from Patrick Everson
FOX sports gambling writer
One surefire way for the majority of NFL bettors – read: public/recreational bettors – to have a bad Sunday is for the big favorite to lose outright. To that end, I give you the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After losing at Pittsburgh as a near-double-digit favorite in Week 6, Tampa Bay went to Carolina like a 13-point chalk and managed just a field goal in a shocking 21-3 loss.
This result in the early slate of games pretty much guarantees that the sportsbook will be a winner in the NFL Week odds market.
What the hell?
First, consider this: The Panthers sent their best player, Christian McCaffrey, to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday. Before this trade, the Bucs were already -11. By the time Sunday’s game started, Tom Brady & Co. were consensus favorites by 13 points.
But all Tampa got was a weak field goal in the fourth quarter.
“It was pretty big for us, yeah,” South Point director of sports betting Chris Andrews said in the understatement of the day. “We opened the Bucs game -11 and closed -13. There was a lot of action in this game. People were throwing Bucs into their money like it was free money.”
Which was understandable. The money-line parlay meant that to keep the bet alive, Tampa Bay only needed to win the game, not close the gap by nearly two touchdowns, but the Bucs were unable to do either.
“The Panthers road win was a great result,” said WynnBet Senior Trader Chris Yoon.
Tampa Bay has been among the odds market favorites for the Super Bowl, the preseason and through the first few weeks. The Bucs now sit at 3-4 up (SU) and 2-5 against the spread (ATS), failing to cover the count in their last five games.
At FOX Bet, the Bucs-Panthers betting was definitely interesting. Dylan Brosman said on the money line that 85% of the bets and about 85% of the money landed on Tampa Bay.
This is despite a money line in the -750 range, meaning it would take a $750 bet to win $100 – if the Bucs win the game.
On the spread, the betting was significantly more balanced. Tampa Bay still had the edge with 54% of the bets and 59% of the money, but 46% of the bets and 41% of the dollars went to Carolina. These Panthers backers made easy money in a game where the spread never came into play.
Pack Get Whacked
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers can certainly be compared to Brady and the Bucks. The Packers have lost three straight SU and four straight ATS after Sunday’s 23-21 setback as a 4-point favorite at Washington.
It was another blow to public bettors. In fact, WynnBet raved more about the Pack-Commanders result than the much more shocking Bucs-Panthers decision.
“The commanders were excellent and pretty much made our day,” Yoon said.
Meanwhile, in The SuperBook, several teams that certainly saw public betting support actually delivered good results behind the counter.
“We actually needed the Giants, which was surprising. And the Chiefs win was our best result of the day,” said Casey Degnon, SuperBook Senior Risk Supervisor.
An hour before the Chiefs-49ers matchup, SuperBook CEO John Murray said it appeared the book would need San Francisco, preferably outright, which makes sense since money flows to Kansas City every week in the NFL.
But as sometimes happens, a few big bets can quickly change the dynamics of a game, as Murray noted moments before the game began.
“Some pretty big bets have come of late in San Francisco. We support KC here,” he said.
Kansas City pulled away in the second half, outscoring San Fran 44-23. And the Giants, 3-point underdogs in Jacksonville, cruised to a 23-17 victory.
‘Daniel Jones was phenomenal’ – Chris Myers and Mark Schlerett on Giants’ 23-17 win over Jaguars
Sharp bettors – those who make their living betting on sports – also picked up some lumps on Sunday. And while it’s rare for a sports bookie to see sharp money from one side outweigh public/entertainment money from a more popular side, that’s what happened Sunday at South Point.
As was the case almost everywhere, the Giants were a modern underdog game. But South Point attracted consistent, strong money almost to the start, having the best odds on the Jaguars. All odds were on the Jaguars -3, but Andrews had the best price at -3, with an even -110.
This is because it is Andrews policy not to adjust this price. So he would either stay at -3 or go to -3.5. Others were at Jacksonville -3 (-115) or maybe more.
“The Giants were really good to us. The crowd was rooting for the Giants, but the best game of the week was the Jaguars,” Andrews said. “The sharp acting won over the crowd here. We were the only Jags -3 (-110) in town and everyone was playing Jags here.”
After the Jags lost completely, South Point teamed up with Vegas counterpart The SuperBook to claim the win in that game.
Public redemption of a pair
All of the above is not to say that most punters didn’t pick up a few wins on Sunday.
WynnBet’s Yoon said, “The Chiefs and Bengals winning by double digits were our biggest losers.”
As noted above, KC passed on the 49ers. Cincinnati also had little trouble in a 35-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Likewise, the Raiders — a 7-point favorite at home against the Houston Texans — pulling away for a 38-20 victory was generally bad for Las Vegas’ books, with local bettors piling up on the hometown team.
Back to school
Checking into college football on Saturday, UCLA was a very modern underdog at sportsbooks across the country, getting 7 points. But the Bruins were defeated by Oregon 45-30.
“Covering Oregon was a big win for us. There were three times as many tickets distributed as UCLA,” WynnBet’s Yoon said before noting another key play. “We got a little lucky with the win and covering TCU, like [TCU] was losing most of the game, but pulled it due to injuries to Kansas State’s quarterback.”
The Horned Frogs, a 3.5-point favorite, trailed 28-17 at halftime, but outscored K-State 21-0 in the second half for a 38-28 victory.
Yoon cited several games that went down well for bettors, noting that the results “were significant losers on the money line and the spread” for WynnBet:
- Penn State (-5.5) beat Minnesota 45-17
- Boise State (+2) hosts Air Force 19-14
Degnon said The SuperBook is a slight loser of Saturday’s college football game, pointing to several key decisions.
“Covering Cal as the home dog against Washington was a big loser for us,” Degnon said. “So was Oklahoma State against Texas.”
California was a 7.5-point underdog and stayed right there, losing 28-21 to Washington. Oklahoma State was a 6.5-point underdog at home and beat Texas 41-34.
I like big stakes and I can’t lie
There was no shortage of big bets across the NFL and college football spectrum over the weekend. One Caesars Sports customer in Nevada went all out, racking up $1 million in bets on one short NFL favorite and multiple college underdogs:
- $220,000 on Titans -2.5 vs. Colts (win)
- $120,000 at Arkansas State +7 at Louisiana-Lafayette (loss)
- $110,000 for Nevada +7 vs. San Diego State (loss)
- $110,000 at West Virginia +6 at Texas Tech (loss)
- $110,000 on Syracuse +14 on Clemson (win)
- $110,000 on Duke +10 in Miami (win)
- $110,000 on North Texas +10 on UTSA (win)
- $110,000 Florida International +14.5 Charlotte (win)
The bettor’s 5-3 record was enough to scratch off a $260,000 win.
I would have been good to withdraw $260 in advance this past weekend. But again, I’m only betting #ChilisMoney, not #BuyACoupleHousesMoney.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a prominent journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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