Books survive Pats, Eagles
By Micah Roberts
If I told you that Las Vegas' two biggest risks in Sunday's NFL Week 11 action would cover the spread, would you be inclined to believe the sports books lost on the day? How about if one them was the massive public favorite in a night game situation with almost every live parlay and teaser waiting to cash? Or how about if favorites went 8-3-1 against the spread on the day?
The answer isn't necessarily yes or no. It's complex. There were a lot of different moving parts happening in the books. Yes, the popular Eagles (-6.5) won 37-9 at Dallas on Sunday night and the Patriots (-7) beat the Raiders 33-8 while 7,200 feet above sea level in Mexico City. But some books found themselves able to withstand the most popular 13-to-5 parlay payout of the day (Pats-Eagles) and show a profit.
"Our day has actually been okay with big wins from the Bengals and Giants and covers by the Redskins (+9 at Saints) and Vikings (-2 vs. Rams)," said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick. "The Patriots (-7) was our worst game of the day, but we're thankful that it stayed Under the total (55.5)."
It should be noted that the Patriots stayed in the high altitude of Colorado Springs all last week after winning at Denver to be prepared for the excessive heights of Mexico City. The Raiders flew straight in from Oakland, which is 43 feet above sea level, on Saturday. The Patriots (8-2) have won six straight and they've covered the past four weeks. McCormick said that they did well enough from the first 11 games that an Eagles cover wouldn't make them a loser on the day. It was the same situation at the 10 MGM Resorts sports books across the strip.
"The Philly cover gives back about half of what we won on the day," said MGM's sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback just prior to kickoff. "Philly and Over (48) would be our worst scenario."
Stoneback opened the Eagles as 3.5-point favorites at Dallas and they closed at -6 -115 while most other books like Wynn and Stations closed at -6.5.
"We got a lot of sharp Dallas buy back on the phones to keep us from going to -6.5," said Stoneback.
William Hill books had 95 percent of their action on the game taking the Eagles, most of it rumored to be from one bettor who has a duffle bag full of cash and who lays six-figures, or whatever he can get, at multiple bet shops in town. He's part of the reason why there was such a rapid line movement around town. The public is the other reason as William Hill had 89 percent of the tickets written on the game taking the Eagles. Philadelphia (9-1) has won eight straight and covered its last seven. Of course they're popular, everyone is cashing with them.
The night games this season have been a thorn in the side of books for most of the season.
"Seems like all these isolated night games finish the same way with the favorite and Over happening," said Stoneback, bracing himself for the worst decision Sunday night which didn't happen. "On Thursday night we had the Steelers and Over hit and the past four Monday night's have seen favorite to the Over."
A few books lost with the Eagles decision, and others remained in the black after posted, but most were unified in the key games they won with.
Before the Giants 12-9 overtime home win against the Chiefs, KC coach Andy Reid had been 16-2 coming off a bye. The Giants (+10.5) moved to 2-8 on the season while the Chiefs dropped to 6-4 after a 5-0 start. The Chiefs only win in their last five came against the lowly Broncos, who dropped their sixth straight Sunday at home against the tired Bengals. Both those games turned out to be the biggest wins between the first 11 games of the day for MGM books.
"The Giants win was huge for us," said Stoneback. "It was half our win on the day and most of the win came from big money-line parlays taking the heavily favorites teams; they bet a lot to win a little and we've got a couple of players that routinely bet the games like that.
The Chiefs led the NFL with the fewest turnovers on the season with four, but had three passes intercepted Sunday. The Wynn Las Vegas sports book closed the game a city high +400 on the Giants money-line.
"Our second-best win was Cincinnati beating the Broncos outright in the afternoon games," Stoneback said of the Bengals 20-17 win at Denver (-3 EV). "The Broncos had a ton of parlays attached to them, a lot of which were tied to the Patriots and Eagles, but the Bengals win got posted first in the system."
The last time Denver lost six straight was in 1990, a season John Elway started all 16 games. It's a shame with him as Executive VP that he wouldn't have the team better equipped at the QB position. Maybe there's a method to his madness with the continued losing turned into a positive for the future with QB's Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph all figuring to be high draft picks.
By the way, the Bengals win snapped a 10-game losing at Denver dating back to 1975 and their win Sunday paid out at high of +135 on the money-line at the South Point. William Hill sports books reported having 92 percent of the cash on the game taking the Broncos.
The Browns looked to be on their way to getting a cover and maybe even a win, down 13-7 at home against the Jaguars with 1:14 to go and the ball. But Browns QB DeShone Kizer fumbled the ball backwards into his own end zone. After one of the Browns players couldn't recover, a Jaguars defender recovered for 6-points and a 19-7 lead. The Browns fail to cover the spread again in a brand new miserable way, this time getting +7.5. So close, and yet so far away. Cleveland is inventing new ways weekly for bettors to have epic bad beat stories. Wise guys are playing the perceived weekly value with Cleveland and getting buried.
The Buccaneers had a 30-20 win at Miami, a game where the Dolphins went from -3 to Tampa Bay -1.5 by kickoff. But the big swing with was the total which moved from 40.5 to 44. The game was sitting 23-20 with the books facing middle opportunities. Tampa Bay kicked off with seconds left after kicking the winning field goal and Miami tried a bunch laterals on the return, but their final lateral landed in the end zone and and a Buccaneer recovered for a TD. All steamed Over play gets there no matter when betting it.
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