Marcus Williams had his head buried in a towel in the Saints locker room Sunday moments after the rookie safety whiffed on the tackle that would’ve sent New Orleans to the NFC championship.
Countless Saints bettors — including the one, or ones, who placed multiple six-figure money-line wagers on New Orleans — also hung their heads in despair and disbelief after Stefon Diggs broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown catch as time expired to give the Vikings a stunning 29-24 victory.
“It couldn’t happen in a million years, but it did,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said.
Multiple six-figure money-line wagers on Saints
A William Hill bettor lost $150,000 in money-line wagers on the Saints at 2-1 odds. A CG Technology sports book bettor also lost a six-figure money-line wager on New Orleans and a Caesars Palace sports book bettor lost a money-line wager of more than $50,000 on the Saints, who went ahead 24-23 on Wil Lutz’s 43-yard field goal with 25 seconds left after erasing a 17-0 halftime hole.
Seven-figure swing for books
Case Keenum’s last-ditch heave to Diggs resulted in a swing of more than $1 million at Caesars Palace. Las Vegas sports books would’ve won more had Minnesota kicked the extra point. But after a lengthy delay following the TD, the Vikings — who closed as either 5- or 5½-point favorites — took a knee rather than attempt an extra point.
“It was a seven-figure swing from the Saints winning to the Vikings getting that touchdown instead of a field goal,” Caesars Palace sports book director Frank Kunovic said. “It was still a fantastic outcome for the books because of that touchdown, but the extra point was a multiple six-figure swing.”
Epic bad beat
Either way, the incredible finish is the early 2018 clubhouse leader for bad beat of the year.
“All you have to do is let him catch the ball, tackle him and the game’s over,” CG Technology sports book director Jason Simbal said.
Books cash in on underdogs
The play capped a brutal weekend for the betting public and a great one for the books, who cleaned up on the Jaguars’ 45-42 upset win over the Steelers as 7-point underdogs Sunday. Jacksonville turned two Ben Roethlisberger turnovers into 14 points in taking a 28-7 first-half lead and never trailed.
“That was probably one of the best games of the year for the book,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “Money lines, teasers, point spreads — everything was through Pittsburgh.”
The Steelers had two terrible play calls on fourth-and-1 — a pitch for a loss of four yards and a deep incompletion — and they also mismanaged the clock in the final minute. Down 10 with 23 seconds left, they should’ve kicked a field goal and then tried an onside kick. Everyone knows this.
Except, apparently, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin.
“The one thing I realized from these playoffs is that every coach sucks except one,” Simbal said.
Bettor wins $112,000 on Jaguars
Not every bettor lost on the Steelers. One at CG Technology won $112,000 on a $40,000 money-line bet on the Jaguars at plus-280.
Patriots only favorite to cover
Counting the Vikings as a loser ATS at their closing line of 5½, the Patriots are the only favorite to cover thus far in the playoffs, pounding the Titans 35-14 on Saturday night as 14-point favorites.
Underdogs are 7-1 ATS with four outright upsets, including the Eagles outlasting the Falcons 15-10 on Saturday as 2½-point ‘dogs in what was another big win for the books.
Championship Sunday lines
New England opened as an 8-point home favorite over Jacksonville in the AFC championship, but the line quickly climbed to 9. The total is 46.
Minnesota opened as a 3-point road favorite over Philadelphia, but the line quickly moved to 3½ (even) at the Westgate. The total is 38½.
“I think both ‘dogs are live,” Bogdanovich said.
Possible Super Bowl LII spreads
William Hill also is offering lines on every possible Super Bowl LII matchup. The Patriots are 3-point favorites over the Vikings (total 44) and 6-point favorites over the Eagles (total 47).
The Vikings are 4½-point favorites over the Jaguars (total 40½) and the Eagles are 1½-point favorites over the Jaguars (total 42½).
Jacksonville is plus-375 on the money line against New England.
“Who knows? Blake Bortles might show up again,” Kunovic said.
After what happened Sunday, anything is possible.