Written By @AllStaples
Welcome to Bad Beats – capitalized because a Bad Beat is a destination, like Milwaukee.
1. The Beat: Chiefs -6.5 versus Redskins, TOTAL 47.5
The Bad: Chiefs 29, Redskins 20
The Takeaway: This has to be a strong candidate for Bad Beat of the Year. In the closing moments of the 4th quarter, the Chiefs were up 3 against the Skins (as 6.5-point closing favorites at BetOnline.AG) when…well…you know what happened. The touchdown provided an unlikely cover for Kansas City.
Jon Gruden knew it was coming because well, ‘he tried to tell us (Justin) Houston was a closer.’ And no, that touchdown wasn’t meaningful to some. It was meaningful to anybody that had a single dollar invested.
However bad it may have been for you, think of the poor bookmakers out there. According to ESPN, the late touchdown cost sportsbook operator CG Technology $350,000 including losing a single bet of $100,000. A William Hill rep told ESPN the play resulted in a “mid-six figure swing.” Ouch.
The late score effected the total as well. The total opened at a high of 49.5 and was bet down to a low of 47.5 prior to kickoff. Imagine grabbing the early-ish number, witnessing a miracle finish only to watch Alex Smith … take a knee? They didn’t kick the extra point!? As Todd Fuhrman pointed out on Twitter, there were some bettors who could have potentially middled the total. For those guys, I’d suggest something a little loftier than gambling – negotiating peace with North Korea, perhaps.
2. The Beat: Ohio -6.5 versus Central Michigan; 27.5 1st HALF TOTAL
The Bad: Ohio 14, Central Michigan 13 1st HALF
The Takeaway: Around the time the Iowa State upset over Oklahoma was concluding, over on the online-only channel ESPN 3 there was a classic Bad Beat. Ohio was 6.5-point first half chalk and was setting up for a 50-yard field goal attempt to make the score 17-7 with no time remaining in the first half. And then the Chippewas struck, turning an easy Bobcat cover into a Bobcat loss. But the overlooked Bad Beat here is the total. Following that improbable touchdown return, the Chips kicker missed the extra point to keep the under 1st half total a winner. Over bettors beaten once again by a kicker.
Kickers, by the way, are the leading cause of heart attacks among sports bettors and head coaches. The play was significant as Central Michigan upset Ohio as 10 point ‘dogs.
3. The Beat: Minnesota at Purdue 45.5 TOTAL
The Bad: Purdue 31, Minnesota 17
The Takeaway: With under 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Boilermakers were leading the Gophers 16-14 when the skies opened up. Heavy rain and lightning sent fans scrambling and the teams back to the locker room for what turned out to be an 88-minute weather delay. Following the delay, the Gophers pushed ahead with a field goal and Purdue answered with a touchdown to make the score 24-17. As the Gophers drove to the Purdue 27-yard line, under bettors were starting to get nervous until the Gophers faced a 4th and 5. And then they weren’t nervous anymore; they knew they had arrived at a Bad Beat. 99 percent of the time an intercepting defender falls to the ground and the game ends. 99 percent of the time wide receivers are faster than linebackers. Not this time…
Surprising fact: Minnesota has as many (four) National Championships as Texas. However, the last one was in 1960. It’s time to row the boat!
4. The Beat: Stanford -3 at Utah
The Bad: Stanford 23, Utah 20
The Takeaway: We’ve all seen the video of burly Utah kicker Matt Gay awkwardly kicking an extra point to make this game a push (depending on your number). People have been amused by the kick, but I think it’s an incredible play by Gay to stop his momentum, wait for the holder to set the ball, and then still manage a successful kick. How many times have we seen the kicker panic in that situation?
There’s been some debate on Twitter on whether this is an official Bad Beat because it wasn’t a beat for some, but I think it is. Consider this: Stanford was facing Utah’s backup quarterback, Troy Williams, who threw two second-half interceptions. Also consider the late touchdown drive drive began on the Utah 5-yard line and was assisted by two personal foul penalties (counting for 30 yards); one of those penalties came on a 4th down play from the Utah 23. The kick might be the most memorable part of this beat but let’s not forget what led to it.
5. The Beat: University of Central Florida at Cincinnati, TOTAL 52.5
The Bad: Central Florida 51, Cincinnati 23
The Takeaway: Answering the Sphinx-like riddle: “How can a score go over the total but you can’t cash a winning ticket?” The answer: when weather happens.
For betting purposes, NFL, NCAA and NHL games must go 55 minutes. The winner of an MLB game can be declared official after 5 complete innings or 4 ½ innings if the home team is winning and Totals complete after 9 innings or 8½ if the home team is winning. NBA games must go 43 minutes and college games must get to the 35 minute mark. This game is a Bad Beat because, despite getting your money back and only reducing parlays, the over was the only outcome guaranteed in the game. There was zero possibility the game was going under. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Have a Bad Beat candidate? I’m at @AllStaples on Twitter or tweet using the hashtag #BTBbadbeat to discuss.