The Texans’ 28-22 Sunday night win against the Patriots (-3 -120) capped off an amazing Sunday for underdogs who ended up going 8-4 against the spread with seven of them winning outright.
In an ongoing story throughout this season, when the ‘dogs do well, the public doesn’t and that was the case again in Week 13.
“The Packers, Chiefs, and Buccaneers were really bad for us,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “But ‘dogs like the Redskins, Dolphins, 49ers, and Broncos ended up being very helpful (to the bottom line). It was a solid Sunday with liability rolling into the Patriots game but it’s not gigantic.”
For most books, the fate of their day was resting in the hands of the Patriots. They needed the Texans in a spot where all the Sunday carryover risk and Thanksgiving risk piled into the final game to be posted and most live parlays and teasers had the Patriots.
“We give back most of the win on the day if the Patriots cover,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback before kickoff.
The Patriots had a late surge, sending the game over the total which opened at 44.5 and closed at 47, but the final score really isn’t as indicative of how poorly the Patriots executed. Tom Brady was upset, too, yelling at teammates in the first quarter.
The Patriots (10-2) drop to the No. 2 seed in the AFC with the Ravens (10-2) taking over No. 1 after they beat the 49ers (10-2) in Baltimore, 20-17. The possible Super Bowl preview featuring the two highest-scoring teams in the NFL had rain and wind slowing both offenses down. The 49ers’ (+5.5) cover makes them 7-4-1 ATS this season.
“Our best game of the day was the Niners covering and the worst was the Packers,” said Wynn sportsbook director Doug Castaneda.
The books were dreading two teams coming into the weekend — the Patriots and Packers. They were the two games with the most lopsided with ticket counts and cash taken in that could thump the books together with 13-to-5 two-team payouts, but more so as being a root two-teamer attached to several other legs in parlays.
“There are twice as many bets on the Packers then there are on any other team today,” Caesars Director of Trading Jeff Davis said before the morning games started.
The Packers’ 31-13 win at the Giants (2-10) in the snow never had the look of the Giants covering +6.5. The Packers now move to 9-3 and atop the NFC North with the 8-4 Vikings falling at Seattle Monday night.
“The Steelers game was good for just because we took $200,000 on the Browns -1.5 earlier in the week,” Stoneback said.
The Browns closed as a 1-point favorite at Pittsburgh, but the Steelers’ defense was the key in the 20-13 win, along with third-string QB Devin Hodges managing the game well enough. The Browns drop to 5-7 while the Steelers improve to 7-5 and remain alive in the playoff mix.
“We didn’t win a lot of games on the day,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso. “Our best game ended up being the Broncos, but the Titans, Buccaneers and Bengals game hurt us the most. The Bucs moved to the favorite and we had bets on them at each move.”
The Broncos’ 20-17 home win against the Chargers (-4.5) was done behind rookie QB Drew Lock making his NFL debut. It was because of Lock starting that so many bet the Chargers from -2.5 up to -4.5. Both teams are now 4-8 sitting in the AFC West cellar.
DiTommaso said his CG books had a bettor lay $15,000 on the Dolphins to win at +425 odds and the Dolphins would pick up a 37-31 win against the Eagles. They also had $50,000 bet late on the Texans against the Patriots, so they had a different type of action on the day from other books and may not have held as good a percentage as some. But they still won.
The three lowest-rated teams in the NFL, the Ugly-3, all pulled off upsets. The Dolphins (+10), Redskins (+10.5 at Carolina), and winless Bengals (+2.5 vs. Jets) were three of the seven dogs that won outright. The three-team money-line parlay, for those so bold, would have paid out at 68-to-1 odds.
I think this season more than any other illustrates just how much parity there is in the league and how the spread always catches up with any team, good or bad. The Bengals just got their first win of the season, but they’re 5-6-1 ATS. The Redskins have themselves a two-game win streak to push them to 3-9, but they’re 5-7 ATS. The Dolphins moved to 3-9 straight-up with Sunday’s win and improved to 6-6 ATS.
Those are the three-worst teams on paper, but the spread makes them a .500 club. The worst cover teams, the number working in reverse exposing some overrated teams, are the Bears (3-9 ATS) and Falcons (3-8-1 ATS).