National $2.5M NFL betting contest ends in controversy

National $2.5M NFL betting contest ends in controversy

A high-dollar NFL playoffs betting pool ended in controversy Sunday when the contest’s leader was unable to place his bet on the fourth and final game of the divisional round, reported Monday.

The winner of the DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship, which had a $10,000 buy-in and $2.5 million pool, took home the $1 million first prize by making a final $47,500 wager, taking the Eagles plus-8.5 against the Saints, who won the game but didn’t cover, 20-14.

However, professional sports gambler Rufus Peabody, who was leading the contest going into the Eagles-Saints game, said he was unable to place a bet on the NFC divisional game that started only four minutes after the 4:37 p.m. ET conclusion of Sunday’s early AFC game between the Patriots and Chargers. Peabody bolstered his winnings to almost $82,000 by taking the Patriots minus-3.5 in that game.

However, his winnings weren’t posted to his account in time to place a bet on Sunday’s late game kicked. He told ESPN it was “going to be a Saints bet of some kind or the under. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance.”

Peabody posted a screenshot to social media of his DraftKings contest account showing a balance of one cent, with the time on his computer showing 4:41 p.m. ET, just as Eagles-Saints kicked off and all betting on the game was locked.

“We recognize that in the rules the scheduled end of betting [kickoff of the NFC divisional-round game] coincided very closely to the finish of the of Patriots-Chargers game,” DraftKings spokesman James Chisolm said in a statement. “While we must follow our contest rules, we sincerely apologize for the experience several customers had where their bets were not graded in time to allow wagering on the Saints-Eagles game. We will learn from this experience and improve upon the rules and experience for future events.”

Even without a Saints-Eagles wager, Peabody will take home more than $330,000 for placing third among more than 200 bettors.

“It doesn’t feel like it,” he told ESPN of his top-three finish. “I felt like I was in position for a 50-50 shot at the million [dollars].”