Clemson’s 35-31 upset win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship shocked the sports world and may have toppled Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide dynasty. But nowhere was the loss felt more acutely than in Las Vegas, where bookmakers have been lamenting the “chaos” caused by the Tigers’ unexpected win.
ESPN interviewed several bookmakers in Vegas and they claimed Clemson’s upset win plus the “over” being hit, caused a disaster for the house. Here are a few quotes ESPN managed to squeeze out of prominent people in the industry:
“It was as bad as a result as humanly possible,” William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich, a veteran Las Vegas bookmaker, told ESPN on Tuesday morning.
Bill Sattler, director of specialty games for Caesars Entertainment, said Clemson winning in a high-scoring game produced “the worst loss in any college football game I can remember.”
The reason for such a huge loss for the bookmakers? A ton of the early money came in on Clemson, after the Tigers opened as a 6.5- to 7-point underdog. Despite Alabama being the overwhelming favorite, bettors favored Clemson after its dominant win over Ohio State and Alabama’s lackluster performance against Washington in their respective semifinal games.
Hill claimed his company took a seven-figure loss, while the MGM has admitted that it lost “in the high six figures,” which included a $55.000 bet on Clemson to win outright.
Bookmakers estimated to ESPN that $15 million to $20 million was bet on the game statewide in Nevada, and the bulk of that cash favored Clemson.
So while Alabama and Nick Saban lick their collective wounds over a devastating last-second defeat, Las Vegas will be commiserating with the Tide and doing the same thing.