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David Purdum, ESPN Staff Writer 29d

London game produces mixed results for books

NFL

The Jacksonville Jaguars' impressive 44-7 rout of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London produced mixed results for bookmakers, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

William Hill and Ladbrokes, two of the U.K.'s oldest legal bookmakers, have seen conflicting trends on the NFL's international series.

"I think the novelty has worn off somewhat with the advent of multiple matches," Joe Crilly, spokesperson for William Hill U.K., told ESPN in an email. "Turnover on the U.K. games has been declining in recent years to the point where the international series is attracting about the same as a 6 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. kickoff."

Crilly estimated the total amount bet on Ravens-Jaguars was £350,000, while the most heavily bet Premier League match on Sunday could attract £2.5 million.

Overall, interest in betting on the NFL in the U.K. has grown, Crilly said.

"It continues to grow, just turnover on the U.K. games has dipped," Crilly said. "I expect turnover on the Super Bowl will increase again this year."

Ladbrokes said it's seen a steady increase in both the NFL games played in the U.K. and the league overall.

"On the whole, we're seeing a steady increase with every NFL game played at Wembley, which can only be good news for the sport," Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Apati told ESPN in an email.

The Ravens and Jaguars kicked off at 9 a.m. ET in the U.S. But despite the early start, the game generated more handle than several of the first set of games at multiple sportsbooks. At William Hill's Nevada sportsbook, only three games -- Denver-Buffalo, Miami-New York Jets and Pittsburgh-Chicago -- generated more betting action than Ravens-Jaguars. William Hill reported taking a $50,000 bet on the Jaguars +3.

Most Las Vegas books opened early for the start of the London game, which kicked off at 6 a.m. PT. The majority of the bets on the game were placed Friday at sportsbook operator CG Technology.

"The game is isolated and people know how early it started, so I think it sometimes makes people bet on something that they normally wouldn't," Ed Salmons, assistant manager at the Westgate SuperBook, said. "It might be a game that gets overlooked if it was placed among all the other early kicks."

Ravens-Jaguars was the first of four regular-season games to be played in London this year. The New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins will play this Sunday. The Saints are currently 3-point favorites.

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