Two huge point-spread moves produced split results between bookmakers and bettors Sunday.
Both the public and the professional bettors fell in love with Dallas in the Cowboys' game at home against Washington, driving the line from where the Redskins were getting 6 points at midweek to where they were 9- to 10-point underdogs by kickoff.
In similar fashion, the wagering money loved the underdog New York Jets against Pittsburgh, shaving that line from Steelers minus-6 midweek to a 3-point spread by game time.
The Redskins foiled Cowboys backers getting inside the number in a 33-30 loss, pleasing the bookmakers, but the Jets rewarded their bettors' confidence.
"In a game like that Dallas-Washington game, the public is betting like they know the final score, and when the Cowboys were ahead, 21-7, they looked like geniuses," said Caesars Palace sports analyst Todd Fuhrman.
However, what the public may have missed is that although Dallas has been much improved under new head coach Jason Garrett and had covered five point spreads in a row, only once was it as a favorite.
In the case of the Jets-Steelers game, which underdog New York won outright, 22-17, Fuhrman said the opening line may have been "an overreaction" to the Jets' previous two weak performances in which they scored a total of nine points.
MGM Resorts director of sports and race book operations Jay Rood said the line movement was a reflection of the sharp money, meaning the pro bettors, figuring that the opening 6-point spread was just too high for what figured to be a low-scoring game under any circumstances. Plus, there was some public money reaction to injured Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles tendon, calf) sitting out the game.
"Polamalu has probably had the most impact in more games than any defensive player since Deion Sanders," Rood said.
Falcons soar in Vegas. It took a while but the public bettors have finally bought into the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons. Some bookmakers said it was just about impossible to attract money on Seattle in the Falcons-Seahawks game on Sunday. Atlanta, a 51/2-point favorite on the road, beat the Seahawks and the spread, 33-18. Atlanta is not only the top team in the NFC with a 12-2 record, but the Falcons are also one of the hottest teams against the spread, having covered in their last six games.