- The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Oakland Raiders on Christmas night, 19-10, including a last-second touchdown by the Eagles when the Raiders fumbled on their final play.
- The final touchdown was meaningless for the outcome of the game, but for bettors and fantasy football players across the country it was either a Christmas miracle or a crushing defeat.
- The fumble-touchdown is just the latest in a year full of wild gambling moments in the NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles had a tough, but ultimately successful, Christmas night, beating the Oakland Raiders, 19-10, on a frigid Monday evening to secure the top seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the 2017 postseason.
While the win was simply another in a season full of them, for gamblers and fantasy football players it was a wild night of whirlwind emotion.
At the start of the week, the Eagles were favoured by nine points, meaning that Philadelphia would have to win by at least 10 points for Eagles backers to cash their bets. As the week went on, so many bettors were taking Philadelphia that the line bumped the Eagles up to 10-point favourites.
Late in the game, it looked as if people who had money on the Eagles were dead in the water. While Philly had scored the go-ahead field goal with just a minute left that gave it a 13-10 lead, the chance of the Eagles stretching the lead beyond the point spread seemed hopeless. But on the last play of the game, as the Raiders tried to lateral the ball in desperation, chaos took over, and the Eagles were able to recover the ball and run it into the end zone for a 19-10 lead with the extra point pending.
You can take a look at the play below.
The @Eagles celebrate Christmas by ending the game with a fumble-return touchdown ????
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 26, 2017
At this point, those who had Eagles -9 had been gifted a miracle push, and an extra point could get them a win, while other bettors who had taken Philadelphia at -10 needed the extra point to salvage their bets. But they would never get the chance – the Eagles elected to kneel down on the extra-point attempt, settling the final score at 19-10.
While the play no doubt swung a ton of money in Las Vegas, it’s possible that the final sequence was even more impactful to fantasy football players. Week 16 serves as the championship week for most leagues, and the Eagles’ late fumble recovery and touchdown most likely made the title change hands in multiple leagues. Further, there had to be someone out there down a point in his or her championship with Jake Elliott as the kicker who for a brief moment thought he or she had won in a miracle, only to be crushed as the Eagles chose to kneel.
A quick look through Twitter would show that at least a few championships changed hands because of the bizarre final sequence in the game.
— Matthew Axline (@mattaxline) December 26, 2017
Fantasy football. You so cruel and amazing. ???? Congrats @Ay_Ce12 on winning with that fumble for 6. pic.twitter.com/OUTOmFj6AP
— SQ (@mrquach824) December 26, 2017
It’s not the first time a late, broken play has changed the outcome of bets and fantasy matchups across the country – earlier in the season the Chiefs had a similar play on “Monday Night Football” against the Redskins, leaving bettors elated or furious depending on which side of the game they were on.
The lesson, as always, is that gambling (and that includes fantasy), is a cruel mistress.
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