Sports books sackedby football favorites

Dec 24, 2007 5:03 AM

Casinos may have established a new month-over-month record of $1.16 billion in revenue for October, but sports books and football in particular certainly weren’t the reason why.

After holding 16 percent on football in September, sports books held just 1.35 percent for October in the most popular sport on which to bet, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

The drop was due primarily to some big-name professional football teams covering the spread for the betting public.

Sports books won $3,216,000 in football in October, down nearly 84 percent from the same period last year. The profit was $14,442,000 overall, a 57 percent drop-off from October.

Eric St. Clair, Director of Race and Sports at The Rampart and Cannery Casino, conceded it was a tough month from his side of the counter.

"What was happening is that there were several teams that were separating themselves from the pack," he said. "When you have the Patriots that continue to win and cover, the Cowboys who win and cover, it’s going to get into your profits because people are just using those teams, and the Colts, in their little parlays.

"And naturally when you’re paying off parlays, you’re paying off 6-1, 12-1, 20-1, so it’s not like straight bets where you can kind of maneuver around and get some money back on the other side," St. Clair said. "It’s really hard to overcome that when the popular teams win."

Proving St. Clair’s point were the point spread records of the six best moneymakers in the NFL so far and their totals for the month. The Packers, Colts, Browns, Cowboys, Patriots and Jaguars went a combined 15-5-1 ATS (75 percent) and their games went 12-9 (57 percent) OVER the total in October.

"For quite a long time there you could bet a two-team parlay with the Colts and Patriots or a teaser and use those totals. You almost had a two-, three- or four-team parlay — a freebie," St. Clair said of the AFC’s two heavyweights, who went a combined 8-0 ATS for the month. The success provided their backers with all sorts of cash and making a Patriots-Colts parlay the thing to do in October.

"And then you throw in another popular team like the Cowboys and the Packers which everyone started jumping on after they got off to their 7-1 start. And then they don’t play the games where the Saints are playing Arizona because that is a coin flip," St. Clair added. "In October a lot of games seemed to stand out. Whenever that happens, you usually have a bad line."

As usual, parlay cards were extremely profitable for the sports books netting $6,925,000 in the month, an increase of 5.92 percent over the same period last year. Parlay cards provided a respectable hold of more than 46 percent, tops of all winning percentages in the sports end of the business.

Basketball followed parlay cards in profitability, holding 37.9 percent of its total bets, winning $1.168 million for sports books, an impressive 67 percent increase over October. Horse racing followed with a 16.92 percent hold and profits of $8.086 million, up 8.1 percent. Baseball provided a 10.6 percent hold, which won sports books a little over $4 million, down 36.4 percent from last year.