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Week 17 sportsbook report: Public gets some revenge

By Ben Fawkes  (VSiN.com) 

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The 2020 NFL regular season is over, and it was quite the year for underdogs – and for sportsbooks. Nevada sportsbooks won a record $61.8 million in November 2020, and the public took it on the chin for many weeks as ‘dogs went 137-111-3 (55.2%), with five games closing at a pick ‘em. But in Week 17, the public got some revenge, as favorites went only 7-9 against the spread, but 14-2 straight-up. Overs also went 10-6 on Sunday, to finish at 126-152-2 on the season.

One of the biggest wins for the betting public was the controversial Washington Football Team’s 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Public and sharp bettors bet the spread up from Washington -2 early in the week all the way to the closing line of Washington -6.5, as information came out that the Eagles would be missing many starters. The Football Team didn’t cover the final number, but the vast majority of money (85% at William Hill sportsbooks) was on Washington at lower numbers.

“Moneyline parlays and teasers destroyed the book today,” Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook said. “We did very well on straight bets, but we were done before [the Sunday Night game started.”

Another game that hurt the books was the Green Bay Packers (-4.5) beating the Chicago Bears 35-16. It was the most-bet game on Sunday at PointsBet sportsbooks and worst result for the books, as 71% of bets and 78% of the spread money was on the Packers.

“Overall, it was a very average NFL Sunday for the book in Week 17,” PointsBet put out in a release. “PointsBet did have some decent wins, but those were mostly washed by some bad losses and a bunch of strong two-way action across spreads and totals to further level out the day.”

Bettors also won with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ (-7) 44-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens (-13.5) 38-3 blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Sportsbooks were also happy on Sunday that the New York Giants (+ 1.5) won outright 23-19 over the Dallas Cowboys. The win was good for books, but also knocked out a ton of liability on the Cowboys winning the NFC East.

“The Giants winning was big, not only for the game but it also knocked out all of that Dallas NFC East liability without having to worry about what Washington did Sunday night,” Borgata sportsbook director Thomas Gable told VSiN. “The Giants-Cowboys game was the most heavily bet game of the day here.”

One interesting big wager: A bettor had put $100,000 on the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South back on Nov. 19. He lost that wager when Tennessee Titans rookie kicker Sam Sloman made a game-winning 37-yard field goal that bounced off the right upright to give Tennessee a 41-38 win over the Houston Texans.

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