The public managed to get bookend wins in the Thursday and Monday night isolated games, but in between with Sunday’s Week 14 NFL action was a runaway win in dramatic fashion for the Las Vegas sports books.
The betting gods were not kind to the bettors Sunday with their popular favorites going 5-9 against-the-spread with seven underdogs winning outright.
“It was a great day,” said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. “It was the second best day of the season so far.
“We had a nice combination of large casino players mixed in with heavy public action and then the sharps didn’t do particularly well, either. The few games we lost were small losses and the wins we had were significant.”
The Bears’ 15-6 win on a cold Chicago Sunday night against the NFC’s then No. 1 seeded Rams (-3) was the cherry on top of an almost perfect Sunday for the MGM books. The Bears (9-4 SU and ATS) crushed any parlay liability that had survived from the first 13 games. The Rams are now 12-2 and 2-2 ATS in their last 10.
The good news for the Rams is they won’t be playing in any more cold weather games for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. Their final three regular season games are against NFC West teams and they’ll either be in Los Angeles or New Orleans during the playoffs or at least that’s the case heading into Week 15.
There was just one popular favorite that cashed at the majority of the books on Sunday.
“Surprisingly, the Saints covering wasn’t that big of a deal to us,” said Stoneback. “The larger bets on the game were all taking the Bucs and the smaller money was on the Saints, but with so many of the other favorites not getting there wasn’t a lot live to tie the Saints into with teasers and parlays.”
Tampa had a storm roll through that appeared to slow the Saints early on as they trailed 14-3 at the half. But as the sunshine came out and the rain went away, the Saints offense woke up and they went on 25-0 run in the second half to win 28-14 and covered the spread that ran from -8.5 to -9.5. Due to the Rams’ loss, the 11-2 Saints are now the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They’re also the best cover team in the league at 10-3 ATS.
“The Browns and Ravens were our big games of the day and then the Raiders win was a close third,” said Stoneback. “We knocked out a lot of teasers with those and the Steelers losing was the best result for us in regards to large money-line favorite parlays.”
How about those Browns, now at 5-7-1. It’s hard not to cheer for them after a few seasons of misery. They beat the Panthers 26-20 sending Carolina to its fifth straight loss (0-5 ATS).
The Chiefs (-6.5) found themselves in another battle, this time against the then No.1 ranked defense of the Ravens. It took overtime for the Chiefs to win 27-24, but you can see some drag on the Chiefs excitement level with bettors because they’re not covering after starting a perfect 7-0 ATS. They’re now 1-4-1 ATS in their last six with a very liberal defense having trouble stopping just about every squad they’ve faced lately.
But there still is the reality of the Chiefs only two losses coming on the road by three points against the Patriots and Rams. They’re in the AFC’s driver seat for the No. 1 seed at 11-2.
“We moved the Chiefs down from 4-to-1 to 7-to-2 odds after today and we also dropped the Colts from 75-to-1 down to 60-to-1 after today’s results,” said Stoneback about his Super Bowl futures adjustments.
The Colts (+4) came up with a huge road win, 24-21, at Houston and halted the Texans’ nine-game win streak. Indy is one of three 7-6 teams chasing Baltimore (7-6) for the final AFC wild-card slot.
“The best games for us were the Raiders, Colts, and Packers,” said South Point’s Jimmy Vaccaro.
The Raiders were the biggest underdogs of the day paying out at +475 at the Wynn in a 24-21 win against the Steelers (-10). Ben Roethlisberger is now 0-4 at Oakland as the Steelers have now lost three straight.
The Packers (-4) looked sharp in a 34-20 win against a bad Falcons squad in the first game since Packers coach Mike McCarthy got fired. The Falcons (4-9) have been the best bet-against team in the league going 3-10 ATS.
The most electric play of the day happened at the end of the Patriots game at Miami when Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake was at the end of few laterals to score a 69-yard TD as time ran out to win 34-33. It was a record for longest game-winning play to end a game.
The Patriots were bet up from -8.5 to -9 and the Dolphins win paid out +360 at MGM books. It was the ultimate teaser killer for the books because the Patriots were the most popular teaser team. The Patriots dropped to 9-4 and currently hold the AFC’s No. 2 seed.
“It was another solid Sunday,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick. “The Dolphins were by far the key to the day after the Buccaneers and Ravens blew chances at killing teaser and money-line parlays. The Saints ended up being our worst game.”
In other sports book news, Saturday produced a sweet lottery ticket for one lucky dude.
“We had a guy Saturday play a 13-team parlay for $40 with 12 college basketball games mixed with favorites and underdogs and also Army -340 on the money-line that paid out $103,040,” said Stoneback.
That person figures to have a Merry Christmas.