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Controversial Line Busting End to 49ers Game

October 19, 2012

Thursday night saw a controversial line busting move by Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers.  The line on Thursday night’s football game moved quite a bit and bounced between 7 and 9 points.  80% of wagers were placed on the 8 point price. The 49ers were looking to end the game up by 7 points and most people who wagered on them figured the cause was lost as it would take a near miracle with little time remaining in the game. Well that miracle came in the form of an illegal block while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson stood in his own end zone. Boom. 49ers bettors rejoiced everywhere. Seattle bettors gasped.

But hold on. Jim Harbaugh is declining the sure points. What’s this?  Who’s heard of such a thing? Did Harbaugh bet on the game? I smell a rat!  Well in hind site his logic was sound because it was a simple neal down on the ball in the classic “victory formation”. And rather than risk injury in a useless onside kick fiasco, he simply chose to take less points and end the game.

He wouldn’t have had that option if the Seahawks had gained the first down on their last play working out of their own end zone. Russell Wilson’s pass was completed and right on the first down marker. In fact on instant replay shown by NFL Network it appeared the ball had crossed the yellow line. But as we all know the yellow line and the referee spot are two very inexact sciences.

A combo of a possible blown spot and a rare, if first time ever, declined safety resulted in a Seattle cover and S.F. loss ATS (against the spread)

There was a previous Harbaugh incident that infuriated folks who bet on his team. A few years ago when he was Stanford’s head coach he went out of his way to tell his running back that if he should break free to fall down instead of scoring.  Why not just put the score out of reach and go through the motions? Perhaps Harbaugh has some romantic football notion of not running up a score past what it has to be.  Although the difference between 7 and 9 point seems negligible in this sports writers eyes.