Las Vegas bookmakers got a refresher course over the weekend on what it takes to be on point and alert for the football madness that is about to be unleashed over the next 21 weeks.
They had five straight days of college football action beginning Thursday and ending with isolated big handle games on Sunday and Monday nights and all the books came out in the black, with some doing much better than others.
“Considering we lost six figures to Illinois and mid-five figures to Alabama, It went well,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso. “We beat the sharps on some games and grounded out a nice win. I’ll certainly take it after losing our two biggest decisions.”
CG books weren’t alone on getting gashed by one bettor who laid a few hundred thousand on Illinois as 16.5-point home favorites against Akron all over town.The Illini rolled, 42-3. Alabama (-34.5) rolled as well with a 42-3 win against Duke in Atlanta.
But there enough wild and unpredictable games during the week to keep bettors from getting a run with their popular public parlays with the favorites only going 22-19-1 ATS.
“We had a solid Saturday,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “Florida Atlantic and Boise State were great in the mornings as well as Duke first half, Auburn, Fresno State. The best games for the bettors were Georgia, Virginia, and Syracuse.”
Ohio State was up 28-0 in the first quarter looking like laying -27 would be no sweat to cover, but Flordia Atlantic didn’t give up in the Buckeyes’ 45-21 win.
Florida State had its game with Boise State moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, making it a true home game. The Seminoles spread moved from -5 to -6.5 because of the change of venue, but after falling behind by 18 points, Boise State would stage a nice comeback led by freshman QB Hank Bachmeier to win 36-31.
Caesars Palace sportsbook director Jeff Davis said their only key loser was Georgia, which covered -21 at Vanderbilt in a 30-6 win. It also was one of 21 unders to cash for bettors on the main board over the weekend.
“We were a small loser on Friday, but came back with a solid Saturday,” said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay.
The popular public sides on Friday were Wisconsin covering 12.5 at South Florida in a 49-0 wipeout and Oklahoma State covering 13.5 at Oregon State in a 52-36 win.The only outright underdog winner Friday was Nevada, which don’t need the +11 at home against Purdue in a 34-31 last-second victory in Reno.
But the biggest underdog to win was Georgia State, a 25.5-point dog at Tennessee, winning 38-30. CG books closed the game with Georgia State being 14-1 to win on the money-line.
The sportsbooks had big crowds with bettors getting back into a rhythm of betting football — sides, totals, halftimes, in-game, something no other sport quite compares to. They’ve been starved for this type of action.
But last weekend was just an appetizer because the first week of the NFL kicks off Thursday with the Bears as 3-point home favorites against the Packers.