Books Crush Bettors in Week One; M and M Make Books Happy on Saturday; Surprise – Books Batter Bettors on Sunday

Vegas Weekend Football Recap: The Bettors Get Crushed Week 1

By RJ Bell

“I have been in this business since 2000, and this was one of the best NFL kickoffs sportsbooks have experienced,” said’s Mike Perry. And he said that before the favored Texans failed to cover on Monday night against the Chargers — the biggest win of the week for more than a few books. Yes, the bettors got crushed.

Bovada reports an amazing 95 percent of all action on the Jets-Bucs game backed the losing Tampa Bay side. Think about just how lopsided that is. Nineteen of 20 bets faded the home underdog Jets. When the public grows sour on a team, nobody but the pros are willing to bet them. Not only did bettors lose against the four-point spread, they also lost their money line bets on the Bucs when New York kicked a late field goal for the win.

Oakland’s cover was another huge win for the house. Bettors liked the idea of backing Andrew Luck over the team with the worst Super Bowl odds entering the season. This was in spite of the advanced stats crowd predicting a regression, or the fact that the 2012 Colts were the first 11-win team to ever be outscored, or the small matter that the Colts — an 11-point favorite — won only two of 17 games last season by more than a touchdown. According to the action tracking tool at, only 18 percent of bets cashed with the Raiders.

The average bettor’s love of the bandwagon paid off with Kansas City. The Chiefs covered easily as four-point chalk, after opening favored by only a single point. Andy Reid’s team have had the support of bettors the entire offseason.

Niners-Packers generated the most action among Sunday’s day slate. This 4:25 p.m. ET start was a great example of the power of scheduling. The one other late afternoon game was of little interest to bettors, resulting in oversize SF-GB action on sides, totals, and parlays. The public won with San Francisco, even though the also-marquee Packers entered the contest having covered 20 of 28 as an underdog. The average bettor acts upon what he saw last, which was total playoff domination by the Niners against Aaron Rodgers & Co.

The wiseguys most consistently backed the Panthers, Browns, and Titans — covering only one of the three. Some, but not all, sportsbooks reported sharp action on two more losers: Minnesota and Baltimore. Keep in mind that professional bettors are separate people who each individually makes decisions. Wiseguy opinion is rarely unanimous, and sometimes the consensus cannot even be discerned. For example, LVH’s Jay Kornegay reported sharp action on the Falcons, while Boyd Gaming reported the same on the Saints.

In terms of the college game, the action was on Notre Dame at Michigan, with the bettors profiting on the favored Wolverines. Bovada was an exception, citing Florida-Miami as the larger bet game. Overall, bettors suffered a moderate college football loss for the second week in a row.

Handicapper Teddy Sevransky first pointed me to this week’s eye-popping case of just how aware college coaches are of the Vegas spread. North Carolina, favored by 19.5 against Middle Tennessee State, led by 27 late in the game. MTSU had the ball, and NC’s defensive starters were out of the game. MTSU scored with 25 seconds left and then recovered an onside kick at midfield. North Carolina, up by 20 with less than a half-minute remaining — again, favored by 19.5 — proceeded to put its defensive starters back in the game! You can bet the alumni appreciated it.

This Saturday will be dominated by Alabama at Texas A&M. The Golden Nugget’s Aaron Kessler expects the influx of bettors in Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather–Canelo Alvarez fight to drive a big handle all weekend. The marquee NFL game of the week is Sunday night’s battle between San Francisco and Seattle, but according to Boyd Gaming’s Bob Scucci, it might not generate the expected action: “Two teams are playing each other that the public loves to bet. The average bettor likes it more when real good teams play real bad teams, rather than good teams playing each other, or bad teams playing each other.” Next Tuesday, we’ll tell you the truth about what happened in Vegas over the weekend.

RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) is the founder of His ESPN radio show in Las Vegas can be heard weekdays at 10 a.m. PT.





By The Linemakers             

LAS VEGAS — Had the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez bout been scheduled for another date, the Las Vegas sports books would have been just fine with the lure of the big Texas A&M-Alabama revenge match. However, as the day unfolded on the college football schedule, the books needed a bail out from what was declared a ‘wash’ on the gridiron. Money Mayweather came to the rescue.

Most Las Vegas sports books did very well with the results when Mayweather pulled off a 12-round decision to retain his WBC Super Welterweight Title against Alvarez. Maybe not as well as they might have done in the past though simply because the price was so low, something that is rarely seen from a Mayweather fight. Mayweather got as low as -240 earlier in the week at MGM Resorts, but closed as high as -300 at the LVH SuperBook.

“The results were good for us,” said Jay Rood, MGM Resorts vice president of race and sports, “Mayweather winning by decision was our best scenario, and the handle was the best I’ve ever see.”

The handle must have been absolutely huge for them to win because earlier in the week Rood took a seven-figure wager from a casino guest on Mayweather. For the best decision to be on Mayweather winning, it kind of gives a nice scope into what kind of money we’re talking about here.

Legendary bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro predicted that the fight would set a record for handle in Las Vegas — even though he acknowledged the Nevada Gaming Control Board doesn’t record such facts. For Rood to say it’s the largest he’s ever seen, and he runs the books at all the properties that the major fights are held at, that’s a pretty good validation that Money Mayweather brought in the money like no other has for this one.

One area of risk that the MGM properties avoided was a draw occurring, which could have happened if the two other scorers witnessed the same fight that judge C.J. Ross saw when she declared it 114-114 on her scorecard.

“That would have been a disaster,” Rood said of a possible draw that would have refunded every side bet made on the winner. “It wouldn’t have made it a complete loss for us, but it was one of highest risks on the night.”

The LVH closed the draw at 15-to-1 in their same five-way prop.

A draw wouldn’t have been a huge loser for the MGM books just because it would have only cancelled out all the large action won on the pick-the-knockout-round props, which aren’t affected by a draw.

“Our biggest risk of the night was Canelo winning by knockout in the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth rounds,” Rood said. “We were looking at close to a seven figure loss if he would have knocked Mayweather out in any of those rounds.”

As for the appetizer on the day that Las Vegas bettors got to experience, Johnny Manziel’s late touchdown toss to give Texas A&M a cover against Alabama in their 49-42 loss as an 8-point underdog, Rood says it saved the early part of the day before the fight crowd took over.

“We got hammered pretty good with a move on Central Florida against Penn State, and before that it was a move on UCLA, a team that everyone seemed to like all week, and then there was Oregon hammering Tennessee — covering the big spread. Alabama was our biggest risk of all just because of all the public parlays. We went 1-3 with the big games, but the game we did happen to win was the biggest, which kind of neutralized everything else. Overall, it was a wash in college football for the day.”

On the regular college football board, the favorites took a dive, going only 12-30-1 against-the-spread. The local books off the strip probably fared much better with parlays than the strip joints, but the trade off between the two sections of town was that on the strip — in particular, the legions of MGM Resorts properties — wrote the bulk of Nevada’s entire action on the fight.

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wheelbarrow of moneySports book industry report – Bucs, Seahawks help Vegas bet shops to winning Sunday
Pro football caps fine weekend for books

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Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ win and cover over the 49ers Sunday night was a good result for Vegas books

By: Micah Roberts


LAS VEGAS — When the Seahawks blasted the 49ers, 29-3, Sunday night, it capped off a terrific weekend for the Las Vegas sports books. Not only did the books win their biggest games of the day on Sunday, as NFL favorites went only 6-8 against-the-spread, but they also scooped up most of the chips from Saturday, when Floyd Mayweather beat Canelo Alvarez in a 12-round decision in what was described by MGM Resorts vice-president of race and sports Jay Rood as the highest-handled boxing match he’s ever seen. That’s basically saying it was the highest ever.

Sunday’s sports book results came down to two games, the final two posted of the day. After sweating through the first 12 games, which were basically a wash, the entire day came down to Saints-Buccaneers and 49ers-Seahawks. Had the public been right on both of those games, it would have been a losing day. But they weren’t.

“Our entire day was resting on the Saints-Buccaneers,” said the South Point’s Jimmy Vaccaro, one of The Linemakers on Sporting News. “After everything had been posted, coupled with the Saints already being a very popular side with the betting public, we had a huge risk attached the Saints and OVER.”

The Saints ended up winning the game, 16-14, but failed to cover the 3-point spread. And with the game staying UNDER 48.5, the books had their best possible scenario. Many parlays and teasers on the day were funneling through to the Saints and OVER.

SN’s David Steele: Rob Ryan saves Saints defense

Most of the risk on the day was eliminated by the Saints results, but the majority of what was leftover was siding with the 49ers and OVER – and who could blame the public for going that way?

Colin Kaepernick has been sensational since becoming the starting quarterback in San Francisco midway through last season and the 49ers had gone OVER in 12 of their last 13 games. However, the only game in which Kaepernick looked lost over his impressive run was in a 42-13 loss last season in Seattle, and history repeated itself Sunday night as Kaepernick and the 49ers were blown out.

The game that eliminated a lot of the book’s early risk was Chargers-Eagles, when San Diego not only covered the 7.5-point spread at Philadelphia but won the game outright.

“We didn’t have may takers on the Chargers,” said Vaccaro, “and it turned out to be our biggest decision before the Saints game. Most of the bets were on the Eagles and OVER.”

After watching the Eagles offense dice through Washington last Monday night, the public felt that a west coast team traveling east on a short week – San Diego played Monday night as well – would have trouble keeping up with Chip Kelly’s offense. But, it appeared during the Chargers’ 33-30 win, that Kelly might have spent too much time preparing with the offense, as the defense looks like the one from last season that lost 11 of their final 12 games.

Ahead of the game, the buzz about the Eagles was around their offense’s ability to frustrate opposing defenses with their quick play-calling. But on Sunday, it was the Chargers who executed much better and beat the Eagles at their own game. The Chargers had a huge 40-to-20 time of possession edge and ran 79 offensive plays to the Eagles 58.

The Las Vegas bookmakers will continue to tweak the Eagles rating drastically each week because there is still a great unknown about them. What we know right now is that the Eagles can score a lot, which will keep their totals at obscene levels, but their actual team rating that determines the spreads – which was boosted last week – will be treated with skepticism following their loss to the Chargers.

This week the Eagles face their former coach, Andy Reid, as the Chiefs visit Philly on Thursday night. The Eagles opened as 3.5-point favorites with a total being bet up early to 50.5.

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