Congratulations bettors! You’ve got the Las Vegas sportsbooks on the ropes with your fourth winning (or break even) week in the past five weeks. You got crushed last week, but came back flush with cash and stuck to your guns with your favorite teams and the consensus top-five most popular teams all won and covered the spread for you in Week 11. The books can’t recover from paying so many tickets at 20-to-1 odds, and that’s what was happening all over town Sunday.
William Hill’s 108 locations across Nevada reported Sunday morning their top four one-sided bet games were the Steelers (93%), Seahawks (83%), Dolphins (81%) and Patriots (80%), and all four covered the spread. The only reason their weekly favorite, the Cowboys, didn’t rank high was because sharp action evened the cash pool on that game.
But as far as the average Joe goes with his parlay, he had the Cowboys laying -7 at home against the No. 1 ranked defense of the Ravens, and he was right with a 27-17 win. It was the ninth straight win and cover for the Cowboys, and depending on what number he got in Week 1 with the Cowboys’ 20-19 loss to the Giants, it’s possible he’s covered all 10 games this season with Dallas.
“If the Packers and Raiders come in, we may have to close,” joked William Hill’s top bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich prior to the Sunday night kickoff after favorites had gone 8-3 ATS on the day, including the final three afternoon games that produced several more 6-to-1 parlay payouts.
Those final three games capped a great day for bettors, including the sharps that took +14, +13.5 and +13 early in the week with the 49ers at home against the Patriots. By the weekend most books were dealing -12 or -12.5, which is when most bettors make their parlay wagers. Wouldn’t you know it, the Patriots win 30-17. Sharps cashed on the dog, and so did the masses with the favorite helping the books get middled.
“The morning went well, but the last three games wiped us out, especially New England and Seattle,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook hub manager Jeff Stoneback.
The Patriots game also produced a four-way, 6-point teaser win when including the total. The spreads were so close to the actual results that eight of the first 11 games produced an all-side teaser win for bettors. No matter which side you chose, you came out a winner in that betting option, which is part of the reason NFL two-team teasers are the best value of any casino proposition offered. You had to really try hard to lose a two-team teaser on Sunday.
The books did have one big savior on the day.
“Tampa Bay winning at Kansas City was by far our biggest winner,” Stoneback said. “It wasn’t just about them covering, it was about the after effect of everything that happened on the day. Half the win was on parlays, which halted the momentum somewhat on the day. It also killed a bunch of teasers, an area we really got beat up on. If the Chiefs would have covered it would have been really ugly with the eventual results. It saved a million dollar loss of the day for us.”
The Buccaneers didn’t need the +7 at Kansas City, winning outright 19-17, and paying out +270 on the money-line. They were one of two underdogs on the day to win. The Bills’ 16-12 win at Cincinnati (-2.5) was the other, and most bettors (54% at William Hill) were on the right side on that one as well.
The books also fared well with the Giants failing to cover -7 at home in a 22-16 win against the Bears. They beat out a pile of parlays, but there was some larger money siding with Chicago at +7.5. Another group had laid -6 and -6.5 with the Giants earlier in the week.
The bigger picture was killing a leg on big parlays tied to other teams, but the net result wasn’t so great because of the straight bets on the Bears. Giants kicker Robbie Gould missed two extra-points in the gusty MetLife Stadium winds, which obviously had a big effect on the decision. The books should send him a gift basket for helping defuse parlay risk.
There ended up being 12 missed extra-points between the 12 games on Sunday and only three of those sites can blame the misses on the wind. It’s not directly related, but no game on Sunday landed on the NFL’s most key number of 3. The trend of missed extra-points this season, though, will have an effect, even though the goal for most trailing coaches is to somehow get within 3-points.
Sunday’s action saw 10 of the 12 games stay Under the total, a trend you may want to pay close attention to the rest of the season as weather plays a larger role.
Overall this season, the books are well below budgeted numbers from their initial forecasts on NFL action before the season started. The fall months are when the big numbers are produced mostly because of consistent NFL win, but not this year. It’s the equivalent of a major retailer saying they broke even in December.
Here’s to wishing you all a Happy and safe Thanksgiving. Between family, football and food, it ranks as my favorite holiday. It will become even better if I can cash on the Vikings-Lions Under and Redskins-Cowboys Over.