Sunday brought the biggest upset of the season so far, a slew of games with scores below expectations and a trio of $300,000 bets that failed. Indeed, it was a good day to be home.
Four NFL underdogs took the win early in Sunday’s slate, highlighted by the Pittsburgh Steelers toppling Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 9.5-point favorites. The Steelers hadn’t been such a big home underdog since 1970.
At Sportsbook PointsBet, 96% of dollars wagered on the in-game money line were on Tampa Bay, and at Caesars, the Buccaneers money line (-455) was included in more bets than any other bet.
“People thought it was a free bingo space,” said Adam Pullen, assistant trading manager for Caesars Sportsbook. “Throw him out there and he can’t lose.”
The Steelers won 20-18.
The New York Jets surprised Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers as 7.5-point underdogs in the third-biggest upset of the season. Sunday marked the 32nd time Brady and Rodgers had been favored by at least one touchdown in the same week. Sunday was the first time they both lost on the same day in this situation, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons also had outright upsets – and a bettor with DraftKings had the first four upsets on a $20 four-leg money line bet that paid 2,810 $.31.
“It was a very good [Sunday]“, said Johnny Avello, director of sports betting for DraftKings.
A Nevada bettor with Caesars Sportsbook placed three bets over $300,000:
• $390,000 on Jaguar +3 (-130)
• $330,000 on Buccaneers -8
• $330,000 on browns -2.5
All three lost for a total of $1.05 million.
“He’s pretty sharp,” Craig Mucklow, chief trading officer at Caesars, said of the big bettor. “We are moving the number considerably on his action. We respect his action. He went 2-0 on Saturday.”
• Nine of 13 games have been under this week. Going into Monday Night Football, 60% of games this season have gone under.
• The Buffalo Bills covered the spread (-2.5) in a 24-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the first time in Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ NFL career that he started a game as a home underdog.
• The biggest decision on the game for several sports bets, however, was on the over/under total (54). At PointsBet, 95% of the money bet on the Bills-Chiefs total was higher, making it the most lopsided bet on the total of the entire season for sportsbook.
• The Jets and Falcons are the only two teams that have been underdogs in each of their first six games.
The Falcons improved to 6-0 ATS with their 28-14 upset of the 49ers. Atlanta is the third team this decade to cover the spread for the first six games of the season, joining the 2021 Cowboys and 2018 Chiefs.
The Jets improved to 4-2 after upsetting the Packers on Sunday. The Jets are the second team in the Super Bowl era to have a six-game winning record despite being an underdog in every game, joining the Browns in 2001.
One of the first bets Caesars Sportsbook took in January after betting opened on this year’s Super Bowl was $5,000 on the Jets at odds of 200-1. If the Jets won the Super Bowl, the bet would net $1 million.
• “The Jets and the Steelers were our biggest wins,” said Andy Morrissey, trader for sports betting operator WynnBET. “However, our two biggest decisions were the Bengals and the Vikings, who didn’t go our way. The Bills and Chiefs surprisingly weren’t even the best game in terms of a handful this weekend for us. We’re going to cheer on the Cowboys in Sunday night’s game.”
The Eagles covered the 6.5-point spread in a 26-17 win over the Cowboys.
• More money has been wagered on the Cowboys-Eagles game at The Borgata sportsbook than on any other NFL game this season.
Mattress Mack has sports bets in a pickle
Caesars Sportsbook is considering multi-million dollar liability for the Houston Astros winning the World Series, but does not plan to take drastic measures to mitigate its exposure.
Liability stems primarily from a $3 million bet on the Astros to win the World Series at 10-1 that Caesars took in May from Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the owner of the Houston furniture store who regularly places giant bets to hedge the gift promotion risk he manages at Gallery Furniture.
This year, McIngvale offered customers who spent $3,000 double their money if the Astros won the World Series. To help minimize the risk, he placed around $10 million in bets on the Astros to win the World Series on multiple sportsbooks. The odds ranged from 10-1 to 5-1. He’s poised to make over $70 million if the Astros win it all.
Houston will face either the New York Yankees or the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees and Guardians will play Game 5 of their Divisional Series on Monday in New York. Once the match is fixed, Caesars Sportsbook does not plan to increase the odds of the Astros’ opponent for the purpose of encouraging betting.
“With that amount, there’s really nothing you can do to get rid of something like that,” Pullen told ESPN on Sunday. “If you try, you’re just going to make yourself a loser no matter who wins. Basically, we just have to sit back and hope.”
Mucklow, chief trading officer for Caesars, said they might consider trying to draw money on Astros’ AL Division Series opponent with alternate markets as the exact results of the series, but that they mostly planned to book the remainder of the MLB playoffs as they normally would. despite the great responsibility.
“If they win, they win; congratulations,” Mucklow said. “We were happy to take the bet when we offered it. If you didn’t want to be in that position, don’t take it.”
When asked if they thought there was a pickle because of Mattress Mack’s bet, Pullen replied, “Yeah, a big jar of pickles.”
The Astros are now favorites to win the World Series at +135.
College football notables
• The Underdogs went 34-11 ATS on Saturday, drawing 15 upsets. The 15 outright upsets tied Oct. 1 for the most outright one-day wins this season.
• More money was wagered on the Alabama-Tennessee game on Friday than on any other football game on the board, including Bills-Chiefs or Cowboys-Eagles, at Caesars Sportsbook. However, on Sunday the handle on Bills-Chiefs was more than double what was bet on Alabama-Tennessee.
The Volunteers beat Alabama 52-49 as 9-point underdogs in what was a big win for the betting public. Tennessee was a very popular public dog,” said John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. “It’s funny to finally have Alabama lose a game and we lose ourselves. Everyone was on the Flights and they were right.”
“We did well on Saturday,” Murray added. “We gave a lot back on the night. USC plus the points [vs. Utah] was a very public side, and we had a house player with a big parlay tied to Utah’s money line. It was not a good final score for us.”
Utah won but failed to cover the 3.5-point deficit in a 43-42 win over the Trojans.
• Mojo, a sports betting platform that allows customers to buy and sell shares of individual NFL career statistical performances, opened pricing on several college quarterbacks who are considered professional prospects. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker saw his stock rise more than 12% from $12.86 to $14.52 after leading the Volunteers to surprise No. 1 Alabama. Despite the loss, Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young remained the most expensive college player offered at $32.79.