A week after Las Vegas sportsbooks had their best Sunday of the NFL season, they suffered their worst.
“We lost four of our top five decisions. That pretty much decided the day for us,” said Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay, whose book took a six-figure hit.
Three of four popular favorites in the afternoon games covered the spread and went over the total. The Buccaneers (-4) ripped the Raiders 45-20, the Chiefs (-7) blew out the Broncos 43-16 and the Chargers (-7½) beat the Jaguars 39-29.
The only team bettors lost on in the afternoon was the Patriots (-3), who entered their home game against the 49ers riding a 49-24-1 cover streak after a loss under Bill Belichick. But New England didn’t bounce back this time, suffering the worst home loss in Belichick’s 21-year tenure as coach in a 33-6 beatdown by San Francisco.
“Obviously, the Patriots are not the same with Cam Newton back there,” Kornegay said.
Newton threw three interceptions for New England (2-4), which has thrown the most picks in the league with 11 and the fewest touchdown passes with three.
Meanwhile, former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown 18 TD passes and four interceptions for Tampa Bay (5-2). He was in classic form against the Raiders, completing 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four TDs, one to Rob Gronkowski for the second straight game.
Super Bowl contenders
“Right now, you can make a case that Brady and the Bucs are the best team in the NFC,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Seattle might have something to say about that, but the Bucs play so much better defense. Brady looked like the G.O.A.T.
“The Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers all look really good in the AFC, and right after that you can throw the Bills and Titans in the mix. But in the NFC, it’s kind of the Bucs and Seahawks. Then the Packers and Bears are a tick below that right now.”
The Packers were another big winner for bettors, cruising to a cover as 3-point favorites over the Texans in a 35-20 win.
“The teams that I think have decent quarterback play and are very physical are the teams I believe are going to start to separate themselves from the pack,” Kornegay said. “I think that’s the Steelers, Titans, Buccaneers and Packers.
“I worry about the Seahawks. Their defense is so terrible, I’m not sure if they can keep up with the others.”
In a battle of unbeatens, Pittsburgh jumped to a 27-7 lead over Tennessee before holding on for a 27-24 win and cover as a 1-point underdog when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal try with 19 seconds left.
“That was another game that gave me a couple ulcers,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said. “(Sunday) has been like a roller-coaster ride, with some of these games going down to the last minute. It was a very hectic day. I don’t know if my heart can stand this.”
A major casino player at MGM placed a flurry of six-figure bets Saturday and Sunday on football and World Series games that totaled well over $1 million. Stoneback said BetMGM in Las Vegas took at least 20 six-figure bets Saturday and at least 12 more Sunday.
The major bettor wagered on the first quarter, first half, second half, game and total on several games, losing on the Titans and winning on Washington, the Chargers and Lions.
“Some of our second-half decisions are larger than the games themselves,” Stoneback said.
Detroit (+1) beat Atlanta 23-22 when Matthew Stafford hit T.J. Hockenson with an 11-yard TD pass as time expired. The Falcons had a chance to run out the clock and kick a game-winning field goal, but running back Todd Gurley stumbled into the end zone when he was trying to go down short of the goal line.
“That game was a killer for us,” Stoneback said. “That TD was close to a seven-figure swing.”
Bad and bad
Bettors who took the Browns at -3½ or -4 were dealt a bad beat. Cleveland scored a TD with 11 seconds left to go up 37-34 on Cincinnati, but then missed the extra point.
The Jets (0-7) remain the league’s only winless team after an 18-10 loss to the Bills. But New York (1-6 ATS) got its first cover, as a 10-point underdog.
The Cowboys (0-7 ATS) still haven’t covered after a 25-3 loss at Washington as 1-point underdogs.
“I just feel like Jerry Jones is going to explode at any minute,” Kornegay said. “He’s got to be burning up inside.”
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.