Who are the wiseguys betting when the Cowboys come to Washington Monday night?
By Jason Logan
The Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on the Monday night stage in Week 13, in a NFC East showdown that holds playoff implications for the worst division in football.
Dallas, despite a 3-8 start, still has postseason hopes while Washington can grab sole possession of first place with a win at home, where it’s gone 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS this season. Oddsmakers opened with the Redskins set as big as 4-point favorites and depending on where you’re betting, the market has swung in different directions.
Online, at Sportsbook, they opened Washington at -3.5 and took a barrage of early action on the home side. That money kept mounting throughout the week, pushing the spread to -4 and eventually -4.5, with 65 percent of the early money on Washington. At that point, wiseguys saw value with the visitors and bet the Cowboys down to +4, but they weren’t done with this game just yet.
“This morning we booked sharp action on the dog, so we adjusted again toward the Cowboys and went to +3.5, but we booked even more sharp action at +3.5 and it was sharp enough action that we went down to the key number of three,” Peter Childs, supervisor of risk management for Sportsbook. “At -3 it’s been all Redskins money but instead of going back to -3.5 and added 10 cents juice to the Redskins, going -3 (-120) and that is our current number.
“Essentially this game we have the sharps on the Cowboys and the public on the Redskins, and we’ll go into tonight’s game needing the Cowboys for a decent decision,” adds Childs. “Nearly 70 percent of the action is now on the Redskins but again with the sharp action supporting the dog, we’re fine with our current position.”
In Las Vegas, the early money was on Dallas from the get-go, according to CG Technology, which operates sportsbooks at the Venetian, Hard Rock, and Cosmopolitan, among others. That cut their opening spread of Washington +4 to +3, where it’s stood since Thursday.
“The move was pretty gradual,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology. “There’s not a ton of action yet, with about 73 percent of the handle on the Cowboys right now. Most of the money has been on the Cowboys and the smart bettors haven’t really weighed in on it yet.”
Simbal says this move against the Redskins, especially with the public involved, has been the recent trend for Washington games, who can’t seem to win over the betting public despite their strong play at home and the fact they’ve gone 3-2 SU in their last five games, showing far greater consistency than any of their NFC East rivals.
“It’s so strange. The Redskins are in first place and the betting public doesn’t seem to trust them,” says Simbal, also noting that Dallas is one of the most publicly-backed teams in the NFL. “The Redskins win and it doesn’t seem to matter in the eyes of the public.”
As for Monday’s total, most sportsbooks opened this game around 42 points, which is where many books still stand. According to Simbal, CG Technology has taken a few bets on the Under but see this as a game in which the sharps will likely stay away from the Over/Under while the public plays the Over, like they do for most primetime games.
At Sportsbook, it’s been all action on the Over since opening at 42. That forced moves to 42.5 and 43, with no sign of sharp bettors having an opinion on this number. According to Childs, nearly 90 percent of the handle on the total is riding on the Over.
“Unless we see some sharp under money, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to 43.5 relatively soon and close 44,” Childs says.
Dallas is 0-5 ATS in its last five appearances on Monday Night Football while Washington is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 Monday nighters. The Cowboys are just 2-8 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these NFC East foes, with the Under going 4-1 in their last five matchups.