Brett Maher’s struggles on Monday night were huge for those who had the under in the Cowboys’ win over the Buccaneers.
The Cowboys beat Tampa Bay 31-14 to win the team’s first road playoff game in over 30 years. And the combined 45 points just barely went under the total of 45.5 after Maher missed extra points after each of the Cowboys’ first four touchdowns.
Those misses were huge for one bettor at BetMGM who bet nearly $500,000 on the under to hit. The $480,000 wager was made at -120 odds, so that bettor won $400,000 after Tom Brady’s late deep pass to Mike Evans bounced off the receiver’s hands. Over bettors would have been rejoicing about the backdoor cover had Evans been able to haul in that throw.
Maher went 0-3 on extra points in the first half and it was slightly surprising to see Dallas go for the extra point after its first TD of the second half. But the Cowboys showed faith in their usually-reliable kicker and Maher’s fourth PAT attempt bounced off the top of the right upright.
Dallas later went for it on fourth down in field goal range instead of kicking a field goal. That decision resulted in a wide-open TD for CeeDee Lamb and a 30-6 lead after a coverage bust by the Buccaneers. Maher made that extra point to break his streak too.
It’s probably fair to believe Dallas would have kicked the field goal in that situation had Maher been his usual self on Monday night. And if Maher would have made each of his first four extra points and a field goal in that situation, Dallas would have still ended up with 31 points after five scores. He doesn’t deserve all the blame for the game going under. Some of it should be shared with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Maher’s struggles overshadowed the game Brady and the Bucs’ offense had and it’s worth looking past the statistics that Brady inflated during garbage time of the game. The Bucs offense was terrible in the first half as they were shut out and Brady threw an interception in the end zone.
Things weren’t much better in the second half either. Tampa got within two yards of the end zone after Dallas opened up a 25-point lead, but three incomplete passes and a sack led to a turnover on downs. And much to the chagrin of over bettors, the offense turned it over on downs for a final time after that late TD pass to Evans fell incomplete.