By most measures, the Kansas City Chiefs are clicking on all cylinders.
They won their eighth straight game Sunday to improve to 12-1, clinched their fifth consecutive division title and are the clear favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
But none of that mattered to bettors who lost money on the Chiefs (-7) over the Dolphins. Kansas City failed to cover the spread for the fifth straight game in a 33-27 win.
The Chiefs led 30-10 early in the fourth quarter and appeared to be cruising to a cover when Patrick Mahomes was picked off in the end zone for his third interception of the game. He had thrown only two in the first 12 games.
Miami scored two touchdowns to make it 30-24 with 4:15 left. Kansas City sealed the victory and appeared to bail out Chiefs bettors when Harrison Butker kicked a 46-yard field goal with 1:08 left for a 33-24 lead. But the Dolphins delivered a dreaded backdoor cover on Jason Sanders’ 44-yard field goal with 16 seconds left.
“That late field goal by the Dolphins really saved the morning,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Without that, it would’ve been a clean sweep by the bettors.”
If only Miami had clumsy Chargers coach Anthony Lynn at the helm instead of NFL Coach of the Year candidate Brian Flores, Kansas City probably would have covered.
Two weeks ago, the Chargers unsuccessfully tried for a touchdown instead of a field goal and onside kick at the end of a 27-17 loss at Buffalo. On Sunday, Lynn botched another prime scoring chance at the end of the first half against the Falcons.
After Los Angeles was stopped short of a first down on third-and-1 at the Atlanta 8 with 22 seconds left, it inexplicably failed to get off a kick before time expired.
“It was another Keystone Cops situation,” Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “There have been a handful of those situations over the last few weeks that are certainly embarrassing for that team.”
Los Angeles (-1) covered despite Lynn in a 20-17 win, as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw three second-half interceptions.
The Chargers were one of several winners for the betting public, which also cashed in on Tennessee (-7½, 31-10 over Jacksonville), Arizona (-3, 26-7 over the Giants) and Tampa Bay (-7, 26-14 over Minnesota).
“We were a medium-sized loser today,” MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said. “We got hit on some parlays in the morning.”
BetMGM bettors hit a $160,000 Titans-Rams parlay that paid $329,000 and a $120,000 Titans-Buccaneers parlay that paid $247,000.
A BetMGM bettor also won $200,000 on a straight bet on the Bills (-2), who beat Pittsburgh 26-15 on “Sunday Night Football.”
Bettors were burned by another backdoor cover by the Lions in their 31-24 loss to the Packers (-8½), who went ahead 31-21 on Mason Crosby’s 57-yard field goal with 3:30 left.
But Jamal Agnew returned the ensuring kickoff 71 yards to set up Matt Prater’s 32-yard field goal with 1:49 left.
“The last couple games were good for us or it could’ve been a really bad day,” Kornegay said.
Favorites went 8-6 against the spread. Four underdogs won outright: Chicago (+1, 36-7 over Houston); Denver (+4, 32-27 over Carolina); Washington (+3, 23-15 over San Francisco); and Philadelphia (+7½, 24-21 over New Orleans).
The biggest win for the books, by far, was the Eagles’ upset of the Saints in rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts’ first start. New Orleans had won and covered all eight games not started by Drew Brees the last two seasons before the defeat.
“From week to week in the NFC, it seems to change who the best team is,” Esposito said. “I really thought with the way the Saints played defense that they were far superior to anyone else and would shut down Hurts.
“That’s a bad loss for them. Now the Packers, who own the tiebreaker, are No. 1 in the NFC.”
Allegiant and over
The Colts closed as 2½-point favorites over the Raiders after late sharp money came in on Las Vegas. But Indianapolis left town with a 44-27 victory.
The game flew over the total of 52, as Raiders games at Allegiant Stadium are averaging 59.2 points and have gone over in four of six games (4-1-1).
“They’ve got to do something about that defense,” Kornegay said. “Hopefully they can turn that around. It would be great to see them make a run for the playoffs.”