Dolphins Pull of Biggest NFL Upset Since 1995: All the Big Bets That Cashed

Dolphins Pull of Biggest NFL Upset Since 1995: All the Big Bets That Cashed article feature image
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Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Fitzpatrick

4 p.m. ET: The Dolphins did it, beating the Patriots outright after closing as 17.5-point favorites on Sunday. According to our researcher Evan Abrams, this is the biggest NFL upset since 1995, when the Redskins, also 17.5-point underdogs, upended the Cowboys.

The Patriots’ flop had a huge impact on sportsbooks all over America. William Hill, the largest retail sportsbook in the country, took a massive $74,430 bet on the Patriots moneyline pregame. It would’ve only profited $4,651.85 had New England prevailed.

Then there’s the other side of the equation … the longshot bets that paid off in a big way. Here are a few notable ones that we’ve heard of:

  • $2,400 on the Dolphins moneyline at +430 (PointsBet). Profited $10,320.
  • $1,000 on the Dolphins moneyline at +1000 odds (SuperBook). Profited $10,000.
  • $744.55 on the Dolphins moneyline at +850 odds (William Hill). Profited $6,328.
  • Three separate bets of $500 on Dolphins moneyline at +1000 odds (William Hill). Profited $5,000.

In total, Jeff Sherman from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook told The Action Network that his book had $5,000 in total of Miami moneyline bets. They paid out $50,000 in total.

Besides the Dolphins’ win over the Patriots on Sunday, here are the biggest outright upsets this season:

  • +14: Falcons over Saints (Week 10)
  • +13.5: Lions over Packers (Week 17)
  • +11: Dolphins over Colts (Week 10)

12:50 p.m. ET: The Titans are in a win-and-in situation against the Texans on Sunday — and one bettor at William Hill has faith Tennessee won’t crumble under the pressure.

This bettor put $120,000 on the Titans -5.5 to win $100,000. It’s the biggest bet we’ve heard of headed into Week 17.

11 a.m. ET: Week 17 of the NFL season is always wonky. Bettors and bookmakers are in a race all week to be the first to react to players sitting out.

Most Sundays, the line movement in the NFL market is caused by the market, but in the final Sunday of the season a lot of adjustments are made on news.

Take Titans vs. Texans, for example. Early in the week, Bill O’Brien said that Houston would be “playing to win.” That caused the line to dip from Tennessee -5.5 to -3.5. Even though O’Brien was playing his cards close to his chest about the lineup, this isn’t the first Week 17 rodeo for the bookies in Las Vegas.

“We opened Titans -5.5 and took considerable support for Houston,” Jeff Sherman of the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, said. “We were anticipating that Houston’s key players would be sitting out, despite what O’Brien said.”

Houston will be resting most of its starters — including quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the line has jumped to Tennessee -7 or -7.5 around the market. By inviting all of that Texans money early in the week, the Westgate has set itself up so that they need Tennessee to cover against Houston’s backups.


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Eagles (-3.5) at Giants

The Philadelphia Eagles clinch the NFC East with a win in the Meadowlands. Usually in these situations the public will hammer the team with something on the line against one that is just playing out the string. That seems to be the case for this game as Sherman noted that the public has hit Philadelphia while sharp money has come in on the Giants.

The Westgate also took one of its largest wagers of the week — a $22,000 bet (to win $20,000) on Giants +4. Even with the public backing Philadelphia, Sherman said the Eagles are among the SuperBook’s biggest needs this week.

Sharp money has hit the Giants at PointsBet, too. According to Matt Chaprales, the outfit’s head of content, respected bettors have driven down this spread even though the Eagles are getting the majority of the action.

“Sharp positions on the Giants have moved this line against the weight of money, as it’s dropped from 4.5 to 3.5 despite about 80% of the handle on the Eagles,” Chaprales explained.

Steelers (-1) at Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens will sit Lamar Jackson and other key starters against the Steelers, who need a win and a Titans loss to make the postseason. This game kind of bucks the Week 17 trend as both recreational and professional bettors seem to be backing Baltimore.

“The number has steadily moved against the Steelers,” Chaprales said. “The movement was driven by some sizable sharp positions on the Ravens at +2.5 and +2. Line is currently down to pickem, with over 85% of the money on Baltimore.”

Jets at Bills (-1)

The Bills are locked into the 5-seed in the AFC, so Sunday’s game against the Jets means nothing. Head coach Sean McDermott said his starters will play, at least for a while, even with nothing on the line.

Sherman said they took a $22,000 bet on Jets +1.5 and noted that they’ve seen some sharp action on the Jets. The Westgate counts Buffalo as one of its biggest needs on Sunday.

PointsBet is reporting a different pattern.

“Most of the volume is on the moneyline given the very short number, with the Jets owning about a 3-to-2 edge on the ticket count, but about 70% of the handle is on the Bills,” Chaprales explained. “Those who have gotten involved on the side have primarily played the Jets.”

Chiefs (-10) at Chargers

Unsurprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs are the most popular side of Week 17. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are 10-point home favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Kansas City still has plenty to play for and bettors aren’t afraid to lay the wood. According to our market-wide data, a whopping 81% of the tickets are on the Chiefs.

Sherman said that the Westgate is seeing plenty of public support for Kansas City and says they’ll need the Chargers big.

49ers (-3.5) at Seahawks

The winner of the last Sunday Night Football game of the season will take the NFC West crown. According to our data, this is already the most-bet game on the card, despite the late kick.

Sherman said the public is backing the 49ers at the Westgate, but Chaprales said Sunday Night Football looks like a classic Pros vs. Joes showdown at PointsBet.

“The public loves the Seahawks in a home ‘dog spot, with over 80% of the moneyline action on Seattle,” Chaprales explained. “Sharp action, meanwhile, has taken a strong a position on the Niners laying the three.”

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