Before the late-afternoon NFL games even kicked off, the writing was on the wall — bookmakers from Nevada to New Jersey were taking a bath on a Sunday that will go down as one of the betting public’s best.
Nevada industry sources estimated the state’s sportsbooks lost in the range of $7 million to $10 million overall on Sunday.
In the early games, the books found themselves holding lopsided betting action on the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, two favorites that easily covered the spread. Their fate was sealed by the Kansas City Chiefs, the most heavily bet favorite on the board Sunday.
Kansas City closed as an eight-point favorite over the Cleveland Browns and won 37-21. Eighty-eight percent of the money wagered on the point spread at William Hill’s sportsbooks in Nevada and New Jersey was on Kansas City.
“We were pretty much done at that point,” MGM vice president of race and sports Jay Rood said. “Disaster.”
It was the third straight subpar weekend for the books, but Sunday was in a class by itself, an all-timer in some veteran bookmaker’s eyes. Rood, a 25-year Las Vegas bookmaker, said it made his top 10 list of all-time costly Sundays. A sportsbook manager at Caesars Palace said it was one of the worst Sundays he could remember.
“Bad. Really bad,” Caesars head of risk operations Jeff Davis said. “We won one key decision today.”
“I don’t know that there was a best game [for the book],” Station Casino sportsbook director Jason McCormick said. “Maybe the Dolphins, which had the least handle of the day. Worst Sunday of the season.”
Normally, a day filled with favorites covering the spread is the recipe for success for public bettors. But favorites were only 6-5 against the spread on Sunday. It didn’t matter.
“The public just nailed it,” Boyd Gaming sportsbook director Bob Scucci said in an email. “They had the big favorites — Bears, Chiefs, Panthers and Vikings — as well as the short ‘dogs, Texans and Steelers. And a lot of the overs.
“By the time we got to the two biggest games — Packers-Patriots and Rams-Saints — there were so many parlays alive that we were going to lose no matter what.”
The underdog New Orleans Saints beat the Los Angeles Rams 45-35, and the New England Patriots covered the spread in a 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers.
The damage wasn’t limited to Nevada. New sportsbooks in Mississippi and New Jersey also reported taking it on the chin Sunday.
“Welcome to sports betting,” one longtime Nevada bookmaker said with a chuckle.
Bettors were in need of a hot stretch after a tough start to the football season. Nevada sportsbooks won an all-time-high $56.3 million in September. Results for October will be released later this month.
“We took a big punch today,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. “[It] could snowball into Monday. Good thing is we’ll be open on Tuesday.”
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