It’s not often that the gambling institutions end up being losers after a day full of games, but that’s precisely why USC’s victory over Utah on Saturday caused such a massive ruckus.
When the clock winded down at the conclusion of yesterday’s outing, USC barely emerged victorious over Utah in a 17-14 battle. Again, 17-14 was the final score. Las Vegas and the like paid out to the precious few who had bet on Lane Kiffin’s bunch to not cover the -8.5 spread set for them and, that was that.
Or so they thought.
A mere few hours later, the final score -- without a single second of football being played -- ballooned up to 23-14 in USC’s favor, thus making everyone who took USC -8.5 a big winner.
As it turned out, after the Pac-12 reviewed the tapes, they realized that an error had been made and opted to fix it – regardless of what it meant for the sports books.
On the last play of Saturday’s game, USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil batted away a 41-yard field goal attempt into the hands of cornerback, Torin Harris. Harris, in turn, took the ball back for a touchdown as time expired.
Tack another one on for the gamblers, right? Wrong – or so we originally thought. Because a certain amount of Trojans came storming onto the field before Harris made it to the end zone, the referees ruled that an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was necessary, and the touchdown was negated.
Nevertheless, USC still won 17-14 and all was theoretically right with the world for everyone who hadn’t taken USC -8.5 in the game.
Except that didn’t work for the Pac-12. Instead, the conference reviewed the happenings and ruled that because a penalty was committed by players who weren’t involved in an active play, the touchdown should have counted. And because the touchdown should have counted, they changed the final score to 24-14, in USC’s favor.
What did this mean for sports books all over the land? Well, the Los Angeles Times contacted the MGM Mirage Sports book to find out.
"That cost us huge. We needed USC to cover the 8½ and when they didn't allow that touchdown, that killed us.
"Now we lose double," he said, "because we'd already cashed out. We can't collect from people we already paid."
Apparently, they lost in the range of six figures on the gaffe.
So, at the end of the day bettors on both sides of the pile got paid – and the casinos lost big.
Twas a good day for America.