By Patrick Everson
FOX Sports Gambling Writer
Once water starts rolling downhill, it’s awfully hard to stop. On this first full weekend of both college football and NFL, that became unfortunately clear for bettors, who generally speaking, got washed away.
Sportsbooks in Vegas and across the nation had a banner Saturday. That was largely due to Alabama – a 21-point road favorite – barely beating Texas 20-19. Add in Texas A&M losing outright at home to Appalachian State, and Notre Dame doing likewise against Marshall, and the college football betting rout was on for oddsmakers. As a whole, eight Top 25 teams failed to cover in Week 2 — Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Miami (FL) and Wisconsin.
“It was a monster day. Notre Dame’s loss just killed a significant amount of parlays,” TwinSpires Sportsbook director of retail sports Zachary Lucas said. “It’s the best week of college football I’ve seen in years.”
Added BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott, after the App State and Marshall outright upsets: “Most of the parlays are gone now. It’s a bookmaker’s day.”
So with the waters rushing from Saturday, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that most bettors took a bath on NFL Week 1 Sunday.
Early and Often
In NFL betting, the early slate of Sunday games seemingly brought one result after another that did in public bettors and added to the sportsbooks’ weekend haul.
“The Colts not winning was really good,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said, alluding to Indy’s rather stunning 20-20 tie at Houston. “The Niners lost, the Saints–Falcons game was good for us, the Steelers–Bengals game was good, so was Eagles–Lions.”
Indianapolis was a 7.5-point favorite against Houston. San Francisco was -6.5 at Chicago but couldn’t overcome the Bears or monsoonal moisture, losing 19-10. The Saints had to rally in the fourth quarter for a 27-26 win, failing to cover as 5.5-point favorites at Atlanta.
Defending AFC champion Cincinnati botched an extra point at the end of regulation that would’ve given it a 21-20 win over Pittsburgh. Cincy then missed a field goal in overtime – as did Pittsburgh – and the Bengals ultimately lost 23-20 as a 7.5-point home favorite.
Philadelphia was up 38-21 through three quarters at Detroit, but the Lions got the back-door cover by outscoring Philly 14-0 in the fourth quarter. The Eagles won 38-35, failing to beat the 5.5-point spread.
“Almost every early game was pretty good for us,” Andrews said. “No huge decisions, but we just won a bunch of them.”
Early Sunday morning, WynnBet sent out a release noting its top three NFL needs of the day:
As this weekend’s fate would have it, WynnBet took all three of those decisions. The short underdog Browns won outright at the Panthers, 26-24. The Giants scored a late TD at Tennessee to pull within 20-19, then showed some nerve by going for the 2-point conversion. That paid off with a 21-20 outright win.
And as noted above, Detroit got the back-door cover at home against Philly.
Public bettors did get their way in a couple of games. The Baltimore Ravens were a hugely popular play against the New York Jets, but the Ravens had little trouble as 6.5-point road favorites, winning 24-9. Then in the Sunday night game, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a 19-3 victory as 2.5-point favorites against the Dallas Cowboys.
Multiple books noted Baltimore was a significant liability in the early games, and that parlay/ moneyline parlay liability was high on Tampa Bay.
“We did well today,” said John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook. “The early games felt like they could’ve been much bigger, with all those upsets. We needed the Saints or Colts to lose outright to really clean up after we got banged up good on the Ravens. That was our biggest decision of the day.”
The Bucs winning and covering marked The SuperBook’s second-worst outcome of the day. But again, there was no shortage of winning sides behind the counter.
“The Giants’ win was a great result for us, and the Steelers were another good winner,” Murray said before noting today brings yet another looming decision. “We’re gonna need Seattle pretty big on Monday Night Football.”
FOX Bet Trading Operations Senior Manager Dylan Brossman also confirmed they will need the Seahawks.
“Currently, 65% of bets and 73% of the money is on the Denver moneyline, and 81% of bets, 80% of the money is on the Broncos spread,” Brossman stated. “The public is definitely on Denver tonight.”
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He previously worked for Covers and is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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Source: FOX Sports