Justice has come for many West Virginia online Cleveland Browns bettors.
They prevailed Tuesday, when FanDuel issued a Bad Beat Refund for one of the most horrific things that happened to them this season. And there have been many.
In this case, the egregious development was a safety on the final play of the game, turning a would-be push at +3 to a loss in the Baltimore Ravens’ 47-42 victory. After yielding the go-ahead field goal with two seconds left, the Browns unfurled a series of unlikely laterals that led to a safety on the final play.
Fortunately for Browns bettors, FanDuel threw the administrative equivalent of a penalty flag, bailing them out.
FanDuel’s action highlights some angles linking NFL Weeks 14 and 15.
Here are the odds for NFL Week 15 games at WV sportsbooks:
“We are going to refund all pre-live, straight spread bets placed on the Browns +3, +3.5 and +4.5 from last night’s game,” FanDuel said Tuesday in a statement. “The total refund will be $750k and will appear in customer’s accounts today in site credit.”
The statement outlined some of the trading details that led to the decision:
“MNF was the most bet game of the weekend. The play at the end of the game was a seven-figure negative swing for the sportsbook going from a potential push at +3 to paying out Baltimore winners.”
FanDuel thus kept a large number of gamblers from being discouraged. The 9-4 Browns have a strong team this year, but their bettors have been snake-bit.
Cleveland lost one cover on a missed extra point in the final seconds against the Cincinnati Bengals, and another when running back Nick Chubb stopped short of the goal line on an imminent touchdown to keep the Houston Texans from regaining possession in the final two minutes. The Chubb TD would have produced a cover. Now this.
As the Browns visit the New York Giants and the Ravens host the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars, bettors wonder what these teams can do for an encore.
One, they both need the game. Baltimore is in the playoff chase and will view the Jags and New York Giants as welcome sights in their next two games, both at home.
Cleveland prepares for a MetLife Stadium doubleheader, visiting the five-win Giants and still-winless New York Jets on successive weekends. The San Francisco 49ers performed a MetLife sweep earlier this year, toppling both teams decisively on successive weekends.
A Finish for the Ages — Whether You Bet or Not
The Cleveland-Baltimore game, besides being the game of the year and perhaps several years, had an ending that could not have been written in Hollywood.
Twenty points in the final two minutes.
That’s right, the total zoomed from 69 to 89 points. But the way it happened can be savored by any football fan.
Cleveland led 35-34 with two minutes left. Baltimore’s backup quarterback Trace McSorley stared at fourth-and-5. If Cleveland stopped the next play, it won the game. But McSorley got hurt on the third down play and, at the two-minute warning, Lamar Jackson trotted back on the field. He had left in the fourth quarter, battling cramps.
Jackson took off for a first down, but then spotted Marquise Brown slipping past a defender and hoisted a risky, game-on-the-line pass on the run. It was true. Touchdown. And then a two-point conversion. Ravens 42, Browns 35.
Baker Mayfield brought the Browns roaring back for a TD with 1:04 left. Tied at 42.
Jackson took the Ravens down the field again to watch the league’s best kicker, Justin Tucker, drill a 55-yard field goal, with two seconds left. Ravens, 45-42.
And then the Browns, looking for a miracle play, lateraled themselves into a safety.
What’s better than this? There’s a chance these teams could meet again in the playoffs.
Steelers Look At Potential Breather
There are no givens in professional football, but Monday’s matchup in Cincinnati is as close as it gets for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who could use one.
The Bengals have struggled to score without star quarterback Joe Burrow, lost for the season. After nearly defeating the New York Giants and playing stout before fading to the Miami Dolphins, the Bengals were routed 30-7 by, of all teams, the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Pittsburgh needs a dominant victory after two losses to the Washington Football Team and Buffalo Bills.
The Steelers defense has been strong, scoring a TD and setting up another in the past three weeks. But the offense has been stuck in the teens — 19 against the Ravens, 17 versus Washington and 15 against Buffalo.
Opposing defenses know that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has the league’s quickest release, announced at 2.19 seconds during the Steelers-Bills telecast.
That’s about a second faster than most, denying Roethlisberger the time to throw deep. Opponents are stacking the box and having linebackers time a break on the ball at about three seconds. It resulted in the go-ahead touchdown for Buffalo.
The offensive line will have to give Big Ben a little more time to at least showcase the bomb. The Steelers have the best receiving corps in football, including Chase Claypool, Juju Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Eric Ebron.
The Cincinnati matchup will give these players a chance to excel. Claypool is overdue for a big game. And the Steelers will try to establish a respectable running game to protect Roethlisberger.
Pittsburgh has been supplanted as the top AFC playoff seed by the Kansas City Chiefs, who play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. If the Saints prevail, Pittsburgh can reclaim the top spot by beating Cincinnati. If Kansas City wins, Pittsburgh must keep pace.
The Steelers have the tiebreak over the Chiefs, if that’s needed.
The Surging Washington Football Team
Hail to the Washington Football Team, which now owns the NFC’s longest active winning streak, four games.
And the last three came on the road.
Washington holds first place in its grasp as it hosts the Seattle Seahawks as an underdog in perhaps its toughest game for the rest of the season.
Washington then hosts the Carolina Panthers and visits the Philadelphia Eagles. It holds a one-game advantage over the New York Giants, who have the tiebreaker edge.
The WFT will play Seattle early and then keep an eye on significant matchups, between the Philadelphia Eagles at the Arizona Cardinals and the Browns against the Giants Sunday night.
Washington scored not one, but two, defensive touchdowns in beating the San Francisco 49ers 23-15 last week. That was two more than its offense.
The health of quarterback Alex Smith is something bettors will have to monitor. If he can’t go, Dwayne Haskins may return as the No. 1 starter.
Around the League
The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers open the slate Thursday night, another game proving how badly the NFL needs gamblers. This matchup has no appeal to anyone outside the West Coast unless gambling is involved. Fortunately for the NFL, it is, and gambling flourishes in West Virginia.
Two Saturday games follow. The Denver Broncos host the 10-win Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers, the new No. 1 NFC playoff seed, host the Carolina Panthers.
Looking one week out, the NFL will have a Friday game this year, on Christmas, with the Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings. This will be the first time in history the league plays a game on every day of the week.