Public reigns in NFL as sportsbooks recover from World Series losses

Public reigns in NFL as sportsbooks recover from World Series losses

November 07, 2017 3:01 AM
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NFL Week 9 action saw mixed results at sportsbooks all across Las Vegas for a variety of reasons, but they were all unified in needing Miami in the Sunday night game against Oakland where the Raiders had moved from a 2-point road favorite all the way up to -3.5 on game day and eventually settle at -3. The books got middled when the Raiders won 27-24.

“It wasn’t a good day,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook hub manager Jeff Stoneback. “We had one casino player have a huge day against us going 4-0 so far.

That house player was wagering six-figures a game making the rest of what happened on the day pale in comparison to his action, but if you extract those house player losses from the overall betting pool, the public still managed to do well.

“The Eagles game was a killer for us,” said Stoneback. “The Rams hurt too; those were our two worst of the day.”

Those were the top two games on the rotation, and the two favorites each posted 50 spots on a couple of proud franchises. The Eagles are quickly becoming the bettors’ best friend by covering weekly, and Sunday’s 51-23 beatdown of the Broncos (+7) was another piece of the puzzle of building a Super Bowl champion.

The blowout win against the NFL’s No. 1 defense made Philly an NFL-best 7-2 against-the-spread. MGM books dropped their Eagles Super Bowl odds from 6-to-1 down to 5-1 after the game.

Denver’s QB situation didn’t change much with Brock Osweiler getting the start Sunday. The Broncos were looking for a boost from the backup after Trevor Siemian lost his starting job, but Denver went on to lose their fourth straight in which they’ve been outscored 124-52.

Not to be outdone by the Eagles, the Rams traveled across the country for a 10 a.m. PT game at MetLife Stadium against the Giants and blasted them, 51-17. Coupled with Seattle’s loss, it gave the Rams sole possession of first-place in the NFC West at 6-2. They are the NFL’s highest scoring team and Jared Goff is anything but the bust we thought he was last year. If anything, it’s more of an indictment on former Rams coach Jeff Fisher being out of touch.

“The morning games were ugly, the house went 1-6 with only the Panthers helping us out,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “The Redskins’ outright win was huge in the afternoon to give us a positive number. We need the Dolphins to hold on to a winning day.”

The Falcons number was running everywhere over the weekend where the Panthers went from being a 2.5-point home favorite to Atlanta -3 by kickoff. Carolina held on for the 20-17 win, one of three underdogs to win outright on the day. The South Point had Carolina money-line at +140.

“If Seattle covered it would have been a disaster,” Stoneback said of the Seahawks, who were 8.5-point home favorites against the Redskins. “After we posted the Cardinals and Cowboys results we were looking at a seven-figure loss with Seattle with straight bets, parlays, teasers and money-line parlays all waiting to be cashed. The Redskins saved the day for us.”

The Seahawks couldn’t get anything going offensively in the rain until the fourth quarter. Washington held a 10-2 lead for most of the game, but again Russell Wilson did some late game magic and led the Seahawks to two TD drives, the last giving them a 14-10 lead. But Wilson made it happen too quick and left plenty of time on the clock for Kirk Cousins to make something happen. He made two outstanding throws and got two outstanding catches leading to a 17-14 win and evening the Redskins’ record at 4-4. The Westgate paid out the Redskins money-line at +350.

“We did okay for losing our three biggest decisions,” said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “The Eagles, Rams and Saints were the worst for us, but we made it up through the rest of the day and it was capped off with Seattle losing. That game was huge for us because it knocked out big money-line parlays and teasers. We needed one of the big favorites to go down.”

One of the most attractive games of the day was the Chiefs at Dallas (-2.5) in the afternoon, but the Cowboys’ 28-17 win was kind of a non-decision just because action was so split on each side. William Hill sportsbooks had 57 percent of their tickets written on that game siding with the Chiefs. However, McCormick said his Stations book did well with the Cowboys game staying Under 53. He said they had lots more action on the totals this week than usual.

“Despite a bunch of the good teams having byes and the seven early games being less than attractive, we still had a great crowd here, which is sort of a continuation from Friday and Saturday with the Breeders Cup,” said Kornegay. “We were a small winner on Saturday with college football. We’ll be rooting for Miami to secure a nice day.”

A Series burn

If you heard a cheer behind the counter at Las Vegas sportsbooks last week when the Astros won the World Series, it wasn’t because they were happy for the Astros or that they won money. It was simply because the World Series was finally over. “Good-bye baseball, good riddance, see you next year.”

Several books across town got buried nightly on the games and most of the damage came from one 26-year-old bettor who rolled his winnings over in five of the World Series games. He went 5-0.

“We took more than a $1 million loss on the World Series,” said CG Technology risk management VP Jason Simbal, and when asked if it was more than $2 million, he said “No, but close.”

The guy that beat the CG books also beat several other books along the Strip, but not the $14 million some news outlets were reporting based on their weak source who tweeted sensationalized half-truths. Come on news people, verify stories before reporting something as fact off a sweet tweet you liked.

The bettor tried to get as much as he could everywhere around town and rolled his winnings over and then didn’t even bet Game 7 to give the books a chance to get their money back. The losses throughout town totaled closer to $3.5 million, and that’s verified.

“We had a great baseball season up to the World Series, but we lost six figures on every game except Game 5,” Simbal said. “And to top it off we lost a bunch on futures and the series prices with the Astros. We had a $300,000 bet on the Astros to win the series at +160. The entire series was awful for us and ruined what was a good season.

The big losses also did some serious damage to the baseball season win percentage.

“We went from holding 2.3 percent in baseball on the season before the series and now were at 1.2 percent if that gives some perspective of how terrible the World Series was for us,” said Simbal.

The Westgate SuperBook has the Dodgers as 5-to-1 favorites to win the 2018 World Series.