The Bears almost pulled off the backdoor cover of all backdoor covers on Sunday, but ultimately fell short, losing to the Saints 21-9.
Chicago opened as an 8.5-point underdog, but that number climbed all the way to 11.5 at certain sportsbooks by kickoff.
The Bears trailed 21-3 for most of the fourth quarter but cut the deficit to 12 with this garbage time touchdown to Jimmy Graham.
For a moment, Bears bettors had hope, depending on their number:
Jimmy Graham caught the TD and left immediately
— PFF (@PFF) January 11, 2021
Kick the extra point, and Bears +11.5 bettors would have won, while Bears +11 would have pushed. Better yet, if the Bears converted a 2-point try, Bears +10 bettors would have pushed while any higher lines would have won.
The problem? Chicago wasn’t allowed to attempt any kind of extra point because time had expired and the play wouldn’t have affected the game’s outcome.
It did, however, affect the outcome for certain bets.
That’s where FanDuel and DraftKings come in.
FanDuel, DraftKings refund Bears +11 and +11.5 bets
FanDuel and DraftKings were quick to pounce, tweeting the below messages after the game:
🚨 BAD BEAT REFUND 🚨
Chicago didn't kick the XP with 0:00 on the clock because it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game. But it 𝙙𝙞𝙙 change the outcome for any bettors who backed the Bears +11 or +11.5. We've got your back! 🐻
(Refunds will be issued within 24 hours) pic.twitter.com/fiNNbZVhBt
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 11, 2021
CHICAGO SPREAD BETTORS
Not kicking an extra point was…significant to some.
We’re refunding all pregame spread bets on the Bears of +11 and +11.5. pic.twitter.com/aLdNBDdefK
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) January 11, 2021
Yes, for those scoring at home, DraftKings tweeted its refund about 20 minutes after FanDuel.
Regardless, it’s a savvy move from both operators and one that’s certainly appreciated by various Bears ticket holders.
FanDuel, DraftKings among Illinois market leaders
Several sportsbook operators have aggressively pursued the Illinois market, and DraftKings and FanDuel are prime examples.
BetRivers still led all books in October revenue and was second in handle. But FanDuel was third in both categories and is rapidly gaining steam.
When the November revenue report comes out, it wouldn’t be surprising to see DraftKings and FanDuel occupying the top two spots.
There’s more than a little irony in this. The 18-month “penalty box” provision was meant, in part, to bar DraftKings and FanDuel from becoming key players in the Land of Lincoln.
But due to workarounds and COVID-19 paving the way for online registration, both have thrived.
Loss marks the end of a disappointing Bears season
The Bears went 8-8 for the second straight year. And while they made the playoffs, they only did so because the NFL expanded the field.
Chicago started the 2020 season 5-1 before losing six straight games in ugly fashion. Mitchell Trubisky breathed some life into the offense upon re-entering the starting lineup, and the Bears won three straight.
Then, a reality check: the Packers and Saints exposed Chicago.
It was a rough day for Bears fans and most Bears bettors. Hopefully, the FanDuel and DraftKings refunds offered solace to some.