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Oct 28, 2019

Bettors strike back in Week 8

The favorites went only 7-6 against-the-spread In Week 8 of NFL action but it was the popular public favorites that sent Nevada sportsbooks to a range from losing to break-even or only a small winner.

The public parlay momentum from the teams like the 49ers, Patriots, and Rams covering paying out at 6-to-1 odds all put the books in an uphill hill to climb to get out of the negative and then the popular Packers playing at the Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes, laying up to -6 and winning 31-24, pounded the final nail in the coffin for most books. That popular four-teamer paid 10-to-1 odds at most places and had dug an insurmountable grave.

“It hasn’t been a good day,” MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said prior to kickoff of the late game. “The parlays have really hurt us with the popular favorites cashing.”

It was the same story around most Las Vegas operations.

“Big risk tonight,” said William Hill’s chief bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich before kickoff of the late game, ‘If the Chiefs show up we’ll be a small winner. If not, it’s a decent loser.”

The Chiefs did show up, and despite backup QB Matt Moore looking good it was Aaron Rodgers who made the winning plays late to send the Packers to a 7-1 record and a cover.

“We had a small win in the morning and it was looking like the Sunday night game wouldn’t affect our bottom line too much, but then we got a late six-figure on the Packers laying -5,” Stoneback said.

The high numbers on the Packers during the week were seen at -6 at the South Point and Caesars Palace after it was confirmed Patrick Mahomes would not play. The Packers were originally -4.5 until Mahomes was throwing in limited action during practice which dropped the line to -3.5 for a stretch until confirmations could be heard on his status.

In addition to the adjustments on quarterback situations, the book also to weather the storms such as 30 mph winds at Buffalo and a downpour at New England where the total made a rapid dive. The Bills (-1) had a total drop from 42 to 38.5 because of 30 mph winds in the Eagles 31-13 win. The Patriots (-10) total dropped from drop 46.5 to 42.5 because of the crazy sheets of rain. The Patriots would win 27-13.

CG Technology’s Tony DiTomasso said his movement on the total was more about staying with the market while also allowing to be under the curve to attract action. It’s not quite an air move, but more about booking an attractive number while staying a bit below the market and what the original number offered and attract action at a number moving.

Sharp bettors around Las Vegas jumped all over the Panthers which helped ease some of the parlay and teaser risk on the 49ers, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to offset the fascination of the 49ers who moved to 7-0 for only the second time in franchise history.

“The 49ers were one of those teams that were popular on the parlays but we have taken large action on the Panthers from one of our (house) players,” Stoneback said. “He took the Panthers for three separate six-figure bets at +4.5, and +4 earlier in the week and then came back for some more +4 later.”

There were a couple of other games like the Chiefs game with QB issues the books had to protect against in the information game with the status of Matt Ryan and Drew Brees not entirely known. Brees said Wednesday he would start and the Superbook reacted with piece of news to adjust their lines which started at Saints -7.5 on Sunday, adjusted to -9.5 on Monday and after the Brees quote up to -10.5. They closed at -12, after three moves up the ladder on Saturday.

The Saints would dominate time of possession and Brees showed no signs of his injured thumb be a problem in a 31-9 win aided by his 373 yards passing and three TDs.

Matt Ryan’s information came a little slower. The Superbook opened the Seahawks as 3.5-point road favorites on their early lines last Wednesday but took the game off the board after he got injured in last week’s blowout loss to the Rams. They regrouped with Seahawks -7 on Saturday and closed at -7.5.

The Falcons ended up getting the late backdoor cover with a Matt Bryant field goal in a 27-20 loss.

Another backdoor cover was the Giants at Detroit, a 31-26 Lions (-6) win.

“The backdoor cover with the Giants was a monster swing against us, “said DiTomasso.

Sharp play had jumped on the Giants early in the week at +7 and +6.5.

What we learned from the Week 8 card is that the hierarchy is still relevant and to be respected and also that the public will not be deterred despite being crushed the last few weeks. And they were right, and they cashed.

But still not a monsoon parlay day. The fact that the books withstood Week 8 results with just a small loss shows the public is still back-peddling but are not giving up on their reliables. The Packers, Saints, Patriots, and Rams are 6-2 ATS this season and the 49ers are next at 5-2 ATS.

The monsoon is coming, as it always does, so good for the bettors staying steady with their teams despite not having a successful 2019 NFL betting experience overall.


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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