After the betting public swept the afternoon games, sportsbooks needed the Jets to win or at least cover against the Chiefs on Sunday night to avoid their first losing week of the NFL season.
Books got an unlikely cover by New York, while Kansas City bettors suffered a bad beat when Patrick Mahomes slid down at the Jets’ 2-yard line to run out the clock rather than score a touchdown that would have covered the spread.
“Might be the best slide I’ve seen in years. Saved the day,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “More of a break-even day now, maybe a small winner. Huge dramatic swing.”
The Chiefs, who closed as 7½-point favorites after the line dropped from 9, faced third-and-8 at the 11 with two minutes left when Mahomes scrambled nine yards for the first down before going down on his own to seal Kansas City’s 23-20 win on a Taylor Swift-saturated “Sunday Night Football” broadcast.
“The most-bet game this weekend is Chiefs-Jets. We can’t get anyone to bet on the Jets,” BetMGM sports trader Seamus Magee said beforehand. “The Chiefs -8.5 is the public’s, and probably Taylor Swift’s, favorite bet this weekend.”
With 12-time Grammy winner Swift in a suite at MetLife Stadium supporting Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs swiftly took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter as bettors rejoiced and bookmakers braced for a big loss.
“They will certainly be able to buy Taylor Swift tickets now, that’s for sure,” Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow quipped about a possible Chiefs cover.
The Jets then promptly closed the gap to 20-12 at halftime and tied it up 20-20 on their first drive of the second half to all but ensure the game would go over the total of 41½.
“It would be our worst Sunday of the season if it comes Chiefs and over,” Esposito said before the game.
Kansas City went ahead 23-20 on Harrison Butker’s 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs recovered a Zach Wilson fumble at midfield with 7:24 remaining and then ran out the clock.
Sharp bettors were on the Jets, and Caesars took wagers of $350,000 and $240,000 on New York +8½. But the book still fared better on the Chiefs winning but not covering.
“Definitely better for us that they won by three and not 10, even though we did take a lot of Jets-plus-the-points money from the sharps,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “But we had a lot of liability on just the KC money line, so that hurt us.
“Smart play, though, by Mahomes, as that wrapped up the game, even though two scores would have likely been too much to overcome for the Jets.”
Raiders cost books
Favorites won 10 of 14 games and went 8-5-1 ATS.
Los Angeles linebacker Khalil Mack sacked O’Connell six times, two of which resulted in fumbles that the Chargers converted into TDs en route to a 24-7 halftime lead.
The Raiders had a chance to tie it in the final minutes after Los Angeles was stopped on fourth-and-1 in its own territory for the second straight week. But on first-and-goal at the 3 with 2:38 left, O’Connell threw an interception. The Chargers then ran out the clock as the crowd at the Red Rock sportsbook cheered.
“With the Raiders playing a rookie quarterback, at that point we saw a lot more Chargers money roll in. We were clearly Raiders fans,” Esposito said. “It was, by far, the biggest afternoon decision.”
The Westgate SuperBook also lost on the game.
“It kind of just snowballed on the Chargers once they said (quarterback Jimmy) Garoppolo was out,” SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “We couldn’t give away Raider tickets.”
Also in the afternoon, the 49ers (-14½) whipped the Cardinals 35-16 and the Cowboys (-5½) crushed the Patriots 38-3.
Bettors also won on the Jaguars (-3½, beat Falcons 23-7 in London) and Vikings (-4½), who overcame a 99-yard interception return for a TD to beat the Panthers 21-13. Minnesota outscored Carolina 14-0 in the second half on D.J. Wonnum’s 51-yard fumble return and Kirk Cousins’ 30-yard TD pass to Justin Jefferson.
Miami in vice
A week after scoring 70 points, the Dolphins gave up almost 50 in a 48-20 beatdown by the Bills (-3) in Buffalo that soared over the total of 52½.
The result was good for bettors at the SuperBook and bad for bettors at Station Casinos and the South Point.
“That was a really good game for us,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said. “They bet us the Dolphins and they bet us under.”
Unders went 8-6.