Legal betting makes wild return to Florida

Last week, New York reported taking more than $2 billion in sports bets in a month, the first state to surpass the milestone, and Colorado disclosed that bettors had wagered $12.5 million on table tennis in September.

Yet, the wildest wagering storylines of the week came out of Florida.

On Sunday, a bettor with Hard Rock casino’s newly reopened online sportsbook in Florida won $5.5 million on a four-leg, same-game parlay on the Houston TexansCincinnati Bengals game.

The four legs on the parlay were:

• The Texans to beat the Bengals.

• The game to go over 44.5 points.

• Texans running back Devin Singletary to score a touchdown.

• Singletary to go over 51.5 rushing yards.

Singletary rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown, and the Texans kicked a field goal on the final play for a 30-27 win over the Bengals. It resulted in one of the largest parlay payouts ever reported by a U.S. sportsbook. But it wasn’t even the wildest bet of the first week of legal betting’s return to Florida.

Hard Rock’s online sportsbook in Florida had been closed for two years, while a legal battle played out all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since reopening last Tuesday, a source familiar with the action said million-dollar bets have not been uncommon. The wildest one came in on a midweek MAC football game.

On Wednesday, a bettor in Florida placed two bets totaling $1,546,000 on a one-win Kent State team against Bowling Green.

The bets:

• $1.12 million on Kent State +10.5 (-115)

• $426,000 on Kent State money line at +325

Bowling Green won 49-19.

Jon Chapper, senior director of communications for Hard Rock Digital confirmed the bets to ESPN, but declined to disclose whether they were from the same player who won the $5.5 million parlay. Chapper said the type of large bets that had been placed this past week-including on lower-profile games — were consistent with the wagering-that the sportsbook had seen when it was open for roughly a month in November 2021.

“With such a large and diverse population, nothing is ‘low profile,'” Jon Chapper, senior director of communications for Hard Rock Digital told ESPN in an email. “We see great interest in wagers across our deep betting markets. That said, we’re always performing due diligence, especially on large wagers.”

Hard Rock also reported last week taking a $1 million on the Detroit Pistons (+8.5) against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The 76ers won 114-106.

Shahrouz Ebadian, a tech executive in Fort Lauderdale, is no stranger to big bets. He’s regularly flown to Las Vegas in the past and more recently New Orleans to place his bets that have ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 and larger during his wagering career.

Ebadian told ESPN he was surprised by the size of the bets being reported by Hard Rock, but playfully questioned some of the bettors’ picks. He was sitting a bar with his girlfriend when he first saw the news of the big bets on Kent State on social media and didn’t believe it. He later was told by a Hard Rock VIP host that the bet was real and that the same bettor was back betting again the following day after losing on Kent State.

“Why the hell would somebody put a million [dollars] on a 1-8 team? Why would you do that?” Ebadian said. “But the amounts, I think you’re going to see that all the time down here. I know there’s money in New York, where it’s legal too, but I think South Florida is a different animal.”

NFL betting notables

• Sportsbooks reported mixed results on Sunday’s NFL games. Caesars Sportsbook called it a “break-even” day, while the SuperBook said the results were “OK” for the house. The betting public won on the 49ers blowout of the Jaguars, the Lions’ win over the Chargers, and the Steelers’ win over the Packers. The best games for the books were the Texans’ upset of the Bengals, and the Browns’ upset of the Ravens.

“The morning was very good with the Texans and Browns really helping us out, but we gave a lot of it back in the afternoon,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook in Las Vegas, said.

“We had far more losing games than games that we did well on,” Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, told ESPN on Sunday night as the prime-time game between the Jets and Raiders was kicking off. “For now, it’s definitely a week for the players.”

Overall, underdogs were 5-8 against the spread, with six outright upsets, in Week 10, ahead of the Monday Night Football game between the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. Eight of the 13 games went over the total.

• San Francisco running back Christian McCaffery was the most-heavily backed player in multiple sportsbooks’ anytime touchdown scorer markets. Entering the early kickoffs, McCaffery had attracted twice as much money wagered as any other player in DraftKings’ touchdown-scorer market. McCaffery failed to find the end zone in the 49ers’ rout of the Jaguars, ending his streak of 18 consecutive games with a touchdown.

• The Raiders topped the Jets 16-12 on Sunday night. Primetime games are 24-7 to the under this season.

• The Bengals were the most popular pick in Circa Sports Survivor contest this week, with 422 of the remaining entries riding with Cincinnati. The Texans’ upset of the Bengals eliminated 36.7% of the remaining contestants, who are vying for an $8 million prize.

• The Texans were 200-1 to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season and only one team — the Buccaneers — attracted less money wagered on their Super Bowl odds than Houston at BetMGM. Houston is now 100-1 to win the Super Bowl at ESPN BET.

Week 11 lines

via ESPN BET; as of Monday

College Football betting notables

Oregon QB Bo Nix emerged as a consensus odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at sportsbooks after the Ducks’ 37-26 win over USC on Saturday. Nix entered the weekend as a co-favorite at +150 with Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Odds to win the Heisman Trophy

via ESPN BET; as of Sunday

Notable college football opening lines

via Las Vegas-based sportsbook Circa Sports

• The total on Saturday’s Rutgers-Iowa game closed at 27.5, the lowest of any FBS college football game since at least 2000, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Iowa won 22-0, kneeling down at the Rutgers five-yard line to run out the final minute of the game.

Pullen of Caesars Sportsbook said they booked the game in way to where they would need the under.

“It’s new territory for bookmakers and bettors alike,” Pullen said of the record low totals on Iowa games. “It’s unprecedented. We haven’t seen it before, a total in the 20s with no weather. But the under keeps cashing.”

Eight of 10 games involving Iowa this season have gone under the total.

In contrast, all 10 of LSU’s games have gone over the total.

By the Numbers

• $2.0 billion — The amount wagered in September with New York sportsbooks, a record for a single month in any U.S. jurisdiction.

• $12.5 million — The amount bet on table tennis in September with Colorado sportsbooks.

• -5.5 (-115) — The early line on next week’s Ohio State-Michigan line at FanDuel. The Wolverines were 5.5-point home favorites over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended from coaching during games through the end of the regular season as part of an investigation into allegations of improper sign-stealing. Michigan is attempting to overturn the suspension.

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