NFL Week 1 action in Las Vegas saw wise guys fare well and teaser bettors take sportsbooks to the brink of almost breaking even on the day.
The final decision ultimately came down to the Sunday night game where the most risk was tied to Arizona against the Jimmy Garoppolo-led Patriots. The books across town breathed a sigh of relief when New England’s 23-21 road win ensured a winning day.
When underdogs go 8-5-1 against-the-spread in the first 14 games of the week, it should be a monster win for the house coming into the isolated late game, but that wasn’t the case. The books needed the Patriots to save their day, in part because of teaser risk.
“We needed that,” said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal of the Patriots win where the Cardinals’ late, missed field goal also kept the game UNDER 46 (closed 44.5).
Every sportsbook in the city needed that game; many had posted the Cardinals as a 1-point favorite in mid-April when Tom Brady was expected to play to the point of kickoff where the some books were as high as -9.5. The spread up till late Saturday night had the Cardinals -6.5. That’s a big move and Rob Gronkowski being out wasn’t even worth a full point.
The teaser risk on the day saw eight of the 14 games, beginning with Thursday’s 21-20 Broncos win, have both sides win. That’s an awesome proposition for bettors where they can take the most reliable spread or odds among all sports and get an additional 6 points. There aren’t many better deals in the casino where there’s an option that the house can’t win when results occur with both sides of an option winning for the player.
But there was a lucky savior for the house on teasers when a safety was called in the Lions 39-35 win at Indianapolis as the game went final.
“The Lions safety at end of the game helped us with the teasers,” said MGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood.
The Colts were 4-point favorites heading into the week and on Sunday it dropped to -2.5 by kickoff. The Lions were one of five underdogs on the week that won outright.
The wise guys had a few big plays on Sunday morning that had a ripple effect on the final posted results. Because of large wagers from respected money, the line moved and the books found themselves eventually getting sided or middled as a result.
The most one-sided bet game of the week on parlay action was the Packers at whatever number at Jacksonville. William Hill sportsbooks had 84 percent of their tickets written over the week on the Packers, but the sharps moved in Sunday morning and took a spread from +5.5 down to 3.5. It was a wild turn of events from the game being lopsided on Green Bay to needing the Jaguars to win straight bets. Sharps got the money on the game while a large percentage of game day bettors got to lay the Pack -3.5 on their parlays.
“I’d say about 40 percent of our overall action comes on game day,” said Boyd Gaming sportsbook director Bob Scucci, explaining how much action comes through at the last minute.
That’s a big chunk of the pie.
That type of situation happened on a few games such as the Giants closing as a 1-point favorite in their 20-19 win at Dallas after being +1 or pick ‘em for most of the week (Dallas -3.5 before Tony Romo got hurt).
“It was a pretty good day,” Rood said. “We would have done better if Dallas held on to win. That was the only afternoon game that got away from us.”
And then there was the Chiefs’ come-from-behind 33-27 overtime home win after the Chargers jumped out to a 21-3 lead. The wise guys loved +7 and +6.5 over the weekend, while the public liked the Chiefs at any number. So when they laid KC -6 with their parlays on game day, they got a push and it extended more risk.
“The Chargers’ outright win would have been huge for us,” said Rood who was looking to beat out large money-line parlays tied to the Chiefs.
Seattle helped the books by not covering the 10.5-point spread at home against Miami in their 12-10 win. It also knocked out a bunch of parlay risk and was one of the few games that both sides didn’t cover on teasers. Simbal said his CG Tech books had their biggest parlay risk coming into the week on the Texans, Seahawks, Packers and Cardinals. Two-out-of-four isn’t bad, but Houston’s 23-14 come-from-behind win was the gateway to parlay and teaser success for bettors at most books.
“We would have had a great morning, but we needed the Bears,” said Rood.
The parlay card bettors this week are what saved a lot of the books, especially those games with stale numbers left open for wagering, such as the Packers (-4.5) and Cardinals (-6.5).
“The parlay cards were the strength of our day,” Scucci said prior to the Cardinals kickoff. “Without them, we’d be losing.”
There have been better Week 1 NFL Sundays in years past for the books, but they got played a little bit by the sharps by following their lead on games they had risk with on the other side.
“It was an okay day, but I’m a little disappointed, based on the results of the games, that we didn’t do better,” Scucci said. “The teasers took away what could have been a great day.”