Jim Harbaugh is either the most beloved or hated man among bettors, depending on who you ask. That is because he single-handedly caused an estimated $75 million swing in gambling payouts on Thursday night in a 13-6 49ers' win.
San Francisco was favored by seven to eight points, depending on the book, and when leading by seven late, Harbaugh declined a chop block penalty that would have resulted in a safety. He said afterward that by declining it the Niners could kneel the ball to run out the clock, which they did, while accepting the penalty would have given the Seahawks an onside kick that could have opened the door for a comeback. That makes perfect football sense, but not so much gambling sense.
"Overall, it's safe to say that coach Harbaugh's unconventional decision resulted in a $75 million dollar swing worldwide," said Pregame.com's R.J. Bell. "The bettors overall losing that amount (due to 65% of the action being on the 49ers) and the bookies overall winning that amount."
Once again, gambling wins. Unless you bet on the 49ers, of course, in which case Harbaugh is public enemy No. 1.