Rams-Saints Bookmaker Report: Sharps and Squares Disagree on Over/Under
Derick E. Hingle, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees
- Bookmakers in Las Vegas are reporting two-way action on the spread in the NFC Championship Game between the Rams and Saints.
- Sharp and recreational bettors are on different sides of the over/under, however.
LAS VEGAS — The sportsbooks in Las Vegas are prepared for a huge Sunday, starting with what should be a fantastic game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints (-3).
Almost every bookmaker around town is in agreement that this will be the highest bet NFL Conference Championship Sunday in Las Vegas history, which, no matter the outcome, will likely set up a record handle for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
That makes sense given that the past few Sundays have already done huge numbers.
Last weekend a bettor at Caesars Palace won $42,000 on a $160,000 wager on the Saints moneyline against the Eagles, while another player won $100,000 on a $300,000 bet on New Orleans to win.
At MGM, they paid out three separate $100,000 bets on the Eagles +8 but won the under after a bettor put $100,000 on the over (52.5).
“We had some large casino players the whole week last week starting with the National Championship game,” Jeff Stoneback, a sportsbook director with MGM, said. . “We’ve taken quite a few large wagers in the playoffs, much more so than the regular season.”
The bookmakers expect this game to do some huge numbers but bettors are having a tough time choosing between the two teams.
“Things are really starting to heat up. The numbers are going to be silly on these two games,” Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill’s director of trading, said. “Two totals of 57, the No. 1 and 2 seeds in both games, coming off the biggest handle year of all time, these games are tailor-made for bookmaking. The numbers should just be absolutely stupid.”
“We have a nice black number beside both teams here. That’s how good the two-way action is,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management at CG Technology, explained. “This sounds crazy, but it’s true, we have written the EXACT same number of tickets on both sides in this game [as of Thursday evening]. That’s almost statistically impossible.”
Tony Miller, the executive sportsbook director at the Golden Nugget, echoed Simbal’s sentiment.
“We’ve had the line at Saints -3 -120 the whole week so far. We’re still there and we’re getting great two-way action on this game,” Miller commented. “The ticket count is nearly even and the money is basically even as well. It seems to be going back and forth at the moment. I’ve seen a little more money on the Rams money line at +150. That’s no surprise as the public will often play the underdog on these toss-up games.”
As for sharp money, Simbal said even that has been pretty balanced for this tilt. “There was some sharp action on the Saints -3 early and we went to -3.5 and the sharp guys actually took the 3.5 with the Rams. But we haven’t seen any sharp action since we moved the line back to Saints -3 -120. So I would expect the game to remain at 3. The juice may move around a little bit but we’re getting really good, balanced action on this game.”
John Murray, the director of the Westgate SuperBook, says they are seeing a little bit more support on the underdog.
“We have been bouncing back and forth between Rams +3.5 -110/-120 all week after initially opening the number at -3 -120 on the Saints last Sunday night,” he explained. “Most of the public support has been on the over and on the Rams money line which currently sits at +145. As of now, we need the Saints for a good amount in this game due mostly to a very favorable house position on New Orleans in our NFC future book.”
While the side has bettors splitting hairs, the total has attracted some serious attention, especially after it was reported that MGM took it’s largest single bet on an over/under ever when one bettor placed $500,000 on the Over 57.
Bogdanovich says the total for this game is turning into a Pros vs. Joe’s scenario, as public bettors are expecting it to be a shootout, while sharp bettors are leaning the other way.
“The sharps seem to love the under on this game. But the public has gone with the over,” Bogdanovich said. “You’d think based on the last time these two teams played it should be an automatic this game goes way over. But you just don’t know.”