Last evening’s Week 17 Monday Night Football game between Buffalo and Cincinnati was suspended indefinitely in the middle of the first quarter when Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after tackling Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins.
Nothing appeared out of the ordinary during the play. It was a routine tackle that you’ll see a hundred times on a given Sunday.
Hamlin even rose to his feet and appeared to be preparing for the next play until his legs gave out from under him and he fell to the turf in a heap.
It became clear that this was no minor injury when it was revealed that the medical staff had administered CPR to Hamlin for several minutes. We now know that he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and was not breathing under his own power while in transit to a local hospital in Cincinnati.
Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. His heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 3, 2023
Officials appeared to begin the process of resuming the game, but the head coaches and the NFL front office collectively decided to suspend the game until further notice.
As of this writing, there has been no announcement as to when or if the game will continue at a later date, nor has there been any indication as to what would be the official outcome of the contest if the NFL decides to cancel it outright.
— WGR 550 (@WGR550) January 3, 2023
The league’s decision on this game will have a massive impact on the playoff chase and NFL betting as well. Buffalo is fighting to retain the number one seed in the AFC with the Kansas City Chiefs right on their heels.
The same can be said for the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals who are trying to stave off the Baltimore Ravens and secure the number 3 seed in the American Football Conference.
Due to COVID-19 protocols during the 2020 season, the NFL has more than enough experience with postponing and rescheduling games, but this is unique in that it is a contest that had already begun.
For gamblers that bet on the Buffalo Bills or the Bengals, we advise checking with your sportsbook to see how they’ve ruled the game. At most NFL betting sites, wagers on MNF are likely still holding and are simply waiting for the game to resume, but we’ve heard reports of a few domestic books removing the line altogether and refunding bets.
This is uncharted territory. The game was suspended with a score of Cincinnati 7, Buffalo 3. If the NFL cancels the game, it would be a no-contest for either franchise.
That poses problems for Buffalo, however, as it would place them a half-game behind Kansas City. That scenario would award the Bengals the AFC North crown because Baltimore would no longer be able to match their win-loss record.
The decision lies entirely in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hands, and there is no precedent by which he can reference. The most logical decision is to resume the game when possible, but time is running out in the regular season.
If the game cannot continue, does that grant Cincinnati a win? Those that bet on the Bengals last night could be in for a payout if that’s the case.