Rams and Chiefs ran up the points — and the profits
By the time the Chiefs and Rams kicked off Monday night, it felt as if the rest of Week 11 was merely an undercard to the main event.
Expectations were met in what might have been a Super Bowl preview, as Kansas City and host Los Angeles waged an incredible back-and-forth duel that ended in a 54-51 victory for the Rams. Some are calling it the greatest NFL game of all time — a lofty claim, for sure, but we’re most concerned with the gambling implications. And there were plenty.
The spread itself was a mixed bag. Many bettors took the Rams as 3-point favorites and pushed. But at one point the number bounced to 3½, so if you backed the Chiefs with the extra half-point, you pocketed some hard-earned holiday money.
The real story, though, was the over/under. At 63½, this was the highest combined posted total in an NFL game since at least 1986, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research. Kansas City and Los Angeles reached 70 by the end of the third quarter and finished with an astounding 105 total points.
Also astounding was the beating sportsbooks took on this bet. A spokesperson for William Hill, which has 108 betting locations in Nevada, indicated to ESPN that the game was a “healthy seven-figure loss” for the company. Of the William Hill bettors who took action on the total, 69 percent had the over.
With many of the NFL’s successful teams employing high-scoring, Big 12-type offenses (the Rams and Saints combined for 80 points in Week 9), expect the folks who truly run things in Vegas to close the door, figure it out, and emerge with the appropriate adjustments.
This week’s picks (home team in caps):
LA CHARGERS (-13) over Arizona: Both squads suffered close home losses in Week 11 but only one is poised to rebound, and that’s the home team with the talent advantage. Risking $110 to win $100.
Cleveland (+3) over CINCINNATI: The Bengals are no longer capable of holding serve at home, even within the division. Risking $110 to win $100.
New England (-10) over NY JETS: Much like the Patriots’ road win in Buffalo a few weeks ago, this bet might take a while to come home, but it will. Risking $110 to win $100.
Seattle (+3½) over CAROLINA: At midseason, I’ll bet on Russell Wilson keeping the Seahawks’ playoff hopes alive and keeping this score within a field goal. Risking $110 to win $100.
Last week: 1-4, minus $340. Season: 24-24-1, minus $405.