Nov 18, 2019
Bettors strike back in Week 11
Perhaps the tide has finally turned for bettors in NFL action after losing most of the first 10 weeks of the season. Sunday’s Week 11 saw favorites go 7-5 against-the-spread with only two underdogs winning outright, but it was the popular favorites that all got there together to produce some formidable parlay risk the books couldn’t escape.
William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich described their Sunday results as “horrible” while South Point’s Chris Andrews described it as “terrible” if that helps give an indication of how the books did.
“It’s going to be a losing day,” conceded Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick prior to kickoff of the Sunday night game. “The Patriots were bad with several other games.”
The ongoing trend with bettors during the Tom Brady era is to always bet Bill Belichick to come up with a great game plan to win following a loss and it held true again as the Patriots won 17-10 at Philadelphia, a game that ran from Patriots -3.5 to -5 by kickoff.
“We’re stuck to the day,” said CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso. “We really needed the Lions and Eagles and didn’t get either of those. The Eagles looked good enough to win, but (Carson) Wentz didn’t have his best game and his receivers dropped a few passes in key moments.”
Part of the reason the Lions didn’t get the cover or push was because of Lions coach Matt Patricia’s choice to go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown late in the game when down by 8-points. He was looking to get to a 6-point deficit and then, I guess, win the game with a TD on their next possession. The Lions did not succeed and the final score was 35-27, a game where most of the wagers were bet on the Cowboys at -7.
“I just don’t understand the move,” DiTommaso said. “And I’m not just saying it because a push would have been better for us, but the 2-point attempt in that situation just doesn’t make any sense.”
The favorites that killed the books included the Cowboys, Patriots, Saints (-5 in 34-17 win at Tampa Bay), and Ravens (-4.5 in 41-7 win vs Texans). That’s a four-team parlay at 10-to-1 odds at most shops (CG books use true odds) is an escalation of odds that books couldn’t make up through any straight bets. And then there were the teasers that cashed on the big favorites that didn’t cover as well.
“We really needed one of those 10-point favorites not cover on the teasers,” Bogdanovich said.
Crossing over big key numbers is always the key for teaser bettors and there were three of them Sunday. None of them covered, but they all covered on the teaser and all the underdogs covered as well. The Vikings dropped from -10.5 to -9.5 in their 27-23 home win against the Broncos and the Raiders won 17-10 at home against the winless Bengals while the 49ers won 36-26 at home against the Cardinals where many books closed -9.5 after opening -11.5. It didn’t matter, any side you played in a teaser in those games covered.
The ending of the 49ers game had me baffled regarding the NFL’s integrity by not reviewing the final sequence of the final play of the game that resulted in a 49ers touchdown. While the NFL wants to somehow monetize sports betting after dissociating itself from gambling forever, they failed in a game where the spread was in play. After Larry Fitzgerald threw a pass backward to one of his teammates, it was not caught and became a live fumble. The 49ers jumped on it and a Cardinals player touched him. It should have been the end of the game, 30-26. But then the ball was lodged loose in the final scrum and 49er players slapped the ball towards their end zone and one player even kicked the ball giving it more velocity and a 49ers player scooped it up for ran it in for the TD.
“How come no one is talking about the last score in the Niners game,” Bogdanovich said. “The guy was clearly down.
He was down, but rather than review it, the referees ran off the field and the 49ers even didn’t kick the extra point leaving it at 10. There’s no conspiracy theory here, it’s more about incompetence by the league and officials. They cowardly ran away basically saying “no big deal, the 49ers were winning before and they still won.”
But scores matter. Integrity matters. Bettors who took +9.5 late or +10 with the Cardinals after watching them do what they wanted offensively all afternoon got hosed in this game. The officials didn’t review the play, because the integrity of the score apparently doesn’t matter to them.
More than incompetence, I just think it was lazy. In this era of integrity. Could the NFL please get some full-time officials focused on everything, including the betting numbers. No more blind eyes about the numbers, because if all these leagues keep talking about integrity then the number should be a starting point and make it fair officiating for all. The late bettors on the Cardinals Sunday didn’t get any piece of integrity or justice given to them in Week 11.
The Sunday NFL loss, coupled with a brutal Saturday loss in college football, made it the worst weekend of the football season so far. It was nice to see the public stay strong with their favorite teams and finally cash and the ensuing weeks could something similar because at least twice a year there is a tidal wave loss in the books.
Week 11 might not be described a tidal wave loss, but it's certainly the best Sunday bettors have had against the books in 11 weeks of NFL action.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 15 years.