How the Raiders’ game-winning field goal saved sportsbooks from a $1 billion payout
The only group of people in Las Vegas happier than the Raiders after Sunday’s 35-32 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers were the oddsmakers down the street who were seconds away from paying out an all-time liability.
By now the Week 18 Chaos Parlay has been well-established but let’s run through it once more: Going into Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars could upset the Indianapolis Colts, setting up a situation on Sunday Night Football where the Chargers and Raiders would both reach the postseason with a tie. The odds were long to begin—+12000 at Tipico Sportsbook—but some bettors found a way to make them even more astronomical.
Specifically on FanDuel, some bettors noticed that by using a single game parlay they could combine alternate spreads of Raiders +0.5 and Chargers +0.5 for odds of +22348 (bet $100 to win $22,348) before adding on a Jaguars moneyline victory at +730. The result was a three-leg parlay with +186223 odds.
Or, in simple terms, a Jacksonville loss combined with a tie between Las Vegas and Los Angeles would’ve paid out $186,223.00 on a $100 wager.
But FanDuel wasn’t the only sportsbook on the hook. BetMGM, DraftKings and many others took similar action as well.
thought i had the tie parlay, turns out it was just overtime 🤝 pic.twitter.com/dbLxLxyIjk
— NoahWiens (@WiensNoah) January 10, 2022
— CryptoAndParleys (@ThatsHowWeRoL) January 10, 2022
Chargers & Raiders to Tie +2200 ✍️
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) January 9, 2022
It seemed like many were willing to just give away money on an exceptionally rare situation unfolding. At least until it started looking like the betting public willed a tie into existence.
The Jaguars didn’t just upset the Colts on Sunday afternoon. They ran roughshod over Indianapolis en route to a 26-11 victory that sounds much closer than it was.
A few hours later, the Raiders watched the Chargers convert fourth down after fourth down, rally back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter and send the game to overtime. Both clubs successfully kicked a field goal to keep things tied at 32 apiece with only minutes remaining and the Raiders seemingly content to run the clock out.
Los Angeles’ decision to call timeout with seconds remaining to setup their defense apparently brought an end to that potential outcome.
“We were certainly talking about [the tie] on the sideline,” Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia later admitted. “We wanted to see if they were gonna take a timeout or not on that run. They didn’t, so we thought they were thinking the same thing. And then we popped the run in there and gave us a chance to kick the field goal to win it. So, we were certainly talking about it.”
Instead Las Vegas ran the ball once more to reach field goal territory, setting up Daniel Carlson’s game-winner from 47 yards out. The NFL and sportsbooks were spared a chaotic finish to the regular season and more than $1 billion in potential winning tickets evaporated instantly.
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