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FSU wins, sportsbooks recoup millions

Florida State fans had a million reasons to smile after the Seminoles rallied to beat Auburn in the final minute of the BCS Championship Game.

Sportsbook operators had about 10 times as many reasons to smile.

“From what we have heard around the online world today, it sounds like a $10 million swing on that one pass from Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left,” said OddsShark.com NFL analyst Jack Randall.

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Several online sportsbooks had predicted disaster if Auburn upset top-ranked Florida State. One shop reported nearly two thirds of the betting action on Auburn at +10, a ton of Auburn wagers on the moneyline (Auburn to win straight up was about +250) and many more longshot future bets (from Auburn believers who wagered on their school weeks and months ago when the Tigers were 30-1).

Kevin Bradley of Bovada would not disclose numbers but said the swing was “massive.”

He had stated earlier in the week that an Auburn victory would be disastrous for the book because so much betting action was on Tigers, including huge amounts of moneyline wagers and expensive future payouts.

At one point early in the season, Auburn was a 200-1 longshot to win the BCS and they were 30-1 in November, as nobody expected them to defeat Alabama to make it to the SEC title game or the BCS final.

Another book reported a multi-million swing. “Everyone was exposed to Auburn on futures, so having them lose was a big deal and saved millions in payouts,” said one source, who asked to remain anonymous.

The game was headed in a similar direction as Super Bowl 42, when the New England Patriots were favored by 12.5 over the New York Giants. However, there was a lot of Giants money on the moneyline, meaning a Giants victory would reward bettors bigtime and cripple the sportsbooks.

The Giants won 17-14, sending New York bettors on the point spread and moneyline to the payout window. It was one of the worst days in sportsbook history and Monday’s game was headed down a similar path before FSU saved the day for themselves – and the sportsbook industry.