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Jets’ upset over Rams as 17-point underdogs major loss for bettors

Updated December 21, 2020 - 5:27 am

The Jets beating the Rams as 17-point underdogs Sunday for their first win was a veritable Christmas miracle.

But New York’s 23-20 victory was a painful loss for countless bettors, including 16 Circa Survivor contestants who selected Los Angeles and saw their season-long quest for the $1.39 million prize come to a stunning end.

Sixty-five entries remain from the starting field of 1,390 in the contest, which also guarantees a $1 million undefeated bonus prize if an entrant goes 18-0 for the season (including an extra week on Thanksgiving).

Bettors lost on a prop at Las Vegas sportsbooks that the Jets would join the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.

But the real damage to bettors was done on halftime wagers on the Rams. With New York leading 13-3 at halftime, bettors pounded Los Angeles in the second half, including a BetMGM gambler who wagered $110,000 on the Rams -10½.

Los Angeles outscored New York by seven points in the second half, as its comeback fell short and the books cashed in on one of their biggest decisions of the day.

“When you have a spread that big (-17), it really turns off the general public. They just don’t want to play that game,” Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “However, when that healthy a double-digit favorite is losing at halftime, everybody loaded up on the Rams for the second half. They just thought the Jets would blow it at the end and lose another game.

“We won more on halftime than we did on the game itself.”

New York was an 11-1 underdog on the money line, and a William Hill bettor in Nevada won a $200 wager that paid $2,200.

Books win

Underdogs went 7-4-1 ATS on Sunday, with three other outright wins by the Cowboys (+3½, 41-33 over the 49ers), Bears (+3, 33-27 over the Vikings) and Dolphins (+1, 22-12 over the Patriots).

BetMGM and Station Casinos sportsbooks reported small winning days. The Westgate reported a solid winning day despite the Saints (+3) scoring a late touchdown to salvage a backdoor push for sharp bettors in a 32-29 loss to the Chiefs.

“We needed the Chiefs by more than three. Three just wasn’t a good number for us,” Kornegay said. “Instead of a great day, we ended up having a good day. We could’ve knocked out a lot of parlays there.”

Saints march in

BetMGM lost a bundle on the second half, as a bettor placed three money-line wagers on New Orleans totaling $430,000 that paid $300,000 when the Saints outscored the Chiefs 20-18.

Kansas City was covering the game and second half after a short field goal put it ahead 32-22 with 4:18 left. But Drew Brees threw a 17-yard TD pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 2:06 left that proved to be worth a lot of money for MGM bettors. The play allowed another MGM gambler to get his $200,000 back from a bet on the Saints at +3.

Bettors won on the Ravens (-12½, 40-14 over the Jaguars), Titans (-8½, 46-25 over the Lions) and Browns (-6½, 20-6 over the Giants). A BetMGM gambler cashed a $250,000 wager to win $200,000 on Cleveland.

Kansas City was one of four favorites that won but didn’t cover. The others were Indianapolis (-7½, 27-20 over Houston), Tampa Bay (-6, 31-27 over Atlanta) and Seattle (-6½, 20-15 over Washington).

A BetMGM bettor bought a half-point on the Colts when the line was 7, and it was well worth it. The gambler won a $165,000 wager to win $113,000 when Houston’s Keke Coutee lost a fumble at the Indy 2-yard line en route to an apparent tying touchdown with 19 seconds left.

The Seahawks squandered most of their 20-3 lead over the Football Team before holding on for the win.

Brady does it again

Almost four years after Tom Brady rallied the Patriots from a 28-3 second-half deficit in a 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in the 2017 Super Bowl, he engineered another comeback win over Atlanta. This time, Brady helped bring the Buccaneers back from two 17-point deficits, and they might have covered if not for a questionable late spot.

Tampa Bay was in range for a late field goal it needed to cover and couldn’t run out the clock without gaining a first down. Leonard Fournette clearly appeared to be stopped short on third-and-2 at the Atlanta 11 with 1:06 left.

But it was ruled a first down and the Bucs ran out the clock, and bettors were left with another woulda, coulda, shoulda moment to contemplate.

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

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