Las Vegas sportsbooks scooped all the chips between the college and pro football games, but on Monday night had to give a little back as the Rams (-6) rewarded their massive public following with a 33-13 win at Oakland.
The decision was softened because of Sam Darnold and the Jets putting a 48-17 beatdown at Detroit where the Lions were 7-point favorites. The Jets paid +250 on the money-line.
“Thursday went well for us,” MGM Resorts Jeff Stoneback said of the Eagles’ 18-12 opening night win. “We closed the Falcons -1 after opening the Eagles -4.”
This gave the books lots of momentum heading into Sunday’s games.
“The day went well, we had a good morning, but the afternoon games hit us a little bit,” Stoneback said Sunday evening. “The public was all over the Saints, so the Bucs winning outright was our biggest win of the day. But we had a guy with deep pockets, a casino player who bet the Panthers-Cowboys game Under a couple of times.”
The Panthers (-3) won at home 16-8 against the Cowboys, who were playing without All-Pro center Travis Frederick, keeping the total Under 42. The Buccaneers’ 48-40 win at New Orleans was the largest total ever scored in an NFL Week 1 game and the biggest underdog of the week to win outright among the four that did on Sunday.
“Wow, Fitzpatrick looked awfully sharp today, without a doubt,” said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews.
Fitzpatrick, a journeyman from Harvard, had a career day with 417 yards and four TDs passing and also had a rushing TD. Who had him on their fantasy roster? Not me. The Bucs straight-up win paid a city-high of +425 at Boyd Gaming properties.
The next biggest decision was the Browns’ 21-21 tie at home against the bully of the NFC North Pittsburgh, who dropped from a 7-point favorite back in April to -3.5 by kickoff.
“The public bet the Steelers a bunch so it helped us minimize the sharp wagers we had taken on the Browns since we first posted the number,” Stoneback said. “They were even taking +3.5 today. We ended up closing Steelers -3.5, +105.”
The Browns went winless and are 1-31 the past two seasons (8-24 ATS), but played inspired football late in the game, and that defense is going to make noise. They were 10-to-1 to win the division at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook before wagering cut off on it.
While the Browns’ decision worked well for the house, the biggest loss at most shops was the Ravens’ 47-3 win, easily covering the 7.5-point spread against the hapless Bills who started Nathan Peterman at QB, who posted an obscene 0.0 QB rating.
“We got a little back with the Bills at +9 and we jacked up the money-line as well to entice and get some money back, but we still lost big on the Ravens,” said Andrews.
Joe Flacco tossed three TD passes in the win and it seemed every bettor had the Ravens on parlays.
“The Ravens and Vikings were no good,” said CG Technology risk manager Jason Simbal. “But everything else was okay, or good. Our best games were the Chiefs and Bucs.”
The Vikings (-6) held on to win, 24-16, against the 49ers, handing Jimmy Garoppolo his first loss as an NFL starter. The Chiefs (+3.5) routed the Chargers, 38-28, in what looked like a home game for KC in Carson, Calif. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the day was just how lousy the Cardinals (-2) were, or maybe how good the Redskins were, in the Redskins’ 24-6 win.
“I didn’t see a lot of the game, but the Redskins stat sheet looked impressive and we needed them because wise-guys came in late on Arizona,” said Andrews who closed Arizona -2 after being -1 for the last five months. William Hill closed at a city high of -2.5.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook director Ed Salmons said he immediately dropped the Cards rating 2-points and pointed out how tough the Cardinals road schedule was. They play at the Rams next week.
The Cards possessed the ball only 21 minutes and looked as if they deserved to be rated on the bottom of the swamp with Buffalo. Hello, Josh Rosen! Two weeks?
Sunday’s biggest thrill was Packers’ (-7) come from behind 24-23 win, and it also ensured neither of the Monday night decisions could take away all of the Sunday win. More details to come on the Aaron Rodgers injury.
The one negative for the books in the game turned out to be all-way teaser win and it also middled the total, which had dropped from 48 to 45 at a few shops.
Outside of Fitzpatrick and Rodgers, I think the things that stuck with me most in Week 1 were Von Miller sacking Russell Wilson three times; Patrick Mahomes proving me wrong with his four TD passes; James Connor being just as good as Le’Veon Bell might have; and the Jaguars defense still being the best. The Redskins have something cooking and the Panthers also had a new vibe of urgency.
Also, the Rams will continue to be the public’s favorite team to bet on weekly. I found it interesting the seven new head coaches this season went 0-7 in Week 1.
Between all Week 1 games, the favorites went 6-9-1 ATS with six of the underdogs winning outright.