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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sports Betting

ESPN puts XFL betting lines on scorebug during league’s debut

Both ESPN and the XFL are clearly embracing gambling interest in their games, and leaning right into it by putting the odds on the scoreboard.

During the league’s debut game on ABC, the scorebug put the line, as well as the over/under, up at all times to allow fans and gamblers to get a sense of where things stood.

The broadcast also showed and discussed the betting odds on who would win the inaugural XFL championship during the first quarter.

The XFL is embracing the differences it has with the NFL, and this is a major one. They likely figure that if they can draw in some gamblers, the league is likely to do better in TV ratings and drum up more interest. It’s also a way for casual fans tuning in for the first time to know who’s expected to win and when they may be watching an upset.

In contrast, the NFL, like every other American professional sports league, is much more shy about discussing gambling and odds during their telecasts. It’s an interesting, but sensible strategy for the XFL to draw more attention to it.

Super Bowl point spread released: Chiefs favored over 49ers

Patrick Mahomes

Super Bowl LIV is set and will feature the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami. The teams are fairly evenly matched, as San Francisco went 13-3 and was the top seed in the NFC, while KC went 12-4 and was the No. 2 seed. The Chiefs came from behind in both of their playoff wins and won in convincing fashion, while the Niners dominated their games for most of the way.

Sportsbook.ag has listed the Chiefs as a 1.5-point favorite in the game. What’s interesting is that the spread changed based on how strong San Francisco looked early against Green Bay.

The point spread originally was Chiefs by three, but that changed after the Niners got out to a 27-0 lead.

The point spread could change as the game nears depending on what bettors like. If they feel the 49ers will continue their strong play, the game could become a pick ’em with no spread, or it could even flip to SF becoming a small favorite if enough money comes in on them.

The close spread suggests we should get a good game between the teams on February 2.

Eagles cover spread on wild last-second touchdown

The Philadelphia Eagles broke the hearts of a lot of bettors in the last play of Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins were trailing 31-27 with only a Hail Mary attempt to go. Though they were exceedingly likely to lose, that didn’t matter to anyone who’d taken the pregame odds of Washington +4.5, as the Redskins looked very likely to cover.

And then it all went south. With pressure closing in, Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins made a desperate attempt at a pitch in order to keep the play alive. Philadelphia’s Nigel Bradham scooped it up and took it all the way for the touchdown, the backdoor cover, and a very bad beat.

The fluke final play is a bettor’s worst nightmare, and we’ve seen it crush some dreams before this season. The touchdown was irrelevant to the final result of the game itself, but that Washington +4.5 spread was there — until it wasn’t.

Chiefs-Raiders point total turns on improbable defensive 2-point conversion

Kansas City Chiefs logo

If you bet the under on Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs-Oakland Raiders game, our condolences are with you.

The Chiefs beat the Raiders 40-9 to improve to 8-4 and increase their lead in the AFC West. Very few people were probably still watching in the final minute when the Chiefs got their final two points of the game.

KC was up 38-3 in the final minute, and the game looked sure to stay under the total at that point. The total for the game opened at 54.5 points at most books but closed around 49 or even 48.5 for some places.

The Raiders scored on a touchdown pass with 39 seconds left to make it 38-9. They tried to kick the extra point, but it was blocked and returned by the Chiefs the other way for a two-point conversion. That turned the score to 40-9.

Instead of having a comfortable winner, some who bet the total ended up with a push or even a loss if they had the line at 48.5. What a break.

49ers-Cardinals ending turns wild for bettors due to last-second touchdown

Sunday’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers ended on what appeared to be a meaningless touchdown, but that absurd score had significant meaning for many of those who bet on the game.

To fully grasp how the final play produced a swing of emotions, we must first tell the story of the game.

Arizona entered as 13.5-point underdogs at many sportsbooks, though the line was bet down to anywhere from 9.5 to 11.5 points at most places. The Cardinals got out to a 16-0 lead and looked like a lock for those who had taken them plus the points. But then the 49ers started to come back and even took the lead 30-26 on a touchdown pass with 31 seconds left.

Even after that touchdown, Cardinals bettors still were fine. Arizona had the ball but lost a fumble. The 49ers ran four plays and Arizona used all their timeouts and got the ball back on downs. They ran two plays, including this as time expired:

And just like that, tons of money changed hands. Those who had the 49ers -10 pushed because the final score was 36-26, and those who had them -9.5 or lower won on a miracle cover. Those who had the Cardinals +9.5 or lower lost what they thought would be a sure winner.

Another interesting factor is the NFL rule that doesn’t force teams to kick an extra point on a score at the end of the game that does not affect the outcome. Because of that, the game ended at 36-26 rather than with the 49ers kicking to go up 37-26.

Sportsbook refunds bettors who placed Mitchell Trubisky MVP bets

Mitchell Trubisky

Good news for people who got suckered into placing a bet on Mitchell Trubisky to win NFL MVP.

PointsBet Sportsbook announced that, as a Halloween gift, they would refund all bettors who had money on Trubisky to win MVP, via NBC Chicago. The site had touted Trubisky as a potential MVP candidate, and they said the Bears quarterback was their highest liability with 100-to-1 preseason odds.

It’s fair to say that the sportsbook could have sat tight and counted the dollars they made from speculative punts on Trubisky. It’s telling that the whole thing busted so much that they decided to offer a refund.

Trubisky has five touchdowns and three interceptions in seven starts, and almost certainly won’t make it to 3,000 yards passing in 2019. Just hope that they get the TVs turned off quickly enough so he doesn’t have to hear about these refunds.

Gambling site offering a very unique prop bet for Patriots-Bills game

Buffalo Bills logo

Buffalo Bills fans have a lot of traditions, but one of the most unusual pops up every year when the New England Patriots come to town. And if you want to bet on whether or not it will happen again during Sunday’s game, there is an avenue to do so.

For the third year in a row last year, a Bills fan threw a sex toy onto the field during the team’s game against the Pats. Online gambling website Odds Shark has set some odds for it happening again, and “YES” is a pretty significant favorite.

We wouldn’t bet against it.

The tradition seemed to start back in 2016, and Bills fans are certainly crazy enough to continue it. Bill Belichick recently had high praise for Bills Mafia, though it’s unclear if their object-throwing antics are also something he respects. Either way, feel free to fire in some bets prior to Sunday’s kickoff.