Check your tickets — and your sportsbook’s rules and regulations page — as with the end of the NFL regular season comes the grading of season-long props.
Or, in some cases, due to the cancellation of Week 17’s Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game, the voiding of said props.
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Bottom line: Each sportsbook has different rules when it comes to grading these bets.
“It’s unfortunate the Bills and Bengals game won’t be played, but we understand the circumstances,” said Jay Kornegay, the director of SuperBook sportsbook. “I heard this will be the first time since 1935 NFL teams won’t play the same number of games. In the sports wagering world, there are disclaimers already in place to address these situations. Operators will refer to these disclaimers and act accordingly. We always recommend to sports patrons to check their local sportsbook house rules as they’ll vary.”
And as for the SuperBook? They’re voiding everything associated with the two teams.
“The three seasonal props including win totals, divisions, and ‘to make the playoffs’ involving the Bills and/or Bengals will be refunded,” Kornegay said. “In our rules, teams must play 17 games for action. There are always two sides to these unfortunate incidents and this one is no different than previous situations. It’s very unfortunate for patrons that wagered on the ‘over’ for the Bills/Bengals win totals, as they will be refunded. Those that bet the ‘under’ are getting a break, as they will be refunded.
“As an operator, we don’t want to see these scenarios, as it’s a terrible break for many patrons, but there’s a tremendous number of patrons that benefited. The best we can do is follow the rules. Once you deviate from the rules, it puts that operator in a precarious position. During every offseason, we’ll review the rules to make them as fair as possible for everyone.”
Caesars — which didn’t respond to questions regarding its decision — did have, in very plain terms, a notation on season-long bets that teams “must play 17 games for action.”
But while SuperBook and, if it’s following the letter of its law, Caesars are refunding all bets, other sportsbooks are doing the exact opposite.
For instance, at PointsBet, according to a spokesperson, win totals for the Bills and Bengals will be graded, as they both exceeded their preseason totals. Winners will be paid, losers will not.
Meanwhile, at WynnBET, the sportsbook has decided to take it on the chin. According to a spokesperson there, people who bet the over on Bills or Bengals win totals are getting paid, while bettors who took the under are getting a refund.
DraftKings took an interesting approach to some markets. The sportsbook paid out people who bet the Bengals as AFC North division winners. But it also was prepared to pay out bettors who wagered on the Baltimore Ravens to wear the crown if the Ravens had beaten the Bengals in Week 18 to finish a half-game behind Cincinnati.
— DraftKings CX Team (@DK_Assist) January 7, 2023
FanDuel, which did not respond to questions concerning this situation, states in its rules that where a season is “unexpectedly shortened all futures markets will be settled in accordance with the official ruling of the relevant governing body after the postponement.” Reading that, it would appear FanDuel will be grading all relevant futures bets and not refunding any, though no official announcement has come from the company.