Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fumbles as he is tackled by Dallas Cowboys lineb ...

There were several valuable lessons to be learned by bettors on an NFL Sunday won by the sportsbooks.

One is that when a line doesn’t look right, it’s probably right on the money. That was certainly the case in the Cowboys-Vikings game.

Minnesota entered tied with Philadelphia for the league’s best record at 8-1 after beating Buffalo. But the Vikings closed as 2½-point home underdogs to Dallas, which was coming off a loss to the reeling Packers.

Oddsmakers obviously made the right team the favorite, as the Cowboys crushed Minnesota 40-3.

“That’s because the oddsmakers don’t just use records to post lines. We use power ratings to make lines,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “You’ve got to throw the records out the window, because the Vikings have been winning a lot of games by the skin of their teeth.”

Caesars Sportsbook vice president Craig Mucklow agreed.

“Statistically, the Vikings were one of the worst 8-1 teams in history,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for the Vikings to lose.”

Fortunately for bettors, they learned that lesson in a victory, as Dallas dealt books one of their largest losses. A BetMGM bettor won $300,000 on a straight bet on the Cowboys.

“The public could see through the smoke and mirrors,” Kornegay said.

Too good to be true

Another lesson learned is that when a line looks too good to be true, it usually is. The Giants-Lions game is a perfect case in point.

Bettors were all over New York, which was riding high at 7-2 and appeared to be easy money as 3-point home favorites over Detroit, which entered with a 3-6 mark and the NFL’s worst defense.

But the Lions opened up a 17-6 halftime lead and cruised to a 31-18 victory in one of the biggest losses of the day for bettors.

“You see it year after year. You can’t bet the records,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “If it was that easy, everybody would be doing a lot better.

“Some of the team’s records are not indicative of how good they are.”

Raiders of the lost

Unfortunately for Raiders bettors, the lesson appears to be don’t bet on or against them this season. After gamblers finally gave up on the Silver and Black following three straight losses (straight-up and ATS), the Raiders rallied for a 22-16 overtime win at Denver as 2½-point underdogs.

The Broncos, who blew an early 10-0 lead, were one of the biggest losses of the day for bettors, including one at BetMGM who wagered almost a half-million dollars on Denver -2½.

“Having the Raiders win outright was really good for our side of the counter,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The bettors had clearly left the Raiders.

“We were clearly Raiders fans in this one, maybe for the first time all year. I can’t remember when that was the case.”

Kornegay said the game was heavily bet at the Westgate, which was overflowing with Broncos money.

“Especially with the betting public. Most of them had the Broncos,” he said. “It’s been a while since we needed the Raiders. It’s a rare occurrence.”

Stuck in the middle

Bettors won big on the Bills (-7½, beat Browns 31-23) and Patriots (-3½, beat Jets 10-3).

In fact, bettors on both sides of the Buffalo-Cleveland game cashed tickets at the Westgate. The book took some major wagers on the Browns +8½ when the game was scheduled for Buffalo and took a lot of action on the Bills -7½ when the game was moved to Detroit.

“That was the worst-case scenario for us,” Kornegay said.

While some books refunded wagers when the game was moved, bets at the SuperBook were live no matter where it was played.

Bad beat for books

Gamblers also cashed in on a miracle cover by New England, which won on an 84-yard punt return by Marcus Jones with five seconds left.

The late score on the only touchdown of the game dealt the largest loss of the day to BetMGM, where a gambler won $300,000 on a straight bet on New England.

“That was a really bad beat from our side of the counter,” Esposito said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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