The betting gods were in a fowl mood last night, rewarding Eagles coach Nick Sirianni’s analytics-driven decision to go for a two-point conversion that covered the Philly spread late in the fourth quarter. Leading 28-22, Tom Brady and the Bucs had a chance to cash both Tampa Bay -7 and over 54 total points tickets when they drove into the red zone in the waning minutes, but the 44-year-old quarterback knelt out the clock at the Eagles’ six-yard line to end the game.
The two-point conversion
After scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game, quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia offense looked lifeless as they fell behind 28-7. With just a couple minutes left in the third quarter, Hurts rushed for a touchdown to cut the deficit down to 14 points and then ran another one into the end zone with 5:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. That score made it an eight-point game and first-year head coach Sirianni opted to follow the analytics and go for two instead of kicking the PAT which would have pushed the +7 spread. As Thursday Night Football announcer Troy Aikman and every guy at the end of the bar questioned the decision in real time, Hurts hit Quez Watkins to make it a six-point game and a cover for Philadelphia +7 backers.
Tom Brady gave the 69% of TNF bettors holding a Tampa Bay -7 ticket hope when he delivered a strike to Antonio Brown for a 27-yard pass at the 3:24 mark. The Bucs were in the red zone and a field goal would not only cover the spread, but would also cash tickets for anyone who put money down on over 52.5 total points before it was bet up to the final line of 54. With the Eagles having two timeouts and the two-minute warning still left, all bettors needed was for Philadelphia to keep the Bucs from getting a first down. After stuffing Tampa running back Leonard Fournette for a one-yard loss, Philly gave up a 10-yard reception to tight end Cameron Brate to make it third-and-one. Brady snuck the ball up the middle for a first down and knelt out the clock to finish the game.