The most-bet game of Sunday’s Week 9 NFL slate at BetMGM was the prime-time NFC South showdown between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It wasn’t much of a showdown.
First place in the division was on the line, but it didn’t look like a game between two of the NFC’s top teams. The Saints trounced the Bucs 38-3, delivering the worst loss of Tom Brady’s career. Brady, in his first year with the Bucs, threw for 209 yards and three interceptions while Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes for New Orleans.
The performance from Brees and the Saints was a lucrative turn of events for one bettor. The Saints were three-point road underdogs, and BetMGM received a bet of $500,000 on the New Orleans moneyline at +155. The easy win yielded a monster return of $775,000.
And the bettor didn’t have to sweat it out whatsoever. The game was so lopsided that the Bucs had only five rushing attempts as they fell behind by multiple scores early in the game. That was an NFL record for fewest rushing attempts in a game. The fifth rushing attempt was a kneel-down to end the game, too.
“The Saints beating the Bucs was not good for us. That was our biggest loser of the day,” Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts, told Yahoo Sports. “We did take a $500,000 bet on the moneyline there. The gentleman won $775,000, so that was not a good game for us.”
The Saints, who were underdogs for the first time in 2020, entered Sunday night’s game with a 2-5 mark against the spread and had gone three straight weeks without covering. That streak was snapped with a decisive outright victory.
Bettors lose big bets on Seahawks, Cardinals
While the Saints’ win was a loss for the sportsbook, Sunday was another winning day at BetMGM.
“Two weeks in a row the house has done well. It’s been a rough two-week stretch here for the bettors,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.
Underdogs went 8-4 against the spread, and the sportsbook reaped the rewards. Stoneback pointed to two games as monster wins for BetMGM. First, it was the Buffalo Bills beating the Seattle Seahawks 44-34 as three-point home underdogs.
Stoneback said 70% of the bets MGM received in that game came in on Seattle, including a $100,000 bet on the Seahawks -3.
In the later Sunday window, Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins pulled out a 34-31 road upset over the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins opened up as 4.5-point underdogs and that number moved to 6 in the lead-up to kickoff. MGM received a $220,000 bet on the Cardinals to cover the 6-point spread, so that was another win for the house.
The Kansas City Chiefs were another popular public play. This weekend, the Chiefs were 10-point favorites at home against the Carolina Panthers but failed to cover the spread in a 33-31 win.
“Any time the Chiefs don’t cover, that’s good for the house,” Stoneback said. “That number opened up at 12.5 and went down to 10 with sharp money on the Panthers, but the public was on the Chiefs.”
The Chiefs are 6-3 against the spread this year, but 2-2 as a double-digit favorite. One of those wins came last week when the Chiefs beat the New York Jets 35-9 as massive 19.5-point favorites.
Bad beats in San Francisco, Los Angeles
Week 9 featured a few bad beats, and that started with the total in the Thursday night game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.
The over/under opened at 51 but dropped down to 48 at BetMGM by the time kickoff rolled around. By Thursday afternoon, the betting splits were fairly even with 59% of the wagers coming in on the over, but 55.5% of the money coming in on the under.
For most of the evening, under bettors were cruising as the Packers built a huge lead and the 49ers offense sputtered. Green Bay’s lead was 31-3 entering the fourth quarter and a Mason Crosby field goal at the 6:15 mark made it 34-3.
At that point, the 49ers hadn’t even cracked 200 yards of offense and over bettors were going to need a miracle two get two touchdowns on the board. That miracle came. After the field goal, Nick Mullens hit Richie James for a 41-yard touchdown to make it 34-10 with 5:00 to go.
Next, the Packers went three-and-out and gave the ball back to the 49ers with 2:32 on the clock. Heartbreak was on the horizon for under bettors.
Here’s how it went down, via Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab:
The 49ers needed a touchdown to ruin Thursday night for a few people. A sack by the Packers, which would have probably clinched the under, was nullified because the defender initiated contact with Mullens using his helmet. Jerick McKinnon was tackled near the sideline and the clock kept running, and instead of letting time run, Shanahan called timeout with 39 seconds left even though his team had no chance to win. At that point, under bettors had to know what was coming. The 49ers got to the 1-yard line and McKinnon punched in a touchdown with 4 seconds to go.
That wasn’t the only bad beat of Week 9. The Las Vegas Raiders were one-point favorites on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a game that came down to the final play.
The Chargers trailed 31-26, but rookie quarterback Justin Herbert led his team all the way to the four-yard line in the final seconds. With one second left, Herbert appeared to have found Donald Parham Jr. for the game-winning touchdown.
The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, but Parham’s would-be catch was reviewed. And in typical fashion for the bad-luck Chargers, the play was overturned. Parham lost the ball as he fell to the turf and a Chargers win became a win for the Raiders.
The Raiders were a public play on Sunday, so that game was one of the few losses for BetMGM.
“We almost got there with the Chargers at the end. Raiders opened up as a 1.5-point underdog and closed as a one-point favorite. That game was bad,” Stoneback said.
Sharps on Colts, public on Ravens
One of the more interesting games of the weekend in terms of betting action was the Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts.
The game featured the biggest line movement of Week 9 at BetMGM with the Ravens opening up as three-point favorites but actually closing as one-point underdogs.
Sharp bettors were all over the Colts, but the Ravens ended up pulling out a 24-10 road victory.
“The sharp money there was on the Colts, but the Ravens are a public team so that public money overwhelmed the sharp money so that was also a loser for us,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.
One bettor put down $110,000 on the Ravens when the game was a pick’em, so MGM had to pay that one out. It was one of the biggest winning bets of the weekend.
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