Scenes from Sin City: Florida State fan has plenty to celebrate in Vegas

Each week during football season, Covers writer Colin Kelly will be in the Las Vegas sportsbooks profiling bettors just like you, sharing their Sin City stories, big wins, bad beats, and all the fun stuff that’s supposed to “stay in Vegas.”

Late Saturday evening in the sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas, there were some Notre Dame fans anxiously waiting out the end of the game at Stanford. For a brief, fleeting moment, they entertained the prospect of the Fighting Irish not only covering as 4-point road underdogs, but winning outright and staying firmly in the college football playoff conversation.

Then the Cardinal got a last-second field goal to pull out a 38-36 victory. The Irish bettors still got to cash their tickets, but they weren’t nearly as eager to talk, disconsolate over Notre Dame blowing its chance at a national title run.

So it required finding someone else excited to discuss a better outcome. Like Florida State fan Tyler Ackland, who was watching the final seconds tick off in the Seminoles’ dominating 27-2 victory over rival Florida at the Swamp.

“I’m not a big gambler, but when you’re here in Vegas and you can bet, you might as well, and especially if you can bet your home team,” said Ackland, a Florida State graduate.

Ackland was in Las Vegas from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, for the long holiday weekend, celebrating Thanksgiving and his 28th birthday with girlfriend Brittany Brockel and his mom and step-dad. He got down a straight bet on Florida State, and a two-team parlay of the Seminoles at -2.5 and Louisiana State at -5 in its game against Texas A&M.

He was a little surprised at the Noles being 2.5-point road chalk, but it didn’t cause much hesitation.

“Absolutely, I didn’t think it was any problem, -2.5, that’s too easy,” he said. “But I don’t know if I would have bet it if it was -3.”


Ackland and his family had a Thanksgiving feast fit for the sportsbook.

Well, it wouldn’t have mattered in this case. The Gators got absolutely nothing going on offense, which was very much a surprise to Ackland.

“Not a touchdown, not even a field goal?” he pondered. “If someone had told me that before the game, I would’ve told them they were crazy. I would’ve bet a million dollars against that happening if someone told me that.”

Good thing he didn’t get that opportunity. Instead, he cashed both his tickets, with LSU topping A&M 19-7. Ackland wouldn’t reveal the amount of his bets, but did indicate it was a fairly significant win.

“Enough for this trip. That’s why I haven’t moved out of this seat the whole time. If you’re gonna go, go big, right?” he said, while giving credit to his better half for the FSU wager. “For the record, Brittany was the backing for me betting this. We were talking about it this morning, and she said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

To which Brockel chimed in: “Why wouldn’t you take a 2.5 spread?”

Ackland said he’s been to Vegas a few times previously and made some bets on Florida State, but hasn’t gotten the satisfaction of cashing a ticket. So Saturday’s effort, with his birthday upcoming at the stroke of midnight, snapped that streak.

“I lost every other time I’ve bet them,” he said. “This is absolutely fantastic. I’m with family, my girlfriend, it’s Thanksgiving, my birthday, and now the Noles win. And it might be a free trip!”

Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly29.



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