Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM
Books hammer public in Week 14
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It was electric Sunday in Las Vegas for Week 14 of NFL action, but the wild turn of events in several key games didn't result in wins for the majority of bettors. Favorites ended up going 5-9 against-the-spread with seven underdogs winning outright capped off at night by the Bears handing the NFC-leading Rams their second loss of the season in a 15-6 win.
"It was a great day," said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. "It was the second best day of the season so far. We had a nice combination of large casino players mixed in with heavy public action and then the sharps didn't do particularly well, either. The few games we lost were small losses and the wins we had were significant."
The Bears (+3) win Sunday night was the cherry on top of a perfect Sunday for the MGM books. The Bears crushed any parlay liability that had survived from the first 13 games.
It was a different story over at the South Point with the late game. "We needed the favorite," said Jimmy Vaccaro who will be leaving soon for a gig in Pennsylvania. Vaccaro grew up in the Pittsburgh area, was featured on the Simpsons as a [...] and just about every person in the betting world knows his name. He's going home because sports betting is legal there now. He's been in Las Vegas since 1975 on what was a simple cross-country road trip. Anyway, despite the Rams losing, the South Point book still won.
There was just one popular favorite that cashed at the majority of the books.
"Surprisingly, the Saints covering wasn't that big of a deal to us," said Stoneback. "The larger bets on the game were all taking the Bucs and the smaller money was on the Saints, but with so many of the other favorites not getting there wasn't a lot live to tie the Saints into with teasers and parlays."
Tampa had a storm roll through that appeared to slow the Saints early on as they trailed 14-3 at the half. But as the sunshine came out and the rain went away, the Saints offense woke up and they went on 25-0 run in the second half to win 28-14 and covered the spread that ran from -8.5 to -9.5. Due to the Rams loss, the Saints are now the NFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
"The Browns and Ravens were our big games of the day and then the Raiders win was a close third," said Stoneback. "We knocked out a lot of teasers with those and the Steelers losing was the best result for us in regards to large money-line favorite parlays."
How about those Browns? It's hard not to cheer for them after a few seasons of misery. They beat the Panthers, 26-20 sending Carolina to its fifth straight loss (0-5 ATS).
The Chiefs found themselves in another battle, this time against the No. 1 ranked defense of the Ravens. It took overtime for Kansas City to win 27-24, but you can see some drag on the Chiefs excitement level with bettors because they're not covering after starting a perfect 7-0 ATS. They're now 1-4-1 ATS in their last six with a very liberal defense having trouble stopping just about every squad they've faced lately. But there still is the reality of the Chiefs only two losses coming on the road by three points against the Patriots and Rams. They're gunning for the No. 1 seed at 11-2.
The Ravens maintain their No. 6 slot in the AFC playoff race with three other teams at 7-6 as well who are outside looking into the picture. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson got hurt during overtime so be sure to check his status before betting Sunday's game against the Buccaneers. Jackson's play is simple and he misses a lot of targets, but it's effective with his running game and the Ravens defense doing their thing. Coach John Harbaugh thinks so as well which is why regular starter Joe Flacco wasn't even active, despite being healthy, Sunday. The current back-up is Robert Griffin III.
"We moved the Chiefs down from 4/1 to 7/2 odds after today and we also dropped the Colts from 75/1 down to 60/1 after today's results," said Stoneback about his Super Bowl futures adjustments.
The Colts (+4) came up with a huge road win, 24-21, at Houston and halted the Texans' nine-game win streak. Indy is one of those 7-6 teams chasing Baltimore for the final Wild Card slot.
"The best games for us were the Raiders, Colts, and Packers," said Vaccaro.
The Raiders were the biggest underdogs of the day paying out at +475 at the Wynn in a 24-21 win against the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is now 0-4 at Oakland as the Steelers have now lost three straight. The Packers looked sharp in a 34-20 win against a bad Falcons squad in the first game since Packers coach Mike McCarthy got fired.
The most electric play of the day happened at the end of the Patriots game at Miami when Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake was at the end of several laterals to score a 69-yard TD as time ran out to win, 34-33. It was a record for longest game-winning play to end a game. The Patriots were bet up from -8.5 to -9 and the Dolphins win paid out +360 at MGM books. It was the ultimate teaser killer for the books because the Patriots were the most popular teaser team.
In other news, Saturday produced a sweet lottery ticket for one lucky dude.
"We had a guy Saturday play a 13-team parlay for $40 with 12 college basketball games mixed with favorites and underdogs and also Army -340 on the money-line that paid out $103,040," said Stoneback.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.