Sports bettors are piling on additional bets at this time of the year during the NFL playoffs. Proposition bets (props) are offered by many sportsbooks with many player props and yardage totals to bet. They will become especially popular during the Super Bowl with nearly 50% of many sportsbooks total handle taken from prop bets alone.
But in the NFC Championship Sunday at New Orleans, many prop bettors took a hard hit when Rams running back CJ Anderson was tackled for a 3-yard loss in overtime just plays before Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein booted the longest game-winning kick in playoff history when his 57-yard field goal sailed well beyond the uprights to send the Rams to Super Bowl Llll.
How it happened
Anderson became a popular player to target as he rushed for 167, 132 and 123 yards for the Rams after being acquired by Los Angeles in mid-December. At FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, Anderson’s rushing yards prop against the Saints was over/under 53.5 yards as of late as Saturday night. Anderson ‘under’ bets became popular at many sportsbooks and his rushing yards prop closed between 44.5-46.5 yards at many locations by kickoff on Sunday. Anderson’s workload was expected to drop further against the Saints with RB Todd Gurley back healthy after he ripped off 116 rushing yards against Dallas while sharing the rushing load with Anderson the previous week.
Against the Saints, Anderson became the Rams’ primary ball carrier when Gurley struggled and played less than 50% of the Rams’ offensive snaps. Gurley had just four carries for 10 yards and a turnover on a pass deflection he should have caught deep in Rams territory early in the game as the Saints built a 13-0 lead.
On the Rams early fourth quarter drive, Anderson carried the ball three times, for 5, 2 and 1 yards, the last yard from the Saints 2-yard line when he was stopped one yard short of the goal line. But that last yard gave Anderson 47 rushing yards for the game. Bettors who played over his rushing total at the most widely available numbers were happy and no longer sweating the result.
So it seemed. The Rams passed the ball eight straight times on their final drive in regulation when Zuerlein kicked a 48-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. Over bettors were still winning the Anderson rushing prop.
When the game went to overtime and the Rams intercepted Saints QB Drew Brees on the opening drive, Los Angeles took over near midfield. After a 12-yard pass completion on the first play, Anderson took an inside handoff and was tackled for a 3-yard loss. His rushing total dropped to 44 yards. Three plays later without another rushing attempt for Anderson, Zuerlein kicked the game-winning 57-yard field goal.
Tough break. Bad beat. Unfortunate luck, unless you had bet the under!
Anderson finished with 44 rushing yards on 16 carries with a long of 8 yards. He’ll be another popular target when the Super Bowl props are released this week.