Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM
Wild Card mixed for Books
For the second consecutive Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs, the road underdogs covered all four games. That's an 8-0 against-the-spread run, which means underdogs have now covered 14 of the past 15 playoff games altogether. It might be the most impressive run I've ever seen in all my years of monitoring point-spreads for both favorites or underdogs. The public was onto the trend as well and played accordingly which offered mixed results around Las Vegas betting shops.
"We were a small winner Saturday and then a small loser on Sunday," said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick. "It's crazy that dogs were so strong this weekend. The Colts and Chargers were the two sides that hurt us."
The Colts won outright Saturday at Houston, 21-7, and paid out +110 on the money-line. The Colts were extremely popular in public plays with parlays and teasers and the win kicked off the beginning of a small tidal wave of risk the books would hope they could exterminate before getting too large. The Texans opened -2.5 last weekend at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and closed at -1.5.
The Colts are now off to Kansas City to face the No. 1 seeded Chiefs. The SuperBook, Golden Nugget, and CG Technology books have the Chiefs -6 while everyone else has -5.5. It will be interesting to see where the public pushes this one as the Colts have now won 10 of their last 11 games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have lost their last six home playoff games at Arrowhead Stadium.
"It was a good weekend for us with the Colts and Eagles as our most notable sides," said Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Doug Castaneda. "The Chargers were a really solid side for the public this morning on both the money-line and ATS."
The Chargers won at Baltimore Sunday, 23-17, and the game never really seemed that close as the Chargers methodically built a 23-3 lead and showed they were clearly the better team. They also proved that a second look at Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson was all they needed after a 22-10 loss to the Ravens in Week 16 of the regular season. Jackson was sacked seven times, picked off once and fumbled three times -- losing one.
The Ravens created enough risk on the game that forced several books to move up from -2.5 to the key number of -3, but the public and their parlays sided mostly with the Chargers. The two-team parlay tied in with the Colts was cashingtickets often when the result was posted. Teasers too and that risk pool was huge because the Cowboys 24-22 win Saturday against the Seahawks was an all-way teaser win thanks to the back-doorcover engineered by Russell Wilson with 1:18 to go. No teaser died with the Cowboys decision, and many still remained waiting for the Chargers +8.5 to cash. It did. And it started the books off to a rocky Sunday.
"It was a small loser today as a lot of parlays and teasers were alive to that last game," said Superbook VP Jay Kornegay just after the Eagles won 16-15 at Chicago.
The risk on the game was tied to both sides making most shops looking at an all-way loss, but the public was definitely siding with the Bears, who went from -5.5 to -6.5. The Eagles winning was the best of a bad situation for several books, and some even showed a profit on the result which paid out +250 on the money-line. The Bears were a popular teaser play and it lost in most cases, but all the teasers almost survived if the Bears would have made a last-second field goal.
Cody Parkey's 43-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds remaining hit the left upright and then to make the drama, and agony, thicker, it bounced down and hit the cross-bar on the way down before bouncing no good onto the field. It's the fifth time this season Parkey has hit the upright for a missed field goal. An 18-16 Bears win would have paid both sides of the teaser and crushed the books. Eagles backup QB Nick Foles is now 4-0 in the playoffs the last two seasons, all happening as an underdog. He'll be a huge underdog at New Orleans Sunday.
The SupeBook opened lines on next weeks divisional round immediately when the matchups were known. In addition to the Chiefs -6, the Rams are 7-point home favorites Saturday night against the Cowboys with a total set at 49.5. Sunday's games have the Patriots -4.5 and 48 at home against the Chargers. The late game has the Saints -9 and 51.5 at home against the Eagles. Underdogs went 3-1 ATS in the divisional round last season.
The SuperBook also updated their Super Bowl futures in the normal fashion, but the Chiefs got bumped up from 4-to-1 to 9-to-2 even though they didn't play. Their trek got tougher with the Colts charging ahead hard.
On the other side, the Rams had their odds drop from 6-to-1 down to 9-to-2 with the trek to Atlanta's Mercedez-Benz Stadium becoming easier with No. 3 seeded Chicago being ousted.
The Patriots are 5-to-1, Chargers 8-to-1 and Colts 14-to-1 in the AFC. In the NFC, the Saints are still 9-to-4, the Cowboys are 14-to-1 and the Eagles are 16-to-1.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.