Written By @AllStaples
Aristotle argued that the purpose of retelling tragic tales was to create pity and fear within the listener which would then eventually lead to the purging of those same emotions – catharsis. Or, in other words, welcome to Bad Beats.
- The Beat: Michigan at Indiana UNDER 44
The Bad: Michigan 27, Indiana 20
The Takeaway: I have a soft spot in my heart for under bets lost in overtime. It’s sort of like winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College. Sure, there’s a bit of satisfaction in it but you’re still unemployed.
Anyway, through 3 quarters, there were only 23 total points scored. And I’m sure there was a guy somewhere sweating out the total thinking: “Even if there are 3 more touchdowns, it’d still be a push. And there’s no way…” And the good news for that guy was there were only 17 points scored in the 4th quarter; the bad news was the game went to overtime. And, in overtime, that same guy was wishing on a field goal and a stop; concocting the unlikeliest series of events which would keep his bet alive. He got this instead. At least it happened quickly.
Fun fact: we have all been that guy.
- The Beat: Pittsburgh +10.5, +11, +11.5 versus North Carolina State
The Bad: North Carolina State 35, Pittsburgh 17
The Takeaway: This was a strange game. North Carolina State was -11.5 and broke off an 83-yard touchdown run and a 94-yard punt return touchdown in the first half. This sounds like the start of an easy cover, no? But those two long distance strikes were their only scores in the first 30 minutes and, at the half, the Wolfpack found themselves in a 14-14 tie with the Panthers. According to the analytics, this left the Panthers with around a 58% chance of covering the +10.5-point closing number at BetOnline.AG
Fast forward to the 4th quarter and the Panthers had cut the Wolfpack lead to 28-17 with 7:46 left in the game. Panther odds of covering +11 ticked up to 64.5% (and, man, you were loving life if you had +11.5 or better). Facing a 3rd and 2 from the Panther 40-yard line, a stop means a likely Wolfpack punt and probable cover for Pittsburgh, and then Jaylen Samuels did this.
One final splash play sunk the cover for Pitt backers.
- The Beat: Arkansas +23 at Alabama 1st HALF
The Bad: Alabama 24, Arkansas 0
The Takeaway: This doesn’t look too bad until you know this. The Crimson Tide were up 17-0 when this Jalen Hurts touchdown puts the Crimson Tide up 24-0 with 1:20 left in the half. That’s not so bad, right? What’s bad is that Arkansas responded by swiftly moving the ball to the Tide 17-yard line and faced a 3rd and 9. An incomplete pass here and a successful field goal attempt and your chances for the +23 are looking very good. Instead, a Cole Kelley completion brings the Razorbacks to the Tide 3-yard line with 3 seconds left before the half. Decision time: Did they kick the field goal? Oh, no. KICK THE FIELD GOAL AND GET ON THE BOARD! Everybody knows the first points are the toughest to get, but these Razorbacks were playing for the win! And while it was probably the right call, everyone knew:
Next play, incomplete pass. Half over.
- The Beat: Texas-San Antonio -2.5 at North Texas
The Bad: North Texas 29, Texas-San Antonio 26
The Takeaway: A Conference USA Bad Beat! The North Texas Mean Green were trailing 26-22 with 1:07 left in the 4th quarter when they took possession of the ball on their own 2-yard line with no timeouts left. A dire situation. So dire that with 1:20 left on the clock, ESPN assigned a win probability for UT San Antonio of 99.9%. That’s pretty good, right? To put that in perspective, the Atlanta Falcons had a 99.7% chance of beating the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl.
Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine led his team on a game-winning 7 play, 98-yard drive in only 57 seconds. Let me say that again: 98-yards, no timeouts in 57 seconds. How impressive was that drive? What a lick the quarterback took. The Mean Green left time on the clock! There were 10 seconds left for UTSA to respond – they did not.
You can watch the complete drive here:
4th Quarter. 1:07 left. 98 yards. No timeouts.@ESPN Win Probability: 1.7%
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 15, 2017
- The Beat: Giants at Broncos 19 1st HALF TOTAL
The Bad: Giants 17, Broncos 3
The Takeaway: This is not a Bad Beat because the New York Giants were only scoring an average of 5.2 points per game (3.3 on the road) in the first halves of games. This is not a Bad Beat because the Broncos averaged 14.5 points (15 at home) in the first halves of their games this season which would make a first half total of 19 reasonable. This is not a Bad Beat because Dave Mason informed us sharp money pushed the total down from an open of 40.5 to a 37.5 close, and that the majority of money (58%) was on the under. Everyone was right here – the game finished at 33. So why is this a Bad Beat? The only wrong way here was under the first half total which was lost on a defensive touchdown. With less than 1 minute left in the half.
Have a Bad Beat candidate? I’m at @AllStaples on Twitter or tweet using the hashtag #BTBbadbeat to discuss.