NFL underdogs surprise fans and save sportsbooks from big losses

November 20, 2023 2:54 PM
Photo: By All-Pro Reels - https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeglo/51703075690/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=112847361
  • Steve Chen — Special to CDC Gaming Reports
November 20, 2023 2:54 PM
  • Steve Chen — Special to CDC Gaming Reports
  • United States
  • Nevada

During Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season, underdogs Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears covered the point spread. It saved the sportsbooks from having to incur potentially heavy losses, given that 10 out of 12 favorites won over the weekend.

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Despite the Raiders’ 20-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Las Vegas team managed to cover the as 14-point spread. The Bears also covered as 8-point underdogs against the Detroit Lions.

Jay Kornegay, vice president of Westgate SuperBook, was thankful to the Raiders and Bears. “The Raiders and Bears are the only reason we’re still standing at this time.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Caesars Sportsbook lost overall on the day, but reported a small win from the Raiders game. However, Caesars still paid out $200,000 to a bettor who backed the Raiders at +14 and $100,000 to another bettor who backed the Silver and Black at +13.5.

Adam Pullen, Caesars’s assistant director of trading, said, “The biggest game for the public was the Jaguars,” adding, “that was our big loss.” The Jacksonville Jaguars, favored to win by 6.5, beat the Tennessee Titans 34-14. Caesars accepted bets of $200,000 and $175,000 on the Jaguars to cover that spread.

Chuck Esposito, sportsbook director at Red Rock Resort, commented, “The three monster early games we needed were the Raiders, Bears, and Panthers, and we got two of the three.”

Also winning and covering wide spreads last weekend were the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills at -11 and -8.5, respectively. This resulted in big wins for some bettors. The Dallas Cowboys dealt the SuperBook its worst result of the day by defeating the Carolina Panthers. Commenting on the low turnout of bettors backing the Panthers, Westgate SuperBook’s Kornegay said, “I don’t think we wrote more than three tickets on the Panthers.”