Books Win Big In Week 6

Don’t always believe what you saw last and never believe a team is as bad as their record. Those were a few pieces of advice from some old school guys gave me when I started working in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry from some seasoned veterans regarding the NFL. That theory was never more true than Sunday’s Week 6 NFL action when the Dolphins got their first cover against-the-spread of 2019 in a 17-16 home loss to the Redskins which helped most books to their best day of the season.

“It was a great day,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTomasso. “The Dolphins late comeback kind of set the day for us. It was really the only game I was sweating on the day.”

The Dolphins came in off a bye week, getting outscored by an average of 40-6 in their four losses, but after being down 17-3 they decided to shake things up by replacing starting quarterback Josh Rosen with back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick and he immediately produced some magic as the journeyman has done periodically throughout all his stops in eight different NFL cities. He engineered two late drives and with momentum in their favor, Dolphins head coach rolled the dice with 6 seconds remaining to go for the two-point conversion to win. The Redskins won 17-16 and grabbed their first victory of the season, but they didn’t get the cover after being bet from -3.5 to -6.

NFL teams are are filled with college All-Americans and this is their job. It’s their career and what they strived to be since they were kids. They may be bad, but the number always catches up with them and the true skills and rating of individual players show themselves. If a player shows bad on a losing team in the film room, they won’t be around for long which is why even the worst teams will usually get a max effort from their players because they don’t ever give up despite the public perception that they do.

Another winless team, the 0-4 Jets, came into Week 6 with their starting QB Sam Darnold back after missing their last three games but the perception was there that they would play poorly again, especially with the Cowboys coming in as seven-point road favorites. Not many bettors sided with the Jets.

“Our biggest win of the day was Jets beating the Cowboys, and most of the Cowboys action for us came over the weekend,” MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said of the Jets which paid out at +300 (Wynn) on the money-line in their 24-22 win.

The Dolphins cover and Cowboys loss set the tone for the day and it only got better with each game, except for maybe the Vikings 38-20 home win against the Eagles (+3.5) and the 49ers 20-7 win at the Rams (-3).

“It was a good day for us, but it was odd because we didn’t have a really big decision which at least allowed me to sit back, relax and not really sweat any decision, and many of the decisions fell our way,” said Stoneback.

Things got started on the wrong foot for the house Sunday with the early morning game in London seeing the Panthers (-2) keep rolling behind QB Kyle Allen in their 37-26 win against the Buccaneers.

“Carolina winning the London game started us off as a loser, but the only bad decision we had early with the 49ers because we took lots of sharp action on early in the week,” Stoneback said. “We had one guy play two games for $100,000 each on the Saints and Dolphins, which got there, but it was still a good day.”

The unbeaten 5-0 San Francisco 49ers are proving their worth as the best team in the NFC and they made a major statement by embarrassing the Rams at the L.A. Coliseum on Sunday. Wynn sportsbook director Doug Castaneda, a Los Angelino, was raving about the 49ers afterwards

“Their (49ers) defense was extremely impressive,” Castaneda said. “They came through on multiple big occasions. They stymied whatever momentum the Rams tried to muster on home field.”

Running back Todd Gurley didn’t play for the Rams, but it was a beatdown more than the score suggested. The Rams vertical game never got started and they have now dropped to 3-3. Rams QB Jared Goff threw for only 78 yards and that's not a typo folks.

“The 49ers really impressed me playing on the Rams field,” Stoneback said. “They look to be the class of the NFC so far. When I look at Dallas it kind comes down to who they beat now which wasn’t against good teams as we’re now finding out.”

The Cowboys have now lost three straight to drop to 3-3. After beating the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins to start 0-3, they’ve lost their last three to solid teams like the Saints, Packers, and now...the Jets.

The favorites would go 3-9 ATS in the 12 Sunday games, and the 1-3 ATS in the late afternoon action helped pad the ledgers for the house with the Cardinals (+3 in 34-33 home win vs Falcons), Broncos (-1 vs Titans in 16-0 win), and Jets all winning. Things got even better late when the Steelers jumped out to 21-0 first-half lead on the Chargers to win 24-17 in a “Home Field” game facing a third-string QB.

In a recent conversation with Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White, we couldn’t think of any NFL team in history where a home-field edge resulted in -1 to the number. When three-quarters of the crowd is cheering for the road team, that’s what happens. Plus, they rarely cover at home. But a third-string QB capturing a road victory in his first career NFL start is a new low and the new stadium in Inglewood won’t change it for the Bolts. San Diego's (real) fans aren’t coming up and there’s only a sprinkle of actual L.A. Chargers fans going to the games.

The Chargers, who looked awful, are a team to rapidly adjust on team and total ratings, and it's not just because of their embarrassing loss on Sunday to the Steelers.

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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