Notable bets: A rare bad beat and big betting interest on a No. 3 receiver
- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
The Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos featured the most popular player prop with bettors Sunday, but it wasn’t on Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson.
Instead, more money was bet on the over/under on Broncos’ No. 3 receiver Kendall Hinton than was bet on any other player prop offered by Caesars Sportsbook.
Hinton’s prop opened at 38.5 yards. The first five bets were on the under, driving the number down to 37.5. Money poured in on the over from there. The over on Hinton’s receiver yards attracted more than twice as many bets as any other player prop. Hinton finished with 38 yards receiving. The Chiefs-Broncos game also featured a bad beat the likes of which we’ve seen only seven times in the last 20 seasons.
The Chiefs, who were 9-point favorites, jumped out a 27-0 lead but had to hold on down the stretch in a 34-28 win. According to ESPN Stats and Information research, teams that have led by 27 points have gone 703-7-2 against the spread over the last 20 seasons.
It was a tough one to swallow for the betting public, who sided heavily with the favored Chiefs. Approximately 80% of the money bet on the game’s point spread at DraftKings was on Kansas City. It’s another brutal beat for bettors during what’s turning out to be an extremely lucrative season for the sportsbooks.
• The Minnesota Vikings began the week as small favorites over the Detroit Lions. But influential money came in on Detroit early in the week, transforming the Lions from home underdogs to favorites.
“Sharp bettors don’t think the Vikings are as good as their record,” said Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook.
The Lions delivered for the sharps with a 34-23 win over the Vikings, who are 10-3 but also have negative-1 point differential.
The Lions’ win produced the biggest win of the day for Caesars Sportsbook, as money that came in late from the betting public on the Vikings overwhelmed the early action on Detroit from the sharp bettors.
• The Philadelphia Eagles covering as 10.5-point favorites in a 48-22 rout of the New York Giants, as well as outright upset wins by underdogs Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, produced some of the other biggest wins for the sportsbooks.
The best games for the betting public included the Cincinnati Bengals covering in a 23-10 win over the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers covering the spread in a 35-7 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
• Eagles QB Jalen Hurts became the betting favorite to win NFL regular-season MVP on Sunday, overtaking Patrick Mahomes at Caesars Sportsbook. Hurts is -110, followed by Mahomes at +200 and Bengals QB Joe Burrow at +500.
• The Dallas Cowboys escaped what would’ve been one of the largest upsets point spread-wise in the last 40 seasons with a 27-23 comeback win over the Houston Texans. The Cowboys were favored by 17 points but needed a 98-yard in the final minutes to survive the Texans’ upset bid.
In 1995, Washington upset Dallas as 17.5-point underdogs in the largest upset in the last 40 seasons.
• Caesars Sportsbook reported nine NFL bets of six figures or greater this week:
$275,00 on Giants +7.5 vs Eagles (Loss)
$275,000 on Dolphins -3 vs. Chargers (Loss)
$220,000 on Texans +17.5 vs. Cowboys (Win)
$220,000 on under 52.5 Vikings-Lions (Loss)
$150,000 on Vikings +3.5 (-150) vs. Lions (Loss)
$115,000 on Chargers +3.5 (-115) vs. Dolphins (Win)
$110,000 on Cowboys -16 vs. Texans (Loss)
$110,000 on Bills -9 vs. Jets (Loss)
$110,000 on Vikings-Lions under 52.5 (Loss)
Pullen, who has been in the bookmaking business for more than 20 years, said they’re seeing more six-figure bets in recent years.
“They’re definitely more prevalent,” Pullen said of the six-figure bets.
College football notables
• Sixteen consecutive Army-Navy games had gone under the betting total, the longest such head-to-head streak since at least 2000. The teams averaged around 37 points per game during the streak, with the games staying under the total by 14.3 points. Saturday’s game seemed destined to extend the streak, until overtime snuck into the mix.
This year’s total closed at 32 at Caesars Sportsbook, the second lowest of the season behind only Iowa-Minnesota (31.5). Army and Navy managed only one offensive touchdown in regulation, but a late Army field goal sent the game into overtime, tied 10-10. Each team found the end zone in the first overtime, pushing the game over the total and ending the epic streak.
More money was bet on the Army-Navy total than was bet on the game’s point spread at Caesars Sportsbook, a rarity.
• USC quarterback Caleb Williams began the season around 7-1 to win the Heisman Trophy. His odds dropped to 14-1 after the Trojans lost to Utah in October, but emerged as the overwhelming favorite to win the award down the stretch of the season. He closed at -2,500 at Caesars Sportsbook.
• Notable bowl line movement at Circa Sports: [Opening line in parenthesis]
Miami, Ohio vs. UAB (-9), -11.5
Fresno State (-1) -3 vs. Washington State
Middle Tennessee State vs. San Diego State (-5) -7
Oklahoma State vs. Wisconsin (PK) -3
North Carolina vs. Oregon (-14) -10
Mississippi State (-2, 47.5) vs. Illinois
Purdue vs. LSU (-9) -11
Utah -3 vs. Penn State (PK)
World Cup notables
• $13,000 to win $52? It was worth it for one bettor at PointsBet, who placed a $13,000 wager on Argentina at (-25,000) when they were up 2-0 on the Netherlands in a quarterfinal matchup Friday. The bettor would have to endure an epic sweat, after Netherlands rallied in the second half to force extra time. Argentina would prevail in penalty kicks, and the bettor won a net $52.
• Brazil, the consensus favorites to win the World Cup, were eliminated by Croatia in the quarterfinals. More money was bet on Brazil to the win the tournament than on any other team at multiple sportsbooks.
• American sportsbooks weren’t sure what to expect regarding the betting interest on the first World Cup to take place in the fall. Some have been disappointed.
“Overall, the timing of the World Cup really hurt us, maybe even more than I expected,” John Murray of the SuperBook said. “It really hurts having these big games going up against football and college basketball. Give me a traditional summer World Cup from now on. It’s much better for business.”
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