Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM
Vegas Money Moves - WC
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It's NFL Wild-Card Weekend and the public rolls in hoping to follow the same pattern set in the playoffs last season when underdogs went 4-0 against the spread in the Wild-Card round and 10-1 ATS throughout the 2017-18 post-season.
"The public is on three 'dogs, the Colts (+2), Seahawks (+2) and Chargers (+2.5) both with the money-line and points," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal.
Those should all be popular teasers plays as well getting past +3 and +7, the two most key numbers in the NFL.
William Hill books have 67 percent of the tickets written on the Chargers, but 52 percent of the cash coming on the Ravens. They have 86 percent of the cash on the Colts and 64 percent on the Seahawks.
Wynn sports book director Doug Castaneda says his book has only taken in about 10 percent of the overall volume he expects from Friday night through Sunday, but he's seeing indicators of what's likely to happen.
"We're starting to get some Cowboys action," said Castaneda who has the Cowboys -2. "I kind of figured that to happen based on how strong they finished the season and them also still being kind of a public team. It's kind of the same thing with the Colts who just keep winning and it's fresh on peoples minds."
The Cowboys closed out the season winning seven of their last eight (6-2 ATS) and the Colts won nine of their last 10 (6-3-1 ATS).
"I'm going to be careful with moving the Ravens number," Castaneda said. "It's going to take a lot to move us off -2.5 (-120) and the Chargers are one of those teams we're extended on futures. We took a lot of money on them before the season to win the AFC and Super Bowl. The Chargers and Bears are our two biggest futures risk."
The South Point has the Ravens 3-flat and book director Chris Andrews said while he's taken a few Chargers bets at +3, he's also got a lot of action on Ravens -2.5. They're not ready to move back yet. The South Point will be a great indicator to see where the cash is going. Wise guys liking the Chargers will bet there first and if the money is all gone, 3's will be everywhere in town. William Hill books have the Ravens -3 EVEN. Everyone else is still at -2.5 with money attached up to as high as -125 at MGM books.
The Chargers won 12 games but didn't win the division, so they have to travel to Baltimore who won 10 games, a team the Chargers lost to at 'home', 22-10, in Week 16 as four-point favorites. While Carson, California is technically their home, more than half the stands are filled with their opponent's colors. In their real away games this season they went 7-1 both SU and ATS. The Ravens and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson have won six of their last seven games.
"In the Bears game the public is laying the points with Chicago (-6.5 now) but we took our biggest bet so far from a casino player on the Eagles money-line," said Simbal.
William Hill sports books have taken 58 percent of the cash as well as 57 percent of the tickets written on the Eagles. Professional bettor Jeff Whitelaw said he jumped on the Bears money-line early at -220. The house player at CG books that took the Eagles money-line grabbed +215. Despite the risk, CG has moved with the flow of an increasing spread and market and are up to -275/+235.
"Sharps bet Over in the Cowboys game and Over in the Bears game and they also laid -6 with the Bears," said Simbal who now has the Bears total at 41.5 and the Cowboys total at 43.
So how about those Bears to win the Super Bowl? A lot of people believe the NFC is either the Rams or Saints to claim, but the simplistic nature of what the Bears do and how they do it so consistently well could give both the Rams and Saints some trouble if they can first solve Foles in the playoffs, which no one has been able to do.
The Westgate Las Veags SuperBook is offering 9/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $900) on the Bears to win the Super Bowl. William Hill is offering exact Super Bowl results such as the Bears beating the Chargers which would pay 70-to-1. The Patriots are always there so how about the Bears over them at 20-to-1 odds?
The best way to play the Bears, or any team in this round, is rolling over the money-line each week because the Bears figure to be underdogs on the road the next two weeks if winning Sunday. That's four games with likely rollover odds of anywhere from 12-to-1 to 16-to-1 depending on opponents. The Westgate's number is 9-to-1 just for the possibility the Bears might play at home in the NFC Championship game if the Saints lose next week, where they'd be the favorite. Same with playing the Colts, Texans, Ravens or Chargers in the Super Bowl.
The SuperBook currently has the Eagles at 30/1 to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.