Home Sport Sportsbooks bounce back in NFL Week 14: ‘The Lions losing was a massive parlay buster’

Sportsbooks bounce back in NFL Week 14: ‘The Lions losing was a massive parlay buster’

by News7

After two weeks of public/recreational bettors having their way, the NFL Week 14 odds market exacted a little payback on behalf of the bookmakers. That’ll happen when underdogs take a bite out of popular favorites.

In this weekend’s case, the Chicago Bears knocking off the Detroit Lions set the table for a good-but-not-great day behind the counter. And though there was only one FBS college football game — the Army-Navy rivalry matchup — that was enough to deliver one crazy betting outcome.

Oddsmakers from Las Vegas and across the country helped rehash the weekend that was in NFL and college football betting.

Bear Down

Before Sunday’s games kicked off, BetMGM trader Christian Cipollini expressed concern about the sportsbook’s position on the Lions-Bears game. Yes, the point spread had actually shortened, from Detroit -4 to -3, thanks to sharp play on Chicago.

But the betting masses were still on the Lions. In fact, at BetMGM, the Lions entered Sunday having taken more spread tickets and more spread money than any other team.

“It’s all Lions money. This is one of our bigger interests. We’ll need the Bears,” Cipollini said.

All he was hoping for was Chicago to cover the spread — lose by less than 3 points. Instead, what he and other oddsmakers got was a welcome Bears outright victory, 28-13. With Lions-Bears in the early window of Sunday NFL games, that result blew up countless straight-bet and moneyline parlays tied to later games.

“The Lions losing was a massive parlay buster,” BetMGM Nevada’s Scott Shelton said.

Added South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews: “Bears outright was really good.”

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While the Bears’ win was key for bookmakers, there were other notable outcomes that fell their way, too. The New York Jets scoring 30 points in one game certainly wasn’t expected. Beating an up-and-coming Houston Texans team outright wasn’t expected either.

But the Jets plowed past C.J. Stroud & Co. 30-6 as 3-point home underdogs.

In addition, between weather and injuries, bettors were leaning into a few Unders. Most notably for BetMGM Nevada, the Texans-Jets total — which opened at 36.5, bottomed out at 33 and closed pregame at 33.5 — saw a lot of Under play. So, too, did the Jaguars-Browns total, which opened at 38.5 and plunged to 30.5 due to Trevor Lawrence’s ankle injury in Week 13.

That total ultimately rebounded all the way to 37.5 pre-kick, thanks to news that Lawrence would play Sunday. And the Jags and Browns put up a bunch of points, with Cleveland winning 31-27. The Jets’ 30-6 win was fine for oddsmakers, as well, since most Under bettors were on numbers below 36.

“The early games were really good, especially with both the Jets and Browns games going over the total,” Shelton said. “The later games were also good, with Seatle covering and the Broncos and Bills winning outright.”

Indeed, nothing blows up parlays and teasers quite like underdogs winning outright. Denver rolled past the L.A. Chargers 24-7 — aided by Chargers QB Justin Herbert exiting with a thumb injury — and Buffalo escaped Kansas City with a 20-17 victory.

Almost Historic

For BetMGM Nevada, though, the Los Angeles Rams-Baltimore Ravens game arguably held the most importance. The Rams matched the Ravens score-for-score all game, forging a 31-31 tie to force overtime on a last-minute field goal.

But Baltimore then won 37-31 on a Tylan Wallace 76-yard punt return for a touchdown.

“If the Rams had beaten the Ravens outright, it could have been a historic winning day,” Shelton said. “We took two really big parlay bets involving the Ravens moneyline. Those will be determined Monday night.”

Shelton didn’t reveal which Monday night team (or teams) those parlays were tied to. But BetMGM Nevada could still add those high-roller wagers to its winnings this week. Or the big bettor could make bank.

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Obviously, the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys Sunday night clash was the most anticipated game in the NFL Week 14 odds market. Said BetMGM national trader Seamus Magee early in the day:

“We expect Cowboys-Eagles to be the most-bet game of this NFL season. The sportsbook is going to need the Eagles to cover big-time.”

However, thanks to some key favorites losing prior to Sunday night — Detroit and Kansas City among them — along with a late burst of Eagles action, BetMGM’s national position wasn’t nearly as bad by kickoff.

“Eagles money has actually come back. Eagles moneyline is now our biggest liability, so the book is rooting for Dallas,” Cipollini said.

And the book got Dallas. The Cowboys coasted 33-13 as 3.5-point home favorites.

That said, Dallas, being America’s Team, still stung a couple of bookmakers, including The SuperBook.

“We are gonna give some money back tonight with the Cowboys covering,” Murray said. “It was just an OK day. We were a small winner.”

Totally Awesome — Or Not

The Army-Navy game has a rich history and is always a spectacle. This year’s meeting was at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Per usual in service academy games, there wasn’t a whole lot of scoring.

But thanks to a crazy finish, there was just enough scoring to give at least one sportsbook and some Under bettors a big headache.

The consensus closing number for the Army-Navy total was 28, including at The SuperBook. Late in the fourth quarter, Army led 17-9, but Navy was driving. A touchdown and 2-point conversion would force overtime.

The Midshipmen got the ball all the way to the 2-yard line but were turned back on fourth-and-goal with just 3 seconds remaining. Under bettors were likely over the moon momentarily, with the game seemingly set to end with 26 total points.

But oddsmakers had an idea what was coming next: Army taking an intentional safety, to avoid any chance of a crazy mistake on the game’s final play. Quarterback Bryson Daily took the shotgun snap and stepped out of the back of the end zone as time expired.

Final score: 17-11, for 28 total points.

“We knew it was coming as soon as Army got the stop on fourth down,” SuperBook risk supervisor Chase Michaelson said. “We got middled because we had sharp play on Under 28.5 and Over 27.5.”

Meaning all those Under 28.5/Over 27.5 bettors got paid off as a result of that one seemingly meaningless play. Granted, a lot of bettors pushed on 28, meaning they got a refund. But anyone who bet Under 27.5 had to be sick to their stomach.

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One high-rolling customer at Caesars Sports got quite a sweat from a $121,000 wager on Bills +2 (-121) on the road against the Chiefs. Buffalo jumped out to 14-0 early in the second quarter, and that bettor was probably feeling pretty good.

But Kansas City pulled within 17-14 late in the third quarter, then tied it at 17 early in the fourth quarter.

With 1:54 remaining, Bills place-kicker Tyler Bass knocked through a 39-yard field goal, giving Buffalo a 20-17 lead. But obviously, there was still plenty of time for Patrick Mahomes.

With 1:12 remaining, it looked like the Chiefs might’ve sunk the Bills once again with late-game heroics. Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on second-and-10 from midfield. Kelce rumbled to the 20-yard line, then delivered a lengthy lateral to Kadarius Toney, who ran it in for the go-ahead score.

Or so the Chiefs thought. 

Toney lined up offsides on the play, negating the touchdown. Buffalo went on to stop K.C. and escape with a win.

And the bettor collected $100,000 in profit, for a $221,000 total payout.

Other big NFL plays reported this week:

$115,000 Ravens -7 (-115) vs. Rams, at Caesars. As noted above, Baltimore won 37-31 on a punt-return TD in overtime — a walkoff play on which no extra point is kicked. In regulation, the bettor still could’ve got a push and a refund, with the extra point and a 7-point Ravens victory. Instead, it’s a six-figure L.$60,000 Browns -3 (-120) vs. Jaguars, at BetMGM. Cleveland wins 31-27, bettor narrowly cashes for a $50,000 profit/$110,000 total payout.$20,000 Bengals moneyline -125 vs. Colts, at BetMGM. Cincinnati wins 34-14, bettor profits $16,000, for a $36,000 total payout.That’s about it in what was a lighter week for major wagers. But the week’s not done yet. 

Monday night brings two games, Titans-Dolphins and Packers-Giants. Maybe some of that Monopoly money flowing in the freshly reopened Florida sports betting market will show up on Miami.

Regardless, don’t be swayed by the big bets. Maybe live vicariously through them or root against them if that’s your thing. Keep your own wagers reasonable. Enjoy the games!

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.

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