The Chargers were beating the Broncos 19-7 and were in field-goal range late in the third quarter when Philip Rivers completed a quick pass in the flat. To Von Miller.
The Denver linebacker returned the interception deep into Los Angeles territory, and the Broncos scored three plays later to cut the deficit to 19-14.
The Chargers, 7-point favorites, then went three-and-out, and Denver drove for a touchdown to go up 20-19 and all but extinguish the hopes of Los Angeles bettors (hello).
Money-line wagers and teasers (hello again) on the Chargers still looked promising as they tried to run out the clock with a 22-20 lead in the final minutes. But Rivers took a 4-yard loss on a botched handoff on second-and-3 at the Denver 44. He then threw the ball into the ground on third down after the two-minute warning when a run would’ve chopped 40 more seconds off the clock.
Of course, Case Keenum marched the Broncos 76 yards in seven plays to set up Brandon McManus’ winning 34-yard field goal as time expired to kill every bet on the Chargers and end their six-game win streak.
Big day for books
It was that type of NFL Sunday for the betting public, which saw underdogs go 6-3-2 ATS with four outright upsets. Eight of the 11 games were decided by four points or less (as was Seattle’s 27-24 win over Green Bay on Thursday).
Two weeks after Las Vegas sports books suffered their worst NFL Sunday in years, they won big.
“It was the best day of the season so far,” The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback said. “After the horrible week two weeks ago, the last two weeks we’ve bounced back strong.”
William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said last week was the best one for their 108 locations in Nevada.
“This one was up there,” he said. “Top three or four, for sure.”
An MGM Resorts bettor lost a six-figure wager placed Sunday morning on the Chargers minus 7. Another MGM bettor won a six-figure money-line wager on the Bears, who beat the Vikings 25-20 on Sunday night.
The MGM also took offsetting six-figure wagers on the Bengals and Ravens, who soared from 4-point to 6½-point favorites after Lamar Jackson was named the starting QB before their 24-21 win.
Saints march in for books
So-called sharp bettors backed the Eagles over the Saints, but they never had a chance as Drew Brees threw for 363 yards and four TDs in a 48-7 blowout. New Orleans, which has scored at least 40 points six times this season, closed as a 7-point favorite after the line was as high as nine.
“The Saints’ game was by far our best game of the day,” Stoneback said. “We had a lot of money here on the ’dog, which was funny because Las Vegas made a killing on the game but we lost on the game in Mississippi because of the regional bias.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, we keep our lines intact. But we closed the Saints at 8 in Mississippi and were still a loser. I was really surprised. I thought the public would come in big on the favorite here when the line was going down, but we got some more sharp money on the Eagles.”
In the other three outright upsets, the Raiders beat the Cardinals 23-21 as 4½-point underdogs on Daniel Carlson’s 35-yard field goal as time expired; the Cowboys beat the Falcons 22-19 as 3½-point ’dogs on Brett Maher’s 42-yard field goal as time expired; and the Lions escaped with a 20-19 win over the Panthers as 4-point ’dogs when Cam Newton threw an incompletion on a 2-point conversion try with 1:07 left.
“Our best decision was the Lions,” Caesars Entertainment sports book director Bill Sattler said. “The morning games made it to where whatever happened in the later games kept us in the black.”
Giants bettors (I’m back) took a bit of a bad beat in settling for a push on the closing line of 3 after leading the Buccaneers 24-7 in a 38-35 win. Jameis Winston replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick and led Tampa Bay on four consecutive TD drives, capped by a 41-yard TD pass to Mike Evans with 2:22 left for the backdoor push.
The Westgate SuperContest consensus top five picks went 2-3 ATS last week following a 14-1 ATS run. It went 1-3 ATS Sunday, with a winner on the Colts and losers on the Vikings, Panthers and Texans.
Your move, Chiefs
The No. 1 pick is on the Chiefs, 3½-point ’dogs to the Rams in the contest. But the line has dipped to 3 at most books as the majority of the money is on Kansas City and over the NFL record-high total of 63½.
“Right now, we need the favorite and the under,” Bogdanovich said. “The side may change, but I guarantee we’ll need the under.”