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Las Vegas sportsbooks lose as heavy NFL favorites cover

Updated December 5, 2021 - 9:25 pm

Falcons bettors suffered another painful loss at the hand of Tom Brady’s team on Sunday.

But the majority of gamblers cashed tickets on Tampa Bay and several other heavy favorites that covered the spread Sunday as the betting public bounced back to beat the sportsbooks for the first time in weeks.

“The public was due, and they did really well (Sunday),” Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said.

Caesars, South Point and the Westgate SuperBook all reported losing days, while BetMGM and Station Casinos were small winners.

“The early games were extremely good for the guests, getting the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Colts,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “They almost swept the board early in the day. We almost swept the board late in the day.

“Getting Washington, Seattle and Pittsburgh to all win outright really kind of saved the day for us.”

Double-digit favorites went 3-0 ATS as the Bucs (-10½) beat Atlanta 30-17, Indianapolis (-10½) whipped Houston 31-0 and the Rams (-14) ripped the Jaguars 37-7.

Favorites went 7-5 ATS overall. Bettors also won big on Arizona (-8, beat Chicago 33-22), Miami (-7, beat the Giants 20-9) and Kansas City (-8½, defeated Denver 22-9).

Bad beats

The Bucs weren’t covering the 10½ the entire game until a field goal put them ahead 30-17 with 1:49 left.

Atlanta then drove to the Tampa 7-yard line in the final minute but didn’t score.

The Falcons failing to cover wasn’t the only tough beat in the game.

Bettors who backed Tampa Bay -6½ in the first half were probably counting their winnings when the Bucs got the ball back at their own 7 with a 20-10 lead and 44 seconds left until halftime.

But Brady threw a pick-6 with 22 seconds left to turn those tickets into trash.

Likewise, bettors who had over 50½ had to love their chances after the late score made it 20-17 at the half. They needed only 14 points in the second half to win their wagers. But the teams combined for only 10 as the game stayed under.

Washington, Pittsburgh bail out books

The public would’ve had a monster day if not for narrow losses by the Raiders and Ravens.

Washington (+1½) was the biggest winner for the books. Brian Johnson kicked a 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to lift the Football Team to a 17-15 win over the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.

“We got bailed out big time on Washington,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said. “Everybody going to the stadium was all over the Raiders. That one game right there made us a small winner on the day.”

The Steelers (+4) held on for a 20-19 triumph over Baltimore when the Ravens failed to convert a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown with 12 seconds left. An extra point would’ve tied it and given Baltimore bettors a chance to cover in overtime. But coach John Harbaugh went for the win and Lamar Jackson’s pass fell incomplete.

The result was great for the books, but SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay didn’t agree with the call.

“I don’t know why they did that,” he said. “I know you’re on the road, but you’re a better team, so I like my chances in overtime. If the script was flipped, when you’re desperate for a win and outmanned like the Steelers are, then going for two makes sense.

“But I don’t think it did for Baltimore in that situation.”

Lions win

All five underdogs that covered won outright, with the Lions (+7) earning their first win of the season in a 29-27 victory over the Vikings. Jared Goff threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired to lift Detroit.

In one of several questionable coaching calls Sunday, Lions coach Dan Campbell went for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 28 with a 23-21 lead with 4:08 left. Goff lost a fumble, and Minnesota capitalized, scoring a go-ahead TD with 1:50 left.

Kornegay had no problem with Campbell’s decision.

“The Lions have nothing to lose,” he said. “Except for another game.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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