Unlikely endings in two games on Sunday’s NFL slate led to bad beats for some bettors, though it was the bookmakers that took the majority of the losses from the last second turnarounds.
First, the Philadelphia Eagles came from behind to not only beat the Washington Redskins, but to also produce an unlikely cover for the betting public that heavily backed the team.
Scoop and Score Gives Eagles Backdoor Cover
The Eagles came in as 6.5-point favorites at many sportsbooks, with even the lowest lines seen throughout the week giving at least 4.5 points to Washington. That meant that when Philadelphia scored a touchdown to take a 31-27 lead with just 26 seconds left in the game, it was great for Eagles fans – but didn’t provide any help for bettors.
— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2019
That all changed on the final play of the game, when Philadelphia linebacker Nigel Bradham returned a fumble 47 yards for a defensive touchdown. With a final score of 37-27, the last-second TD covered for anyone who took the Eagles minus the points. In some places, that was nearly everyone: according to ESPN, 92 percent of the money bet on the game at the Borgata in Atlantic City was on Philadelphia.
“That last-second Eagles play ended up costing us dearly,” Borgata sportsbook director Tom Gable told ESPN. “The entire book erupted when that play took place.”
The sequence led to chaotic reactions at sportsbooks across the country, including at the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
Eagles cover on last play. FanDuel at Meadowlands… pic.twitter.com/bnhKxR02vI
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 15, 2019
While the Eagles backdoor cover was the biggest betting story of the day, another last-second bad beat also swung significant money at sportsbooks on Sunday.
The Atlanta Falcons scored a touchdown with just two seconds left to take a 23-22 lead in their game against the San Francisco 49ers. But the dramatic finish would get even wilder for gamblers who bet on the total, as Atlanta was able to scoop up a fumble on San Francisco’s desperation kickoff return attempt, bringing it back the other way for a touchdown to make the final score 29-22.
That pushed the game over the 49.5-point total, much to the delight of the betting public, which was on the over.
“We did a double-take when we saw how much we lost on parlays to the Niners game,” CG Technology oddsmaker Dave Sharapan told ESPN. “Then, we figured out why.”
Two Bad Beats Equals One Big Win
One or both of those results saved the day for many bettors across the country, with some gamblers winning big thanks to the combination of the two bad beats.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that one bettor at a CG Technology sportsbook hit a $200, nine-way NFL parlay on Sunday that included both the Eagles as a 4.5-point favorite, and the over on the Falcons-49ers game at a 47.5-point total. With those two miraculous results – and the seven other legs of the parlay coming in – that bettor took home $75,000.
While the bad beats may have led to losses for some bookmakers, others said that they were able to make up for those hits elsewhere. Golden Nugget sportsbook director Aaron Kessler told the Review-Journal that while his book lost on the over in the San Francisco game, there was even more action on the 49ers winning outright, so Atlanta’s comeback still worked out overall.
“Atlanta was huge for us,” Kessler said. “The total wasn’t great going over, but the game more than made up for it.”
The Review-Journal reported that despite the bad beats, Las Vegas sportsbooks were smaller winners overall on the day.