It often pays to read the fine print. That was the lesson for sports bettors who got burned by last week’s change of venue in the Cleveland Browns’ game against the Buffalo Bills.
As a massive snowstorm bore down on the Buffalo region last week, bettors who tried to stay a step ahead of sportsbooks by playing amateur meteorologist kept hammering the under. The points total, which had opened at 47, was bet down to 41.5 within a couple of days, as sharp bettors wagered that the teams wouldn’t be able to move the ball in the snowy conditions. But on Thursday, the NFL pulled the rug out from under all those weather watchers, changing the venue to Detroit’s Ford Field, an indoor stadium.
This Buffalo snowstorm is no joke ❄️
▶️ 'Paralyzing' Snow Fall of 3-6 Feet to hit
▶️ Point total has dropped from 47.5 to 41.5
▶️ 93% of public is on the UNDER
▶️ Bills-Browns have played 2 snow games, 2007 & 2009, scoring a total of 17 pts over 8 quarters pic.twitter.com/a8EPKBCHzh
— DRF Sportsbook (@DRFSportsbook) November 17, 2022
Some operators voided bets
The snowstorm didn’t underperform. It came off the lake and dumped five-and-a-half feet on Orchard Park, home of Highmark Stadium.
Another thing that kept piling up was the projected point total after the game changed venues. At kickoff on the other side of Lake Erie, the line had moved to an even 50. The teams blew through it anyway, with the Bills winning 31-23, hitting the 8-point spread on the nose and rewarding those who waited for events to develop and then hopped on the over.
Not everybody who bet the under early in the week got burned. It depends where they put down their bets. Some sportsbook operators voided those wagers, while others did not.
Each operator has different rules for venue changes. Among sportsbooks that will operate in Ohio once wagering gets underway on Jan. 1, DraftKings, BetRivers, and Barstool Sportsbook do not void bets in which there is a change of venue. FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, Hard Rock, and BetMGM are among the operators that do so.
“If a game venue is changed, and the home team remains designated as such, bets will stand,” is how DraftKings’ rule on the matter reads.
Barstool puts it like this: “Should an event be moved from its originally announced venue and/or have its playing surface changed, this will not be treated as a cause for the offers to be cancelled.”
Meanwhile, the fine print at FanDuel states fairly matter-of-factly, “In the event of a change of venue, all bets will be void.”
Photo: Lon Horwedel/USA TODAY