Two Sportsbooks Make Costly Decisions

The American football season is the hottest time of year for sports betting, but to the dismay of sportsbooks in the United States and around the world, that period is coming to a close. The college football season is over and the NFL season has just three games left:  two conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Two sportsbooks, in particular, may be kicking themselves for decisions they made with a couple of wagers.

FanDuel Jumped the Gun

The first one, FanDuel Sportsbook, I have written about before. At the end of November, FanDuel announced that it was paying out all future bets on the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the college football national championship, no matter if Alabama actually won or not. At the time, Alabama had yet to even play in its own conference championship game, though even if it had lost (it beat Georgia), it still would have made the four-team playoff for the national title. Once in that playoff, it had to win two more games to capture the crown.

Alabama was the favorite to win it all before the season started, opening at +195. By the time of FanDuel’s announcement, Alabama was an extremely heavy favorite at -280. It was a 12-point favorite in the SEC Championship game against Georgia, a top-five team, and had destroyed everybody it had played.

Thus, as a marketing stunt, the FanDuel sportsbook decided to pay everybody who had a future bet on Alabama.

But the ploy backfired, as Alabama got murdered by Clemson in the title game, 44-16. When FanDuel announced this payout decision, it estimated that it would lose about $400,000 were a different team to win the national championship.

Apparently FanDuel likes to just give away money. In addition to this, the sportsbook decided to give everyone who bet on the Bears money line in Chicago’s NFL playoff game against the Eagles on January 6th a site credit matching his bet up to $100. The Bears lost on a heartbreaking missed field goal that hit the upright and then the crossbar. Granted, this isn’t a straight cash giveaway and many bettors will end up losing the site credit on another wager, but it’s another nice gesture like the $400,000 loss it took on the Alabama game. Gave POTUS Too Much Credit

Unrelated to football or sports at all, but during this season nonetheless, the site set an absolutely terrible line on a political event, resulting in the site taking some hefty losses.

The sportsbook actually let customers bet on how many lies United States President Donald Trump would tell in his Oval Office address last Tuesday night. If you are like me or any rational, logical thinker, you would assume the line would be set somewhere around seven or eight, right? I mean, Trump is a habitual liar. He lies so much that it can be difficult to know when he is lying and when he is telling the truth (hint: if you have to guess, he’s lying). If he was Pinochio, the Earth would have a second axis and our seasons would get all fucked up.

So what over-under did the site set? Fucking 3.5 lies. Seriously. It was -145 for the over and +115 for the under, so at least the over was the favorite. If you thought to yourself just now, “I would have snap-bet on the over,” then you weren’t alone. An astounding 92 percent of bettors took the over and probably didn’t even think twice about it.

Odds consultant John Lester told BuzzFeed News that was set to lose $276,424 because Trump is such a piece of shit.

According to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which is what used to determine how many lie Trump told, Trump lied six times during his short speech. And that doesn’t count the times where he merely stretched the truth or spun some number in a disingenuous way. So yeah, Trump obliterated the over-under.

“It’s a bad day for Truthiness and Bookmaker,” he said. “We knew we were in trouble early with this one.”

Yeah, no shit.

There was a method to the madness, though. Lester told BuzzFeed News what the thought process was:

We figured the President’s strategy going in would be a bit of fear mongering to create pressure on the Democrats to approve the funding of the wall (or barrier), however the President was also constrained by an approximate 8-minute time limit. With all the cable networks agreeing to air the speech, it came down to, how many times is the president willing to exaggerate the truth to accomplish his agenda, when he knows the world will be scrutinizing his every word?

As we have seen every minute of every hour of every day, Trump could not care less that people fact-check him. He just claims the media is “fake news” and moves on to the next lie.

Lester told Buzzfeed News that even though the wager limit was $2,000 for this bet, yet some gamblers got permission to bet more and wagered as much as $25,000.


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