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Ending of Cardinals-49ers has big consequences in sportsbooks

Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino which features 4,488-square-feet of HD video screens on March 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Depending on where bettors put their money, and on which respective sportsbooks lines, the final play in the Arizona Cardinals’ visit to the San Francisco 49ers mattered.

It didn’t in football terms.

The Cardinals trailed 30-26 on Sunday and with seconds left attempted a series of laterals. Kyler Murray found Larry Fitzgerald for a short pass, and the receiver attempted to keep the play alive with a pitch backward.

Arizona offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy batted the ball in desperation, but 49ers defensive back D.J. Reed Jr. scooped it up for a four-yard fumble return touchdown. That made the final score 36-26 — there was no extra-point attempt with no reason for the play to occur.

According to ESPN, that hurt sportsbooks like Caesars. The game had closed at Caesars with a line at 10 points in favor of San Francisco, and the 10-point victory by the Niners allowed all parlays to win.

For Caesars, it was a “worst-case scenario,” according to director of trading Jeff Davis.

“We needed the Cardinals to lose by more than 10 since no parlays lost and Arizona backers at more than 10 didn’t lose,” Davis told ESPN in an email. “San Francisco by four was no good, but by 10 was worse. We needed [the 49ers] by 11 or more.”

Other betting services had it a little better with lines set favoring the 49ers from -9.5 to -10.5.

In most cases, as the Cardinals fumbled away their last breath of a disappointing defeat, bettors watched with anxiety a few ticks after the clock officially hit triple-zeros.

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