Bettors who wagered on the Cardinals as 9½-point underdogs against the 49ers on Sunday suffered one of the worst beats of the NFL season. And those forced to settle for a push on Arizona at plus 10 probably felt like they’d lost.
After blowing a 16-0 first-half lead, the Cardinals led 26-23 with 31 seconds left when Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson Jr. to put the 49ers up 30-26.
But the game was far from over. Arizona fumbled and San Francisco turned the ball over on downs at the Cardinals’ 22 with six seconds remaining, giving Arizona one last chance.
On the game’s final play, Kyler Murray completed a 4-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald, who threw a lateral that landed on the ground. A scrum ensued and Cardinals lineman J.R. Sweezy batted the ball backward. Niners safety D.J. Reed picked it up at the 4 and returned it for a touchdown with no time remaining to give San Francisco a 36-26 victory and miracle cover or push for some of its backers.
Sharp action on Arizona drove the consensus closing line down to 10 after it opened at 13½. But the South Point, Circa Sports and Westgate sportsbooks each closed at 9½ and Caesars Entertainment had the line at 9 or 9½ most of the day Saturday.
“Believe it or not, the touchdown didn’t make that big of a difference,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “But the fact that they didn’t kick the extra point cost us a lot. If the Niners would’ve won by 11, that would’ve been a decent result for us. As it was, it was terrible.”
The NFL first implemented the rule last season that winning teams that score a touchdown with no time left in regulation aren’t required to attempt an extra point.
The rule was made in the wake of the Minneapolis Miracle, when Case Keenum threw a 61-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs on the final play of the Vikings’ 29-24 2018 playoff win over the Saints. Most players left for the locker room after the play. But after a lengthy delay, both teams returned to the field for the conversion try. Keenum knelt to end the game as Minnesota failed to cover the 5½-point spread.
Pats bury books
It was a great day overall for the betting public as favorites went 8-4 ATS and seven of 12 games went over the total.
“It was probably our second-biggest losing day of the year,” said Ed Salmons, Westgate’s vice president of risk.
The Patriots covered as 4½-point favorites in a 17-10 win over the Eagles that Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said “was our biggest single game loser of the season.”
An MGM Resorts bettor won $120,000 on New England on a pair of $66,000 straight bets (-4½, -5).
“For what feels like the millionth time, we got destroyed by the Patriots,” The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said. “By far the biggest loser of the day.”
The Cowboys covered as 7-point favorites in a 35-27 win over the Lions, who failed to convert a 2-point try with 5:49 left.
“It was the right call. They just didn’t make it,” Salmons said. “That was one of our biggest games. Everyone in the world was betting Dallas.”
Rocking chair winners
Books also lost big on the Saints, who were 5½-point favorites over the Buccaneers in a 34-17 win.
Other easy winners included the Bills, who cruised to a cover as 7-point favorites in a 37-20 victory over the Dolphins, and the Ravens, who rolled past the Texans 41-7 as 4½-point favorites.
“The Ravens, right now, look like the best team. They’ve seemingly shored up their defense,” Salmons said. “But New Orleans looks good. Drew Brees is still getting back in the swing of things.
“(Tom) Brady looks terrible. You can only rely on your defense for so long.”
The biggest win for the books was on the winless Bengals, who covered as 13-point underdogs in a 17-10 loss to the Raiders.
“Sharps and the public loved the Raiders,” Shelton said.
William Hill high roller
The William Hill Nevada mobile app was down for most of Sunday morning. But a William Hill bettor in New Jersey used his mobile app Sunday to place more than $2 million in wagers. The gambler lost $600,000 after dropping $570,000 on the Eagles (+4½) and $440,000 on the Buccaneers (+5) and winning $400,000 on the Colts on the money line (-140).
The same bettor won $400,000 on the Browns on Thursday and has a $440,000 straight bet on the Chargers (+4½) over the Chiefs on Monday.