What is a Backdoor Cover?

Definition for a backdoor cover in sports betting.

What is a Backdoor Cover?
Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Joshua Palmer catches a touchdown to make it a 3 point game with a minute remaining. (AP Photo/Peter Aiken)

A backdoor cover in sports betting is when a team covers their side of the spread in the last minutes of the game. Often times a backdoor cover happens when the actual game is a blowout or winning is out of reach, yet the spread or line of the game is still at play.

When oddsmakers create a line, all things are considered, including the possibility of what people refer to as "garbage time". A great example of this occured in week 2 of the 2022-2023 NFL season. On Thursday Night Football, the Cheifs (-3.5) seemingly covered the spread after KC got a 99 intercepption touchdown, then added a feild goal with 3 minutes remaining. However, the big story was Chargers quarteback, Justin Herbert, was dealing witth a rib injury that prevented him from running a single yard on 3rd and 1 with open feild ahead of him. Yet, on 4th and one with under two minutes left, a hurt Hurt Herbert uncorked an insane 35 yard pass, that set up a Chargers touchdown on 4th and goal with a minute remaining.

According to BetMGM, as of Thursday moring, 80% of money on their book was on the Cheifs to cover. This late game touchdown did not effect the outcome of the game, but broke the hearts of many KC backers.

As they always say, good teams win, but great teams cover.