The endings of Thursday's prime-time NFL and MLB games were intriguing -- and costly for the betting public.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were consensus 7-point favorites, held off the Philadelphia Eagles in a 28-22 win. The majority of bettors -- as high as 88% at DraftKings -- took the Buccaneers and laid the points at U.S. sportsbooks, only to be thwarted by a successful 2-point conversion by the Eagles midway through the fourth quarter that cut the final margin of victory to six.
Jason Scott, vice president of trading for BetMGM, estimated the Buccaneers winning by six instead of seven produced a multimillion-dollar swing in favor of the house.
"The 2-point conversion certainly worked in our favor, probably a $3 million difference for the Bucs not to cover," Scott told ESPN on Friday. "We see a lot parlay business with people taking the Thursday night game into the Sunday games. And there was a lot of that with Bucs minus-7.
"We got back about half what the Ravens cost us [on Monday night]," Scott added.
Bookmakers caught another break in the ninth inning in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers benefited from a questionable strike-three call on a check-swing for the final out of a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.
The betting action on Game 5 was relatively balanced between the Giants and Dodgers, but sportsbooks had significant liability on San Francisco in their odds to win the World Series. The Giants, who were 100-1 long shots to start the season, were the worst-case scenario for multiple bookmakers in their World Series futures market.
"We're happy to see the Giants out," Scott acknowledged. "The Dodgers are now the worst result, but the Giants were much worse, so it was a good result for us."
The Buccaneers-Eagles attracted nearly four times as much money as was bet on Dodgers-Giants at sportsbook PointsBet. However, many of the larger bets on the night were on the baseball game. At Caesars Sportsbook, the average size of bet on the baseball game was more than 50% greater than the average size of bet on the football game.
"Bucs-Eagles was the second-most bet [Thursday] game of the season after the opener, and top 10 overall for the season," Mattias Stetz, COO for Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers sportsbooks, told ESPN.