Bill Ordine for Bookies.com

By Bill Ordine | | 5 mins

On The Money | NFL Week 11 Betting Recap: Banner Day for Books

On The Money | NFL Week 11 Betting Recap: Banner Day for Books
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Week 11 of the NFL season was brought to you by the letter U.

That’s U, as in Upset. U, as in Underdog. U, as in “Ugh,” if you’re an NFL bettor.

The betting public was demolished Sunday by NFL results as the heaviest betting favorites, such as the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, lost both against the spread and outright. Even the totals for the Over/Unders largely came in at the Under, usually not a good outcome for the public.


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Even in cases where the underdog happened to be the more-heavily favored side by the public, such as in the cases of the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons, the decisions went in favor of the books.

“It was a hell of a day for the bettors, let’s put it that way. We only lost one game for the whole day,” said Jeff Stoneback, Director of Trading for MGM Resorts. “We almost swept the board.

“It was just one of those days where it all fell for the books. … It was just a terrible day for the (bettors). We had four big decisions in the morning, and we won three out those four. And then we had four decent-sized decisions in the afternoon and won all four.”

The normal hold for a sportsbook is 5% to 6% on average. Sunday, for Stoneback’s operation, it was a little over 20%.

“I told someone in the office that as far as the hold percentage is concerned, this is as high as we’re going to get,” Stoneback said.

Dolphins, Packers Losses Boost Books

DraftKings Director of Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello agreed that it was a banner day for the books.

“The Packers were a big decision for us today, so were the Dolphins — both against the spread and on the moneyline,” Avello said.

The Dolphins and Packers were carrying a huge share of the tickets at most books. For instance, at FanDuel, the Dolphins had 94% of the point spread betting tickets and the Packers had 88% of the moneyline tickets. Miami, a 4-point favorite playing Denver, lost 20-13. Green Bay, a 1.5-point underdog, lost 34-31 in overtime to Indianapolis.

“That shuts down a lot of (parlays). Usually, we’ll get one of those types of decisions. If we get two of those, it’s an added bonus,” Avello said.

The Over/Unders were a mixed bag for the bettors. Eight of 12 Sunday games came in as Unders. Heavily bet Overs, such as Atlanta-New Orleans and Cincinnati-Washington, disappointed but the rare anticipated Under, such as Philadelphia-Cleveland, worked out for the public.

However, the story of the day was that the house prevailed. “Overall a strong Sunday for the book,” PointsBet’s Patrick Eichner said. At PointsBet, the Dolphins were the biggest letdown for the public; Miami carried 92% of bets placed and 93% of money wagered.

The Dolphins misery was spread far and wide. At FanDuel, one customer in Pennsylvania placed a $75,000 bet on Miami to cover a -3.5 spread.

Not a Great Day to Parlay

With so many of the heaviest bet teams going down in flames (even the New York Jets, getting 9.5 points, covered against the L.A. Chargers despite losing, 34-28), there were hardly any parlay betting wagers still alive by the time Kansas City played Las Vegas in the night game.

Again, in that one, the underdog Raiders (+7.5) covered in a 27-24 loss and the Over (55.5) failed to get there.

At FanDuel, 87% of the spread money was on the Chiefs and 83% of the O/U money was on the Over early in the day.

Not all was lost. William Hill posted a $206,100 seven-team parlay, all favorites, that paid $466,000. Five college games came in and so did the two NFL picks, the Steelers covering against Jacksonville and the Chargers taking down the Jets.

Mega-Bets Take Day Off

There weren’t as many mega-bets Sunday as the books were seeing earlier in the season. MGM’s Stoneback attributed the lack of whale-sized wagers to the time of year, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. The same was true at DraftKings.

“It’s been that way the last couple of weeks. We didn’t get smacked with any of those seven-figure wagers,” Avello said. “Just a lot of good steady business. That’s not to say that there aren’t any six-figure wagers or some five-figure wagers with parlays. But it’s been good steady business. That’s the way you like it.”

Among some of the larger wagers at BetMGM: $110,000 on the Bengals (+1.5, a 20-9 loser to Washington); $110,000 on the Patriots (-1.5), an outright loser to Houston; $105,000 on Browns (-3), a 22-17 winner over Philadelphia, and a $110,000 bet on the Tampa Buccaneers (-4) for Monday night against the L.A. Rams.

About the Author

Bill Ordine for Bookies.com
Bill Ordine
Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years and was lead reporter on a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.