The Baltimore Ravens were an extremely popular bet during the NFL’s Week 10 action.
The Ravens, seven-point favorites on the road against the New England Patriots, entered the game with a 7-2 record, including an impressive 24-10 road win over the Indianapolis Colts last week. The Patriots, meanwhile, needed a late-game rally last week against the lowly New York Jets to snap a four-game losing streak.
Entering the weekend, the Ravens received the highest ticket percentage of any NFL matchup on the board at BetMGM. The Ravens covering the seven-point spread also had the second-highest handle percentage.
There were three massive bets on the Ravens. One bettor had $280,000 on the Ravens moneyline, a wager that would have yielded $93,000. Another bettor bought half a point and bet $235,000 on the Ravens -6.5. That bet would have paid out $174,074. Another bettor wagered $110,000 to win $100,000 on the Ravens -7.
Needless to say, MGM was rooting hard for New England on Sunday night. And when the Pats emerged with a 23-17 upset victory, it was a major boon for the sportsbook.
The Patriots took a 13-10 lead on a touchdown pass from receiver Jakobi Meyers to running back Rex Burkhead late in the first half, and extended that lead to 23-10 midway through the third. Baltimore cut the New England lead to just six late in the third and had three more turns on offense. However, the Patriots’ defense stood tall and sealed the upset.
With favorites going 5-1 against the spread in late games, the public was having a good day up until that point. But the Patriots upset actually ended up swinging the day into the green for the sportsbook.
The game “carried the day,” Jeff Stoneback, director of trading for MGM Resorts, told Yahoo Sports.
How big was the upset for the sportsbook? Jason Scott, BetMGM’s VP of trading, said New England’s win was the book’s “single-best result of the year in any football game.”
Browns bad beat big for book
Offense was hard to come by on Sunday with heavy winds whipping around FirstEnergy Stadium for the Cleveland Browns’ matchup with the Houston Texans.
The Browns were 4.5-point favorites and took a 10-0 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Nick Chubb touchdown run. However, the Texans cut that lead to 10-7 with 4:59 to go, so Browns backers were hoping for any sort of offense to push the outcome back in their favor.
The next Browns drive began at their own 3-yard line when Donovan Peoples-Jones muffed the ensuing kickoff, so things were looking bleak. The Browns relied on a heavy run game with Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and Hunt delivered with six straight runs to get the Browns two first downs.
With the Texans out of timeouts, the Browns were facing a third-and-3 from their own 40. That’s when Chubb took a toss, made a man miss and burst down the sideline.
Chubb had nothing but grass in front of him and no Houston defenders in his vicinity. Those who bet on the Browns to cover the spread were going nuts as Chubb raced toward the end zone. But that’s when disaster struck. Chubb went out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
— NFL (@NFL) November 15, 2020
From purely a football standpoint, Chubb’s decision was fine. Houston was out of timeouts, so the Browns were able to kneel out the clock and win the game. But Chubb’s touchdown would have put the Browns up by nine points. With a two-possession lead and under a minute to go, giving the ball back to Houston would have come at little to no risk.
And more importantly for bettors, it would have covered the 4.5-point spread. Instead, it yielded one of the worst beats of the NFL season so far. For BetMGM, though, the Texans covering the spread was one of their big wins of the day.
“We thought that was a loser as Nick Chubb was running down the sideline, but fortunately he decided to step out of bounds at the 1-yard line,” Stoneback said.
Bills-Cardinals a whirlwind finish for bettors
The most dramatic game of the day was the matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals. And it was extremely dramatic both on the field and with the point spread.
The Cardinals, who closed as 2.5-point favorites, overcame a 23-9 deficit to take a 26-23 lead entering the fourth quarter. The score didn’t budge until Josh Allen hit Stefon Diggs for a 21-yard touchdown to give Buffalo a 30-26 lead with just 34 seconds to play.
That set up one of the plays of the season thus far. After three straight completions got the Cardinals offense to midfield, Kyler Murray lofted a Hail Mary toward DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone. Hopkins, over three Buffalo defenders, managed to make an unbelievable touchdown grab to give the Cardinals a 32-30 lead.
The point spread was -2.5, so the Bills were still covering the spread. The extra point, all of a sudden, was extremely important and would have swung the betting outcome in the other direction. But the Cardinals did not even attempt the extra point.
Arizona kept the offense on the field and played it safe. Murray took a knee to avoid some sort of disaster on the extra point such as the Bills blocking it and returning it for a game-tying two-point conversion.
It was a smart play by the Cardinals coaching staff, but a brutal beat for those who bet on the Cardinals to cover the spread.
And it was another win for the sportsbook on what Stoneback characterized as a “quirky” game, along with the Browns-Texans game. Those two contests, plus the Patriots’ upset, were all BetMGM needed to produce a winning day.
“The Cardinals decided to take a knee on the extra point, so that wins it for us. Very odd wins for us but those three wins carried us for the day,” Stoneback told Yahoo Sports.
Week 10’s big winning bets
While BetMGM had a winning day overall, it still paid out a host of six-figure bets on Sunday.
Those bets included:
$230,000 to win $200,000 on the Las Vegas Raiders (-3) vs. the Denver Broncos; the Raiders won 37-12.
$110,000 to win $100,000 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6) vs. the Carolina Panthers; the Buccaneers won 46-23.
$110,000 to win $100,000 on the New York Giants (+4.5) vs. the Philadelphia Eagles; the Giants won 27-17.
$110,000 to win $100,000 on the Giants (+3) first half vs. the Eagles; the Giants led 14-3 at halftime.
$110,000 to win $100,000 on the Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) vs. the Seattle Seahawks; the Rams won 23-16.
$115,000 to win $100,000 on the Miami Dolphins (-2.5) vs. the Los Angeles Chargers; the Dolphins won 29-21.
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