LAS VEGAS — The Pittsburgh Steelers walked off the field Sunday just happy they had won.
A lot of bettors in this gambling city were more concerned by how many points they ended up winning by.
Winners turned into losers and losers ended up winning when a game that should have ended up 17-10 or 18-10 instead went into the record books as the first 11-10 final in NFL history. Though the score made no difference in the win and loss column, it did in the wallets of a lot of bettors on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Anyone who had a bet on the Pittsburgh side and thought they had won weren’t too happy,” said John Avello, director of the race and sports book at the Wynn resort.
A mistake by the officials on the final play of the game between the Steelers and San Diego Chargers didn’t alter the outcome. But it did mean bettors who thought they had won money on the game actually lost, while those who thought they had lost ended up winning.
The Steelers were favored by 4 points, meaning the apparent touchdown scored by the Steelers’ Troy Polamalu on the last play of the game made the difference between Pittsburgh covering the point spread or not. When the touchdown was disallowed, Pittsburgh bettors who thought they had won on a fluke on the last play were left holding worthless tickets.
Avello said there might have been $10 million bet on the game statewide, and many times more than that in illegal bets around the country and in offshore Internet betting sites. There was more money bet on Pittsburgh, he said, especially in parlay bets.