Starting with Friday night’s Wisconsin game, word had spread in most of the major Las Vegas sportsbooks that a single bettor had bet anywhere from $10,000 to more than $100,000 in straight and parlay wagers mostly on Wisconsin and Ohio State.
We hadn’t even reached the juicy portion of the weekend, but all eyes were already focused on the Badgers to see if they could cover the 34-point spread against Western Kentucky.
It didn’t happen.
The strip was buzzing about the gigantic loss, but the bettor wasn’t fazed one bit.
Nicknamed “Duffel Bag Boy”, this deep-pocketed player is a familiar face at the South Point, William Hill and Westgate. His MO is to enter the book with a large duffel bag chock-full of cash.
“He came right back on Saturday and dropped $160,000 on Ohio State straight at -39,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill. “In the end, he may still have profited on the day.”
As hard as that is for the average player to put his or her brain around, this was just an average weekend during football season for the books.
While the big bettors can make a sportsbook manager sweat a little, they know the public money will offset their losses.
According to Tim Fitzgerald, the sportsbook supervisor at the South Point, the guys on the other side of the window made out just dandy in Week 1 of college football.
“We won $62,000 alone on the Notre Dame-Michigan game,” Fitzgerald noted. “We also won pretty big on Texas-Maryland, BYU-Arizona and Navy-Hawaii.”
John Murray, the manager of the Westgate SuperBook, added to the chorus of happy bookmakers.
“The biggest bet game of the weekend for us was Notre Dame-Michigan with most of the money bet on the Wolverines. That was a good win for us,” he said.
Murray also said the book had big wins with LSU’s victory as an underdog against Miami and that Texas’ loss as a 13.5-point favorite to Maryland was big in killing off parlays.
They also made out well in Oklahoma’s blowout against Florida Atlantic.
“We also took sharp money on Florida Atlantic (+18.5). We had a few groups come in on FAU, so we knocked them down a bit. Needless to say that didn’t work out for them.”
Of course, the books don’t win on every game, and there were two games in particular that burned a hole in pockets behind the window.
“Like everywhere else in town Alabama was not good for us and was our biggest loser. We also took significant losses on Ohio State,” Murray added.
Looking ahead to Week 2, Murray believes that people will overreact to key losses by Michigan and Texas.
“Michigan had a few more yards and won the time of possession battle vs. Notre Dame,” he said. “The Wolverines were hardly dominated, and Notre Dame is a solid team playing at home. I think Michigan will rebound, but they do have a tough schedule ahead of them.
“As for Texas, that was a tough spot playing a very emotional Maryland team, and the Longhorns had just about everything go wrong in that game. I really like Tom Herman and think he will steady the ship for Texas,” he concluded.
While the college football world will wait and see if Michigan and Texas can bounce back, the bettors here in Vegas are wondering the same about the now infamous “Duffel Bag Boy.”
“He already wagered $110,000 with $50,000 on a three-team parlay of Ohio State (-36), Oklahoma (-31) and Boise State (-33),” Bogdanovich said. “He also bet a $60,000 two-teamer on Ohio State and Oklahoma (-31).”