As the boys in black and gold kick off training camp, sportsbook operators are beginning to accept bets on which heart-breaking way the 2019 season will end for the New Orleans Saints — reportedly a mega money-maker for the league.
The Saints have been victims of soul-crushing playoff losses the last two seasons – the Minneapolis Miracle during the 2017 Divisional Playoffs and the pass interference/helmet-to-helmet no-call in the this year’s NFC Championship that would have sent the team to the franchise’s second Super Bowl.
Bettors are eager to cash in on black and gold cloud hanging over the New Orleans Saints, as many casinos are placing early lines on the 2019 season end. The top six scenarios revealed thus far, while seemingly farfetched, are in line with the unbelievable outcomes of the last two seasons.
The favorite at +175 is the Saints up 4 with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Drew Brees fumbling the snap on a kneel attempt with the opposing team scooping up the ball and scoring a game-winning touchdown.
At +225 is 40-year-old Drew Brees stepping back to launch a five-yard pass on the first play of the Saints opening drive, the rubber band and paper clips holding the quarterback’s arm together breaking, physically detaching the appendage from the body, traveling downfield with the ball, and then literally handing an interception to the opponent’s defensive back who runs it back for six points and the game’s only points.
Next, at +250, is a game-winning 30-yard field attempt during a tied game being blocked, the ball bouncing off the heads and hands of at least six Saints players, and then being scooped up and returned by an opposing player who runs out-of-bounds but still scores a touchdown that the officials let stand despite a review.
At +275 is a game-winning field goal attempt from 25 or fewer yards out that results in a double double doink where the Saints kicker’s failed boot hits a sidebar, crossbar, the other sidebar, and crossbar again to fall no good then is run back for a touchdown by the defense.
Then, at +325, is a fan interference penalty call when a drunk Bobby Hebert runs on to the field to celebrate a Saints victory before time expires, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and one untimed down, which leads to a game-winning field goal or touchdown by the opponent.
Finally, at +400, is the league’s first-ever double, triple, and quadruple overtime game, in which quarterback Drew Brees is concussed by an opposing player during the coin toss and does not return to the game.
“With the NFL allowing gambling, betting on how a Saints season ends is one of the hottest draws in town,” said Roger Hillenbrand, the director of specialty gaming for Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corp.
“The draw of betting on the Saints is incredibly intriguing for oddsmakers because there is so much chaos with the unknown factor but it’s controlled chaos because we all know something absolutely crushing is waiting at the end. It’s just a matter of what.”
One potential positive, Hillenbrand notes, is that the major bettors believe the collapse will occur in this year’s championship, Super Bowl LIV.
“The Saints blew it in the Divisional Round two seasons ago. Last year, they got screwed in the NFC Championship. So, it only makes sense this year for them to go one round better for the ultimate wager,” he said. “The NFL didn’t just partner up with Caesars for nothing, you know.”
Before Saints fans develop hope during this desolate offseason, Hillenbrand noted that while the team will almost certainly get help here and there from the league in 2019 with a successful regular season to make up for the no-call in this year’s NFC Championship, there’s nearly a 100% certainty that the NFL will crush their souls in the Super Bowl.
“The NFL has had a lot of fun with the Saints over the years,” Hillenbrand said, noting that the league’s embarrassment over Bountygate added the motivation. “They’re our biggest draw. I mean, aside from the higher stakes games lately, look at previous years test games like against New England, New York Giants, Oakland, Denver, and Atlanta, and it’s all been building since 2012 to next season’s magical moment.”