Steelers, Lions Under softened blow for sportsbooks, as public has an ok Sunday
October 31, 2017 3:00 AM
by Micah Roberts
Las Vegas sportsbooks sweated out decisions on Sunday’s first 10 NFL games to watch favorites go 9-1 straight-up and then had the entire fate of their day rest with one game, the Sunday niter with the Steelers visiting Detroit.
“It all boils down to the late game,” said William Hill’s top bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich prior to kickoff.
Same story all over town as the popular Steelers came in as 3-point road favorites riding a two-game win streak while the Lions had lost two straight but we’re coming off a bye week.
“If it comes Detroit and Under (45), it makes the day a wash,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook manager Jeff Stoneback. “Pittsburgh and Over will make it double our loss. The game Under is our main rooting interest.”
The good news for the books is the game stayed Under, but the Steelers covered in a 20-15 win, giving mixed results around the state. If it weren’t for a silly fourth down decision by Lions head coach Jim Caldwell to go for it near the goal line instead of taking the lead with a field goal, the winner may have eventually beaten the Lions. William Hill’s books had 72 percent of the cash taken on the game siding with Pittsburgh.
Before the Steelers game, the Cowboys gave the books their most indigestion in a 33-19 win at Washington.
“We were a small loser on the day,” said Stoneback. “We were wiped out by the Cowboys in a combination of parlay bettors, casino players and sharp bettors. We had a large six-figure wager from a house player and then got lots of late sharp action that we closed high at -3 -125.”
Bettors who had the total Over 46.5 were aided in the Redskins’ final desperate seconds when Kirk Cousins threw an interception Dallas ran back for a TD. That combination helped lots of bettors cash side-to-total parlays at 13-to-5 odds.
Usually when the Bears cover, like they have been for most of the season, it’s good for the books, but that wasn’t the case everywhere this week in the Saints’ 20-12 win.
“We got middled on the Bears game,” Stoneback said. “We had quite a bit of sharp action early in the week taking +9, +8.5 and then by game day with so much risk we dropped it down to -7.5 with the Saints and found plenty of takers.”
But there was some good news on the day for the house.
“Our best game was the Falcons not covering,” said Stoneback of Atlanta’s 25-20 win at a rainy Met Life Stadium against the Jets. “We opened the Falcons -4.5, but moved quickly during the week to -5.5 before taking much action on it. Most of the action, over 50 percent, was taken today at -6.5.”
Other books around town had different outcomes from the first 10 games, which the favorites went 5-5 ATS, but still needed the Lions to cover.
“We’re up a little and will have a loser with a Pittsburgh cover,” said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal. “We lost our three biggest games. We started in a big hole. Browns and 49ers were our biggest games and we crawled back a little.
After seeing the Browns up 13-12 against the Vikings in the early London game, the thought of the Browns (+11) having to go across the pond to finally win was amusing. But the Browns did Browns things in the second-half and lost, 33-16.
The 49ers (+12.5) lost 33-10 at Philadelphia to give the Eagles an NFL-best 7-1 record. The Westgate SuperBook has the Eagles 7-to-1 to win Philly’s first Super Bowl.
“The Bills win allowed us to escape a total disaster,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “The Jets helped us out, but we opened Falcons -4.5. Steelers covering equals a losing day.”
Buffalo looked good in a 34-14 home win over the Raiders to take them to 5-2, only one game behind the Patriots in the AFC.
Could we be witnessing the Bills finally get over the hump and making the playoffs for the first time since 1999? They’ve won all four games at home. They won’t play the Patriots until December when they play twice.
After Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett threw four TDs in the big comeback win against Penn State on Saturday, he gained more respect by the Westgate in the Heisman Trophy chase, dropping from 10-to-1 down to 4-to-1. The favorite is still Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, but his odds were raised from -175 to -150 after the Buckeye defense held him on check on the ground.
Stanford RB Bryce Love, who missed last week’s game, is 7-to-2 and Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is 8-to-1. By the way, Alabama is the 2-to-3 favorite to win the National Championship Game and Ohio State is now down to 3-to-1 as the second choice to win.
2018 WS Odds
Just prior to the Astros taking a 2-1 lead on Friday night of the 2017 World Series, the Westgate was already posting odds to win the 2018 World Series with the Dodgers opening up as the 5-to-1 favorite and the Astros and Indians each coming in at 6-to-1.
Lots of transactions still to be made in the off-season, but those three teams have a sound foundation in place that they should be expected to be playoff teams again.
Three teams looking for new managers fall in the line next with the Nationals (7/1), Yankees (8/1) and Red Sox (10/1). The Cubs are also 10-to-1. The team going nowhere fast is the Tigers, listed at 300-to-1, the only team listed at triple digit odds.