Teasers Maul Bookmakers

Public rides a wave of teasers to divisional round mauling of bookmakers

By The Rex Factor

Four divisional playoff games, four home teams advancing to the conference finals. And four games that were close enough to the number to prove that the NFL is really tough for the bettors to beat over the course of an entire season.

Unfortunately for bookmakers with worldwide NFL business, the lines proved a bit TOO close for comfort this week to the final results.

Betting both sides in a 6-point teaser (which are mostly priced at minus-120 for a $100 bet these days) in all four games this weekend would have resulted in an 8-0 record. Most people tease the side of one game to the OVER or UNDER of the same game for entertainment purposes.

That was where the damage to the house was ultimately done – factoring in the totals to all of those games, and OVER/UNDER combo in all four games would have netted a 7-1 record.

The only teaser loser of the whole weekend was Seattle/Carolina finishing up 31-24, going way over the posted number of 42. But the other 15 teaser plays were all winners!

The weekend started innocuously enough, with New England beating Kansas City 27-20 as a six-point home favorite. The Chiefs were a public dog and many places actually needed the Pats to cover. Kansas City had a long drive to score a touchdown in the last 90 seconds of the game, and all four teasers covered comfortably thanks to that score, as the total was 44.5 in the game.

The Green Bay/Arizona game had enough swings in it to fill a small book or several-thousand word essay. In the end, the Cardinals closed as a seven-point favorite and a heavy public side. The Packers were indeed losing by seven (20-13) with seemingly impossible circumstances. Aaron Rodgers wiggled out of a 4th-and-20 from his own 5-yard line for a 60 yard pass to little-known Jeff Janus (one catch all year before this game). He then hit Janus again as the Cards blitzed seven on a 40-yard hail mary to tie the game at 20.

Arizona promptly scored a touchdown to end the game at the start of overtime (after having to win the coin toss twice), 26-20. The total was 49, so both teasers got there. Packer backers got the money and that was no small consolation to the books, considering all teasers on any of the eight sides Saturday. It also killed some parlay exposure to Arizona, though the shotguns were pointed squarely in the faces of the bookies with every open teaser from Saturday being alive going into Sunday.

Carolina took a 31-0 lead over Seattle in the first half and held on to beat the Seahawks, 31-24. The public largely backed the 15-1 Panthers as 2.5-point favorites and were rewarded, with the total easily flying over the closing number of 42.

In the nightcap, things went from bad to worse for the shops as Denver beat Pittsburgh 23-16. The closing line was 7 so anyone who did better than that by number shopping won, and the total fluctuated anywhere from 38.5 to 41, where it closed at most places. The game falling all over the number meant that any teaser bet open going into the Sunday late game was a winner.

I’ll have my thoughts in the coming days regarding playoff teasers, but results like these are ones that could likely have top bookmakers seriously considering a re-structure of the payout system going forward.
The Rex Factor knows that football playoff time is the best time of the year to be a bettor and a bookmaker alike. He’s been following the BCS and the NFL Playoffs since the 1990s.

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