From the moment the Dallas Cowboys defeated the 7-point favorite New Orleans Saints outright on Thursday night, in a game where the total score of 23 was less than two-thirds of the Saints’ average point tally this season, there was a feeling that it was going to be a wacky weekend in sports.
And boy was it ever.
Not only would several down-and-out NFL teams like the hometown NY Giants go on to enjoy upsets over playoff contenders, but boxing fans were treated — and we do use the word lightly — to a heavily controversial decision in the the first heavyweight title fight on PPV in the U.S. since 2006; one that likely had bettors unleashing their “Fury.”
An infuriating decision
In what has become a saddening trend in the boxing sphere (see GGG v. Canelo 1), yet another high-profile matchup was left in the hands of at least one judge who had no business scoring a fight. This time around that judge was Alejandro Rochin, who saw Saturday’s Tyson Fury v. Deontay Wilder heavyweight fight 115-111 in favor of Wilder.
Wilder did knock down Fury twice in the match, once in the ninth with a thudding punch that appeared to stun Fury more than hurt him, and once in the 12th, in which Fury channeled Adonis Creed in his fictional contest against Pretty Ricky Conlan, rising from the dead and staying alive until the final bell rung. However, throughout the rest of the fight, Fury dominated, utilizing his awkward boxing style to great effect. Wilder may have stolen a couple of rounds, which along with the two knockdowns makes a 113-113 score (which was how another judge saw it) within the scope of possibility, but 115-111? Sounds like someone really wanted to see a rematch … just saying.
Overall, we’re guessing that NJ online sportsbooks did quite well on the fight, as those who bet on either fighter to score a KO or decision lost due to the lack of a draw option. Two-way money line bettors fared better, as on sites like FanDuel Sportsbook, they were refunded their investment. In this scenario, a draw counts as a no-contest.
FanDuel also offered a three-way money line, in which better odds were offered in exchange for the inclusion of the draw option. Bettors who took their chances on this wager went home empty, with Fury bettors a victim of Mr. Rochin.
Amidst the chaos, one adventurous bettor scored big, as FanDuel reports taking a $5,000 bet on a draw at 33/1 odds at its land-based Meadowlands venue, resulting in a mammoth hit of $165,000.
Clearly, the books had Fury winning the fight as well, as the opening line on Play SugarHouse for a rematch sees Fury as a -148 favorite to win the unconfirmed, but nearly inevitable, bout. That’s essentially a role reversal of the pre-fight line, where Wilder was between a -150 to -170 favorite in the hours leading up to Saturday night’s fight.
Roll Tide bettors avoid a sweat
In what amounted to a pretty crafty and calculated publicity stunt by FanDuel Sportsbook, the book paid out National Champion Futures on Alabama ahead of the Tide’s SEC Championship Game against Georgia. Including parlays, FanDuel took a nearly $400k hit on the decision, although as US Bets Managing Editor Eric Raskin points out, “FanDuel was paying $105,000 above expectations.” A substantial sum? Yes, but well worth the goodwill.
Interestingly enough, Alabama almost lost its perfect record 24 hours after FanDuel’s display of generosity, as the Georgia Bulldogs jumped out to an early 13-0 lead before ultimately succumbing 35-28.
Bettors can still wager on Alabama to win the National Championship, although there will be no early payouts. On FanDuel, the odds are currently listed at -250. A prospective title match between Alabama and Clemson has the Crimson Tide listed at -4.5 favorites, down from -8 when it opened. If the matchup doesn’t occur, all bets will be voided and returned to patrons.
Other odds and ends
- With the outright loss to the ‘Boys, the Saints dropped to a still impressive 9-3 against the spread.
- The underdog Giants, Arizona Cardinals, and Jacksonville Jaguars all joined Dallas in winning outright over playoff contenders.
- To little surprise, the most popular betting game of the week on Play Sugarhouse was Alabama v. Georgia.
- The biggest win for bettors on Play SugarHouse was UCF’s 56-41 win over Memphis. Eighth-ranked UCF struggled in its 25th straight win, going into the fourth quarter down 41-35, but then got serious and rolled off 21 unanswered points.
It looks like DraftKings Sportsbook is going all-in on its new Pools format. After trialing it for NFL, the format has been expanded to include NBA and NHL slates. That being said, we noticed that the guaranteed prize pools (which started off at $200k) for this week aren’t all that impressive: $2,500 for NHL and $10,000 for NBA and NFL. Oh well, at least the buy-ins have been dropped to just $3 for NFL and $5 for other sports.
Players might notice that the payout formula for sports pools has been changed. Instead of rolling over any unclaimed prizes to the next week, which occured when no single player selected every winner, pools now pay out 30% split between those with the best score relative to other entries, 27% to players with the second best score, 23% to the third best score, and 20% to the fourth best. The rake on pools is still a hefty 15% if they fill, so they’re probably not worth it if you’re looking to make bank.
Still, there is likely to be some overlay value to be had. Be on the lookout.
Also, for tonight’s Redskins v. Eagles game, FanDuel is offering odds boosts on the first touchdown scorer. Josh Adams has been lifted from +550 to +700 and Adrian Peterson from +1000 to a pretty generous +1300. FanDuel has also lifted the odds on the Eagles to win by 10+ points from +140 to +160. A fair case can be made for this wager, although it’s still a fade in our books.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
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