By Micah Roberts
Starting with the 2010 season, if a team wins the OT coin toss and then kicks a field goal, the other team gets the ball. If the game becomes tied again after that next series, play will continue under the current sudden-death rules.
If the team winning the toss immediately scores a touchdown, however, the game is over.
These rules are currently in place to be used just for playoff games, but there is a possibility that the rule could be added for the regular season when the owners meet again before the regular season.
It makes sense to run the regular and post season the same way. The initial announcement for postseason only could have been just an effort to hear public opinion. So far, so good. There haven’t been too many uproars from fans or the media except for those that always hate change no matter what it is.
How it affects the books will be interesting to see. Twelve extra points as a possibility is pretty large, but how large in the overall equation remains to be seen. Las Vegas Hilton Super Book Executive Director Jay Kornegay believes it will be a wait and see approach.
“If they actually did change it for the regular season as well, it could be something to take notice of when we put the lines up, but I don’t think there will be too much adjusting,” Kornegay said.
“Last year there were only 13 regular season games that went to overtime out of all the games, why give an edge for under players on all the games in hopes that we protect what is not even likely to occur once a week. Who can predict overtime?”
In all there were only 15 games total that went into overtime when including the two postseason games. Of all the games, only two had the possibilities of going over the total under the new rules. Of those two, one would have needed all 12 possible points to make the over.
The other totals were either decided before overtime started, or the winning team scored a touchdown in overtime which ends the game under both new and old overtime formats.
When college football changed their rules allowing for overtime where there were possibilities of having unlimited scores if each team matched each other, there wasn’t much of a reaction at all by the Las Vegas books.
“The only time a rule change was taken notice of by the books was the college football play clock continuing on first downs which proved to equate to around 2.7 points per game less, that‘s it,“ said Lucky’s Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro.
If someone could actually predict overtimes at stacked odds, they could make a lot more money from that than betting totals at 11 to 10 odds, but good luck.
The bottom line is that we shouldn’t expect to see much adjustment at all from the bookmakers unless there are more rules into place that change the actual 60 minutes of regulation.
Below is a list of all the overtime games from 2009 showing who won the coin toss, the eventual winner, and how they scored along with the betting total on the game.
2009 NFL overtime games
Winners of the overtime coin flip in 2009 only won six of the 15 games on the advantage of the first OT drive, preventing opponents from overtime possession.
Coin-toss winners were 8-7 in these 15 overtime games. Home teams were 10-5.
Week 1, at Pittsburgh: Steelers 13, Titans 10 (Pittsburgh won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total stayed at 36 all week. Even with the maximum possible of 12 points being scored this game would have stayed under the total.
Week 4, at Cleveland: Bengals 23, Browns 20 (Cincinnati won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on fourth drive) Total opened 38.5 and closed at 38 and was already decided before overtime began.
Week 5, at Denver: Broncos 20, Patriots 17 (Denver won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total stayed at 41.5 all week. This is an instance of where the total could have been affected by the new rules. If the Patriots get the ball back to answer and either tie the score or score a touchdown, this game goes over. It’s likely the NFL rule, if changed for regular season as well, would only be a 15 minute period with the game being a tie if no one scored. So this could conceivably remain under the total as it ended.
Week 6, at Jacksonville: Jaguars 23, Rams 20 (Jacksonville won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total opened 41.5 and closed at 42.5 with the over getting the money under the current format and possible format.
Week 6, at New York Jets: Bills 16, Jets 13 (New York Jets won toss, received OT kickoff, Buffalo scored on third drive) Total opened 37 and closed 35.5. Under the extreme scenario of the maximum 12 points being scored, this game could’ve been sent over the number.
Week 11, at Kansas City: Chiefs 27, Steelers 24 (Pittsburgh won toss, received OT kickoff, Kansas City scored on first drive) Total was 40 and was already decided before overtime.
Week 11, at New York Giants: Giants 34, Falcons 31 (New York Giants won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total was 47 and was decided before the game went into overtime.
Week 13, at Washington: Saints 33, Redskins 30 (Washington won toss, received OT kickoff, New Orleans scored on first drive) Total was 47 and was long decided before overtime.
Week 15, at Tennessee: Titans 27, Dolphins 24 (Miami won toss, received OT kickoff, Tennessee scored on first drive) Total opened 40 and closed at 43, with both numbers easily going over the number in regulation.
Week 16, at New Orleans: Buccaneers 20, Saints 17 (Tampa Bay won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total opened 49.5 and closed at 48.5. Even with the maximum 12 points scored, this game still stays under.
Wild-card playoffs, at Arizona: Cardinals 51, Packers 45 (Green Bay won toss, received OT kickoff, Arizona scored defensive touchdown) Total was what ever you wanted to make it and it sill goes over regardless of what happened in overtime, or the fourth quarter for that matter.
NFC Championship, at New Orleans: Saints 31, Vikings 28 (New Orleans won toss, received OT kickoff, scored on first drive)* Total opened 53 and closed at 54 and went over the number in regulation.
*Won coin toss, scored on first possession