Dream Championship weekend for Vegas sportsbooks
January 23, 2018 3:12 AM
by Micah Roberts
Championship Sunday turned out exactly how most books wished with a bookmaker’s dream happening. The Patriots won but failed to cover and then the Eagles got a blowout win to help avoid an all way, all day teaser pleaser for bettors.
“It was a great day, we won both games and did well to the futures we posted,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “It was one of the best NFL days we’ve had outside of a Super Bowl. It continues to be a great January for us. Today, everything went our way. It was our best case scenario. The only thing we lost on today was the (Golden) Knights.”
The inaugural NHL season in Las Vegas is going quite well as the Knights lead the NHL with 66 points and a few million in future risk should they win the Stanley Cup once offered at 500-to-1 odds. Anyway, we’ve got the No. 1 seeds in the NFL hooking up Feb. 4 in Super Bowl 52.
The books have been on a supercharged 2018 as they’ve been winning during the playoffs compared to last season when they lost every week. The month over month ledgers are going to look amazing in the NFL for the bean counters. The biggest risk in the Patriots 24-20 win against the Jaguars, who led 20-10 in the fourth quarter, was on the spread and money-line. Tom Brady was unreal, again. But the Jags didn’t have a turnover, held the ball for 35 minutes, out-gained the Patriots 374 yards to 344 and they got the money.
Sharp money was on Jacksonville and the public wagers on the game liked the Jags money-line, which the South Point and Caesars Palace closed at a city high +300. Another faction of the massive public also laid the points with the Patriots, which opened as high as -9.5 then dropped to -7 because of Brady’s hand injury question mark. It’s a bookmakers dream because the book wins both. However, the public got some back with the all-way teaser cashing, side and total. That’s a four-team teaser with no losing options for the bettor. The house can’t win in many cases which is why a two-team NFL teaser is the best wager offered, favorable for the player.
Getting the Jags to cover started the books’ day off well. One William Hill bettor laid -7 with the Patriots for $250,000. That win rolled right into the Eagles (+3) routing the Vikings, 38-7, and paying +135 on the money-line. Nick Foles (are you kidding me with this guy?) produced one of the greatest back-up playoff performances in NFL history. He was 22 of 33 for 352 yards passing, three TDs and a 141.4 QB rating.
“It couldn’t have been much better,” said Atlantis Reno sportsbook director Marc Nelson. “We did get a flood of Eagles money late taking the points and on the money-line, but we held over 15 percent for the day.”
The books cashed their NFC and AFC Championship futures and most fared very well with these favorites.
“We do better on our futures with the Eagles, but we’re sitting great with both teams,” said Kornegay regarding his Super Bowl risk that has built up since last January.
Now the plan moving forward is finding out what this Super Bowl line should really be and where it is going.
“We were deciding between 5, 5.5 and 6, but we all agreed on -5.5,” said Kornegay. “We think we’re going to see some Eagles support here.”
Station Casinos opened their SB line with the Patriots -6, the money-line at -240/+190 and the total set at 47.5. The +6 lasted almost three hours Sunday night and then they moved to -5.5. The Eagles figure to get early play because it’s the most public wagered game of the year. The squares determine where this game goes because there’s more of them.
Everyone is betting this game and all remember what they saw last, the most. Patriots struggled, Eagles soared. The general tendency from the public is to bet the underdog on the money-line. By the way, the underdogs have gone 9-1 ATS in these playoffs after going 2-9 ATS last season.
“Every Patriots Super Bowl is a close game,” said Kornegay. “Last year’s six-point win was their largest margin of victory.”
This is what the Patriots do so well, but let’s really look at the number. This is a neutral field in Minnesota. Last week, oddsmakers said the Vikings were 6-points better than the Eagles on a neutral field. Doesn’t Foles get extra credit for two amazing playoff wins?
Before Carson Wentz got hurt, these two teams were rated almost the same. Philly had the No. 4 defense, but Foles caused a mass overreaction on the Eagles’ rating downgrade. Because of Foles success, I’m willing to say the drop off should only be 4.5-points from Wentz, which means the spread on this game should probably be -4.5 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see -4.
That’s why the books like -5.5 because they have a lot of wiggle room with a dead number.
The Foles props are going to be interesting with different books having varying yardage numbers that should present some middle opportunities. The Westgate crew is in rapid prop motion right now.
“We’ve already started working on our props to get a kind of a running start on them,” said Kornegay of his world famous props. “We’re looking at posting them at around 5 p.m. on Thursday and then we’ll have the sheets all prepared on Friday.”
SB 52 is a rematch from 2005 when the Patriots (-7) beat the Eagles, 24-21. It was a bookmakers’ dream with the Eagles getting the cover, but not the win. It was Brady’s third Super Bowl win in four seasons. One more note, the underdog has covered in 12 of the past 16 Super Bowls.