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Sharps waiting for crucial line move for Monday Night Football odds
By Jason Logan
Steve Mikkelson, sportsbook director for the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, will be in enemy territory tonight when his favorite team – the Detroit Lions – takes on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
Mikkelson’s book will be overrun by the infamous 12th Man, with Reno being a popular destination for football bettors from the Northwest. He opened this game at Seattle -9.5 and quickly jumped to -10 early in the week, with one-sided money on the Seahawks.
“We get a really good Seattle crowd, almost as good as the Niners,” Mikkelson, eluding to the San Francisco fans that come from northern California each and every week. “The last few years, that fan bases comes out. It’s probably our second biggest next to the 49ers – when they’re winning.”
Mikkelson said he wouldn’t be surprised if the spread went to Seattle -10.5 but did say that it if it did go that high, it wouldn’t be for long as sharps players would buy back the Lions. He could see this line closing at Detroit +9.5.
Across the state, in Las Vegas, action is a little different. Without the Seahawks faithful taking over the sportsbooks, bets have been relatively even for the Week 4 finale. According to Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology – which operates sportsbooks at The M, Venetian, and the Cosmopolitan – 52 percent of the money is on Detroit plus the points as of Monday afternoon.
“It’s actually been pretty quiet. We haven’t taken nearly as much on this game as previous Monday night games,” say Simbal, noting that some big upsets cost the public dearly Sunday afternoon. “It’s a big spread and sometimes that can scare people off.”
Simbal reveals that sharp money hasn’t shown up yet on this Monday showdown (“Literally, nothing from those guys”) and echoes what Mikkelson said about the line climbing to 10.5.
“They may be waiting for that, hoping they can take the 10.5,” he says. “If they wanted to take the 10 they would have done it already. It’s got to be 10.5 or nothing for them.”
At sportsbooks online, the early action has been on the Seahawks – even without star running back Marshawn Lynch, who was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Peter Childs, supervisor of risk management for Sportsbook, that Lynch is worth about half a point to the spread, but his customers are betting against the winless Lions rather than on the Seahawks.
“When he was downgraded to expected to miss, we actually only moved our line five cents, going from Seahawks -10 (-110) to Seahawks -10 (-105),” says Childs, who has taken 60 percent of total action on Seattle. “Again, we believe he’s worth half a point but no need to adjust it off his injury because our bettors really don’t care, or at least they’re betting like they don’t care.”
At fellow online shop SportsInteraction, they’ve seen even more public push on the defending NFC champs, with 72 percent of spread bets on the home side. According to Greg Sindall, who opened Seattle -9 and adjusted to -9.5, this spread isn’t done moving.
“If the action keeps coming in heavily on Seattle today, we could be at -10 by kickoff,” Sindall.
As for Monday’s total, it has remained steady around 43 points with a quick tick to 43.5 in Reno, where Mikkelson says that half point lasted only an hour. Like most Monday night games, the majority of money across the industry – online and in Nevada – is on the Over.
“Some people in the public may be hesitant to lay 10 points, so they’re looking at the total,” says Simbal, who reports 77 percent of money at CG Technology books is on the Over for tonight’s game. “It’s a pretty modest number – 43 – so a score of 27-20 or 24-20 is pretty easy and goes Over.”
Online, the same trend is there toward the Over and could see the number move as high as 44 points before kickoff. The Seahawks have played Under the total in their last four Monday night games while the Lions are 1-7 Over/Under in their last eight on the Monday Night Football stage.