Updated September 8, 2019 - 8:50 pm
Eagles bettors received a rude welcome back to the NFL on Sunday.
Philadelphia closed as a 10-point favorite over the Redskins— the highest on the board — and fell behind 17-0 before trailing 20-7 at halftime.
A cover appeared extremely unlikely at that point, but the Eagles scored on four straight possessions in the second half to go ahead 32-20 with 3:10 left.
Philadelphia just needed one more stop to give its backers a gift on a day many gamblers liken to Christmas morning. But instead all Eagles backers got was a bad beat.
Case Keenum drove Washington 75 yards in 3:04, converting a fourth-and-6 and a fourth-and-12 before throwing a 4-yard TD pass to Trey Quinn with six seconds left for the dreaded backdoor cover.
It was a painful ending for Eagles bettors but a sweet finish for Las Vegas sportsbooks, who enjoyed a multimillion-dollar swing in their favor.
“Eagles cover would have been a disaster. Every parlay would’ve cashed,” Caesars Entertainment director of trading Jeff Davis said. “That Redskins touchdown was roughly a seven-figure swing.”
MGM Resorts reported about a $500,000 swing on the play. South Point, Station Casinos and CG Technology also needed Washington.
“That was huge,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The three biggest morning games were the Redskins, Dolphins and Jaguars, and it was apparent pretty early that neither the Dolphins or Jaguars would get there.”
Countless bettors salvaged money-line wins on the Eagles, including a Westgate gambler who cashed a $45,000 wager to win $10,000.
“Eagles losing outright would’ve been massive,” Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said.
The biggest losers for the books were the Ravens and Chiefs. Baltimore, a 7-point road favorite, mauled Miami 59-10. Kansas City, a 3½-point road favorite, picked up where it left off last season in a 40-26 victory over Jacksonville, which lost starting QB Nick Foles to a broken clavicle.
“The Dolphins, Jacksonville right now with the Foles injury, and the Redskins clearly look like three go-against teams almost weekly,” Esposito said.
The Cardinals also looked like a team to fade as they trailed the Lions — who closed as 3-point favorites — 24-6 in the fourth quarter.
But Arizona rallied for a 27-27 tie in overtime behind rookie QB Kyler Murray, who threw for 154 yards and two TDs during the fourth-quarter comeback.
The Cardinals covering late was another big win for the books. The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said it was over a half-million dollar swing. Caesars, South Point, CG Technology and Station also needed Arizona, which might not be a team to fade after all.
“Then again, it is the Lions,” Esposito said.
The books also won big on the Vikings, Bengals and Titans. Minnesota, a 3½-point favorite, whipped the Falcons 28-12. Cincinnati, a 9-point underdog, threatened to upset Seattle in a 21-20 loss. Tennessee, a 5½-point underdog, rolled to a 43-13 rout of perhaps overhyped Cleveland as Baker Mayfield threw three fourth-quarter interceptions.
“Going into the season, the two teams that were hyped the most were the Bears and the Browns. They had the most tickets in the (Super Bowl) futures book,” Esposito said. “But those two teams were both extremely inept offensively the first week. Both (Chicago QB Mitchell) Trubisky and Mayfield really, really struggled.”
Including Green Bay’s 10-3 win Thursday over Chicago, underdogs are 7-5-1 ATS with four outright upsets. The Titans, Bills and 49ers joined the Packers in pulling upsets. Overs are 8-5.
Bettors finished the first NFL Sunday with an easy winner on the Patriots, who as 5½-point favorites cruised to a cover in a 33-3 rout of the Steelers.
“We still need the Steelers for a six-figure decision,” Shelton said before the Sunday night game. “But we will win today regardless.”