Almost everyone bet on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, and late in the game those bettors were getting ready to cash their tickets.
The Chiefs, favored by between 3.5 and 4.5 just about everywhere, led 27-17 at the two-minute warning. More than that, the Los Angeles Chargers looked finished.
That's right when the gambling gods punch you in the stomach.
Near the end of the game, Chargers bettors had a right to feel like they'd been wronged. The Chargers led for much of the game until a sudden pick-six, which went for 99 yards, turned the game around. It seemed like somewhat of a bad beat for the Los Angeles side was coming. The Chiefs added a late field goal and led by 10, even though it felt like the Chargers were the right side. On a third-and-1 with a little more than two minutes left, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was so injured that he couldn't even run for a yard with open field in front of him. He labored to even throw the ball away. The Chargers were 43 yards away and the game felt over.
Then Herbert, somehow, unleashed a pass that maybe five people on the planet could complete, a gorgeous 35-yard pass to a heavily covered DeAndre Carter for a first down. That's the type of fourth-down conversion you won't see often.
What an absurd throw from a clearly injured Justin Herbert last night. On the previous play he couldn't even will himself to jog for a first down on third-and-1 and then throws this lol pic.twitter.com/jiEgXU3hTK
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) September 16, 2022
That's an insane throw, and at that point Chiefs bettors had to start worrying. And there were a lot of those bettors. As of Thursday morning, 79% of bets and 80% of the money at BetMGM was on the Chiefs to cover.
But still, Herbert was clearly compromised and the Chargers gained just one yard on the first three plays after the Carter catch. They had fourth-and-goal at the 7-yard line with a clearly injured quarterback. That's less than a 50-50 proposition.
But for the second time on the drive, Herbert just found a way to get it done.
Herbert's touchdown to Josh Palmer — cash those anytime TD tickets on Palmer, folks — got the Chargers within three points after the extra point. That meant all those Chiefs -3.5, Chiefs -4 and Chiefs -4.5 tickets were losers.
Week 1 passed without a memorable bad beat on any side. Week 2 started with a backdoor cover that crushed the huge majority who had bet on the Chiefs.