Bettors parlay bookies into submission
November 07, 2018 3:00 AM
by Micah Roberts
Call it the pounding by parlay.
Nevada sports books got beat for the third consecutive week in NFL action, but Week 9 was a little different. The house got smoked, roughed up and knocked out in an epic parlay performance by the public, one of the best jobs the masses have done against the spreads in state history.
Let’s just call the collective Nevada loss Sunday at estimated $7 million.
“It was the worst day of the year by a country mile,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich.
The public has currently got the house on the ropes and while the normal strategy of the books is to keep the public guessing, hoping to see them zig when they should zag, the shoe is on the other foot now and overreactions on popular teams should be expected such as the Chiefs being 16.5-point home favorites against the Cardinals this weekend, which is about a 3-point overlay.
But who wants to bet against the Chiefs, who are now an NFL-best 8-1 against-the-spread after their 37-21 win at Cleveland despite wise guys routinely grabbing the +8.5 with the Browns.
“It’s the worst Sunday we’ve had in quite some time,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick.
The ticket writers had an unusually busy Sunday with multiple fills from the cage needed to pay out the large parlay action cashing during each stage of Sunday’s action.
“I looked in my drawer and noticed I had a huge amount of those long tickets I cashed out,” said a ticket writer from one of the local properties regarding the multiple-legged parlays cashing.”Usually the stack of tickets I have are the short ones with straight bets or two-teamers, but I had to fold over several of them to keep the stack under control. It was as if I had bet number 453 (Chiefs) programmed in my machine. It seemed to be on every ticket.”
The lines to cash were huge all Sunday night and I’m told the tips from the happy customers were extraordinary.
Favorites only went 6-5 ATS Sunday with all five of the short underdogs winning outright and sharp money did poorly, but the public went for sports book’s jugular with all their key games in parlays and teasers. It wasn’t just four and five-teamers cashing this week, it was eight teamers and 10-team parlays regularly paying out. The 10-teamer pays 800-to-1, odds the books can’t recover from when several hundred bettors have the same sides.
“We’re getting crushed,” said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback Sunday after the 1 p.m. games posted. “We had a big 4-team parlay hit in Mississippi with a $35,000 that paid over $400,000 with the Rams-Saints Over, Texans, Bears at -115, and the Chiefs.
“New Jersey was a non-factor in overall decisions. But collectively for all properties, it was a bad day.”
Stoneback said that if the late game came Pats and Over that it would be one of the top-5 losses he’s ever seen in the industry. He’s got almost 30 years in the business. Things went so bad for the sports book in Sunday’s first 10 games that there was no way out in the Sunday night game. Most books showed an all-way loss with the Patriots and Packers. No way out and the Patriots 31-17 win was the cherry on top of many big parlays cashing. Sharp Packers money dropped the Patriots from -6.5 down to -5, but their money pales in comparison to multiplying public parlay payouts.
The highest total of the week was the Saints-Rams game at 60.5 and it had been bet down to 57.5 by sharp money. But the public still bet it Over and they were correct with the Saints’ 45-35 slugfest win. As for the spread on the game, the Saints went from a 1-point favorite to a 2-point underdog by kickoff due to sharp Rams money.
“We had sharp money on the Rams, but the public kept playing the Saints no matter what the spread was,” Stoneback said.
The public is definitely in a zone right now.
“We took a bath,” said Caesars senior oddsmaker Alan Berg. ”But thankfully plenty of Sundays are still to come. The worst games for us were the Chiefs, Vikings, Panthers. Our best game was the Chargers. That’s it for sides, Pats game staying under made us a tiny winner on that game.”
The Chargers (+1) were one of three underdogs to win outright in the 1 p.m games with a 25-17 win at Seattle. The Vikings (-5) beat the Lions 24-9, aided by a team-record 10 sacks against Matt Stafford. The total moved from 50.5 down to staying 47, one of the few sharp moves to cash on the day.
“The public crushed it (Sunday),” said Stoneback. “September was a month where everything went our way, but it is going the same rate against us the past few weeks.”
The news wasn’t all bad for the sports books as the bleeding was held just to Sunday’s game. The Monday night game with the Titans at Dallas (-5.5) had sharp money push the Titans down from -6.5 early in the week, but most of the big parlays had already cashed. The public simply re-booted with the Cowboys to cap off an epic week, but the Titans pulled off the 28-14 upset getting Over the 40.5 total.
“Fantastic Monday night result,” said Berg. “We made a quarter of what we lost on Sunday with the Cowboys losing and NBA results.”
No need to cry for the sports books, they’ll be just fine and things always cycle around in the house’s favor. But in this small window of the current cycle, the public has its groove on and they’re feeling it, coming strong full of confidence to the bet windows. When the sports books lose so badly on a week where favorites went just 6-7 ATS, that’s a sign the public has the magic touch.