Given the choice, I believe most bettors would take a blowout loss over a soul-crushing bad beat.
That was the only silver lining for gamblers who backed the Silver and Black on Sunday. The Raiders, who closed as 3½-point favorites at Atlanta, never led. They trailed 16-3 at halftime and were outscored 27-3 in the second half en route to a 43-6 beatdown by the Falcons.
The most lopsided loss of Jon Gruden’s second stint as Raiders coach was the largest win of the day for Las Vegas sportsbooks, which took a mountain of money on the city’s NFL franchise.
BetMGM bettors lost straight wagers of $200,000 and $110,000 on Raiders -3.
“Even if we didn’t have those two big wagers, it still would’ve been our biggest game of the day,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said.
South Point took sharp action on Atlanta but it was overwhelmed by public support on Las Vegas, which was the most popular pick in the Circa Sports Million II contest and the No. 2 consensus play in the Westgate SuperContest.
“The wiseguys bet the Falcons early in the week but they didn’t come back later for more,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “We needed the Falcons pretty good.”
The Raiders fell to 6-5 and are on the playoff bubble with five games left. The Raiders, who finished 1-5 last season after a 6-4 start, opened as an 8½-point favorite at the winless New York Jets (0-11) next week.
“I think this was kind of an aberration. It happens in the NFL,” Andrews said. “(Sunday’s game) just happened to be really bad for the Raiders. But I expect them to finish much stronger than they did last year.”
Big day for books
Hopefully it will be a December to remember for bettors, because it was definitely a November to forget. Books reported a “really good day” Sunday for the fourth time in five weeks.
That’s what happens when underdogs go 8-4 ATS with four outright upsets. The Patriots (+1, 20-17 over Cardinals), Titans (+3, 45-26 over Colts) and 49ers (+5½, 23-20 over Rams) also won as underdogs.
Another big win for the books was the Joe Burrow-less Bengals (+6½) notching a backdoor cover in a 19-17 loss to the Giants. Brandon Allen threw a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins with 2:33 left to get Cincinnati inside the number.
“I guess the only time you can bet on the NFC East is when they’re playing each other,” Stoneback said.
Books also won big on the Jaguars (+7½, 27-25 loss to Browns) and Panthers (+3, 28-27 loss to Vikings), who each covered in losses.
Cleveland bettors were starting to count their cash when, leading 27-19 late, the Browns sacked Jacksonville QB Mike Glennon on fourth and 10. But a penalty on Cleveland for lowering the head to initiate contact kept the drive alive. Four plays later, James Robinson scored on a 4-yard run to make it 27-25 for the dreaded backdoor cover with 2:14 left.
Cardinals backers were dealt a cruel twist of fate when Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard field goal try with 1:47 left that would’ve snapped a 17-17 tie. Instead, the Patriots won on Nick Folk’s 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Chiefs bettors were burned by a backdoor cover in Kansas City’s 27-24 victory at Tampa Bay (+3½), which trailed 17-0 after the first quarter and 27-10 after the third. Tom Brady threw TD passes to Mike Evans on the Bucs’ final two possessions to bail out Tampa backers and the books.
“The three was real good for us,” Andrews said. “We had a lot of people laying 3½ on the Chiefs and betting the money line on Tampa Bay.”
The Saints shot up from -6 to -17 after all Broncos QBs were ruled out because of COVID-19 exposure and Denver started undrafted rookie wideout Kendall Hinton. New Orleans covered the big number in a 31-3 win as Hinton completed 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards and two interceptions.
Green Bay (-7½) smoked Chicago 41-25 on Sunday night. But that was fine with BetMGM, where a bettor lost a $100,000 money-line bet on the Bears (+320).
The Bills (-4½) were one of the biggest winners for the public, which had to sweat out the final seconds of Buffalo’s sloppy 27-17 win over the Chargers. The Bills had three straight late turnovers and let Los Angeles convert a fourth-and-27 to set up a first-and-goal at the Buffalo 2 with 25 seconds left. But, thanks in large part to coach Anthony Lynn’s clock mismanagement, the Chargers didn’t score.
A BetMGM bettor won $100,000 on the Bills.
“If the Chargers had scored, that would’ve been a mid six-figure swing for us,” Stoneback said. “But we can’t complain.”