Bookmakers Seeing One-Way Action for Thursday Night Football

Bookmakers Seeing One-Way Action for Thursday Night Football article feature image

David Butler II, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Devin McCourty

  • As expected, the bookmakers in Vegas are seeing a lot more Patriots (-10) money for Thursday Night Football.
  • In general, the handle for Thursday Night Football games is smaller than it is for a regular Sunday game because not many TNF games are included in parlays and teasers.

Ask any experienced Las Vegas bookmaker and they will all say that October is the money month. With so many different sports going, it’s a very exciting time not only for the sports enthusiast but also for an oddsmaker.

With pro and college football already in full swing, baseball going into the playoffs, usually a big boxing and/or MMA fight card scheduled and the beginning of the NBA and NHL seasons, the books will tell you there’s a lot of action coming in all day long.

Thus, it isn’t surprising to hear that Thursday Night Football isn’t attracting as much betting traffic as a typical prime-time NFL game would. The Patriots-Colts game, which is not projected to be close, is being overshadowed a bit as people are looking ahead to a weekend that is chock full of great betting opportunities, including Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Still, there is a freaking NFL game Thursday, and no matter how bad the matchup looks, you could remind yourself it could be the middle of July and your only betting option is a Mets-Marlins game.

Even without any real heavy action to report, the books are keeping a close eye on the early betting patterns to see if anything peculiar pops up.

So far, it’s been status quo according to Cameron Coombs, supervisor at the Westgate SuperBook. “We’ve been getting a steady amount of Patriots money so far. The public is just hammering New England, and we’re not seeing any sharp money at all come in on the game. There just doesn’t seem to be heavy interest on the game so far,” he said.

Coombs noted that the two wild-card games might have played a part in the slow trickle at the window.

“I am anticipating a surge of bets throughout the day Thursday,” he said. “But thus far nearly all the money is on New England in both straight and parlay bets. We’ve gotten a few small bets on Indianapolis’ moneyline, but those are from guys just trying to cash big tickets while not having to lay out much money.”

John Murray, the director of the Westgate SuperBook, isn’t too confident the Colts can cash for underdog bettors.

“This is a tough spot for the Colts. They basically played five quarters of football on Sunday and now come back in a short week and have to go on the road,” Murray said. “It just seems like a lot to ask of Indianapolis. That being said, though, it’s an awful lot of points to take, and maybe if it jumps to -10.5, it might be worth a look on the Colts.”

Over at MGM, Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo) supervisor Pat Pancione says they are seeing one-way action on New England and he doesn’t expect that to change come Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t think things will change from what we’ve seen already. There’s no good reason to take the Colts. It’s just not one of those “trap” games where the line seems too good to be true. Everything here seems to be ‘what you see is what you’re going to get,’ ” Pancione said.

The numbers at William Hill tell a little bit of a different story. They haven’t written a lot of tickets on this game yet, but the early betting is far more balanced than it is at the other books with 58% of the spread bets coming in on the underdog.

However, when it comes to the amount of money bet on the spread, a decent majority (61%) is on New England.

On the moneyline it’s no surprise to see the majority (60%) of tickets coming down on Indianapolis. But those tickets make up only 22% of the total money wagered, meaning the Indy bets are rather small in the big picture.

As for the total on the game (currently at 51), 60% of the money at William Hill is currently going on the Over.