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Underdogs, books win big on Black Sunday for bettors

Updated September 29, 2019 - 9:27 pm

If you hit a Giants-Chargers-Seahawks parlay Sunday, consider yourself blessed. Or Biff Tannen, the luckiest man alive from “Back to the Future.” They were the only three favorites to cover the spread on what amounted to a Black Sunday for bettors.

Underdogs went 9-3-1 ATS with seven outright upsets as Las Vegas sportsbooks had their best day of the season, by far.

“It would’ve been the biggest day in the history of books if New England or Kansas City lost outright,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “But we can’t complain.”

He was only slightly exaggerating.

The Chiefs, who closed as 7½-point road favorites over the Lions, needed a 100-yard touchdown on a fumble return and a TD with 20 seconds left to escape with a 34-30 win over Detroit. But they didn’t cover the spread in what was the biggest decision of the day for the books.

“The Chiefs was a six-figure win for us without parlays,” CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso said.

Likewise, the Patriots pulled out a 16-10 victory over the Bills but didn’t cover as 7-point favorites. Buffalo’s defense shut down Tom Brady and the New England offense, but the Bills had four turnovers. Still, the Patriots might’ve covered, or at least pushed, if not for Stephen Gostkowski’s missed extra point and Brady’s interception in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 2.

Seven outright upsets

But the biggest surprises were the outright upsets: Buccaneers (+9½) over Rams; Browns (+7) over Ravens; Panthers (+5½) over Texans; Raiders (+5½) over Colts; Titans (+3½) over Falcons; Jaguars (+2½) over Broncos; and Saints (+2½) over Cowboys.

“Look at (Sunday’s) results and if that doesn’t tell you how difficult it is to win betting on the NFL,” Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “There weren’t just a couple head scratchers, there were a few.

“It was one of our best days in a long time.”

The Rams had allowed a total of 49 points in their 3-0 start before giving up 55 to Tampa Bay in a 55-40 loss at home. Caesars Entertainment won big on the game. The books also won on live wagering as bettors loaded up on Los Angeles on the money line when it trailed 21-0.

“Even though they were down 21-0 early, the majority of the room thought the Rams would still come back and win,” Kornegay said.

Sharps all over Raiders

Indianapolis was as high as a 7-point favorite over Oakland before a late avalanche of sharp money on the Raiders drove the number down to as low as 5. It was a wise move, Oakland scored TDs on three of its first four possessions en route to a 31-24 win.

“Every sharp person in the world was on the Raiders,” Bogdanovich said.

In another game that was big for the books, CG Technology bettors lost a $53,000 straight bet on Houston and a $45,000 money-line parlay on the Texans, who were defeated 16-10 by Carolina.

“Money just kept coming in on the Texans,” Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said.

The books also won on the Browns — who finally lived up to their preseason hype in a 40-25 win over the Ravens — and the Bears, whose defense dominated the Vikings in a 16-6 victory.

Still winless

CG Technology bettors lost $95,000 on two money-line wagers on the Redskins (0-4), who were whipped 24-3 by the Giants. But a William Hill bettor won a six-figure wager on New York, which prevailed for the second straight week behind rookie QB Daniel Jones.

“He’s in probably the most pressure situation in the world playing quarterback in New York,” Bogdanovich said. “Give him credit. He’s started off well.”

Miami fell to 0-4 straight up and ATS in a 30-10 loss to the Chargers, who closed as 14½-point favorites. Arizona (0-3-1) remained winless after falling 27-10 to Seattle. And the Broncos dropped to 0-4 in a 26-24 defeat to the Jaguars and rookie QB Gardner Minshew, who resembles Uncle Rico from “Napoleon Dynamite.”

“The Redskins look like they’re in trouble,” Kornegay said. “The Broncos look like they’re getting pushed around, and the jury’s still out on (Cardinals QB Kyler) Murray. We should expect that inconsistency for the rest of the year.”


The books needed the Saints on Sunday night and they delivered in a 12-10 win over Dallas. Not that most bettors had any money left to wager.

“It’s not a big decision,” The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said before the game. “with all the teasers and parlays in the trash cans outside.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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