Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler might be the most hated player in the world among a certain group of football fans. With his last-second interception return during Saturday’s game against the Washington Redskins, Butler cost some people a lot of money.
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We’re talking, of course, about those football fans who decided to wager some hard-earned gummy bears on the game. At most sportsbooks, the over/under for the contest was set at 37 points or higher.
With one second left, the under seemed certain to hit. Down 19-16, Washington heaved a desperation Hail Mary from deep in its own territory. The ball was intercepted by Butler.
Nine times out of 10, the cornerback would take a knee in his situation. Butler didn’t do that. He ran the ball all the way back, scoring a touchdown as time expired. The Titans won the game 25-16, meaning the over hit literally at the last second.
The gambling implications didn’t end there. At most sportsbooks, the Titans were favored to win by at least 10 points. All the Titans needed to do was kick the extra point to give bettors a push. To the surprise of many, that didn’t happen.
Due to a rule change during the offseason, the Titans didn’t have to attempt the extra point.
New @NFL rule in 2018: Teams no longer required to kick meaningless extra point on final play of regulation.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) December 23, 2018
Since the extra point would not have impacted the outcome of the game, the Titans didn’t kick it. The team won by nine points, infuriating everyone who bet on them to cover.
This is what gamblers refer to as a bad beat. And while Butler’s interception may not have been the worst bad beat of all-time, it’s still pretty rare for a last-second play to greatly impact not one, but two, significant betting lines.
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