- Dave Tuley, ESPN Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS -- Announcers love to remind us, "This game isn't over yet." Sometimes it's true, sometimes we're all thinking, "Yeah, so your ratings don't go in the tank for the next half-hour."
However, on Sunday's Patriots-Saints broadcast, FOX's Troy Aikman -- who led his share of comebacks in his Hall of Fame career with the Cowboys -- was lamenting the impending loss by the Patriots and Gillette Stadium was emptying like it was Dodger Stadium. The Live Scorecaster program at PredictionMachine.com had the Saints at better than 90 percent to win the game. And Fezzik, the professional gambler, tweeted that he saw plus-1,200 (odds of 12-1) available during in-running wagering.
But the Patriots pulled it off. With his team trailing 24-23 after Drew Brees' TD pass to Kenny Stills with 3:29 remaining, New England coach Bill Belichick had his offense go for it on fourth down deep in Pats territory. It failed, giving the Saints a field goal, though that didn't increase the Saints' projected win percentage too much -- it was in the 80s and stayed there with the Patriots needing a touchdown to win. Tom Brady then threw an interception on the first play of their next possession, which was what sent fans heading to the parking lot. But Belichick kept working his timeouts, the Saints weren't able to ice the game with one more first down, Brady got the ball back and, as they say, the rest is history.
The Patriots not only won 30-27 but also covered the consensus closing line of minus-2.
NFL schedule-makers hit a home run as they made this the national TV game while the other three games (Titans-Seahawks, Jaguars-Broncos and Cardinals-49ers) were shown regionally (though we get them all here in the Vegas sportsbooks). For the record, the dogs went 2-1 against the spread in those three expected blowouts and double-digit dogs are 8-5 ATS (61.5 percent) so far this season.
Overall, it was pretty much a break-even Week 6 for the books and bettors as favorites/underdogs are 7-7 ATS heading into Monday night. Home teams were 8-6 ATS, which many people might assume was even better after road teams were 7-1 straight up in Sunday's early games. Overs were 8-5-1 with the Panthers' 35-10 win over the Vikings landing on the closing total of 45, though the majority of bettors cashed on the over there too, as it was mostly available during the week at 44, then 44.5 before being bet up.
Let's see what else we learned over the weekend, and the early line movement from the Week 7 openers to get us started looking ahead.
1. Broncos still a perfect bet -- with the over
The Broncos are still undefeated at 6-0 after beating the Jaguars 35-19, but they failed to cover the second-highest NFL spread of all time at minus-27, and they were mistake-prone all game. The win actually drops the Broncos to 3-3 ATS against my ViewFromVegas Consensus Closing Lines. The only one in debate is their Week 3 win over the Raiders when they closed as 16.5-point favorites and won 37-21, though a lot of bettors had them at minus-14.5, minus-15 and minus-15.5. But there's no debating they've failed to cover the past two weeks against the Cowboys and Jaguars.
3hDianna Russini and Adam Schefter
15hEric D. Williams
1dBy Dan Graziano