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4 September 2015
By Gary Trask
ESPN programming came to a sudden halt. Twitter and Facebook exploded. New England Patriot fans rejoiced and the rest of the NFL let out a collective groan.
Early Thursday morning, the fate of quarterback Tom Brady for the upcoming NFL season was finally decided when it was announced the All-Pro quarterback's four-game "Deflategate" suspension would be overturned. The news reverberated well beyond NFL circles, most notably through sportsbooks in Las Vegas and offshore.
"When I got the call, the first thing that went through my mind was, 'Oh, shit,'" said BetOnline Sports Sportsbook Brand Manager Dave Mason a few hours after Thursday morning's chaos. "The next thing I had to do, of course, was ask where our numbers (on the Patriots) were and figure out pretty quickly what we wanted to do with them."
Before "Deflategate" threatened to sideline Brady, the Patriots opened a TD favorite in their Thursday night NFL season-opener at home against Pittsburgh. But on May 11, the NFL whacked Brady with a four-game suspension for allegedly playing a role in deflating game balls used in a 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship on Jan. 18. Brady, who went on to claim a third Super Bowl MVP in a pulsating victory over Seattle, is one of the few players in the NFL that can significantly sway a pointspread all by himself. So, after the suspension was announced, numbers on New England games and futures were adjusted dramatically.
The Pats fell from a 7-point favorite to as low as 2.5 in most spots. Nearly all books in Las Vegas took the game off the board over the last few weeks as everyone involved painstakingly waited a verdict from Judge Richard Berman. Some offshore outlets – including BetOnline – kept taking action on the game.
When judgement day came on Thursday sportsbooks immediately bumped the line back to 6 or 7. On air, Mason moved it to 6 and almost instantaneously got hit with sharp money on New England, forcing another move up to 7. On Friday, the consensus line was the Pats -7 with reduced juice (-105), with a spattering of 6.5s on the board.
Either way, there are likely more than a few astute bettors out there with tickets in their pockets that say Pittsburgh +7 and New England -2.5, an unsettling scenario for bookmakers since both wagers cash if the Pats win by anywhere between three and seven points.
"Yeah, this game a mess for us because there is one, big, juicy middle sitting out there right now," said Mason, who added that before Thursday 57% of tickets written on the game were Steelers money, but that number dropped to 53% by Thursday afternoon.
'Deflategate' verdict sends shockwaves through sportsbooks worldwide is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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