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Jim Harbaugh declines safety against Seahawks, affects outcome for gamblers

The Seahawks put the final nail in their coffin on Thursday night when they were called for a chop block in their end zone with under a minute left to play, giving the Niners a two-possession lead. Or, should we say, it would have given San Francisco a two-possession lead had Jim Harbaugh not declined the penalty.

The play also happened to be 4th down, and Seattle came up short of the first-down mark on its completed pass. Instead of accepting the penalty and taking the safety, Harbaugh took the result of the play and had his offense take the field for a kneel down. Same outcome for the 49ers, entirely different outcome for the sports gambling world.

San Francisco was favored by anywhere from 7 to 8 points before the game began. Harbaugh’s bizarre decision resulted in a push for many gamblers and was the difference between a win and a loss for others. According to R.J. Bell of Pregame.com, an estimated 65% of the money on the game backed San Francisco while 35% backed Seattle. That would mean an estimated $75 million was transferred from the hands of bettors into the hands of bookies as a result of the decision to decline the safety.

The good news for the NFL is that this time it’s on Harbaugh. Unlike with this guy who won a fortune on the infamous blown call in the Seahawks-Packers game, Thursday night’s unexpected swing was not the result of poor officiating. It may have been a head-scratching move from the Niners coach, but such is life when you bet on sports. No refund will be handed out this time around.

Sportsbooks consider Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow equals

There have been many calls for Tim Tebow to supplant Mark Sanchez as the Jets’ starting quarterback in light of the offense’s stagnant start. The team is 2-2, ranked 23rd in the league in points and 28th in yards. While many feel like a change to Tebow could spark the offense, sportsbooks consider the two quarterbacks to be equal.

RJ Bell at Pregame.com explained in an email that the spread for the Jets’ Monday night game against the Texans would be the same (it’s currently Jets +8) regardless of whether Sanchez or Tebow starts. According to Bell, “this fact implies that Vegas considers Tim Tebow to be an equal quarterback to Mark Sanchez.”

It’s no surprise that they’re considered equals by sportsbooks. We already know what Sanchez gives the Jets, and it’s not very much. Tebow is not very respected as a quarterback because of his throwing deficiencies. But at least he can make some plays happen.

I said before the season began that the Tebow would probably be the starter after about four games, so it’s no surprise that we’re at the point where the speculation has begun. Coach Rex Ryan has said he will not let the media control his team, but there was a report earlier this week suggesting that team owner Woody Johnson might tell the coaches to play Tebow if the team doesn’t turn things around.

We’ve felt for a while that Sanchez isn’t the answer for the Jets at quarterback. They might as well play Tebow and see if he can reproduce some of the magic he had last season. And then they should go back to the draft and see about finding a new franchise quarterback.

Tiger Woods costs sports books millions on last hole of Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods cost sports books millions with his play on the final hole of the Ryder Cup on Sunday.

The U.S. had already lost the Ryder Cup before Woods began his head-to-head play against Francesco Molinari on the final hole Sunday. Europe was up 14-13 after Martin Kaymer defeated Steve Stricker a hole earlier. Had Woods won 18 to win his match against Molinari, he would have given the U.S. a point to tie the Ryder Cup 14-14. Because ties mean the country that won the previous Ryder Cup retains the title, the U.S. had already lost. Woods knew that and probably didn’t think much of it when he missed a putt on 18 and conceded a four-foot putt and the hole to Molinari.

Instead of Tiger winning his match to tie the Ryder Cup, he and Molinari halved giving Europe the outright Ryder Cup win 14.5-13.5. That development cost sports books millions because it awarded money to those who bet on Europe to win, while hardly any bettors wager that there would be a tie.

Here’s the sports book breakdown according to Metro:

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Bettor Geno DiFelice won $725,275 on Packers-Seahawks Hail Mary call

Amid the influx of horror stories we have heard about replacement officials and how awful they were for the game of football, there is at least one story that sticks out from all the rest. By blowing one of the biggest calls in NFL history and essentially handing the Seahawks a win over the Packers last week, the NFL’s replacement refs changed the lives of Branford, Ontario’s Geno DiFelice.

Heading into the Monday night game last weekend, DiFelice was a perfect 14-for-14 on his Ontario Loterry (Proline) NFL picks sheet. When the officials infamously ruled that Golden Tate had simultaneous possession of a pass that Packers safety M.D. Jennings appeared to have intercepted, DiFelice won $725,274.

“I still can’t believe it,” DiFelice said Monday according to the Toronto Sun. “It’s funny when you think of it. It’s unbelievable.”

DiFelice’s winnings are the third-highest payout in Proline history. No, he’s not some gambling guru. In fact, the ticket he filled out himself without any advice only had four picks right. It turns out Geno can thank his daughter for the fortune he just won.

“Every week I do a ticket with my picks, and then I ask my kids (Mia, 12 and Marco, 10) who they like,” he explained. “I do one ticket each with their picks. The winner was the ticket my daughter consulted me on. The funniest part is, the ticket I made all of the picks myself, I only got four right.”

Some of the earnings better go into Mia’s college fund. DiFelice said he only watched the last 1:48 of the game because he was so nervous, and he stayed up for five hours afterward waiting to hear what he had won. If the Packers had won, he would have had to split the winnings with five others.

While the blown call may have changed the season for Seattle and Green Bay and cost other gamblers hundreds of millions, it ultimately put over $500,000 in the pocket of one lucky man in Canada.

Father wins £10,000 on 10-year-old bet thanks to son’s Manchester United debut

A father’s confidence in his son’s soccer-playing ability paid off in a big way on Wednesday.

According to The Guardian, Mick Tunnicliffe placed a bet 10 years ago that his son would one day play for Manchester United. Tunnicliffe wagered £100 and received 100-1 odds that his son, Ryan (pictured), who was nine years old at the time, would eventually play for the Reds.

Ryan, who is now 19 and a midfielder, entered as a substitute in the 77th minute of Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United Wednesday.

No doubt his father Mick was cheering louder than any of the other 46,357 fans in attendance.

As odd as this betting story sounds, it’s actually not too unusual in Europe where sports books will take action on almost anything you can think of. According to reports, Rory McIlroy’s father stands to make £200,000 if his son can win The Open Championship next year thanks to a bet he and friends made several years ago.

Charles Barkley lost money betting on Packers-Seahawks game and is angry

Charles Barkley is well known for his gambling habit, so it’s no surprise to learn that he lost money betting on the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night. He also has little tolerance for nonsense, so it’s no surprise to hear that he was ticked about losing money on a bogus call.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this mad in my entire life. I got robbed [Monday] night,” Barkley said during an appearance on “The Mike Missanelli Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia Tuesday.

“I’m just angry. I love to gamble, I can live with winning and losing, but I don’t ever want to get jobbed like I did [Monday] night. I’m going to give you a quick synopsis. Everybody is going crazy over the catch, but I got screwed on the roughing the passer, I got screwed on the pass interference, I got screwed on the interception and I found out today that they actually have a real official in the replay booth who could’ve overruled that? I got screwed four times and that makes it even worse.”

Barkley also blasted the league for not caring about the fans.

“You think the guys that play with the replacement officials are concerned about the fans or the integrity of the game? These guys are all about the cash bro,” he said. “These guys don’t care about the fans! They used replacement players! This notion that these owners are worried about the integrity of the game, I’m like, wait a minute, a few years ago they used replacement players. You think they’re worried about replacement referees? You think you’re going to get an Aaron Rodgers off the street? Or Tom Brady off the street? They got players off the street to play football and the players came across the picket line.”

Barkley wouldn’t say how much money he lost on the game, but he did confirm it was “five figures.” What I wouldn’t give to be next to him as he saw his money go up in flames. There are few things in life more entertaining than a gambler melting down after losing money, and there are few people more entertaining than Charles Barkley. It would be the perfect storm.

H/T Sports Radio Interviews via Deadspin

Blown call costs gamblers $150 million-plus, Sportsbook.com refunds Packers bets (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Deadspin pointed out that the website Sportsbook actually runs two separate sites — one that services the United States and another that services the rest of the world. Conveniently enough, bets are only being refunded through the site that Americans do not use.

Losing a wager because of a Hail Mary is a tough enough pill to swallow without the replacement officials making it even harder. The Packers were 3.5-point favorites at most major sports books and on most gambling websites Monday night. Green Bay had the spread covered until Golden Tate’s phantom reception won the game for Seattle, and ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that the blown call shifted at least $150 million in wagers worldwide. After refunding all lost Packers bets, the gambling website Sportsbook.com can no longer be included in that figure.

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