Greg M. Cooper, USA Today Sports. Pictured: James White, Tom Brady
LAS VEGAS — Last week’s finishes in the NFL helped make Week 14 one of the best weeks of the season for the Las Vegas sportsbooks. More than $1 million swung from the bettors to the house in the “Miami Miracle.” The last-second play resulted in a seven-figure swing at William Hill sports books alone. MGM reported a six-figure swing as well.
Oakland’s upset of Pittsburgh also contributed to a big day for the books.
“It was a solid day, the Raiders game was definitely icing on the cake,” Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook director Doug Castaneda said. “We had a lot of play on the Steelers and some profound play on the money line. We had a bettor lose a six-figure money line wager on Pittsburgh at -650.”
Bettors will look to bounce back in Week 15 and there are a number of key games attracting some significant betting attention in Sin City.
Houston Texans (-7) at New York Jets | Over/Under: 44
You can expect most bookmakers to be rooting on the Jets on Saturday afternoon.
“We took a money line bet on the Texans for $130K early in the week from one of our house players,” Westgate SuperBook supervisor Derek Wilkinson said. “The Texans will be included in a lot of money line parlay and teaser wagers. The Jets will be a really big decision for us Saturday.”
Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings (-7.5) | Over/Under: 44.5
The stakes for both teams are high in this one as Miami saved its season with a miraculous win over the Patriots while the Vikings are in desperate need after falling to Seattle on Monday Night Football.
Tony Miller, executive director of the Golden Nugget sportsbook, says their shop is not seeing much interest on the underdog.
“We’re sitting at -7.5 at the moment and all the money has been coming on the Vikings here so far,” Miller noted. “Traditionally, we’re a Minnesota house so I’m not sure the Vikings are getting as much attention around town as we are but I expect the support to continue on Minnesota here come game time and it honestly wouldn’t shock me if the line climbs even higher, possibly to -8 or even -8.5.”
It’s a different story at the Westgate, where they’ve seen more Miami action.
“This line has dropped from Vikings -8 to -7.5, but I don’t think it’ll get to -7,” Wilkinson explained. “No big bets on this one yet. Right now the book needs the Vikings by a slim margin.”
Dallas Cowboys- Indianapolis Colts (-3) | Over/Under: 47.5
Bettors are seeing this as a potential letdown spot for the Cowboys, who coming off a big victory against division rival Philadelphia and likely locked up the NFC East in the process.
Conversely, this game is vital for the Colts. They played possibly their best game of the season winning last week in Houston beating the red-hot Texans. Are bettors believing this was more than a fluke for the Colts?
According to Duane Colucci, assistant Race and sportsbook manager at the Rampart Casino, he says the Colts’ support is legit.
“I think this is a very live spot for Indianapolis. The line here had been -2.5 and now it has gone up to -3 and we’re seeing steady money come in on the Colts,” Colucci said.
Wilkinson is seeing a lot of recreational bettors take on the Cowboys. One reason for the high number of Dallas wagers? The rodeo is in town. No, seriously.
“This line has been Colts -3 and then -3 -120 all week but most of the public money is on the Cowboys because they’ve won five in a row,” Wilkinson commented. “Right now, we need the Colts by a significant margin. I think with the Rodeo in town this week we’re going to take Cowboys money all weekend. I don’t think enough to drop the line under -3, because if we do, they value players will likely jump in but the Dallas supporters should help keep this line firmly at -3.”
New England Patriots (-3)- Pittsburgh Steelers | Over/Under: 54
Sharp and square bettors are on the same side in this one as most players in Vegas believe the Patriots will have no problem bouncing back from their tough loss in Miami.
“The line opened here at Patriots -1.5 and the sharps bet the game pretty heavy early in the week which pushed the line here and just about everywhere else to -2.5,” Jason Simbal of CG Technologies said. “I expect the public to pile on as we get into the weekend on the Patriots. We’ve taken a couple of big money line bets on New England at -125 which pushed it to -140 currently. We did get a little push back on the Steelers but I think we’ll definitely get more Patriots money here by Sunday and I expect we’re going to be rooting for Pittsburgh come kickoff.”
New England money keeps coming in at the Westgate, too.
“We’ve taken most of the sharp money on the Patriots in this one,” Wilkinson said. “The line has gone from NE -1 to -2.5(-120) in two days so that’s a solid indicator of what the wise guys are thinking. The book needs the Steelers right now, but if the line goes to NE -3, we could get some money back on the Steelers.”
The only house that is seeing some professional money come in on Pittsburgh is the Golden Nugget.
“We’re taking some sharp play on Pittsburgh here a little bit,” Miller said. “I’ve seen some -2.5’s and -120 out there and even a -3 EVEN at Coast Casinos but I’m seeing solid Steelers action here. But I do expect the public to be on New England as we get closer to game time.”
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams (-13) | Over/Under: 52
This line has continued to climb since it was announced that Eagles QB Carson Wentz was ruled out for the season after being diagnosed with an injured back. Nobody around town seems to believe that No. 2 quarterback Nick Foles will pull the same miracles out of his hat that he did last year in guiding the Eagles to a Super Bowl win.
“This line has been all over the place because of Carson Wentz being out,” Wilkinson noted. “We briefly opened at Rams -7.5 and now we’re all the way to Rams -13 which is the highest number in town. We took a large five-figure bet on Eagles +10, but also took another one on the Rams -11.5. Right now, the book needs the Rams by a small, five-figure margin.”
It’s been one-way traffic at the CG Technologies’ properties.
“Our line opened at -9 and after the Wentz announcement we went up to -11 right away,” Simbal said. “I’m sure there were a few sharps out there that laid the 9 and took the 11 right away because they wanted to get that middle. So we ended up going back down to -10.5 but as soon as we did, we had other sharp guys come in and lay the -10.5 heavy to push the number up to -11 and now we’re all the way up to -12 and I can’t see this number coming back down.”
Miller said the Golden Nugget will also be cheering on the Eagles as they are seeing one-way traffic on Los Angeles, as well.
“Right now we’re at -12 and everything is coming in on LA,” Miller explained. “If you like the Eagles I definitely recommend waiting until the last minute. The line could be close to two touchdowns by game time.”