An exciting weekend of NFL football with six wild-card games finished as a winning week for most sportsbooks, mostly due to the Cleveland Browns’ 48-37 upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Underdogs went 4-2 against the spread and Overs were 4-2.
The Steelers-Browns game was the most-bet game of the weekend at PointsBet, and 69 percent of the bets and 82 percent of the spread handle was on Pittsburgh. The Steelers had more than 80 percent of the money at several other sportsbooks as well, although one bettor at BetMGM was victorious on the largest wager of the day: A $500,000 bet on the Browns +5.5. The Browns’ upset win was massive for sportsbooks, knocking out every moneyline parlay and teaser with the Steelers in it — as well as ones tied into Monday night’s Alabama-Ohio State game.
One FanDuel bettor won more than $100,000 on a six-team, alternate-spread parlay that had a final leg of Pittsburgh +15.5. The Steelers converted a fourth down and scored a late touchdown to help the winner cash the ticket.
Books needed the Steelers win because the Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) beating the Tennessee Titans, 20-13, and the New Orleans Saints (-11) defeating the Chicago Bears, 21-9, were both great results for bettors. More than 65 percent of the spread handle in both games at multiple books was on the favorites, and the Ravens-Titans game was the most-bet game of the weekend at The Borgata in Atlantic City.
“As we sit now, the great day that we had on Saturday pretty much has been given right back to the betting public today in the first two games,” Thomas Gable, Borgata sportsbook director, told VSiN before the Sunday night game. “Both favorites winning and covering dealt the book a big loss, and there is still a lot of liability outstanding on Pittsburgh tonight with all of the parlays and teasers still alive.”
Two big bets on the Saints — $210,000 on Saints -10 and $176,000 on Saints -10.5 — cashed at BetMGM, helped by the Bears scoring a touchdown as time expired, but not being able to try the two-point conversion. The NFL changed that rule in 2018 following the Minneapolis Miracle, ending the game after a touchdown if it doesn’t impact the outcome.
On Saturday, sportsbooks had a winning day, as all three underdogs covered against the closing number and the Los Angeles Rams (+3) won outright — 30-20 over the Seattle Seahawks. It was Russell Wilson’s first playoff loss as a home favorite (7-0 previously).
“Saturday’s games were pretty good, as we had all three dogs cover,” Station Casinos sportsbook director Chuck Esposito told VSiN in an email. “Sunday, all the late action was on the Ravens in the early game. Bettors did well on that game and the Saints, but [keeping those games Under] really helped. Having both the Titans and Bears cover the first half was also good for our side.”
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews echoed Esposito’s sentiments, telling VSiN, “Saturday was great. [Sunday is] a wash, maybe a slight plus.”