Sports gambling: Trio of NFL upsets creates another sad Sunday for bettors
After a two-game absence, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was back in action, and the betting public went along for the ride. It was a wild one and, after several twists and turns, there was a crash-and-burn finish.
Drew Brees and the red-hot Saints were off of a bye, and there was no way New Orleans would lose to the lowly Falcons, right? Wrong again.
Bad things tend to happen in threes, so throw in Jared Goff and the Rams as road favorites on a cold day in Pittsburgh, and the dominoes were set up for bettors to take another fall in an NFL season filled with sad Sundays.
“The three good games were really, really good,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “We got pummeled Saturday, so it was nice to bounce back with a good Sunday.”
With Week 10 in the books, chalk up a “W” next to the bookmakers, who are riding a streak. The bettors have not been on the plus side since Week 3, and at this point it’s getting difficult to rank the books’ biggest-winning weeks.
“Lately, we have been winning every week in the NFL,” said Westgate SuperBook director John Murray, who called this the second-best Sunday of the season.
Caesars sportsbook director Jeff Davis, recounting the massive losses the betting public took on the Chiefs and Saints, did not hesitate on the No. 1 ranking.
“It was the best Sunday of the entire year,” Davis said.
Mahomes was unstoppable in his return, passing for 446 yards and three touchdowns, yet the Kansas City defense was unable to stop a sneeze. Derrick Henry rushed for 188 yards to push the Titans to a 35-32 comeback victory over the Chiefs, who were 6-point favorites.
UCLA remains in contention for a bowl bid, but its chances of finishing first in the Pac-12 South are slim unless it beats Utah on Saturday.
The Saints closed as 14-point favorites at William Hill books, but the one-sided action was on the wrong side. Brees was sacked six times. Atlanta ended its six-game losing streak with a 26-9 victory over New Orleans, which had a six-game win-and-cover streak before going down in the largest point-spread upset of the season.
The Super Bowl hangover for the Rams continues to get worse. Goff threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, did not complete a pass to Cooper Kupp and directed an impotent offense that converted 1 of 14 third downs. The Steelers silenced the Rams, who were laying 4½ points, in a 17-12 decision that seemed to have Sean McVay seeing the ghost of Bill Belichick.
“That was not a good spot for the Rams, but everybody lined up on them like it was going out of style,” Bogdanovich said. “I don’t want to say the Rams are dead, but they might not make the playoffs.”
The Giants contributed to the public’s losses to a lesser degree. There was heavy betting on the Giants at -2½ and some sharp play on the Jets when the line moved to three. After a 34-27 win, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was making playoff plans for a 2-7 team. With the Giants’ season circling the toilet bowl, the coach on the hottest seat this week is Pat Shurmur, not Adam Gase.
“It’s surprising we don’t hear more about how bad of a job Shurmur is doing,” Murray said.
How low can the Giants go? Saquon Barkley finished with one yard on 13 carries, prompting a joke from Bogdanovich.
“I had Barkley ‘over’ 1½ rushing yards. How did that prop do? That’s one of the most unbelievable stats you will ever see,” he said. “The Jets defense is not the 1985 Bears.”
Usually explosive Rams produce a field goal on offense, and squander a defensive effort that included a fumble return for a TD and a safety in loss to Steelers.
Another NFC East team flopped when the Cowboys, 3-point favorites, fell 28-24 to the Vikings to cap the day. The popular public side was Dallas, of course.
Surprisingly, the Colts’ collapse as 10½-point favorites in a 16-12 loss to Miami was not crippling to the bettors. There was a significant amount of action on the Dolphins, who have covered five consecutive games after being left for dead in September.
The bookmakers did not sweep the board. The betting public cashed in on a few favorites — Bears, Packers and Ravens — to salvage something from another lost week.
The most pivotal game for the books in Week 11 is already obvious. The Patriots opened as 3½-point favorites at Philadelphia. After a loss and a bye week, New England will be expected to bounce back because that’s why Belichick and Tom Brady almost always do.
“That will be the biggest decision of the week,” Murray said. “The public is going to come in with both hands betting the Patriots. We will need the Eagles in a big way.”
And when the bookmakers need something, they have been getting it in a big way.
Matt Youmans is senior editor for VSiN.com. Listen to VSiN’s programming at VSiN.com/tunein.
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