It doesn’t matter who wins on Sunday between the Bengals and Ravens, Jay Rood will come out a winner. As a bookie, that’s got to be a pretty sweet feeling.
Rood, the race and sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage properties in Las Vegas, was the first to post NFL season win totals way back in early August and the line that drew the most attention from sharp and public bettors was Cincinnati at 7.5 wins.
“Guys were going on local radio and saying the MGM was giving away free money (because of the Bengal season win total),” Rood said with a chuckle.
I remember being one of those so-called “wise” bettors who saw the Bengals under as easy money. The Cincinnati kids were coming off a 4-12 season and they seemed positioned to start a second-round, rookie QB. No one thought Carson Palmer was an elite quarterback but how could some freckled-faced youngster from TCU improve the position for the Bengals?
“I liked (Andy) Dalton, but I thought that Carson Palmer thing would get worked out and he’d be back under center,” Rood said while explaining his thought process for the Bengals win total.
The professionals disagreed and bet the under early and often. Rood quickly moved the line down from 7.5 to 6.5 and then moved it down again when he upped the limits from $3,000 to $10,000.
“The very first bet we took when we put those totals out was on the Bengals and it was a limit bet.”
The action kept coming in on the Bengals and, by the time the season was about to start, Rood had the total down to 5.5 with the under juiced at -150.
I know I’m supposed to see the book as the enemy, but I talk to sportsbook managers every week and they’re all good people. And, let’s be honest, there’s an element of envy that plays into degenerates disdain for their bookie. Don’t most bettors see working in a sportsbook as a dream job? Aren’t we all, as Covers.com columnist Jeff Rake says, “wannabe oddsmakers”?
It’s hard not to feel good for a guy like Rood pulling in a six-figure win for his company on that Bengals line. It takes courage and conviction to be the first to post those NFL season win totals.
So, even though the house is always the favorite, this underdog bettor is happy knowing one respected rival is smiling a little bit more this holiday season.
OK, I’m done feeling happy for the bad guys. Let’s get back to the business of picking winners and bringing down the house.
Chicago Bears (+1) at Minnesota Vikings
The Bears know this is their last game of a bitterly disappointing season. After Week 11, Chicago looked like one of the top five teams in the league. Now, all the Monsters of the Midway have to play for is a .500 campaign.
But Bears head coach Lovie Smith knows a thing or two about those plus and minus numbers in the sports section of the newspaper. He’s been known to use pointspreads to motivate his team and I see him doing it again in this game.
Chicago is an underdog against the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? That’s not going to fly in the Lovie’s locker room.
Bears +1Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) at Denver Broncos
The hook hooked me here. I could see either team winning this game and a field-goal finish sounds about right.
Chiefs +3.5Dallas Cowboys (+3) at New York Giants
This game is bigger than Katy Perry’s bustline.
For a second straight season, Sunday Night Football in Week 17 is essentially a playoff game. The winner nabs the NFC East and goes to the postseason. The loser goes home.
Tony Romo’s proven he’s a tough tomato, and I think he’ll manage fine with that bruised hand.
The Cowboys are 0-5 ATS against their division this season. How gross is that?
The Giants put up 510 offensive yards last time they played Dallas. Rob Ryan isn’t the best defensive coordinator in the league but something tells me his unit will be much sharper in the rematch.Pick:
Last week: 1-2
Season record: 27-22-1
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