Posted on: October 2, 2023, 02:40h.
Last updated on: October 2, 2023, 02:43h.
A game-ending slide by quarterback Patrick Mahomes locked up a victory for the Kansas City Chiefs over the New York Jets, but the bad beat cost bettors millions in lost wagers during Sunday Night Football.
The Chiefs defeated the Jets, 23-20, but failed to cover the point spread when quarterback Mahomes opted to seal the game by sliding on the turf at the two-yard line instead of scoring an easy touchdown.
Pop star Taylor Swift is dating Travis Kelce, tight end from the Chiefs, in a well-publicized relationship. Swift attended a Chiefs game for a second week in a row to watch her new beau. She sat in a VIP suite at MetLife Stadium with other celebrities and dignitaries to watch the Jets host the Chiefs.
The Chiefs/Jets game on Sunday Night Football had a little more excitement than usual due to Swift’s involvement. The NBC broadcast was more akin to Super Bowl coverage for a broader audience due to an influx of Swifties, a rabid legion of Swift fans, tuning in to watch Taylor’s boyfriend play in front of their pop queen. One analyst is convinced that the Swift/Kelce relationship has boosted the sports betting industry due to the involvement of Swifties.
How Mahomes Irked Bettors with Bad Beat
Mahomes made a game-theory optimal decision to seal a victory for his team, but the move was a costly decision for bettors.
The Chiefs led by three points late in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown against the Jets would’ve covered the point spread. The Chiefs/Jets game opened at -8.5 in many sports books. The line was as high as -9.5 and as low as -7.5 at different moments during the week.
If Mahomes scored a touchdown and the Chiefs kicked an extra point, they would’ve increased their led to 30-20 for a chance to cover all wagers for bettors backing the Chiefs with the point spread.
Mahomes opted for a slide because the Jets did not have any time outs remaining and it would guarantee a victory with the clock running out.
If Mahomes scored, the Jets would get the ball back. He could’ve given the Jets a chance to win the game — albeit the Jets would’ve needed two scores including a touchdown and two-point conversions plus and on-side kick recovery and additional score. However, a slide was the proper play to seal the victory regardless of gambling outcomes.
In this instance, several millions of dollars were at stake with the public heavily backing the Chiefs in point-spread bets, in addition to parlays and teasers.
Millions Lost on Mahomes’ Slide
Sunday Night Football games often give bettors a chance to win back their losses or multiply their winnings after a long day of betting on the NFL. Bettors often lean heavily on favorites in nationally televised games, especially on Sunday and Monday nights.
Sunday Night Football in Week 4 featured the Jets hosting the defending champion Chiefs. The game was supposed to showcase two elite quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes, but Rodgers tore his Achilles on the fourth play of the game in the season opener in Week 1.
With backup quarterback Zach Wilson at the helm, the Jets were a huge underdog. Bettors were backing the Chiefs with the points. Pro bettors, aka “sharps” were betting the Jets but even their larger-sized bets could not make a dent into the public side.
Gambling analyst Ben Fawkes reported that multiple sportbooks were highly leveraged on the Chiefs.
“We need the Jets big time,” Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at South Point Casino in Las Vegas, told Fawkes.
Caesars reported that 96% of their point-spread bets on Sunday Night Football were on the Chiefs, including 84% of the money. DraftKings reported that 91% of their Sunday Night Football action were on the Chiefs including 87% of the money. BetMGM reported that 90% of bets on the Chiefs/Jets game were on the Chiefs, including 87% of the money.
ESPN’s David Purdum estimated that $80 million was in play on Sunday Night Football.
“I’d estimate conservatively that $80 million was bet on Chiefs-Jets around the US,” Purdum said via social media. “Mahomes’ heady decision to slide before scoring a TD that would’ve covered the spread undoubtedly caused an 8-figure swing in favor of the books.”
Chiefs and Jets on the Futures Market
Through four games this season, both the Chiefs and Jets are 2-2 against the point spread.
The Los Angeles Rams are the top betting team in the NFL this season with a 3-0-1 ATS record.
The New York Giants are 0-3 ATS but have yet to play in Week 4 with a Monday Night Football game on the slate against the Seattle Seahawks tonight.
Five teams are 0-3-1 ATS this season including the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Chiefs (3-1) are +550 odds to win Super Bowl LVII, according to DraftKings. They are betting cofavorites with the undefeated San Francisco 49ers (4-0).
The Chiefs are consensus favorite +300 odds to win the AFC Championship in consecutive seasons. The Jets (1-3) are near the bottom of the futures board at +7000 odds.
The Jets are +3000 odds to win the AFC East as the long shot on the board. The Bills (3-1) and Dolphins (3-1) are even money at +100 as cofavorites to win the AFC East.
The Jets are a long shot to win the Super Bowl at +13000 odds, and saw their odds plummet after they lost Rodgers to a season-ending injury. Rodgers insists he’ll do what he can to return in January before the season ends, but he’ll need a miraculous recovery if he expects to take the field any time this season.