NFL: Underdog Lions, Broncos help bail out sports books

Oct 13, 2009 5:06 PM
NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts |

The 13 pro football games on Sunday had six favorites and seven underdogs covering the spread, which made for a winning day for most Nevada sports books.

The books were hoping to beat a couple of the big favorites, but were only able to knock one of them down, which could have been the igniter to start an awful day.

However, their luck prevailed. Despite three of the four double digit favorites coming in easy, many of the parlays were quickly wiped out when other shorter favorites – like San Francisco and New England – failed to cover.

"We had a very exciting day in the book with emotions high on each side of the counter," said South Point Sports Book Director Bert Osborne. "The public won a few games and we won a few."

The few the public had going early on simply required betting against the league’s bad teams – the Rams, Buccaneers, and Raiders. They also didn’t like the Lions, but their late touchdown helped make the only winner for the books against the double digit favorites.

When factoring in how other public teams like the Cowboys, Panthers, and Bills failed to cover, things started to turn the houses’ way. This was well after agonizing with the early drama of the Giants, Eagles and Vikings blowouts before the first quarters had even ended.

Then the late games came with the high-profile game of the day in which everyone loved the Patriots.

  "The Broncos winning was our best decision of the day," Osborne said. "I can’t believe that no one is giving Denver any respect. Josh McDaniels had such a tough start there with all the negative publicity that I guess there is still some lingering doubts that his way isn’t going to work out, but it looks like his entire team is behind him all the way."

The Broncos 20-17 overtime win was the fourth straight-up underdog win of the day joining the Browns, Bengals and Falcons.

"The 49ers game was good for us against the public, but we had some big late money come on the Falcons," said Osborne.

The 49ers had opened as a 2-point favorite and was bet up to -2.5 through Saturday, but dropped all the way to pick by kickoff. The sharps were also on the side of the Broncos. Denver money came early in the week when the line was +3.5 points and stayed at +3 until kickoff.

One of the other sides the sharps were on was the Titans getting 4-points at home against the Colts. The public didn’t want much to do with the winless Titans with most betting the Colts, putting the sharps and books on the same side again.

The Colts’ 31-9 win was the final football game posted on Sunday and most books took a loss on it just because it was the final team on many parlay cards. Even though the total was bet down from the opener of 46.5 to 44.5 by kickoff, the game staying under was the best scenario because the late "bail out" parlay of the day was the Colts and over.

Denver still gets no respect

While the Broncos have won some close games contributing to their 5-0 record, rather than saying they’re lucky, how about the notion that Josh McDaniels made them mentally tough from the first day he got there?

The defense is leading the way, but last week the offense showed it has finally come together with great performances by Kyle Orton, who has Brandon Marshall fully involved as ever. This Monday they travel to San Diego for an AFC West divisional game where the Chargers will be favored by 4.

Anderson better than Quinn?

Cleveland’s Derek Anderson completed only 2 passes in 17 attempts on Sunday for a whopping 22 yards and a sweet QB rating of 15.1. But, who cares? The Browns won their first game of the year 6-3, thanks to some timely Bills turnovers and Jamal Lewis moving the chains.

So far, so good for Eric ManGENIUS in making the QB move when he did. Two weeks ago the Browns almost beat the Bengals in overtime the week after Mangini made the quarterback change. Brady Quinn may still be the QB of the future, but it’s apparent Anderson has something that makes the team better even when he isn’t good.

Back Door Cover of the Week

With less than five minutes remaining in the Steelers-Lions game, you could hear a simultaneous array of explicit words at sports books throughout Nevada when Daunte Culpepper hit Dennis Northcutt for a 25-yard TD pass making the score 28-20. The Steelers were 11-point favorites and were the only double digit favorite not to cover on Sunday. Had the Lions not scored, there would have been a serious run on four and five team parlays hit by the public.

The Winless Strike Again

There is a nice four-way battle for teams trying to match the Lions 0-16 record set last season. The leading candidates are the Rams, Titans, Chiefs and Buccaneers, all at 0-5. Tampa Bay has history on their side with a run in 1976-77, but the Rams may win this Derby on the basis of their "talent" and "leadership."

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Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts