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Odds and Ends

Booking Packers-Niners: 'It's just madness'

by Sam Panayotovich
Updated On: November 5, 2020, 2:45 pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers were already decimated by injuries and this week they got hit extremely hard by COVID-19. The Niners closed their facility Wednesday and many wondered if tonight's game against the Green Bay Packers would even happen.

At this point in time, the game is still a go. But early this morning, I saw a tweet from Bay Area sports reporter Cam Inman. He chronicled just how dire the situation is for San Francisco. 

Bookmakers immediately scrambled for the second straight day to prepare for another onslaught of bets on the Packers laying points. My phone buzzed off the hook non-stop with messages like "Green Bay by a million" and "I've got to bet Green Bay, right?"

The Packers were 2.5-point favorites just days ago. Obviously, that number is long gone and has been for sometime. This is pandemic sports betting in a nutshell. Things change almost every single hour.

"It's been an experience," PointsBet Sportsbook senior sports analyst Andrew Mannino told NBC Sports. "We're learning every day about this process. We took the game down for a while yesterday and put it back up at Green Bay -6. The action was one-sided all the way up to Green Bay -7.5. We finally took some action back the other way at +7.5 on the Niners. It's just so hard to know who's playing for San Francisco and what they've got. It's been so much tougher than normal."

PointsBet is currently dealing Green Bay -7 with a total of 48.5. Their trading team already had to call multiple player prop audibles with key players out. Now they're recalibrating their numbers even more on the fly. Mannino said his shop is definitely rooting for San Francisco, but there is a worst-case scenario. 

The last thing sportsbooks want to see is a 7-point Packers win. If that happens, all the Green Bay spread bets from -2.5 to -6.5 would cash, but books would get middled with the bets on San Francisco +7.5. And think about all the moneyline bets, parlays and teasers with the Packers.

Odds are good that Mannino and company will be rooting for several things tonight during an isolated game impacted drastically by things out of their control.

"It's almost like when you're in a whole bunch of different fantasy football leagues and you need everybody to do something, but not too much because they help you in one league and hurt you somewhere else. It's just madness right now. We need a lot of things to go our way." 

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Sam Panayotovich

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst from the South Side of Chicago. He'll probably pick against your favorite team a lot. Follow him @spshoot