Sportsbooks got buried tonight, with Alabama covering on top of the four NFL favorites all covering. I talked to some guys in the industry tonight and they said only the Bengals game saved the sportsbooks from a complete disaster. There was a late opinion on the Bengals, driving that number down from +4.5 to +3.5. The parlay cards were frozen at +4.5 so many guys used Cincinnati. Otherwise, the books were avalanched on Packers money after the news on Ponder, and the trend all week was Ravens money. Seattle took some action from -2.5 to -3.
Lots of parlays cashing tonight. The sportsbooks got hit with considerable Notre Dame money line action, which is typical of a name brand popular team in a championship game, but Alabama bettors gave the points. The sportsbooks needed Alabama to win but not cover. Once that didn't happen, they were forced to pay off the all-chalk tickets.
Here's a link indicating how bad it got late this season for sportsbooks, including the MGM forced to dip into emergency cash to pay off all the winning tickets:
"Kornegay also said that the books got killed on preseason over/under prop bets."
I noticed that last week, after looking at the opening lines and where they moved. Virtually every move was correct, and in several cases the number fell exactly wrong for the sportsbooks, like the Dolphins winning 7 when you could have played either under 7.5 or over 6.5, depending when you shopped. I had Cleveland under 6 but you could also have played over 4.5. In fact, one of my colleagues hedged some of his wager with 1/3 the amount on over 4.5, so he won both ways when it fell 5.
The sportsbooks no doubt be more conservative beginning next season, putting those numbers out later and not as prone to move the digits. Instead of moves from 7.5 to 6.5 they'll be more prone to stay at 7 and increase the juice on the under. Anything to avoid the dreaded middle. The NFL may be a copycat league but Las Vegas is a scared city, even if they are desperate to pretend otherwise and avoid that reputation. Win more than they prefer and they either chase you out or change the rules. When the Rams won the Super Bowl at 150/1 initial odds in 1999 that caused the industry to slash prices on longshots. Now even inept teams might open at 50/1 or 75/1. I have to laugh when I see those odds quoted. The Canes are a whopping 25/1 to win the BCS title game next season, according to Bovada. Anyone who takes that price, I'd like to book their action for the rest of my life.
Regarding Robert Griffin, he's always been horrendous at sensing pressure and avoiding contact. Shocking lack of instincts along those lines, given the speed and athletic ability. I can't stand the guy and it started early. As a freshman at Baylor all he had to do was sidestep a clod defender and make a simple pass to a wide open receiver for me to win a bet, a healthy bet. Instead, Griffin stood there and allowed the plodding mediocrity to hammer him. I couldn't believe what I was looking at. After his early knee trouble at Baylor, Griffin compensated by running sideways out of the pocket as soon as he sensed anything. Sometimes he sensed trouble that wasn't there. He'd literally turn his back to the line of scrimmage and dart sideways and a little bit backwards, setting up shop in a clear area. Initially he'd make nothing of those manipulated circumstances but during his final season it actually clicked, and smack from the opener, frustrating TCU. Long late improvised completions. I thought he'd regress to the mean as the season unfolded but it didn't happen. There's no denying Griffin's results the past two seasons has been beyond my expectation or wishes. He's had offenses nicely tailored for him, notably this season. We'll see where it goes.
I still handicap him as a phony, and plenty of familiar themes have surfaced along those lines. He goes out of his way to describe himself as a man. Not once, many times. He tweeted something about warriors and not many people being actually in the field of battle. It was deflection toward criticism. Inane defensive self-absorbed nonsense, the type of thing Lebron James would be crucified for. He felt threatened by the praise toward Kirk Cousins to the point he described himself as the "best option for the team" and "that's why I'm the starter." This was immediately following a playoff defeat, at home after a 14-0 lead. I'll go so far as to say Robert Griffin was quite pleased that Cousins flopped late in that playoff game, that he in fact silently rooted that way from the sidelines. Otherwise Cousins moves tighter in reputation, with whispers toward next season, given Griffin's health. Robert Griffin and his super hero socks can't have that type of thing.
So RGIII had a couple of partially torn ligaments in his knee, anyone else want to say he is faking now?