FanDuel Would’ve Lost $10 Million If Chargers-Raiders Ended In A Tie

The Prisoner's Dilemma Bowl almost cost FanDuel eight figures, as a series of parlay bets nearly cashed
Pile of Dollars

Among those most thrilled with Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson hitting a game-winning, last-second, overtime field goal against the Los Angeles Charges Sunday night:

  1. Daniel Carlson
  2. Daniel Carlson’s wife
  3. FanDuel Sportsbook & Casino

Why FanDuel? Because if the game ended in a tie, FanDuel would’ve been on the hook for roughly $10 million.

Last night’s game between the Chargers and Raiders was one for the ages,” said Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s director of publicity. “The majority of our risk, which was more than $10 million, was accrued via our Same Game Parlay + product, where customers were able to create a same-game parlay on various markets that centered around the Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Indianapolis Colts and parlayed with Same Game Parlays from the Chargers @ Raiders game ending in a tie.” 

Of course, this story was the biggest thought experiment in all of sports last week: If the Jags were to beat the Colts, both the Chargers and Raiders would make the playoffs if the game finished in a tie. And while the obvious +EV move would have been for both teams to go the Prisoner’s Dilemma route, decide to trust each other, and simply kneel out the entire game, no one thought that was a legitimate possibility.

Nor did anyone think the Jaguars would keep up their end of the bargain.

But when the Jags did beat the Colts, things got interesting, and it became clear that while the Chargers and Raiders would play the game out, there was, at minimum, a higher chance of a tie happening. Why? Because if the game happened to go to overtime, the teams might play a more conservative brand of football, especially toward the end.

Which is more or less what happened, and the tie looked like a near-certainty until the Chargers (inexplicably?) called a timeout with 38 seconds left.

One kick, millions of dollars

It was a long 38 seconds for FanDuel traders, to be sure.

Of course, FanDuel wasn’t the only sportsbook on the hook last night. 

BetMGM was facing a “six figure liability,” according to spokesman Robert Flicker.

DraftKings didn’t reveal its position, but sportsbook manager Johnny Avello told ESPN that it was well over a million dollars.

PointsBet spokesman Patrick Eichner said the book would’ve been down “well into the seven figures” had the game ended with the tie.

Not all books, however, were sweating out the game.

“We actually only had ‘Will the game go into OT?’” said Jay Kornegay, the vice president of sportsbook operations for Westgate Superbook. “Lost grocery dollars. We didn’t have the tie prop on the board. With that said, I didn’t have an accelerated heart rate last night.”

Photo: Shutterstock


Related Posts