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Record Betting -- And Losses?-- Could Hit Sports Books This Week


AP Photo/LM Otero

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Ty Montgomery (88) after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 34-31.

They are calling last weekend’s football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys an “instant classic.”

The game came down to a last second field goal. And it cost Las Vegas sports books plenty.

It could happen again this weekend. The Packers are one of the darlings of the NFL, so people bet on them. But they are underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons.

So if the Packers manage an upset, sports books lose – again.

Chuck Esposito, spots book director at Sunset Station, talked about how to gamble on the games – the over-under, the points, the money line – and how the sports books could be seeing the largest amount of money wagered ever.


Why did the Green Bay Packers win cost the sports books a lot of money?

Two reasons. First, it was just a phenomenal game. The atmosphere, the crowd, the electricity on the game was unbelievable. The Packers are a very public team. They were getting points in this game against the Cowboys. The public backed them heavily, plus the point spread and the money line.

The money line is to actually win the game. They were an underdog. So you were getting a favorable price.

And they played the over, which is the combined total of both teams. The game easily went over with a lot of points scored and with Green Bay in the over it was kind of a best case scenario for the bettors, which was unfortunately not the best case for our side of the counter.

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What does the point spread increasing mean in terms of how people are betting on the games?

The point spread is the ever equalizer. You might look at the game and say Team X is a little bit better than Team Y but are they better by a certain amount of points. That is what the point spread has become. Kind of as that handicapper or it balances it a little bit.

If you see a point spread increase or decrease usually it’s because of either an injury in the game that could have occurred or there is a tremendous amount of action on one of the two sides. That is kind of forcing that number to increase. We’re increasing the number at that point to hopefully draw some interest on the other team now getting more points.

The two playoff games this weekend are mini-Super Bowls for the sports books. How?

You’ve got four tremendous teams. You’ve got two tremendous matchups with a lot of offense. I think just by the fact that these are the two teams left playing.

Atlanta – the highest scoring team in the league.

New England – the best team in the league.

Pittsburgh – a very public team.   

Green Bay – a very public team.

Four very public quarterbacks. I think you have the potential for just a monster handle on this weekend’s pro-football championship games.

Will there be any prop bets?

I think there will be a lot more prop bets this weekend because of the matchups. If you look at Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, it is going to enable us to think outside the box. A lot more creative with these guys and the offense they have.

People have said that if the Patriots face off with the Packers for the Super Bowl the Sports Books will see a huge number of bets. Why?

You look at Green Bay and they are one of the more popular teams in the league. When you look at all sports, you’re going to have just five or six teams that are just the most popular. When you look at our sports books industry wide, you see more people walking around with Packer and Steeler and Patriot and Giant and Cowboy and Raider merchandise than anything else.

I think if you have the Packers in it, taking nothing away from Atlanta because I think they’ll be a very formable opponent if they’re playing Feb.5 against either Pittsburgh or New England and maybe can win it all, but if you’ve got Green Bay and Aaron Rogers and the history surrounding the Packers… against Pittsburgh or New England, I think you have the potential for a record handle legally here in the state of Nevada.


Chuck Esposito, sports book director, Sunset Station

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