Mixed results for Week 17

Sportsbook Betting Recap - Week 17

All the Patriots had to do was win at home against the Dolphins and they’d get a bye and only have to win two games in the playoffs to make the Super Bowl, again. They were 17-point favorites. No NFL team has lost with that high of a spread in 25 years but it happened in Sunday’s Week 17 action with the Dolphins 27-24 win at Foxboro which forces the Patriots into the Wild Card round next week. The result was positive for most Nevada sportsbooks, but a couple of shops took their lumps with it on the money-line.

“It was a good day driven by the Dolphins winning,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “We had a bettor play two $100,000 money-line parlays that already had LSU, the Saints, Chiefs, and Packers win and he needed the Patriots to win as the fifth leg to cash. It looked as though the Chiefs and Packers both had a chance to lose, but it was the Patriots, the unlikeliest that helped us the most.”

The last time a favorite as big as the Patriots lost outright was in 1995 when the Redskins (+17.5) beat the Cowboys, 24-17. Last season in Week 3 the Bills (+16.5) surprised the Vikings, 27-6. Tom Brady was 15-0 at home against the Dolphins in meaningful games, but there were signs something this was coming.

“You could see it a mile away,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich. “Miami has been very competitive the last six weeks while the Pats have been very average at best. It’s been smoke and mirrors for them for the last seven weeks.”

After starting 8-0, the Patriots have gone just 4-4 straight up and 2-5-1 against the spread in the second-half of the season Brady threw a pick-six, another sign that things are off for the defending champs.

The Dolphins closed the season with two straight wins to finish 5-11 after losing their first seven games forcing several books to post props if they would go winless. They covered inflated spreads in nine of their last 12 games becoming the most consistent cover team over that stretch. In Week 2, they lost at home to the Patriots, 43-0, as 18-point 'dogs.

Bogdanovich said several Nevada bettors were feeling the Dolphins upset and said smaller wagers accumulating $6,800 across the state had the Dolphins money-line from +850 to 10-to-1 odds. Nice score!

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook also saw a few heavy bets on the Dolphins.

“We took a $15,000 money-line bet on the Dolphins Thursday at 8-to-1 (odds),“ said Superbook VP Jay Kornegay. “And then again this morning with $10,000 at 7-to-1.”

While most books did well to the Dolphins, it was one of only three losers on the day at the SuperBook which makes them one of the most fortunate books of Week 17.

“It was a very solid day,” Kornegay said. “Some of the results won’t make sense but we won on the sides the market moved mostly with players resting,” Kornegay said. “We had big bets this morning on the Bears -3 and we had support for the Texans, a game we stayed ahead of the market with.”

In other words, Kornegay is basically saying his team baited bettors with numbers not available anywhere else. They closed the Bears -5 at Minnesota and closed the Titans -10 at Houston.

The Vikings rested all their key starters at home against Bears and played tough, but would lose 21-19 while covering the spread. The Texans rested their key starters as well, but the Titans didn’t. All the Titans had to do was win and they would clinch the No. 6 seed in the AFC and they’d pile it on in a 35-14 win, covering a spread that went from Titans -3.5 to -10. The Titans will now face the Patriots this weekend.

A funny note about the total (44) in the Titans game was that it looked like there was no way it would get over when it 28-14 late in the fourth quarter, but there were more stats to be acquired in the 2019 regular season and running back Derrick Henry only needed a few more yards to win the rushing title. So they kept feeding him the ball and then he broke loose for a 53-yard run for his third score of the day, while also sending the over the total in a 35-14 win.

“We were a small winner in the afternoon with the biggest being one of our big bettors laying six-figures taking +3.5 with the Giants,” Stoneback said.

All the Eagles (-3.5) had to do was win at the Giants to clinch the NFC East title regardless of what the Cowboys (-12) did at home against the Redskins. The Cowboys rolled, 47-16, but the Eagles made it not matter with a 34-17 win of a game that was once 17-17 giving Cowboys owner Jerry Jones some hope who was watching the game on TV from his luxury suite.

The Ravens rested key players at home while the Steelers (-2) had to win for a chance at the playoffs, but backup quarterback Robert Griffin III managed a 28-10 win to push them to 14-2 and extend their win streak to 12 games.

The Falcons have won and covered six of their last eight and closed the season out with three straight wins with a 28-22 overtime win at Tampa Bay. Bucs QB Jameis Winston started a club called the 5K-30-30 with 5,000 yards passing, 30 TD passes and 30 interceptions. His last pick was a game-winning interception for the Falcons, which also sent the total over 48.5,

The Sunday night game was the most important game of the day because it decided who the NFC West champion would be along with home-field advantage for the NFC Playoffs. It was the type of risk that could also wipe away all the winnings the books made from the previous 15 games on the day. Can you imagine sweating all week booking Week 17 games properly while waiting for a 'sweet tweet' to tell us more about Josh Allen and DeShaun Watson’s status, babysitting the numbers like no other week? And then the final game posted stabs you in the gut.

“We have a six-figure decision on the 49ers,” said Stoneback, a Seattle fan who usually doesn’t get to root for the Seahawks too hard because the house is usually rooting against them.

The 49ers (-3.5) would win 26-21 at Seattle sending the game over 46 total points which completed an impressive day for overs going 13-3. Favorites would go 7-8-1 ATS with four underdogs winning out, none bigger than Dolphins.

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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