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Josh McDaniels betting favorite to be 1st NFL coach fired

Updated September 25, 2023 - 7:03 pm

“Fire McDaniels” was trending on X, formerly known as Twitter, after Raiders coach Josh McDaniels’ decision to kick a 26-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-4 at the 8 with 2:22 left in their 23-18 loss to the Steelers at Allegiant Stadium.

The Raiders, who could’ve tied the “Sunday Night Football” game with a touchdown and two-point conversion, didn’t get the ball back until only 12 seconds remained and Jimmy Garoppolo then threw an interception.

McDaniels overtook Chicago’s Matt Eberflus as the 2-1 favorite to be the first NFL coach fired this season at BetOnline, an offshore sportsbook. The Bears fell to 0-3 after getting whipped 41-10 by the Kansas City Chiefs.

“After some hype about Josh McDaniels last season coming to the Raiders, it seems like the second time around with Bill Belichick didn’t make him a better candidate to be a head coach,” BetOnline sportsbook manager Adam Burns said in an email. “After a 6-0 start with the Broncos, he is 12-30 as a head coach. His decision-making has consistently been called into question, including last night’s choice to kick a field goal instead of going for a TD.

“Matt Eberflus was the favorite last week, and as bad as the Bears are, we feel an in-season firing would occur in Las Vegas before Chicago. They have a few tricky games coming up and their only win is by one point against the Broncos, who lost by 50 this week.”

Eberflus is now the +225 second choice to be the first coach fired and Washington coach Ron Rivera is the 3-1 third pick after the Commanders were crushed 37-3 by the Bills following comeback wins over the Cardinals and Broncos to start the season.

Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell is the 10-1 fourth choice, followed by Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley at 11-1, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh at 12-1 and Denver’s Sean Payton at 25-1.

Offshore books operate illegally in the U.S., and Las Vegas sportsbooks don’t offer odds on the first NFL coach to be fired.

The loss by the Raiders, who closed as 3-point favorites, was a win for the sportsbooks.

“We needed the Steelers. It was a solid six-figure win for us,” MGM Resorts director of trading Lamarr Mitchell said.

McDaniels’ decision to settle for the late field goal also kept the game under the total of 43½, dealing a blow to bettors who wagered on the over.

“Even if the Raiders covered, keeping it under was the key going into it,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said.

The Raiders trailed 23-15 with 3:11 left when they attempted a 48-yard field goal. But a leverage penalty on Pittsburgh gave them a first down at the 14. After two straight incompletions by Garoppolo at the 8, McDaniels sent the field goal unit onto the field.

“I was kind of surprised, to be honest with you, especially when they had the second opportunity and were so much closer,” Esposito said. “I really think you’ve got to try to put points on the board there because you never know if you’re going to get the ball back again.”

In fact, since the 2-point conversion was adopted in 1994, the Raiders are the only NFL team to attempt a field goal in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter when down by exactly eight points with less than five yards to go for a first down (or TD), according to OptaSTATS.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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