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A Rollercoaster NFL Sunday for Sportsbooks

“It was like watching an episode of Game of Thrones. By the end you’re looking around like, ‘What just happened?’

That was the NFL this week. Nobody was safe.” That’s what Tim Fitzgerald had to say after the National Football League’s crazy, up and down Week 3. He’s the South Point Sportsbook supervisor and had a front row seat to all the action on the field and in his place of business. Usually, after a weekend of NFL games it’s pretty easy to see when the final scores favored the players or the sportsbooks. Week 3 was not like normal weeks. We had some varied results to say the least on both sides of the wagerings with big money changing hands every game and the upsets were the catalyst.

“With Minnesota, we actually needed the Vikings to win and not cover,”  The handful of Buffalo moneyline tickets at 10-1 (and 11-1 at kickoff) really hurt us for the game but thankfully not the day.”

The Buffalo Bills drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings (a 16.5 favorite) shocked everyone and should have been a big boost to the house, however, there were a few well placed, big money wagers on the Bills moneyline that was quick to wipe that out at about every sportsbook in Vegas. According to their own stats, William Hill took 255 moneyline wagers on the Bills at 10-1 with the biggest bet being $1000. However, over at the Mirage Sports Book, the house killed on Minnesota’s poor showing.

“That was our biggest winner of the day,” said Jeff Stonebeck, their sportsbook director. “We had a ton of parlays and teasers on the Vikings and the public was laying the 16.5 points with the Vikings all day.”

This was the second week in a row where the underdogs came out huge over the favorites. Last week, we saw seven underdogs win outright. This week we saw the dogs go 8-6 versus the point spread and six of those were outright wins. One high-roller at the MGM made off with a six-figure moneyline wager on the slight underdog New Orleans Saints and their 43-37 straight-up win. This gambler was no alone either as the MGM got murdered. “That game was probably the worst game of the season for us with that outcome,” added Stonebeck.

Money was being made all over town as there were 12 two-team moneyline parlays to cash in at over 50-1 odds at William Hill. Ouch. The over on the Rams/Chargers game came in and one major player at Westgate made out huge. The book understated it saying he did, “very well.”

However, things usually work out for the sportsbooks and the Sunday night New England Patriots ugly loss to the Detroit Lions was their savior this week. Obviously, football bettors loaded up truckloads of cash on New England as they were a mere seven-point favorite.

The Pats were coming off a loss and the Lions were winless entering the weekend. This had New England blowout win written all over it. New England does not lose two in a row and Detroit always loses 3 in a row. But then, of course, the game happened and the Patriots looked lost while the Lions looked like the Super Bowl contenders. According to Stonebeck,

“It went from a decent day to a great day for the books with the Lions winning outright.”

Over at the Westgate SuperBook, their supervisor Cameron Coombs said, “Our largest profit came from the Patriots/Lions game. After all of the upsets during the day, everyone just assumed there was no way New England was going to lose. This was great for our book because we had more tickets written on this game than any other throughout the day.” This was probably due to winners playing with house money from the early games and wanting to make an easy buck on the way out the door.

The Sunday Night game typically receives the most action of the NFL weekend as players are either chasing or trying to add to their winnings and with seven underdogs already cashing tickets, it’s easy to guess which they were doing here. Fitzgerald even went with hyperbole to describe the action.

“The only way we get out for the day was the Detroit money line and under. It worked out perfectly. It just goes to show you, you just never know in the NFL. The Lions saved our weekend.”

The National Football League is known for its unpredictability and Week 3 is just another example. The money turns over quick in the sportsbooks even when the underdogs are coming in and the favorites are not covering. And sometimes, the Detroit Lions save the day for the bad guys.

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