Hundreds of like-minded NFL bets were placed at multiple sportsbooks on Saturday night.
Most were of short stature, from Michigan, New York, and Virginia. But they weren’t with the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, New York Jets, or Washington Commanders. No, the flood of bets that started on Saturday night and lasted until Sunday was a kicker of all things.
Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM each said they took around 500 bets on over/under 1.5 field goals from Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. All bets were on the over at around even money. The largest of the bets at Caesars was $520. No other kicker prop attracted more than 26 bets.
The Carlson bets can be traced in part to a 30-year-old New Jersey sportsbook who prefers to be called Ducky and specializes in obscure player-prop bets. He hosts a show on the BeardedBettors podcast and blogs on Patreon called Duck Pond. He says he has around 1,900 subscribers and enjoys handicapping foosball, among other niche prop markets.
“You know those bets that everybody flips through at DraftKings or Caesars and says, ‘Who the hell is betting on that?'” Ducky said with a chuckle during a phone interview Sunday. “I bet. I kick props. If there was a punt prop, I would do it.”
Around 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Ducky made a recommendation to back Carlson over 1.5 field goals, noting that the Broncos have No. 1 in red zone defense and that the Raiders are in each of their top three Games have attempted at least two field goals. Ducky’s post helped ignite the betting storm.
Johnny Avello, sportsbook director at DraftKings, told ESPN that they received “a ton” of overbets on the Carlson prop and “only a handful on underbets.”
“If the logic holds, the masses will hunt and follow,” Avello said.
Caesars Sportsbook executives said that while there was a lot more betting on a foosball prop than normal, the liability wasn’t big enough to get their attention. However, player props will become a much larger part of the action, they said.
“Props are almost the whole job,” said Eric Fenstermaker, senior trading manager at Caesars Sportsbook. “Sometimes a group will post a prop on Twitter or Reddit or wherever they’re posting and you’ll be bombarded with people making limit bets. So you’re shifting those numbers right away, but something like that [Carlson prop]where the tickets are so small, it just doesn’t hit our radar.”
“You’d be surprised to see what the tickers look like on game day,” added Adam Pullen, deputy commercial director of Caesars Sportsbook. “It’s a lot of props.”
Carlson, who started Sunday with 32 straight field goals, scored four in the Raiders’ 32-23 win over the Broncos and contributed, albeit slightly, to what several sportsbooks said was the first Sunday loss the NFL season was.
• After taking it in the chin in the first three weeks of the NFL season, the bettors hit back in Week 4 and handed multiple sportsbooks their first loss of the season.
“This was our worst Sunday of the season so far, a day after our best Saturday,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
Caesars and WynnBet were also among the sportsbooks reporting lost Sunday afternoons. The Raiders, who covered the spread in their win over the Broncos, the Cowboys, who covered in a win over the Commanders, and the Arizona Cardinals, who covered in a win over the Carolina Panthers, were among the top games for bettors.
The New England Patriots, who covered the spread in an overtime loss to the Packers, were the best game for several bookmakers, but it still wasn’t enough to pull them out of a hole that went into Sunday night’s game between Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It’s definitely a change from the first three weeks when the results were pretty solid,” said Pullen of Caesars Sportsbook.
• With Hurricane Ian approaching Florida, the Chiefs were a 3.5-point favorite over the Buccaneers during the week. The line fell late in the week as the storm rolled past, ending Tampa Bay as a 2-point favorite.
On Wednesday, 77% of the money bet on the game’s point spread was with the Chiefs at PointsBet. By Sunday morning, the action had completely flipped, with the Buccaneers holding 53% of the money.
“There was a lot of money coming in on Tampa all week,” said Murray of the SuperBook. “We had a bad start [line], Posting Chiefs -3, and was hit early and often. And there was one final run of sharp play in Tampa when they shut out all of those receivers.”
• At PointsBet, bettors backed Aaron Rodgers to throw more than 1.5 touchdowns against the Patriots. Of the hundreds of bets placed on Rodgers’ passing touchdowns, only one was on the under. Rodgers threw two touchdowns as the Packers held off the Patriots 27-24 in overtime.
• Bettors at Caesars Sportsbook undercut Josh Allen’s passing touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens. Under 1.5 Allen Passing TDs attracted the most bets and money of any other under prop. Allen ended the Buffalo Bills’ 23-20 comeback win over the Ravens with a touchdown pass.
• While the NFL is by far the most popular American sport for sports betting in the UK, it is still eclipsed by football. At William Hill UK Sportsbook, the bet on the New Orleans Saints-Minnesota Vikings moneyline was only “1-2%” of the bet on the winner Manchester City-Manchester United, according to William Hill’s Head of US Sports Chris Randall. Both games were played in London on Sunday. The moneyline is the most popular way to bet on the NFL at UK sportsbook.
On the other hand, Murray said he doubted the grip in the Man City-Man U game in Las Vegas was even 5% of the action in the Saints-Vikings game.
• Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett got his first regular-season action in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the New York Jets. On Mojo, a New Jersey-based platform that allows customers to buy and sell stocks based on an NFL player’s career performance, Pickett’s share price rose 17% from $18.46 to $21.75. At the same time, the stock price of the player Pickett replaced, Mitch Trubisky, saw the stock price fall over 13% from $27.03 to $23.36.
College Football Personalities
• A bettor at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas placed a $545,000 moneyline bet on USC to beat Arizona State at odds of -4,500. The bettor won a net $12,777.80 as the Trojans defeated the Sun Devils 42-25.
BetMGM also reported taking a big money line bet on heavily favored BYU to beat Utah State: $85,000 at -2,500 odds. BYU trailed early but prevailed 38-26 and the bettor netted $3,400.
These types of huge money line bets on strong favorites are not common, but they do happen more often than most people would think.
“It can be a sharp bettor or a big-money public bettor,” Pullen said. “A lot of people feel safe betting on a team just to win and not have to cover a big spread. But history shows that’s not the best angle in collegiate sports. surprises happen.”
• A bettor at Caesars Sportsbook in New York placed a two-legged $10,000 moneyline parlay on underdogs Florida International (+500) and Georgia Tech (+1,050). FIU beat New Mexico State and Georgia Tech upset Pittsburgh and the bettor won $680,000.
• Notable college football opening lines:
(via Circa Sports) Auburn near Georgia (-28, 47.5)
Texas (-5, 60.5) vs. Oklahoma
Tennessee (-4, 66.5) at LSU
TCU (-5, 50.5) in Kansas
Texas Tech in Oklahoma State (-11, 68.5)
Utah (-3, 65.5) at UCLA
Ohio State (-23, 61.5) in Michigan State
BYU at Notre Dame (-3, 51.5)
Texas A&M at Alabama (-20, 47.5)
• Air Force defeated Navy 13-10 on Saturday, staying below the 37.5 total. Since 2001, Unders are now 50-11-3 in Commander-in-Chief trophy games involving Navy, Air Force and Army and 22-2-1 since 2014, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
• The four games that attracted the most one-sided point spread action at Caesars Sportsbook Saturday were: Georgia v Missouri, Minnesota v Purdue, Penn State v Northwestern and Baylor v Oklahoma State. All four teams failed to cover the span, and three of the four lost outright.
https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/34711150/kicker-prop-bets-attract-wild-betting-interest-losing-sunday-sportsbooks Kicker prop attracts wild betting interest on losing Sunday for sportsbooks