The first weekend of the NFL Playoffs brought drama and surprises. Wild Card games lived up to the name, as four teams advanced and four went home.
Overall the weekend was a success for bettors in New Jersey. Players went with underdogs mostly. All four dogs covered; three won outright.
Big bets for big games
Players online have begun to call out books in NJ for enforcing low wager limits, compared to what they enjoy in other states and on unregulated options. This weekend, there were more noteworthy six-figure bets made than in any other weekend so far.
William Hill got major action on games at their locations at Ocean Resort in AC and Monmouth Park. One player put $300K on the Ravens -3 at even money at Ocean, while another backed the LA Chargers getting the 3 (-120) for $120K at Monmouth Park. The Chargers covered and won to advance.
Dogs run the books
LA had the biggest handle at DraftKings Sportsbook in NJ this weekend. They took 62% of the spread bets and 64% of the money line bets at William Hill.
The weekend started with the AFC South rubber match between Houston and Indy. The line during the week wavered, leaning more towards the Colts, dropping to HOU -1.5 at kickoff at William Hill.
Eric Ebron opened scoring for the Colts, who drew over 28% of the TD bets at BetStars, most of any player in the contest. Indy covered as a slight betting favorite, both on the spread (53%) and the money line (54%).
Dallas got the biggest share of spread (76%) and money line bets (68%) of Wild Card teams at William Hill, despite Seattle selling more tickets in each category. Like many games this year, the price players got mattered. Dallas won by 2, pushing some tickets and making others who had them -2.5 absolutely lose their ish. They were the only favorite to win outright.
The final game was the wildest. Philly and Chicago battled 30 years after the Fog Bowl in near-pristine conditions. At William Hill, the Eagles were slight betting favorites. At SugarHouse, both online and in person, the local team got way more support.
The Eagles took the lead in the last two minutes and survived a last-second FG attempt to win 16-15. The bad beat convinced FanDuel Sportsbook to give Bears bettors their money back after the “bad beat”. Honestly, that botched call near halftime of the incompletion could have swung the decision and potentially the total so that was a prudent decision.