It happened again. As in the Redskins-Chiefs Week 4 game (spread flipped) and the Buccaneers-Dolphins contest in Week 11 (total flipped), a game-ending defensive touchdown in Raiders-Eagles on Monday Night Football had no impact on the game’s win-loss outcome — but major implications for sports bettors.
The headline references disaster, triumph and horror because the spread varied throughout the week leading up the game, bouncing from 8 at some shops to a closing number of 10 at the Las Vegas sportsbooks that we track. At the time that I published my Week 16 column (results of which were less than great this week), the Las Vegas consensus line was 9.
‘Meaningless’ Touchdown and Kneeldown at End of Eagles-Raiders Christmas Day Game Impacts Spread With Varying Results for Sports Bettors
So, on the final play of the game during regulation, the Raiders trailed 13-10 at their own 36-yard-line with just three seconds to go. As in Redskins-Chiefs that ended with a Chiefs defensive TD that gave the big home favorite a win, the Eagles scooped an errant Raiders lateral and defensive end Derek Barnett took it to the house for a touchdown giving Philly a 19-10 lead.
That’s when things got really interesting. Even though the game’s winner-loser result was decided, NFL rules dictate the scoring team must run a play: an extra point try, a two-point conversion try, whatever. A play from scrimmage. Well, here’s a look at what the box score reflects as a failed two-point conversation try. Victory formation and a kneel down:
When the Eagles lined up minus kicker Jake Elliott, the writing was on the wall: They weren’t really going to kick or go for two.
Here are the varying results, for sports bettors, of this unusual game finish:
- You bet the Raiders +10 and kept your win thanks to the kneel
- You bet the Eagles at -10 and did not get a push (assuming a successful extra point)
- You bet the Eagles early at -8 or -8.5, and luckily cashed a ticket thanks to the Barnett score
- You bet the Raiders at +8 or +8.5, and lost in heartbreaking fashion
- Likewise, you picked the Raiders or Eagles at 8.5 in the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest — the official line in the SuperContest – and won or lost on the play
- You bet the Raiders or Eagles at +9 or -9 and either were thrilled (as an Eagles backer), or frustrated (Raiders), but nevertheless a bit relieved to get the push
- You bought a half-point on either side to 9 and experienced the same result above
I may be missing an outcome but those are the seven I count.
Yet another reminder: Never count your winnings or rip up your ticket until a tackle is made on the wacky lateral play.
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