There are few things more unsatisfying for sports bettors than when their team wins but doesn’t cover the spread.
Gamblers on the Raiders, consensus 2½-point favorites over the Broncos on Sunday, faced that bittersweet fate when Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown to cut Denver’s deficit to 25-23 midway through the fourth quarter.
But their faith was rewarded. The Raiders responded with a 75-yard TD drive, capped by a 7-yard scoring run by Josh Jacobs, to extend their lead to 32-23 with 2:02 left. They held on for their first win and cover when Mike Boone dropped a fourth-down pass from Wilson with 1:44 to go.
Bettors won big on the Raiders and a handful of other games to deal several sportsbooks their first losing Sunday of the NFL season.
Caesars Sportsbook alone dropped almost seven figures on the Raiders en route to a losing day.
“It was not horrible, but it was a losing day nonetheless,” Caesars vice president of trading Adam Pullen said. “It was bound to happen. The first few weeks were pretty solid for us. But it looks like the bettors turned the tables this week.
“It was a must-win game for the Raiders. Denver hasn’t looked too hot, so bettors banked on the Raiders.”
BetMGM won on the day overall but lost big on the Raiders in Nevada.
“That was our biggest loser of the day. A good six-figure loss,” MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said. “We had a seven-figure handle on that game. It’s always going to be like that when the Raiders play at home.”
Bettors also were all over the home team at Station Casinos, which reported a small win overall but a big loss on the Raiders.
“It was, by far, the biggest decision of the day,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The game went up a full point from two to three. It didn’t matter. They still kept laying the Raiders on the point spread, money line and over (45½), and all three cashed.
“It was, by far, the best day for the guests of the first four weeks of the NFL season.”
The Westgate SuperBook and South Point sportsbook each suffered their first losing Sunday of the NFL season.
“We took some big action from house players on the Chargers and Raiders,” SuperBook director John Murray said. “Also got beat up on the Cardinals game and the Cowboys game.
“It was our best Saturday of the season however. Gotta take the bad with the good.”
The Chargers (-5½) squandered most of a 27-7 lead over the Texans before scoring a late TD to cover in a 34-24 win.
‘Terrible’ day for books
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews summed up the day at his book in one word.
“Terrible,” he said in a text message.
The South Point actually needed the Raiders, but Andrews said it lost on a bunch of other games.
“Vikings and Bills winning by 3,” he said. “Seahawks, Eagles, Cowboys, Cardinals, Patriots. Lots of bad ones.”
Dallas, a 3-point home favorite over Washington, also dealt Caesars and Stations one of their worst losses in a 25-10 victory.
Underdogs went 9-5 ATS with six outright wins.
Seattle (+3) was a popular underdog against injury-depleted Detroit and cashed in a 48-45 win. The Lions are the only 4-0 over team in the league.
“On the surface, that didn’t look like a big game, but they were all over the Seahawks in that game,” Esposito said. “That line dropped two full points.”
The Eagles (-6½) are the NFL’s only 4-0 team after they erased an early 14-0 deficit in a 29-21 win over the Jaguars.
The Bills (-3) trailed the Ravens 20-3 before scoring 20 unanswered points in a 23-20 triumph. It was tied at 20-all with 4:15 left when Baltimore coach John Harbaugh opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2 instead of kicking a field goal.
Lamar Jackson threw an interception in the end zone, and Buffalo drove for the winning kick as time expired.
“It was an interesting decision. But it was normal for him,” Pullen said of Harbaugh. “He’s a riverboat gambler.”