Crazy play at end of Cardinals-49ers leads to worst beat of season for bettors

For anyone who bet on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11, it looked like a rare easy win.

The Cardinals closed as a 10-point underdog at BetMGM. They led 16-0 early in the game. For almost the entire game, the 49ers weren’t even within one score of covering the spread. Even when the 49ers scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute, something really weird had to happen for the Cardinals to not cover.

Something really weird happened.

We could celebrate those lucky bettors who took the 49ers minus-10 and got the most miraculous push of the season, but that’s not what we do. We feel bad for the folks who had the Cardinals at plus-10 and didn’t win, because if you’ve bet on sports, you’ve been there before.

Cardinals bettors get a bad beat

For those who bet the Cardinals as a 10-point underdog, the goal was simple: Arizona had to win, or lose by less than 10. A 10-point Cardinals loss was a push, and bets were refunded. Keep that in mind.

The 49ers rallied in the final minutes and took a 30-26 lead with 31 seconds left. When Arizona lost a fumble on its next play, Cardinals bettors probably marked it as a win. There seemed to be no chance for the 49ers to cover or even push.

The problem was, the Cardinals had all three timeouts. Tevin Coleman ran for 9 yards on three plays. On fourth-and-1 the 49ers went for it and Coleman was stopped for a 1-yard loss. Still, no big deal. There were only six seconds left.

And then the laterals started.

Touchdown 49ers, somehow. Final score: 49ers 36, Cardinals 26. About the only good news is the NFL changed that rule in which a team had to kick a meaningless extra point with time expired.

49ers defensive TD has fantasy implications too

Perhaps the worst part of that fiasco was when the play seemed to be dead and the lateral was going to be recovered a long way from the end zone, the ball was magically flung out of the pile about 15 yards towards the end zone, making the scoop-and-score easier. Cardinals offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy is actually credited in the official play-by-play for batting the ball backward. 49ers safety D.J. Reed got the touchdown. The 49ers were the first team in 15 years to pull off a 10-point win after trailing by three or more in the final minute.

Not only was there a gambling aspect to the play, but the touchdown probably will swing numerous fantasy contests. The 49ers’ defense is 94 percent owned in Yahoo’s fantasy football, and those players got the biggest gift touchdown of the season.

And if you happened to have a 49ers ticket and got a miraculous push, we really don’t want to hear it.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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