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Sports Book Industry Report – Giants' debacle helps Vegas overcome favorite-heavy day
By: Micah Roberts

LAS VEGAS -- Every once in a while, the Las Vegas sports books have one of those days when everything seems to go right, no matter how many favorites win. On Sunday the favorites went 9-4-1 against the spread, but with nine games featuring spreads at 3 points or less, picking the right mismatch was a difficult process for the bettors.

“It was a really good day, and we needed it after a rough Saturday,” said LVH SuperBook vice-president Jay Kornegay. “The morning games (1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs) all went our way, which included our three biggest decisions of the day with the Bengals, Panthers and Browns all covering.

“It’s rare to see, but we actually won every one of the early games. It might have been our best morning wave of games we’ve ever had.”

The Giants were one of those short favorites the public loved, even though they were 0-2 coming into Sunday’s game. But after seeing them destroy the Panthers at Carolina last season and reasoning that the Giants couldn’t possibly start 0-3, Giants money flooded in from the moment the Panthers opened as 3-point favorites last week.

The game closed Giants -2.5, and the sharps that moved the number took a bath and the public joined them, as the Panthers dealt coach Tom Coughlin a 38-0 loss, the worst of his Giants tenure.

The most one-sided action of the day came on the Vikings, who went from a 3.5-point home favorite against the Browns earlier in the week to as high as -7. The public’s reasoning was simple: First off, they’re the Browns, and secondly, they traded their best player (Trent Richardson), and back-up QB Brian Hoyer is starting. The Vikings should kill them.” Of course, the Browns won outright, 31-27.

The Packers had similar backing from bettors during the week that saw their line go from an opener of -1 up to -3 by kickoff at Cincinnati. The Bengals came up big late with a 34-30 win that sent bettors to the ATM to regroup for the afternoon games.

The real surprising part of the day is that one of biggest public teams over the past decade, the Patriots, didn’t see a lot of public action for their home game against the Buccaneers. The Patriots were only laying 7 points, and ended up winning, 23-3, but the line stayed at -7 all week. By not covering the spread the first two week, thanks to some growing pains Tom Brady is experiencing with his new receiving corp, bettors hopped off the wagon for a week.

But after the Pats covered Sunday, they may be back on board with them at Atlanta next week. But there is a lot of confusion about what to make of certain teams through three weeks. The public loves the Broncos and Seahawks, but they're not sure if they can trust the Patriots, 49ers or Packers. And even though the Cowboys are 3-0 ATS after beating the Rams, 31-7, Sunday, the deep wounds left by the Cowboys the past seasons give bettors the feeling the Boys are soon to fail, a trap they don't want to fall into again.

Splitting the later slate

The LVH split the four 4:00 p.m. ET games.

“The late games weren’t as good, but we didn’t give much back from the morning,” Kornegay said. “The Dolphins winning was a decent win (for us), and the Jets was a small win – not a lot of people bet that game. But we lost with Seattle and the Colts.”

The LVH may be one of the few books in town that lost when the 49ers went down as 10-point favorites, which killed a large a portion of teasers and money-line parlays tied to San Fran, but it was the chunky +400 moneyline on the Colts that sent that game into the bookmakers' red-zone for Kornegay.

“We had a couple of house players that had some large money parlayed on the Colts, Browns and Panthers – all on the moneyline, in various combinations.”

Using the closing line from the LVH, a three-team parlay with the Colts (+400), Browns (+240) and Panthers (+120) paid out at just over 36-to-1 odds. Even if the parlays wagered were as small as $1,000, that’s a pretty big hit, but it shows how great of an early session it must have been for the LVH not to have losses that fazed Kornegay.

Tough Saturday

As for Saturday, when college football favorites went 25-19 ATS on the regular board, none of the games fell Kornegay’s way.

“There were no upsets. We lost to the sharp players, the public and also to house players. With no marquee games, everyone was all spread across the board with their action.”

Only two of the underdogs won outright on Saturday, and neither of the favored teams that lost (Arkansas State -4 and BYU -7) did much to help the books out.

Books have favorite teams, too

Coming off a winning Sunday, Kornegay was pretty chipper and even wanted to talk about his Broncos on Monday night.

“I’m really concerned about losing (left-tackle) Ryan Clady. I think it’s a big deal – bigger than most are talking – and I’m hoping they can manage the situation somehow to keep the great protection Manning’s been getting.”

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