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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM

Vegas Money Moves - Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL regular season is finally upon us after staring at the point-spreads since last April when most Las Vegas sportsbooks immediately posted their opening numbers when the schedule was released. I can tell you the brewing story heading into the weekend is that the public hates the Dolphins, sharps like the Panthers and two of the most bet parlay teams of the week are the Cowboys and Chiefs.
 
Just to give a little refresher course on what I do each Friday of the NFL season, I talk with Las Vegas bookmakers about what type of action they’re seeing and disseminate that information to you, the reader. It’s similar to the type of report I used to do for corporate executives at the chain of sportsbooks I worked for, but just a little more expanded.  
 
What you should take away from this is that sharps win more than they lose and the most weighted public parlay sides usually lose more than they win. However, it’s those public parlay plays that can do the most damage to the sportsbooks. When the public plays all come in together paying 6-to-1 odds, 10-to-1, and 20-to-1, the risk piles up fast and sets up an awful day for the house.  
 
Let’s start out this week with the most popular parlay side of the week.
 
“Our biggest parlay risk so far is the Ravens for sure,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso.” It’s about a 10-to-1 ratio (cash) which is huge compared to the next riskiest with the Chiefs at 3-to-1 and the Cowboys at 2-to-1.”
 
The Ravens opened as 3 ½-point home favorites in April and have been pushed up to -6 ½ based on a perception of the Dolphins having a broken locker room.  
 
“People are just down on the Dolphins after the trades of their left tackle (Laremy Tunsil) and Kenny Stills,” DiTommaso said

Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Dolphins at quarterback and can set an NFL record by throwing a TD pass for the eight different teams if he does so at some point this season. 
 
“Fitzpatrick isn’t that bad,” DiTommaso said. “He went into New Orleans and won in Week 1 last season for the Bucs.”
 
The Cowboys are seven-point favorites at home against the Giants and running back Ezekiel Elliott is finally signed and ready to go.
 
“The only adjustment we made with the Cowboys was in Super Bowl futures where we dropped from 20-to-1 down to 18-to-1 and we got immediate action there so we went to 17-to-1," DiiTommaso said. "We didn’t do anything to the week 1 number because we built him playing into the number.”
 
William Hill sportsbooks have larger action on the Giants with 68 percent of the cash taking the points.
 
DiTommaso and Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick said they have a couple of "Pros versus Joes" games like William Hill has with the Giants-Cowboys game. Sharp money likes the Panthers as home underdogs to the Rams while the public parlays love the Rams.

Sharps like the Jaguars as home 'dogs to the Chiefs while the public parlay has the high flying Chiefs prominently featured. The Rams have dropped from -3 to -1 ½ and the Chiefs have dropped from -5 ½ to -3 ½ EVEN in Nick Foles Jaguars debut.
 
DiTommaso also said the Eagles have been a popular public play with small straight bet wagers accumulating and parlays for their home game against the Redskins. The Eagles opened -8 in April and are now -10.
 
Westgate Superbook VP Jay Kornegay said his Top-3 sharp wagers at his bet shop has been the Panthers, Titans and Texans. The Browns have been a trendy public play with smaller money gathered together pushing them from -5 to -5 ½ at the end of preseason, but Titans money took +5 ½ on Tuesday. The Texans are getting +7 at New Orleans on Monday night. William Hill books have seen 65 percent of their cash on the game taking the Texans as well.     
 
McCormick says another underdog popular with sharps has been the Sunday night game with the Steelers at New England. The line has dropped from the Patriots being -6 to -5 ½. William Hill books have seen 54 percent of the tickets written and 64 percent of the cash taken on the Steelers.
 
The big news of the week again involves Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown who was initially reported by a few insiders on Thursday to be suspended which forced a 2 ½-point move to make the Broncos 2 ½-point favorites. The Raiders opened -2 ½ in April and the number slowly moved to pick ‘em during the preseason. After it was reported friday he’ll be playing Monday, most books moved the Broncos down to -1.
 
“It’s a huge distraction for the Raiders,” said DiTommaso on why the Broncos are still favored in what will be their last game at Oakland before next years move to Las Vegas. The favorite is 10-3-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last 14 meetings of this rivalry.  
 
Marc Nelson up north at the Atlantis in Reno said he’s taken sharp wagers on the Broncos. His book is usually always rooting against the Raiders and 49ers because of those two being popular in the Northern California region. 
 
William Hill has several books in Northern Nevada and has 73 percent of the tickets written and 86 percent of the cash taken on the 49ers +1 ½ at Tampa Bay, a game where the Buccaneers initially opened -2 ½.

The West Coast playing on the East Coast thing isn’t that big of a deal here because the start time is 1:25 p.m. PT, the 49ers usual home start time.


Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 15 years.


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