Week 12 Action Roundup: Dolphins-Colts Drawing Heavy Interest Around Las Vegas
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers (80), quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and offensive guard Braden Smith (72)
- Sportsbooks in Las Vegas are hoping for repeat of last Sunday, which was one of the strongest of the season.
- Among the four popular matchups bettors like this weekend, Dolphins-Colts has caught the attention of sportsbooks and bettors on the strip.
LAS VEGAS — As was reported Tuesday and as I’m sure everyone figured out, Las Vegas sportbooks took a pretty hard hit after the Chiefs-Rams game last week as just about everyone who bet the game had the over.
ESPN reported the books took a “seven figure loss” on the game. While that may have been true, all it did was put a dent in a very successful Sunday the books had just the day before. Nearly every early game Sunday went the sportsbooks’ way.
There doesn’t appear to be one standout game as far as popularity for viewing on Sunday, but we’re seeing one odd game pop up that’s taking and inordinate amount of action with no real explanation: Dolphins-Colts.
As of early Thursday, this game was taking over 25% of the total money wagered on all of the NFL at William Hill, and that included the Thursday games. Obviously things leveled off a bit after those games were played, but what could be grabbing everyone’s interest on this game?
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) | Over/Under: 52
Miami gets quarterback Ryan Tannehill back after some lackluster performances from his replacement Brock Osweiler. The Dolphins have been fairly lifeless in their last few games with terrible efforts recently vs the Texans, Packers and Lions.
They have a tall order ahead against a Colts team that’s extremely hot right now after four straight wins. On paper this game has the makings of a blowout, but there seems to be interest on Miami.
According to Derek Wilkinson, Supervisor at the Westgate, he says there’s definite interest on Miami. “We opened this game at Colts -9.5, but moved it to -7.5 on Tuesday when the Dolphins announced Tannehill was going to start at quarterback. We started getting some public money on Miami after that, but the sharps have stayed away from it so far. Indianapolis has been on a roll with four straight wins and I like them to cover the 7.5 and get another one at home this week. I see Indy taking money this weekend. So far, we basically break even on this game.”
Wilkinson’s colleague Eric Osterman, Manager at the Westgate, said he didn’t entirely understand why the game was getting as much attention as it was, but action has been steady on the game as of Friday. “I’ve been a big Andrew Luck supporter, so I’ve followed this team closely this season and while the offense has been in the spotlight of late, this defense is quietly tearing teams apart. … They’ve been doing that to a lot of teams lately so I really cannot explain the public interest in the Dolphins here.”
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3.5) | Over/Under: 46.5
Seattle had key wins over the Packers and Lions over the past month and even earned a lot of public respect after playing a tight game at home against the Rams.
The Seahawks can be fairly unpredictable on the road, though, making this a very tough game to decipher. According the the Westgate guys, they’re seeing public interest in Seattle.
“We’ve got a significant liability on the Seahawks with the points right now.” Wilkinson said. “We were as high as Panthers -4, but took some sharp action on the Seahawks. We’ve since dropped that line to Panthers -3 (Even). …I like the Seahawks to win outright in Charlotte on Sunday.”
“The Panthers really need this game,” Osterman said. “I certainly give the edge to Seattle as well, but it’s really hard to figure which teams are going to show up for this game. Are the Panthers going the wrong way? It’s too early to tell. Are the Seahawks a playoff contender? I don’t know about that either. I think this game will answer a lot of questions.”
I also spoke briefly with the Linq (the old Imperial Palace) Sports Book Manager John Lukasik. He says he likes Seattle here and has some interesting insight in handicapping the game.
“You know, I haven’t really been sold on Seattle so far this year. But I’m beginning to come around. Both of these teams are really in the middle of the pack when it comes to key stats around the league. Carolina has only played 2 teams with over .500 records and they lost both games. But they’ve also been undefeated at home this season and 4-1 ATS. There’s a lot of playoff implications here given the similar records both teams have. I still give a slight edge to the Seahawks coming in with momentum off their big win last week vs Green Bay.”
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos | Over/under: 47.5
The Broncos pulled a rabbit out of their hats last week with a big upset of the Chargers in Los Angeles last week. The only advantage they’ll have in this game Sunday is the home field against the Steelers. Pittsburgh played three terrible quarters last week and still found a way to win in Jacksonville.
It’s a little surprising to see the line this low, but it also hasn’t moved much at all from its opening number. This game is also getting some heavy attention at William Hill according to their numbers as of Thursday.
While the Steelers are getting 66% of the bets, Denver is getting 77% of the money wagered suggesting this game is getting the attention of the sharps. According to Wilkinson, the sharp money is going towards the Broncos.
“The public has been all over the Steelers, like usual,” Wilkinson said. “However, we’ve taken a few small, five figure bets from some respectable bettors on the Broncos. That’s why the line has gone from Steelers-4.5 to -3 (-120).”
“Most of us here agree that Pittsburgh is due for a loss and I think it’s going to happen in Denver this week. The book is going to need the Broncos pretty heavy by game time too.”
Osterman said the Westgate is more worried about adjusting the line. “We’re having to be very wary on this line. It’s currently at -3, but we know the sharps are going to pounce if we adjust the number back to -3.5 and we know as we get closer to game time, the Steelers are likely to take heavy action. So we know the sharps are lurking in the tall grass and are patiently waiting for the line to adjust again and will likely come back hard on Denver.”
Lukasik at the Linq says he doesn’t see a letdown for Pittsburgh. “The Steelers are my best bet this week. They’re leading the league with 37 sacks. Denver has only scored over 23 points once this season and that was in Week 2 and they’ve only held one team to under 20 points and that was in Week 3. With the Steelers averaging over 30 points a game and their running game as solid as it’s been, I just don’t see Denver even keeping pace here. I don’t think it will be close.”
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3) | Over/Under: 47.5
This is another line that has either held or gone down. The Vikings need this game badly as another key division loss could knock them out of the playoffs entirely.
Meanwhile, the Packers didn’t look great losing to the Seahawks in their last game and while they crushed the Dolphins before that, they had issues in a loss to the Patriots. There’s still a lot of public money on Green Bay this week, though Wilkinson at the Westgate thinks that could change.
“We’ve got a lot of money on the Packers right now.” He says. “That’s usually the case when they’re coming off and playing a divisional rival. It’s been all public money so far. I think the wise guys are going to let that line keep dropping and bet the Vikings late this week when the line possibly comes down a bit further.”
Osterman, also at the Westgate, says he expects a big effort from Minnesota. “The Vikings could be on the outside looking in if they lose this game. They certainly haven’t shown to be the team they were last season but while Aaron Rodgers is putting up huge numbers for Green Bay, their play calling is some of the most questionable I’ve seen this year. I really don’t understand how GB Coach Mike McCarthy still has a job. I think as long as nothing has changed on the Green Bay side, the Vikings should win this game comfortably.”
At William Hill, the game is getting some heavy attention and most of the money there is on Green Bay. As of Thursday they were getting 68% of the tickets bet and 78% of the money wagered.