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Thomas Casale

Thomas Casale

Thomas Casale has been following the sports betting industry for 25 years. He's contributed to The Linemakers and is currently an editor at BetChicago. Thomas has also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while also covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA for different media outlets.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: A Meaningless Tip-Drill Hail Mary In Ohio Kills Under Bets

Thomas Casale September 24, 2018
Bad Beats Bowling Green

Each week, TheLines will take 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.

Miami (Ohio) 38, Bowling Green 23

Total: 55

It’s never easy betting the UNDER in college football. It’s even harder when teams combine for 14 points in the final 30 seconds.

Miami (Ohio) was in complete control leading 31-3 with just under six minutes to play. Then Bowling Green scored two touchdowns in a minute and 21 seconds to make it a 31-17 game with 4:13 remaining.

The total closed at either 55 or 55.5 at most sportsbooks across the country. UNDER bettors couldn’t allow another touchdown and it looked like they were in the clear when Miami running back Alonzo Smith busted a 29-yard run on 4th and 2 but got tackled at the 3 with less than a minute remaining.

Remember all those times you bet an OVER and a team had an opportunity to score late but instead took a knee to run out the clock?

Well, this wasn’t one of those times.

Instead of just running out the clock, Miami handed the ball off twice and Davion Johnson scored a touchdown with 34 seconds left in the game. Wow, that’s either a tough push or a close win, depending on which line you got.

If only that’s how the game ended. Remember Miami opting to not take a knee? It ended up being a costly decision for many.

In what will go down as one of the worst beats on an UNDER all season, Bowling Green got to the Miami 40-yard line with time for one last play. Quarterback Grant Loy threw a Hail Mary that got tipped into the arms of receiver Justin Sawmiller with zeros showing on the clock. Instead of a push or win, UNDER bettors were left stunned looking at a losing ticket.

By the way, it was the first touchdown of Loy and Sawmiller’s careers.

The two teams combined to score 27 points in the fourth quarter, four touchdowns in the last 5:34 and two touchdowns in the final 34 seconds. To rub salt in the wounds of bettors, the books came out ahead on the final play with 61 percent of the money wagered on the UNDER.

Stanford 38, Oregon 31

Line: Stanford -3
Total: 59

How about two bad beats in one? In one of the craziest games of the season so far, Stanford beat Oregon 38-31. However, the Ducks aren’t the only ones who suffered a tough beat Saturday.

Oregon led this game 24-7 at the half and was about to tack on another touchdown late in the third quarter when they fumbled in the red zone and Stanford’s Joey Alfieri returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Instead of being down 24, the Cardinal cut Oregon’s lead to 24-14. While the fumble changed momentum, it wasn’t the biggest fumble in the game. Not even close.

Oregon only scored one touchdown in the second half but it appeared to be enough as the Ducks were up 31-28 and running out the clock late in the game. After a key first down run by quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks could essentially end the game with Stanford down to one time out. Oregon bettors could rest easily and UNDER bettors would have to settle for a push.

Then CJ Verdell happened.

Verdell fumbled while fighting for extra yards with just 51 seconds remaining. Of course, Oregon could have just taken a knee but apparently, teams don’t do that anymore. The Cardinal recovered the fumble and Oregon bettors could have written the ending to the story.

Stanford kicked a field goal as time expired to tie the game at 31. The kick also put the game OVER the total. Then after striking first in overtime, Stanford picked off Herbert on fourth down to secure the win and send Oregon -3 backers into counseling. According to ESPN, Ducks had a 99 percent chance of winning the game on two separate occasions.

The percentage of bets were split evenly on the game. However,  sportsbooks took a beating on the total with 72 percent of bets and 74 percent of the money bet on the OVER.

An honorable mention goes to bettors who had the Wisconsin/Iowa UNDER 44. Wisconsin scored twice in the final 57 seconds, including a 33-yard end around to fullback Alec Ingold when they were just trying to get a first down and end the game.

Giants 27, Texans 22

Total: 44

You may notice a trend here. It was an awful weekend for UNDER bettors. There weren’t many bad beats on Sunday, although the worst came on the final offensive play of the New York Giants/Houston Texans game for UNDER bettors.

The Giants led the Texans 20-9 midway through the fourth quarter in a sleepy kind of game when disaster struck. The Texans scored with 7:37 remaining on a Deshaun Watson to Will Fuller touchdown to cut the Giants lead to 20-15. The Giants responded with an Eli Manning touchdown pass Sterling Shepard with 2:08 left in the game.

UNDER bettors were still one Giants stop away from cashing a winning ticket. Houston faced a fourth and goal from the four-yard line. The total came down to one play. Watson scrambled in the pocket and hit running back Lamar Miller in the end zone with one second left on the clock. The two teams combined to score three touchdowns in the final eight minutes.

One play. That was the difference between UNDER bettors winning and losing. The books took a loss on the final touchdown as well with 69 percent of bets and 80 percent of the money going to the OVER in this game.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: A (Near) Mississippi Whitewash And A Missed XP

Thomas Casale September 17, 2018
Bad Beats

Each week, TheLines will take 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.

Alabama 62, Ole Miss 7

Total: 71

What if I told you one team will score a touchdown on the first play of the game. The other team will score 62 points. The total is 71. Would you like your chances of cashing the OVER?

The worst beat on Saturday took place in the Alabama/Ole Miss game. Over bettors couldn’t have asked for a better start. The Rebels scored on the first play just 11 seconds into the game. Then Alabama answered with seven straight touchdowns to take a 49-7 halftime lead. That’s 56 points in the first half. If you bet the OVER, the money is already spent. I mean, 17 second-half points is nothing, right?

As thrilling as the first half was for OVER bettors, the second half was just as devastating. One non-offensive touchdown and two field goals by Alabama. Not a point from Ole Miss. Not even a measly, “Let’s kick a meaningless field goal down by 50” to help OVER bettors. Nothing.

Alabama kicked a field goal with 12:16 left in the game to go up 62-7. OVER bettors needed just two more points that never came. The worst part for many bettors is the line opened at 66.5 but went up quickly. The books were a big winner with 69 percent of the bets and 75 percent of the money wagered on the OVER, according to Sports Insights.

Some beats stick with gamblers forever. They tell stories about them for years. This is one of those beats for OVER bettors.

Dolphins 20, Jets 0 (Halftime)

First Half Total: 21

The first half total in the Jets/Dolphins’ game was 21. Unfortunately for OVER bettors, that was one point too many.

Miami led 14-0 late in the second quarter. At this point, OVER bettors will take one more touchdown and a push. Anything else would be gravy. Then, with 42 seconds left in the half, they got it when Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown pass to tight end A.J. Derby.

That was a close one. Just need the extra point now. Most Sundays, bettors don’t have to sweat every single extra point but this was no normal Sunday for NFL kickers. Jason Sanders missed the extra point, keeping the game UNDER the total. That alone is a bad beat — but there’s even more to the story.

Sam Darnold led the Jets down the field in the final 42 seconds of the first half, giving OVER bettors one last chance to cash. With 10 seconds remaining, Darnold hit receiver Chris Herndon at the 2-yard-line. Herndon fumbled, picked it up but was tackled at the one.

Hurry call time out! Wait, the Jets are out of timeouts. OVER bettors were forced to watch the final seconds click off the clock, one yard and one point away from victory.

Vikings 29, Packers 29

Line: Vikings -2.5

This game was two bad beats in one. The line didn’t get released at many sports books until Sunday because of the uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ status. The Westgate SuperContest make the Vikings -7 earlier in the week but when it was announced Rodgers would start, Minnesota closed between a 1.5 and 2-5-point favorite.

Green Bay led this game 23-14 with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter. Minnesota cut the lead to 23-21 just 17 seconds later when Kirk Cousins hit Stefon Diggs for a 75-yard touchdown. Two Mason Crosby field goals gave Green Bay an eight-point lead with 1:45 remaining.

The fourth quarter madness continued when Cousins hit Adam Thielen for the tying touchdown in the final minute. Vikings backers needed the two-point conversation, then a field goal to cover. They got the two-point conversion. The field goal? Well…

It wasn’t a good day for kickers and this game was no different. Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime and keep Minnesota backers alive.

Vikings bettors finally got their shot at a cover in overtime. If Daniel Carlson connects on a 49-yard field goal, it would cap off a comeback that saw Minnesota score 22 points in the fourth quarter and give Vikings bettors a half-point cover.

However, as we already mentioned, this wasn’t the day to rely on a kicker.

Carlson missed his field goal attempt, securing a tie and Packers cover. The 31 fourth-quarter points also put the game OVER 45. It was a big win for sportsbooks, as 77 percent of the dollars wagered were on the Vikings and 67 percent on the UNDER, according to Sports Insights.

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The Weekend In Bad Beats: Rodgers To Cobb And A Blocked Punt TD To Cover

Thomas Casale September 10, 2018
bad beats

You have to love gambling. It’s the only reason people would be glued to their TV sets for a 42-7 game in the fourth quarter (like one of the games that make an appearance in this article below).

Each week, TheLines will take 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.

Florida Atlantic 33, Air Force 27

Line: Florida Atlantic -9

There are bad beats, then there’s what happened in the Florida Atlantic/Air Force game.

Florida Atlantic took a 33-20 lead with 10:41 left after a touchdown and successful two-point conversion. There was plenty of time left at that point but as the minutes ticked down, it looked like FAU backers would survive with a cover.

Following a failed fourth-down conversion by Air Force at the Florida Atlantic 25, the Owls took over and attempted to run out the final three minutes. One first down and the game is over. FAU covers.

However, the Owls came up two yards short and were forced to punt. With just 57 seconds remaining and Air Force not known for its passing game, Florida Atlantic backers were still feeling good. Just needed to get the punt off.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Sebastian Riella’s punt was blocked by Garrett Kauppila. The ball was scooped up by Lakota Wills, who returned it five yards for the score and an improbable backdoor cover in the final minute. Books took a loss on this one, as 58 percent of the money was on Air Force.

It’s still early in the college football season but we have a leader in the clubhouse for Bad Beat of the Year.

Oklahoma 49, UCLA 21

Line: Oklahoma -31
Total: 66

Oklahoma started this game off slowly, leading just 21-7 at halftime. The Sooners came roaring out of the locker room by scoring three unanswered touchdowns to take a 42-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. It was the first time OU was covering the spread all day.

The next 13 minutes was a roller coaster for gamblers. UCLA scored with 11:11 remaining to cut the lead to 28. Then Oklahoma responded four minutes later when QB Kyler Murray scored to give Sooners’ backers hope. The 35 second-half points also put the UNDER in jeopardy, as the game was now just a field goal away from pushing the total.

UCLA hadn’t done much on offense all game long but with Oklahoma playing prevent, the Bruins marched down the field for a potentially huge “meaningless” touchdown. It came down to 4th-and-6 from the nine-yard line for all the marbles. Both the side and total were on the line. Freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw a strike to Michael Ezeike for a nine-yard touchdown and a Bruins cover. The OVER cashed with 42 points in the second half.

The outcome was a split for sportsbooks. According to Sports Insights, 72 percent of the money was on Oklahoma but a whopping 92 percent came in on the OVER.

For some, a 49-21 game had the most thrilling ending of the day.

Packers 24, Bears 23

Line: Bears ML

The Packers entered Sunday night’s game against the Bears 0-111 when trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter. Green Bay is now 1-111 in its 100-year history thanks to a furious comeback led by a hobbled Aaron Rodgers.

Sportsbooks saw a lot of money come in on the Bears +7 to the point where the line dropped to Packers -6 at some places. Many betters also took a shot on the Bears money line at +245. Close to 40 percent of betting tickets on the money line backed the Bears.

Everything looked like a walk in the park whether you bet Chicago with the points or on the money line. The Bears raced out to a 17-0 lead and more importantly, Rodgers left the game on a cart with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

With Rodgers looking unlikely to return, the second half line was Chicago +1/5 with the Bears juiced up to -150 at some sportsbooks. Then, Rodgers comes walking out of the tunnel with his helmet like he’s Willis Reed. Ah, good luck. Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense is dominating, right?

Even with Rodgers, the Bears took a commanding 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The game changed when Rodgers hit Geronimo Allison for a 39-yard touchdown. Then it was Davante Adams from 12 yards out. Is this really going to happen?

The Bears put the comeback on hold with a drive that drained 6:22 from the clock but it ended in only a field goal. Rodgers had 2:39 remaining down 23-17. Did we even have to watch the ending? Bears moneyline backers and second half bettors got that uneasy feeling in their stomachs. We all knew it was coming.

A dropped interception gave Rodgers a second life and that’s all he needed. Rodgers hit a streaking Randall Cobb for a game-winning 75-yard touchdown pass. The Packers’ defense closed the door and the legendary comeback was complete.

What looked like an easy win for bettors on the Bears’ money line turned into a devastating loss in a game no one will ever forget, especially gamblers

Gamblers Betting On The Giants And 49ers To Have Super Seasons

Thomas Casale August 10, 2018
Betting Giants

Football season is officially here the NFL future bets continue to pour in from eager gamblers. Teams seeing the most action from bettors to win the Super Bowl this year are … the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers?

It’s true. According to William Hill, the 49ers are tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the most amount of money bet on to win the Super Bowl. The Giants are second. In terms of the total number of tickets coming in to win the Super Bowl, the Giants top the list (8 percent), followed by the Rams (7 percent), 49ers (6 percent), Packers (6 percent) and Vikings (6 percent).

So why are two teams that won a combined nine games in 2017 popular with bettors to make a Super Bowl run this season? There’s no one answer, but value, homerism and regional bias all play a big part in how gamblers view a team’s long-term outlook.

“Teams like the 49ers and Giants are surprising because of hype around the 49ers this year (Jimmy G) and the New Jersey bettors betting the Giants heavy,” Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading at William Hill, told TheLines. “The Raiders, Packers, Cowboys and a few contenders are always heavily bet so that doesn’t come as a surprise.”

Giants again?

The Giants were the NFL’s biggest disappointment last season. Predicted by many to be a serious Super Bowl contender, New York stumbled to the second-worst record in the NFL at 3-13.

The Giants opened at 60/1 to win the 2018-19 Super Bowl at the Westgate SuperBook and 40/1 at William Hill. They’re down to 25/1 at both places and as low as 15/1 at the MGM.

Looking back as to why the Giants imploded, a rash of injuries and Ben McAdoo pretending to be an NFL head coach made New York one of the most uncompetitive teams in the league. The Giants lost eight games by 10 points or more.

Despite their struggles, bettors jumped on the Giants early on to win the Super Bowl. A new coach in Pat Shurmur and key additions like left tackle Nate Solder and rookie running back Saquon Barkley have bettors believing 2107 was just a hiccup for the Giants, especially in the state of New Jersey where sports betting just became legal on June 11.

“In New Jersey we are seeing increased action on the local teams there like the Giants, Eagles, Jets, and Steelers so we have to adjust those accordingly as people are swarming to bet them there,” Bogdanovich said. “In Nevada, we don’t have to adjust those teams too much but we do have to keep an eye on it. For the Giants, bettors in New Jersey are wagering on them like crazy and that is the main reason why we are seeing heavy action on them.”

A 49ers’ gold rush?

The 49ers have been a hot pick to make noise ever since Jimmy Garoppolo took over at quarterback late last season and led San Francisco to five-straight wins to close out the year after the team started 1-10.

The 49ers opened at 20/1 to win the Super Bowl at the Westgate and even though they didn’t offer the same kind of value as teams like the Giants, bettors pounced on San Francisco’s Super Bowl prop. The 49ers are also the second favorite (3/1) to win the NFC West at CG Technology, behind the Rams (2/3).

“We are seeing high betting interest in the 49ers, Rams, and Raiders because of how close in proximity they are to Nevada,” Bogdanovich said. “Bettors in California always seem to stop into our Nevada books to wager on their favorite team. They are also wagering on them because they have a bright future going forward with young promising quarterbacks.”

Just win again, baby

Another team that finished with a losing record but bettors are smitten with heading into the season is the Oakland Raiders. After finishing a disappointing 6-10 last year, the Raiders summoned Jon Gruden from the broadcasting booth following a nine-year hiatus from coaching to return the franchise to glory.

Besides the addition of Gruden, another thing favoring a quick turnaround in Oakland is the Raiders had the third-worst turnover differential last year at -14, ahead of only Denver (-17) and Cleveland (-28). Predictably, those three teams finished a combined 11-37.

So far, bettors are buying a Raiders’ resurgence under Gruden. CG Technology has the highest single bet on the Raiders winning the Super Bowl at 25/1. Oakland is currently down to 20/1 at CG Technology.

“Our biggest overall liability is on the Giants,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management at CG Technology, said. “Our single biggest ticket for liability is on the Raiders of $10,000 at 25/1.”

New year, same results?

It’s not inconceivable to think teams coming off a losing season won’t make a Super Bowl run the following year. Just look at last season, for example.

The Philadelphia Eagles were at 45/1 to win the Super Bowl, while the Saints (70/1), Jaguars (75/1) and Rams (125/1) were considered longshots but all three teams won their division. A year later, the Eagles (10/1), Rams (10/1), Saints (16/1) and Jaguars (16/1) are among the favorites to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.

So, will history repeat itself this season? Many gamblers are betting on it.