Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes
LAS VEGAS — Losses by the Texans, Patriots and Giants keyed a big Sunday for the sportsbooks in Las Vegas in Week 2.
“Overall it was a good Sunday for us” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill. “It wasn’t as good a Monday with everyone being on the Bears, but it didn’t seem to have a significant impact as the early outright loss by Houston really hurt bettors.”
The loss by Houston proved vital at other shops, too.
“The biggest bet for the week we took was a $110,000 bet on Houston at -2,” said Tim Fitzgerald, a supervisor at South Point Sportsbook. “That pushed the line to -3 so we ended up with a very good result on that.”
As is usually the case, if one book is doing well they all are, and Westgate SuperBook manager Jeff Sherman said his shop also finished in the black.
“Sunday was a great day for us. We had three large decisions that all went our way,” Sherman explained. “Tennessee beating Houston, Jacksonville over the Patriots and Dallas over the Giants. Usually we’re happy getting one or two out of three large decisions but to get all three gave us one of the better days we’ve had in a while.”
The Mahomes Tax
Clearly the Texans game had a big impact all over town but Fitzgerald is concerned about the short-term impact that the Kansas City Chiefs, who have put up some huge numbers in Weeks 1 and 2, will have on the South Point’s bottom line.
“Our worst loss was Kansas City beating Pittsburgh,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s only been two weeks but bettors are going to now have to pay a premium on Kansas City and their over because of the big win at Pittsburgh. It’s going to be over, over, over on most bets for now. Eventually, we will find a price point to set where the money will be coming back on the other side. But for now you have offset that public wave.”
The Chiefs were expected to contend for a playoff spot, but with first-year starter Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, they were a bit of an unknown quantity heading into Week 1.
Not anymore. At the moment, it seems Kansas City can score at will and that has the bookmakers working overtime.
“It’s going to be an avalanche of Chiefs money for now. It’s a lot like the bets on the Patriots and the over in their heyday or the Rams and the over back in the early 2000’s,” Fitzgerald added. “We’ll adjust. We’ll definitely find a price point that will bring bettors on the other side back into the fold. It just may take a little while.”
In addition to the Chiefs, the Rams also seem to be better than everyone thought, despite having lofty expectations.
“We can already foresee a three-teamer for Week 3 that everyone is focusing their attention on,” Fitzgerald said. “Kansas City -6.5 at home vs SF, the LA Rams -7 at home vs the Chargers and Sunday night with New England -6.5 at Detroit. It’s not like we didn’t see the possibility of this wave coming. It just came hot and heavy right out of the gate. It now just becomes a matter of ‘heading it off at the pass,’ so to speak. The Rams look unstoppable at the moment. They could beat us up this season, too.”
How Low Can They Go?
There are two other teams that have the bookies a little concerned — at the other end of the spectrum.
Bogdanovich was frank about the potential impact that the likely awful seasons now expected from the Buffalo Bills and the Arizona Cardinals could have on the house.
“These are two of the teams that are going to beat us up for the foreseeable future,” Bogdanovich admitted. “It’s not like we don’t see a team (or teams) struggle every season, but it’s normally in Weeks 8, 9 or 10. Not right out of the gate like this. They’re both going to be abysmal. In fact, it makes me want to post a new prop bet if any team will go winless this season. And possibly a second prop on the total combined wins for Buffalo and Arizona.”
That number certainly won’t be very high.