David Butler, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Rob Gronkowski
- The Sunday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Patriots will be the most-bet game of the weekend.
- The public is all over the Chiefs, meaning the sportsbooks in Vegas will need the Patriots on Sunday night.
Sportsbooks in Las Vegas are rooting on Alabama and the New England Patriots in the same weekend. Now we’ve seen it all.
We will get to the Sunday night showdown between the Pats and Chiefs, but first let’s spend some time elsewhere on the board.
Let’s start with a game that many readers and bettors might have some questions about. That would be the Seattle-Oakland game in London, England.
While they are pushing the start time there (1 p.m. ET/6 p.m. BST) to accommodate fans of these two West Coast teams, it also is a big plus for the sportsbooks.
“Bettors don’t usually play that game very often so we never expect to get much action,” John Murray, a supervisor at the Westgate SuperBook said. “Where we do get some interest sometimes is on the second-half line when people are just arriving at the book here to place their bets for the rest of the day.
“This week might be a little different because it’s the Raiders (soon to be moving to Vegas) and the fact the game is not a usual 6:30 start here. I definitely think we’ll get a little more action than usual,” Murray explained.
Tony Miller, executive director of the sports book at the Golden Nugget says they are beginning to see a betting pattern emerge.
“While we’re seeing more Seattle money at the moment after their strong cover last week vs the Rams, you can always expect money to come in on Oakland no matter how bad they are, Miller said. “I suspect the Raiders fans will travel for this game so there should be a lot of support for Oakland over there. I think we’ll get a late push on Oakland, but right now it’s all Seattle money at -2.5.”
Back stateside, Westgate SuperBook supervisor Eric Osterman reports that they are seeing two-way action in the Dallas-Jacksonville (-3) game.
“The line opened at -1.5 and has steadily gone up,” Osterman said. “We have it Jacksonville -3 currently and I think the Jags will bounce back from a bad loss to KC last week. But with RB Fournette out again this week we still expect to see a little Cowboys money this weekend.”
At William Hill, the Jags are taking a majority of the action in money and tickets wagered. 76% of the money and 73% of the tickets.
While the Pats-Chiefs game was always going to be the most-bet matchup of the weekend, who would have expected the Chicago-Miami game to be No. 2?
That is the case at William Hill where the betting handle for the Bears (-3.5) against the Dolphins is right behind New England vs. Kansas City.
Murray said that recreational bettors at the Westgate can’t get enough of the Bears. “The shine is off the Dolphins,” Murray said.
At the Golden Nugget both the pros and the joes are playing Chicago, meaning they will be wearing Teal and Orange at their book on Sunday.
“Both the sharps and the squares seem to be lining up together on this game,” Miller noted. “We’re definitely going to be big Dolphins fans this weekend. They are just pounding the Bears here. Currently the line is Chicago -3.5 from an opening line of -1.5. Bettors are teasing the Bears, they’re parlaying the Bears, they’ve got the Bears in straight bets so we are going to have to be big Fins fans this Sunday. I don’t expect any late Miami action at all.”
The Westgate will also be rooting on the Dolphins but also have liability on the Browns (PK vs. Chargers) and Buffalo (+10 at Houston). He also said that the SuperBook took a $20,000 bet on the Falcons (-3) against the Bucs and expects that they will be rooting hard for the Broncos against the Rams.
“The public will be all over the Rams again,” Murray said. “The Rams/Seahawks game was our biggest decision last Sunday and them not covering was the main reason we had our biggest NFL week of the year to date. The Rams are definitely the public’s favorite team to get behind right now.”
As for Sunday Night Football, the bets are already starting to pour in and they are putting the sportsbooks in a rare spot.
“As of Friday we have a huge ticket count,” Miller said. “So far there’s action both ways. The public is still in love with the Chiefs but most of the sharp money we’re seeing so far is on the Patriots at -3.5. Our total is currently 59.5 and I think the score will fly over this number. It should be a great game to watch.”
Things are much less balanced at the Westgate where they’ll be pulling for Belichick and Brady.
“The public is all over the Chiefs,” Murray said. “You can’t blame them with Kansas City winning and covering every week. We have an almost 3-to-1 ticket count on Kansas City as a dog on the road in New England. I gave out the Patriots on a couple radio spots I did this week. It’s a really tough spot for the Chiefs. They had the Monday Night Football game at Denver, then the big game with Jacksonville last week, and now have to go on the road against the Patriots.”
At William Hill, obviously this is, and will be, their most heavily bet game of the weekend. They are seeing more Chiefs money as well with 62% of the money wagered and 65% of the tickets on Kansas City.