National Football League
Cowboys loss huge for sportsbooks: 'Packers outright was as good as it gets'
National Football League

Cowboys loss huge for sportsbooks: 'Packers outright was as good as it gets'

Updated Jan. 16, 2024 9:48 a.m. ET

There was a seismic shakeup Sunday in the NFL Super Wild Card Weekend odds market. And the public betting masses saw their weekend crumble as a result.

How well did oddsmakers do on the Green Bay Packers' shocking blowout of the Dallas Cowboys? Carl Johnson, manager of BetMGM's Beau Rivage sportsbook in Biloxi, Mississippi, summed it up thusly:

"It was a great month for us today."

Think about that for a second if you need to.


Bookmakers across the nation echoed Johnson's sentiments while breaking down the NFL betting weekend so far. Let's dive into the action.

Pack Whacks Cowboys

Inside The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, an hour or so before the Packers and Cowboys kicked off on FOX, executive director John Murray assessed the need/liability.

One point he stressed: Moneyline parlays were stacking up, tying the Cowboys to the Buffalo Bills. Bettors were looking at that combo as the free space on a bingo card.

"We'd take a Green Bay cover. But if we can get Dallas or Buffalo to lose outright, we'd really clean up," Murray said.

Bring on the mops and brooms. Green Bay, a 7-point road underdog, darted to a 27-0 first-half lead and stretched out to 48-16 in the fourth quarter. Dallas got a couple of garbage-time touchdowns, but this game wasn't nearly as close as the 48-32 final indicated.

"It was a great result for us," Murray said. "We did very well on the first-half, in-progress and full-game markets."

Indeed, into the second quarter, in-game bettors were still firing on Dallas, despite Green Bay taking a 14-0 lead.

"They gave up pretty early on, by the second quarter. But there were a lot of bets by then," Murray said.

RELATED: 2024 Super Bowl odds: 49ers still favored, Lions move up

Near-Historic Decision

Zachary Lucas, director of retail sports at TwinSpires Sportsbook, knew pregame that Dallas was a serious liability issue.

"There's a landslide of money on Dallas. We're up to our neck in liability," Lucas said.

After the Packers' big win, when Lucas had time to do some accounting, he realized just how big a boon it was for the sportsbook.

"It's the best playoff result I've seen outside of a Super Bowl," Lucas said.

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said the Packers provided a big boost to his ledger.

"We needed Green Bay," Andrews said. "The teasers and moneyline parlays on Dallas were monstrous. It knocked out a lot of that stuff. It's a huge result."

Added BetMGM trader Christian Cipollini: "That was the one game this weekend we really needed. Packers outright was as good as it gets."

But Wait, There's More

The Packers' upset continued a rough weekend for the public/casual betting crew. On Saturday, several sportsbook operators –  including BetMGM, Caesars Sports and DraftKings – reported heavy Cleveland action for the Browns' game at Houston.

Money was flowing on the point spread of Browns -2/-2.5, and also on Cleveland moneyline, generally in the -140 range (bet $10 to win $17.41 total). But rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Texans rumbled over the Browns 45-14. Stroud was aided by his defense securing two pick-sixes in the second half.

"That was huge. We had nothing but Browns bets. It was a great start to the playoffs," Cipollini said. "Between the Texans and the Packers, this will already be a winning weekend."

In other words, for BetMGM – and surely many other books – the Sunday/Monday profit won't be undone by whatever happens in Monday's two-game finale to Super Wild Card Weekend.

About the only solace for the betting masses: Kansas City's 26-7 home victory as a 4.5-point favorite against Miami on Saturday night. So the game fell favorite and Under. Bettors, warned all week about the extreme cold heading to K.C., pounded the Under, which closed at 43.5 combined points.

"We did very well on the Browns-Texans game, not too well on Dolphins-Chiefs," Murray said of The SuperBook's fortunes. "Chiefs to the Under was our worst-case scenario. That was a really bad game for us."

Can C.J. Stroud lead the Texans on a deep playoff run?

I Like Big Bets And I Cannot Lie

The money was flowing in Las Vegas and across the nation, with bundles of big bucks bet on Super Wild Card Weekend odds. This BetMGM customer didn't have to sweat his $105,000 play on Packers +7 (-105): 

The bettor profited $100,000, for a total payout of $205,000.

Caesars Sports had a host of major wagers over the weekend on the games and on the Super Bowl futures odds market. Among the bets:

– $200,000 Browns moneyline -135 vs. Texans. That did not turn out well for the customer.

– $154,000 Packers +7.5 vs. Cowboys. Bettor profits $140,000, for a total payout of $294,000.

– $40,000 Rams +5000 to win the Super Bowl. The potential win would've been worth $2 million, but alas, L.A.'s season ended Sunday night.

Likewise, a DraftKings customer dropped a bundle on the Browns – $100,000 at +3000 to win the Super Bowl, a potential $3 million profit – only to see Cleveland fail to advance beyond Super Wild Card Weekend.

Caesars also took a $10,000 bet Saturday on Steelers +12500 to win the Super Bowl. As noted above, Pittsburgh is a 10-point underdog at Buffalo, so getting beyond Monday will be surprising enough. If somehow the Steelers go all the way, the customer would profit $1.25 million.

And a bet made with Caesars way back in Week 1 – before the Cowboys blew out the New York Giants 40-0 – also fell by the wayside this weekend. The customer put $100,000 on Dallas +1600 to lift the Lombardi Trophy for a potential $1.6 million win.

With Dallas ultimately having a strong season and getting the No. 2 seed in the NFC, the bettor probably felt like his ticket would survive the first week of the playoffs. But that's the NFL for you, which is a good reminder to keep things reasonable. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.

What went WRONG for Jalen Hurts, Eagles in STUNNING loss to Buccaneers?

Finish With a Bang

As if the bookmakers didn’t garner enough of the betting masses’ money from the Packers’ upset of the Cowboys, Monday brought more of the same. That was mainly due to the completion of the Eagles’ huge collapse.

Philly got its helmet handed to it in a 32-9 loss to Tampa Bay. Public/recreational bettors were still on the Eagles, despite their 1-5 finish in the regular season – a stretch in which they went 0-6 against the spread.

"This was a huge result on an already great weekend for the book," BetMGM trader Seamus Magee said late Monday night. "It definitely knocked out a ton of Bills-to-Eagles moneyline parlays."

Earlier Monday, Buffalo beat Pittsburgh 31-17 to cover as a 10-point favorite.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He's based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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