Updated September 26, 2021 - 9:08 pm
They say it’s a dry heat in the desert so you don’t sweat too much.
Bettors and bookmakers who sweated out the Raiders’ 31-28 overtime win over the Dolphins on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium would beg to differ.
“That was one of the most stressful games in the history of my career,” said Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito, who has worked in the industry in Las Vegas for more than 30 years.
Bettors were all over the Raiders at Las Vegas books, which needed Miami to cover as 3½-point underdogs to avoid a major loss.
It was a roller-coaster ride as the Dolphins jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Raiders stormed back to go ahead 25-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Miami trailed 25-17 with time running out when quarterback Jacoby Brissett scored on a 1-yard run on fourth and goal with two seconds left, making the score 25-23. He then threw a game-tying, two-point conversion pass and sent it to overtime.
“It looked like (Brissett) wasn’t going to get in,” Esposito said. “We were actually rooting against the two-point conversion, knowing the Raiders could cover in overtime.”
After the teams traded field goals, the Raiders drove deep into Miami territory and had first-and-goal at the 6. But as Raiders bettors yelled at coach Jon Gruden to go for the touchdown and cover, quarterback Derek Carr took a knee, setting up Daniel Carlson’s game-winning 22-yard field goal on the final play of OT.
“I was sweating it so bad,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said. “If the Raiders won by six as opposed to three, it would’ve been close to a seven-figure swing. We had a 7-1 ticket count on the Raiders and over 3-1 in money.
“That game was huge. It saved us.”
Mixed bag for books
BetMGM ended up a moderate loser overall on the day after the Packers (+3) beat the 49ers 30-28 on “Sunday Night Football.”
The Dolphins helped make Station Casinos and the Westgate SuperBook winners on a day in which underdogs went 8-5-1 against the spread with six outright wins by the Bengals, Vikings, Saints, Falcons, Chargers and Packers.
The books also won big on the Chargers’ 30-24 win over the Chiefs as 7-point underdogs and the Lions’ cover as 7½-point underdogs to the Ravens in a heartbreaking 19-17 home loss.
All it took was Justin Tucker’s game-winning, NFL-record, 66-yard field goal that bounced over the crossbar after Baltimore converted a fourth-and-19. That saved 340 $1,000 entries from elimination in the Circa Survivor contest, which pays $6 million to the winner.
Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes threw an interception with 1:42 left in a tie game and then the Chargers went for it on fourth-and-9 at the Chiefs’ 35-yard line and converted thanks to defensive pass interference. Two plays later, Justin Herbert hit Mike Williams with a tiebreaking 4-yard TD pass.
Bettors who wagered on the game to go over 54½ points suffered a bad beat when Tristan Vizcaino missed the extra point.
Unders went 8-1 in the morning games and 10-4 on the day.
Fade rookie QBs
The betting public won big on the Broncos (-10, 26-0 over Jets), Browns (-7½, 26-6 over Bears), Bills (-7, 43-21 over Washington) and Cardinals (-8), who scored the final 21 points of their 31-19 comeback win over the Jaguars.
“I feel like the Jaguars and Jets will be our poorest decisions of the day every Sunday,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “Those two teams are really struggling right now. That support for whoever they’re playing will continue to grow each and every week.”
Rookie QBs are 1-10 straight up and ATS this season as Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and New York’s Zach Wilson are each 0-3 and New England’s Mac Jones is 1-2, with his only win coming against Wilson’s Jets. Chicago’s Justin Fields and Houston’s Davis Mills are each 0-1.
“None of the rookie quarterbacks are ready at this point,” Esposito said. “We’ll be rooting for all those guys for the foreseeable future.”