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Week 2 NFL 2023 Betting Analysis & Takeaways: Sean McVay's Field Goal

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 8 mins

Week 2 NFL 2023 Betting Analysis & Takeaways: Sean McVay's Field Goal

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Week 2 of the NFL betting season delivered one of the most stinging "Bad Beats" on football betting sites since sports betting was allowed to go nationwide. 

The Rams were 7.5-point underdogs and trailed the favored San Francisco 49ers 30-20 late. The Rams began their final drive with 1:34 to play. But it stalled on San Francisco's 20. With 4 seconds to play after a Matthew Stafford spike, Sean McVay opted to kick a 38-yard field goal. It was good as time expired. 

The resulting 30-23 outcome was still a win for the 49ers in the standings, but not for those who bet on San Francisco against the spread. The line hovered between 6.5 and 8 points, number before closing at either 7 or 7.5, depending on the book.

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The Rams went to 2-0 against the spread this season with the cover and fell to 1-1 with the loss. The 49ers are among eight NFL teams with 2-0 records heading into the two Monday night games.

The kick universally shocked the viewing and betting public. Millions changed hands after the most unlikely of outcomes. At BetMGM, 60% of the spread handle supported the Rams.  The flow swayed in the opposite direction at DraftKings, where 60% of the spread handle landed in the book's bank account as Brett Maher's kick sailed blissfully through the SoFi uprights.  

So, for every "Bad Beat" there is a "Glorious Cover." 

Circa Sports Director of Operations Jeffery Benson told bookies.com "that the Rams landing 7 was a gut punch."

"Why are they kicking?" Benson said he thought the time. The reaction among the wagering partisans at the posh 350-seat, three-story jewel of a sportsbook inside the Las Vegas Circa Hotel was "intense" with "mixed emotion." 

Benson, like so many others, had never seen a situation where a team was down by more than three points only to kick a field goal at the gun that ensured defeat on the field but delivered a cover in the process. 

The result spawned a spectrum of public and media feedback. Conspiracies raged. The most logical argument for the kick is probably closest to the truth. McKay believed he would have time left on the clock to perhaps pull off a miracle on the ensuing kickoff, or he was focused on point differential, which is a potential NFL tiebreaker. 

If it is ever learned that McVay actually wagered on this game. his NFL coaching career would be over at age 37.

The unwashed cited the kick as proof that the NFL is either scripted, or somehow rigged with pre-determined outcome. Those who cashed on the Rams won't be complaining. 

Therein lies the rub in all these theories, there are two sides to every bet. 

Arnold Rothstein wasn't the only person who backed the Reds in 1919. 

Betting Overs, Underdogs Show Bark, Bite

Overs struck back in Week 2 and have hit on 12 of the first 14 games in Week 2 heading into Monday night. Underdogs held a slight edge at 7-6-1, with the Eagles and Vikings closing on the first tie ATS this season Thursday night. 

One of those underdogs who covered were the Arizona Cardinals. They were +5.5 at home and held a 21-point lead over the visiting Giants. Big Blue rallied for the monstrous 31-28, but fell short of the road cover. 

The Falcons finally received some respect from the betting public. A surge of cash flipped the line against Green Bay. By kickoff, the Falcons had moved from 1-point home dogs to -3 favorites. They rallied for the 25-24 win, but whiffed on the cover for those who bet on Sunday. 

Sharps felt the pain as late money flowed in on both the Raiders and Jets. A pair of teams whose quarterbacks were under siege all afternoon. Zach Wilson barely escaped with his life. He'll be running from Micah Parsons in his sleep for weeks. The unwashed celebrated. BetMGM had 67% of its handle on the Bills, and 60% on the Cowboys. Both of whom rolled to easy home wins and covers.  

At Fanatics, there were 5x as many Lions money line bets as Seahawks money line bets.  As of 10 a.m. Sunday, 87% of the ML bets are on the Lions. Those wagers boosted the book's bottom line as the Seahawks won 37-31 in overtime in Detroit. BetMGM scored a win on the Lions, as well. Detroit -4.5 was its third-most bet game.

The Chiefs' netted an hard-fought cover at -3.5 in beating Jacksonville 17-9. BetMGM had the Chiefs as it's second-most-bet game. 

NFL Betting Dawns In Massachusetts, Kentucky

Week 2 NFL 2023 Betting Analysis & Takeaways: Sean McVay's Field Goal 1

This was the second week with live and with legal betting sites operating in Massachusetts. This was also the first Week 2 in which live betting took place in Ohio. Kentucky began retail betting on Thursday and will launch mobile betting on September 28.

Massachusetts and Ohio have both retail and mobile betting apps.

Operators are expecting significant handles in Massachusetts this NFL season. 

The Patriots fell to 0-2 both outright and against the line with a dismal and disappoint loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Fins are perfect in both categories this season. The Dolphins won 24-17. 

At BetMGM, the public took a split decision in two major outcomes. The Dolphins (-2.5) were the most-backed team entering Sunday in terms of spread handle. Yet the over of 46.5 was the most-bet spread outcome. 

Benson said his book needed the Patriots ahead of Sunday night's game. 

Survivor Pool Update

The Bills and Giants found significant support in Week 2 of the Circa's survivor pool. Those two "New York" teams accounted for 58.1% of the picks. The Giants made their supporters sweat. Just a bit. 

The Broncos claimed the most number of victims this week as 847 players (11.6%) saw their season end as the Broncos missed their 2-point try at the end of their 35-33 loss to Washington.

Week 1 Betting Recap By The Numbers 

Here is where things stand after Week 2 - save for the two Monday night games.

Underdogs Win %Favorites Win %TieWin %
1653.3 13 43.3 10.3
Under Total Win %Over Total Win %TieWin %
14 46.7 16 53.3 0 0

(All Numbers Through 14 Games in Week 2)

Plays Of The Day

FanDuel was one of the books that did not issue any refunds following Aaron Rodgers' injury in Week 1. And we are proud of it. Sunday, the book offered a make-up of sorts. 


  • $300,000 wager on KC-JAX Under 50.5 (-110) at DraftKings paid $572,727.27 
  • $58,000 wager on Falcons ML (-118) against Packers at DraftKings paid out $107,152.54


Actual payout: $0 

They make it look so easy

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.