Confusing Decision by Mike Vrabel Ruins Bets for Saints Bettors

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel made a weird decision late in a loss to the Saints. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Maybe Mike Vrabel just wanted to cover the spread.

The Tennessee Titans trailed 16-12 late in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints. On a third-and-12 they picked up six yards to the Saints’ 11-yard line. There are some go-for-it vs. field goal calls that are a gray area, but this one was not. The Titans had to go for it.

But Vrabel decided to kick the field goal with 2:20 left in the game. It was odd. That decision cost the Titans nine percentage points of win probability according to ESPN’s Turron Davenport.

The Titans hit the field goal, which ended up doing no good other than helping Tennessee bettors. The Saints were -3. When they led 16-12 in the final three minutes, with the Titans deep in New Orleans territory, Saints bettors should have been considering only two scenarios: The Titans score a touchdown and win straight up, or the Saints get a stop and cover.

In almost no situation, other than fourth-and-long, should a field goal and a backdoor cover have ever been in play. But Vrabel decided on a path that cost his team dearly. The Saints got a couple first downs and ran out the clock in a 16-15 win. It was a miserable beat for New Orleans bettors.

The Saints got the win. The Titans got the cover. At least Vrabel has that going for him.

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