Harbaugh decision costs 49ers bettors


We’re midway through football season, and everything is going the sportsbooks’ way.


San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to decline a penalty that would have resulted in a covering safety caused a “five-figure” swing in favor of Sportsbook, a representative told OddsShark.com. The 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks 13-6 Thursday.


“The game opened 49ers -7 and closed -7.5,” Sportsbook oddsmaker Mike Perry. “Seventy-five percent of the money was on the 49ers. So Harbaugh’s decision against the safety was huge.”


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Clinging to a seven-point lead, Harbaugh elected to decline a chop block penalty on the Seahawks that occured on fourth down in the end zone and would have resulted in a safety, putting the 49ers up 15-6. By declining the penalty, the 49ers took over deep inside Seattle territory and simply kneeled down to secure the win. 


It was the right football decision, but a tough pill to swallow for 49ers' backers. Meanwhile, Seahawks' bettors are loving life, after also benefitting from the bad call in the Monday night win over the Green Bay Packers.


Dave Mason of Sportsbook told National Football Post that, "Harbaugh was definitely looking out for the house by taking points off the board."


It had less of an impact at Sportsbook.


“It seems controversy has been the theme in the NFL this season when it comes to betting on it and last night once again a call at the end of the game affected the point spread directly," said Kevin Bradley.  "With the spread moving between 7.5 and 8.5 all day yesterday the safety would have allowed the Niners to cover winning by 9. However this game was pretty evenly bet so we did not see as much of a backlash as we did last time Seattle covered on the last play touchdown call against Green Bay.  Safety or no safety was not a huge swing for the book either way.”


It’s just one of many jabs the sportsbooks have landed so far this season. At plus-7.5, Seattle was the 13th underdog to cover the spread in the last 15 NFL games. NFC underdogs have been especially plucky, going 34-4-1 against the spread this season, according to the OddsShark.com ATS standings.


Overall, underdogs are covering at close to 65 percent, a remarkable run and possibly the greatest start for dogs ever.