A $300 Million Blown Call?
The NFL’s decision to use replacement refs as it negotiated new contracts with its regular officiating crews led to some pretty unhappy gamblers around the globe on September 25.
The Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks ended in mayhem and dismay, with an obvious Green Bay interception ruled a touchdown instead for Seattle.
Gamblers around the world had heavily backed the Packers, who were a 4.5 point favorite at most sportsbook swhen the game kicked off.
Ahead by 5 points going into the final play, the Packers would have covered were it not for the terrible call that gave the Seahawks a 14-12 victory.
An estimated two-thirds of bets worldwide were on the Packers with about $150 million more bet on Green Bay than Seattle.
The final botched call saw that money remain in the hands of sportsbooks instead of being paid out to Packer backers.
The game was also heavily bet on as compared to other Monday Night Football games with a weekend of wild action leading many gamblers to press their bets and wager more heavily on the game than they normally would have.
Few Refunds, Little Solace
While a few sportsbooks did refund bets to those who wagered on Green Bay, the large amount bet on the game made it impossible for most sportsbooks to follow suit.
Sportsbooks had already begun to take replacement refs into account when setting lines for games, with home teams gaining a much bigger edge due to inexperienced refs and umpires being unduly influenced by the home crowd.
Gamblers can take a little solace in knowing that the uproar following the game played a major role in the NFL coming to terms with its regular officials.
The real refs were back in action the following weekend -- which thankfully saw no major officiating blunders or controversies.