With underdogs like the Jags (pictured above) upsetting favorites, November has proven one of the worst months ever in the NFL for US bettors. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A bad time for NFL betting
Major upsets in the NFL have led veteran bookmakers to label November as one of the worst ever months for the American betting public, despite proving “unbelievable” for their sportsbooks, as reported by ESPN.
ESPN gambling-beat writer David Purdum shared news of US bettors’ nightmare month via Twitter on Monday:
Purdum’s opinion piece on Chalk outlined how, going into Monday Night Football, 23 NFL underdogs had their day this month, with prime-time odds-on favorites losing out on a week-to-week basis. BetMGM’s director of race and sports, Jeff Stoneback, said that while his sportsbook recorded some big wins, the sheer number of wins was “unbelievable […] percentage-wise.”
“I was shocked,” the veteran Las Vegas bookmaker with a 30-year-plus track record admitted.
Underdogs bite back
Monday’s Chalk article also featured a reaction from Station Casinos’ Chuck Esposito, another seasoned Las Vegas bookmaker, who highlighted the dramatic change from week to week in the NFL.
24 teams that are still fighting for playoff spots”
“Dominant teams earlier in the year have come down to earth, and dogs have been covering at a much higher clip,” Esposito explained. “There are 24 teams that are still fighting for playoff spots.”
Earlier this month, sports broadcaster and professional handicapper Tony George took to Twitter to share an interview in which Esposito said “the puppies were barking mighty loud” in November:
According to the head of trading for PointsBet, Jay Croucher, the season turned against bettors on Week 9. Speaking with ESPN, Croucher described the Jacksonville Jaguars’ upset of the Buffalo Bills as two-touchdown underdogs as “especially notable” for his sportsbook.
November saw serial losses for heavily backed favorites in primetime. The Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers both beat the Los Angeles Rams in back-to-back weeks. In the same vein, the Miami Dolphins completed a classic Thursday night underdog trick on the Baltimore Ravens, producing one of the biggest wins in November for sportsbooks.
As of Monday evening, underdogs have covered the spread for almost 60% of games in November.
Blowback from successful October
The US betting public enjoyed a red-hot October in the NFL, consigning sportsbooks to three losing Sundays in a row. However, as Purdum points out in his column, all that October did was “plump up bankrolls in time for a bookmakers’ Thanksgiving feast.”
Over the last 30 years, sportsbooks in Nevada have held an average of around 5.5% of the cash wagered. The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas is on track to hold around 6.25% this month. As the executive director of the SuperBook explained, November “looks like it will wind up being one of our best hold months in Nevada on record.”
The hold is what sportsbooks refer to as their net profit or loss on wagers. Essentially, it’s what they hold onto after the final tally. Shocking Sundays for NFL favorites in November have left sportsbooks holding high amounts of cash.
The American betting public can only hope that December will prove less of an underdog turkey shoot.