It’s not that often that a winning or losing day by sports books would come down to one game. But that’s what happened this Sunday when seemingly every book was rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers to cover the 2.5-point spread against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football.
The fact that the Steelers not only covered, but won outright, 30-20, ensured another winning day for sportsbooks, which has been the prevailing script for the most part of the current NFL season.
It was a definitely a weird day with most books posting healthy returns in to early afternoon games only to see their winnings come crashing down to earth with the late afternoon games. When the dust had settled and all that remained was the Sunday Night Football game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, it was clear that the sportsbooks were nervously waving their Terrible Towels in the hopes that the Steelers would save them from a losing day.
Huge wins by the Dolphins (-2.5), the Vikings (+6.5), and the Rams (+6) all went the books’ way with the huge betting favorites – the Pats, the Eagles, and the Saints – all losing outright. But even then, the public scored huge on the 49ers’ beatdown of the Buccaneers, 33-14, as 5.5-point road favorites, to go with the Seahawks’ 23-0 shutout of the Giants as 7.5-point road faces.
But the biggest smack down came courtesy of the Jamaal Charles-led Kansas City Chiefs, who emphatically slammed the door shut on the overmatched Oakland Raiders as 6.5-point road favorites on its way to a 56-31 massacre for both the Raiders and the sports books.
Still and all, books were counting their blessings to be on the plus side of the ledger when all games were done. It wasn’t as good a week as they had in the past month or so, but a win is a win, close shave notwithstanding.