Vegas Bookmaker Roundup: Sportsbooks Pulling For Bills and Texans in Week 16
Timothy Ludwig, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Josh Allen
The Vegas books made a solid profit last Sunday thanks to a clean sweep of the late games.
“The afternoon made our day,” Mirage Sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said. “Those two games were as good as a good morning when you have eight games going.”
At MGM Resorts, one casino whale lost $569,000 on two separate moneyline wagers on the Seahawks (at -230 and -250) Sunday afternoon when the 49ers pulled out a 16-13 win in overtime.
Another high roller lost a $180,000 bet to win $20,000 on the heavily-favored Rams. The Eagles held off Los Angeles, 30-23, in a stunning upset as 13.5-point underdogs. MGM won on the game, but Stoneback said the win was offset by three late bets on the Eagles for close to six figures each.
Another MGM bettor lost a $200,000 moneyline bet to win $100,000 on the Chiefs, who blew a big lead Thursday night in a 29-28 loss to the Chargers.
Although, an MGM bettor in New Jersey at the Borgata hit an $8,000 six-team parlay to win $330,000 all on first-half bets. Crazy!
There are only a few games with playoff implications this week, but John Murray, director at the Westgate SuperBook said they will be sweating a few key preseason bets that hinge on a couple of matchups this Sunday.
“Our big needs this Sunday are going to be the Lions and the Browns,” Murray said. “Not because they’re getting heavily bet in this Sunday’s games but because we had a guy bet $240,000 to win $120,000 on the Vikings to make the playoffs before the season started. The Lions would be doing us a big favor if they were to beat Minnesota this Sunday.”
As for the Browns, Murray and the Westgate had them rated higher than most other sportsbooks and that meant players looking to fade Cleveland in the futures market came down to the SuperBook.
“We need one more win from the Browns to get them to 7 wins for the season,” Murray explained. “We took a lot of money on Under 6 wins because we all really liked them here and we set a higher win total than many books around town so we took some heavy action. We also had a guy bet $19,000 on Cincinnati on the money line early in the week at +340.”
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-13.5) | Over/Under: 44
The Patriots need a win to stay in the race for a first-round bye and this seems like a spot for New England to take out its frustration after losing two games in a row.
Buffalo had a gutsy win last week, but it came against a bad Lions team. The Bills have played hard all season long and bookmakers are hoping that they can hang with the Pats here. The public has been betting New England heavy all week and it would certainly not surprise anyone if the Patriots blew the doors off Buffalo.
“Of course everyone is going to be on the Patriots this week,” Derek Wilkinson, a supervisor at the Westgate, said. “New England is coming off a loss to the Steelers, and they’re at home against a team they usually dominate. It’s probably easy money for the public. The line has already gone from Patriots -10.5 to -13.5 and they’ll probably cover it. We’ve taken several five-figure bets on the Patriots at -12 and -12.5. We have a large, five-figure liability on New England right now. I’m sure that number will be even higher before Sunday.”
Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) | Over/Under: 46
The Texans opened as favorites against the Eagles but that line quickly moved toward Philadelphia after Nick Foles’ impressive performance against the Rams on Sunday night. Everybody is back on the Philly bandwagon.
Wilkinson, who backed Foles to cover against the Rams last week, said the Westgate is taking heavy two-way action on this one.
“We opened this game at Texans -3.5 as a look-ahead game before the Eagles beat the Rams last Sunday,” Wilkinson said. “Now, we have the Eagles at -2 over the Texans and we’ve taken five-figure bets on both sides of this one, but the drastic line move tells you who the wise guys like and I agree. The book needs the Texans at the moment and I think it will likely stay that way.”
Jason Simbal said the Eagles supporters are coming out of the woodwork at CG Technologies, as well.
“This line flipped here. Originally the Texans were favored at -1, now it’s up to Philly -2 on Thursday night (it has since dipped down to -1.5),” Simbal noted. “We did take a sharp bet on the Eagles at Pick ’em which moved the line to -1. But after that it just seems like it’s mostly Eagles fans playing their team again. There’s also the smell test of what have you done for me lately. Philly looked good last week and the Texans didn’t against the Jets. I don’t know where we’ll see the sharps go if they jump in on this game but I expect the Eagles to stay the favorite through Sunday.”
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints (-6.5) | Over/Under: 52.5
This line may seem strange as the Steelers are still fighting for their playoff lives and are coming off a huge win over New England, while New Orleans has looked vulnerable over the last month.
Still, the line sits at Saints -6.5 and, while there is interest on the Steelers, it’s not shifting the line all that much.
Wilkinson thinks the line has settled into the right place.
“We have the Saints favored by 6.5 and I think it’s a good line,” Wilkinson explained. “The line would probably be 5.5 or 6 if the Steelers had RB Conner, but he’ll be out again this week. The Saints had trouble scoring against the Panthers last week, but I think they’ll make some adjustments and cover easily on Sunday. Most of our liability is on the Saints.”
CG Technologies has seen interest on both sides of this game.
“We took a sharp bet on the Steelers at +6 early in the week that initially dropped the line to +5.5, Simbal said. “We then got good two-way action from there. With a big number of fans on both sides for this game I don’t see this game being that big of a decision for us because of the two-way action. I expect that will continue right up until game time.”
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) at Seattle Seahawks | Over/Under: 55
This game features two teams coming off bad showings in Week 15. The Chiefs blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Chargers while the Seahawks were last seen losing to the 49ers.
At the moment both teams have a lot to play for as Seattle hasn’t clinched a playoff spot and the Chiefs are still battling with the Chargers for the AFC West title. So it’s no wonder that bookmakers expect this game to get a lot of attention at the windows.
“This is going to be a fun one for sure. KC is a -2.5 point favorite right now and we’ve been at that number the entire time since it was posted,” Simbal said. “This game is a little similar to the Steelers-Saints; bettors are a little hesitant to bet the Chiefs given what they’ve shown the last couple of weeks but nobody is dying to bet against them either. We’ve seen solid two-way action on this game.”
Even though he doesn’t expect the line to move, Simbal is paying attention to the over/under.
“The total here is 54 despite the Chiefs being a little held back defensively of late but I see the money continue to go over here while I think the -2.5 will hold,” he said.
The Westgate is seeing support for both teams. Wilkinson said they’ve seen some big bettors play the underdog in this one but the smart money seems to be on Kansas City.
“We have the Chiefs at -2.5 (-120). That line opened at -1.5. However, we’ve taken a few large wagers on the Seahawks from some house players,” Wilkinson explained. “The sharp money is still on the Chiefs overall though. They lost a great game to the Chargers last week, but they are still a much more talented team than the Seahawks. I don’t see the Chiefs losing two in a row.”
Chuck Esposito, the director of the Sunset Stations sportsbook, is keeping an eye on how this line moves after the Chargers-Ravens game on Saturday night.
“If the Chargers win their game Saturday, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the Chiefs,” Esposito began. “So I’m not as concerned about the line here which hasn’t budged one bit since it opened. I’m most interested to see how the Chiefs react if the No. 1 seed is still on the line for them come Sunday Night.”