Through the first two weeks of the pro football season, most bettors felt they had a pretty good read on who the good and bad teams in the league were. But when nine of the 14 Sunday Week 3 games had spreads of 3-points or less, it made things a little more difficult.
In turn that put the Las Vegas sports books in a position to just sit back and watch how things unfolded. And on this day, the short spreads got the best of bettors and helped carry the books to a large win.
“It was a really good day, and we needed it after a rough Saturday,” LVH Super Book vice president Jay Kornegay told the Linemakers on Sporting News. “The morning games all went our way, which included our three biggest decisions of the day with the Bengals, Panthers and Browns all covering. “It’s rare to see, but we actually won every one of the early games. It might have been our best morning waves of games we’ve ever had.”
The Giants were one of those short favorites the public loved, even though they were 0-2. But after seeing them destroy the Panthers at Carolina last season and reasoning the Giants couldn’t possibly start 0-3, Giants money flooded in from the moment the line was posted last week at Carolina -3, but closed with the Giants at -2½. The sharps that moved the number took a bath and the public joined them as the Panthers dealt Tom Coughlin the worst loss of his career with the Giants, 38-0.
The Packers also had similar backing from bettors during the week that’s saw their line go from an opener of -1 up to -3 by kickoff at Cincinnati. The Bengals came up big late with a 34-30 win that sent bettors to the ATM to regroup for the late wave of games.
The most one-sided action of the day came on the Vikings where they went from a 3½-point home favorite against the Browns earlier in the week to as high as -7. The public’s reasoning was simple: “first off, they’re the Browns, and secondly, they traded their best player (Trent Richardson) and back-up QB Brian Hoyer is starting. The Vikings should kill them.”
Of course, the Browns win outright, 31-27.
The real surprising part of the day is that one of biggest public teams over the past decade, the Patriots, didn’t see a lot of public action for their home games against the Buccaneers. The Patriots were only laying 7, and ended up winning 23-3, but it stayed at -7 all week. By not covering the spread the first two weeks as a result of some growing pains with Tom Brady and his new receiving corps, bettors hopped off the wagon for a week.
After covering Sunday, New England supporters should be back on board Sunday night at Atlanta, but you never know, because there is a lot of confusion about what to make of certain teams with their play through three weeks. The public loves the Broncos and Seahawks, but they’re not sure if they can trust the Patriots, 49ers, or Packers. And even though the Cowboys are 3-0 ATS after beating the Rams 31-7 Sunday, there are still deep wounds the bettors feel from the Cowboys of past seasons.
“The late games weren’t as good, but we didn’t give anything back from the morning, maybe a little better than a push in the afternoon,” Kornegay said. “The Dolphins winning was a decent win, and the Jets was a small win – not a lot of people bet that game, but we lost with Seattle and the Colts.”
The LVH may be one of the few books in town that lost when the 49ers went down as 10-point favorites, which killed a large a portion of teasers and big money parlays that some bettors like to play with the money-lines. It was the chunky +400 money-line on the Colts that sent that game into the bookmakers red-zone for Kornegay.
“We had a couple of house players that had some large money parlayed on the Colts, Browns and Panthers – all on the money-line, in various combinations.”
Using the closing line from the LVH, a three team parlay with the Colts (+400), Browns (+240) and Panthers (+120) comes out to a paying out at just over 36-to-1 odds. Even if the parlays wagered were as small as $1,000, that’s a pretty big hit, but it shows how great of an early session it must have been for the LVH to have been able to absorb the blow.
As for Saturday, where college football favorites went 25-19 ATS on the regular board of games, Kornegay didn’t get any of the games to fall their way.
“There were no upsets. We lost to the sharp players, the public and also to house players. With no marquee games, everyone was all spread across the board.”
Only two of the underdogs won outright on Saturday, and neither of the favored teams that lost (Arkansas State -4, and BYU -7) did much to help the books out.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].