Updated September 22, 2019 - 9:39 pm
A William Hill bettor lost a $505,000 straight bet on the Browns (+3½) over the Rams on “Sunday Night Football.” But the vast majority of gamblers cashed tickets on Los Angeles in the biggest decision of the day for Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Bettors beat the books on Sunday thanks in large part to the Rams’ 20-13 win over Cleveland.
“It’s a losing day for us,” The Mirage sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback said before the Sunday night game. “Even if we get the Browns, we’re not going to make it out of the hole today. If the Rams cover, it is an ugly day for us.”
The Browns had a chance to tie it in the final minute when they had a first-and-goal from the 4. But quarterback Baker Mayfield apparently didn’t wake up feeling dangerous Sunday. He tossed three consecutive incompletions before throwing an interception in the end zone on fourth down.
The game was the biggest NFL decision of the season for MGM Resorts and CG Technology, which each needed Cleveland for multiple six figures, and William Hill also badly needed the Browns despite taking the half-million dollar wager in New Jersey.
The Rams opened as 2½-point favorites, the line moved to 3½ on Friday and it steamed to as high as 5 on Sunday, when it was reported that the entire Browns starting secondary was out.
“You could see the onslaught early on,” CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso said. “There was no stopping any of the steam Rams money. And it wasn’t the sharp guys that drove it up. It was all casual guys.”
Off the wagon
Cleveland was the most popular preseason pick to win the Super Bowl, but most bettors bailed on the Browns after the Titans blew them out by 30 in the season opener.
“It’s tough to bet on Cleveland. They haven’t looked very good the first two weeks,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “It’s a psychological thing. Everybody had such high expectations. But once they disappointed people, they jumped off the bandwagon pretty quick.”
Dog day afternoon
Underdogs went 5-0 ATS in the afternoon games and 8-6 ATS overall, with five outright wins by the Lions, Giants, Saints, Panthers and Texans. But bettors cashed plenty of teasers in the morning games as favorites went 7-1 straight up.
The only morning underdog to win outright was the Lions, a popular sharp play who beat the Eagles 27-24. Philadelphia opened as a 7-point favorite but the line closed at 4.
“Our biggest loser of the day was the Lions game,” Stoneback said. “The sharps were all over that game.”
The books also lost on the Ravens, who rallied for a cover for most bettors in a 33-28 loss to the Chiefs, who led 30-13 in the fourth quarter. Kansas City closed as 4½-point favorites after the line opened at 6½ as some books got middled on the game.
“It was one of the few times we needed Kansas City,” Stoneback said. “The public was all over Kansas City, but the sharps were on Baltimore. Usually, the public outweighs the sharp money. But they didn’t on Sunday.”
Cowboys, Patriots split
The betting public split on the day’s heavy favorites in Dallas and New England.
The Cowboys, who closed as 22½-point favorites over the Dolphins, covered in a 31-6 win when Tony Pollard ran for a 16-yard TD with 3:45 left.
“I never thought a 22-point (NFL) favorite would be a bad game for us,” Stoneback said.
The Patriots appeared on their way to a cover as 21-point favorites over the Jets with a 30-0 lead late in the third quarter. But then Gunner Olszewski muffed a punt and New York recovered the fumble in the end zone to make it 30-7.
Jamal Adams gave the Jets a backdoor cover when he picked off a pass by New England backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham and returned it 61 yards for a TD with 6:23 left for the 30-14 final.
Money line parlays
New York covered, but it didn’t help a Caesars bettor who lost a Jets-Dolphins $50 money-line parlay that would’ve paid $15,000.
A Caesars bettor won $4,000 on an $89,000 money-line parlay on the Cowboys and Patriots, and another gambler earned $45 on the same parlay for $1,000.
The Bengals lost 21-17 to the Bills but covered as 6-point underdogs in another bad game for the books.
“We got beat up by the sharps,” DiTommaso said. “The only sharp play we actually beat was Denver. We were six figures high to the Broncos.”
The Packers covered as 7-point home favorites in a 27-16 win over Denver.
Bettors won big on the Vikings, who cruised to a cover as 9-point favorites over the Raiders in a 34-14 victory that was MGM’s second-worst loss of the day.