With kicker Sebastian Janikowski benched mid-game with a debilitating hamstring injury, the Seattle Seahawks were forced to covert a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter of a Wild Card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, and the final score 24-22 drastically affected bettors with the consensus point spread at Dallas -2.5.

Sebastian Janikowski
Seattle Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) falls to the turf moments after injuring his hamstring after a field goal attempt in Dallas. (Image: AP)

With the successful two-point conversion, the Cowboys won by two points instead of three if Janikowski had kicked the extra point. The Seahawks backdoored a cover for many bettors holding tickets with the Seahawks +2.5 or +3. However, bettors holding tickets with the Cowboys -2.5 were issued a wicked bad beat on the opening day of the NFL playoffs.

Bad Beat, Texas

At the end of the first half with the Dallas Cowboys leading 10-6, the Seahawks attempted a 57-yard field goal. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed and quickly grabbed his leg. He injured his hamstring and would not return to action. At that juncture, Janikowski connected on two field goals and was solely responsible for all of Seattle’s six points.

Without Janikowski in the second half, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had no option aside from going for it on fourth down situations that might have otherwise warranted a field goal attempt.

“Absolutely. We had to change,” said Carroll. “We were in a different mode. We were still ready to kick a field goal if we had to, but we were going to do what we could to avoid that and not make that the issue.”

Aussie-born rookie punter, Michael Dickson, offered to dropkick extra points and field goals. At halftime, Dickson was spotted practicing field goals with Russell Wilson as the holder. In the second half, Carroll opted for two-point conversions after touchdowns on two instances. Dickson, however, dropkicked kickoffs.

After Tyler Lockett scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks trailed 24-20. Typically, Janikowski would trot onto the field and kick the extra point and the game would have ended with a score of 24-21. However, with Janikowski on the sidelines, Carroll went for the two-point conversion with a successful run into the end zone from RB Chris Carson. With the final score at 24-22, bettors holding tickets with the Seahawks +2.5 were treated to a miraculous backdoor cover.

Did You Get +2 or +2.5?

Depending on where you placed your wager, the Dallas Cowboys were anywhere from a two-point favorite to a three-point favorite.

The Mirage Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas opened the Cowboys as a 2.5-point favorite. On the first of January, the line moved a half-point to -2 before moving back to 2.5 the next day. By kickoff on Saturday evening, the line closed at 2.5.

The South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas opened the game with the Cowboys favorited by 2.5 points. The line moved a half-point midweek and held steady at two points until a couple of hours before kickoff. The South Point moved the line back a half point to 2.5, where it stayed until kickoff.

Offshore books took part in the bad beat as well. Pinnacle, Heritage, and The Greek all listed the Cowboys at -2.5 before the lines closed at kickoff.

Pinnacle, the online sportsbetting industry stalwart, opened the Dallas/Seattle line with the Cowboys as a 2.5-point favorite. However, on the first of January, Pinnacle’s oddsmakers moved the line to -1. The drastic shift reflected a major money move on the Seahawks. For two days, the Cowboys were -1, before the market corrected itself on the January 3rd and Pinnacle moved the line back to the Cowboys -2.5. On Saturday morning, or approximately 12 hours before kickoff, the line moved to Dallas -2 before ticking back to -2.5 on Saturday afternoon. The line remained at -2.5 until kickoff on Saturday evening.

As the legendary sports bettor Billy Walters used to say, “Live by the hook and die by the hook.”

Who Is Sebastian Janikowski?

Sebastian Jankiowksi, 40, is one of the oldest players in the NFL. His father is a former professional soccer player from Poland and Janikowski played both soccer and football while growing up in Florida.

Janikowski played his collegiate football at Florida State and the Raiders drafted him the first round with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. It’s very unusual for a kicker to be selected so high, but Janikowski’s leg warranted the flier.

The 19-year veteran spent 18 seasons with the Raiders before signing with the Seattle Seahawks. Janikowski holds the record for longest overtime FG at 57 yards. He also holds the record with 58 FGs in excess of 50+ yards. He also connected on two field goals that were in excess of 60 yards.