Todd Gurley Disappoints Sports Bettors by Stopping Short of TD

Todd Gurley Sports Bets - Rams Packers Point Spread

Todd Gurley fell to the ground around the 5-yd line with 58 seconds remaining, instead of scoring a touchdown. He later said, “Forget fantasy and forget Vegas…we got the win.”

Los Angeles Rams star running back Todd Gurley disappointed many sports bettors who bet the over/under on the Rams’ showdown with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. As it appeared Gurley would score a touchdown in a 29-27 game that would have pushed the score above the 57-point over/under mark, Gurley stayed inbounds and declined to take the touchdown (video of the play).

The decision was the right one for the Rams, if not bettors on the Rams.

By taking a knee instead of running out of bounds or scoring a touchdown, Todd Gurley assured the Rams would retain control of the ball. The Packers could not stop the clock, so Gurley’s move meant the only conceivable chance the Rams had of losing did not come to pass.

The 7-0 L.A. Rams were installed by Las Vegas sportsbooks as 7.5-point favorites over the 3-2-1  Green Bay Packers, so Gurley’s decision not to score a touchdown also sabotaged the wagers of those players who had taken Los Angles to win big.

Todd Gurley Helped and Hurt Bettors

Of course, such decisions are in the eye of the beholder. Bettors who took the Packers and the points were pleased to win a bet they might not have expected to win at that point. The same goes for bettors who picked the under proposition on the over/under bet.

Lindsey Thiry, an L.A. Times reporter who also covers the Los Angeles Rams for ESPN, posted to Twitter a summation of the play, “Todd Gurley, on stopping short of goal line to secure the win and run out the clock: ‘Man, forget fantasy and forget Vegas. We got the win, so that’s all that matters.'”

Such plays have happened numerous times over the years in the NFL. Football is a game of ball possession. Retaining control of the ball gives a team control of the clock, which often is more important than scoring in the latter stages of the game.

Todd Gurley Changed DFS Contests

Lindsey Thiry brought up one point that many sports bettors might have overlooked: Todd Gurley’s decision not to score a touchdown affected countless fantasy sports contests. Not only will Gurley’s score hurt team owners in seasonal or yearly fantasy sports leagues. The decision affected the outcome of certain daily fantasy sports contests, where Gurley likely cost his team owners an additional 6 to 7 fantasy points, depending on the scoring system.

DFS owners have to pay a premium to start Todd Gurley, who is on an MVP case. He’s been so dependable that a high number of owners add him to their starting lineup. Many deft DFS owners anchor their units with a couple of the best starters in the NFL, because that eliminates a player like Todd Gurley from affecting their contest. Grinders then find the best matchups among the second and third-tier players.

For that reason, Todd Gurley’s total might not have affected many head-to-head matchups. In the big Sunday tournaments on FanDuel and DraftKings, Gurley turning down the final touchdown might have affected the winnings of many players. In those contests, many casual players likely add Todd Gurley to their lineups, as he would be the #1 or #2 player taken any given week in a fantasy draft.

Those who get lucky with other starting lineup choices vault to the top 5% of Sunday guaranteed tournaments, so Todd Gurley owners may have seen their earnings affected by his decision to forego a touchdown.

Consistently Winnings Sports Bets Isn’t Easy

Ultimately, sports bettors are most affected by a player’s decision not to score (when he or she can). Betting lines have to do with the final scoreboard, not the sum total of all stats a player might have. If a player fails to put 7 points on the scoreboard for his team, then the final score and over/under is much more likely to be affected.

The way the Todd Gurley story intersects with traditional betting lines, over/under propositions, and daily fantasy sports points the way to the future of sports betting in America. With DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings operating land-based sportsbooks and marketing their own live in-play sports betting apps, the gaming public is going to see a blending of the two pastimes.

The Future of DFS Prop Bets

To attract fantasy football hobbyists, there is no reason a sportsbook could not offer Todd Gurley proposition bets with an over/under based on traditional fantasy scoring systems. If the sportsbook notes the scoring system (1 point for 10 yards, 6 points for a touchdown), a bookmaker could offer endless DFS prop bets based on an NFL game.

Sites like DraftKings and FanDuel already have those scoring systems in place. They have the live betting apps and the sportsbooks to offer such gaming options. With a nation full of fantasy football fans to win over to their product, it is the wave of the future.

Which means Todd Gurley’s fantasy owners will have whole new ways to be disappointed (or thrilled) in the near future.