It Took One Crazy Prop Bet and a Wild NFL Afternoon for FanDuel to Lose a Fortune


Blame the kickers! Sunday was a flush afternoon in the NFL for some betters as the 3-point play led to tens of millions in payouts for one gambling site.

Over the past few years, the National Football League has dramatically loosened its position on gambling. Once considered to be a third-rail topic, the League today partners with numerous sportsbook operators, allowing advertising during games, and the platforms are licensed to use NFL team brands. These days, for any game, there is a litany of differing bets you can wager on, from various in-game propositions, individual player stats, and multiple game parlays throughout the day.


On Sunday, one of the betting partners - FanDuel - incurred a tremendous payout as a result of betters taking advantage of a prop bet offered with a unique spread, and it became apparent the site needed to adjust on the fly – but it was too late.

Before the Sunday kickoff, one option FanDuel offered up was to bet that in all of the daytime matchups, all participating teams would kick a field goal. On a day when scoring was basically a free-for-all, sure enough, the bet came in. But there is far more to this development. It turns out that earlier on Discord, a large number of account holders shared that this bet was on the board, and there was a rush to the site to register the bet.

The bet itself was not the unusual aspect, as over at the competitor DraftKings, they too had the marker on the board – what had Discord users excited was the odds. While DraftKings listed the prop bet with 30:1 odds, over at FanDuel, it was far tastier. That site posted its bet option at an inflated 200:1. And as a sign that there was plenty of movement on this selection, the number did come down to a level of 130:1, but by then it was too late.

In the end, the site announced what its payout on this lone bet had been: A staggering $20 million.

The online betting communities have swelled, expectedly, in the past couple of years and the popularity can be heard in bars and parties. People discuss their options and particular bets throughout game time at a similar level heard from the fantasy football managers. The variety of available sportsbooks has led to a competitive environment, with no clear winner rising to the fore.


For this season the top of the popularity list for betting apps is razor close, and the competition downstream remains tight as well.

And expect more to join the fray. Last month, ESPN announced the struggling network is looking to expand into the betting marketplace. The beleaguered channel has taken in $1.5 billion to partner up with established sportsbook and casino owner Penn Entertainment. Penn previously was operating the Barstool Sports betting platform, but sold its ownership back to founder Dave Portnoy and is now in the process of rebranding, with its new betting entity ESPN Bet set to arrive sometime this football season. 


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