Have you heard the phrase "a sure thing" in sports? The phrase often refers to a sports match that has a winner declared by the public before the game starts, often a matchup between David vs. Goliath in college sports.
In the past, these matches have seen their share of massive upsets. On Sunday, one sports bettor found out that even with a team up by a massive amount of points in an NFL Playoffs matchup, there might never be a “sure thing.”
What Happened: The Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars faced off in an opening round of the NFL Playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.
The match, which aired on Comcast Corporation CMCSA-owned NBC, became one of the most talked about NFL Playoffs in years.
The Chargers took a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and was well on its way to winning the game and also covering the -2.5 point spread posted before the game by DraftKings Inc DKNG.
The big lead made the Chargers strong favorites to win the game. ESPN analytics gave the Chargers an 86.9% chance to win the game after the first quarter.
The Chargers took a 27-0 lead shortly after and then had a 98% chance to win the match according to ESPN.
One person saw the opportunity to bet on the strong chance the Chargers would win and make some money doing so. The unnamed bettor wagered $1.4 million on the Chargers to win the game. The bet, which was placed on DraftKings, would have netted a profit of $11,200.
The bet was shared by sports reporter Darren Rovell on Twitter and confirmed by DraftKings.
Rovell also shared that a person placed a $54,000 bet on the Chargers to win when the team was up big. The bet would have paid out a net profit of $1,080 and was placed with the sportsbook Caesars Sports, owned by Caesars Entertainment Inc CZR.
Instead, the Jaguars completed an epic comeback to win the NFL Playoff game with a last-second 36-yard field goal by Riley Patterson, winning the match 31-30.
The comeback by the Jaguars was the third largest comeback in NFL Playoff history, trailing only comebacks of 32 points and 28 points in 1992 and 2013, respectively.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence had three interceptions in the first quarter and four interceptions in the first half, becoming only the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have four interceptions in the first half of an NFL Playoff match and the first ever to have three in the first quarter.
Related Link: Trevor Lawrence Lands Gatorade, Cryptocurrency Endorsement Deals Ahead Of NFL Draft
Why It’s Important: The lesson learned through the massive loss is betting on "sure things" and how teams can come back from large margins to win or cover unlikely spreads.
On the flip side, the epic comeback by the Jaguars also showed how a small bet with low odds of winning can have a massive payout.
At the time the Chargers were up 27-0, the betting odds for the Jaguars to win the match were offered at 28-to-1 odds according to Rovell. This meant a $100 bet on the Jaguars to win and their 2% chance, according to ESPN analytics, paid out a profit of $2,800.
If the $1.4 million bettor chose to come forward, they could find themselves the recipient of some branding deals. Rovell reported Excedrin, a headache medication owned by Haleon PLC - ADR HLN, offered $11,200 and a year’s supply of product to the bettor.
Another lesson learned might be betting against Trevor Lawrence on Saturday. Lawrence became only the second quarterback to throw four touchdown passes and four interceptions in an NFL Playoffs game. Many have praised Lawrence for the comeback that helped the Jaguars win and for not giving up.
Lawrence now holds a 34-0 record while playing in football matches on Saturdays, having never lost a match held on a Saturday starting in high school, through college at Clemson University and now in the NFL.
While most NFL games take place on Sunday, or weekly primetime games on Thursdays and Mondays, a handful of playoff games take place on Saturdays.
The record will be put to the test when the Jaguars take on the AFC’s best, Kansas City Chiefs, on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Chiefs are favored by 8.5 points at DraftKings.
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Photo: University of College via Shutterstock
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