The Minnesota Vikings’ last-second comeback was good for Nevada sports books, although kicker Kai Forbath could have enriched the establishment had he attempted -- and converted -- an extra point Sunday.
Stefon Diggs scored the game-winning 61-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 29-24 victory as time expired, which meant the Westgate Sportsbook went from losing “six figures” to losing about half that amount, according to Jay Kornegay, the casino’s vice president of race and sports operations.
“That play balanced us out,” Kornegay told USA TODAY Sports. “(That) type of last-second play has been going against us, but this time it was exactly what we needed. It was a good thing for us. It would have been better had the Vikings made the extra point.”
Kornegay said he knew after Diggs took off his helmet and celebrated in the end zone that there was no chance the Vikings would attempt the extra point.
After several minutes - after fireworks and TV interviews and officials got the Saints defense back from the locker room and the players back onto the field, the Vikings took a knee.
But had Forbath converted to make it a six-point margin, all those who bet on the underdog Saints --- and that was about 60% of the bettors --- would have lost.
The spread for the NFC divisional playoff game fluctuated throughout the week between 4.5 and 5.5 points with the Vikings as the favorites. With the final five-point margin, those who bet on the Saints at plus-4.5 lost, those who had them at plus-5 pushed (and got their money back) and those who bet New Orleans at plus- 5.5 --- where the line stood at most casinos in Nevada when the game began --- won.
“We needed that extra point,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, told USA TODAY Sports. “The Vikings’ touchdown did save us when it came to those who bet the Saints on the money line.”
Money-line bets are straight up bets and those who bet on the Saints would have gotten about double the money wagered. About 79% of the dollars committed to money-line wagers were placed on the Saints at William Hill, which runs more than 100 sports books in Nevada.
The long delay between the Diggs’ touchdown and the PAT attempt meant the game wasn’t final, something Bogdanovich said led to several frustrated bettors who couldn’t redeem their tickets.
“They need to change that rule,” Bogdanovich said. “When a team wins on a final play like that and everyone is on the field celebrating, that should be it. It’s insane to make them walk out there and take a knee. It’s ridiculous.”
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