Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes slid down at the New York Jets' 2-yard line, sealing a 23-20 win over the Jets on Sunday night, a decision that shifted tens of millions of dollars at sportsbooks around the nation.
The Chiefs closed as 8-point favorites over the Jets and received overwhelming support from the betting public at sportsbooks. An hour before kickoff, 91% of the bets and 84% of the money wagered on the game's point spread were on Kansas City at Caesars Sportsbook. BetMGM and DraftKings also reported heavy action on the Chiefs.
A Mahomes touchdown and extra point would've put the Chiefs up 10, enough to cover the spread with less than two minutes to play. He instead made the heady play to give himself up, allowing the Chiefs to kneel, run out the final seconds and secure the win.
Bookmakers knew early last week that they'd need the Jets for a big decision in the Sunday night game. All week, money from the betting public had poured in on the Chiefs, who opened as 9.5-point road favorites over the Jets. Yet some big bets from sharp bettors caused the line to move in favor of the Jets in the hours ahead of kickoff.
Caesars reported taking a $350,000 bet and a $240,556 bet on the Jets +8.5 on Sunday -- yet still had lopsided action on the Chiefs.
"The sharp money came in on the Jets, but we're still rooting for them," Adam Pullen, assistant director of Caesars Sportsbook, said Sunday shortly after the game kicked off.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 17-0 lead but found themselves clinging to a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter of the heavily bet game.
The singled-out prime-time games almost always generate the most betting handle and the biggest decisions for sportsbooks due to parlay liability that builds up throughout the day. Kansas City was included on more parlays than any other team at some sportsbooks.
Pullen said the Chiefs covering the spread would've resulted in the best Sunday of the season so far for the betting public. A smart play by Mahomes prevented that from happening.
At the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, supervisor Nico Sfanos said sportsbook customers went "nuts" when Mahomes decided to slide.
"Lots of profanity coming from the guests that always bet the favorites in prime-time games," Sfanos told ESPN.
"[I] sent all the writers home early," Sfanos joked, "because there were no [Jets] tickets to cash."