Updated January 2, 2022 - 11:21 pm
Down 17-13 in the fourth quarter and facing fourth-and-2 with its season on the line, the NFL team from Las Vegas fittingly rolled the dice and went for it.
The gamble paid off as Derek Carr found Hunter Renfrow for an 11-yard touchdown pass that gave the Raiders a 20-17 lead en route to a 23-20 win over the Colts as 8½-point road underdogs (and +320 on the money line).
The victory, which put Las Vegas a win away from the playoffs, was the biggest outright upset Sunday and one of the best results for the city’s sportsbooks on what they reported was a solid winning day.
“Winning outright was a huge outcome for us,” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “That was such a gutsy win by them. I thought they might play a little inspired with (legendary coach) John Madden’s passing, and that’s what they did.
“You’ve got to give them credit for going into Indianapolis and winning because the Colts are a solid team.”
Raiders underdogs to Chargers
The Raiders opened as 3-point home underdogs to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18’s regular-season finale at Allegiant Stadium. Win and they’re in the postseason.
“We will be cheering them on regardless of the liability next week to get them into the playoffs,” Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “It will be great for the city and great for business if they make it.”
BetMGM will lose six figures if the Raiders make the playoffs. They opened at +275 to make the postseason and closed at +225.
The betting public was all over the Colts in a game that saw the line swing from Indianapolis -7½ to -1½, when quarterback Carson Wentz was placed on the COVID-19 list, and back up to 6½ when there was a chance he could play. The line soared to 8½ on Sunday when Wentz was cleared to play.
“We were huge Raiders fans (Sunday),” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “I was really impressed with the way they played. The Colts were one of the hottest teams in football.”
Favorites went 8-6-1 ATS. Other big winners for the books were the Cardinals, who stunned the Cowboys 25-22 as 6½-point underdogs; and the Jets, who covered as 14½-point home ’dogs in a 28-24 loss to Tampa Bay.
Take your pick on what was more surprising at New York — Bucs receiver Antonio Brown leaving the field shirtless in the middle of the game or the Jets opting for a quarterback sneak that was stuffed on fourth-and-2 at the Tampa 7 instead of kicking a field goal that would’ve put them up seven with 2:17 left.
That was ample time for Tom Brady to produce a winning 93-yard TD drive.
“If we could’ve got the Jets to win outright, that would’ve been one of the bigger wins of the season,” Kornegay said. “But we’ll take it.”
Washington (+6, lost 20-16 to Philadelphia) and Baltimore (+7, lost 20-19 to the Rams) covering in losses also were good results for the books.
The biggest winners for bettors were the Chargers (-7½, beat the Broncos 34-13), Seahawks (-9, beat the Lions 51-29), Patriots (-17, beat the Jaguars 50-10), Packers (-12½, 37-10 over the Vikings) and the Bears, who whipped the Giants 29-3 as 6½-point favorites.
“There are not many times when the Bears cover that we lose money,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said. “But this time we did.”
Bettors also cashed in on the Titans (-3), who destroyed the Dolphins 34-3 to reclaim the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed from the Chiefs (-3½), who squandered a 21-7 lead in a 34-31 loss to the Bengals.
Five entries (from a starting field of 4,080) are still alive in the quest for the $6 million winner-take-all prize in the Circa Survivor contest. And three of those $1,000 entries are still eligible for the $1 million bonus prize if they go 20-0 and select the Chiefs or Buccaneers in Week 18.