Imagine being one of the remaining 499 contestants from a field of 4,080 still in the running to win $6 million in the Circa Survivor contest.
You lock in the Steelers over the winless Lions as your Week 10 pick Saturday before the 3 p.m. entry deadline. Then, two hours later, you’re dealt a brutal bad beat when you hear the news that Pittsburgh starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss Sunday’s game against Detroit after the Steelers placed him on the team’s COVID-19 list.
Now your quest for life-changing money will rest on the arm of backup QB Mason Rudolph.
That was the hand dealt handicapper Noah Parker and 247 other Survivor contestants who picked Pittsburgh, the most popular choice this week.
The Steelers, who dropped from 8-point favorites to -5½ after the news, trailed 16-10 in the second half before tying the game at 16 on a 51-yard field goal by Chris Boswell in the fourth quarter.
The game, which Lions coach Dan Campbell described as “the twilight zone,” went into overtime, where both teams blew chances to score.
Rudolph found Diontae Johnson for a 39-yard gain into Detroit territory on Pittsburgh’s first possession. But Johnson fumbled, and the Lions recovered.
Detroit kicker Ryan Santoso then left a 48-yard field-goal try well short to keep Pittsburgh’s hopes alive. The Steelers were close to field-goal range with nine seconds left when tight end Pat Freiermuth lost a fumble as hundreds of $1,000 Survivor entries and $6 million dreams disappeared.
The game ended in a 16-16 tie and, in Survivor, ties lose. Entries must select a winner to advance.
Parker, a Las Vegas resident who played under the alias “The Homewreckers,” said he won $2,000 on a hedge bet on the Lions +7 to turn a profit. But he said it didn’t take away the sting of losing his shot at millions.
“I don’t mind losing. It’s part of the contest,” Parker said. “But let me lose with the team that I wanted, not some BS after the deadline where all of a sudden my Hall of Fame quarterback is scratched for somebody that is most famous for getting hit with a helmet.
“I’m positive that me and the other 247 people would’ve never used Pittsburgh if the starting quarterback is out.”
On the bright side, Parker was grateful he didn’t hedge by taking the Lions on the money line, which would have resulted in a push in the only tie game this season.
At the midpoint of the 20-week Survivor contest, the field is down to 174 after 187 were eliminated on the Ravens, 40 on the Cardinals, 31 on the Buccaneers, five on the Chargers and one on the Saints.
Books win again
Underdogs are 7-5 ATS this week with four outright wins by Washington (+9½), which beat Tampa Bay 29-19; Minnesota (+3½), which beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-20; Carolina (+7), which whipped Arizona 34-10; and Miami (+8½), which beat Baltimore 22-10 on Thursday.
Las Vegas sportsbooks rode the underdogs to a solid win for the third straight week, in large part to the Football Team, which covered for only the second time this season (2-7 ATS).
“Expect the unexpected on a weekly basis in the NFL,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “There just isn’t a dominant team in either conference, outside of the Titans. The only constant is Tennessee keeps rolling.”
The AFC-leading Titans (8-2) ran their NFL-best winning streak to six with a 23-21 triumph over the Saints. But their five-game cover streak came to an end.
Tennessee, a 3-point favorite, led 20-6 in the third quarter and 23-12 with less than six minutes left. New Orleans rallied for a backdoor cover when Trevor Siemian hit Marquez Callaway with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left.
At that point, Titans bettors were hoping the Saints would tie the game with a two-point conversion to give Tennessee another shot at the cover. But Siemian’s pass fell incomplete.