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NFL

Nov 25, 2019

49ers help books win Week 12

Most Nevada sportsbooks reported a modest win in Sunday’s Week 12 NFL action ending the public’s one-week winning streak. And when the 49ers (-3.5) beat the Packers, 37-8, it was gravy on top to enhance the winnings Imagine that, needing one of the best teams in the league at home on an isolated national television situation.

The books usually don’t get that fortunate on death blow games. Usually, their biggest needs are needing the dregs of the NFL, but in this spot, just about every book, with the exception of one, needed the 49ers to cover the short number.

“It wasn’t a good day,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “We’re about break-even and need the 49ers big time in the last game.”

Wynn, Station Casinos, William Hill, Caesars Palace, and Circa were among other books that needed the 49ers and under (47.5) as the best scenario to cap off Sunday, and they got it.

“Green Bay winning and over was the worst results, but we can’t lose for the day barring a giant bet,” Caesars sportsbook director Jeff Davis said 30 minutes before kickoff.

The lone book operation that wasn’t rooting for the 49ers was over at the South Point.

”We’re okay to the day and need the Packers, but if the game lands 3 it wipes us out,” said South Point book director Chris Andrews.

The South Point is the only book in Nevada that uses exclusively flat numbers at -110 on each side which is why they have a completely different risk chart on the Packers-49ers game than other bet shops. Most books stretch 3, the most important number in the NFL, by moving the money to -120 or -130 before making the move to -3.5. The South Point takes about three whacks of limit wagers on 3-flat before moving to -3.5. Hence, they got more 49ers action than most books who were dealing -3 -120.

The 49ers victory marked the NFC territory, showing they’re the team to beat and in hindsight, I keep looking back at the opener of 49ers -3 and wonder how oddsmakers thought these two rooms were equal. Let’s give the 49ers a 2.5-point for home-field meaning the 49ers are only 0.5 points better on a neutral field? That’s just crazy talk. And then the fact that bettors were jumping all over the Packers on the road was even sillier. But I could be wrong. In any case, the 49ers certainly did establish their strengths Sunday night and put the rest of the Super Bowl contenders on notice.

The build-up to the winning day began with two of the teams that have been haunting the books for much of the season. The Jets and Redskins were two of the most lopsided public bet againsts of the week but both came with outright wins. The Jets (+3.5) beat the Raiders, 34-3, at Metlife Stadium and the Redskins (+4) won at home over the Lions, 19-16.

“Our best two (early) games were the Jets and Redskins and despite the Seahawks being bet up to the favorite, with about 30 minutes until kickoff we got some sharp money on the Eagles, one of the bets being an $80,000 money-line wager,” Stoneback said.

Andrews said on Friday that the Lions were the most one-sided bet game of the week in ticket counts at an 8-to-1.

The Seahawks (-1) won at Philadelphia, 17-9. Seattle moved to 6-0 on the road this season with the victory.

“One of the bigger losses we had today was a three-team teaser bet for $200,000 with the Buccaneers, the over, and Browns and then we lost $100,000 on a Cowboys second-half wager,” Stoneback said. “The same guy also had $100,000 on the Cowboys second half money-line which pushed.”

The Buccaneers were bet down from +5 down to +3 and then won at Atlanta, 35-22, one of three underdogs to win outright on Sunday. The total got over 51 thanks to a late Atlanta score with Matt Schaub taking over at quarterback. The Falcons two-game win streak was snapped. They had looked good, almost revived, but we now know it was a mirage. They're true to the stink.

“The Redskins were a good game for us and so was the Broncos, Andrews said. “The wise guys were all over Denver for some reason taking +5.5, +5, and +4.5.”

The Bills closed as 3.5-point home favorites and came away with a 20-3 win against the floundering Broncos. Rookie QB Drew Lock might be next in line to get some time in and see what he can do. That’s all Denver has now, hope. But there is a lot of skepticism with Broncos fans and whoever John Elway drafts at that position. It’s odd, right? One of the best QB’s in NFL history can’t pick one to save his job. Let’s keep an open mind when Lock does get his shot, but just an FYI, he was lost in the preseason.

One of the more popular plays of the week was the Titans who moved from 3-point home favorites to -4 before their 42-20 win against the Jaguars.

“The Titans win was probably our biggest loss of the day,” Andrews said.

Another team that helped the books get ahead along with the Redskins and Jets was the Panthers (+9.5) losing at New Orleans, 34-31. Panthers QB Kyle Allen looked bad the past few weeks after a hot start taking over for Cam Newton. The Bengals opened +6.5 as home dogs to the Steelers and the spread dropped to -6 prior to the Steelers 16-10 win. The Steelers were a popular bet but got the push.

The most wagered game among the first 11 games Sunday was the Cowboys at New England where the Patriots dropped from -6 to -5.5 and won 13-9. The final minutes of the game had both sides betting the spread uneasy as the Patriots looked like they would kick a chip shot field goal with five seconds remaining to get the cover, but Bill Belichick didn’t want to mess around with a possible block kick returned to lose the game so on fourth-down, he had QB Tom Brady throw the ball high in the air down the sideline to run the clock out.

And by the way, what is the NFL’s strategy with nine games starting at 10:00 a.m. PT and only two at 1:00 p.m. PT?

Underdogs ended Sunday with a 6-5-1 record against the spread while the 'under' went 8-4 in the 12 games. 

Back to the drawing board, my friends. All the best and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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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