The Buffalo Bills may have gone into Minnesota as 17-point underdogs, but they left as winners, stunning the Vikings 27-6 behind rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
According to ESPN, the win was the biggest upset in the NFL in terms of point spread since 1995, when the Washington Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys despite coming into the game as 17.5-point underdogs.
Allen Shines in Historic Upset
Allen completed 15 of 22 passes, throwing for 196 yards and one touchdown while running for two more scores in order to pick up his first win as a professional quarterback.
“This is a tough place to play. That’s a good Vikings defense,” Allen told reporters after the win. “It just solidifies the trust that I have in my teammates.”
While upsets of this size have certainly happened in the NFL, they are rare. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there have been 160 games in the Super Bowl era with spreads of at least 17 points. In those games, the favored side has only lost outright 15 times.
Overall, the result was a big win for the bookmakers, as many bettors made big money line wagers on Minnesota in the hopes of locking in a small but almost certain profit. The Review-Journal reported that one bettor at a William Hill sportsbook lost an $18,000 bet that would have paid $1,000 had the Vikings won, while a gambler at an MGM Resorts sportsbook lost a six-figure bet that would have earned them a $10,000 profit if Minnesota came out on top.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there weren’t lucky bettors on the other side of the action. Both William Hill and South Point reported taking numerous $1,000 money line bets on Buffalo that paid anywhere from 10/1 to 12/1.
Underdogs Stun Patriots, Jaguars
Buffalo was one of six underdogs to win outright on Sunday. To many, the most surprising upset may have come on Sunday night, when the Detroit Lions had little trouble in a 26-10 rout over the New England Patriots despite coming into the game as seven-point underdogs.
The victory was the first of the year for the Lions, and the first of Detroit head coach Matt Patricia’s career. Beating his mentor, Bill Belichick, likely made that first win even more meaningful for Patricia.
“I’m sure it meant a lot, his first win as a head coach,” said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford after the game. “Probably no sweeter than to do it against your old team.”
The Tennessee Titans also claimed an upset victory, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 9-6 in a game that came down to an exchange of field goals between the two sides. Jacksonville entered the game as a 10-point favorite, but couldn’t get past their old nemesis Marcus Mariota, who came off the bench to lead the Titans over the Jaguars for the fifth time in his career.
“Jacksonville has been favored over us these last couple of games because people look at papers,” said Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. “They don’t pay attention to how we play.”