LAS VEGAS -- Another NFL Sunday, another dollar (for the sports books).
Sunday's action brought its usual mix of nail-biting finishes and blowouts, but when it was all over favorites had gone 7-5-1 against the spread (7-5-2 ATS in Week 11 including the push in the Colts' 3-point win over the Titans on Thursday night) with the overs going 9-5. That combination would normally not be good for the books (because the public tends to bet favorites and overs), but they won most of the major decisions and the four games that hit the fave/over parlay didn't involve the most popular teams: Falcons-Buccaneers, Browns-Bengals, Cardinals-Jaguars and Vikings-Seahawks.
I like to use the LVH SuperContest as a barometer of where the betting market is on most games. It's a mix of sharps and squares and is pretty indicative of what games the books end up needing. The most selected teams by the SuperContest entrants were the Saints minus-3 (push against the SuperContest line), Chiefs plus-8 (loss), Jets plus-1 (loss after going off as the favorite) and Chargers minus-1.5 (loss) with the Patriots plus-2.5 going Monday night against the Panthers. That's 0-3-1 this week and drops the Top 5 Consensus Picks to 15-37-2 ATS (28.8 percent) on the season while the overall consensus went 5-7-2 ATS and is 64-92-4 ATS (41 percent).
Actually, the Saints' 23-20 win over the 49ers was one of the losers for the house as the game closed a consensus Saints minus-3.5 (and that's how it was graded in the accompanying chart below, with the Saints failing to cover and the 49ers improving to being tied for a league-best ATS record of 7-3), so they refunded all the action on the 3-point spread and lost vast majority of late bets when they went to 3.5.
The books made out like bandits when the Raiders upset the Texans 28-23. The line was Texans minus-7 until it was announced that QB Terrelle Pryor would be out for the Raiders and all the parlays and teasers that were already on the Texans increased even further as Houston was bet up to a consensus 10.5-point favorite. Even with having to pay off around plus-400 on the Raiders' money line, the books made out great on that result.
Another big winner for the books was the Giants, who opened as high as minus-6.5 against the Packers but closed at a consensus minus-3.5, as they won and covered 27-13. Home underdogs went 3-1 SU and ATS on Sunday (3-1-1 including Thursday night) but bettors didn't back the Bills, Steelers and Dolphins in their upsets of the Jets, Lions and Chargers, though they did have the covering Cardinals as the unpopular Jaguars were the lone home 'dog with an ATS loss.
Let's take a look at the other Week 11 gambling lessons and examine some early line moves for Week 12.