Sports Book Industry Report

Sports Book Industry Report

Sports Book Industry Report – Covers by Bills, Raiders help Vegas to winning day
By: Micah Roberts

LAS VEGAS -- The first NFL Sunday of season couldn’t have been scripted any better by the Las Vegas sports books. The rooms were full, creating an atmosphere that everyone in the casino wanted to be a part of. Handle was up, always a great sign that people still love betting football. And perhaps best of all for the books, they came out big winners on the day as favorites tallied a 6-6-1 record against-the-spread.

“We had a great morning session, and the Patriots (-10) not covering against the Bills was the biggest win overall,” Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller said. In addition to winning big on that game alone, it also killed a huge portion of parlays, both off the board and on the (parlay) cards, and also teasers.

“Our next biggest wins were the Dolphins (+2) beating the Browns outright and the Raiders (+11) playing the Colts tough and covering. For whatever reason, we had a lot of action of the Browns, and no one was believing in Terrelle Pryor. Most people thought the Raiders would get crushed on the road, and bet that way with the Colts.”

The majority of Vegas books were in the same boat as the Golden Nugget. Their desired result on the day was to knock out one of the two largest favorites of the week, and when neither the Patriots nor the Colts covered, the rest of the day was going to be gravy.

“Those were our two root games,” South Point sports director Bert Osborne. “Those games were the difference in us having to sweat like we normally do in the late afternoon and Sunday night game instead of just treating them like regular games because they didn’t have an extended risk attached to them like usual.”

There were 10 games in the morning (Vegas time, of course) with only two in the afternoon and then the late game between the Giants and Cowboys. With New England and Indianapolis out of the way, the books were in cruise control the rest of the way.

“We had great two-way action on all of the late games,” said Miller. “The only thing we had any real risk on was the totals going OVER.”

The final three games all went OVER the total, but there wasn’t anything waiting to pop with a big payout like the books experienced in about half of the NFL weeks last year when they got beat up pretty good by the public.

“The meter never moved up on the late games like we normally see,” said Osborne. “Every key decision for us came in the morning.“

Pryor wasn’t the only young quarterback that made a difference on the day. Along with a strong defensive performance by the Jets, rookie Geno Smith played well enough to put New York in a good position to cover the spread vs. Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers had been 3-point favorites earlier in the week, and bettors jumped all over them, pushing the game up to -4 by kickoff.

Another young QB that came up big was Jake Locker for the Titans, as they went into Heinz Field and beat the Steelers as 6-point underdogs.

“We actually lost a little on the Titans game,” said Osborne, who opened the Steelers at -7. “The public was all over the Steelers, but the sharp money on the Titans.”

No easy callas for the bettors

Perhaps even better news for the books, no one team looked absolutely dominant on Sunday, and only one team looked horrible. The books need parity to avoid an onslaught of one-sided action, either on one team or against another.

The Patriots have traditionally been one of those teams the public can rely on, but without their two-headed tight end and a group of receivers who don’t have the hands Tom Brady has been used to, there was enough in Sunday’s 23-21 win at Buffalo to put doubt in the bettors’ mind.

The Broncos may be a different story. While bettors jumped off the wagon for Thursday’s 49-27 win against the Ravens, they’ll be hopping back on, beginning this week against the Giants.

As for the teams on the other end of the spectrum, the Raiders, considered by most to be the worst team in the league, showed some toughness on both sides of the ball that no one expected. Pryor was unstoppable on the ground, and that will cause some doubt when bettors go the windows next week. The same goes for the Jets, and it’s apparent the upgrades the Chiefs – a doormat the past few seasons – have made at coaching and quarterback will make an impact in 2013.

The only fear for the books in the near future is the Jaguars. Everyone thought this team was going to be awful, and they proved it in a home, 28-2, loss to the Chiefs. The public will pile on this team until they show something, and the books know they’re going to have to inflate their prices soon to attract at least some action on them from sharp bettors who know what the proper rating should be.

Good weekend in college football

Despite the favorites going 23-13 ATS on Saturday’s regular college football board, the books still came out ahead. Usually that type of favorite/underdog ratio spells bad news for the books, but the day became more about not having a group of high-profile games all coming in and winning the big west coast late games.

“Oregon (-22 vs. Virginia) was the game that did us in early,” Osborne said, “that was the big game of the day, and we lost, but we did very well with BYU (+7 vs. Texas) and Washington State (+16 vs. USC) in the late games to maintain a positive hold.“

The Ducks boat raced Virginia, 59-10, at Charlottesville; BYU pounded Texas, 40-21, at Provo; and the Cougars upended USC on their home field.

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Re: Sports Book Industry Report

Bettors Take a Bath in NFL Opening Week
By Tom Grassi

It’s always a good idea to tread lightly in Week 1 of the NFL for obvious reasons. The teams have no history and it’s very difficult to predict the outcome of the games, especially against the betting line.

Yesterday was no different, as there were some shocking results.

The bettors couldn’t bet enough money against Geno Smith and the New York Jets. They felt that Tampa Bay was the closest thing to the proverbial lock giving the hapless Jets only 3.5 points. Nearly 85% of all the wagers in that contest were on the Bucs. Smith and the Jets kept it close and ended up winning outright, 18-17.

Another team that was having big time QB issues was the Oakland Raiders who started Terrelle Pryor. That’s right, the ex-Ohio State star would be making his first career start, and against Andrew Luck and the Colts in Indianapolis. The game opened many months ago with Indy as 6.5-point favorites, and as the QB dilemma in Oakland continued to get worse, the line continued to rise.

At game time, some of the offshore sportsbooks had moved the line to Indy giving a whopping 12 points. No matter how high they took the line they couldn’t attract much Raider money, with over 80 percent of the bets on the Colts. Well, the bettors were buried as the Raiders covered, losing by only four points, 21-17.

One game that the bettors did win was with the Kansas City Chiefs. With Andy Reid and new QB Alex Smith in KC, they believed that they would beat up the Jaguars. It was one of those easy wins that all bettors like, as the Chiefs ran out early and never looked back in a 28-2 win, easily covering as 3.5-point favorites.

One of the teams that always draws a lot of betting attention is New England, and they did once again Sunday. Despite jumping all the way up to 10.5 point favorites, the books couldn’t attract much Buffalo money. Brady and the Pats drew 70% of the betting action, and they failed their backers, almost losing outright. They had to drive the length of the field to score a late game-winning field goal and leave Buffalo with a 23-21 win.

The next highest wagering sides were the Bengals +3 versus the Bears, which was a push, the Seahawks, who just barely covered as 4-point favorites over the Panthers, and the Browns, who lost outright to the Dolphins as 2.5-point favorites.

Overall it was a bad day for the bettors, losing four of the top games, winning two, and pushing one.

Hopefully Week 2 will provide the players with better results!

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