The bosses at Las Vegas sportsbooks were feeling a little uneasy after posting the results from the first eight games in Sunday’s Week 15 NFL action with the favorites going 6-1-1 ATS. The risk showing on the later games were doubled, tripled, and quadrupled on the six remaining favorites setting the day up for massive losses.
But the books got relief with the underdogs closing the day out 1-5 ATS to provide mixed results around town.
“We lost every morning game with the exception of two which were both break even,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. “We lost our three biggest decisions — the Patriots, Buccaneers, and Eagles.
“We were concerned after the morning games that this could be one of those days. But the Jaguars and Falcons saved our day in the late games. The bottom line is we were a very small winner.”
The Patriots had not lost three straight games with Tom Brady since 2002 and it was a popular play with large and small money everywhere following the trend when the Patriots lose two straight two.
Bettors had to sweat out the Patriots sluggish offense with the Bengals leading after the first quarter and only up 13-10 at the half. But they would roll to a 34-13 win, covering a spread that ran from -9.5 to 10.5.
“Big turnaround on the late games,“ said Circa sportsbook director Matt Metcalf. “It was nice to win some afternoon games. The Cowboys were the best game of the day for us and the worst was the Eagles.”
Most books could have padded their light win with the Steelers (-1) helping out in the Sunday night game. But the Bills won, 17-10, to close out Sunday’s action making favorites 7-6-1 ATS on the day with all six underdogs winning outright and the Falcons getting the largest money-line payout of +434 at Circa sportsbook.
“The fluke TD at the end of the 49ers game sent the game over the total and we needed the under,” said Wynn sportsbook director Doug Castaneda.
On their last play, the 49ers tried to do some Cal-Stanford marching band stuff off a kickoff after the Falcons took a 23-22 lead and proceeded to fumble and the Falcons scored a TD which sent the total over 49.5 points.
“Sharps played the Falcons during the week, but we still won the game because of so much public support on the 49ers,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “The key to our good day was doing very well to teasers and parlays.”
There was another wacky last play in Washington when Dwayne Haskins fumbled and Nigel Bradham scooped it up and
ran it back for a 49 yard TD. Final score: Eagles 37-27. The spread was Eagles -6.5 and the sportsbook crowds were roaring with approval and the swing loss for the books was substantial.
“One of the worst games of the day was the Eagles,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso. “That fumble return was about a $200,000 swing.”
The Eagles covering had the books shaken because it added to the morning favorites getting there with parlays and had the perfect risk recipe for a Black Sunday brewing.
“The Philly cover swing was about a $100,000 difference for us,” Stoneback said.
Still, the books managed to survive the new “Philly Special.”
“We didn’t win many games on the day, but the three games we did win were enough to make us a small winner,” DiTommaso said. “The Chiefs’ win happened to be our best; we had lots of Broncos action on the spread and money-line. We closed at -8 and no one wanted any of it. The other wins for us were the Vikings and also the Jaguars (+7 in 20-16 win at Oakland)."
The Chiefs opened -9.5 and got as high as -10.5, but with snow expected, the Broncos became a popular wager as did the total staying under which dropped from 45 to 42.5 as the snow fell at Arrowhead.
The Chiefs would win, 23-3, a result that benefitted several books, but not all of them based on clientele.
“We did really well to the Chiefs game staying under beating out a $100,000 4-team teaser,” Stoneback said.
Some books are at the mercy of whales that casinos give extended limits to in any casino game they want to play and have completely different results in the book which made the Chiefs a loser at Wynn.
“The Packers side and the first half hurt us the most and then the Chiefs were our next biggest loser,” Castaneda said. “And then the only favorite to cover in the late game, the Vikings, was no good, either.”
The Packers (-4.5) won, 21-13, at home against the Bears and the Vikings (-1.5) blasted the Chargers, 39-10, in a sea of purple shirts at Carson, CA.
“We took a hit,” said Castaneda. “It was our worst Sunday of the season. We had two of our biggest casino players go undefeated on the day betting most of those early favorites.”
One of those whales went 6-0 riding the favorites and while Castaneda didn’t divulge details of the bet amount, it’s a safe assumption all the bets were at least $100,000.
One of the games that flipped in public opinion over the weekend was the Rams, who on Friday were one of the three most wagered upon teams. The Cowboys (+1) knew the Eagles won at Washington and had to keep pace in the NFC East where the two are tied for the lead at 7-7 and they put a beatdown on the Rams, 44-21, almost as bad as the Ravens did four weeks ago. But Cowboys money showed on Saturday and Sunday to make the books’ win not as large as it appeared it would.
“Our best game ended up being the Seahawks despite it landing 6,” Stoneback said of Seattle’s 30-24 win. “Even though we opened -5.5 and were at -6 for a while, most of our action was taken at -6.5.”
Stoneback also said the Texans’ 24-21 win at Tennessee (-3) in the battle for the AFC South was a good result for them.
We’ve got two weeks left to see if that big favorites day will happen. Sunday looked like it was the day, at least early, and the underdogs stepped up late and said they were still in charge of the 2019 NFL wagering season.