Books roll in Week 1
September 11, 2017
By Micah Roberts
What comes around always goes around, and the boomerang effect for Las Vegas sports books came flying back in their favor in Week 1 NFL action where the public struggled to cash their favorite wagers.
Last year was the worst NFL season Las Vegas had ever experienced, but they came roaring out of the gate this year with almost a perfect wish list of games working for the house.
"Anytime you get a popular favorite like Houston losing outright, it's a good start for the book,' said Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci. "And then on top of that we get the Browns (+10) and Bears (+7) covering, it really gave us a nice early start."
The Jaguars were getting +6 at Houston and the Texans garnered lots of support from the public, especially considering expected emotions of Hurricane Harvey that would have the Texans at their best. Jacksonville, with their own hurricane issues dealing with Irma, came strong early and never let up in a 29-7 win which paid +220 on the money-line.
The Bears came close to winning late, but settled for a 23-17 loss to the popular Falcons who had 84 percent of all tickets written at William Hill sports books. The chain of 108 books also had 75 percent of their tickets written on the Steelers who escaped with a 21-18 win at Cleveland where rookie QB DeShone Kizer (20-30-1-1- 222) looked pretty good. Or least he gave some optimism compared to recent years at the QB position.
"The Bears would have been the game of the day for us if they won," said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay, "but it still all turned out well for us, coupled with the Browns and Jaguars getting there."
It was the same story all around town as the books struck back early with revenge from 2016's awful NFL season.
"We did pretty good today," said CG Technology VP of risk Jason Simbal. " We won our two biggest games of the day with the Browns and Bears, but we gave some of it back late with the Panthers and Packers covering."
Most books gave a bunch back in the three afternoon games, but still held well heading into the late game with the Giants getting +5.5 at Dallas, and later +6 at a few shops.
"We needed the 49ers and we also needed the Colts while the Seahawks-Packers was evenly split with us seeing more Seahawks parlay action but more straight wagers on the Packers," Avello said.
The Colts were originally -3 when QB Andrew Luck was supposed to play, but the Westgate closed the Rams as the 4-point favorite without him and the Rams rolled to a ho-hum 46-9 win. Without Luck, these Colts looked to easily be the worst team in football. Keep him in mind with every wagering equation moving forward because he's worth 7-points to the number.
The Panthers (-5) won 23-3 at San Francisco and the Packers (-3) beat the Seahawks, 17-9, for their third consecutive meeting.
In then end, after the Cowboys' 19-3 win against the Giants, the books still came out ahead.
Something that was a regular occurrence with a free roll of NFL bettors in 2016, turned out nice for the books in 2017. The bookmakers that lost some hair while it turned gray, and had a lot of sleepless nights last season thanks to the public piling on, can have carefree night of sleep knowing they won the first of 17 weeks a winner.
Under was the word with 10 of the 12 games staying Under. Six of the 12 games stayed Under with four of the underdogs winning outright.
There wasn't a lot unveiled for each team other than the Bengals looking awful at home in 20-0 loss to the Ravens and the Colts being terrible without Luck. All the best for Week 2.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 12 years.
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