Sportsbooks off the hook
FanDuel was just two seconds away from losing over $10m on Sunday night in the NFL regular-season finale between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.
The savior for FanDuel Sportsbook was Raiders’ kicker Daniel Carlson, who sailed a field goal home as time expired in overtime to secure a dramatic 35-32 win for his team and save a bunch of sportsbooks from losing millions of dollars had the game ended in a tie.
MarketWatch reporter Weston Blasi took to Twitter to confirm FanDuel’s confirmation of its close shave with a multimillion-dollar loss:
This unique scenario meant if the Raiders-Chargers game ended in a tie, both franchises would clinch a postseason berth while keeping the Pittsburgh Steelers out. Sensing the long-shot chance of an NFL tie-game — an occurrence with a probability of under 1% — thousands of bettors got their wagers in.
Typical sportsbook odds for an NFL tie are about +6000, or 60/1. However, as sportsbooks received an increasing amount of wagers as the game drew closer, they dropped their odds considerably to lessen their huge liability. According to MarketWatch, DraftKings shortened its odds to +1400 about an hour before the game kicked off.
Close to making history
Wins by underdogs Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon set the scene for Raiders vs. Chargers. Whichever franchise lost would miss the postseason, while the winner would make the playoffs. Both teams would make the playoffs, though, with a tie. Some bettors even bought into the theory that both teams could — if they had a mind to guarantee their playoff spots — kneel down before every play and end the game 0-0.
Bettors took to Twitter with photos of wagering slips with long odds and big payouts, should the game end in a tie. Before the game kicked off, DraftKings liability was sky high, with its sportsbook director Johnny Avello fretting: “It could get worse and probably will.”
ESPN Chalk’s gambling beat writer David Payne Purdum also got onto Twitter to reveal that PointsBet was on the hook for over $1m:
Carlson’s 47-yard field goal on the final play of overtime, however, saved several sportsbooks from the most expensive tie in NFL betting history.
Steven Spielberg couldn’t have written and directed a better script.”
As a relieved Avello said after the overtime drama: “Steven Spielberg couldn’t have written and directed a better script.”
A fairy-tale ending, Mattress Mack aside
While Carlson’s kick left the majority of bettors with wagers riding on the tie heartbroken, an unidentified New Jersey bettor hit the big time, winning a net $115,000. The bettor placed a $1,000 parlay bet via WynnBet on a Jaguars win and the Chargers-Raiders to finish all square at the end of regulation.
Alas for Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, he was back to his losing ways after he placed $2.5m on the Alabama Crimson Tide to beat the Georgia Bulldogs and win the NCAA title on Monday night.
Bleacher Report Betting went onto Twitter to share Mattress Mack’s two big bets ahead of the college football bowl game, which the Bulldogs won 33-18:
On November 2, McIngvale lost the $3.5m he bet on MLB’s Houston Astros to beat the Atlanta Braves in the 2021 World Series. The furniture magnate has, however, another shot at redemption. Later on in November, he placed two wagers totaling $2m on the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LVI. The Patriots’ odds of 23/1 at the time of McIngvale’s bet would see him pocket $46m if the Pats hoist the Lombardi Trophy.