From the every bad beat doubles as a miracle cover department, we bring you the tale of a big bettor who has managed to beat the Las Vegas sports books the last few years.
Dubbed by some in the media as the Duffel Bag Bettor or Duffel Bag Boy for his penchant for walking into books carrying a duffel bag full of cash, the unidentified gambler won well into six figures last weekend on an unlikely cover by Central Florida.
The Knights won 37-10 as 21½-point favorites at East Carolina in a finish that was featured on Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” segment on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Heisman Trophy candidate McKenzie Milton was a late scratch for the Knights, who led 23-10 in the fourth quarter when the Pirates drove to the UCF 2-yard line. But East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers fumbled attempting a jump pass and Nate Evans returned it 94 yards for a score to make it 30-10.
The Pirates then drove inside the UCF 10 again and fumbled again. The Knights recovered and made it 37-10 on Greg McCrae’s 74-yard touchdown run with 6:14 left.
The back door was still wide open for East Carolina, which had a first and goal at the UCF 3. But the Pirates couldn’t punch it in, allowing the big bettor to cash separate six-figure straight bets on UCF at MGM Resorts and William Hill.
The gambler also hit a UCF-Iowa-Buffalo three teamer for six figures at both books and narrowly missed cashing a four-teamer worth six figures with those teams and the Chargers on Sunday, when the Titans scored a late TD for a back-door cover.
“He’s up with us,” The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback said. “He likes to play the favorites and go against the bad teams. I don’t think I’ve seen him take an underdog.
“He likes to bet parlays, too. A couple weeks ago, he did the same thing. A straight bet, a two-teamer, a three-teamer and a four-teamer. He swept all four of those.”
The bettor also is a winner at William Hill and the Westgate.
“He’s bet here for a number of years,” Westgate sports book director John Murray said. “He’s actually up with us, too, from a big parlay he hit with us three years ago.”
No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Louisiana State are off this week as they prepare for their Nov. 3 matchup in Baton Rouge. But Station Casinos has posted an early line on the game. The Crimson Tide are 14-point favorites over the Tigers, who beat Georgia by 20 after their lone loss to Florida.
“This will be the first test Alabama has had over the last month,” Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said.
Alabama (8-0) has been favored by at least 23 points in each of its games, going 5-3 ATS.
In Saturday’s top-10 showdown in Jacksonville, Florida, that doubles as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” No. 7 Georgia is a 6½-point favorite over No. 9 Florida.
Handicapper Wes Reynolds, who went 5-0 ATS last week to run his record to 25-14-1 ATS in the Review-Journal College Challenge, likes the Bulldogs to bounce back from their blowout loss at LSU.
“The natural inclination is to say you’ve got two top-1o teams here so let’s take Florida,” said Reynolds (@WesReynolds1). “But I think Georgia has a little more talent and is a little bit better team. They’re laying 6½ at a neutral site after laying 7 at LSU and have had a couple weeks to stew over that loss.”
Handicapper Paul Stone, who is in second place in the Golden Nugget’s Ultimate Football Challenge with a 33-13-3 ATS record, also likes Georgia.
“I like these situations where teams are backed into a corner and people are not talking real nice about them,” said Stone (@PaulStoneSports). “I look for those teams to fire their best shot.”
Stone noted that since 2014 Georgia is 11-4 ATS after a straight-up loss.
In another top-25 matchup, the Cardinal are 3-point home favorites over a Cougars team coming off one of the biggest wins in school history over Oregon.
Reynolds and Stone each lean to Stanford, and Murray can see why.
“It’s a terrible spot for Washington State,” Murray said. “They’re coming off that huge win in a nationally televised game, and they had ESPN (College) GameDay in Pullman.
“It’s hard for them to get back up off the mat and have a good performance against a good Stanford team.”
Murray said the Westgate has taken sharp money on Clemson, San Jose State and Penn State.
But nobody has showed up carrying a duffel bag full of cash.
(Home team in CAPS)
BOSTON COLLEGE (+3½) over Miami, Fla.
STANFORD (-3) over Washington State
SAN JOSE STATE (-3) over Unlv
IOWA STATE (-3½) over Texas Tech
Clemson (-17) over FLORIDA STATE
Last week: 5-0 against the spread