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Notable bets: Bettor loses $540,000 on Chicago Bears

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sportsbooks aren't in the habit of identifying their customers, and most whales keep low profiles and don't go out in search of publicity. Therefore, in most cases, the stories behind the bets aren't readily available.

In a way, the limited details add intrigue and mystery to the stories that come out of sportsbooks on a daily basis.

For example, how did the customer who placed a $130,000 first-half money-line bet on the Buffalo Bills with a CG Technology sportsbook in Las Vegas feel when the Miami Dolphins went into halftime leading 14-9? My guess: sweaty.

What was the reaction from the bettor at sportsbook PointsBet after winning the first nine legs of a $150 10-team that would pay $58,000 if the Los Angeles Chargers could beat the Tennessee Titans? Trailing the Titans 23-20 in the final minute, the Chargers failed to score on three plays from inside the 5-yard line and fumbled on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 19 seconds to play.

Or what was the thinking behind the $10 bet that was placed Sunday on the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl at 50,000-1 odds? Maybe a gag gift?

"I don't even have a joke about that one," said John Murray, executive director for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. Murray always has jokes.

Although there are no jokes, there were plenty of notable bets to cover in our weekly wrap-up of sports betting storylines from around the nation.


NFL notable bets

Covering without scoring

• From Las Vegas to the East Coast, the San Francisco 49ers-Washington Redskins game was the most heavily bet game of the day for multiple sportsbooks, with the bulk of the money on the favored 49ers.

• An hour prior to kickoff of the early afternoon games, the San Francisco-Washington game was accounting for 25% of the total amount wagered on NFL point spreads at William Hill's sportsbooks. More than 90% of the bets on the point spread and 88% of the money bet on the point spread was on the 49ers. San Francisco won 9-0.

• The Redskins became the second team in the past 25 seasons to cover the point spread without scoring. In 2007, the Dolphins covered as 16-point underdogs in a 3-0 loss to the Steelers.

• Washington is the fourth double-digit underdog to cover the spread without scoring in the Super Bowl era.

Biggest reported bets

• Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology took a pair of money-line bets on the Chicago Bears, totaling $540,000 to win a net $227,000. The Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints 36-25.

• Bookmaker William Hill took a $400,000 bet on the Atlanta Falcons in New Jersey, as first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Falcons lost to the Los Angeles Rams 37-10.

• DraftKings took a $300,000 bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars -2 (alternate line) against the Cincinnati Bengals to win $192,000, as first reported by the Action Network.

The Jaguars pulled away from the Bengals in the fourth quarter for a 27-17 win.

Book report

• Caesars Sportsbook went 6-6 on point-spread decisions and finished as a decent winner on the day.

"We're just totally even to everything so far today," Caesars Sportsbook senior oddsmaker Alan Berg said. "The Redskins was great. Our worst game was the Ravens [beating the Seahawks]. We lost more on that than we won on the Redskins. We need Dallas to turn us into an OK winner for the day -- nothing spectacular."

Dallas won and covered in an easy victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the prime-time game Sunday night.

• The most costly game of the day for CG Technology was Jacksonville's win and cover against Cincinnati. "Tennessee was a close second," CG Technology oddsmaker Dave Sharapan said. "Jacksonville was an 'everybody' side. The sharps laid it. The public piled on.

"We took early sharp action on Tennessee -1 and went to -2," Sharapan added. "We took a limit play [on Titans] at -2. That was just a one-sided-type game. Just no Charger money, and they had the ball first-and-goal to win the game and didn't get in. That one had us kind of talking to ourselves. That was an enormous, over-six-figure swing [against the house]."

• "We basically had four games today that basically made our day. We went 2-2 on them, but the two winners were very large winners for us," said Jeff Stoneback, director of race and sports for MGM in Nevada. "No. 1 was the 49ers game. No. 2 was Arizona winning straight-up. We had a lot of money on the Giants and the Giants money line. Those two outweighed the two big losers, which were the Rams and Vikings."

• "We had a decent day -- not a great day but a decent day," said Ed Salmons, vice president of risk for the SuperBook.

Mahomes reaction

• Odds adjustments after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' knee injury suffered in Thursday's win over the Denver Broncos at DraftKings:

Mahomes to win MVP: from +250 (second-favorite behind Russell Wilson) to +1400
Chiefs to win Super Bowl: from +900 to +1100
Chiefs to win AFC: from +350 to +450
Chiefs to win AFC West: from -400 to -335

• In early look-ahead lines for Week 8, the Chiefs were listed as 4-point home favorites over the Green Bay Packers prior to Mahomes' injury. The SuperBook reopened the line on Packers-Chiefs at pick 'em after the injury. Caesars had the Packers as 3-point favorites as of Sunday night.

Early Week 8 lines

From Caesars Sportsbook, at completion of Sunday night game.

Thursday

Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (-16, 40.5)

Sunday

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (Off)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams* (-12.5, 48)
Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears (-5, 40)
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-7, 49)
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5, 41)
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-6.5, 51)
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (Off)
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (Off)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans (-2.5, 46.5)
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5, 42)
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-10.5, 46)
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (-6.5, 43.5)
Green Bay Packers (-3, 48) at Kansas City Chiefs
*in London

Monday

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5, 42.5)

Byes: Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens


College football roundup

Massive upset

• The Illinois Fighting Illini pulled off the largest upset of the season so far Saturday, knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers 24-23 as a 30.5-point underdog. It was the second-largest point-spread upset in a Big Ten game in the past 40 seasons:

1982: Northwestern (+32) over Minnesota
2019: Illinois (+30.5) over Wisconsin
1998: Michigan State (+27) over Ohio State

• The Badgers were as much as -10,000 favorites on the money line. According to sports betting database BetLabSports.com, money-line favorites of $10,000 or greater were 58-0 since the 2004-05 season.

• Caesars sportsbooks in Indiana were heavy on the Badgers, with four times more point-spread bets on Wisconsin than on Illinois. "Nice win on the spread," Jeff Davis, Caesars' head of risk, said of the action in Indiana. "We took eight bets, totaling $90 on the Illini money line. Someone bet $300 to win $3 on Wisconsin."

• Bookmaker William Hill took a $100 money line on Illinois at 25-1 and won $2,500 and a $100 money-line bet on Wisconsin at -10,000, which would have netted a $1 profit.

CFB notables

• After losing to the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines are 0-8 straight-up as underdogs under coach Jim Harbaugh. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Wolverines are the only team without a win over an FBS team as a 'dog in the past five seasons.

• Roughly seven times as much money was bet on the Michigan-Penn State game on Saturday as was bet on Game 6 of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.

• In early lines of the games of the year, the SuperBook had the Alabama Crimson Tide listed as 10.5-point favorites over the LSU Tigers for their Nov. 9 showdown. The book took the game off the board and will not be reposting it until more news is available about the injured ankle of Crimson Tide starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at most books, Tagovailoa left Saturday's game against Tennessee with a high-ankle sprain. He's expected to miss at least one game.

"If he were to miss that game [against LSU], obviously LSU would be favored," Salmons of the SuperBook said. "They may be favored by over a touchdown. If Tua was going to start, I still think that spread is going to be less than a touchdown."

• "We actually had a losing day of college football," the SuperBook's Murray told ESPN. "BYU winning outright [over Boise State] really hurt us at the end of the night. There was a house player who tied a bunch of parlays to BYU money line, and he did very well. "We basically gave back our entire day of college football to that player."


Odds & ends

• New Jersey sportsbooks accepted $445 million in bets in September, the state's largest month since it began to regulate sports betting in June 2018.

• Pennsylvania sportsbooks accepted nearly $195 million in bets in September, the largest month since the state began regulating sports betting in November.

• The Oregon Lottery launched online sports betting last week. Oregon is the eighth state to authorize full-scale online sports betting, the second west of the Mississippi River after Nevada. To start, the Oregon Lottery will not allow betting on college sports.