The discussions among pro bettors began early last week. They were targeting a big favorite.
By Saturday, wise guys from around the nation were primed to pounce on a rare opportunity, and they had the betting public's infatuation with Deion Sanders' Colorado Buffaloes to thank for it.
Oregon, a three-touchdown favorite over Colorado, was being offered at a significantly discounted price to win the game straight-up. Typically, the money-line odds on a 21-point college football favorite are around -1,200, meaning you'd have to risk $1,200 to win $100. But on Saturday, some sportsbooks were so inundated with money on the Buffaloes to spring the upset that bookmakers dropped the price on Oregon to as low as -700 to attract some money on the Ducks. It worked.
"This was on the level of Mayweather-McGregor," longtime professional bettor Bill Krackomberger told ESPN.
In that fight, the betting public loaded up on the underdog McGregor, who was making his boxing debut, against undefeated Mayweather, causing the odds to dip dramatically leading up the fight. A similar situation played out Saturday on the Colorado-Oregon game.
Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said his shop took two $500,000 money-line bets on Oregon from a customer in Michigan and "a lot" of six-figure money-line bets on the Ducks.
"We still had liability on Colorado, that's for sure," Mucklow said.
John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook in Las Vegas, said the public "wouldn't stop betting Colorado," which caused him to lower the price close to kickoff on Saturday. Some "very wise guys" pounced on the discounted price on the Ducks. "We still did great on that game," Murray added.
In a social media post Saturday afternoon, veteran Las Vegas bettor Steve Fezzik wrote that the "worst bettors in the world" were betting Colorado on the moneyline, making it an "amazing great bet."
"A strong bookmaker with job security would have written a zillion +600 tickets [on Colorado]," Fezzik told ESPN. "But they have to report to the suits above, so many bookmakers panicked and dropped the [moneyline] down to as low as -700 to get playback."
Krackomberger said he bet $39,500 on Oregon to win a net $5,000 on Friday night, and another $21,000 on the Ducks to win a net $3,000 on Saturday, before kickoff with two Las Vegas sportsbooks.
"I just couldn't resist," Krackomberger said.
Oregon won 42-6.
Four of the five most heavily bet teams at DraftKings -- the Dolphins, Bills, Lions and Chiefs -- easily covered the spreads in blowout wins, but a handful of outright upsets was enough to produce a winning Sunday for multiple sportsbooks.
"It was a decent to good Sunday," said Adam Pullen, the assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook.
Pullen said the best game for the house was the underdog Colts' overtime win over the Ravens, thanks primarily to a $220,000 bet on Baltimore, which was among the largest reported NFL wagers of the weekend.
Sunday was brutal for survivor contestants. The No. 1 selection this week in Circa Sports' $9.2 million survivor contest was the Jacksonville Jaguars. More than 2,400 entries picked the Jaguars to beat the Houston Texans. The Texans won 37-17. The Ravens and Cowboys, who each lost, were also popular picks in the contest.
The Dolphins covered the six-point spread by 44 points in their 70-20 rout of the winless Denver Broncos. It was the biggest cover margin since 2020, when the Patriots covered the spread by 47 points in a 45-0 win over the Chargers.
DraftKings reported taking a $600 bet during the game on Miami -45.5 at +175 odds that won.
The Dolphins opened as 2.5-point road underdogs to the Bills in the marquee game of Week 4.
"That should give you an idea of how highly we think of [Miami] right now," Murray of the SuperBook told ESPN. "They're at the very top of the league, with San Francisco and Kansas City."
Sportsbooks may post a bad line from time to time, but they rarely miss a marketing opportunity. One of DraftKings' offerings this weekend was titled "Red Zone Romantic" and featured a four-leg same-game parlay featuring Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, whose crush on pop star Taylor Swift has garnered media buzz. Swift attended the Chiefs game against the Bears. More than 11,300 people placed the "Red Zone Romantic" parlay, according to DraftKings.
Week 4 opening lines [via Caesars Sportsbook]
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 45.5)
Denver Broncos (-1.5, 44.5) at Chicago Bears
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4, 41) at Houston Texans
New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5, 43)
College football notables
Trailing Notre Dame 14-10 with 1:26 to play, Ohio State started a drive at its own 35-yard line. At that point, the Buckeyes were +135 to score a touchdown on the drive, according to odds-provider SimpleBet. The drive ending in a turnover was a -180 favorite. The odds of Ohio State scoring a go-ahead touchdown on the drive got as long as +270, when the Buckeyes were facing a third-and-19 with 15 seconds remaining. They'd score on the last play of the game to pull out a 14-10 win.
Will the betting public's love affair with Coach Prime and Colorado end after the blowout loss to Oregon? The Buffaloes opened as 21-point home underdogs to USC at Circa Sports. The line quickly grew to USC -24. "Some people will be put off by [Colorado's] performance and say it's over," Pullen of Caesars Sportsbook said. "You would think there's going to be a drop-off."