Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NFL Week 15 Betting Recap From the Las Vegas Sports Books; Packers Save the Day

By Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Michael Vick leads huge come back
Week 15 of the NFL season had a little bit of everything that included fantastic finishes, upsets and most of all, revenge. There were eight divisional games last week that had teams facing each other for the second time. Through Sunday, the team that lost the first time around had won five of the seven games played with the Vikings hoping to continue the trend Monday night.

There was also a nice mix of favorites (7-7) and underdogs covering giving a little of something for everyone. However, the only down side of a fantastic weekend of pro football play was that the key games the public most prominently featured in their plays went down which helped the Las Vegas sports books to either a break even or small winner for the day.

The Patriots-Packers Sunday night would ultimately decide the fate on the day for both the books and bettors. With the uncertainty of Aaron Rodgers, the game had been off the board all week until Saturday when most opened the Patriots a 14-point favorite when Matt Flynn was announced the starter. With Rodgers in, the early line had the Packers as 4 ½-point underdogs, a huge swing for a quarterback change. Despite the game being off all week, the action over the counter didn’t reflect it. The Patriots are back as being the public’s most reliable team after taking a couple years off. When the Packers covered, it was official, most sports books won for the day.

The combination of the Texans, Cowboys, Saints, Buccaneers, Falcons and Raiders coming through would have been a dreadful parlay for the house to pay, but the books were able to beat those games down as the six teams went a combined 2-4. Had either the Falcons or Raiders game been lumped with the 10 early games, the books would have won much more, but because those two large favorites were keyed together in the get-back late games with equal action on the Steelers and Jets, it negated a lot of the win from the 10 am games.

Brad Smith got it going for the Jets at Pittsburgh
If the sports books had to choose who they would like between the Jets and Steelers, it would have been Pittsburgh all the way just because of some sharp play on the Jets that pushed the line from +6 to +3 ½ by kickoff. When that kickoff came, Brad Smith returned it all the way for a touchdown and set the tone for the day of what had been a struggling Jets squad coming in.

In the game that had the most betting action of the day, Philadelphia at the Giants, DeSean Jackson became the first player in NFL history to return a punt for a winning touchdown to end a game. The public was shaded slightly towards the Eagles with parlays, but straight bets were relatively even with the Giants being favored by 3 to 2 ½ points all week, bouncing back and forth from -120 to even money.

The Sharps were also on the Rams in the I-70 battle with the Chiefs pushing that game from St. Louis opening as a 1-point underdog to being Rams a 3-point favorite by kickoff, Kansas City won the game 27-13 and in doing so kept the futile NFC West wide open. The Seahawks and 49ers both lost which paves the way for a chase to the playoffs for all three led by the Seahawks and Rams 6-8 records. A major piece of that puzzle will be unveiled when the 49ers travel to St. Louis this week.

Despite Tampa Bay’s 8-6 record, they still hadn’t beat a team with a winning record which helped the public decide easily who to choose in their match with the Lions. Sharp money actually came in on Detroit and pushed the number from +6 to +4, with some places even dropping to +3 ½. The Sharps were right as the Lions pulled of a 23-20 overtime win, the first road win for Detroit in 26 games.

One of the rematches from earlier this season was the Texans and Titans. Houston had won 20-0 in the week 12 matchup that also got Cortland Finnegan a fat lip. Because the Titans had been so bad in losing six games in a row coming in, the public was all over the Texans for the most one sided action of the day. Wouldn’t you know, the Titans jumped out 21-0 in the first quarter and it never was a contest.

Rex was pretty good as the Redskins starter
Almost as weighted by public opinion was the Cowboys who opened up a 6-point favorite against the Redskins and moved up to -8 by kickoff thanks to bettors believing the “Bad” Rex Grossman would show up. For a while that looked to be the case, but he quickly became “Good Rex” as he threw for a career high four touchdowns making Mike Shanahan’s move to bench Donovan McNabb not like such a crazy idea. The Redskins still lost the game 33-30, but they got the money and helped the sports books.

Tim Tebow got the nod for the Broncos because of Kyle Orton’s brusied ribs -- or at least that’s what the team said -- and he did fairly well early on with a 40-yard TD run and 33-yard TD pass in a 39-23 loss to the Raiders giving Oakland 98 points on the year against Denver. Surprisingly, the line didn’t move much upon rumors that Tebow would start. The line just sat at 6 ½-points until eventually moving up to Raiders -8 by kickoff.

The Atlanta Falcons showed once again that they look like one of the best teams in football by simply playing good football at Seattle, nothing fancy, just winning football in every facet. This week they’ll get a chance to close the door on the division by beating the Saints who lost by six at Baltimore. Atlanta is a short 3-point favorite against the Saints, a team that has feasted on beating bad teams all season. Only Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh had winning records among the Saints 10 wins.

The bad beat of the week went to those who bet on the Jaguars getting 5-points at Indianapolis. With less than two minutes to go, it appeared that the Jaguars may have just back-doored the Colts when they scored a touchdown making it Colts 27-24. When the on-side kick came, most Jags bettors didn’t care if they recovered, they just wanted the game to end, but the game was far from being decided. The on-side kick went straight to linebacker Tyjuan Hagler who then sprinted 41 yards for the touchdown, sealing the game and a gift cover for Colts backers.

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