124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

The Tulsa-Tulane game was the gambling heart attack to end all gambling heart attacks

November 20, 2020

The legalization and subsequent explosion of sports gambling has made it that you can't watch a game amongst friends without discussing the gambling implications. For regular ol' fans who don't need money on games to have interest in them, this can be nauseating. Not everything is a bad beat and not everyone needs to be reminded every three seconds that you "have the over" (we know you have the over. Everyone has the over because unders stink/they are usually the smart play but we're all dumb).   

But there are some games, like Thursday night's Tulsa-Tulane game, where the gambling implications become the No. 1 story. The closing odds for this wild AAC tilt: Tulsa -5.5, Over/Under 55.5. 

Halfway through the third quarter, not a single point had been scored, the game tied at 0-0. Normally, if it's 0-0 after the first two drives of the game, the over at 55.5 is dead meat. You might as well start chasing another game. But 0-0 with 8 minutes left in the third? El Oh El. You are already six feet under. 

But, maybe you had Tulsa -5.5, and you could still salvage the night with a 7-0 or 14-7 win. When Tulane scored two quick touchdowns to go up 14-0 with less than three minutes in the third, Tulsa -5.5 bettors were now perished as well. Making matters worse was the fact that the Golden Hurricane were down to their third string quarterback Davis Brin after a pair of injuries to QB1 and QB2. To cover the spread and/or hit the over, it would have taken a greater miracle than Jesus walking on water. 

Tulsa finally got on the board with 9 minutes left in the game's final frame, making it 14-7. They tied it up six minutes later, then promptly gave up a touchdown and trailed 21-14 with 1:38 left. Some wishful thinkers probably thought "OK, if this third-stringer drives down and ties it, maybe we get OT and the over and Tulsa -5.5 is not dead yet." Glass-half empty bettors had already drank their sorrows away. 

Then on 3rd and 7 with six seconds left at the Tulane 37-yard line, Miracle No. 1 happened:

Unbelievable. Shades of Kyler to D-Hop! Tulsa -5.5 AND the over still alive! 

Unfortunately, the two teams traded field goals in the first overtime, and absolutely brutal blow for over bettors and Tulsa bettors. Now, Tulane started with the ball in the second OT, giving them a chance to go up by a touchdown and severely decreasing the chances of Tulsa -5.5, but increasing the chances of the over hitting. Of course, if you had Tulane +5.5 and the over, you were sitting PRETTY. 

Then Miracle No. 2 occurred: 

Pure, unadulterated gambling insanity. College overtime can be a gambler's dream, but, in this case, it was also a bit of a nightmare. In the NFL, Tulsa would have to at least try and extra point with no time remaining. But in college, the game was over, meaning the the total ended on 54, one point shy of a push. Of course, if you had Tulsa -5.5, you got one of the great consolation prizes ever. That was one of the great gambling heart attacks of all time, a heart attack you deserve if you're betting Tulane-Tulsa on Thursday night.