Rams' prime-time win huge for sportsbooks

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The betting public was on the brink of handing sportsbooks one of their largest losses of the season.

Early on, bettors both big and small chose wisely by backing the Baltimore Ravens -6 over the Buffalo Bills and the underdog San Francisco 49ers to upset the New Orleans Saints.

"The Ravens and 49ers were the two that really wiped us out," said Jeff Stoneback, director of race and sports for MGM in Nevada.

The public even faded the New England Patriots, successfully supporting the Kansas City Chiefs and benefiting from multiple questionable calls that -- seemingly for the first time -- went against Tom Brady & Co.

"The Kansas City game was not good," Tony DiTommaso of sportsbook operator CG Technology said. "Of all days for the Patriots not to get a couple of calls, shouldn't have happened today."

At that point, after the afternoon results were complete, bookmakers were having a hard time finding games they won. Was this the Sunday the betting public would seize momentum, sparking a late-season rally and finally beating the books?

Not exactly.

The public piled on the Seattle Seahawks in the prime-time game and gave a huge chunk of their profit back to the books when the Los Angeles Rams cruised to a 28-12 win.

Here is this week's edition of Notable Bets, our wrap-up of sports betting storylines from across the nation.


Flurry of Ravens money

• In a matter of minutes, shortly before kickoff of the Baltimore-Buffalo game, nearly $500,000 was bet on the favored Ravens at MGM sportsbooks in Las Vegas. As first reported by Covers.com, MGM took four bets on the Ravens around 9:30 a.m. PT: $214,000, $110,000, $100,000 and $55,000 from three bettors, characterized as "casino players" by director of risk Jeff Stoneback.

When the games kicked off, Stoneback estimates 20 times as much money had been bet on the Ravens as had been bet on the Bills.

"It was pretty crazy," Stoneback said of the flurry of action on the Ravens. "They've just become such a public team."

The Ravens defeated the Bills 24-17, covering the spread and handing the book one its worst losses on a single game this season. One that was worse: the 49ers' win over the Saints on Sunday.

Bettors cash in on 49ers

• Earlier in the week, MGM took a $300,000 bet on the 49ers +2.5. San Francisco won a thriller over the Saints 48-46.

• "The Ravens wasn't good," Caesars Sportsbook chief Jeff Davis told ESPN late Sunday afternoon. "The Niners was real bad. That was easily our worst game of the day."

• The consensus closing total on the 49ers-Saints game was 45.5. The game went over the total midway through the second quarter. The 49ers went on to win 48-46, eclipsing the total by a season-high 48.5 points. It's the most points by which a game has gone over since Week 8 of the 2015 season, when a Giants-Saints game went over by 51 points. It's also the first time both teams scored more points than the over/under total in a regular-season game since Week 7 of the 2008 season (Bears 48, Vikings 41), per ESPN Stats & Information.

• More money was bet on the 49ers side than on the Jets-Dolphins games overall at Caesars Sportsbook.

"We actually almost won as much money on the Redskins [covering against the Packers] as we lost on the 49ers," Davis said shortly after the Sunday night game kicked off. "The problem was that was the only game we won all day."

More notables

• The books did well on the underdog Broncos' 38-24 upset of the Texans. "Pretty much we grinded money and then big game was the Broncos game," said Ed Salmons, vice president of risk at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas.

• The books did poorly on the Falcons' 40-20 win over the Panthers.

"I think I made a comment to someone on twitter that there was more money on the Northern Arizona-Nebraska (Omaha) college basketball game than there was on the Panthers," Davis of Caesars said. "That game had been open for a few hours. The Panthers [game] had been open for a week.

"It wasn't that we take a lot of money on college basketball, it was just that nobody was betting the Panthers. And really no one bet the Jags either. We took a five-figure bet on the Jags, and that was all the money on the Jags."

The Los Angeles Chargers blew out the Jaguars 45-10 as 3.5-point favorites.

More money was bet on Panthers-Falcons than was bet on any other game at the Borgata in Atlantic City, where sportsbook director Tom Gable reported taking "quite of bit of money on the Panthers money line but much more Falcons money on the spread. We need the under."

The total was 48.

• Games that attracted the most money at Caesars Sportsbook in Nevada:

1. Chiefs-Patriots
2. Niners-Saints
3. Ravens-Bills

The Chiefs upset the Patriots 23-16.

• "We took like an $80,000 bet on the Patriots -3 right as the game kicked off," Salmons of the SuperBook said. "Without that bet, we would've given a lot back. That bet kind of saved us."

• One of the bettors playing who bet big -- and won -- on the Ravens with MGM this weekend placed a $270,000 bet on the Seahawks +1 against the Rams.

• "If the Seahawks and over hits, it will be our worst day of the year," Davis of Caesars said. "But if the Rams win, it will basically be a break-even day."

Early Week 15 lines

From Caesars Sportsbook, at completion of Sunday night game.


New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-15, 45)


Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 37)
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-5.5, 41)
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-11, 47)
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-3, 47.5)
Miami Dolphins at New York Giants (-4, 48)
New England Patriots (-10, 40.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5, 40.5) at Washington Redskins
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (Off)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4, 47.5) at Detroit Lions
Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 47) at Arizona Cardinals
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-5.5, 46)
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (-11, 46.5)
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys (Off)
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5, 45.5) at Los Angeles Chargers


Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-9, 46)

College football

Oddsmakers at odds on opening CFP lines

• The opening lines on the two College Football Playoff semifinals were all over the place to start and on the move throughout Sunday.

LSU opened as low as a 9-point favorite over Oklahoma in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and as high as -12.5. Late Sunday night, the Tigers were consensus 13-point favorites over the Sooners.

"I thought 13 was a good number," said Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at South Point casino in Las Vegas.

Andrews wound up opening at LSU -12.5 and took some early money on Oklahoma, with his number being the highest available early in the market

• Bookmakers at CG Technology, which currently operates the sportsbooks at the Venetian and Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, were aiming to be on the high side of the market when they opened LSU at -10.5 but quickly realized they were short. By Sunday night, there had been three times as many bets on LSU as there were on the Sooners.

"We took sharp plays at 10.5 and 11 on the LSU side," CG Technology's DiTommaso said.

• The opening lines on the Fiesta Bowl ranged from Ohio State -1 to pick 'em to Clemson -2. The market eventually settled with Clemson as short favorites.

"I thought last night that Ohio State would be the favorite," said Andrews, who opened Clemson -1. "I think we may have the wrong favorite."

Andrews is among several bookmakers expecting the public to back the underdog Buckeyes, with the bulk of the money wagered in the days leading up to the Dec. 28 kickoff.

More notables

• Notable bowl opening lines at Caesars Sportsbook:

Citrus Bowl: Michigan vs. Alabama -7
Outback Bowl: Minnesota vs. Auburn -7
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin -2.5 vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Georgia -7.5
Cotton Bowl: Memphis vs. Penn State -7

• More money was bet on the Big Ten Championship game between Ohio State and Wisconsin than has been bet on any college football game in DraftKings' two-year sportsbook history.

• The game, which was played in Indianapolis, attracted 262% more bets than the ACC Championship game between Clemson and Virginia at FanDuel's sportsbook in Indiana.

• The handle on the SEC and Big Ten championship games was comparable to that of most of Sunday's NFL games at the SuperBook.

• "The Ohio State game was the only [football] game we won Saturday," CG Technology's DiTommaso said.

• Heading into the Army-Navy game, college football favorites are 357-348-11 ATS (50.6%), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

• For totals, there have been 699 overs, 722 unders (49.1%) and 14 pushes.

• Clemson ends the regular season with the best record against the spread, at 10-3. Kansas State, Kentucky, Auburn and Oregon State finished 9-3 ATS.

• Akron finished with the worst record against the spread, at 1-11.

• Eleven of San Diego State's 12 games stayed under the total.

Odds and ends

NBA bad beat

• You were feeling good if you had over 209 in the Pacers-Knicks game on Saturday. The teams combined to score 136 points in the first half. The scoring slowed in the second half, but the game looked like it was headed easily over the total. With five minutes left in fourth quarter, the Pacers led 104-100, six points shy of the over.

The Pacers didn't score the rest of the game, and the teams combined to miss 18 of their next 19 shots. Despite the drought, over bettors still had hope after the Knicks' Julius Randle was fouled with 0.1 seconds left and Indiana leading 104-102. Randle made the first free throw but missed the second, which would have sent the game into overtime. Final: Pacers 104, Kicks 103.