David Purdum - ESPN
Three NFL underdogs pulled off outright upsets in Sunday's late games, turning another ho-hum winning day into a monster day for Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The Atlanta Falcons beating the Oakland Raiders 35-28 and the St. Louis Rams upending the Seattle Seahawks locked up a winning day for several sportsbooks. The Minnesota Vikings added to the books' haul with a 17-14 upset of the Green Bay Packers in the prime-time game.
Jason Simbal, vice president of race and sports for CG Technology, said the Falcons' win over the Raiders produced his book's biggest win, heading into the night game. CG Technology took a "mid-to-high" five-figure money-line bet on the Raiders to beat the Falcons straight-up and another five-figure bet in the same range on Oakland -4.
"We're looking at a winning day no matter what," Simbal said right before kickoff of the prime-time game. "But it'll be a huge day if the Vikings get there."
Caesars Palace, MGM Resorts, Station's Casino and the Westgate SuperBook also said their days hinged on the late game. And they all needed the Vikings.
MGM reported taking a six-figure money-line bet on the Packers. Caesars Palace had six times as many bets on Green Bay as Minnesota leading up to kickoff. And at the Westgate, nearly four times as much money had been bet on the Packers than the Vikings.
"Saturday was good, not great," William Hill director of trader Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN. "Sunday was very good, close to great. All in all, a very good start for the books. Knock on wood."
Patriots home underdogs
The New England Patriots, the consensus Super Bowl LI favorites, are underdogs for the second time in three weeks.
The Patriots opened as 2.5-point home underdogs against the Houston Texans on Thursday in a battle of 2-0 teams at Gillette Stadium. It's the third time New England been a home underdog since 2006.
With quarterback Tom Brady suspended and backup Jimmy Garoppolo injured, rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett could start against the Texans. New England had been listed as a 3.5-point favorites over Houston prior to Garoppolo's injury, but now begin the week as underdogs.
Dating back to Brady's first start in 2001, the Patriots have won seven of their past nine games outright as home underdogs. They are 8-1 against the spread in those games.
Garoppolo injured his right throwing shoulder in the second quarter of Sunday's home win over the Miami Dolphins. According to ESPN sources and multiple media reports, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint and will be assessed on Monday. Brissett replaced Garoppolo against Miami and completed 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards in the Patriots' 31-24 victory.
Garoppolo has been impressive in his two starts this season. He threw three touchdown passes without an interception in two and half quarters against the Dolphins, before being injured.
Westgate SuperBook football oddsmaker Ed Salmons said the difference between Brady and Garroppolo to the point spread could be as low as "3-4" points.
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