The Last Man Standing was brought to his knees Sunday.
But with apologies to Elton John, he’s still standing better than he ever did, looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.
The unidentified bettor who won Station Casinos’ Last Man Standing pro football contest needed the Dolphins (-½) to beat the Bengals to claim the $150,000 grand prize. The gambler definitely earned it.
Miami looked like a lock when it took a 35-12 lead with 11:12 left. And Dolphins bettors weren’t too concerned when Cincinnati scored a touchdown to make it 35-19 with 6:11 to go.
But then the hapless Bengals (1-14) shockingly scored two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions in the final 29 seconds to tie the game at 35 and send it to overtime.
First, Andy Dalton threw a 3-yard TD pass to Tyler Boyd on fourth down and a 2-point pass to Tyler Eifert to cut the deficit to 35-27.
Then, after Cincinnati recovered the onside kick, Dalton fired a 25-yard TD pass to Eifert on the final play of regulation. The Red Rifle then ran for the tying 2-point conversion as the Last Man Standing probably felt as if he’d just lost $75,000.
Heading into Week 16, only one other entrant remained from the field of 6,472 $25 entries. But the bettor lost on the Bills (+6½) in brutal fashion Saturday when the Patriots scored a go-ahead TD with 5:06 left and added Tom Brady’s 2-point pass to Julian Edelman to cover in a 24-17 win.
If the Dolphins lost to the Bengals or tied, the two bettors would’ve split the pot and pocketed $75,000 each.
The teams each punted twice in OT before Ryan Fitzpatrick drove Miami into field goal range. Jason Sanders kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Dolphins to a 38-35 victory, leaving only one bettor to celebrate.
“Clearly, he was the Last Man Standing,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “That’s nerve-wracking. Having the Dolphins win it the way they did was so dramatic. That’s what makes the contest so much fun.”
Esposito said it was the longest LMS pro football contest ever at Station Casinos. The champion picked an NFL winner ATS in 16 consecutive weeks.
The runner-up went 15-1 on his contest picks. He’ll get nothing and won’t like it.
Favorites went 7-5 ATS on Sunday after going 1-1-1 Saturday.
Miami (4-11) which closed as a 1½-point underdog, was one of five underdogs to cover Sunday and they all won outright. The others were the Eagles (+2½, 17-9 over Cowboys); Jets (+3, 16-10 over Steelers); Raiders (+7½, 24-17 over Chargers); and Cardinals (+8, 27-13 over Seahawks).
The Eagles and Cardinals were the best results for Las Vegas sportsbooks as bettors loaded up on Dallas and Seattle. Philadelphia (8-7) can clinch the NFC East division title with a win at the New York Giants next week and eliminate the Cowboys (7-8), who failed to score a TD on Sunday.
“The NFC East winner will clearly be an underdog at home in the wild-card round of the playoffs,” Esposito said.
The best games for the betting public were the Ravens (-10, 31-15 over Browns), Saints (-3, 38-28 over Titans) and Chiefs, who crushed the books and the Bears after closing as 7-point favorites in a 26-3 rout on “Sunday Night Football.”
“We got killed in the morning but had an incredible comeback sweeping the afternoon games,” The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said. “Then we gave back every last nickel on the Chiefs.”
MGM Resorts bettors won a $130,000 straight wager on Kansas City (-6½) and a $110,000 straight bet on the Giants (Pick). New York beat the Redskins 41-35 in overtime on Daniel Jones’ fifth TD pass of the game.
Another MGM bettor won $300,000 on a pair of $165,000 straight bets on the Falcons (-7, -7½), who beat the Jaguars 24-12. The bettor had to sweat out the cover as Jacksonville had a first-and-goal at the Atlanta 5 with five minutes left but failed to score.
The bettor gave back some of the winnings on a losing $70,000 Falcons-Cowboys parlay that would’ve paid $182,000.