Notable bets is a regular Monday roundup of wagers — some sharper than others — made recently at sportsbooks across the nation.
On an NFL Sunday highlighted by a primetime showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, the biggest decision for several Las Vegas sportsbooks, of course, came down to the arm of Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler’s performance, the back-and-forth thriller in New England and some more wild bets on the Golden State Warriors — see: $20,000 to win $4,444 on a preseason game — all make appearances in this week’s edition of the notable bets.
• Multiple six-figure bets on the Chicago Bears, both on the point spread and on the moneyline, came in midweek at MGM sportsbooks. “There wasn’t much money on the Dolphins at all,” said MGM sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said.
• At William Hill’s U.S. sportsbooks, Bears-Dolphins was the most-heavily bet of the early kickoffs Sunday, attracting nearly twice the amount of money wagered as any other game at that point in the day. Eighty-five percent of the money wagered was on the Bears. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the lopsided action on Chicago included a $100,000 bet on the Bears and a $100,000 two-team parlay on the Bears and Los Angeles Rams.
• The Bears entered the week as 3-point favorites. The line began to grow, after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was listed on the injury report on Wednesday and Thursday as a full participant in practice. It grew to Chicago -3.5 on Thursday, and, after Tannehill was limited in Friday’s practice, climbed to -4.5 heading into Sunday. Speculation that Tannehill may be out was bubbling Sunday morning, and the Dolphins did not officially rule him out until just hours prior to kickoff. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler started in place on Tannehill, and the betting public piled on the Bears, who closed as 7-point favorites. Osweiler passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns, and the Dolphins beat the Bears 31-28 in overtime.
• “Big key to the day was the Dolphins winning,” South Point sportsbook manager Tim Fitzgerald wrote in an email.
• “Dolphins, Cowboys and that back door that swung open for the Broncos definitely helped and were the best games for the book,” Station Casino sportsbook director Chuck Esposito wrote in an email. “The players did extremely well on the Steelers and Falcons.”
The Cowboys routed the favored Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7. The Broncos, who were 7-point underdogs, scored a touchdown with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter to cover the spread in a 23-20 loss to the Rams.
• “Basically, our whole morning came down to the last 30 seconds of the Bucs-Falcons game and the Steelers-Bengals game,” Salmons said late Sunday afternoon. “We needed the Bengals and the Falcons.”
The Steelers scored the go-ahead touchdown with 10 seconds to play to cover the spread in a 28-21 win over the Bengals. The Falcons, who were 3-point favorites, were leading Tampa Bay by two with 1:10 left. Facing a fourth-and-2 at the Buccaneers’ 39-yard line, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn elected to let kicker Matt Bryant attempt a 57-yard field goal. Bryant was true, and the Falcons held on to cover the spread in a 34-29 win. “[The Falcons] kicking a 57-yard field goal screwed us so bad. So we’re down a little,” Salmons added.
• Sunday morning direct message from Caesars Palace bookmaker: “According to bettors at Caesars Entertainment, the Colts have won this game [against the Jets] 63-0.” Bettors were loading up Indianapolis; the Jets beat the Colts 42-34. “The Jets ended up being our biggest single game win,” the bookmaker said in an email Sunday night. “The day went quite well.”
• The Golden Nugget sportsbook in Atlantic City said the NFL accounted for 62 percent of its betting handle on football over the weekend, with college football representing 38 percent of the amount wagered.
• The sportsbooks at MGM, South Point, Station Casinos and the Westgate SuperBook each reported needing the Chiefs to cover the 4-point spread against the Patriots in the night game.
• Chiefs-Patriots was “by far” the most-heavily bet game of the day for the SuperBook. “There’s just so much two-way action on it,” SuperBook head football oddsmaker Ed Salmons said. “At one point, we were going to need the Patriots for a decent amount; then, we had one of our house guys (a VIP hotel guest) make a big bet on New England, and kind washed that out.”
• New England quarterback Tom Brady was favored in his 56th consecutive start, a record for a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
• The money wagered on the Chiefs and the Patriots at Caesars Palace books was “essentially dead even.” “We need the under,” a Caesars bookmaker wrote in an email.
• The over/under on Chiefs-Patriots closed at 59.5, making it third-highest total since 1986, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Patriots won 43-40.
• A bettor, nicknamed the “Duffel Bag Bettor” by Las Vegas media for his knack of carrying around cash in a duffel bag, has been placing big bets at sportsbooks on college football throughout the season. He was in play again Saturday.
William Hill U.S. director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told Covers.com that he took a $100,000 bet on Army -15 over San Jose State from the bettor. MGM and South Point also reported taking large bets on Army from the bettor. In total, Vegas Stats and Information Network personality Pauly Howard tweeted that the Duffel Bag Bettor had $240,000 riding on Army. The Black Knights won 52-3. “He won on Army,” said Stoneback of the MGM, “but he also threw some parlays at us, some three- and four-team parlays. So he gave back about half of what he won on Army.”
• “[Saturday] was a really good day for us,” Stoneback said. “We won all our big decisions, and it was probably our best Saturday that we’ve had for the season, probably one of the best we’ve had for several seasons.”
• Memphis covering the spread in a 31-30 loss to undefeated Central Florida produced the biggest win on Saturday for MGM and the Westgate SuperBook.
• Saturday was a big day for under bettors. Thirty-four of the 49 games with over/under totals stayed under.
• Notable opening lines at Caesars Palace:
Michigan -7 at Michigan State
Mississippi State at LSU -6.5
Alabama NL at Tennessee
NC State at Clemson -17
• In an early line, Alabama is a 13-point road favorite in the Crimson Tide’s Nov. 3 showdown at LSU at Caesars sportsbooks.
• Four teams remain unbeaten against the spread: Washington State (6-0 ATS), Utah State (6-0 ATS), Florida International (5-0 ATS) and Appalachian State (4-0 ATS).
• Nebraska fell to 0-6 with Saturday’s overtime loss at Northwestern, clinching the under for season-win total bets at the South Point, where the Huskers were listed at 6.5 wins.
• Updated odds to win the national championship at the SuperBook:
Ohio State +500
Notre Dame +800
Odds and ends
• NBA: The SuperBook took a $20,000 money-line wager on the Warriors at -450 odds in Friday’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The bet would have won just over $4,444, but the Lakers won 119-105.
• NBA: The most popular NBA futures bet other than the odds to win the championship at BetStars sportsbook is a prop wager on Golden State going 82-0 at odds of +100,000 (1,000-1).
• MLB: Mattress Mack, a Houston icon who uses Las Vegas sportsbooks to hedge some of his promotions on the Astros at his furniture store, was back in action last week. He placed a $150,000 bet on the Astros to win the World Series at 9-5 odds with the South Point sportsbook, among other wagers around town.
• NHL: The Westgate SuperBook took a $100,000 bet on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Pacific Division at 6-1 odds. The same bettor also placed a $12,000 bet on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 20-1.
• UFC: The SuperBook posted odds on the Jon Jones return to the octagon. Jones opened as a -280 favorite over Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch slated for UFC 232 on Dec. 29.
• MMA: Two bettors at the SuperBook placed five-figure wagers on Kevin Ferguson Jr., the son of the late Kimbo Slice, at odds of -1,000 and higher in Friday’s Bellator event. Ferguson was knocked out in the second round.
• Golf: A bettor placed a $1,500 wager at 25-1 that Tiger Woods will finish with over 18.5 major championships. Woods will enter next season with 14 major titles.
• New Jersey sports betting: New Jersey’s regulated sportsbooks took $183.9 million in bets in September, the state’s first football month with legal sports betting. In comparison, New Jersey books handled $95.6 million in bets in August.