Celebrity NFL Picks: A lateral, a botched call and scads of affected bettors

Sal DeFilippo

Celebrity Picks

Lance Burton, Monte Carlo master magician (19-14)
Redskins –3 ½ at Seahawks
Colts +3 at Chargers
Saints –2 ½ vs. Packers
Anthony Crivello, star of "Phantom -- Las Vegas Spectacular" (20-13)
Jets +5 ½ vs. Titans
Ravens –1 ½ vs. Eagles
Redskins –3 ½ at Seahawks
Carrot Top, Luxor headliner (13-19-1)
Jaguars –2 ½ vs. Vikings
Panthers +1 at Falcons
Dolphins –2 vs. Patriots
Danny Gans, Mirage headliner (18-15)
Jets +5 ½ at Titans
49ers +10 ½ at Cowboys
Raiders +9 ½ at Broncos
Oscar Goodman, mayor of Las Vegas (16-17)
Browns –3 vs. Texans
Patriots +2 at Dolphins
Raiders +9 ½ at Broncos
Kevin Janison, KVBC meteorologist (15-16-2)
Lions +8 ½ at Buccaneers
49ers +10 ½ at Cowboys
Browns-Texans under 49 1/2
Wayne Newton, "Mr. Las Vegas" (21-12)
Texans +3 at Browns
Seahawks +3 ½ vs. Redskins
Chargers -3 vs. Colts

Regardless of which side you were on, anybody who had action on last weekend’s Steelers-Chargers game has a story to tell for the ages.

The only 11-10 game in NFL history was filled with big plays, lots of snow, and some controversy –- with an ending that affected a lot of wallets.

If you’re reading this, chances are you know what happened, so I won’t recount it start-to-finish, but on the game’s final play, the Chargers tried a series of desperate laterals that ended with Pittsburgh’s Troy Polumalu plucking the ball off the turf and running it in for an apparent touchdown that would have altered the final score to 17-10 or 18-10 – no difference in the league standings, but a very big difference to bettors who were on either side of the 4-point spread.

The play was reviewed by replay officials, who incorrectly (the NFL admitted this mistake later – much to the additional chagrin of bettors) ruled the ball was dead after one of the laterals was deemed to actually be a forward pass. The 11-10 score stood.

My brother called me shortly after the final score was posted to say he was one of the many who felt like an improper NFL ruling cost him a trip to the cashier’s window. He was watching the game in the Las Vegas Hilton theater and said that many excited patrons left the theater thinking they had winning plays on the Steelers, only to discover otherwise by the time they returned to the sports book windows to cash in.

The non-touchdown was the central topic on post-game shows, and throughout the week. For most of the world, the saga will end there. But for players whose bankroll was affected, one way or the other, this one will never be forgotten.

This is the kind of game that I always seem to lose, but last week, fortunately, it wasn’t one of my choices. I went 2-1 to improve my season mark against the spread to 21-11-1. This week, I’ll go with the Patriots +2 at the Dolphins, the Panthers +1 at the Falcons and the Saints-Packers over 51 ½.


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