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Packers, UCLA losses sink many bettors

Packers, UCLA losses sink many bettors

Packers, UCLA losses sink many bettors
By: Micah Roberts

LAS VEGAS -- Bettors got the best of Las Vegas sports books last week, but order was restored in Week 5 as four of the most heavily-bet public sides went down, or at least didn’t cover. Sunday’s NFL schedule had an interesting mix of six early games, followed by five afternoon games and then the traditional Sunday nighter.

With only six early games, bettors made plays on teams they might not have focused on had there been the typical slate of eight or nine early ones. It was a given that they were going to take the Packers (-7 at the Colts), but they also jumped all over the Bengals (-3.5 vs. the Dolphins), and both were upset.

The Packers lost, 30-27, giving the Colts a money-line payout of +250. Of course, there weren’t many takers on that proposition despite home underdogs being solid gold all season. The Packers losing outright killed numerous teaser and money-line bets, ensuring a winning day for the sports books. The Packers were also the most-bet team on parlay cards.

When the Dolphins beat the Bengals as a 3.5-point underdog, the cash registers kept singing at the sports books. Also, the Steelers, another public favorite, beat the Eagles, 16-14, but didn’t cover the 4-point spread. It got even worse for the bettors when the Ravens didn’t cover their 5.5-point spread at Kansas City. Although the Ravens teased them with a 9-3 lead in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs kicked a late field goal to cover, again demonstrating the value in playing the home underdog.

By the time the late games started, bettors were busted up pretty good, and they also had their opinions altered by what took place in the early games. It’s why the sports books didn’t get crushed by four of the five favorites covering in the afternoon. In three of those games, the total went OVER, usually a worst-case scenario for the house, but they withstood the results mostly because of killing the bettors’ firepower earlier in the day.

The Patriots covered 6.5-points against the Broncos in a 31-21 win. It was the most-bet game of the day, but the action was split almost evenly, allowing the books to sit back and enjoy the game. Had the Patriots played nearly anyone else, the books would have gotten killed on a Patriots-OVER combination, but the Broncos are also a big public team that gets plenty of support.

The bettors did get some back in the late game with Saints and OVER being a popular 13-to-5 parlay. A few books estimated that they gave back about 25 percent of their win from the first 11 games when the 31-24 Saints win was posted.

It would have been interesting to see how the day’s figures would have changed had the Packers covered, or simply won. Favorites went 7-5 against-the-spread, which is usually a good sign for the chalk-leaning public, but it happened to be the wrong seven teams that covered.

In Saturday’s college football action, the sports books reported a small win with the results being a grind throughout the day. Their biggest win, surprisingly, came in Cal’s 41-17 upset over UCLA. The Bruins were favored by 2.5-points and produced some huge parlay liability by the time the game kicked off.

Between bettors using the late kickoff as a get-back game and others having UCLA as the last leg of their parlays on the day, the game was a major factor in determining whether the books had a winning or losing day. The books also did well with highly-ranked teams like Florida State, Georgia and Texas losing, but the day ultimately came down to UCLA’s defeat.

Saturday’s favorites went 27-22 against-the-spread, with 11 underdogs winning outright. The biggest upset was N.C. State winning as a 17-point home underdog to Florida State.

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