Scenes from Sin City: Spartans’ Big Ten triumph has MSU fan seeing green

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.”

Jim Dara is a 1991 graduate of Michigan State University. He lives in Detroit and is a dyed-in-the-wool Spartans fan.

So while on a junket to Las Vegas last weekend, he couldn’t help but place a couple sizeable wagers on Sparty against mighty Ohio State. But he was smart about it, to be sure.

“I put $200 on the moneyline, at +500, and $440 against the spread, at +14,” a joyous Dara said at Caesars Palace sportsbook, moments after Michigan State pulled the outright shocker, topping host Ohio State 17-14 on a last-second field goal. “The moneyline bet was a heart bet. That was just a slappy fan bet. But the line was out of whack, because there was so much money on Ohio State. Michigan State is very good against Top-10 teams. So here we are.”

Where he was turned out to be $1,400 better off than when he made those bets, which was a big surprise, because Spartans QB Connor Cook missed the game with a shoulder injury.

 

“I did not know the quarterback was out,” Dara admitted. “In fact, I texted my buddy before the game, when I found out, and told him, ‘I’m screwed. I just lost all my money.’”

Late in the third quarter, even getting all those points on the straight bet, he still thought he’d be tearing up both tickets.

“I was shitting my pants,” Dara said. “We had a really bad punt fumble, and they scored right away (to go up 14-7). I thought it was over then.”

But the Spartans blanked the Buckeyes the rest of the way, while notching the tying TD early in the fourth quarter before Michael Geiger booted the game-winner. It ended Ohio State’s 23-game SU win streak, which included last season’s national title game.

 

“For the first time this year, the defense gelled and showed up. Ohio State got 14 points off two turnovers, and other than that, they got nothing,” said Dara, while showering praise on ninth-year coach Mark Dantonio. “This program was in shambles when he got here, a really bad program. It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing.”

As Dara and his friends bounced out of the book, he pondered how amazing the rest of his Saturday evening would be with his bolstered bankroll.

“It’ll be a fun night, I think. As long as I don’t piss it all away!”

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

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