Bettors Tally a Winning NFL Sunday

Bettors Tally a Winning NFL Sunday

Bettors Tally a Winning NFL Sunday
By: Micah Roberts 
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS -- What comes around goes around. That old adage has never been more true than on Sunday for both the bettors and the Las Vegas sports books, as two of the most wagered upon games of the day had a couple of wild turn of events that affected the point spread. For the books, one of those plays was extremely bad, while the other ultimately saved the day from being a disaster for the house.

Two of the hottest teams in football are the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos, and while the standings don’t necessarily reflect the betting patterns of the public, just about everyone with any kind of parlay on the day had at least one of these teams linked in the them.

With less than two minutes to go, the Packers — favored by 3-points — took a 21-20 lead in Detroit. The crowds in the sports books erupted, knowing they weren’t covering but optimistic that anything is possible, despite Green Bay seemingly not having a logical chance to cover.

When the Lions got the ball back with 1:55 remaining at their own 25-yard line, Matt Stafford threw four consecutive incompletions, and Detroit actually lost five yards on a false start penalty before turning the ball over on downs.

The Packers would have loved to have simply run out the 1:19 left on the clock, but Detroit used its two remaining timeouts, imploring Green Bay to attempt a 35-yard field goal. Mason Crosby made his kick, giving Green Bay a 24-20 win and the cover, much to the delight of the sports book crowd.

At nearly the same time this was going on, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5), down, 21-13, with 1:02 remaining in the game and no timeouts, began an 80-yard drive at Carolina. The Bucs got the touchdown and tied the game with a two-point conversion. Then, they scored a touchdown in overtime to make the score 27-21, not only giving the popular Bucs the cover, but also sending the total OVER the number (47).

In a matter of five minutes, the sports books went from what was looking like a great day — thanks to the Browns (+7.5) covering at Dallas, the Jets (+3.5) beating the Rams, the Cardinals (+9) covering at Atlanta and the Jags covering (+15) at Houston — to being put in serious jeopardy heading into the afternoon.

There were only three afternoon games, with the Patriots (-10), Saints (-6) and Broncos (-7.5) being the preferred public sides. One by one, the deficit for the books started to mount, and the cash register started to ring with payouts on parlays. Patriots beat the Colts, 59-24. Cha-ching. Saints beat the Raiders, 38-17. Cha-ching.

The only game remaining to be decided was the Chargers-Broncos. Denver had a 14-point lead with 4:14 remaining. Bettors were counting their money, many dreaming of what they were going to do with a 20-to-1 payout on their five-team parlay.

The Chargers had looked awful all game. They couldn't run the ball, nor could they protect QB Philip Rivers. But they battled against a prevent defense on a 10-play, 80-yard drive, culminating with a fantastic 21-yard touchdown catch by Danario Alexander to make it 30-23 to give Chargers bettors —the few there were —a back door cover, and Broncos bettors a dagger in their wallet.

Just when the sports book directors could finally catch their breath from the traumatic plays unfolding in Denver, an official review of the catch took place. CBS analyst Solomon Wilcots told the captive sports book audience that the play would be overturned because Alexander did not complete the process of a catch, similar to Calvin Johnson’s infamous play against the Bears two year ago.

When the official finished the review process, there was a collective hush rarely heard in the books on an NFL Sunday, as everyone eagerly awaited finding out whether they were a winner or loser. The touchdown came on fourth-down, so there were no more Chargers plays had the ruling on the field been overturned. It would be Broncos ball, and they’d go to their victory formation with a 14-point lead.

But much to the dismay of most every bettor, the ruling on the field was upheld, with the official citing that the receiver had established possession of the ball before crossing the goal line and subsequently dropping it when he hit the ground.

The books were not exposed to as much liability in the Sunday night game as is typical for the NBC prime timer, in part because the Chargers cover killed a lot of that liability. The Ravens, laying 3.5 points at Pittsburgh, were the public choice because Ben Roethlisberger was out for the Steelers. Sharp money took the 3.5, dropping the number to 3 at a few books prior to game time. It was a small win for the house.

Overall on the day, there were mixed reports around town, but collectively, it looks like the bettors got the best of the books and will have a little extra cash for shopping on Black Friday.

Some of that win, though, will be reinvested on Thursday’s Thanksgiving games, where the most popular three-team parlay will be the Texans (-3) at the Lions, Cowboys (-4) vs. the Redskins and Patriots (-7) at the Jets. If that three-bagger comes in, we may have a Black Thursday in the sports books.

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