Betting Public earns small win
November 19, 2012
By Micah Roberts
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The Las Vegas sports books had mixed reviews over the weekend with the favorites going 6-6 against-the-spread, but collectively it’s fair to say the bettors got the best of them in Week 11. The day was going nice for the sports books until the Lions blew a six-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.
The Packers -- laying three points -- not only got the winning touchdown, but they got the ball back and kicked a field goal to cover thanks to the Lions having four straight incompletions when they got the chance to respond, turning the ball over on downs and refusing to let the Packers run the clock out, using their final two timeouts.
Much to the delight of the crowd in the sports book, their luck on what was a bad day was starting to turn. The Packers were the most popular bet of the day, which kept a lot of bettors alive and helped them gain some momentum that spilled over into a game in Carolina.
The Buccaneers (-1.5) began an 80-yard drive, down 21-13 to the Panthers with 1:02 remaining and no timeouts. The Bucs got the touchdown and tied the game with a two-point conversion. They also scored a touchdown in overtime making the score 27-21, which not only gave the popular Bucs the cover, but also sent the total OVER the number (47).
In a matter of five minutes, the sports books went from having a great day thanks to the Browns, Jets, Cardinals, and Jags covering to being on the brink on massive late game jeopardy heading into the afternoon where everyone was on the Patriots, Saints, and Broncos.
The Patriots and Saints both covered and sent their games OVER (if you got 54 1/2 on New Orleans) the total, a nice four-team parlay bettors capitalized on. If the Broncos won, the bettors would have easily had their second best Sunday of the season.
Fortunately for the books, Philip Rivers got some protection against a prevent defense in the final four minutes with the Broncos -- favored by 7.5 -- leading by 14, and was able to lead the Chargers 80 yards for the back-door touchdown. However, there was some drama involved that made both the bettors and books sweat it for another four agonizing minutes as the touchdown was under review.
The touchdown came on a fourth down play, so if was ruled no touchdown, the game would essentially be over. Sports book directors all across town collectively held their breath until the official announced the call on the field was upheld, touchdown Chargers.
The books were saved by the Chargers, but the tremendous weight of bets on the Packers, Bucs, Patriots, and Saints was enough to get the bettors a little spending money for shopping on Black Friday.
OVER the Rainbow, a Pot of Gold
It took a miracle to keep the Buccaneers OVER streak alive on Sunday at Carolina, but after a few weeks of watching this Tampa Bay offense in action, calling anything they do offensively 'a miracle' is probably way off base.
It may have taken an 80-yard drive with a minute remaining and no time-outs, culminated with a two-point conversion to tie the Panthers 21-21, and then a touchdown in overtime to get to 48 points and their seventh straight OVER, but those last two drives of the game looked pretty much like the same Bucs I’ve been watching for the past six weeks.
The combination of Doug Martin running the ball and Josh Freeman toying with opposing defenses as he fires darts to a great receiving corps makes them one of the best offenses in football. For the last four weeks, bettors have simply been able to bet the Bucs and OVER on a two-team parlay paying 13-to-5, and cash. That combination has happened in five of the past six weeks.
The Broncos' streak of four straight covers is finished after getting back-doored on Sunday against the Chargers, but they continue to be a strong play betting the totals OVER in their games. For the first time in franchise history, the Broncos have scored 30 points or more in five straight games. They have gone OVER the number in five of their past six games.
After starting the season with two straight games UNDER the total, the Patriots have reeled off eight straight OVERS. On Sunday, they beat the total of 54 themselves by five points. Most bettors religiously bet the Patriots just because of the scoring, but don’t come with the same tenacity at the betting windows on the Pats OVER.
Unlike the pointspread that has caught and passed the Patriots by with over-inflation, the totals offered hasn’t seemed to have caught up with them. For the same reasons bettors take the Pats weekly, they should also be betting the total OVER. You know the Patriots can score as many as they want on most teams, but they have a knack for letting teams harass them in the late stages of games. They’ve only lost three games this season by a combined four points, but 8-2 to the OVER sounds much better than 6-4 against-the-spread.
This Thursday, the common wager tying almost everyone to a Thanksgiving parlay together will be the Texans (-3) at Detroit, Cowboys (-4) against the Redskins and the Patriots (-6.5) at the Jets. The OVER in all three games will also be the most bet upon on the totals.
In order for the sports books to not lose on the day, they need to beat at least one of the sides and two of the totals, or vice-versa.
Alabama-Notre Dame Dream matchup for Vegas
No offense to Oregon or Kansas State, but the Las Vegas sports books weren’t looking forward to that matchup for a business stance. Just like the television networks, the books want the best possible matchup to create the most buzz for the BCS Championship game. The more people are intrigued with the matchup, the more bets will be taken at the windows.
With Oregon and Kansas State losing on Saturday, the books get their dream matchup that would involve No. 1 Notre Dame against No. 2 Alabama. The Fighting Irish haven’t been No. 1 since the 1993 season and have their massive following around the country excited again, which will translate to big action at the betting windows.
“Obviously from a business standpoint, we’re rooting for an Alabama-Notre Dame matchup to become a reality,” said William Hill’s Jimmy Vaccaro. ”If we get that game with the intrigue already built in between the two storied programs, and the length of time that it will be on the board from early December to almost mid-January, it will be the single biggest handle on any college football game ever booked.”
Beyond all the regulars that have made their attempt at wagering a college football game this season, having Notre Dame playing for the championship brings in that fringe audience into the book that may have not wagered all season, or ever. These people want feel a little bit of nostalgia from the past and somehow be part of a magical Notre Dame season. Making a wager for as little as $5 gives these type of fans a vested interest in their team.
By the way, oddsmaker Kenny White says he would make Alabama -7 over Notre Dame with a total of 38.
The New Lake Show
Mike D’Antoni hasn’t even taken over for the Lakers on the sideline yet, but it’s clear that his presence within the organization is already showing up in the box score. D’Antoni likes his teams to run, and the Lakers are running having scored 114 points against the Suns on Friday night and 119 Sunday night against the Rockets. The Lakers have covered and gone OVER in three of their past four games.
While we shouldn’t expect to see home totals on the Lakers at as low as 200 anymore, the adjustment process to the sports books will take to find the proper rating for home and road totals may take a few weeks.