It was another lean week for bad beats, at least in football. If you're betting on basketball already, hopefully you didn't end up like this poor sap:
This is the second time the Seton Hall Pirates have been involved in an excruciating bad beat this season, the first coming in equally hilarious fashion when that random fan in the crowd screamed "NOOOOOO" as he lost the cover. Seton Hall .. is in New Jersey .. where sports betting is legal now ... I'm just saying. It adds up.
Anyway, back to football. Even with bowl season underway despite no one realizing it, there weren't a ton of great bad beats to choose from in college and pro football. Plus, bowl season really doesn't start until you're betting on the Servpro First Responder Bowl at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday (yes, that's a real bowl). Let's see how this weekend hurt your wallet.
L.A. Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5 and under 54.5)
Since we're light on games, let's go back to Thursday, when the Chiefs held a 14-point lead on their own field with under eight minutes to play. If you had the Chiefs AND the under, you were absolutely golden. Instead, you ended up going 0-for-2, as Philip Rivers and the Bolts made a furious comeback, including hitting on a game-winning two-point conversion with four seconds left to rob Chiefs backers of one last chance to cover in OT. Not a great way to start your weekend, some would say.
Final score: 29-28, L.A.
Houston Texans @ New York Jets (+6.5)
Saturday NFL! Is there anything better? If you bet on the Jets, yes, just about anything is better. Despite leading 22-19 with five, yes, FIVE minutes left, the Jets managed to not cover this spread. How is that even possible?
Those who had Houston -6.5 in this game, I hope you're happy with yourselves. Making it worse was that on 4th & 14 from their own 21, the Jets obviously had to go for it down by just four points to make it appear as though they wanted to win. Sam Darnold's throw was a decent one that would have been enough for first down yardage and almost surely a cover, but it hit Robbie Anderson right in the hands and he dropped it. Once again, attempting to win, the Jets used all three timeouts to try and get the ball back, forcing the Texans to kick a field goal and cover the number. That's the type of cover you happily take but do not brag about if you had Houston. Bad karma.
Final score: 29-22, Houston
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos (-1.5)
Bounce back spot if you took the Jets with this Saturday night game. Cleveland? On the road? Altitude?!?! While Baker Mayfield has everybody salivating, the Broncos were still the right play here. They were 3-3 on the year at home, and in those three losses they lost by a combined 9 points against the Chiefs, Rams and Texans, three of the best teams in the league. Worst case this game would come down to a field goal, best case the Broncos win in a rout. Up 13-10 late, it appeared like the former, and when Mayfield hit fellow rookie Antonio Callaway for the go-ahead, two-yard TD with 11:44 remaining to go up 17-13, now Broncos backers were in big trouble:
Denver responded with a long drive of their own though, reaching the Browns 15-yard line with under seven minutes to play. After picking up nine yards in two plays, they faced 3rd & 1 and failed to convert. It was now 4th & 1 from the Cleveland six-yard line with 5:29 to go, and Denver was down by four points. Vance Joseph, you're 6-7, your team's playoff hopes are hanging in the balance, you're on your home field and you've just slowly marched down the field in 12 plays and ran off nearly seven minutes of clock. You HAVE to go for it and try to score a TD if you convert. You HAVE to:
Just so you know, I had zero dog in this fight, and I'm still embarrassed for Vance Joseph here. This is as soft as it gets, and that's why Denver is now 6-8, not making the playoffs, and he'll likely get fired. A FIELD GOAL DOWN FOUR POINTS?! The idea being if you get the ball back, you can win it with a field goal. IF you get the ball back, and THEN drive down into field goal position again. Or, you go for it on fourth and if you don't get it, Cleveland is pinned back and you can stop them and get the ball back with great field position and plenty of time to try and score a TD again. Instead, Joseph kicks the field goal, gives the ball back to Cleveland, and Denver got one more possession with very little time left and did nothing with it, losing 17-16. How are some of these NFL coaches this bad?
Final score: 17-16, Cleveland
Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals Under 45.5
Cincy's offense, despite no Andy Dalton and no A.J. Green, actually looked good in the first half, taking a 20-7 lead into the locker room. In the second half though, they could muster up only a field goal in between three punts, and lead 23-16 after a Raiders field goal with five minutes to go. Unless the Raiders got the ball back and tied the game, the under was pretty much locked up considering the Bengals would go into four-minute mode and run as much clock as possible. Or they could rip off a random 77-yard kick return to get into the red zone and score two plays later to hit the over by a point:
Final score: 30-16, Cincinnati
Philadelphia Eagles @ L.A. Rams Over 53
Remember when the NFL was going to be an over league? That's completely flipped on a dime in the last few week, yet this one probably still intrigued bettors with Philly's depleted secondary and the optimal passing weather in L.A. It looked good at half with the score tied at 13-13, but when the Eagles began to pour it on, eventually going up 30-13, all of a sudden the under was in play as the Rams weren't doing much of anything in the second half.
But L.A. mounted a comeback, cutting the lead to 30-23 and at least guaranteeing a push for over bettors. Then it looked like they'd be getting the ball back with plenty of time to tie the game, but punt returner JoJo Natson muffed the punt and gave the Eagles the ball inside Rams territory. Suddenly, a Philly field goal was now in play, which also would have hit the over. But Jake Elliott, who hit a 97-yarder against my New York Giants last year like every kicker does against ONLY THE GIANTS, missed a 53-yarder. Still, the Rams got the ball back with one last chance to hit the over with 1:13 to go.
In three plays they got to the Eagles' 26-yard line with 25 seconds to go. On the next play, Jared Goff hit Todd Gurley, the genius who has made the smartest football plays all season, taking money out of people's pockets in the process. But this time, he wasn't so smart, opting to try and be a hero and pull off a miracle rather than getting out of bounds with over 15 seconds remaining:
Way to go Todd! That forced L.A. to have rush to the line and spike it, leaving just four seconds on the clock and one final play rather than at least two shots at the end zone. Spoiler: they did not score.
Final score: 30-23, Philadelphia