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.
Texas A&M 74, LSU 72
Line: Texas A&M -3/LSU ML +125
This game was so crazy there’s not enough time to recap everything. It involves a first down that appeared not to be a first down, an interception that wasn’t an interception, seven overtimes and the losing coach getting a Gatorade bath. Yes, there was a lot going on in this one.
Let’s go to Texas A&M’s final drive in the fourth quarter where it looked like LSU had won the game on back-to-back plays. The first came on 3rd-and-18 when Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond appeared to throw a game-ending interception with 20 seconds remaining. LSU players thought the game was over and even dumped Gatorade on head coach Ed Orgeron.
Yup, LSU just lost a game in which their Head Coach received a Gatorade bath and they scored 72 points. College football!pic.twitter.com/kLkK06z5h2
— FantasyPros (@FantasyPros) November 25, 2018
However, the play was reviewed and it turned out that Mond’s knee actually touched before he got the pass off. A big break for the Aggies and an image Orgeron would later regret.
On the very next play, Mond connected with Quartney Davis for 20 yards on 4th-and-18. It was called a first down but judging by the yellow line on TV, Davis was clearly short. Turns out, The SEC Network’s yellow first down line was incorrect, so the play was never reviewed and the Aggies had a first down with 15 seconds on the clock.
For the record, the call was correct. It was a 1st down.
The first down TV line was incorrect and was on the 41, not the 43 yard line that it should have been. https://t.co/qeDKlBhJDd
— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) November 25, 2018
It came down to one final play from the LSU 19-yard line. Even after the interception that wasn’t an interception and the non-first down that was a first down, LSU moneyline bettors needed just one stop to cash. Not on this night. It what turned out to be of the wildest games in college football history, Mond hit Davis for a 19-yard touchdown on the final play of regulation to send the game into overtime.
KELLEN MOND in the CLUTCH 🔥 pic.twitter.com/kTtKKpjOma
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 25, 2018
Both Texas A&M and LSU bettors had multiple opportunities to cover in the seven overtimes but neither defense could make a stop. The game finally ended in the seventh overtime. Following an LSU touchdown and missed two-point conversion, Mond found Davis again from 17-yards out to tie the game at 72. The Aggies converted the two-point conversion when Mond hit Kendrick Rogers to end the instant classic.
The winning play.pic.twitter.com/S1ffdeS5fh
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 25, 2018
After all that, it wasn’t a bad beat for those on LSU +3 because they eventually covered the spread in the end. Although, the game was so crazy and had so many potential endings that it was a tough beat for just about everyone else. Unless you had the UNDER. It’s hard to argue a bad beat when the OVER hits by 100 points.
Boise State 33, Utah State 24
Spread: Utah State +2.5
There were a lot of bad beats on Saturday that deserved to make this list. However, this one isn’t being talked about as much because it happened while many people were sleeping off their turkey comas. Make no mistake about it though, this was a brutal beat for Utah State backers.
Utah State trailed 26-17 in the fourth quarter after a Boise State touchdown and missed a two-point conversion. The failed conversion was big because it meant an Aggies touchdown would be covering the spread. Utah State backers got that touchdown with 3:12 remaining to cut the lead to 26-24. Now Boise State runs out the clock and Aggies bettors go home happy.
Utah State kicked the ball off deep, but disaster struck when Broncos running back Alexander Mattison broke off a 59-yard run to set up Boise State with a 1st-and-goal at the 10-yard line. Now here’s the thing: Utah State still had one timeout left. They called it after a second down run with 55 seconds remaining in the game. That stoppage meant Boise couldn’t just take a knee and run out the clock.
Guess what happened next? On 4th-and-goal from the 1, Mattison busted into the end zone with just four seconds on the clock to give the Broncos a 33-24 win. Before the play, the ESPN announcer said, “A lot of people interested in what happens here based on the closeness of this contest.” That’s right. One touchdown in the final seconds of a Mountain West football game impacted many people, both good and bad.
Alexander Mattison in for his 3rd TD of the night…what a performance from #22 #BoiseState (10-2) beats #14 Utah State (10-2) 33-24…Broncos are headed back to the Mountain West Championship game!
Next Saturday on The Blue against Fresno State pic.twitter.com/UZYtpnkgnJ
— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) November 25, 2018
It was a tough pill for Utah State bettors to swallow. The 59-yard run by Mattison turned into a bad beat for those on the Aggies +2.5.
Seattle Seahawks 30, Carolina Panthers 27
Line: Panthers -3
This was a close, back-and-forth game throughout but the Panthers really imploded in the fourth quarter when they had a chance to win and cover.
Carolina took a 27-20 lead with 6:57 remaining following a Christian McCaffrey touchdown. On the ensuing drive, Seattle faced a 4th-and-3 from the Panthers’ 35-yard-line with just over three minutes left in the game.
A stop and Carolina is likely one first down away from a seven-point victory. Panthers bettors didn’t get the stop. Instead, Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to David Moore to tie the game at 27.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 25, 2018
The Panthers weren’t dead yet though. Cam Newton drove Carolina to the 36-yard-line, setting up Graham Gano for a 52-yard field attempt to give Carolina the lead and potential PUSH. However, Gano pushed the kick right and Seattle got the ball back with 1:45 on the clock.
With the game still tied, Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for a big 43-yard gain on third down to set up the Seahawks at the 10-yard line. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 31-yard game-winning field goal in the final seconds to give Seattle the 30-27 win and cover as a three-point dog.
Tyler Lockett with another big play!
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 25, 2018
A touchdown on fourth down, a missed field goal and 43-yard gain by Seattle on 3rd-and-7 all in the final three minutes combined to give Panthers bettors a tough loss on Sunday.
Well, that was interesting.
The long-anticipated pay-per-view event “The Match” between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson showcased the incredible potential of sponsored, made-for-TV betting extravaganzas … and a whole lot of challenges.
Yes, Mickelson won on the makeshift 22nd hole under the lights to capture $9 million. He had prepared more than Tiger and seemed to want it more. But the real story here is everything else that happened.
Consider this one small step for integrating wagering into sports broadcasts, one giant leap for the public embracing how fun legalized sports betting can be.
As we’ve written, the future of integrating betting into broadcasts is going to change how we watch sports. Not to mention that really, really smart people think sports betting will particularly increase golf’s popularity. ESPN’s executive vice president of content, Connor Schell has said:
“This is just the beginning of exploring how this changes how you connect with sports fans, and how you connect with the real avid and engaged sports fans.”
This specific point was highlighted throughout the broadcast as you saw live odds from PlayMGM (seen above) as well as fan tweets throughout the broadcast (captured here, or like JJ Watt’s below).
Tiger to Phil: “$200,000 closest to the pin?”
My buddies to me: “20 bucks says you put it in the water” #TheMatch
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 23, 2018
Making content out of in-play bets and how people are reacting to the action will be smoothed out, made more exciting, and ultimately generate more handle for sportsbooks.
The not so great
We’re not going to spend time belaboring this, but Mickelson and Woods’ “banter” caused more people to go comatose than Thursday’s Thanksgiving turkey.
“Samuel Jackson just sounds cool…” from Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson talking about their kids kind of killed the mood. That needs some work.
You’d think a guy like Mickelson who popped his collar like he was an extra from Hot Tub Time Machine, could’ve worked in some very obvious digs at Tiger to get into his head. Or just talked a little bit of shit.
That didn’t really happen.
The shit-talking was left to the lone shining spot of the broadcast team, Charles Barkley.
Barkley, who has no problem talking about and showing his love of gambling, was absolutely in his element.
From his jabs at NBA broadcast partner Shaq (“It’s so nice not to hear a guy mumble through six hours of TV…he’s chewing on the mic!”) to Woods and Mickelson (“I could beat them these guys are awful today”), Sir Charles infused much-needed personality and fun into the event.
Can we just forget the words “side sauce” for a while?
While all of the side bets made the somewhat poor a needed jolt, listening to adults feel like they’re suddenly cool by saying “side sauce” over and over wore out its welcome on the third or fourth “side sauce.”
The side sauce
Ok, there was some good side sauce between Tiger and Phil.
It took all of a minute in the broadcast for Ernie Johnson to mention Mickelson’s $200,000 first hole birdie bet (he didn’t make it).
The $1 million eagle hole (par 4 9th) added some suspense to an otherwise totally boring end to the front nine.
In all, along with the $9 million purse, Mickelson took $600,000 in side action that went to charity.
The betting at books
The broadcast did a great job of letting viewers know of all the action (at PlayMGM at least).
If you had bet the halves on most of the holes, you’d have done well for yourself. Same if you had taken Mickelson. This point was beaten home throughout the pay-per-view.
Tiger was the favorite heading in, going to -200 at one point, and public money is almost always going to be on Tiger.
How much public money? According to VP of Race and Sports for MGM Resorts International, Jay Rood, the event took in 8-10 times more action than a typical non-major golf event.
The final thoughts
I’m not much of one for hyperbole, but this is the future of peer-to-peer betting and where sports betting is headed.
Golf is the perfect sport for this type of showcase. Betting is part of the culture. There’s constant action and ample time to set in-play wagers.
Again though, it’s the peer-to-peer side, the match-making, the stuff you can do with your friends as you watch these events — that’s where this goes through the roof. Yes, integrating wagering in broadcasts as you live bet on PlayMGM-like sites and apps is great, but being able to bet on anything against anyone while you watch is the next-level that sports betting will eventually reach.
This made-for-TV event was just the start. It’s only going up from here.