Posted on November 11, 2019, by Travis Pulver
It has been an up and down season for the Tennessee Titans so far. There have been a few weeks where they have played well, and a few where they didn’t play so well. So, when it was announced that Patrick Mahomes was going to be starting this week, bettors felt pretty good about the Chiefs beating the spread.
While the Chiefs opened as four-point favorites, they closed at many books closer to 6.5 points.
It was a spread that an overwhelming number of bettors were comfortable with. According to an ESPN report, several books saw an overwhelming number of bettors take the Chiefs to win. Two hours before kickoff, over 97 percent of the money bet on the spread favored the Chiefs at Caesars. That number was closer to 95 percent at FanDuel.
So, when the first half ended with the score tied at 13-13, there were probably a lot of nervous gamblers around the country. Their sure thing did not look so ‘sure’ anymore. But then the second half likely put many through an emotional ringer.
Mecole Hardman’s 63-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter put the Chiefs up by nine, 29-20. But those pesky Titans just wouldn’t go away, though. Derek Henry pulled the Titans within two with a one-yard touchdown run with about six and a half minutes to play.
Then late in the game, it looked like all was going to be right in the world. With a five-point lead, 32-27, and 1:27 to play, Harrison Butker lined up for a 46-year field goal that would put the Chiefs up by eight points—and cover the spread.
Butker is one of the best in the game. In three seasons in the NFL, he had taken 25 kicks from between 40-49 yards and missed only three. There was a better than average chance he was going to make this kick. He just needed the ball to be snapped and for the holder to get it down so that he would do the rest.
But it didn’t happen that way.
The snap appeared to catch the holder by surprise, it was not handled right, and the Chiefs turned the ball over on downs at the Tennessee 29-yard line. Four plays later, Ryan Tannehill hit Adam Humphries with a 23-yard touchdown pass to put the Titans up by three, 35-32.
So, yeah— the 1-5 percent who bet on the Titans to win was really, really happy. But the game wasn’t over yet. A decent return and a couple of good passes got the Chiefs in a position to tie with a 52-yard field goal.
It was blocked.
At that point, the overwhelming majority that bet on the Chiefs to cover the spread had lost their money. Moments earlier, it looked like they were all going to win, but then the House came out ahead in the end. Many books described the swing as being in the six-figure range.
Nationwide, an estimated $10 million shifted from being paid out to lucky gamblers to being kept by the house.
With the loss, the Chiefs fall to 6-4 and no longer look like a lock to win the AFC West. They will face the struggling Chargers next week on Sunday Night Football.
As for the Titans, at 5-5, it is fair to wonder if they could become a contender in the AFC South. However, with three of their next four games against division foes, fans will find out soon enough. They are off next week, but then face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home in Week 12.