Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM
Vegas Money Moves - Week 17
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Eight of the 16 games in Week 17 NFL action have spreads of -7 or more and the public is believing most of those favorites will get there. Teasers and money-line parlays are some of the most popular wagers in the games that matter most with playoffs and seeding on the line.
"It looks like the public is mostly betting the teams that have to win," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal. "They're betting the Colts a lot as well as the Texans, but the most lopsided of all is the Eagles."
CG Tech books have had the Eagles -6.5 all week for their do-or-die game at Washington while several other Las Vegas books are using -7 or -7 EVEN. The Eagles need to win to get into the playoffs, but they also need help from the Bears to win at Minnesota. Both games were moved to 4:25 p.m. ET to make it eight games at that time slot making it the ultimate scoreboard watching week.
William Hill books have seen 91 percent of the tickets written and 83 percent of cash wagered on the game come in on the Eagles.
Coming into the week, the big issue was what teams were resting starters, but it doesn't appear to be much of an issue for CG books where they don't have any games circled with limited action.
"There aren't really any games where the teams haven't announced what they're doing in regards to resting players," Simbal said. "Dallas has two linemen resting so it wouldn't make sense to play Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott."
The Saints are expected to rest players as well.
"It's been all Saints public action so far, but the sharps have played the Under (45)," said Simbal who now has the total at 44.
CG Tech books opened the Saints -9 over the Panthers on Wednesday with an understanding that starters wouldn't play much, or possibly not at all, due to the Saints already having clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They dropped to -8.5, then -8, -7.5 and -7 on Thursday. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is expected to get most of the playing time.
On Friday CG books began a promotion through New Year's Day, offering a 16 cent split on all football games, college and pro, instead of the traditional 20 cent split all others use in Las Vegas. They have the Saints -7 -116 and the Panthers +7 EVEN. The South Point has the largest number in town at -7.5 flat.
The Panthers are looking to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to win six of their first eight games and then lose out the rest of the way. QB Cam Newton is out and so is his backup Taylor Heinicke. Rookie Kyle Allen will make his first NFL start.
"Sharp money is on the Jaguars, it's kind of a Pro's versus Joe's game," said Simbal who opened the Texans -7.5 and dropped down the ladder to -6.5 on Wednesday. Blake Bortles gets the start at QB for the Jaguars this week.
"They also took the Browns +6 and we went quickly to +5 and no one has been willing to lay the Ravens at -5 so we may be at -4.5 soon," said Simbal. "I think the Ravens might be in trouble here."
The Browns look like a playoff team winning five of their last six and also beat the Ravens, 12-9, in Week 5 at home. They last won at Baltimore in 2015. If the Ravens win they clinch the AFC North. If they lose and the Steelers (-14.5) beat the Bengals, then the Ravens are out.
Simbal said sharp money also took the 49ers +10 at the Rams who will be playing without running back Todd Gurley for the second straight week. The Rams won at San Francisco, 39-10, in Week 7, but are just 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games. The 49ers are 0-7 on the road (2-5 ATS). The Rams are looking to clinch the No. 2 seed with a win.
The Seahawks have already clinched a playoff berth, but they'd love to maintain their No. 5 seed and play the Cowboys next week rather than being a No. 6 seed and playing at the Bears or Rams. Head coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks will play their starters at home against the Cardinals which is why they're -13.5. No one is touching the Cards so far. William Hill books have 75 percent of the tickets written and 97 percent of the cash taking the Seahawks.
Just about every book is showing lots of risk of the favorite money-line parlays.
"We've had a couple of big money-line parlay taking the big favorites, but the most popular play of the week on the money-line has been on the underdog Bears," said Simbal who has dropped the Bears price from +195 down to +175.
The Vikings opened as six-point home favorites over the Bears with the idea that the Bears may rest starters once they scoreboard watch and see the Rams rolling against the 49ers. Still, bettors have taken the Bears across the dead numbers of +5.5 and +5 down to +4.5. Caesars Palace has the low number in town at Vikings -4.
The game of day Sunday is probably the night game with the Colts at Tennessee, where the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. The Colts opened as three-point road favorites and have been bet up to -3.5 just about everywhere. Wynn has the Colts -3 -125 while CG dropped the Colts from -3.5 Friday to the Colts -3 -112 and the Titans +3 -104.
"I saw that there was a situation where the Titans could be the No. 2 seed if they win and the Patriots and Texans both lose," said Simbal. The Patriots are 13.5-point home favorites against the Jets.
In addition to CG books offering -108 on football games this weekend, something bettors may not know is they don't use pay charts meaning every parlay uses true odds. A four-team parlay that normally pays 10-to-1 on most charts pays 12.7-to-1 at CG books with the -108 price.
After New Years, will they offer the sweet prices again?
"We'll see how it goes this weekend and what the volume looks like and if it's a success we'll probably try it again at some point," Simbal said.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.