NFL Bettors Rue Late Field Goal in Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers

Grant Mitchell
By:
Grant Mitchell
09/18/2023
NFL

Highlights

  • The Rams were 7.5-point underdogs and lost by seven
  • LA coach Sean McVey made questionable decisions during the final drive
  • The over came in huge for public bettors

NFL bettors across the country were screaming foul play after the Los Angeles Rams kicked an apparently meaningless field goal in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The field goal wasn’t significant in the end result, but it had a massive impact on spread betting. The Rams, who were seven-and-a-half-point underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers, used the field goal to pull an all-time backdoor cover by a half-point as time expired with the score 30-23.

Sports bettors were outraged by the kick because it bore no impact on the final score of the game. Most teams in these situations either take long shots to the end zone or knee the ball to end the game.

Rams-49ers drama

The 49ers-Rams game kicked off at 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. The underdog Rams put up a great fight but could not slow down the Niners, who had already beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-7 on the road to start their season.

The Rams began the final drive of the game from their own 30-yard line with 1:34 on the clock. Their best chance to force overtime was to get down the field as quickly as possible, kick a field goal, and then try to recover an onside kick.

That never materialized, and the Niners did not enter field goal territory until there were 19 seconds on the clock. But rather than attempt the field goal, they opted to run another play before eventually spiking the ball with only four seconds remaining. 

At this point, it was practically impossible for the Rams to have a shot at tying the game. They tried to get the field goal between the uprights before the four seconds expired, but they failed, and the game ended. 

The decision-making combined with the implications of the kick made it seem as if Rams coach Sean McVey wanted to cover the spread, even if he couldn’t win the game, which would be a very dangerous precedent to set.

Of course, there is a very minute chance that is the case—but with the NFL joining in on the joke that its games are “scripted” and the nationwide boom in legal sports betting, Sunday’s sequence of events was puzzling.

More NFL Sunday results

While 49ers bettors were left to rue the Rams’ late-game kick, the public won big with the Miami Dolphins.

“We need New England [Patriots],” said Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, ahead of Sunday Night Football kick-off between the Dolphins and Pats.

SuperBook’s John Murray also commented that it felt as if every live parlay included the Dolphins’ either moneyline or spread, and that if they covered, it would result in the house taking a loss for the day.

Vegas doesn’t usually take losses to the public, but it was forced to dish out the cash to public bettors as the Dolphins won and covered, 24-17.

The over was also in style on Sunday, much the opposite of the Week 1 trend that saw the under go 12-4. 

The over is now 12-2 and hit in 11 of 13 Sunday matchups. If either of the Monday Night Football matchups between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers or the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers go over, it will be the first time since 1986 that 13 games have gone over in one weekend, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The other big news of NFL Week 2 is that the 49ers, at DraftKings and other major sportsbooks, have earned the shortest Super Bowl odds following their 2-0 start to the year. 

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.