Monday Night Chaser: Chargers vs. Jags 

December, 5, 2011

Even for sports books managers, bookmakers to you and me, there comes a time to sweat. And late in the day Sunday, as the Packers-Giants came down to the wire, was that time.

Up to that point, it had been a bit of a roller coaster day for the sports books. They picked up some nice wins with the Bills, Bears, Falcons and Raiders, all of whom took a majority of bets, according to, and none of whom covered. But they lost on games such as the Ravens, Jets, Panthers and Broncos. The Colts helped them out by coming back against the Pats to cover that historic nearly three-touchdown spread, but the 49ers hurt them by easily covering the two-touchdown number against the Rams.

That left the Packers and Giants. And here's where the lesson in sports book economics comes into play. Bookmakers won't whine about a day in which they split sides with the public. As I've written before, it's the parlay cards that kill them. Casual bettors plunk down $10, $50, $100 or more on multiple teams to cover with the hopes of a big payout. These are cash cows for bookmakers because, as we know, it's not that easy to pick more than one game correctly.

Generally, the parlay card players like to play public teams and they like to play favorites. Sunday that meant Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the Jets. So for all the success books had throughout the day, it didn't matter. Because the teams all the squares liked on their parlay cards kept winning and covering. But the team they liked most was, as Scooch told me last week, the Packers. If they don't cover, it makes a book's day. If they do, the day is lost.

So imagine him and dozens of other sports book managers all over the world in their back offices, rooting desperately for Eli Manning to make that long drive at home when down eight to the Packers. And imagine their cheers when Eli hit Hakeem Nicks in the end zone with under a minute to play.

Now imagine this: A win like that means they care a lot less about how you do Monday. So chase away.

Matchup: San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars