Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

London result helps Books

The Cardinals and Broncos got their first wins of the season in Week 5 NFL action and coupled with the Colts Sunday night victory at Kansas City,  there were six underdogs to win outright among the seven 'dogs that covered. But the main story of Sunday’s 13 games was the Bears losing to the Raiders in the first London game of the season.

“It’s funny, we were a small loser in Mississippi, but a small winner in Las Vegas,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “The sharps were on the Bears laying -5.5, -6, and -7 helping make it our biggest decision of the day. We also did extremely well to the first half and half-time wagering on the game.”

Bettors hated the 2-2 Raiders and despite the Bears starting back-up QB Chase Daniel this week, they also loved the stingy Bears defense we’ve been watching the first four weeks allowing only 11.2 points-per-game. Raiders win, 24-21.

“We won more games on the day than we lost, but dollar-wise the games we lost the most with were the Patriots and Vikings early and then the Broncos late,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTomasso, who also noted the Bears were their best game on the day as well.

The Patriots had the biggest spread of the week laying -16.5 at winless Washington and after being down 7-0 the Patriots scored 33 unanswered points to win, 33-7, and cover easily. The Patriots were one of the biggest teaser liabilities of the week, as were the Vikings who won 28-10 at the Giants. The Vikings were bet by sharp money from -5 up to -6.

The Eagles (-14) had the second-largest spread of the week versus the Jets and they covered the number with a 31-6 win, and also kept several popular teasers alive with the Patriots and Chiefs, or at least those that hadn’t been expired with the Bears loss.

“Our three biggest decisions of the day were the Bears, Patriots, and Chiefs,” Stoneback said.“ The Bears decision was our biggest of the season so far.”

The effect of the sportsbooks big win in Week 4 was also seeing less action at the windows this week. Many bettors had to regroup with fewer funds in Week 5.

“We took six-figure wagers on the Bears, Chargers (-4.5 vs Broncos), Saints (-3 vs. Buccaneers) and Packers (+3 at Dallas), but overall handle was lighter than usual,” Stoneback said.

When there’s only two 1:00 p.m. PT games and both road underdogs win outright, it gives the appearance of the books doing well, but that wasn’t necessarily the case in Week 5.

“We needed the Cowboys,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich. “There was also no shortage of Broncos money straight money, either, but we won some parlays and teasers to the game.”

The Packers jumped out a 31-3 lead at Dallas (-3 -120) and held on for a 31-24 win while the Broncos ended an eight-game losing streak winning at the Chargers, 20-13, a game in Carson, CA that was basically a home game for the Broncos with all the orange shirts in the crowd. Ironically, both underdogs were up 17-0 at the half. Sharps bet the Broncos down from +6.5 down to +4.5 by kickoff.

“The game we should have won more on was the Saints covering,” said DiTomasso, who opened the game Saints -7 last week in the early lines and opened the Saints -4.5 last Sunday. “ We dropped all the way down to (Saints) -3 after taking lots of Bucs sharp action, but then got lots playback on the Saints at -3 to take us off a position I liked, but it wasn’t enough to justify going back to -3.5.”

The Saints came away with a 31-24 win, a game that didn’t seem that close despite the Buccaneers scoring the first TD of the game.

The Sunday night game with the Colts playing at Kansas City was a mixed decision around town with some books like Caesars Palace and William Hill books needing a Colts cover to win on the day, but for others, it wasn’t as big of a decision as the late game usually is.

“Despite taking a few sharp bets on the Colts at +11 and money-line wagers at +500 on them, we still need the Colts to win,” Stoneback said. “We’ll still win either way on the day if the Chiefs win.”

The Colts would dominate time of possession keeping Patrick Mahomes off the field to win 19-13. They dominated both sides of the ball giving most books a boost on the day.

“If the Colts win and the game stays under the total, we’ll double our win on the day,” DiTomasso said prior to kickoff.

On to Monday night action where sharp money has pushed the 49ers from 3.5-point home favorites up to -5.5 against the Browns.


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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