Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NFL Notebook: Las Vegas Sports Books Four-Day Weekend Busy As Ever

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

What a four day weekend it was for the books. It wasn’t necessarily a huge profit weekend, but the books did a massive amount of write on the four consecutive days of big action beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with Sunday’s pro football games.

"It was a long week with lots of action," said Coast Resorts Director of Race and Sports Bob Scucci. "We did very well with all the college games, which had a lot of upsets. On Thanksgiving day we broke about even and were a small winner on Sunday’s games."

Thanksgiving had the makings for a tough day for Las Vegas bookmakers with the first two favorites covering, but the Thursday NFL under trend continued, keeping most of the side to parlay action with the house. Incidentally, the under is 6-0 on all Thursday NFL games this season including 3-0 last week.

Sunday’s games started out pretty good for the books as the favorites went 3-4 in the early games, but then the late games came, with all the favorites covering except for one push, depending on when the Titans game was bet.

"Our biggest games of the day were the Vikings and Colts games," said Scucci, "and they didn’t go our way. We had some sharp money on the Texans that pushed our line, but not enough to offset the public. Fortunately the Vikings game went under. The Vikings and over was a bad decision for us."

Coast resorts had the Vikings-Bears total sitting at 47 all week, but many books across the state shuffled on and off of 46 and 46.5 to 47. The final score in the game was 36-10, but it had to be agonizing for over bettors to watch the Vikings botch a meaningless – to some – extra point with 5 minutes to go, ruining many parlays that were looking for at least the push.

The Colts game brought back memories for Scucci of last season’s encounter when the Texans had a similar collapse while leading, even though last season was a little more painful for the books.

"I remember last year being in almost the same boat with the public all over the Colts and Sage Rosenfels fumbling every opportunity he could late in the game," said Scucci.

Most sports books got a lot of sharp action on the Texans, pushing the initial line of Colts -3 (-120) to -2½ by kickoff, but the straight bets weren’t enough to offset the Colt fever everyone is feeling.

Going into the late game, the books needed the Steelers getting 7½ points at Baltimore without Ben Roethlisberger, who joined the ongoing trend of concussioned players out in the NFL.

"We didn’t have too much liability on the game because it was off most of the week because of Roethlisberger’s status, but when we opened it, it was pretty one-sided wagering with the Ravens," said Scucci.

Back-up Dennis Dixon played a serviceable game for the Steelers until eventually throwing an overtime interception that gave the Ravens the 20-17 win, but not the Vegas cover.

Titanic Win

On Sunday, Matt Leinart was going against Vince Young, and just like in college four years ago, Young pulled out the miracle last second win giving the Titans a 20-17 win.

Depending on when the game was bet determined if you won or lost. Before last Monday night’s game at Houston, the Titans early line was -1. Following the win, the Titans were 2½ and then up to 3 even for most of the week.

"All week long Warner was listed as probable," said Scucci. "We knew about what had happened last week, but all reports were saying that he practiced and was ready to go."

Early Sunday morning a sharp move came on the Cardinals dropping the line to 1½ and then the news about Kurt Warner not playing came, which was a surprise because usually the sharps are all over that type of information.

When news of Kurt Warner possibly not playing hit the wire about 9 am Sunday morning, the line moved up to 3 flat and minus money at some places, but not higher than 3. It was like there was some skepticism about the reports because Warner surely merits a few points, especially with Leinart as the back-up.

By kickoff the line closed at -3½ even, and of course, wouldn’t you know it, the game lands 3.

At the end of the day I became even more impressed by Vince Young than I had ever thought possible. I have always been a doubter of his ability to be successful in the NFL, even after all his great wins early on. I even relished somewhat when he flat-lined and hit rock bottom as if to say like I was right all along about him. But I wasn’t.

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