One gambler’s bad beat is another’s lucky win. The final stretch of the Monday night thriller between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns produced both.
A desperate, multi-lateral play by the Browns as time went on resulted in a safety for the Ravens covering the spread and swinging millions of dollars in sportsbook bets across the country.
The Ravens closed as consensus 3-point road favorites over the Browns. In a back-and-forth with major playoff implications, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker hit a 55-yard field goal that gave the Ravens a 45-42 lead with two seconds to play.
After a touchback on the following kick-off, Cleveland had time for one play. It would be coincidental to gamblers who supported the Ravens and precious to those who sided with the underdog Browns.
Baker Mayfield completed a pass to Kareem Hunt on a short incline across the center. Hunt laterally returns to Rashard Higgins, the first of seven laterals at stake. The ball ended up in the hands of Jarvis Landry, who was pushed into the end zone for safety, giving the Ravens a 47-42 victory.
The Ravens opened as 1-point favorites at most sportsbooks early last week. The row grew throughout the week and was -3 to Baltimore by Friday, even hitting -3.5 at some sportsbooks in the hours leading up to Monday’s kickoff.
“In the past two hours, we made a lot of money on the Browns as we went to 3.5,” Jason Scott, vice president of commerce at BetMGM, told ESPN.
Despite the flurry of late money on Cleveland, Scott said his book eventually needed the Browns to cover the spread, mainly because of parlay liability on the Ravens.
“We wish it hadn’t happened,” said Scott of safety in the final game. “We were a little bit worse on the Ravens, but it wasn’t significant.”
The betting action on the game was relatively balanced and yielded mixed results for sportsbooks. Several sportsbooks got a little more money on Cleveland before kickoff, but there was a lot of support for the Ravens.
Bookmaker William Hill US reported a bet of $ 126,000 on Baltimore -3, going from push to six-figure payday for final game safety. FanDuel sportsbook director John Sheeran said that, including in-game betting, the Ravens covering the spread were expensive for his store.
‘Quite a large swing. I would rank him in the seven-digit range, ”Sheeran said. “Quite expensive, but I think gamblers had to pay for one given the end of the season.”
The money at Sportsbook PointsBet was more skewed than the Browns, with 78% of Cleveland’s point-spread handle. PointsBet communications director Patrick Eichner said the Ravens who won by five instead of three produced “one of the biggest swings of the season” in favor of the book.
The game featured five lead changes and three draws. The Browns rallied from 14 points behind to take the lead in a fourth quarter scoring 35 runs. Raven who started quarterback Lamar Jackson returned in the fourth quarter after leaving the game due to cramps to throw a touchdown pass to Marquise Brown on a fourth-down play that returned Baltimore the lead. Jackson then led the Ravens on a last-minute ride to set up Tucker’s winning field goal.
The wild finish caused big swings in the live betting. The Browns’ odds of winning the game shifted from +980, lagging 14, to -420 after taking the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“One of my colleagues who acted [the live odds] said he felt like he was playing in the game rather than trading it. It was pretty exhausting, ”said FanDuel’s Sheeran. It was generally a very popular game, and the in-play amplified the overall game. It was definitely our highest stakes match of the weekend. “