Each week, TheLines takes a look back at some of the worst sports betting “bad beats” from the weekend of college and pro football. These incredible moments caused a swing in money at sportsbooks, resulting in jubilation — and plenty of pain — for bettors everywhere.
LSU 24, Arkansas 17
Line: LSU -13.5
Remember two weeks ago when Todd Gurley broke the Internet by taking a knee instead of scoring a touchdown to cover the spread in the final minute against the Packers? Well, it looks like Gurley has started a trend.
Let’s go to the wild ending in the LSU/Arkansas game. The Tigers were in a tough spot laying 13.5 points after getting drilled by Alabama last week. Still, LSU was in control with a 24-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Then the wheels fell off for LSU backers.
Arkansas scored to cut the LSU lead to 24-10 early in the fourth quarter and then got within seven points after another touchdown with just 5:27 remaining in the game. In what looked like a laugher for LSU bettors was now a one-possession game.
LSU got the ball back and drove to the Arkansas 23-yard line. It appeared the Tigers had put the game away after a Nick Brossette’s 16-yard run set up LSU with a first down at the 7-yard line. With the clock ticking and Arkansas unable to stop it, LSU could take a knee and send Tigers bettors home with a bad beat.
Then LSU head coach Ed Orgeron inexplicably handed the ball off to Brossette with just over a minute to go. Brossette broke free, but instead of scoring, he slid down at the 1-yard line, similar to Gurley two weeks earlier. The touchdown would have all but given LSU bettors the win, but it was Arkansas that got the cover with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Another moment sports bettors will never forget
Spread: LSU -13pic.twitter.com/EqYms3yEMU
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) November 11, 2018
While it was a bad beat for LSU backers, Orgeron should have never been running the ball in the first place. What if Brossette fumbled and it got returned for a tying touchdown? If you think that can’t happen, give ex-Baylor coach Kevin Steele a call. Steele once did the same thing up 24-20 and just as his running back was about to score, he fumbled with four seconds left. UNLV’s Kevin Thomas returned the fumble 100-yards to score a touchdown with no time remaining, giving the Rebels a 27-24 win.
It was a tough beat for LSU bettors when a running back took a knee to impact the spread for the second time in three weeks. You can’t blame Orgeron though. He gave LSU backers hope. But Brossette put his awareness on display. And he even took a question about the gambling impact of his decision after the game.
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) November 11, 2018
Texas A&M 38, Mississippi 24
Line: Ole Miss +13
Wow. If you had Ole Miss +13, words really don’t do this loss justice. Last week, Texas A&M was on the other end of a bad beat when they allowed Auburn to score twice late and cover. On Saturday, it was the Aggies scoring two late touchdowns to give Ole Miss backers the worst beat of the day.
Ole Miss was covering this game the entire way until the very end. Texas A&M kicked a field goal to go up 31-21 with 4:36 remaining. Until that kick, the biggest lead either team had all day was seven points. Trailing by ten, the Rebels drove down to the Aggies’ 7-yard line, but Ole Miss coach Matt Luke opted to kick a 24-yard field goal on fourth down with 1:51 left in the game to pull within seven.
The Rebels lined up for an onside kick but Ole Miss backers were looking good because if A&M recovered, they would just try to run out the clock. The Aggies recovered the kick. They tried to run out the clock. Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams didn’t get the memo. On the first play after the onside kick, Williams bolted 46 yards for a touchdown to give the Aggies a 14-point lead. It was the first time all game Texas A&M was covering the spread.
Ole Miss got the ball back with 1:39 remaining and a shot to still get a backdoor cover. Amazingly, the Rebels went on a 15-play drive in the final 1:39 but were unable to score on 4th-and-21 from the Texas A&M 33-yard line on the game’s last play.
Let’s add it all up. The Rebels fumbled in the red zone with a chance to go up 21-7 in the second quarter. Ole Miss missed a 22-yard field goal with 7:18 left that would have tied the game. Following the missed field, the Aggies scored two touchdowns in the final 4:36, including a 46-yard run when they were trying to run out the clock.
Sometimes bettors are on the right side and still lose. On Saturday, Ole Miss was the right side until just over a minute to go in the game. Tough beat.
Indianapolis Colts 29, Jacksonville Jaguars 26
Line: Jaguars +3
There weren’t any really bad beats on Sunday, so we’ll have to settle for a PUSH from Jaguars bettors when it looked like they were headed for a win.
The Jaguars trailed 29-13 in the third quarter and fought back to within three, 29-26, late in the fourth quarter. It appeared the Jaguars were going to complete the comeback and get a victory over their AFC South rivals. Jacksonville had moved into field goal range but with just over one minute to go, Rashad Greene lost the ball while going to the ground after a catch.
It was originally ruled Greene was down by contact, giving the Jaguars a first down at the Colts’ 23-yard line. However, after a review, the call was overturned and ruled a fumble. The Colts took over and ran out the clock.
Jaguars bettors will live with a PUSH after trailing all game long but they got a bit unlucky on the close fumble. Jacksonville had all the momentum and just 23 yards to go for a game-winning touchdown. Even though both sides ended up with a PUSH, you know when the call got reversed to a fumble, it felt like a win to Colts bettors and a loss for gamblers on the Jaguars.
Editor’s note: This game was moved to Los Angeles due to poor field conditions in Mexico City.
One of the most anticipated games of the NFL season is set in Week 11, as the Los Angeles Rams (9-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) matchup features the two teams with the best records in the league.
Following the Week 10 games on Sunday, Nov. 11, the Rams are a 2.5-point favorite at many leading sportsbooks for the Monday, Nov. 19 showdown in Mexico City. The SuperBook has the Rams as 2-point favorites.
Record total for Rams vs. Chiefs
The buzz surrounding this showdown is the over/under, which was posted as a 64 total at the SuperBook.
With Monday’s 49ers-Giants game pending, teams have scored 7,070 points through 10 weeks of 2018 NFL action covering 147 games.
The scoring average is 48.1 points per game.
The Saints (36.7) now lead the league in scoring following their 51-14 blowout of the Bengals in Week 10. But the Chiefs (35.3) and Rams (33.5) are the next highest scoring teams in the league.
The total of 64 is the highest posted total for a regular season game in NFL history.
The previous highest total in ESPN’s Stats and Information database dating back to 1986 was the 2009 contest between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers. The total was 62 and the Rams won 34-24.
Preparation, stats, and high-scoring offenses
This will be the third straight season the NFL has played a regular season game in Mexico City. The Raiders beat the Texans 27-20 in 2016 and the Patriots beat the Raiders 33-8 in 2017.
Azteca Stadium in Mexico City has an elevation of 7,300 feet, and the Rams are preparing for the high-altitude by practicing this week in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy practice facilities. Both the Rams and Chiefs played at Mile High Stadium in Denver in October, and both teams beat the Broncos in close contests but failed to cover the point spread. Broncos Stadium at Mile High is 5,280 feet above sea level.
Prior to the season, both the Chiefs and Rams made requests to play in Denver the week prior to their game in Mexico City, but each was denied by the league so either team would not be provided an advantage with the acclimation to altitude.
The Chiefs are a league-best 8-2 ATS this season. The Rams are now 4-6 ATS this season after starting 3-0 ATS. Eight Chiefs contests have had a betting total of at least 50 points, including Kansas City’s only loss of the season at New England (43-40) when the posted total hit 59.5. Five Chiefs games have gone over the total this year.
On Nov. 4, the Rams suffered their only loss of the season in a 45-35 shootout at New Orleans. That total hit 60 and was actually bet down to 57 at game time as those under bettors watched their money fly away in the Saints’ shootout victory. Rams games have gone over in 5 of 10 contests, including the last two weeks with 80 and 67 points scored.
Those results, combined with the Chiefs and Rams scoring and ranking No. 1 and No. 3 in points per play on offense, and each top 5 in passing yards per game with quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes (9.13) and Jared Goff (9.44) also top 3 in yards per pass attempt, have the sportsbooks prepared for another shootout.
Five quarterbacks are on pace to pass for at least 5,000 yards this season, including Mahomes (3,150) and Goff (3,134), who are the two leaders in passing yards through 10 weeks.
Will either defense slow down these two high-scoring, creative offenses? The Rams defense allows 355 yards per game and the Chiefs allow 410. Both teams have allowed 6.0 yards per play.
Despite record scoring this season with more passing and flying footballs, the Chiefs (17th) and Rams (28th) both rank in the bottom half of the league in passing play percentage with the Chiefs passing the ball 59.44% of its plays and the Rams 54.48%.
Whatever the result, the leadup to the Chiefs and Rams game is going to attract tons of sports talk, betting and totals action.
You can bet on it.
The Week 11 primetime games on Sunday and Monday night will feature first-place teams as the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears battle for the NFC North lead in Chicago. On Monday night in Mexico City, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams will settle the score for the best record as both enter Week 10 at 8-1. Pittsburgh at Jacksonville is a Week 11 rematch from last year’s AFC playoff game, while Philadelphia at New Orleans is another game between two playoff teams from last year that are in position to return to the playoffs again this season.
Adjusting to market moves
The public piled on some big favorites last week and won big as many sportsbooks in Las Vegas and New Jersey suffered their worst Sunday of the season on Nov. 4. The big favorites were also playing losing teams and delivered relatively easy wins and covers as Kansas City (-8) beat Cleveland 37-21; Chicago (-10) buried Buffalo 41-9; Minnesota (-5) dogged Detroit 24-9; and Pittsburgh (+1.5) was bet hard off the key number of 3 and beat Baltimore 23-16 as a slight underdog. Those four results went many bettors way and destroyed the sportsbooks.
The tendency of many bettors is to over (or under) react to games and events they saw most recently, and to also bet against bad or losing teams. Two losing teams that will take little wagering action from the public as home underdogs in Week 10 are Cleveland (+4.5) vs. Atlanta and Oakland (+10) vs. the LA Chargers. The public will also pile on two first place teams that won for them last week as New Orleans (-5.5) travels to Cincinnati with the Bengals off their bye week, and New England (-6.5) travels to Tennessee to tackle the Titans, who won Monday night at Dallas and return home on a short week. Last week’s key victories by the Saints over the previously undefeated Rams and the Patriots Sunday night win over the Packers are two examples of winning teams that will get market support. New Orleans and New England have already seen an uptick of at least two points from the lookahead betting line to the current Week 10 line. More on that in a bit.
While it’s essential to make adjustments in your handicapping and sports betting approach based on information such as impactful injuries, statistical profiles, player performance and personnel changes, and scheduling situations including bye weeks, it’s also important to understand a bookmaker’s approach to setting the lines and its understanding of how bettors react to recent results.
The losing and perceived bad teams will have adjustments in the line, and especially following a poor performance. The Bookmaker knows how the public bettors will react, and if will be difficult to draw bets on those ‘losers’, thus an adjustment in price and the betting line as the bookmaker tries to make the bad teams look more appealing hoping to draw more action on the ugly underdogs. You can also see the adjustment in price on winning teams like New Orleans, New England, Kansas City, Chicago and the LA Chargers this week. Dallas’ dud on Monday night has also impacted the Week 11 line at Philadelphia.
Week 10 look-ahead lines and major moves
For the Week 10 games on Sunday, Nov. 11, these are the games where there was at least a 2-point difference from the look-ahead line in Las Vegas or New Jersey and current line:
- Carolina at Pittsburgh (-6 at SuperBook) – Current line Steelers -3.5
- New Orleans (-3.5 at FanDuel) at Cincinnati – Current line Saints -5.5
- Atlanta (-1 at SuperBook) at Cleveland – Current line Falcons -4
- Washington at Tampa Bay (PK at SuperBook) – Current line Buccaneers -3
- New England (-4 at FanDuel) at Tennessee – Current line Patriots -6.5
- Miami at Green Bay (-7 at FanDuel) – Current line Packers -9.5
- Detroit at Chicago (-4 at FanDuel) – Current line Bears -6.5
- Arizona at Kansas City (-13 at FanDuel) – Current line Chiefs -16.5
- LA Chargers (-6.5 at FanDuel) at Oakland – Current line Chargers -10
- Dallas at Philadelphia (-5.5 at FanDuel) – Current line Eagles -7.5
Week 11 look-ahead lines
|Game||Westgate Line||FanDuel Line|
|Green Bay at Seattle||SEA -3||SEA -2.5|
|Carolina at Detroit||CAR -3||CAR -1.5|
|Cincinnati at Baltimore||BAL -5.5||BAL -6.5|
|Dallas at Atlanta||ATL -4.5||ATL -3.5|
|Houston at Washington||PK||HOU -2|
|Pittsburgh at Jacksonville||PIT -3||PIT -2.5|
|Tampa Bay at NY Giants||PK||TB -1.5|
|Tennessee at Indianapolis||IND -3||IND -3|
|Denver at LA Chargers||LAC -6.5||LAC -7|
|Oakland at Arizona||ARI -3||ARI -3|
|Philadelphia at New Orleans||NO -6.5||OFF|
|Minnesota at Chicago||CHI -2.5||CHI -1|
|Kansas City vs LA Rams (Mexico)||LAR -1.5||LAR -3|