On The Money | NFL Week 13 Betting Recap: Sportsbooks Win Big
Bill Ordine | 5 mins
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For sports bettors, the 2020 NFL season has turned into a slog.
On Sunday, what had been a mediocre-to-slightly losing day for NFL bettors in the early games turned into a disaster later as heavy-favorite Seattle lost outright to the New York Giants, 17-12, and then Denver (+13) covered easily against Kansas City despite the Chiefs winning, 22-16.
Putting an exclamation point on the losing day for the public was that Seahawks’ outright loss to the Giants, an outcome that tore up parlay betting and teaser tickets and allowed the sportsbooks to rest easy heading into the night game, Denver-Kansas City, as far as moneyline parlays were concerned.
“So, it was another good day (for the books) and another bad day for the bettors,” said Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts. “That’s five weeks in a row so they’re really struggling.”
Johnny Avello, head of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, also said his sportsbook did well.
“The season didn’t start that way. The public was having some good weeks,” Avello said. “But it’s been rough for the chalk bettors of late.”
Betting the chalk is wagering on favorites and since the first month to six weeks of the season, the underdogs have been dominating in NFL betting circles. So far this season, the ‘dogs have come in at slightly higher than 57% against the spread. The public generally bets on favorites and that, in part, explains the ragged results for bettors and the strong showing for the books.
Winning Day for the Books
Sunday night’s outcome between the Broncos and Chiefs was representative of how the public has been faring recently. At William Hill, on spread bets 87% of the tickets and 76% of the handle were on Kansas City. The Chiefs won outright by six points salvaging the wagers of their moneyline backers where 96% of the cash was on the Chiefs.
However, it’s games like the Seattle loss to the Giants where the book cleans up. For moneyline wagers, 68% of the handle was on Seattle at FanDuel. At PointsBet, 65% of the money wagered was on the Seahawks. But there’s much more to a loss by a favorite, which the public perceives to be a certain winner, than the individual game itself. Teams such as Seattle yesterday are anchors of moneyline parlay tickets. Of course, once a favorite stumbles, all those parlay tickets become confetti.
Other heavily-bet teams that either failed to cover or lost outright were Chicago, Minnesota and Atlanta. The Bears (-3) lost outright to Detroit, 34-30; Atlanta (+2.5) lost to New Orleans, 21-16, and while Minnesota won, 27-24, the Vikings (-10) failed to cover against Jacksonville.
The public was a winner betting on Miami (a winner over Cincinnati), Indianapolis (over Houston) and Green Bay (over Philadelphia) while the books, including BetMGM, profited from Cleveland beating Tennessee.
Another Miracle at the Meadowlands
A miracle finish occurred in the New York Jets-Las Vegas game when Raiders QB Derek Carr hit WR Henry Ruggs III in stride for the winning touchdown on a 46-yard pass play with five seconds left, to win 31-28. The still winless Jets (0-12) tried an eight-man blitz that obviously failed. Had the Jets not blown the home game at the end, a bettor who had picked Week 13 as the first Jets win and laid down $25 would have pocketed $6,250.
Next Gen Stats commented on the play noting in a tweet: “The Jets are the only team to send 8+ pass rushers on a play in the last 30 seconds of a game this season.”
Derek Carr's game-winning 46-yard TD pass to Henry Ruggs traveled 53.9 yards of air distance, Carr's 2nd-longest completion this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 6, 2020
The Jets sent an all-out blitz, however none of their eight pass rushers were able to get pressure on Carr.#LVvsNYJ | #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/rUVJ9TQ8om
Avello, the veteran bookmaker, didn’t need any fancy stats to recognize the folly of the Jets’ defense.
“That’s the wrong call. You can’t leave the Raiders receiver who are very fast, one-on-one with the Jets defensive backs, that’s playing Russian roulette,” Avello said. “You need someone in centerfield. Where’s the free safety to knock that all away, and there was no one there. The whole Jet coaching staff is just awful right now.”
Betting Odds & Ends
At William Hill, a customer took a $60,000 chance on the L.A. Rams at -3 and came away with $120,000 as the Rams beat Arizona, 38-28.
$60,000 ➡️ $120,000— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) December 7, 2020
Congrats to the @WilliamHillNV bettor who took LAR -3 (+100)! #WHWinners https://t.co/dNfF1TLrlT pic.twitter.com/GiwOf7nrnf
A wager on the Patriots-Chargers game at PointsBet demonstrated the interesting aspect of that betting platform where bettors can bet-per-point over certain thresholds, such as the point spread.
One customer took the Patriots against the L.A. Chargers at $50 per point (New England started as a +1 underdog). When the Patriots routed the Chargers, 45-0, the customer collected 46 times the stake of $50, or $2,300.