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Books get middled on opener

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It was a little over a month ago when everyone was wondering what was going to happen with the Brett Favre saga in Minnesota. Would he stay, or would he go? The Las Vegas sportsbooks played the game along the way, as Favre’s decision was unknown through multiple false reports of his intentions, adjusting a week one opening line that opened as far back as Apr. 29 with the Super Bowl champion Saints being a solid four-point home favorite to the Vikings in a rematch of the NFC title game.

The line got as high as 6 ½-points at many books as they bobbed and weaved through all the smoke signals and tweets of misinformation until finally settling at 4 ½ leading into this week. The public money came in support of the Saints early in the week with enough cash cumulatively to count for a worthy move to 5 and eventually 5 ½ by Wednesday.

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Moving to 5 and 5 ½ was easy an easy move according to any standard bookmaking text because those are the deadest of all numbers. The loneliest of numbers in NFL margin of victory from one through eight is 5. In traditional bookmaking philosophy, because the number is so dead, it doesn’t even take a full limit wager to move off the number. It’s almost like if the tidal wave of action is coming -- which it looked like -- then get closer to -6 and let them lay that.

That standard bookmaking gets thrown out the window when a team misses an extra-point in a low-scoring game and then the same top drafted fantasy football kicker misses two easy field-goals. That’s exactly what happened in Thursday night’s kickoff to the 2010 NFL season when the Saints won by the deadest of all numbers, five, in a 14-9 victory over the Vikings.

Once the sportsbooks all got to -5 ½, the sharp Viking money started coming in almost as if they knew the number was key in this instance as opposed to all other games when it does mean nothing. Most of the books around town closed at -4 ½ or 5, but surprisingly even with most of the shops getting middled somewhat, the books still made out well because the total didn’t come close to going over the posted number of 48 ½, which basically eliminated a large portion of parlays.

By eliminating the predominant parlays heading into the weekend with either Vikings or Saints to the over, all the those funds tied to the 'over' into Sunday’s games went to the house. The only folks who made out collectively were the sharps.

Some of the risk that is still active lies with ties-win parlay cards where most of the city settled on the supposed dead number of “5” which is now active on both sides going into this weekend's college and pro football games. Bettors who played parlays off the board at -5 will get a push and reduce down, but nevertheless, they are still active as well which isn’t good for house since this was the most bet game of the week.

The Vegas sports ooks may have cashed in pretty large today despite the sharps siding them, but there is still considerable risk due to the results which will weigh heavily on the weekend decision. Should the likes of the Colts, Titans, Packers, Cowboys and Dolphins cover Sunday, the final losing tally for the books heading into Monday will be more than doubled what it would have been had there been a 3 or 7-point decision on Thursday night’s Saints game.

In more ways than ever thought, even from a betting perspective, Brett Favre brings drama to the table like no other.

  
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