At this time of the year, it is quite common for NFL teams to clinch playoff spots after games. After all, it was the 15th week of an 18-week season and the cream in many cases has started to rise to the top.
Because of this, it would not have been surprising to read or hear that the Minnesota Vikings used a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday to clinch the NFC North Division title and lock themselves into a playoff spot.
In fact, most Minnesota sports fans would have expected this outcome going into the game.
But this wasn’t just any game . . .
Fast forward to halftime and the outlook was a lot more bleak. The lowly Colts jumped out to a 33-0 lead and looked to have this game locked up.
There is no legal sports betting in Minnesota, but could you imagine if this happened when the state has adopted legislation and Vikings fans could wager?
Minnesota fans were resigned to the thought a playoff spot would have to wait until next week.
Greatest Comeback in League History
MinnesotaBets.com used NFL.com to look at the biggest deficits overcome in NFL games. There is a new No. 1 with the Vikings.
Here are the results of comebacks of 25 points or more, per NFL.com:
Colts 33, Vikings 0. No NFL team ever had come back from such a deficit to win a game. NFL teams with a 30-point lead since 1930 had a record of 1548-1-1.
The 1993 Buffalo Bills had engineered a 32-point comeback against the Houston Oilers in the playoffs, but even that came against all odds. Thirty-three points is just too big of a number.
Surely, every single person with a wager on Minnesota to win the game already had considered it a loss and was moving on to cheering for other bets.
The Vikings were +9000 on the moneyline at halftime, a number rarely seen mid-game in the NFL, and not a bet people were rushing to the counter to make.
The Vikings refused to go away.
A staggering five touchdowns in the second half punctuated by a 64-yard catch and run for Dalvin Cook with two minutes remaining and the ensuing two-point conversion pulled the Vikings level and set the stage for overtime.
It was there a 40-yard field goal from Greg Joseph was the difference, and quarterback Kirk Cousins and his team were able to walk off the field victorious, as a part of history.
What Do the Vikings Do for an Encore?
With three games left in the regular season, the Vikings still have a lot to play for, even though they have wrapped up a playoff spot. A bye week and better seeding are still on the line for Minnesota, which has an important game against the New York Giants on the docket in Week 16.
Similar to last week, the Vikings open the week as 3.5-point favorites over New York at BetMGM and are -175 on the moneyline, a far cry from the +9000 halftime number Saturday.
Of most interest to Minnesota bettors are the Vikings’ odds in the futures markets. The Vikings are +1000 to come out of the NFC as champion, trailing the Philadelphia Eagles (+140), San Francisco 49ers (+290) and Dallas Cowboys (+450). Despite their excellent record this season, they still remain long shots to win the Super Bowl at +2200, a market led by the Buffalo Bills at +375.
Odds of 28-1 might seem long for most teams, but it is nothing for the team that just organized the most remarkable and odds-defying comeback in NFL history.
Minnesota Will Try Again in 2023
Minnesota made attempts to put legal sports betting on the books but no law was passed before the final session of the legislature in May.
Minnesota HF 778, which was introduced by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Rep. Zack Stephenson, had passed through the Minnesota House by a 70-57 margin last May 12.
However, the bill failed in the Senate over disagreements concerning adding the state’s racetracks to the operators that could offer wagering.
Maybe next year.