well to parlays and teasers today. The best scenario would be with the Lions winning, but it’s still a nice day if the Packers cover.”
Of the most popular bets earlier in the day, the books did extremely well. Things went the way most bookmakers remember a typical pre-2016 NFL Sunday where some really bad teams played well enough to cover.
The two ugliest teams in the NFL cashed in Week 17 with the Browns covering +3.5 at Pittsburgh in a 27-24 overtime loss. The 49ers made the Seahawks (-11.5) work hard in a 25-23 loss.
Prior to those covers the Browns and 49ers had combined 5-23-2 ATS this season and bettors had been teeing off with bets against them every week. Another team bettors have been betting against all season, the Jaguars, also covered the number in a 24-20 loss at Indianapolis (-5.5).
William Hill books had 83 percent of their wagers on the Colts in that game, one of the most one-sided bet games of the day. The most one-sided was Buffalo getting 91 percent of the bets; not only did they fail to cover -3.5 at the Jets, they lost outright, 30-10, in a lackluster performance behind back-up QB E.J. Manuel.
Perhaps the most surprising team bettors stayed clear of was the NFL’s top ATS team just because the spread scared them off. The Patriots needed to win to clinch home field throughout the playoffs while the Dolphins had already clinched a playoff berth.
The Patriots were posted high as 9.5-point road favorites, and the Dolphins got the majority of public action, which dropped the number down to -8. Even though New England had not won at Miami in its last three visits, they rolled 35-14 and are now an amazing 13-3 ATS on the season.
And then to give the books some icing on the cake, they got a gift back-door cover with the Saints (+7.5) scoring in the final seconds at Atlanta. Final score: Falcons 38-32.
Yes, 2017 started out very good for the books despite the final act on Sunday night. Bettors came with their same strategies on the same teams that had been cashing regularly and the tide finally turned.
But it was a great run, bettors. Cheers to you all. You had the sportsbooks on the ropes all NFL season.
Texans 16, Raiders 13. Best bet: Under 37.
Seahawks 31, Lions 10. Best bet: Seattle -7.5.
Steelers 34, Dolphins 27. Best bet: Over 47.
Giants 21, Packers 17. Best bet: Giants +4.5
NCAA National Final
Alabama 38, Clemson 31.