The fifth Sunday of the NFL season was a decent day for the Las Vegas sports books. Nothing big, but definitely not a loser.
There were some real pitfall opportunities for the public to beat the books up pretty good as they ganged up on a few of their popular teams. You know, the teams that seem to cover the spread every week.
Coming into the week, the Broncos, Chargers, Saints and Seahawks were a combined 13-1-2 against the spread. The bettors loved them, and fortunately for the books, only one covered. But the Saints’ 26-18 win at Chicago did enough damage on its own. The Bears had opened up as a 1-point home favorite and by the time the game kicked off, New Orleans was the 1-point favorite.
“The Saints were easily our biggest loser of the afternoon games,” said LVH Super Book vice president Jay Kornegay after the first 10 games had been posted. “We ended up doing ok overall, but the late combination of the 49ers and then the Chargers playing at midnight would make us give back everything if covering.”
The 49ers covered, but the Chargers didn’t. The Saints becoming such a public team again isn’t unusual, but for them to be the books’ biggest risk of the day for a road game on grass – a field they complained about before the game, against a good Bears team at 3-1 on the season was kind of a mystery.
Kornegay has seen this happen many times before.
“Anytime a good team like the Saints performs well on Monday night the previous week, the public remembers what they saw last the most and carrys that into the following week,” he said.
The Saints had defeated Miami last week 38-17 in the Superdome as 7-point favorites. The game also went OVER the total, which is another public pastime. When both click together and the majority gets paid at 13-to-5, it builds some loyalty with the team.
On Sunday, the strategy worked well.
Kornegay’s biggest winner of the day might be somewhat of a shock to hear. First of all, it wasn’t the Cowboys losing by only 3 at home to Denver. Secondly, the public jumped on the Patriots wagon so fast after treating them like the plague the last two weeks.
When the Bengals beat the Patriots, 13-6, it became the LVH’s biggest game of the day just because of how much they won on parlay, where the Patriots link wiped out a large portion of risk. It was the root game for many parlay bettors. Before any real momentum could get started, it was knocked out.
The Patriots gained favor with the bettors last week in their impressive 30-23 win at Atlanta last Sunday night. The Patriots were no longer the team struggling on offense as it appeared in the Atlanta game that everything was coming back together for Tom Brady just as it always eventually does. They were 4-0 on the year, and the Bengals were coming off a tough loss at Cleveland.
As for the game at Dallas, Denver won in a 51-48 shootout as 7½-point favorites. Kornegay was just glad the game didn’t land 7, as it was sitting until Tony Romo tossed the final of his five TD passes on the day to make it 48-48.
“I didn’t have a good feeling when it was 48-41,” said Kornegay. “We had bounced around from Broncos -7 to -7½ quite often during the week from large bets. Anytime we’re at 7, we’d get a bet to push us up and then we’d get the +7½ money on Dallas, and it seemed to go like that all week.”
On the day, favorites went 7-5 ATS with four of the underdogs winning outright, and the totals split, going 6-6.
Baseball playoffs rough for books: Outside of maybe a one month stretch where baseball was the only major sport going as the Las Vegas sports books waited for preseason football to start, the 2013 season has been pretty good for the books. That has all changed in the playoffs.
The public has been correct with most of their plays. The Red Sox and OVER combination in the first two games at Fenway Park led the way, plus the Dodgers and Braves going OVER in their first three games wasn’t good, either.
I was roaming through a few books Sunday night while the 49ers were destroying the Texans, but the biggest yells at all the books were when the Dodgers were piling on runs in their 13-6 win over the Braves. My first thought was it was nice to see baseball still have a place on a busy Sunday in the book, but then it hit me more about the team being the Dodgers. This is a Dodgers town. Most of the people visiting from out of town are from Southern Cal, and those who grew up in Vegas listened to Vin Scully on KDWN radio.
To keep all the excitement rolling through the World Series at maximum intensity in the sports books, both with their cheers and cash through the windows, the best scenario for the books would be to have the Dodgers represent the NL and, of course, the Red Sox in the AL.
$3-4 million fumble return
Ohio State has been a popular team with bettors this season as they have covered the number and scored tons of points under Urban Meyer. On Saturday at Northwestern, the majority of bettors had no problem laying 7 points with Ohio State, and with only five seconds remaining and Ohio State up 34-30, they got Christmas early as Northwestern fumbled the ball on a botched lateral that found its way into their own end zone and the Buckeyes recovered to make it 40-30, and most importantly, get the cover.
Those type of situations are usually called bad beats, but what do you call it when 85 percent of the public has Ohio State laying 7? It surely wasn’t bad for them.
However, the bad beat part comes for the sports books where MGM Resorts’ Jay Rood estimates that one play cost the state $3-4 million. Most books went from being a winner on the day to a loser with only a couple of games remaining to be posted. Fortunately for them, Washington got a late touchdown to lose by only 3, 31-28, at Stanford in a game many laid up to 9-points with the home favorite.
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].