NFL teasers deal Vegas sportsbooks a huge loss

It was a rough weekend for Las Vegas sportsbooks. AP Photo/Britta Pedersen

Teasers did so much damage to Las Vegas sportsbooks this weekend that there were grumblings from beat-up bookmakers about eliminating the increasingly popular form of parlay bet.

A teaser is a form of a parlay wager with adjusted point spreads and totals. A bettor makes two or more selections and moves the point spread or over/under total, for example, six points. When final scores land within 12 points of the established point spread or total, teasers are trouble for the books. And that's exactly what happened over the weekend.

In the four divisional NFL playoff games, 15 of the possible 16 winning six-point teaser combinations hit (under on Seattle-Carolina was the exception). At sportsbook operator CG Technology, 88 percent of teaser bets placed on the four NFL divisional-round games cashed. It cost the book "mid-six figures," according to vice president Jason Simbal.

A Caesars sportsbook supervisor summed it up as "brutal."

"Payout, payout, payout on teasers," said Jeff Stoneback, assistant manager for MGM race and sports, about the run of teasers.

All eight teaser sides hit from the two Saturday games hit, capped by the Arizona Cardinals' 26-20 overtime win over the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' last-second Hail Mary forced overtime, allowing the over on teasers to hit with the Cardinals' winning touchdown. The liability continued to build and turned the Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos game into a "make-a-break" decision for MGM. Denver ended up winning by seven, pushing some point-spread wagers, but cashing both sides of teaser bets and taking a chunk out of the books' bottom line.

The Cardinals' dramatic win was extra special to a bettor in Lake Tahoe. The William Hill sportsbook at Grand Lodge Casino accepted a $132,000 money-line bet on Arizona at -330 to beat the Packers straight-up, according to director of marketing Michael Grodsky. The bettor won $40,000 when Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald scored the winning touchdown in overtime on the Cardinals' first drive.

Odds and ends

- Respected poker pro Aaron Jones won $5 million Sunday, the largest single prize ever awarded in fantasy sports, when he came from behind to win DraftKings' World Fantasy Football Championship in Los Angeles. Jones (screenname: aejones), trailed renowned the DFS pro known as Condia by 49 points heading into the division round of the NFL playoffs. Jones rallied behind a big performance from Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. Condia faltered after Green Bay wide receiver Randall Cobb left Saturday's game against the Cardinals in the first quarter.

The total prize pool for the contest was $15 million.

- Notable Super Bowl 50 futures bets at William Hill:

$30,000 on the Broncos at 14-1, placed Aug. 18; would win $420,000.
$20,000 on Cardinals at 18-1, placed Oct. 6; would win $360,000.
$100,000 on Patriots at 7-2, placed July 2; would win $350,000.
$9,100 on Panthers at 4-1, placed Dec. 17; would win $36,400.

- Opening lines for AFC and NFC title games are available here

- The Westgate SuperBook will launch a mobile sports betting app Tuesday with a full menu of betting options. The Wynn race and sportsbook also announced last week that a mobile app was on the way, and MGM is working on one as well. William Hill, CG Technology, Boyd Gaming and the South Point sportsbook are among the books already offering mobile wagering, which is considered to be the biggest catalyst to Nevada's growing sports betting industry. The state's regulated sportsbooks have enjoyed record handle and record win in back-to-back years, according to gaming control statistics.