Rovell: Most Sportsbooks Suffer ‘Worst Outcome’ on Monday Night Football

Rovell: Most Sportsbooks Suffer ‘Worst Outcome’ on Monday Night Football article feature image

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson

Monday Evening Update

11:30 p.m. ET: The Seahawks did it again, winning 37-30 and covering as popular 3-point favorites on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. John Murray from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook called the result, which also included the Over 48.5 hitting, the “worst outcome” for his book.

“The Seahawks are a very popular bet and everyone loves the over,” Murray said. Westgate paid out $34,166 on an individual bet from a client who wagered $41,000 on the Seahawks -2.5.

MGM got hit even harder: It paid out to profits of a $100,000 bet on Over 48. “Once game went over we couldn’t win no matter what,” Scott Shelton from the Mirage told The Action Network. Shelton & Co. were assisted by a $100,000 bet on Vikings +3 coming up short, but not enough to cut their losses.

Other books were also feeling the hurt on Monday night. William Hill, the largest retail book in North America, reported pregame that 73% of the money was on Russell Wilson & Co. PointsBet in New Jersey was even more lopsided with 83% of the money.

7:30 p.m. ET: The Seahawks will host the Vikings on Monday Night Football in a game the public is dying to bet on Seattle to cover as home favorites. According to our data, 69% of the tickets are on the Seahawks, who are -2.5 or -3, depending on where you’re looking.

At PointsBet in New Jersey, the split is even more lopsided: 77% of the tickets and 83% of the money is on Seattle. Same goes for William Hill, which has seen 78% of the tickets and 73% of the money come in on the Seahawks at its sportsbooks in Nevada, New Jersey, Iowa, West Virginia and Indiana.

Jeff Sherman from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook told The Action Network that his shop needs Minnesota to cover, especially after taking a $41,000 bet (to win $34,166) on Seahawks -2.5. CG Technology is in the same boat. It took a $25,000 to win $25,000 on Seahawks -3.

But not every shop is as heavy on the Seahawks. MGM had its books evened out a bit by a $100,000 wager on Vikings +3, as first reported by Patrick Everson.

Monday Morning Update

11:28 a.m. ET: Just got word that a DraftKings bettor in New Jersey wagered $565,000 to win $452,000 on the Texans +4 against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

That bet ended up cashing pretty easily: The Texans were covering the 4-point spread for the entirety of the game and ended up winning outright, 28-22.

Sunday Evening Updates

11:30 p.m. ET: Earlier this morning, we reported that a few of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s biggest bets of the day were on Sunday Night Football — and they weren’t necessarily on the team you’d expect:

  • $30,000 to win $25,000 on Texans (+3, -120) over Patriots
  • $24,000 to win $20,000 on Texans (+3.5, -120) over Patriots
  • $20,000 to win $20,000 on Texans (+3) over Patriots

All three of those bets cashed, as Houston pulled off the outright upset over the mighty Patriots at home. But don’t mistake those $75,000 in losses to mean the book had a bad night: It’s actually the opposite.

While a few big bets came in on Houston, John Murray from the SuperBook said, “There was so much public support for the Patriots that we did well.” The Pats are always a popular parlay piece, so the fact that Houston emerged victorious was certainly helpful for sportsbooks.

The win on Sunday night capped what PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner called a “very solid, winning day for the book,” as a few other popular favorites lost outright.

“Best results came in the Jets loss to the Bengals, as 90% of the tickets and money were backing Gang Green at significant volume,” Eichner said, “and the Eagles loss to the Dolphins, with Philly at good volume plus over 80% of the tickets and 70% of the money.”

The one game that kept this from being a great day from sportsbooks? The Packers’ cover as 6.5-point road favorites at the Giants. Green Bay closed with  getting 86% of the tickets per our data, making it the second-most popular NFL side since 2011.

7:13 p.m. ET: Moments before kickoff of the Raiders-Chiefs game, the New Jersey sportsbook PointsBet took a $33,000 bet on the Chiefs -11. The bet ended up cashing quite easily, profiting $33,000, as the Chiefs won, 40-9.

7 p.m. ET: Coming off two losses in their past three games, the Rams weren’t an overly attractive road favorite on Sunday against the Cardinals. But that didn’t deter one bettor at PointsBet from taking a risk on Jared Goff & Co.

The bettor wagered $500 per point on Rams -3.5 via a style of betting the company calls Points Betting. This allows bettors to cash in more depending on just how correct they are about a bet. (The inverse is also true: If you really miss on a Points Betting wager, you’ll lose more than you would’ve on a normal bet.)

In the case of the Rams -3.5 bet, the volatility that Points Betting provides ended up being a very good thing for this bettor. The Rams went on to cruise to a 34-7 victory, meaning L.A. covered the spread 23.5 points. So this bettor profited $11,500 ($500 per point x 23) on his wager.

4:30 p.m. ET: Sportsbooks didn’t get a much-needed cover from the Giants as home underdogs against the Packers, as Green Bay scored 14 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win 31-14. But books did see at least one positive on the early slate: a victory from the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns were popular road favorites — they closed as 1-point favorites, getting 66% of the betting tickets per our data. One bettor at MGM was especially confident in Cleveland’s ability to leave Pittsburgh victorious, plopping down $200,000 on the Browns -1.5 to win $182,000, as first reported by Patrick Everson.

Cleveland got out to a 10-0 lead halfway through the second quarter, but was outscored 20-3 thereafter by Devlin Hodges & Co., much to the delight of sportsbook operators (especially MGM).

Sunday Morning Updates

One of the most lopsided games of the season: It’s pretty clear which side the sportsbooks will need to cover in the Packers-Giants game. Green Bay (8-3, 7-4 ATS) is a 7-point road favorite in the Meadowlands today and bettors are happy to lay the points with the Pack. According to our consensus data, this is the most lopsided game of the day with 88% of the bets on Green Bay. Individual sportsbooks are also seeing heavy Packers action. DraftKings reports 97% of the money is on Green Bay, FanDuel has it at 96% and PointsBet at 92%.

“It’s one of the most lopsided games of the season,” Matt Chaprales of PointsBet said. “It’s been nothing but Green Bay action. Over 90% of the tickets and money and the most volume of any game on the board.”

While the Packers are a clear public side, Jeff Sherman of the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas said they’ve taken some sharp money on the Giants. The SuperBook has also taken two five-figure wagers on this game: a $27,900 bet on the Packers moneyline (-310) that would net $9,000 and a $22,000 bet on the Giants +6.5 that would net $20,000.

Liabilities: Sherman reports that their biggest needs so far are the Colts (+1) vs. the Titans, the Jaguars (+3) vs. the Buccaneers and, believe it or not, the Patriots (-3) at Houston.

Sharps and Squares: Sherman also noted that the public is backing the Panthers (-10.5) vs. the Redskins and the Eagles (-10.5) vs. the Dolphins. As for the sharps, they’re backing the Titans (-1) at the Colts, Buccaneers (-3) at the Jaguars, Bengals (+3) at the Jets and the Cardinals (+2.5) vs. the Rams.

It’s also worth jotting down that the sharps and squares are on the same side in two games. They are backing the Chargers (-3.5) at Denver and the Chiefs (-11.5) vs. the Raiders.

Sherman also said that there are two games with a Pros vs. Joes split. Casual bettors are on the Packers and Patriots, while respected money has come in on the Giants and Texans.

Big Bets: So far the biggest bets that have come across the counter at the Westgate are:

  • $30,000 to win $25,000 on Texans (+3, -120) over Patriots
  • $27,900 to win $9,000 on Packers (-310) over Giants
  • $24,000 to win $20,000 on Texans (+3.5, -120) over Patriots
  • $24,000 to win $20,000 on Titans (+3) over Colts
  • $22,000 to win $4,000 on Eagles (-550) over Dolphins
  • $22,000 to win $20,000 on Buccaneers (-1) over Jaguars
  • $22,000 to win $20,000 on Cardinals (+3) over Rams
  • $20,000 to win $20,000 on Texans (+3) over Patriots

Mother Nature: Weather is a major focus for today’s card. CG Technology’s Tony DiTomasso says the public is on unders for Packers-Giants, Raiders-Chiefs, Chargers-Broncos and Browns-Steelers.

Thursday Updates

9:41 a.m. ET: The first Thanksgiving game of the day — Bears at Lions (2:30 p.m. ET) — has bookmakers concerned. Why? They opened the spread for this one around Bears -1, and even before Lions QB Jeff Driskel got ruled out, Chicago took on some heavy action, moving the line to the key number of Bears -3.

And now with Driskel not playing, the spread is all the way up to Bears -6 in some spots. That 5-point line move leaves bookmakers wide opened to getting middled. Translation: Bettors who took, say, Bears -1 and Lions +6 could both win their bets if Chicago wins by two, three, four or five points.

“It’s not often a middle opens up across multiple key numbers, but that’s exactly what’s happened here,” says PointsBet’s Matt Chaprales. “We took a few four-figure sharp plays at -4 once it became clear Driskel wasn’t going to play.”

PointsBet, which currently has the spread Bears -5.5, says that 80% of the tickets and 70% of the money is on Chicago.

Wednesday Updates

Thanksgiving has been a great holiday for chalk bettors and a bad one for sportsbooks over the past 16 seasons.

Since 2003, favorites on Thanksgiving are 30-11 (73.2%) Against the Spread and teams favored by six or more are 16-3 ATS (per Bet Labs). It’s a small sample, but those Turkey Day trends follow the script for Thursday Night Football, in general. On a short week — four days between games — favorites are 100-71-4 (58.5%) ATS since 2003.

This year, we’ve got a pair of popular favorites and one trendy underdog to go along with your turkey.

Chicago Bears (-4) at Detroit Lions | Over/Under: 38

The first game on Thanksgiving gets uglier by the minute. Not only are both of these teams bad, but Detroit’s quarterback situation is desperate.

The Lions were already without Matthew Stafford and now his backup, Jeff Driskel, may need to sit out Thursday’s game, leaving the Lions with only one healthy quarterback for their annual Thanksgiving soiree. David Blough, who started the preseason as Cleveland’s No. 4 quarterback, would start this game if Driskel can’t go.

As you can imagine, the injury report sent this line moving. The Lions opened as a 1.5-point favorite for this game at the Westgate SuperBook but the line has flipped and gone through the key number of 3 to Chicago -4.

This line opened Chicago -1.5 but got steamed up to 3.5 on the news of Jeff Driskel’s hamstring injury,” said Patrick Eichner of PointsBet, which now has the game at -4. “Public action drove the move, as the Bears are seeing about a 4-to-1 edge on the ticket count.”

Not many bettors are looking to back Blough and the Lions. According to our market-wide data, 80% of the bets and 84% of the money is on Chicago. That tells you that sportsbooks will be rooting on the Lions.

The Over/Under has also come down from 41 to 37, as 73% of the tickets and 83% of the money is on the Under.

Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) | Over/Under: 47

Surprisingly, the Cowboys are the only unpopular favorite on Thursday.

According to our market data, only 39% of the bets have come in on the Cowboys, while FanDuel reports that 57% of the bets and 64% of the money they’ve taken has come in on Buffalo.

The anti-Cowboys sentiment is noticeable at the Westgate SuperBook.

“People have cooled on the Cowboys,” said the SuperBook’s Eric Osterman. “You could tell last week for the their game against the Patriots. Normally, we would even need the Patriots because the Cowboys are the Cowboys, but the Cowboys money never came in last week.”

The Superbook has one big Cowboys bet, on the moneyline. A $17,000 bet would return $5,000.

There’s also been some interesting movement on the Over/Under. After opening at 45, this total has been bet up to 47 at most shops. That goes against the betting splits as only 48% of the tickets we’ve tracked have taken the Over.

New Orleans Saints (-7) at Atlanta Falcons | Over/Under: 48.5

It’s been one-way traffic for New Orleans in this one. The Westgate opened the Saints as 5.5-point road favorites (some shops opened the Saints at -4.5) and support for New Orleans showed up immediately.

As of Wednesday evening 81% of the bets and 85% of the money has come in on the Saints, causing the bookmakers to adjust this market to New Orleans -7.

“This is our biggest parlay liability,” Osterman said.

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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