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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM

Books push in Week 16

Sunday's NFL Week 16 action had a little bit of something for everyone with last-second wins, playoff-clinching victories, records set, a couple back-door covers, and middles offering some bad beats. The handle was down with Christmas approaching, but the sports books didn't get away with much of an edge.  
 
"Very small winner, light action," said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. It's always slow the week after the rodeo and week before Christmas. I walked in (Mirage) at 8:00 a.m. and there were literally only three people in the book."
 
With the public not contributing as much, the MGM books were playing heads up mostly with the sharps to determine their Sunday results.
 
"Yeah, basically," Stoneback said, "but with the action, the public did have they didn't have a great day. Our day came down to one big $150,000 teaser that we won because of the Giants."
 
Only two underdogs won outright on the day, but it wasn't the New York Giants who lost 28-27 at Indianapolis after leading until the final minute. But the Colts were -9.5 so all the teasers chopped down one of the largest numbers of the week didn't get there. 
 
One of the underdogs that won outright was the Jaguars, who captured a 17-7 win at Miami paying out +180 on the money-line. Wise guys bet the Jags down from +4 to +3. The Dolphins had won six of seven at home this season prior to the loss.
 
"The rest of the day was just a push," Stoneback said. "The Giants and Steelers games were good for us and we were the largest losers with the Vikings and Eagles. We got middled in the Eagles game."
 
The Steelers +6.5 at New Orleans were one of eight underdogs that covered Sunday, but their 31-28 loss bumped them out of the AFC playoff picture with one week to go. They'll get the Bengals next week (Steelers -15) while the division-leading Ravens are -6 at home against the Browns. 
 
The Eagles closed at -2.5 over the Texans after opening pick 'em. Most books got burned on sharp action taking -1 and -1.5 early. The Eagles were also the fourth most chosen side of the week in the SuperContest with 711 contestants selecting them where the number was Eagles -2.5.
 
Quarterback Nick Foles threw for 471 yards and four TD passes and is once again saving the Eagles season, or at least extending hope as they need help next week to grab a Wild Card spot. It was Foles' 12th straight home win at Philly. Carson Wentz is good, but he's played two seasons and got hurt to end his season both times. Foles brought Philly it's only Super Bowl and he's a free-agent at the end of the season. 
 
The Vikings came back from a 9-0 deficit at Detroit to win 27-9 and cover -6.5. The Vikings playoff future is in their hands. All they have to do is beat the Bears next week and they're in. That's all. The SuperBook posted the Vikings as 6.5-point home favorites despite the No. 2 seed still up for grabs in the NFC.  That's an off week, a chance to rest starters. Should the Rams (-9.5) lose next week at home against the 49ers, and the Bears beat the Vikings, by virtue of the Bears 15-6 win over the Rams three weeks ago they get the No. 2. Long shot, but a possibility. The Bears beat the Vikings, 25-20, as 2.5-point home favorites in Week 11.
 
"We're going to end up either a very small winner or small loser based on tonight's game," said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick."We need the Seahawks (+1) and Under (54). The Eagles, Vikings, and Bears were public winners. The Bills cover was good the books."
 
The Bears held on to win 14-9 at San Francisco covering a spread that started at Bears -4.5 but dropped to -3. The Bills got a TD in the final moments to close the margin, losing 24-12, but covering the 14-point spread, the largest number of the week which began at -12.5. 
 
The Patriots win over Buffalo clinched an NFL record 10th straight division title. They also put themselves in a position to clinch the No. 2 seed in the playoffs as the Texans lost, which gives them a bye in the first round. Still, something doesn't look right with the Patriots passing game heading into the playoffs.
 
Another back-door cover happened in Cleveland. The Browns were up 23-0 and the late prevent defense prevented the Browns from covering -9.5, their largest number favored by since 2010, in a 26-18 win. The Bengals successful 2-point conversion after the final touchdown was the dagger. The Browns knelt down a couple times inside the Bengals 5-yard line to end the game. Big number, no cover. But it was a Browns sweep in the battle of Ohio and the Browns are now .500 at 7-7-1. Next year, playoffs?
 
And then there was the Sunday night game where the Chiefs went from -2.5 at Seattle to -1. Sharps were on the Seahawks and they were also the top SuperContest selection with 884 contestants selecting them. However, there was one guy who was on the Chiefs large. 
 
"We'll have a nice decision tonight," Stoneback said of the late game. "We had a bettor take the Chiefs for $200,000 so I can now root for the Seahawks from both ends as a fan and for the house."  
 
Just about every other book needed the Chiefs, and the Seahawks 38-31 victory took away some of the win on the day. The majority also got there with the total going 'over' 54.
 
Underdogs ended up going 8-5 against the spread on Sunday while the 'under' went 7-6.
 
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.

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