Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Books win Wild Card round
Most Nevada sportsbooks came out a winner during Wild Card weekend with the Vikings, 26-20, overtime win Sunday at New Orleans being the main source of the success among the four games.
“The Vikings were huge for us, both with the game itself on straight bets and parlays and also with the teasers,” said MGM Resorts sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback. “We had a great deal of volume in that game and were winners all the way around.”
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Saints as eight-point favorites and closed at -7 and Circa sportsbook closed with a Las Vegas best +325 on the money-line price for the Vikings. The South Point sportsbook had ticket counts favoring the Saints at a 5-to-1 ratio. The most teasers and parlays on the weekend were killed by the Saints loss.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered in the playoffs for the first time in his career and they’ll be catching +6.5 at San Francisco in Saturday’s Divisional Playoff round.
“The Saints losing once again at home -- and under -- proves to be a substantial win for us every time,” said Superbook VP Jay Kornegay.
However, there was one book that wasn’t rooting for the Vikings.
“The Vikings was a bad result for us,” said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews. “We got flooded late with Vikings points spread and money-line plays. We got even with Seattle but had a lot of parlays running to them, too. Just a slight profit on the day.”
For most bet shops, Sunday’s late game with the Seahawks at Philadelphia would determine whether Wild Card weekend would be really good or great.
“We lost a little bit with the Seahawks in the late game, although we were balanced more on the game closer to kickoff with late Eagles sharp money that forced us to close Eagles -1,” Stoneback said. “We still had tickets bet on the Seahawks at a 4.5-to-1 ratio.”
The bookmakers all collectively gasped when Eagles QB Carson Wentz got knocked out of the game in the first quarter with a concussion. The Eagles winning would have made an epic day for the house, but back-up Josh McCown was no Nick Foles to the rescue. The Seahawks held on for a 17-9 win, which was ironically the same exact score from the Nov. 24 meeting at Philly. The Seahawks are getting +3.5 next week at Green Bay in Sunday night’s Divisional Playoff.
“If the Saints had won it would have been a brutal day, but the Vikings helped make it a winning weekend overall despite losing Saturday with college hoops and hockey also beating us,” Stoneback said. “The wild card games Saturday were a wash with us losing big on the Texans but getting most of it back with the Titans to wash each other out.”
The Bills jumped out to a 16-0 lead at Houston on Saturday afternoon led by the most impressive first drive in a playoff debut by a QB I’ve ever seen. Bills signal caller Josh Allen had a 42-yard run during the opening drive capped off by a 16-yard touchdown reception thrown by wide receiver Josh Brown. The Bills dominated the first half, but the Texans fought back with the momentum created by a J.J.Watt third-quarter sack. The Houston defensive end was playing in his first game since Week 8.
Texans QB DeShaun Watson then took over and sealed the 22-19 win. Another chapter was written on the growing legend of Watson. The Texans are getting +9.5 in next week’s Divisional Playoff at Kansas City.
The 22-19 Texans (-2.5) win was the only favorite of the weekend to win. The other three all lost outright, which includes the Eagles who became the favorite late at a few books. The all-way teaser also hit in the Texans game making the Saints teaser risk multiply.
Betting the Saints (-7.5) on a teaser in the playoffs is a textbook move. You get the home team, you cross over 7, 4, and 3 on the most sound line of any sport, and you got the playoffs where the best of the best in the league usually play close to their rating which is what the spread is. Getting six points on a two-team teaser in the playoffs and lay only -120 (William Hill) is an amazing deal.
Saturday’s late game saw the Titans win, 20-13, at New England with some people suggesting, or hoping, it’s the end of a dynasty. What I took away from the Titans win is that QB Ryan Tannehill has been managing great games and coach Mike Vrabel gets all the credit for having the guts to make the move benching a high priced starter (Marcus Mariotta). And who wants to tackle running back Derrick Henry? The Titans are catching +10 (-115) at Baltimore next week.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 15 years.