Betting Dollars

Don’t Trust the Dallas Cowboys With Your Betting Dollars

As someone who is knowledgeable about sports yet is terrible at betting on them, I am always fascinated by people who are willing to drop tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single bet. Hell, I seem to lose money playing in free-betting contests. I have mixed feelings when these big bettors lose, though. On the one hand, schadenfreude is an amazing thing. On the other hand, I bristle at the waste of money and lament that it didn’t go to charity. Or me. So lets look at some betting horror stories from this past weekend in sports and feel emotionally torn.

Despite hating this asshole for betting six figures on a basketball game, I do kind of feel for him. Unless he was one of those guys whose soul is a blank when it comes to betting, he had to have been reeling as the end of this game neared.

It’s not fun to be on the wrong side of history

According to, the Australian sportsbook TAB took a $139,500 bet on the Dallas Mavericks to beat the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors. It was a money-line bet, so straight-up Dallas to win.

Dallas was winning 83-53 with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. That’s up 30 with about 15 minutes left in the game. Toronto had cut it to a 23-point deficit by the end of the third, but still, it was so bad that TAB stopped offering live bets on the game.

Our deep-pocketed bettor was probably sitting back, sipping a beer, and grinning at his easy win. But Toronto went on an epic run and ended up winning, 110-107. It was the biggest comeback of the decade, just in time for the decade to come to a close.

To illustrate how improbable the Raptors’ comeback was, ESPN Stats & Information reported that the Mavericks were just the sixth team in the shot clock era – the last 65 years – to lose a game when entering the fourth quarter with a lead of 23 points or more.

The Raptors were just the fourth team to win a game after being behind by 20 or more entering the fourth quarter since 2009-2010. That’s out of 1,671 teams.

Stop betting on the Cowboys

In the United States, one bettor just displayed pure, dumb arrogance in his massive loss. A customer put down a $405,000 bet at the Borgata on the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in a match to break a tie at the top of the moribund NFC East. Dallas was a slight 2.5-point favorite, but this was a straight-up, money-line bet.

Then, just before kickoff on Sunday, the dude bet another $78,000 on the Cowboys.

Sportsbook director Tom Gable told ESPN that 80 percent of the money was bet on Dallas for that game – it was the biggest game of the year for the sportsbook.

Philly won, 17-9 and the Borgata rejoiced.

The Borgata wasn’t the only casino that benefited from bettors somehow thinking that the Cowboys would actually put a winning streak together after winning a game the week prior. I mean, the Cowboys are a team whose head coach has been on the hot seat for a decade now. Stop trusting them!

Caesars senior oddsmaker Alan Berg told ESPN, “Eagles was our best game by a mile. We won twice as much money on Cowboys-Eagles as we took on the Jaguars-Falcons game.”

Even in Philadelphia, where one would expect to see Eagles money significantly outweigh Cowboys money, it was split. At Rivers sportsbook, money-line bets were 50/50.

One correct pick per week

Station Casinos in Nevada awarded $150,000 to the kind of bettor I can get behind. At the beginning of the NFL season, Station launched a “Last Man Standing” contest in which participants picked one game per week against the spread. Lose and you’re out. Win and you move on to the next week. The last person remaining wins.

The contest is very much like the traditional “survivor” pools, but those usually just require picking a team to win straight-up and most also don’t let you pick the same team twice.

Entries only cost $25 for the “Last Man Standing” competition. The NFL prize was minimum $150,000, while the prize for college games was $100,000. Winner take all. Those who signed up by September 2nd, 2019 were also eligible to win an additional $750,000 if they won both contests. One really cool thing was that all of the entry fees were put into the prize pool – Station did not take a rake.

The NFL contest had 6,492 entries, so there was no overlay. It came down to Week 16 this past weekend. One player picked the Buffalo Bills +6.5 over the New England Patriots, but barely lost, as the Pats won 24-17. The other finalist had the Miami Dolphins -0.5 over the Cincinnati Bengals in a matchup of two of the worst teams in the league. The Dolphins won by 3 to give that person the win.

The total prize amounted to $162,300.


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