One bettor in New Jersey saw it coming — way back in September.
Leading up to the NFL season, FanDuel offered odds on when teams would notch their first win of the year. In September, a bettor placed a $100 wager on the Jets to win their first game in Week 15 against the Rams at 120-1. The bet paid $12,100 after the Jets stunned the Rams 23-20.
From 1978 to 2017, underdogs of 17-plus-points won only three times, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. With the Jets’ upset on Sunday, an underdog of 17 or more points has now won in three consecutive seasons.
For more on the Jets’ victory, here is this week’s Notable Bets, our weekly recap of the storylines from sportsbooks around the nation.
• The Jets closed as consensus 10-1 underdogs on the money line against the Rams. At William Hill sportsbooks, only 6% of the total dollars wagered on the money line was on the Jets. The rest was on the Rams, including a $1,000 bet at -2,000 that would’ve netted $50.
• The sportsbook at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, didn’t take its first spread bet on the Jets until 20 minutes before kickoff, sportsbook director Tom Gable told ESPN. “Literally, no wagers on the Jets all week,” Gable said. “We did have a few brave souls who took the Jets money line, though, at +950.”
• The largest reported money-line bets on the Jets at William Hill sportsbooks were $250 and $200, each at 11-1.
• The Jets winning outright killed close to 80% of all parlays on the game at BetMGM sportsbooks in Nevada, according to sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback.
• Sportsbooks had been offering proposition wagers on whether the Jets would finish the season 0-16. After Week 3, sportsbook PointsBet made the Jets 18-1 underdogs to not win a game this season. Entering Sunday’s game, the Jets were -255 favorites to go winless. PointsBet communications director Patrick Eichner told ESPN that the liability on the prop market was approaching six figures. The liability was erased with the Jets’ win Sunday.
• The Jets’ upset of the Rams produced the biggest win of any game for PointsBet.
• The betting public swarmed to the Chiefs, having to lay only a field goal against the Saints. Sportsbooks reported that upward of 90% of the money bet on the game’s point spread was on the Chiefs, yet the line dropped from its opening number of -3.5 to -3 and even dipped to -2.5 at some sportsbooks.
“Some sharp money came in [Saturday] afternoon on the Saints,” Stoneback said.
• The Chiefs-Saints game attracted the largest handle of the week at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, including a $70,000 bet on the Saints +2.5. Kansas City won 32-29.
“There was plenty of Kansas City support on the money line and at -2.5,” said John Murray, executive director at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. “And a lot of Saints +3 money as well, so that Chiefs three-point victory would’ve been a really bad scenario for us without that wager.”
• BetMGM books in Nevada had a big decision on the Sunday night game between the Browns and Giants, thanks primarily to the largest reported bet of the day — $250,000 on the Browns -6.
• Other big bets reported by BetMGM:
$220,000 on the 49ers -3 (Cowboys beat the 49ers 41-33)
$220,000 on the Buccaneers -6 (Bucs beat the Falcons 31-27 but did not cover)
$200,000 on the Saints +3 (push)
• Johnny Avello, sportsbook director for DraftKings, pointed to the Cowboys’ upset of the 49ers, the Bears’ upset of the Vikings and the Falcons covering the spread against the Buccaneers as the best games for his book on Sunday.
• Notre Dame is the biggest underdog in College Football Playoff history. The Fighting Irish opened as high as 21.5-point underdogs to Alabama. The consensus number was +19.5 late Sunday night. The Crimson Tide were 15-point favorites over Oklahoma in their 2018 semifinal game, the previous largest point spread in CFP history.
Clemson opened as a 7-point favorite over Ohio State in the other semifinal.
• Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management for the SuperBook, said his power ratings had Texas A&M slightly higher than Notre Dame. The Aggies finished fifth in the playoff rankings.
Salmons said if he had to make a line on a Alabama-Clemson championship game right now, he’d install the Crimson Tide as 7-point favorites.
• Other notable opening bowl lines via Las Vegas sportsbook Circa Sports:
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida (-3)
Orange Bowl: North Carolina vs. Texas A&M (-5)
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Iowa State (-3)
Peach Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Georgia (-8)
Alamo Bowl: Texas (-11) vs. Colorado
Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State (-4) vs. Miami
• A bettor in Iowa placed a $45,000 money-line bet on Ohio State to beat Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday at -1,300. The bettor won a net $3,461 when the Buckeyes rallied from a halftime deficit to win.
• The betting handle on the SEC championship game between Alabama and Florida dwarfed the amount wagered on either of Saturday’s NFL games at the SuperBook, according to Salmons.
Odds and ends
• Slip on the virtual reality goggles and launch the platform, and you could find yourself sitting at a bar or even inside a stadium with your buddies, watching — and potentially betting on — the same game.
“This is the future,” Shay Segev, CEO of Entain, a partner of BetMGM, said.
Last week, Entain and Verizon Media announced a joint venture that will combine emerging technologies like 5G, virtual reality and augmented reality to create “realistic, immersive experiences for sports fans, such as being in the stadium, participating in play and competing and betting on outcomes.”
Segev envisions friends meeting virtually at a game while sitting at home by using the virtual reality headsets, and potentially competing among themselves at halftime or simply experiencing what it would be like to be on the field with professional athletes.
“To win in the future we need to understand where consumers will be in five, 10 years’ time and work with other global businesses also investing in that,” Segev said.
Segev said he hopes to see prototypes of the new product sometime in 2021.
Three questions with …
… PredictIt founder and CEO John Phillips
PredictIt, an American political prediction market, settled many of its state-level presidential election markets last week and informed traders that it plans to settle all presidential markets no later than Jan. 6, when Congress meets to declare the official election outcome.
Q: How would you describe the interest in the presidential election markets this year on PredictIt?
A: President Trump and the last four years have been a blessing for PredictIt. Volatility and unpredictability, spiked interest, trades and investments. The markets were vastly more accurate than pollsters by every measure.
Q: What were the deciding factors that drove you to settle some of the markets?
A: Settling markets, like settling elections, is more science than politics. It demands an appreciation and familiarity with the details of constitutional procedure and precedents. Even markets where the future of the free world is not at stake require clearly written rules and the enlistment of experts equipped to make the call based only on the facts. You don’t want to get these big ones wrong. So far, so good.
Q: What has been the reaction from PredictIt traders during the delay in settling markets?
A: The good thing about PredictIt’s structure as a stock market is that a trader doesn’t have to wait for us to settle the market to exit their position. For everyone selling a Biden or Trump share, there was someone else willing to buy it after the election at a price they agreed to. It will come as no surprise that our traders are engaged. It’s their right to pound the table and voice their opinions. But deep down, they know how the markets work and they respect our decisions even if it costs them a few dollars. And I respect them for that.