Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama produced the biggest win of the college football season for sportsbooks, and Tyson Fury knocking out Deontay Wilder in a thrilling heavyweight title fight capped a lucrative Saturday for bookmakers.
Sunday was a different story.
“Today has been by far our worst Sunday of the season,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN on Sunday night.
Craig Mucklow of Caesars Sportsbook said his book lost seven figures on Sunday: “Not horrendous, but not great,” he wrote in a text message. “We can’t win ’em all. We would have no customers if we won every week.”
So, get out the tissues and prepare your sympathies, as we dissect how the sportsbooks took it on the chin in this week’s Notable Bets.
· Favorites went 10-4 straight-up and 8-6 against the spread Sunday. There were nine overs and five unders.
· Books got crushed on the Packers’ 25-22 overtime win over the Bengals. Here’s why: Professional bettors jumped on the Bengals when they opened as 3.5-point underdogs, eventually driving the line down to 2.5 by kickoff.
Meanwhile, the betting public loaded up on the Packers. At DraftKings, 87% of the money wagered on the spread was on Green Bay. At PointsBet, there were more bets on the Packers minus the points than there were on any other team. The action was lopsided on Green Bay everywhere.
So, when Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby, who missed three straight field goals earlier in the game, finally connected on a game-winner in overtime, the books lost all the bets to the professionals who took the Bengals +3.5 and also all the bets from the public on the Packers -2.5.
“We got middled,” said Jeff Stoneback, director of BetMGM sportsbooks in Nevada. “There was that earlier money on the Bengals, and then the public late today and yesterday was betting the Packers -2.5.”
“It’s been a strong Sunday for bettors, with Crosby, in particular, eventually, doing the public a favor and getting the Packers to cover -2.5, the most popular bet of the early slate,” said Jay Croucher, head of trading for sportsbook PointsBet.
“The Bengals outright could’ve really helped us limit the damage,” Murray of the SuperBook said.
· Caesars Sportsbook reported taking six bets of $500,000 more on Sunday games:
$600,000 on the Buccaneers -600 money line (Won)
$550,000 on the Buccaneers -550 money line (Won)
$500,000 on Eagles +3.5 (Won)
$500,000 on Broncos -1 (Lost)
$500,000 on Vikings -7.5 (Lost)
$500,000 on Bengals +3 (Push)
· “We had some house players [casino VIPs] post monster numbers this weekend,” Murray said.
· The Titans covering the spread in a 37-19 win over the Jaguars was the second-best game for the betting public.
· The three early games that attracted the most-lopsided point spread action (money wagered) at BetRivers sportsbooks were: Buccaneers, Titans and Packers. All three covered the closing spread.
· The point spread on Browns-Chargers opened as low as pick ’em. The Chargers closed as consensus 2.5-point favorites, and the line was very much in play in the final minutes, with the Browns leading 42-41.
With less than two minutes left, the Chargers were in position to drain the clock and potentially kick the winning field goal. Austin Ekeler chose to slide down after picking up a first down, instead of scoring a touchdown, on a run that set up the Chargers at the Cleveland 3-yard line with a 1:38 to play. The Chargers tried to take more time off the clock on the next play by handing off to Ekeler, but in an effort to get the ball back, the Browns held him up and pushed him into the end zone for a touchdown. Cleveland failed to score on their final possession, and the Chargers covered the spread in a 47-42 win.
· The betting on Bills-Chiefs was very balanced. Two hours before the primetime kickoff, Stoneback said MGM sportsbooks in Nevada had just 12 more bets on the Chiefs than the Bills.
College football notables
· Alabama closed as a 19-point favorite heading into its loss to Texas A&M, making it the second-largest upset in Nick Saban’s coaching career. The Crimson Tide were 24.5-point favorites in a loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
The Crimson Tide’s defeat was especially costly for a bettor at Caesars Sportsbook who placed a $569,738.60 three-team money-line parlay on Ohio State (-1,600), Cincinnati (-7,000) and Alabama (-1,000). The bet, which was the largest college football wager this season for Caesars, would have paid a net $105,656.
The Aggies’ upset led to seven-figure decisions in favor of the house at Caesars Sportsbook, according to Mucklow.
“Texas A&M [winning] outright was our biggest win of the college football season to date,” Murray said. “So many money-line parlays and even a lot of straight money-line bets on the Crimson Tide.”
“We won as much on the first half as we do on a very good result in any college game,” Stoneback of MGM said. “They just kept betting Alabama in the first half, which has been popular the last couple years. We probably won as much on the first half as we did on the game overall.”
· Updated odds to win the national championship via Caesars Sportsbook:
Ohio State 9-1
· Notable opening lines from Circa Sports, which posts the first weekly point spreads and totals in the U.S. at 11 a.m. PT on Sundays.
Auburn at Arkansas -4, 55.5
Ole Miss -4, 85.5 at Tennessee
Alabama -15, 52.5 at Mississippi State
TCU at Oklahoma -12, 66.5
BYU at Baylor -3, 49.5
Oklahoma State at Texas -6, 65.5
UCF at Cincinnati -16, 56.5
· “My updated line would be Georgia -3 over Alabama.” — Matt Metcalf, sportsbook director for Circa Sports.
What were the odds?
+950: Texas A&M’s odds at PointsBet to beat Alabama when the Aggies were down 38-31 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
+850: Oklahoma’s odds to beat Texas when trailing 41-23 late in the third quarter, according to PointsBet. The Sooners outscored the Longhorns 32-7 from that point for a dramatic comeback.
+155: Deontay Wilder’s odds to win Saturday’s heavyweight title bout after knocking down Tyson Fury twice in the fourth round, according to Circa Sports. Those were Wilder’s shortest odds of the fight, which generated significant live betting interest.
“This was one of our largest in-game [betting tallies] in terms of handle for combat sports we’ve ever had,” Circa Sports risk supervisor Nick Kalikas told ESPN. “Ended up being a decent night for us overall.”
-5,000: Fury’s live odds entering the 11th round at Circa Sports. Fury knocked out Wilder in the 11th round.
· The Fury-Wilder fight attracted more betting handle than every NFL game on Sunday. Three times as much money was bet on the fight than is bet on a non-primetime NFL game on average, according to Caesars.
· “We had great handle on the fight,” Murray of the SuperBook said. “We were flooded with Wilder bets all weekend (at +250, +240, +230) and did very well with Fury winning. It was a very positive result and an unbelievable fight. It’s awesome to see a great heavyweight boxing fight like that in Las Vegas.”
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen teams up with fans to sell retro high school sweatshirts
Before and after the Bills’ Week 4 win over the Houston Texans, Allen represented his high school, wearing a gray Firebaugh Eagles sweatshirt. Upon seeing photos of Allen’s look, Bills fans immediately wanted to know where they could get their own versions of the sweatshirt.
Based on the significant demand, the Bills worked with Firebaugh High School in Firebaugh, California, to sell the sweatshirts through the One Buffalo website. The school had no longer been making the “throwback” look prior to Allen’s fashion statement. The school’s athletic teams now use a logo that resembles the Philadelphia Eagles, not the one Allen was wearing.
All proceeds from the sale went toward supporting the high school, per Allen’s request. Thus far, hoodie sales have generated over $80,000 in donations for Firebaugh High School, ESPN confirmed. The hoodie is being sold for $40. Sweatshirts remain available for presale purchase until 5 p.m. ET Monday, per the high school.
😁 Please wait for this link 👍🏼 https://t.co/8NJTigELm1
— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) October 4, 2021
You wanted it, we got it.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) October 6, 2021
Firebaugh has a population of about 8,300 and is located west of Fresno, California. The school has around 650 students. It has not been announced yet what the proceeds will go toward specifically.
Bills fans have shown their support for Allen in various ways in the past. Last year, over $1 million was donated to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo in honor of Allen’s grandmother, Patricia, who passed away during the 2020 season.
The Bills are coming off a big win vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Allen completed 15 passes for 315 yards, averaging 21 yards per completion. That’s the most yards per completion by any quarterback in the last two years.
Dallas Cowboys’ offense puts up 515 yards, showing it’s always ‘in the strike zone’ – Dallas Cowboys Blog
ARLINGTON, Texas — Maybe the game’s outcome was already decided, since the Dallas Cowboys were leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter and the New York Giants were without quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay, but Dak Prescott still had a message.
The Cowboys had the ball at their 2-yard line with 12:22 left to play and were up 27-13.
“This is 98 yards,” the Cowboys quarterback told his offensive teammates in the huddle. “This is a challenge. … One play at a time. Focus in on your job. Be disciplined and we’ll look up and we’ll be in the end zone.”
On first down, running back Ezekiel Elliott picked up 10 yards. Two plays later, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had an 18-yard catch, but offensive tackle Terence Steele was penalized for unnecessary roughness after the gain. No problem. Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson completed a 22-yard pass to Noah Brown, missing an open Lamb for a potential touchdown on the trick play.
On third-and-1 from the Dallas 48, Wilson was on the receiving end of a Prescott throw for 35 yards. Two plays later, Elliott had a 13-yard touchdown run.
Ninety-eight yards on nine plays, chewing up 4 minutes, 48 seconds. Game really over. The Cowboys won 44-20.
Aside from the Steele penalty, the drive was the epitome of the Cowboys’ offensive dominance that has been on display this season and especially during their four-game winning streak.
“When we’re focused and when we’re all playing and doing our one job, that’s what we expect,” Prescott said, “and that’s why our standards are so high.”
In their past three games, the Cowboys have scored 121 points, their most in a three-game span since Weeks 15-17 in 2014 (124).
In their four-game winning streak, the Cowboys lead the NFL in rushing yards (804) and are second in yards per rush (5.54).
In his past three games, Prescott has 10 touchdown passes. Against the Giants, he had a 49-yard touchdown pass to Lamb and a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper. After missing on five passes in the first quarter, he missed on just five passes over the last three quarters.
Elliott had his second straight 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 110 yards on 21 carries. For the eighth time in his career he had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game. Running back Tony Pollard had 75 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving, marking the first time since 2019 both of the Cowboys’ backs topped 100 scrimmage yards in the same game.
“Correct me if wrong, this is our third week of running for 200 again,” Elliott said. “So, I think the O-line came out there and dominated and everything fell [into place] after that.”
Elliott is not wrong. It is also the first time in franchise history the Cowboys have had more than 200 yards rushing as a team in three straight games.
Against the Giants, the Cowboys put up 515 yards on offense, marking the first time since 1983 a Dallas offense had more than 200 yards rushing and 300 yards passing in the same game.
Whichever way an opposing defense wants to attempt to slow the Cowboys, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can counter. If defenses want to stack the box, Prescott can throw it all over the field. If the defenses choose to sit back in coverage, the Cowboys will run it effectively.
“Kellen has so much great stuff,” Prescott said, “and he knows when to call it.”
As good as it has been, the Cowboys have not been perfect. Two first-quarter turnovers by Prescott led to a slow start against the Giants. They also have not had receiver Michael Gallup (calf strain) or right tackle La’el Collins (suspension) since the season opener, so they feel like they have room to grow.
“It’s great to be on an offense this talented,” Lamb said. “We know you don’t always have to make the play or you don’t have to stretch yourself to make the play because you know your brother has your back. We have so many offensive weapons and we feel like we can score from any point. Any point on the field it’s like we’re in the strike zone.”
Even from 98 yards away.
Two-interception game caps memorable week for Philadelphia Eagles corner Darius Slay – Philadelphia Eagles Blog
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — During his news conference following Sunday’s come-from-behind 21-18 win over the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was asked about one of his key late-game runs. But Hurts had something else entirely on his mind, and directed the conversation to it.
“I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about how the defense played. How Darius Slay came out, added another munchkin to the bunch this week, came out here and got two picks,” he said.
That was a concise summary of a chaotic and memorable week for Slay. The cornerback’s wife gave birth to their son, Desmond Demetrius, on Thursday — the couple’s fifth child together. Understandably busy, Slay missed Thursday’s practice and wasn’t able to dedicate as much time to preparation as he normally would.
Desmond Demetrius slay is here❤️❤️❤️ another future king!!!🙏🏾
— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) October 7, 2021
All he did was come out and have his best game in an Eagles uniform. He intercepted quarterback Sam Darnold twice and limited the Panthers’ DJ Moore, one of the most productive wide receivers in the league, to five catches for 42 yards. It was the 30-year-old Slay’s first game with multiple interceptions since Week 15 of 2017.
“Shout out to my teammates because a lot of times I couldn’t go to practice,” he said. “I didn’t get any reps, just walking through, Zoom calls, my baby boy was born. Rod [Rodney McLeod], Ant [Anthony Harris], all the DB guys, I told them, ‘I’m going to need everyone today.’ I prepared as much as I could. I leaned on those guys. We cover each other. I appreciate them boys for having my back out there and putting me in position to make the plays that I made.”
Slay has been solid if unspectacular since the Eagles acquired him from the Detroit Lions in 2020 for third- and fifth-round picks, then signed him to a three-year, $50 million contract. He has frequently been asked to shadow the opposition’s top receiver and isn’t targeted as much as other corners, but had only one interception through 19 games with the Eagles. Quarterbacks had been completing 75% of their passes when throwing in his direction. On Sunday, he looked more like the shutdown corner he was in Detroit, earning him one of the better nicknames in the NFL.
“That’s ‘Big Play Slay,’ that’s what he do,” said rookie receiver DeVonta Smith. “He went out there and he made plays.”
Slay showed his value as a veteran leader as well. Following Smith’s third-quarter fumble, Slay went up to him on the sideline and told him, “S— happens, keep your head up”, “You’re a playmaker” and “We’re for you, as a team, as a unit.”
Smith finished with seven catches for 77 yards and a two-point conversion following the Eagles’ go-ahead touchdown.
“He said let it go,” Smith said, “and that’s what I did.”
The Eagles are now 2-3. It’s been a roller-coaster ride on both sides of the ball, with each unit taking turns dominating and being dominated. The defense is the more experienced unit of the two. If one unit is going to stabilize and become the more reliable partner, it’s the defense. As one of the secondary’s best players, Slay is key to making that happen.
There’s no rest for Papa Slay. Tom Brady and the Bucs come to town on Thursday night (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network).
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