Sportsbooks Struggled to Cope with Mid-pandemic NFL Season

Bookmakers have had to react promptly to pandemic-induced changes in 2020 in order to stay competitive in light of a fairly unpredictable season.

Adjusting to Ever-Changing Circumstances Proves Difficult for Betting Shops

With 2020 full of chaos and unpredictability, the betting industry like any other had no idea how to prepare or handle the situation. Sportsbooks were no different and they did not have it easy. The situation is complicated as a sportsbook cannot deviate from the market point total too much as savvy bettors would absolutely smash it with bets on slightly lower points.

WynnBET senior trading manager Alan Berg commented in an interview with FOX Sports, explaining the difficulties betting firms faced.

 “When you’re making the numbers, you have your trading team’s opinion, and then you have what the markets are telling you. Any good bookmaker knows you can only be so far off the market, or you’re going to get crushed. That’s the reality.” 

WynnBet senior trading manager Alan Berg

“Overall, I think you kind of have to treat [2020] as its own thing,” Berg concluded. He went on to add that books might provisionally note some things down but will quickly have to make changes if required.

Berg was quickly moved in a position to manage all WynnBet sportsbooks outside of Nevada, besides Caesars Casino & Sportsbook. He had to set up an entire team mid-pandemic and react promptly to changes. This provided him with a unique vantage point on the betting market.

Unforseen Match Scores Have Sportsbooks Struggling to Keep Pace

Berg has recalled having to adjust the numbers quite a lot during the first few weeks of the season because the expected home-field score wasn’t there.

Usually, defenses play very well at home but with this year’s pandemic forcing out the underdog players, teams couldn’t leverage that benefit. NFL underdogs were 150-116-3 (56%) this season, factoring in the playoffs.

Sportsbooks reacted to this unexpected turn of events by increasing their point totals in October. There were three totals in the “50s” in Week 6 and four in the “50s” in Week 7. Surprisingly, the least favored teams went 5-2 in those seven games.

Cleveland Browns played significantly better this season having changed their head coach.

Berg is still trying to comprehend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ unexpected win of the Super Bowl with 43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady while his personal favorites – The Chicago Bears – beat the Bucks with a single point.

“I’m still not believing it all,” Berg stated. “Sometimes, Tom Brady has this voodoo where everything just seems to work out for him. It’s incredible.”

WynnBet senior trading manager Alan Berg

Along with the Chiefs’ loss of their left tackle for the season all these developments are pretty wild to have been predicted by sportsbooks.

A Quick Read of Next NFL Season

Berg also added that he has high hopes for whoever snatches Deshaun Watson from Houston as he’s got “the cannon arm”, “the winner genes” and the extra element of keeping the game alive. If the Jets take him, with their young roster, they would instantly become a strong contender for next season.

The same goes for San Francisco, with Watson’s input and the team’s solid defense, they would be a force to be reckoned with. WynnBET is prepared that the upcoming season could end wildly different than expected but sportsbook will have to learn on the go, make adjustments where necessary and push forward.

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