Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NFL Notebook: Books and Sharps Do Well Week 2 in Las Vegas

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

A week after experiencing a tough opening NFL weekend with several public teams covering, Las Vegas sports books bounced back, as they always do, in week two.

The books always like a mix of favorites and underdogs covering each week just to keep everyone guessing for the weeks to come, ultimately leading to a range of varied opinions by the public, which usually translates to a much more consistent house hold.

What happened in week two should keep the players guessing for at least the next month.

Of the nine early games Sunday, six of the underdogs won outright with another, the Rams, losing but still covering. The only favorites to cover early were the Vikings and Falcons, meaning there were several re-grouping sessions by the players for the late games.

As the late games neared, the bettors were perplexed because logic is telling them "There is no way more dogs can win straight up today," and wouldn’t you know it, a few more came in. The Ravens-Chargers and Steelers-Bears games, two of the most heavily bet games of the day by the public, ended as straight up dog winners. In the other three late games, which had far less action or appeal, all the favorites won and covered.

In the Sunday finale at the Cowboys brand new stadium, another underdog won while christening Jerry Jones’ star-studded gala. The Giants 33-31 victory capped a Sunday where 10 of the underdogs covered with nine of them winning straight up.

"The general public didn’t do very well," said Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook Executive Director of Race and Sports Jay Kornegay, "but the sharp players on the moves did well."

Generally, when the public doesn’t do well, most of the sharps will have a winning day. Games that went the sharps way were the Raiders, Jets, Bengals, Saints, Ravens, and Bears. In just about every one of those cases, the moves came on game day. Some of the late moves that didn’t get there for the sharps’ were the losers of the Bucs and Panthers.

"There’s a misconception sometimes about how the book did," Kornegay explained. "I had players coming to me saying how great a day the books must have had because a team like the Bengals and Texans upset a big favorite, but that’s not always the case."

While most of the public was on the Packers laying a big number, the sharps bet the Bengals from a 9 point opening line favorite that stayed stagnant all week until Sunday morning when it dropped to –7 by kickoff.

On a broad account of books from across Las Vegas, the majority had small wins or losses on straight bets fueled by the sharp action, while off the board parlays, teasers and parlay cards went very well for the house.

Move of the Week

The Eagles opened up a -2 point favorite at home against the Saints on Monday as a circle game due to Donovan McNabb’s doubtful status. The line moved to -1 and then Pick where it stayed until Sunday morning, and then the freight train came, filled with cash as the sharps bet the Saints all the way up to a -3 point favorite.

The wait strategy paid off for the sharps as the Saints pounded Philly 48-22. Since it was known for days prior to the game that McNabb would not play, why then, didn’t they bet earlier before someone else could jump on the line and ruin their preferred line?

"We were working hard through Saturday to get confirmation on the status of McNabb," said Kornegay, "and once the news was confirmed we moved accordingly."

Once the confirmed information came out early Sunday morning, the sharps came out with plays all over the city, off-shore and the world on the Saints simultaneously until the line was moved to three.

New Stadium Note To File

The next time a new stadium opens, it may be a good idea to take whoever the home team is playing against the spread. The Giants’ win Sunday night gave the road teams a 9-5 record ATS since 1997.

Mile High Drama?

It’s only two weeks into the season, but it sure is amazing what winning can do to erase the past. While it remains to be seen how the Jay Cutler deal and Brandon Marshall soap opera plays out, it’s safe to say that most will agree so far, so good with the Josh McDaniels era. The offense is still sputtering, but the immediate change on defense is obvious as they have allowed only 13 points in two games. Say what you will about Kyle Orton, but he hasn’t turned the ball over yet and his team is 2-0 and in first place alone in the AFC West.

Who Needs Rest?

The term "a well rested team" always seems to hold some weight when discussing plus and minuses for each team in their particular match. Last week, there were two teams, Pittsburgh and Tennessee, who had 10 days rest before their games this week and both lost by three as favorites.

Week 2 Game Balls

RB Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards and had two TD’s in the 49ers 23-10 win over Seattle. The tempo and style of ball Frisco head coach Mike Singletary wants to play begins with Gore and now they’re 2-0 leading the NFC West … QB Matt Schaub took a lot of heat for his inability to make plays last week in a loss, but came strong in the tough environment of Tennessee with 357 yards passing and four TD’s in the Texans 34-31 upset of the Titans … Defensive end Elvis Dumervil had four sacks and a forced fumble in the Broncos’ 27-6 win over the Browns … Titans RB Chris Johnson would have surely been given a game ball, but a prerequisite to getting one is winning.

End Of An Era?

The Patriots are one kneel on a kickoff away from being 0-2 and the resurgence we all anticipated once Tom Brady returned just isn’t there. Their once confident swagger, that had teams beat before even stepping on the field, got a fat lip and black eye by the upstart Jets. What’s worse is that the Jets told the whole world what they were going to do and proceeded to follow through with it in their 16-9 win.

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