LA Chargers Coach Brandon Staley Might Have Saved Vegas Oddsmakers $1 Billion

A coaching decision by Staley resulted in his team's 35-32 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night

Coach Brandon Staley of the LA Chargers looks on before coaching against the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in January 2022
Coach Brandon Staley of the LA Chargers looks on before coaching against the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.
Steve Marcus/Getty

Was Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley complicit in his team’s demise on Sunday night? Probably, but it’s hard to say for sure.

What we can say is that Staley helped save oddsmakers approximately $1 billion with a coaching decision that resulted in his team’s 35-32 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Staley — who insisted on going for first downs on fourth downs earlier in the season instead of kicking field goals and likely cost his team a game against the Chiefs — made a questionable call on fourth down that gave the Raiders the ball within LA’s 20-yard line. Then, after the Chargers fought back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter and sent the game to overtime, Staley called a timeout with 39 seconds remaining when it appeared the Raiders were willing to settle for a tie that would’ve sent them — and the Chargers — to the postseason.

Following Staley stopping the clock, Vegas running back Josh Jacobs carried the ball for 10 yards on third-and-4 to the Chargers’ 29, putting placekicker Daniel Carlson and the Raiders in range for the game-winning field goal. Carlson, who was an outstanding 40-of-43 this season on field goals, made the kick to break the tie and give his team the win.

“We were certainly talking about [the tie] on the sideline,” Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said afterward. “We wanted to see if they were gonna take a timeout or not on that run. They didn’t, so we thought they were thinking the same thing. And then we popped the run in there and gave us a chance to kick the field goal to win it. So, we were certainly talking about it.”

In addition to sending the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, Staley’s decision and Carlson’s kick wiped what would have been a very costly payout for many oddsmakers off of the books. Oddsmakers including FanDuel, BetMGM and DraftKings took action on the game that allowed bettors to simultaneously bet on both the Chargers and Raiders with an equal spread. In other words, bet on the tie. With that bet already a parlay, some gamblers decreased their odds and increased their potential payout by folding in outside bets.

“The only group of people in Las Vegas happier than the Raiders after Sunday’s 35-32 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers were the oddsmakers down the street who were seconds away from paying out an all-time liability,” per USA Today. “Industry insiders told BetFTW public winnings on a tie between the AFC West rivals would have exceeded $1 billion across all books.”

Instead, the oddsmakers keep their money and the Chargers will be watching the postseason from home, again.

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