After three weeks of struggling to get going, sportsbooks bounced back big in Week 13 of the NFL, thanks in large part to the San Diego Chargers and – gasp! – the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Chargers and the Jaguars were the big winners for the books over the weekend. It was especially sweet seeing both teams come back from huge deficits to win and cover in the late stages of their games. In addition to San Diego and Jacksonville, books also benefited from a trio of NFC South teams – the Tampa Bay Bucs, the New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Falcons – to score one of its biggest wins of the NFL season.
The Saints, Jags, and Chargers were great results for the books as all three teams did their part in burning a lot of the early-game parlays. Heading into the two late afternoon games, books weren’t particularly worried with the New England Patriots – Green Bay Packers game since action was pretty much evenly split on both sides. But it wasn’t the case with the Arizona Cardinals against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite some large sharp money on the Falcons, the betting public was heavily behind the Cards on the strength of their strong 8-3 ATS record this season.
Had Arizona won and covered, it would have offset the momentum generated by the early afternoon games, putting an even bigger premium on the Sunday night game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. But Matty Ice and company put all those fears to bed with an impressive 29-18 victory, ensuring that the books didn’t have a lot of carryover risk to worry about heading into the Broncos-Chiefs game.
All in all, favorites went 7-5 on Sunday, and a lot of the underdog wins ended up on the positive side for the books. Even the three Thursday games ended up with books winning two of the three games. The Detroit Lions-Chicago Bears game was the only one that went to the public.
While it was a generally positive day for sportsbooks, there were some games that ended heavily on the public’s side. The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and St. Louis Rams were all big public winners on account of the beatdowns they inflicted on the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders. But other than those three games, it was a decidedly positive Thanksgiving weekend for the books.