Rams head coach Sean McVay helped make (or ruin) a lot of bettors’ days when he surprisingly elected to kick a field goal against the 49ers with time expiring — and Los Angeles down 10.
Rams kicker Brett Maher hit the ball through the uprights, making the final score 30-23 in favor of San Francisco instead of 30-20.
Looking at the big picture, it was an ultimately meaningless kick — except for those who bet on the game’s point spread, which had the 49ers favored by 7.5 at most sportsbooks.
If the Rams had simply run out the clock while being down two scores, as most teams do in that situation, San Francisco would have covered. Instead, McVay gave an early-season gift to those who bet on the Rams against the spread.
McVay’s decision to kick the field goal has been on every gambler’s mind since it happened, but the coach insists he did so unwittingly.
“We were trying to get a completion where we could kick the field goal before [time ran out] … and be able to kick an onside [on the ensuing kickoff] and try to give ourselves a real opportunity to win the game,” McVay told reporters Tuesday.
However, the play took longer to develop than McVay anticipated, leaving no time for an onside kick after the next play. Still, he decided to stick with the plan to send out the field goal unit.
“Felt like it was an opportunity to not leave Matthew [Stafford] susceptible to an unnecessary heave to the end zone,” McVay said. “But the initial goal was to try to get a two-for-one to where we end up getting into field-goal range a little bit earlier. … and then ultimately try to be able to have an onside kick to then try to be able to compete to try or win the game.”
McVay said he was unaware of any betting implications until Rams Vice President of Communications Artis Twyman told him, “A lot of people in Vegas were pissed off about that decision.”
“I clearly was not aware of that stuff,” McVay said.
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