Written By @AllStaples
“Be careful of averages and how they’re applied. One way that they can fool you is if the average combines samples from disparate populations. This can lead to absurd observations such as: ‘On average, humans have one testicle.’” –Daniel Levitin
I think of that quote often when looking at averages and, now, I hope you do too. Welcome to Bad Beats.
- The Beat: Washington at Cowboys, 23.5 1st HALF TOTAL UNDER, 46.5 GAME UNDER
The Bad: Cowboys 17 – 7, 1st half. 38-14, full game.
The Takeaway: There were zero points scored in the first and third quarters – that’s one half of football. Armed with that knowledge, a bettor might assume they’d be cashing either a first half under or a full game under — and that bettor would be wrong. With less than 4 minutes in the half and a 10-0 Cowboy lead, this happened:
The long touchdown also provided Kirk Cousins enough time to throw a 20-yard touchdown pass as the half ended to spoil the under. It seems to take only one big play to ruin a first half under this year. The game total seemed destined to land at 45 when Anthony Brown intercepted a 4th down pass attempt by Cousins with 4 minutes remaining. The interception return and a shaky unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball 27 more yards to the Washington 11. Dallas scored a few plays later.
Fun fact: Washington averaged 4.7 yards per play while the Cowboys managed a mere 4.2 in this game.
- The Beat: North Texas at Florida Atlantic; 2nd HALF total OVER 32.5
The Bad: North Texas 17, Florida Atlantic 14 2nd HALF
The Takeaway: At least we can’t blame Lane Kiffin for this one. With his Owls dominating North Texas 41-17 and a minute left to play, the 2nd half over seemed like a lost cause. And then John Franklin III busted loose on an apparent 68-yard touchdown to send the total briefly over. For gamblers, it was a miracle. Take a look for yourself:
Except, yeah, he pulled the ol’ DeSean Jackson, the Leon Lett. And the good news for John Franklin III? He probably won’t ever make that same mistake again and this play will be nothing more than a forgotten embarrassing moment. However, those 2nd half over bettors? Those guys will remember and remember with a little less forgiveness.
- The Beat: Texans +6.5 at Titans
The Bad: Titans 24, Texans 13
The Takeaway: We’ve seen this before, Derrick Henry confidently opening the front door and stepping through it. The Titans were leading 17-13 with less than a minute to go facing 3rd and 5 from their own 25-yard line when Derrick Henry went all Derrick Henry:
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 3, 2017
But how bad a beat was this? Even including the 75-yard touchdown run, the Texans still managed to outgain the Titans 384-344 yards. The Texans also ran 75 plays compared to only 50 for the Titans. Also, there were no special teams or defensive touchdowns and each team only turned the ball over once. What was the difference? The sole Texan turnover was a Tom Savage interception with 1:03 left in the game trailing 17-13; it was the pick which preceded the Henry touchdown. The Texans were only trailing by that margin due to two missed kicks from kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn who earlier missed from 48- and 28-yards. Those two misses doubled his total of misses for the entire season. While the Henry touchdown was the exclamation point in this Bad Beat, the real badness of this beat was in the details.
- The Beat: Akron at Toledo -17.5 through -21.5
The Bad: Toledo 45, Akron 28
The Takeaway: Earlier this season, Akron traveled to the Glass Bowl and was on the wrong end of a 48-21 beat down; Toledo covered the 15.5 point spread with ease. In 2016, Toledo hung another 48 on the Zips winning 48-17 and covering the -9 comfortably. How would the rematch – for the MAC title – play out? Betonline.Ag opened Toledo -18 and went as high as -21.5 before settling in at -20. But it didn’t matter, everyone laying the favorite lost.
Toledo was up a commanding 45-14 with less than 7 minutes left to play and Akron facing a 4th and 3 from Toledo’s 48-yard line. A stop here and the spread is secured. Instead, a 4th down conversion was followed by a 44-yard Kato Nelson touchdown pass which cut the lead to 45-21. Following a Rocket punt, Akron began its final drive on their own 15. Robbie Kelley, a third string quarterback led his Akron Zips team on an epic 12 play, 85-yard touchdown drive for a backdoor cover:
Fun fact: four players threw passes for Akron – three quarterbacks and one wide receiver.