Following Clemson’s surprising upset over Alabama during last week’s College Football Playoff National Championship, oddsmakers focused on the NFL Playoffs to hopefully recoup some of their losses.
But the Wild Card and now Divisional rounds of pro football have also gone in favor of the betting public over the bookmakers.
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers, a 5.5-point underdog playing in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium, aka Jerry World, topped the Dallas Cowboys 34-31. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers called his 36-yard pass to Jared Cook to put them in field goal range with just seconds remaining a “Half Mary.”
For Nevada casinos taking bets on the game, the throw ate up revenues and paid out on Green Bay wagers. And unfortunately for the books, the nightcap also went the bettors’ way.
The Steelers never scored a touchdown in their 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, but had no problem continually getting into field goal range. Kicker Chris Boswell set an NFL Playoff record with six field goals, and the two-point win did more than enough to beat the line in Vegas where Pittsburgh was a two-point underdog.
“The public, they’re on a pretty good run right now,” Wynn sportsbook director John Avello told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Patriots Remain Favorites
New England took care of business on Saturday against Houston. Tom Brady’s team entered the Divisional round matchup as a nearly unprecedented 16-point favorite, but the books got it right, as the Patriots beat the Texans 34-16.
Coach Bill Belichick is the odds-on pick in Las Vegas to deliver the Patriots its fifth NFL championship since 2001.
The Westgate SuperBook line shows New England (5/4) to win Super Bowl LI. They’re followed by the Atlanta Falcons (13/5), Steelers (4/1), and Packers (4/1).
As for the AFC and NFC Championship games, the Falcons are four-point favorites over the Packers, while the Patriots are giving 5.5-points to the Steelers.
Cowboys Loss Bad for NFL
Plenty of NFL fans were hoping to see America’s team versus the team everyone loves to hate in the Super Bowl. The Patriots (14-2) and Cowboys (13-3) finished the regular season with the top two records, but the Packers’ upset eliminated Dallas from making that fantasy a reality.
“We had a ton of Packer moneylines and a ton of parlays on the cover,” Avello revealed. “It was not a good weekend overall.”
Super Bowl ticket prices are also paying a price for the Cowboys loss. The cheapest ticket on StubHub prior to this past weekend was nearly $4,200. Following the Dallas defeat, prices have dropped below $3,350.
The Cowboys haven’t made it to the Super Bowl in 21 years, and with the big game being played in Houston, speculation in Texas rampant. Vegas believes it will be the Patriots and Falcons playing on February 5, but if we learned anything these past few weeks, it’s that the unexpected should be expected.
Online sportsbook Bovada is offering picks on the exact matchup. Patriots vs. Falcons is the favorite at +125, followed by Patriots vs. Packers (+250), Steelers vs. Falcons (+375), and Steelers vs. Packers (+550).