Pats bail out Vegas books

Bettors had themselves quite a Sunday in NFL Week 10 action as they dominated a larger than usual afternoon schedule with five of the popular six favorites winning and covering. It was a day of favorites with five of the games winning on both sides of the teaser, but the entire fate of the sportsbooks Sunday would come down to the favored Ravens at New England in the night game.

“We’re hanging by a thread, but will likely end up being a loser most likely with all the liability we have tonight,” Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Jay Kornegay said before kickoff of the late game. He said the Steelers (-6.5 vs. Bengals), Raiders (-3.5 vs. Broncos), and Saints (-9.5 vs. 49ers) did the most collective damage on the day while the Giants (+190 vs. Eagles), Jaguars (+13.5 at Green Bay in 24-20 loss), and Dolphins (-1.5 vs. Chargers) were games they fared well in.

The Patriots would win, 23-17, against the Ravens (-7) and payout as high as +270 at the Golden Nugget on the money line while staying under the total of 44. At most bet shops, the Ravens were doom and gloom because of so much teaser action on them and being the last leg of most parlays on the day.

“I think the favorites started 10-1 with the Giants being the only underdog to win outright,” said Kornegay before the Patriots made it 10-2. “We have tremendous liability with Ravens and over, but we were fortunate the Masters ended up being good for us. It gave us a little cushion but we’re looking at giving it all back plus some.”

We’re definitely in a new era of sports betting when golf is bailing books out on an NFL Sunday. Way to go, Jeff Sherman, the pioneer of golf betting in Las Vegas. The Patriots now move to 4-5 straight-up and against-the-spread as Cam Newton threw his first TD pass in five games and perhaps gave proof that the Patriots can be trusted again while the Ravens (6-3, 4-5 ATS) look tired as QB Lamar Jackson still tries to show he can be a pocket passer. Still, the risk was through the roof. Check out the biggest operation in America.

“Huge,” said William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich when asked about his risk in the late game. “If Ravens win and cover it will be our worst week of the season.”

The good news with the Patriots win is all drama with the sportsbooks building risk on the game finally came to an end. They saw the favorites build a perfect storm for big parlays to hit and had to sweat it out a few hours but were rewarded with a Patriots win. The books got what they were looking for.

“The Patriots outright would make us a slight winner on the day,” said South Point’s Chris Andrews, a theme that would play out almost everywhere.

“We have big late risk on the Ravens,” said Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick. “Giants and Texans were good in the morning, but the afternoon with the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, and Saints were popular parlay sides.”

It’s almost easier to hear about the losses after it happens, but as you can tell, there were some heavy sweats by bookmakers across the state.

“We’re getting killed,” said Reno Atlantis sportsbook director Marc Nelson. “And it’s all coming from parlays and teasers. We need Patriots to cover for a ton and Pats winning outright is the only winner for the game. We’ll still lose for the day, though.”

The crazy thing about it all is that the wiseguys most books slap with policies to slow their betting down is that they lost right along with the books. They loved the Broncos, Chargers and Bengals, but air moves on numbers or just being too conservative cost them getting real moves up the ladder. Circa Sports director Matt Metcalf, who deals mostly with sharp action, said they had a good day before the Ravens outcome.

The sportsbooks also got a couple of gift plays that went their way. With a minute to go in the Browns’ 10-7 win against the Texans, Nick Chubb rambled for 59 yards and went out of bounds at the 1-yard line to show how smart he is. If he scores, it’s a two-possession game, as opposed to being a one-possession game at 10-7. It’s a show-off move that shows he’s about team-first, which is cool, but everyone who laid the Browns at -3.5 or -4, didn’t like to be shown up with no mathematical sense.

The Cardinals got up to -3 EVEN at home against the Bills after being -2.5 for most of the week. So after DeAndre Hopkins caught a “Hail Murray” for the game-winning TD, 32-30, Kyler Murray downed the extra-point attempt. But despite costing bettors unnecessarily as Chubb did in Cleveland, Murray made the right choice, A blocked extra point attempt ran back will net 2 points and tie the game. Same with a pick or fumble on a run going for two. Down the ball, exit risk, win the game.

Congratulations bettors, you did well in Week 10. Let’s hope you carry some momentum into Week 11 and then Thanksgiving. You’ve got Christmas gifts to buy during a pandemic, you need some extra cash and you’ve got extra pressure.

But stay the course. The sportsbooks can’t wait for 2020 to end, so give them something really scary to think about at night as the fourth quarter of this weird season closes.