Patrick Mahomes’ Slide During Chiefs vs. Jets Created Heavy Betting Losses

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Football news


  • Patrick Mahomes slid short of the goal line to run the clock out against the Jets
  • Sportsbooks won an estimated eight figures because of the slide
  • Travis Kelce also failed to score, which created heftier losses for the public

NFL MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the new hero for sportsbooks everywhere after he won the books millions on Sunday night.

Mahomes’ Chiefs took on the New York Jets as 7.5-point favorites on Sunday Night Football. The Jets proved tougher to defeat than expected, but the Chiefs had a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter when Mahomes broke free and had a straight path into the end zone but opted to slide short of the goal line.

Although it was the smart play and it allowed the Chiefs to drain the clock and win the game, it meant the unsupported Jets covered the spread, while the public-backed Chiefs fell short.

Sportsbooks bank off Mahomes’ slide

About 96% of bets at Caesars Sportsbook were on the Chiefs’ spread, which ranged from -9 to -7.5. BetMGM also reported roughly 90% of bets coming in on the Chiefs.

Betting splits differ amongst online sportsbooks, but industry experts estimated that over four-fifths of American bettors were riding with the Chiefs.

The belief is that over $80 million was wagered on the outcome, which means that Mahomes’ decision to slide instead of taking the open path into the end zone likely won the books tens of millions of dollars.

Many frustrated fans cried out that the game was rigged, just as they did after the Los Angeles Rams covered the spread with a meaningless field goal in Week 2. But Mahomes’ play, although unpopular with the bettors, was the right one to make.

Even though the touchdown would have put the Chiefs up by nine points (and 10 after the extra point) with 1:53 remaining, it would have given the ball back to the Jets. Had they scored a touchdown and recovered an onside kick, they would have had the opportunity to win or tie the game. Instead, they had to watch helplessly as Mahomes kneeled the clock out and the Chiefs won their third straight game.

Of course, Zach Wilson and the Jets offense are not known for their ability to drive down the field in a short period of time, which is where the frustration is derived from.

Doubling the losses

The Chiefs have consistently struggled to cover the spread in recent years. They went 8-11-1 ATS last year (a year in which they won the Super Bowl) and are 28-34-1 ATS since the start of 2020.

One explanation for these struggles is that the public holds them so highly that the oddsmakers set the line higher than the fair amount because they’ll still receive heavy support. Another is that they’re often ahead so early that they allow teams to grab backdoor covers in losses.

The disappointment for Chiefs bettors didn’t end at just the spread. Travis Kelce, a minus-money favorite to score a touchdown, failed to crack the end zone for the first time this season.

The 33-year-old has been the center of conversation recently because of his developing relationship with music superstar Taylor Swift, who was in attendance for the second week running.

BetMGM even reported that there were seven times more bets on Kelce than there were the week previously, seemingly because of Swift's influence.

Whether it was because Swift brought her fans over to the world of NFL betting or because the public felt the Chiefs’ top pass-catcher would be more motivated to score, all of the Kelce anytime touchdown scorer bets ended up being worthless. He did, however, lead his team with six receptions for 60 yards on nine targets

The Chiefs are either first or second in Super Bowl odds at most legal sportsbooks and are in fierce competition with the San Francisco 49ers for the top spot.

Mahomes, though he has not posted numbers as gaudy as he did last year, is also in the top three of the MVP race, alongside Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.