Sports gambling fans who took a piece of the action in the recent college football game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Akron Zips out of Ohio walked away with some decent spending money, even though the Illini were heavily favored to win. Not only did those bettors score along with the team, sportsbooks also managed to score a victory thanks to the game and the entire Week One lineup.
Week One is often problematic for sportsbooks when it comes to college football. Lopsided games are not uncommon and setting the lines can be difficult. The Illini had a 17-point spread going into the game, and the team’s devastating performance over the Zips led to the spread being easily covered in a 42-3 thrashing.
One gambler, according to CG Technology, almost doubled his investment. The mobile sports gambling platform and sportsbook operator out of Nevada accepted a $55,000 wager that, because of the odds and the spread, resulted in the bettor picking up $50,000. The Westgate SuperBook wasn’t too far behind, accepting a similar bet for $30,000 on the spread. Other smaller wagers against the spread at different sportsbooks pushed the books’ losses into the six-digit range.
Although sportsbooks had to make several large payouts, they’re not upset over the Week One action. In general, they all came out ahead on the week as several Southeastern Conference (SEC) game favorites were defeated by their opponents. This upset the gambling balance while, at the same time, helping to offset the payouts made by the sportsbooks because of the Fighting Illini performance.
Four SEC teams that had been expected to win, and which would have received a considerable amount of attention from gamblers, ended up losing their shirts. South Carolina (11-point favorites), Tennessee (two-point favorites), Missouri (17-point favorites) and Ole Miss (5.5-point favorites) all lost, much to the delight of the sportsbooks and casinos.
One of those casinos was Caesars Resorts. It told ESPN that it took a six-figure hit because of the Illini-Zips game, but the rest of the week’s action helped it overcome the loss and it ended the week close to a new all-time high.