Las Vegas Money Moves
October 19, 2012
By Micah Roberts
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The Seattle Seahawks seem to be involved in every dicey situation Las Vegas sports books have had to deal with this season. In Week 3, we had the questionable touchdown call against the Packers that gave the Seahawks the win and cover, while Thursday night we had a Seahawks safety smartly declined by 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
Two additional points for the 49ers would have meant instead of being a 13-6 score, and a non-cover, it would have been 15-6 with almost everyone covering.
The funny part about all of this is that bettors could have had at least a push in the Thursday night game laying the 49ers if they would have made a bet prior to Thursday. The game had been up on the board since Sunday night, and was -7 through Wednesday. 7.5’s didn’t start popping up until Thursday morning.
Once it was clear that the public was still betting the 49ers on game day at 7 ½, it didn’t take long for bookmakers like Jay Kornegay at the LVH Super Book to bypass the dead number of 8 and go right to 8.5.
So yeah, it was a bad beat, but if you lost on the 49ers laying 7 ½, you were late to the party, and if you made a straight bet at -7 ½, you should have paid the extra .10 cents and erased the hook. And I’m not just saying that now after the fact. Seven lands the second most time out of any margin of victory in the NFL at a 9.6 percent clip over the past five seasons.
When dealing with three -- the most common margin of victory (14.5%), most sports books won’t allow you to buy off it because it’s so key. So being able to buy a half off such a key number like seven for only .10 cents is pretty good value.
And really, was the decision that bad of a beat? It would have taken a bad beat to make a 49ers bet a winner. What about the Seahawks bettors who had the right side all game? The 49ers weren’t even covering in this game at any juncture and were outplayed.
If anything, your prayer to the cover Gods was heard, and almost fulfilled, but at the last second, even they thought a cover like a safety in a game with less than minute remaining, where the team favored by 8.5 is winning 13-6 was too much of a miracle to make happen.
The end result in Vegas wasn’t that big of a deal, not even close to exaggerated reports that surfaced in Week 3 when some 'experts' reported that $15 million changed hands as a result of the bad call on the Packers-Seahawks.
Most of the bets from the week were a push with the Thursday 49ers money losing. Sports books on the strip aren’t full like they will be on the weekend, and didn’t take a lot of action. Most of all, the game stayed UNDER the total which was good for the books.
Here’s a look at some of the moves from Week 7:
-- The game of the week looks to be the Jets at the Patriots, just because Rex Ryan does all the promoting like Don King with all his wild predictions. He did say the Jets would beat the Patriots, but what’s new? He says it all the time and he’s been right three of the seven games they’ve played. But Las Vegas isn’t buying the hype and opened Ryan as 12-point underdogs, the highest number ever placed on his Jets while being the coach. Sharp money bet the game down to 10.5, while small money has bet the Patriots with whatever line was available. The Mirage had the lowest number at -10 on Thursday, but are back up to -10 ½.
-- The Bills opened as 3-point home favorites against the Titans and have been bet up -3 ½ (-120), mostly because the Titans have been so bad on the road this season.
-- The Vikings were initially 4 ½-point home favorites against the Cardinals, but the combination of Kevin Kolb being out and the Vikings impressing bettors this season has moved the line up to 6 ½.
-- The Browns were getting +3 on the road at Indianapolis, but it didn’t last long as bettors jumped on the key number of three and took the points. The Colts are currently -2 ½ (EV).
-- The Texans moved from an opener of -5 at home to -6 ½ against the Ravens, who will be without Ray Lewis. The bigger blow to the Ravens is losing defensive back Ladarius Webb.
-- The Packers have remained 5 ½-point road favorites at St. Louis with lots of respect given to the Rams, who are 3-0 straight-up at home this season as an underdog.
-- The Cowboys were initially Pick ’em at Carolina, but the line quickly moved to Cowboys -2 ½.
-- The Redskins beat the Giants in both games last season, which may be why bettors found the Redskins +7 so attractive and pushed the game down to 6.
-- The Raiders opened as 4 ½-point home favorites against the Jaguars and are currently -4.
-- The Steelers opened -2 ½ at Cincinnati and have been moved to -1 ½. Ben Roethlisberger injured his ankle in practice, but what’s new, that thing has been injured for five years.
The sports books have the potential of getting beat up pretty good this week because there are only two afternoon games, with one them being the perennial public favorite New England Patriots. With less options in the afternoon, that game takes on more of a Sunday or Monday night appeal where almost every dollar bet in the afternoon will be wagered on that game. Patriots to the OVER will have the same bad affect as an isolated night game.