Bills, Bears drawing respect from bettors

Posted July 12, 2012 @ 1:29 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Bills have not made the playoffs since 1999, but this little bit of trivia does not matter to those betting NFL season win totals at the Cantor Gaming sportsbooks in Nevada. A .500 record will do for the bulk of the bettors taking a stand on how many games Buffalo will win this season. 

In May, Cantor set the Bills’ victory total at seven. Gamblers could bet on Buffalo to win greater or fewer than seven games.

Color most Buffalo bettors optimists.

As of Wednesday, Buffalo’s win total had risen to 7½ — and Cantor had put a high vigorish of -190 on the Over, meaning that bettors have to risk $19 just to win $10 if they see Buffalo winning eight games or more.

In other words, Cantor, which manages seven Nevada sportsbooks, including those at The Venetian and The Cosmopolitan, probably wouldn’t mind an Under bet or two on the Bills.

“Whether it’s right or wrong, they think we underestimated Buffalo a little bit,” said Mike Colbert, Cantor’s vice president of race and sports risk management.

Colbert said that sharp bettors are high on the Bills, and it is their money that has driven the total upward, but they aren't the only team to have attracted the interest of the profesional set. The sharp money has also shown on the Bears, Colbert said, but it’s primarily been a flood of public money that’s driven Chicago’s win total from 8½ to 9.

Colbert said the betting on the Bears has been “nonstop” throughout the offseason, which has really shown up in their Super Bowl odds. Cantor, which opened the Bears 40-1, now has them 18-1 after writing “almost twice as many tickets on them to win the Super Bowl” as any other club, Colbert noted. 

Teams that don’t rate as highly with bettors are the Saints (10 wins), Giants (9½) and Broncos (9), Colbert said. Each club’s win total remained unchanged from the spring, but the vigorish on the Under for each club has increased. For example, betting the Saints to finish with less than 10 wins would have cost a bettor -105 when the wagering opened. Now, a bettor has to lay -165 to make that same bet.

An offseason of bad news for the Saints likely factors into the Under betting. For the Broncos, it’s a brutal schedule that’s a concern. Cantor “took a lot” of Broncos Under money early on, Colbert said.

For the Giants, it could be fears of a Super Bowl letdown, Colbert said.

“They’re probably on the right side of that one,” he said of Giants’ Under predictors.

If the Giants falter, it can’t hurt the Eagles, whose win total of 10 is the highest among the four NFC East teams. Colbert wasn’t buying the Eagles as a serious contender a season ago, but he liked what he saw from Andy Reid’s club late in the campaign. 

“We definitely think they’re strong,” Colbert said.

For the Over to cash, the Eagles will have to finish with an 11-5 mark or better for the seventh time in Reid’s tenure. The Eagles last won 11 games or more in 2009.

Bills backers — at least this capitalism-minded subset — will take 8-8, thank you very much. And they would take it knowing they had bucked recent history, what with Buffalo not reaching .500 since 2002.

2012 Cantor regular-season win totals

Only the Bills and Bears win totals have changed since Cantor Gaming opened betting on its win-total propositions in May, but the vigorish, or price attached to the bets, has changed for many teams. Below are updated win totals and vigorishes for all 32 teams as of July 11. The opening total is on the left, with the updated prices, where applicable, on the right. Changes are in bold.

Packers: 12 (Over: -125, Under -105)  / (+105 / -135)

Patriots: 12 (Over: -120, Under -110) / (-125 / -105)

Texans: 10 (Over: -140, Under: +110) / (-150 / +120)

Eagles: 10 (Over: -135, Under +105)  / Unchanged

Saints: 10 (Over: -125, Under -105) / (+135 / -165)

Steelers: 10 (Over: -125, Under: -105) / (+105 / -135)

49ers: 10 (Over: +105, Under: -135) / Unchanged

Ravens: 10 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (-115 / -115)

Broncos: 9½ (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (+150 / -180)

Giants: 9½ (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (+135 / -165)

Lions: 9½ (Over: +105, Under: -135) / (+135 / -165)

Chargers: 9 (Over: -130, Under: EVEN) / (+110 / -140)

Falcons: 9 (Over: +105, Under: -135) / (-145 / +115)

Bears: 8½ (Over: -135, Under: +105) / 9 wins (-125 / -105)

Cowboys: 8½ (Over: -125, Under: -105) / (-150 / +120)

Jets: 8½ (Over: -115, Under: -115) / (-135 / +105)

Chiefs: 8 (Over: -120, Under: -110) / Unchanged

Bengals: 7½ (Over: -130, Under: EVEN) / (-170 / +140)

Panthers: 7½ (Over: -115, Under: -115) / (-125 / -105)

Dolphins: 7½ (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (+130 / -160)

Titans: 7 (Over: -130, Under: EVEN) / (-150 / +120)

Bills: 7 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / 7½ wins (-190 / +160)

Cardinals: 7 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (+120 / -150)

Raiders: 7 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (-115 / -115)

Seahawks: 7 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (-145 / +115)

Redskins: 6½ (Over: EVEN, Under: -130) / (+115 / -145)

Rams: 6 (Over: -120, Under: -110) / (-105 / -125)

Buccaneers: 6 (Over: -110, Under: -120) / (-115 / -115)

Vikings: 6 (Over: EVEN, Under: -130) / (+105 / -135)

Browns: 5½ (Over: EVEN, Under: -130) / (+115 / -145)

Colts: 5½ (Over: +105, Under: -135) / (+140 / -170)

Jaguars: 5½ (Over: +105, Under: -135) / (+130 / -160)