Vegas veteran says Week 9 was books' worst NFL Sunday

Nov 5, 2012 |
The Bears' blowout over the Titans was a popular play on parlay cards.
The Bears' blowout over the Titans was a popular play on parlay cards.
After weeks and weeks of underdogs cashing in, NFL favorites had their revenge in Week 9 – a result that handed Las Vegas sportsbooks one of their worst Sundays in a long time.

Teams getting the points entered the weekend at 71-45-3 ATS, covering at almost 60 percent. When the smoke settled after the Atlanta Falcons downed the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, favorites finished 8-4 ATS on the day.

“This is probably the worst regular season Sunday, outside of playoffs and Super Bowls, I was involved in in which we lost money,” Jimmy Vaccaro, a near 40-year Las Vegas veteran and spokesman for William Hill in Nevada, told Covers. “These things tend to change on a dime. This one changed on a nickel.”

It wasn’t just the amount of favorites covering the spread that hurt books so badly. It was the fact that the big favorites – Green Bay, Houston, Chicago, Denver and Atlanta – played up to and beyond the oddsmakers’ expectations.

Those public teams found their way to numerous parlay cards, including –according to Vaccaro – a $3 12-team parlays that hit, paying out at 3000-1 odds. He also says there were numerous 10-team parlays that cashed in.

“It’s a wave of things to come,” says Vaccaro, who sees more and more sports bettors tying their money up in parlays.

Vaccaro estimates that in recent football seasons, books have taken 40 to 60 percent of their total action from parlay cards, compared to percentages of 15 or 20 just a few years ago.

“The dynamic of the way they do business has changed,” he says. “They want to play a little to win a lot – kind of like the lottery. They’re looking for that one big payday. The average guy comes to Vegas with 100 bucks for the Sunday, and spends 60 on parlays.”

Adding to the sportsbooks’ woes this weekend was Week 10 of the college football schedule. Favorites finished 32-22-2 ATS (59.26 percent), including wins and covers for high-profile chalk like Oregon, Kansas State, Georgia and Oregon State.

“With college, we did OK at the beginning of the day but the late games gave everything back,” says Vaccaro. “It wasn’t if we were going to lose, but how much we were going to lose.”

As far as the overall scheme of things, weeks like this do happen in bookmaking. But with underdogs proving profitable for the majority of the NFL season, and the public regularly looking to the favorites, books are still in a good place heading into Week 10 of the NFL.

“It’s a two-way street,” says Vaccaro. “We enjoy this chaotic insanity.”

“When we have a day like this, we replenish the bank roll and do it all again.”
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