Vegas Money Moves - DP
January 12, 2018
By Micah Roberts
NFL Playoff Betting Results
The Las Vegas sports books came away with big wins last week with all four underdogs covering the spread in the Wild Card round and they'd love a repeat this weekend in the Divisional Playoff round when all the heavyweights are in action.
In the AFC we've got two big home favorites, but in the NFC we've got an oddity Saturday with the No. 1 seed getting points at home to the No. 6 seed.
I've never seen that before.
Obviously the reason for such a turnaround in team ratings which has the AtlantaFalcons favored at Philadelphia at various degrees of -3 is because of injured quarterback Carson Wentz meaning more to the Eaglesly rating than previously anticipated.
At the time Wentz went down with a season ending knee injury in Week 14, the Eagles were rated as the top team in the NFC. With oddsmakers losing confidence in back-up quarterback Nick Foles weekly -- he's 0-3 against the spread as a starter since taking over QB duties, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said Sunday night that Wentz is probably now worth 8 to 9-points which puts him in Aaron Rodgers' territory as the most important QB to the number.
On Saturday night, the Westgate posted the Falcons as 2.5-point road favorites and by Sunday they had already been pushed to -2.5 -120 and then to -3 EVEN. Eagles money took it and they dropped back down, moved up and down again. On Monday they moved to -3 EVEN and it's stayed there all week. This has been the most balanced game of the four this weekend, but the books still need the Eagles and Under (40.5). Keep an eye on the weather with Philly winds expected to reach 18 mph and temperature at 34 degrees.
"Our worst situation is the favorites and Over in all the games," said SuperBook manager Ed Salmons who has the Eagles at 14-to-1 to win the Super Bowl and the Falcons 8-to-1. "The underdogs winning straight up would be best for us."
Could the books actually see another weekend with all the 'dogs covering? Last season in the Divisional round, two of the road underdogs won outright (Pittsburgh and Green Bay) and two of the favorites covered (Atlanta and New England). The books would take that scenario again.
"We're going to need a 'dog to win, preferably the Jaguars and Eagles," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal.
The Steelers are seven-point home favorites against the Jaguars in Sunday's early game, the same spread as when the Jaguars won 30-9 at Pittsburgh in Week 5, a game where Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions. William Hill's 107 sports books across Nevada have the Steelers as their most one-sided bet game of the weekend taking in 82 percent of the cash.
Still, despite the masses siding with the Steelers, most books have all dropped down from -7.5 down to -7 or some variation of -7 EVEN or +105. It matters who makes the bet, and respected money has some Jacksonville action to have the books dropping them despite being long.
Are the Steelers rusty or rested? Jacksonville has momentum of playing last week. Also, we have drama. The most bizarre time for Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell to shout out his 2018 contract demands came this week. He says he'll retire if the Steelers use the franchise tag on him. Whatever, dude. The total on the game has been holding steady at 41.
Saturday's late game has the Patriots as 13.5-point home favorites against the Titans with a total set at 48. William Hill books have seen 80 percent of the cash come in on the Patriots who have gone 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games. It looks like a re-run of last season.
However, the Titans have covered six of their last seven and saw how dominating running back Derrick Henry can be as the feature player after dicing up the Chiefs last week.
The Patriots are inflated by almost 4-points, but that's the luxury tax you pay for a team that went 3-0 ATS in the playoffs last season and they've covered almost every week for the past three months. It pays to bet on the Patriots so bettors keep doing it despite quite a few fans tired of seeing the Pats dominance last so long. The Westgate has the Patriots listed as 8-to-5 favorites to win the Super Bowl with the Titans as the longest shot at 80/1 odds.
Sunday's late game has the Vikings as five-point home favorites over the Saints with a few books holding at -4.5. The Vikings opened -3.5 on Sunday night. If getting Vikings action at -4.5, why not just be at the dead number of -5 and even then why not try to bait someone with +5.5, another dead number. William Hill had the Vikings receiving 60 percent of the cash on this game.
The Westgate has the Vikings 3-to-1 to win the Super Bowl -- the favorite from the NFC -- and the Saints 6-to-1. Both odds are lower than either team in the Eagles-Falcons game.
The Saints come in going 2-6 ATS in their last eight while the Vikings have gone 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 home games.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 13 years.
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