A week after sportsbook operators boasted about the biggest win of the season, the public struck back on Sunday in the AFC and NFC Championship games. Both favorites – Kansas City and San Francisco – covered the spread, and the over hit in both games. The public was on all of it.

Raheem Mostert
San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert was one of the stars on Sunday, rewarding gamblers with +1000 odds on having the most rushing yards of any player in the AFC or NFC Championship game. (Image: SF Gate)

Jay Kornegay, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook vice president, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that Sunday was a long day for his facility.

“It was the second-worst day of the football season,” Kornegay said. “Two popular favorites covering along with the overs is a recipe for a long day for a sportsbook operator. There were a lot of teasers, a lot of moneyline parlays, and the most popular parlay was the two favorites with the two overs. It was a good day for the betting public. But we’re OK with it. It happens.”

For many sportsbooks, it was the NFC Championship game that was the big loser. Gamblers were all over San Francisco, who opened as a 7-point favorite, and who were bet up to eight points at game time.

Public Scores Big on Championship Games

Scott Shelton, sportsbook manager at the Mirage, said before the game that 55 percent of the tickets written for the NFC Championship game were on the 49ers. The money wagered was 72 percent. Conversely, 60 percent of the tickets written for the AFC Championship game were on Kansas City, but 74 percent of the money was on the Titans.

CG Technology’s oddsmaker, Dave Sharapan, said that 70 percent of all tickets were on Kansas City, and 68 percent of the money.

At William Hill, the public was hammering the over. In the Kansas City-Tennessee contest, 70 percent of the money was on the over. It opened at 52 points, but slipped down to 51 at kickoff. The teams hit the over by eight points, 35-24.

The money was even bigger on the over/under for San Francisco-Green Bay at 72 percent. The line opened at 45, and was bet up to 47 at game time. The two teams creamed the over, covering by 10 points, 37-20.

Derrick Henry Lets Down Bettors

The public had been getting some value on prop bets from Tennessee running back Derrick Henry. For the first time in the playoffs, though, he failed to deliver. The fourth-year player only gained 69 yards, well below the over/under of 119.5 set by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Henry destroyed both New England and Baltimore, gaining 180 or more yards in both of those playoff games. Against Kansas City, though, he was mostly ineffective.

Big Day for Mostert Backers

The running back who had a huge game was San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert. He had 220 yards rushing against Green Bay, including four touchdowns. He joined Hall of Fame running backs Thurman Thomas and Emmitt Smith as the only backs to have at least three touchdowns and 150 or more yards in an AFC or NFC Championship game.

Those that bet on Mostert to have the most rushing yards also won big. Bovada had him as the third pick at +1000. At -300, Henry was the favorite to be the leading rusher on Sunday.

Stat of the Week

The Green Bay Packers were 0-6 coming into the NFC Championship when trailing by 20 or more points at halftime. They are now 0-7. Several sportsbooks took them off the live odds boards at halftime, though Draft Kings was offering 33/1 odds for a comeback.

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