Late Texas A&M TD shifts $5 million
A "meaningless" touchdown at the end of the Texas A&M-Alabama game swung an estimated $5 million in bets across sportsbooks in Las Vegas, Jeff Sherman, assistant manager of the Las Vegas Hotel SuperBook told ESPN.com on Saturday.
Sportsbooks closed with Alabama at anywhere from 8- to 9½-point favorites.
The Crimson Tide were set to cover after Jalston Fowler caught a 5-yard pass from Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron with 2 minutes and 28 seconds left in the game. But a late drive by A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, capped by a 4-yard pass to Malcome Kennedy with 15 seconds left, made winners out of those who bet on A&M to cover the spread.
Alabama took possession after a failed onside kick by the Aggies, and the No. 1 team in the nation prevailed 49-42.
Sherman said that, before kickoff, about 55 percent of the bets were on the Crimson Tide as well as a majority of the money, so that most books came out on top. William Hill, which runs 75 sportsbooks throughout Nevada, said A&M covering netted them a total of $200,000.
"It was the biggest game of the day," said Nick Bogdanovich, the company's director of trading. "When you add up what we made and you figure another book made $500,000, you're definitely in the millions."
Bogdanovich says he thinks the swing was worth more than $5 million.
"You have to factor in that there were a lot of people who had three-, four-, five-team parlays with Alabama on it, that lost their whole ticket because they didn't cover," Bogdanovich said. "A lot of the early favorites were covering."
The result wasn't positive for all. The director of one sportsbook, who spoke anonymously to ESPN.com, said his book lost $200,000 from A&M's final drive.