The new year started off with a bang for bettors in Las Vegas as all five college football favorites won and covered on Jan. 1. The effects of those bowl favorites all coming didn’t just end on Friday because live parlays were waiting to pop in all the ensuing games on Saturday and Sunday.
Fortunately for the sportsbooks they got some relief in Sunday’s NFL action as popular choices such as the Jets and Patriots lost outright, which helped them to a small win on the day.
The losses from Friday weren’t built up just from Friday alone. There was major parlay card liability leftover from a disastrous NFL Week 15 where the sportsbooks lost close to $7 million. Friday’s losses didn’t come close to that, but they were much more than it should have been just because of still paying out on 2015 results.
All 32 NFL teams played on Sunday in Week 17 action and the books had to play a cautious approach with several of the games just because several teams would be resting starters in preparation for the playoffs. They got a late Christmas present with all that risk leftover from 2015 and Jan. 1 with the popular favorites going 5-11 against-the-spread with eight of the underdogs winning outright, which killed the bulk of the teaser risk.
The root game the majority of bettors seemed to have collectively that helped the books out on Sunday was the Patriots losing 20-10 at Miami. The Patriots were 10-point favorites and had plenty of incentive to win because home field throughout the playoffs was at stake. The Dolphins hadn’t covered the spread in its previous six games, but came up with its third straight win over the Patriots at home.
The Broncos’ (-9) 27-20 win at home over the Chargers didn’t get the cover for favorite bettors, but the win did secure Denver home field throughout the playoffs following the Patriots loss. The big issue for Denver and first year coach Gary Kubiak is who to start at quarterback in two weeks. Peyton Manning came in to the game in the second half after the team committed five turnovers behind Brock Osweiler and everyone responded right away with sort of an adrenaline rush. The running game was a surprising strength with Manning in the game and it carried them to a win.
The other big game Sunday the public loved was the Jets laying 3 points at Buffalo in a situation where the Jets just needed a win to make the playoffs. William Hill books had 72 percent of their action on the game on the Jets. And why not bet the Jets since they had won its previous five games (4-0-1 ATS) and looked polished. But Buffalo would played an inspired game and win 22-17 giving coach Rex Ryan a bit of revenge on his former team. The Bills have now beat the Jets five straight.
While the Jets were getting beat, the Steelers (-12.5) were taking care of business at Cleveland in a 28-12 win which catapulted them into the playoffs. It was one of the few popular favorites to cover on the day for bettors, but they didn’t have any other teams linked up in parlays or teasers to hurt the books.
Pittsburgh is a 2.5-point road favorite at Cincinnati in Saturday’s Wild Card game. The two teams split the season series, but Pittsburgh won 33-20 four weeks ago while knocking out QB Andy Dalton for the season. The Bengals have lost its first game in the playoffs the last four seasons. Wouldn’t that be something if the back-up A.J. McCarron came away with Marvin Lewis’ first playoff win!
The Chiefs won their 10th straight game in a 23-17 win against the Raiders and have a date Saturday at Houston in a Wild Card game where they are 3-point road favorites. KC won 27-20 at Houston in the season opener and then proceeded to lose its next five games. They haven’t lost since.
The Seahawks buried Arizona 36-6 in a game where the Cardinals saw the writing on the wall as the Panthers were securing home field through in a win against the Buccaneers. The Cardinals could have had home field with a win and a Panthers loss.
Seattle is a 5.5-point road favorite at Minnesota in Sunday’s Wild Card game. These two teams met at Minnesota last month and Seattle crushed them 38-7. However, the Vikings appear to be getting better, having won and covered three straight. On Sunday they won at Green Bay 20-13 as 3-point underdogs to secure the NFC North and a home playoff date. Minnesota has gone an NFL-best 13-3 ATS this season.
The only home favorite in this weekend’s Wild Card action is Washington -1 against the Packers. After going through the first 12 games of the season winning one and losing one back and forth, the Redskins have now reeled off four straight wins and covers with all four games going OVER the total. They are peaking at the right time while no one knows what’s going on with the Jekyll and Hyde Packers.
Gordon Ramsey SB
If you’re looking for a great time in Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday you might want to check out Gordon Ramsey Pub and Grill inside Caesars Palace. For $200 you get to drink all you want and eat a great spread laid out by the celebrity chef himself.
It’s a safe bet to say the food won’t be better at any other Super Bowl party in town. If you’re a drinker, you’re going to get the best of the deal as they have an amazing array of draft beers to choose from. They’re taking reservations now.
For locals like me, I’m always taking advantage of great deals offered at the local casinos like the South Point and Station Casinos. They want my business and they want me to keep coming back, but the Strip properties have made it clear for some time they really don’t care if I visit. But I still do.
So it was to my amazement on Sunday that I found out The Pub at the Monte Carlo gives locals 50 percent off on all drinks and some food items on Sunday’s. It’s a great room with TV’s everywhere and it provides a nice atmosphere for any game.
Kudos to Monte Carlo and also a big thank you to Steven Rafterty, my favorite Irish bartender of all-time.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].