Football season has been a little bit of a grind for Las Vegas sportsbooks. They haven't been losing, but, they haven't been winning a lot of money, either. That changed over the weekend.
An underdog-charged Saturday in college football was followed by one of the best Sundays of the NFL season, thanks primarily to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins' 30-15 upset of the favored Pittsburgh Steelers produced the "largest win of any NFL game this year," a Caesars Palace sportsbook manager told ESPN on Sunday.
At the MGM sportsbook, the action was heavy and lopsided on the Steelers. For every one parlay that included the Dolphins, there were 15 with the Pittsburgh. And there were seven times as many straight bets on Pittsburgh as there were on Miami.
"It was a fairly square play for us," MGM vice president of race and sports Jay Rood said. "All the offsetting money on the Dolphins I'd categorize as sharp. We had four sharp plays that pretty much made up all the money that was on the Dolphins."
Eighty-one percent of the Pittsburgh-Miami point-spread bets were on the Steelers at William Hill's Nevada sportsbook, which also took a $16,000 money-line bet on the Steelers that would have netted $5,000. The book took no notable money-line bets on the Dolphins, according to director of marketing Michael Grodsky. The New England Patriots' 35-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals resulted in the books' biggest loss of the day, but it wasn't nearly as big of decision as Pittsburgh losing straight-up.
"The Steelers game was everything in the morning," Westgate SuperBook assistant manager Ed Salmons said. "They bet the Steelers a little bit harder than the Patriots."
Salmons said the respected bettors were on the Bengals, Dolphins, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams at +3 flat up to +3.5, Tennessee Titans -7 and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Overall, underdogs went 8-4-2 against the spread, including the San Diego Chargers' upset of the Denver Broncos on Thursday.
NFL odds & ends
The early line on this week's Patriots-Steelers game in Pittsburgh was pick 'em, heading into Sunday. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee against the Dolphins and has been ruled out against New England. The Westgate SuperBook reopened the line at Patriots -7.5.
A year after winning the NFC, the Carolina Panthers are off to a 1-5 start. The Panthers' season win total at William Hill was set at 10.5, with 80 percent of the bets on the over.
The Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off a bye, have covered the spread in 10 straight games, dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the NFL. The Vikings opened as 2.5-point road favorites over the Philadelphia Eagles this week.
Dolphins win produces 'biggest win of the year' for Vegas books