Public betting on the worst week in sports betting
Traditionally, when an NFL quarterback has been ruled out, bettors would rush to bet on the opponent to cover the spread before sportsbooks could take the game off the board. These days, however, bookmakers face a more difficult task. Derrick Henry is a good example.
Henry ran over more than he Houston Texans for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Sports betting also felt the pain.
More bets were placed and more money was wagered on Henry scoring a touchdown on Sunday than any other player at PointsBet sportsbook. He drew three times as much money as any other player to score more than two touchdowns.
At Caesars Sportsbook, Henry’s rushing yardage plus/minus opened at 96.5 and grew to 104.5 after the Titans’ starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was discarded and debutant Malik Willis was named starter. By Sunday morning, 98.9% of the money bet on Henry’s rushing yards was gone.
The growing popularity of player betting has added to the challenge for bookies, who know that if they are slow to react to an injury, they will pay the price.
“It hurts, especially if you take your eye off the ball, you miss any injury,” said Craig Mucklow, director of trading at Caesars Sportsbook. “The ticker fills up in 30 seconds from 200 bets, and always max bets when it comes to something like this.”
The success of punters backing Henry to have a big day was just one part of what several sportsbooks called their worst Sunday of the season. At the time of the game in prime time between the Buffalo Bills and disadvantaged Green Bay Packers started, Caesars Sportsbook was in a no-win situation.
“We’re stuck no matter what,” said Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading at Caesars Sportsbook. “We’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of good weeks, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not awful. But this one is not good for this year.”
According to Pullen, Nevada sports betting netted $70.7 million in September, the second most lucrative month in state history behind only November 2021 ($70.2 million).
• Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM reported lost days on a Sunday when the favorites went 7-5 against the spread. “Worst week of the season so far,” Jason Scott, BetMGM’s vice president of trading, told ESPN in a text message on Sunday.
• The largest NFL bets reported at Caesars Sportsbook this week were: $325,000 on Broncos +3 (-130), $220,000 on Saints +1.5, $130,000 on Vikings -3 (-130). All three were winners.
• “We had a great day Saturday, one of our best of the season,” said John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. “However, the only word I could use to describe Sunday is forgettable. The games were dull and we didn’t have the kind of volume we’ve enjoyed in recent weeks.”
• Murray added in the New Orleans Saints’ 24-0 win over the Las Vegas Raiders and the Carolina Panthers covering the spread in a 37-34 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons they were the best results of the day for the victory.
“Our worst games were the Titans and the Cowboys,” Murray said. Dallas covered the stretch in a 49-29 win over the Chicago bones.
• On Friday, a bettor with PointsBet bet $200 on the Panthers to win the Super Bowl at 500-1. The Panthers fell to 2-6 after Sunday’s loss to the Falcons.
World Series: “Significantly larger” than any other bet placed by Betfred USA
The largest and most established U.S. sportsbook operators, such as Caesars and MGM, are used to million-dollar bets like the ones they took on Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale over the summer in Houston Astros to win the World Series.
Sportsbook Betfred, on the other hand, is not, at least not in the US
Betfred, which has been betting in the UK for decades, is a relative newcomer to the US, where it is active in a handful of states. On July 23, Betfred accepted a $1 million bet on the Astros at 5-1 from McIngvale, who regularly places large bets to mitigate the risk of promotional giveaways for Houston furniture store Gallery Furniture.
McIngvale owes the Astros roughly $10 million to win the World Series. If Houston beats the Phillies, it will give double money back to customers who spent at least $3,000 on furniture.
Bryan Bennett, chief operating officer of Betfred USA, said the $1 million bet is “significantly larger” than any other bet the company has made since entering the US market.
“While it’s a sweat and obviously it can put a bit of a dent in our results in the US, we’re part of a much bigger entity in the UK, which takes seven-figure bets on a regular basis,” he Bennett told ESPN. “It’s not that big globally, but yeah, it’s fun for us.”
Bennett said Betfred USA is trying to have fun with betting. The sports betting Twitter feed has an anti-Astros avatar and is offering a “Fade Mattress Mack” promotion with improved odds on the Phillies. But making a significant dent in the book’s responsibility for the Astros isn’t realistic at this point, Bennett says.
“We know there’s no way we’re going to even things up or even come close to evening things up,” Bennett said. “We’re all Phillies fans for the next 10 days.”
While the seven-figure loss will sting, Bennett said no company holiday parties will be canceled.
“We would rather not lose this bet, but there will be no ramifications,” he said.
College football highlights
• Georgia opened as a 9-point home favorite against Tennessee Sunday afternoon on Circa Sports in a battle between No. 1 and No. 2. The line was cut to a consensus -8 Sunday evening. It’s the biggest line in a game between a No. 1 and No. 2 team since Florida State was a 9-point favorite over Auburn in 2013.
Caesars Sportsbook said it placed a $50,000 bet on Georgia -8.5.
• Other outstanding opening lines: [via Circa Sports]
Alabama -12, 59.5 at LSU
Clemson -4, 47.5 at Notre Dame
Florida State -7, 46.5 at Miami (Florida)
Texas Tech at TCU -9, 70.5
Ohio State -36, 63.5 Northwest
• Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker passed Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this weekend at Caesars Sportsbook. Hooker is even money, while Stroud is +180.
Odds and ends
• A bettor with DraftKings won $2,730 in a four-game $1 game featuring the NBA’s first four-game field goal scorers on Monday. The bettor chose correctly: By Angelo Russell to score first against the San Antonio Spurs, Pascal I’m sorry to score first against the Miami Heat, Tobias Harris to score first against the Indiana Pacers i Franz Wagner to score first against the New York Knicks.
• The Jake Paul-Anderson Silva fight drew 11 times more money than the Vasiliy Lomachenko fight on Saturday at Caesars Sportsbook. Paul won a unanimous decision over Silva and then publicly challenged MMA veteran Nate Diaz to a fight. The SuperBook has published odds on a proposed Paul-Diaz fight. If Paul actually fights Nate Diaz and is scheduled for a soft weekend, I think he could do a lot of business, as long as he’s promoted well. Paul is listed as a -200 favorite over Diaz in a boxing match. No official announcement has been made regarding a Paul Diaz fight.
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