Rovell’s College Football Week 1 Vegas Report: Duffle Bag Boy Is Smashing Illinois


Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Lovie Smith

Aug 31, 2019, 10:00 AM EDT
  • Darren Rovell spoke with bookmakers around the country about Week 1 of the College Football season.
  • A deep-pocketed bettor who goes by the moniker "Duffle Bag Boy" bet $50,000 on Illinois to cover against Akron three separate times.

Happy Week 1 everybody. Although the college football season officially started last weekend with a pair of games, the 2019 campaign starts in earnest starting on Thursday night.

Plenty of people will be talking up Thursday’s Utah-BYU game or Clemson’s season opener against Georgia Tech, but the game that is actually drawing the most attention from bookmakers in Vegas is not what you’d call a marquee matchup.

What Is The Deal?

Believe it or not, but the most intriguing game this weekend, from a betting market perspective at least, is Akron at Illinois (-18) on Saturday afternoon. The famous “Duffle Bag” bettor was reported by Covers to have dropped $55,000 to net $50,000 on Illinois to cover the 17-point spread against the Zips. Then, we heard from Cantor Gaming that the same bet was placed at their shop twice (once at -17 and once at -18).

Were Cantor’s two also from the infamous bettor? Cantor’s Tony DiTommaso said he couldn’t say whether the two bets his sportsbook took were from the same bettor or if it was related to a “Duffle Bag,” but he was willing to say “he’s a regular with us.”

From a public standpoint, the thought is: Why would anyone throw that type of dough down on Lovie Smith, whose teams have won 9 of 36 games in three seasons?

Phil Steele tells us that the Illini have actually won 21 straight home openers by an average of 24 points and in their four wins last year, they actually put up a ton of points (39.5 point per game average). But they’ve also only been favorites in 12 out of the last 50 games (24%) and covered 7 out of 12 (58%).