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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 Match: Complete Betting Guide For Tiger vs. Phil At Shadow Creek

Thomas Casale November 17, 2018
Tiger Phil Betting

Thanksgiving weekend offers up a feast of options for sports’ fans. There’s NFL, college football, college basketball, NBA and NHL to choose from during the four days people are recovering from a turkey coma. This year, we can add golf to the list.

Two of golf’s biggest legends, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, will go head-to-head in a matchplay challenge on Friday, Nov. 23 for a $9 million cash prize. The event will take place at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. ET. The match isn’t open to the public.

Woods is a -230 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the event with, Mickelson coming in at +175.

Woods owns the most major victories by any active golfer (14) and has the second-most all time, behind only Jack Nicklaus. Woods’ first major win came in the 1997 Masters but he hasn’t won one since 2008, when he defeated Rocco Mediate by one stroke in a playoff at the U.S. Open.

Mickelson has five major championships, including three wins at The Masters. The only major he hasn’t won is the U.S. Open where he’s finished as the runner-up six times.

There are multiple ways to watch The Match and even more betting options for gamblers. Here is everything you need to know for Tiger vs. Phil on Nov. 23:

When do Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson tee off?

Tigers vs. Phil will take place at 3 p.m. ET on Nov. 23, 2018.

Where is The Match being played?

Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas will host the event. The private course was recently ranked as the No. 26 overall golf course in the United States by Golf Digest.

How do I watch Tiger vs. Phil?

There are a variety of ways to watch The Match. It can be seen on pay-per-view through B/R Live, DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse. The pay-per-view will also be sent to several other cable outlets such as Comcast and Verizon.

How much does The Match cost on pay-per-view?

The event will cost $19.99 through the various pay-per-view options.

What can I bet on?

Besides picking an outright winner, bettors can wager on alternative lines and props for the event, along with in-play betting options at sportsbooks like DraftKings and SugarHouse. Below are some prop bets being offered at many sportsbooks:

Who will win the match?

Tiger Woods-230-200-230-230
Phil Mickelson+175+163+175+175

As good as Mickelson has been in his career, Tiger is considered the better player of the two, so it’s not surprising to see him the favorite. However, this isn’t a tournament. It’s a one on one matchplay. There is some value with Phil and the number could go toward Tiger even more as we get closer to the event.

PROPS (from BetStars NJ)

  • Woods to hit the first fairway: 1/2
  • Mickelson to hit the first fairway: 4/7
  • Woods to average a higher driving distance: 8/13
  • Mickelson to average a higher driving distance: 11/8
  • Woods to average a higher driving accuracy %: 11/10
  • Mickelson to have more One-Putts: 5/6
  • Woods to have more One-Putts: 1/1
  • Woods to have an eagle: 5/2
  • Mickelson to have an eagle: 11/4
  • All Square through 18 holes: 5/1
  • Woods to have a Hole in One: 200/1
  • Mickelson to have a Hole in One: 200/1
  • Any Hole in One: 100/1

Check back for more props and analysis as we get closer to the match in Las Vegas.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: LSU’s Nick Brossette Follows Todd Gurley’s Lead, Falls Down At The 1

Thomas Casale November 12, 2018
Bad Beats LSU

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.

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.

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.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: WVU (-1) Stuns Texas In Final Seconds

Thomas Casale November 5, 2018
bad beats wvu

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.

West Virginia 42, Texas 41

Line: West Virginia -1

In one of the wildest games of the college football season that saw nine lead changes, West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41 when Dana Holgorsen opted to go for the win with a two-point conversion after the Mountaineers scored with just 16 seconds left in the game.

West Virginia trailed 41-34 late in the fourth quarter but quarterback Will Grier led the Mountaineers on a 75-yard game-winning drive. Grier capped off the drive with a beautiful throw while being pressured to receiver Gary Jennings Jr. who beat two Texas defenders for a 33-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.

Instead of playing for overtime, Holgorsen went for the win. It appeared as though West Virginia had taken the lead when Grier connected with David Sills V for the two-point conversion but Texas coach Tom Herman called a timeout just before the snap, nullifying the conversion. It didn’t matter. After the timeout, Grier ran a quarterback draw into the end zone for the win.

The outcome for bettors was all over the place for this game because of the line movement. The spread opened Texas -2.5 before closing at West Virginia -1. So, depending on which line you got, it was either a win, loss or push on the late score and two-point conversion.

The successful two-point conversion didn’t result in a huge swing for sportsbooks as money was mostly even on this game. Again though, not everyone got the Longhorns at +1.

Auburn 28, Texas A&M 24

Line: Texas A&M +3.5

Texas A&M imploded so badly in this game, Aggies backers must still be wondering how they lost the bet.

Texas A&M was cruising in this one when it went up 24-14 early in the third quarter. The Aggies had two opportunities to extend their lead but came away short both times. Seth Small missed a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have given Texas A&M a 13-point lead and prevented two touchdowns by Auburn from covering the spread.

The big blow though came when Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw an interception at the Auburn 29-yard line with 7:14 remaining in the game. A score there would have not only been big for the spread but the turnover completely swung the momentum of the game. Following the turnover, Auburn drove down the field in two minutes to score a touchdown, cutting the Aggies’ lead to 24-21.

Texas A&M was trying to run out the clock but head coach Jimbo Fisher opted to throw the ball on third down with 2:10 remaining. A first down and the game is over. The pass fell incomplete and Fisher was forced to punt from his own 45-yard line. The Tigers got the ball back. This time it took Auburn just two plays to find the end zone when Jarrett Stidham hit Seth Williams for an 11-yard touchdown to give Auburn the lead.

A&M bettors were left needing a missed an extra to avoid the improbable loss. Auburn kicker Anders Carlson hit not one, but both uprights, on the extra point attempt but the ball still went through to give the Tigers a 28-24 come-from-behind win.

A missed field goal, an interception, two touchdowns in the final 5:14 and an extra point ping-ponging through the uprights all add up for a terrible beat if you had Texas A&M +3.5.

Chargers 25, Seahawks 17

Total: 48

It was a weird Sunday of NFL games with not many close games or awful beats. The Broncos missing a last-second field goal impacted some bettors but Denver closed at -1.5 at most books, so a one-point win wouldn’t have made a difference.

The most frustrating loss gambling-wise was probably the OVER in the Chargers/Seahawks game. The total closed at 48 or 48.5 depending on the book and there were plenty of chances for the game to go OVER.

The biggest reason the game didn’t go OVER was Chargers kicker Caleb Sturgis. Actually, he may be the Chargers former kicker by the time you read this article. Sturgis missed two extra points and a 42-yard field goal on Sunday. Because of Sturgis’ first missed extra point, Los Angeles went for a two-point conversion after its second touchdown. Sturgis is personally responsible for leaving six points off the board, which would have pushed the total at 48 for OVER bettors.

Despite Sturgis’ dreadful performance, OVER bettors still had a shot to cash late in the game. Down by eight points, Seattle had the ball with a chance to tie. Russell Wilson drove the Seahawks to the Chargers’ 20-yard line with five seconds left in the game. Time for one final pass into the end zone.

Wilson’s pass to Tyler Lockett fell incomplete but Chargers cornerback Michael Davis was flagged for pass interference in the end zone. Seattle got one untimed down from the one. Well, make it the six after a false start penalty, but OVER bettors were still alive.

On the final play, Wilson threw a dart to receiver David Moore in the back of the end zone. The ball hit Moore right in the hands but he dropped it. If Moore hangs on, OVER 48 bettors push at worst. Seattle would have obviously gone for two and the tie, which could have given OVER backers at both 48 and 48.5 the win.

It wasn’t the worst beat of the season but a kicker costing bettors six points and a drop in the end zone on the final play is still a tough one for OVER backers to swallow. Sportsbooks came out ahead on Moore’s drop with 65 percent of tickets and 60 percent of the money wagered on the OVER. It was one of the few bright spots for the books on Sunday.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: Todd Gurley Doesn’t Care About Your Bet Slips Or Fantasy Teams

Thomas Casale October 29, 2018
bad beats todd gurley

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.

Los Angeles Rams 29, Green Bay Packers 27

Line: Rams -7.5
Total: 57

Bad beats happen every week in college and pro football. Then there are beats that are all-timers. Beats so bad they will be talked about by gamblers and in Las Vegas forever. On Sunday, we had one of those beats.

I’m sure you’ve seen the play by now. The Rams led 29-27 with just over a minute to go in the game when Todd Gurley broke free for what looked like a 21-yard touchdown run. The score would have not only covered the spread for many Rams bettors (the line opened at 9.5), it also would have put the game OVER the total.

First, let’s state the obvious: Gurley absolutely did the right thing by not scoring. Forget about gambling or your fantasy team, it makes no sense for Gurley to score in that situation. Would the Rams win the game up nine points with less than a minute left? Most likely. The difference is they are guaranteed to win the game if Gurley doesn’t score. While the odds may not be high, the Packers still have a mathematical chance to win the game if they get the ball back down nine points. They have zero chance to win the game if Gurley takes a knee and the clock runs out.

Now let’s get to the gambling fallout of Gurley’s decision. The Rams/Packers matchup was the most bet game on Sunday at most sportsbooks. In other words, there was a lot of money riding on the game and Gurley’s decision was the difference between winning and losing for many people.

The line opened at 9.5 and that was the number used in the Westgate SuperContest where Green Bay was the most popular pick. However, the number closed at Rams -7.5 and close to 60 percent of bets were on the Packers, although 60 percent of the money wagered was on the Rams. Obviously, Gurley’s decision not to score was a huge swing for many people.

The total is a different story with a majority of the money coming in on one side. With two high-scoring teams facing each other, it’s not surprising that 75 percent of bets and 83 percent of the money wagered was on the OVER. That’s the toughest beat of the game because the play happened on 3rd and 10. If Gurley just gets stopped, there’s a possibility the Rams kick a field goal and the game goes OVER 57. The fact that Gurley broke free for a touchdown and decided to take a knee instead was a crushing blow to OVER bettors.

Also crushing? Gurley trolling bettors and fantasy players on Twitter after the game.

No matter what side you were on, the Gurley non-score is a play that won’t soon be forgotten in the gambling community.

Nebraska 45, Bethune-Cookman 9

Line: Nebraska -41

Did you have Nebraska laying 41 points on Saturday? If so, you suffered one of the worst beats of the college football season.

As expected, the Cornhuskers were cruising at home. Nebraska scored early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-3 then called off the dogs. The problem for Nebraska bettors is they needed one more score to prevent Bethune-Cookman from sneaking in the back door.

It didn’t look like it would be an issue because the Wildcats couldn’t do anything on offense. Bethune-Cookman got the ball with 7:08 remaining. The Wildcats just wanted to take their check and go home, so they started running the ball. In one of the most unbelievable drives you’ll ever see to cover a spread, Bethune-Cookman held the ball for 10 plays and went 82 yards. Nine of those plays were runs.

Bethune-Cookman had no desire to score a touchdown. They even got a delay of game on 3rd and 1 and then ran the ball for 11 yards on 3rd and 6. It’s really one of the most amazing final drives for a bad beat in the history of football.

On the final play of the game with the clocking ticking down, Bethune-Cookman handed the ball off again to running back Alfred Adams, who crossed the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown with no time left to cover the spread. Oh yeah, it was Adams’ first career touchdown too and he’s a senior. Can’t make it up.

A 10-play drive. Nine runs. Bethune-Cookman marched down the field to score with zeros on the clock. That’s a tough beat.

Iowa State 40, Texas Tech 31

Line: Texas Tech +5.5

This was an entertaining, back and forth game. Until the very end, it was the kind of game where you were nervous laying points because from the second quarter on, no team had more than a touchdown lead. That held true right up until the last couple of minutes.

Texas Tech trailed 31-24 entering the fourth quarter but the Red Raiders tied things up when Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy fumbled in the end zone and Dakota Allen fell on the ball for a touchdown.

Texas Tech backers had to feel like they were in good shape when the Red Raiders had the ball with 4:39 remaining in a tie game. This time though, it was Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman who got sacked in the end zone for a safety, giving Iowa State a 33-31 lead and the ball.

Now, with just over four minutes remaining, even an Iowa State field goal doesn’t cover the spread. Unfortunately for Texas Tech bettors, a touchdown did.

Iowa State faced a 3rd and 9 from the Texas Tech 48-yard line. A first down and the game is essentially over because Iowa State could run out the clock. Instead, Purdy hit Hakeem Butler for a 48-yard touchdown to give the Cyclones a 40-31 lead and Texas Tech bettors a punch to the gut.

The Red Raiders did have just over two minutes left to score a “meaningless” touchdown and cover the spread. It wasn’t meant to be though as Bowman was intercepted with 1:40 left, ending any hope for a late cover.

The touchdown by Iowa State marked the first time since 13:35 in the second quarter that either team led by more than one possession. The sportsbooks took a hit on the late score by the Cyclones with around 60 percent of the money coming in on Iowa State.

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The Weekend In Bad Beats: Wild 4th Quarter In Purdue/OSU Stuns UNDER Bettors

Thomas Casale October 22, 2018
Bad Beats Purdue

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.

Purdue 49, Ohio State 20

Total: 65.5

We say it every week: it’s hard to bet UNDERs in college football.

The latest example came on Saturday night in Purdue’s upset over Ohio State. In a surprising one-sided butt kicking, Purdue led the close to two-touchdown favorite Buckeyes 21-6 after three quarters. The total wasn’t even halfway to the OVER with only 15 minutes to play. Again though, a college football UNDER is never safe.

In a wild fourth quarter, the teams combined for 42 points, including three touchdowns in the final 4:40. After David Blough hit Rondale Moore for a 43-yard touchdown with 3:37 left to put the Boilermakers up 42-20, a once-promising UNDER bet was looking dicey.

UNDER bettors likely would need one final defensive stand from a Purdue defense that had played well most of the night, limiting the high-powered Ohio State offense to just 20 points. Unfortunately for UNDER bettors, Purdue’s defense got more than just a stop.

Markus Bailey stepped in front of a Dwayne Haskins pass and returned it 41 yards for the touchdown. An unbelievable bad beat for UNDER bettors, as Bailey’s score marked the sixth straight possession that ended in a touchdown.

The two teams scored 28 points in a four-minute span to shock UNDER bettors.

Houston 49, Navy 36

Line: Navy +12

This was a wild game that went from looking like an easy cover for the Midshipmen to an easy cover for Houston and ending in a gut-wrenching loss for Navy bettors in the final two minutes.

Navy’s offense was rolling in the first half. The Midshipmen scored three touchdowns and took a 24-21 lead into the locker room. Not a bad spot to be in getting 12 points at home.

Unfortunately for Navy backers, the Midshipmen didn’t bring their offense back onto the field with them for the second half. Houston kept scoring at will, while Navy’s option couldn’t get anything going. When Nick Watkins returned an interception 50 yards for a score, it gave the Cougars four straight touchdowns in the second half and a commanding 49-24 lead.

Navy went down the field with Houston playing a prevent defense and finally scored its first touchdown since 5:18 remaining in the second quarter with just under two minutes left in the game. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but Navy decided to go for two instead of kicking the extra point to make it a 17-point game. Apparently Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo was under the impression the Midshipmen had enough time to score two more touchdowns and kick a field goal. The two-point conversion failed and Navy trailed 49-30.

After Houston recovered the failed Navy onside kick, it looked like the Cougars would just run out the clock. However, for some reason, Houston was still throwing the ball and backup quarterback Bryson Smith got picked off with 1:57 remaining. It was a miracle. Navy bettors had hope.

At this point, Navy backers would take a push. Then it happened. A 50-yard pass got the Midshipmen down to the 15-yard-line. One play later Navy was back in the end zone to make it 49-36. Two touchdowns in the final 1:58!

Okay, Navy bettors had to settle for a push because of the ridiculous two-point conversion attempt but they’ll take it at this point. Just need the extra point. Wait, where’s the kicker? Oh no. Navy was going for two points again with just six seconds left in the game for reasons no one on earth can understand. It failed again, and Houston bettors hung on for the cover. Two-point conversion. With six seconds left down by 13. You can’t make it up.

Navy backers got a miracle in the final minutes that ended up not being a miracle because Niumatalolo opted to go for two. Twice. Brutal.

Kansas City Chiefs 45, Cincinnati Bengals 10

Total: 56.5

Taking OVER 56.5 in an NFL game is never a gimme. However, if you told bettors that one team would score 45 points, they would have to like their chances. Unless that team has Andy Dalton as its quarterback.

One of the concerns when betting a high OVER with the Bengals is that Dalton could put up one of his stinkers, especially in primetime where he’s struggled in his career. On Sunday night, Dalton put up a stinker, completing just 15 of 29 passes for 148 yards with one touchdown and an interception against the NFL’s last-ranked defense.

Luckily for OVER bettors, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense looked like they were going to do all the heavy lifting themselves. Kansas City scored early in the fourth quarter on a Mahomes pass to Tyreek Hill to take a commanding 45-10 lead. An OVER is always dicey in a blowout because the game flow changes. But with 12:50 remaining and just needing a field goal, things were looking good.

It started to become obvious though that the Chiefs would need to do all the scoring, as the Bengals’ offense went completely in the tank after halftime, managing just three points. Oh yeah, Marvin Lewis kicked a field goal down 38-7 to cut Kansas City’s lead to 28 midway through the third quarter. Really.

While Lewis was settling for field goals, Mahomes was still throwing the ball up 35 in the fourth quarter. It appeared the Chiefs were going to save OVER bettors when they went on a 12-play drive and faced 3rd-and-6 from the Bengals’ 7-yard line. Even if Kansas City doesn’t get into the end zone, a field goal puts the game OVER. Thanks for nothing Cincinnati.

The only problem with that theory is OVER bettors forgot Andy Reid is a nice guy. Instead of kicking an easy field goal on fourth down, Reid opted to run the ball. Spencer Ware was stopped two yards short of the first down and the Bengals took over. Reid didn’t want to “run up the score” by kicking a field goal in that situation, giving OVER bettors one of the worst beats of the NFL season. Where’s Bill Belichick when you need him?

Sportsbooks applauded Reid’s decision to pass up a field goal as around 75 percent of bets and money wagered were on the OVER. Meanwhile, OVER bettors were left wondering how they lost a bet where one team scored 45 points and piled up 551 yards of total offense.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: Falcons (-3) Barely Hold After 57-Yard FG Gamble

Thomas Casale October 15, 2018
Bad Beats Falcons

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.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 29

Line: Buccaneers +3

Sometimes gamblers can do everything right but circumstances and luck decide the outcome. That was the case when the Buccaneers played the Falcons on Sunday. In a matchup between the NFL’s two worst defenses, it was all offense as anticipated, although the spread would be decided by a kicker.

The Falcons closed as three-point favorites at most Las Vegas and New Jersey sportsbooks and early on it looked like it would be a laugher for Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 21-6 lead and led 24-13 at halftime.

However, with the Falcons’ defense, no lead is safe. The Buccaneers rallied in the second half, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 31-29 after a failed two-point conversion could have tied the game with 3:47 remaining.

The Falcons got the ball back and were content to just run out the clock. If successful, it would give Buccaneers backers a hard-fought cover. Atlanta faced a third-and-two with 1:53 remaining and Tampa Bay out of timeouts. A first down and the game is over. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman got stuffed for no gain on third down, setting up a dramatic win for some gamblers and a gut-wrenching loss for others.

Instead of punting, Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant emerged to give Falcons bettors a glimmer of hope and those on the Bucs +3 a panic attack. Bryant drilled a 57-yard field goal. He injured himself on the kick but Atlanta bettors were probably too busy celebrating to even notice. The kick gave the Falcons a 34-29 lead and likely cover.

Buccaneers bettors weren’t dead yet though. Jameis Winston drove the Bucs down the field and came within a couple of yards of scoring on a wild final play where Winston lateraled the ball to Adam Humphries, who lateraled to Mike Evans, who lateraled to DeSean Jackson inside the five. Tampa Bay came up just short though.

The final two minutes went from a bad beat for Falcons bettors to a bad beat for Bucs bettors thanks to a third down stop and 57-yard field goal.

Florida 37, Vanderbilt 27

Line: Vanderbilt +9.5

This was a sandwich game for Florida after upsetting LSU last week and facing rival Georgia on Oct. 27. Those who took Vanderbilt thinking the Gators might come into the game flat were looking good after the Commodores stormed out to a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.

Unfortunately for Vanderbilt backers, the Gators woke up. Florida scored 24 unanswered points to take a 27-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. After a Vanderbilt field goal, Florida’s Freddie Swain caught an 11-yard touchdown pass with 8:07 left in the game to give the Gators a 10-point lead. More importantly, Florida was covering the spread after falling behind by 18 points early.

The game would be a bad beat for Vandy bettors if it ended there but it was only just beginning. The last eight minutes is where the real gambling roller coaster started. Vanderbilt stalled on a 14-play drive, forcing the Commodores to settle for a 53-yard field goal attempt with 3:55 remaining.

Those three points were obviously huge because Vanderbilt went from outside the number to inside with a successful kick. The problem: Vanderbilt kicker Ryley Guay had already missed a 25-yard field goal earlier in the game and his long for the season was 42 yards. But Guay calmly stepped up and drilled the 53-yarder to give the Commodores a potential cover.

Florida just needed to run out the clock and go home. The Gators faced a third-and-one from the Vanderbilt 25-yard line with just over a minute on the clock. Vanderbilt bettors were one yard away from victory. One yard for the Gators and the clock runs out. But Lamical Perine took the handoff and got met by a wall of Vanderbilt defenders, losing two yards. Florida opted to kick and Evan McPherson connected on a 43-yard field goal to give the Gators a 37-27 win and half-point cover.

It’s bad enough to lose a game when you were up 21-3 and getting 10 points. It’s even worse when you’re one yard away from victory and don’t cash.

According to Sports Insights, William Hill took a beating with the Florida cover as 81 percent of bets and 76 percent of the money were on the Gators.

Michigan 38, Wisconsin 13

Total: 47.5

Wisconsin vs. Michigan. It just screams a low-scoring, defensive battle. That’s the way it was shaping up for much of the game to the delight of UNDER bettors. Right up until a wild fourth quarter where the two teams combined for 23 points.

Michigan led Wisconsin 13-7 at the half, so for those bettors expecting a low scoring game, everything was going to plan with two quarters to go. The Wolverines scored the only touchdown in the third and after a successful two-point conversion, Michigan took a 21-7 lead into the final quarter.

Here’s where the wheels came off for UNDER bettors. Michigan began to blow the game open after Lavert Hill returned an interception 21 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan a commanding 31-7 lead with 9:55 remaining. There was some good news for UNDER bettors though. They could still give up a touchdown and Michigan put its backups in the game on offense.

Now for the bad news. Backup quarterback Dylan McCaffrey ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run with 5:16 left in the game to make it 38-7 Wolverines.

With UNDER bettors still clinging to a win, Wisconsin put the nail in their coffin on the next possession.  After getting shut down all night long, the Badgers marched down the field to score a “meaningless” touchdown and put the game OVER.

UNDER bettors were left to swallow a loss where Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook completed just seven passes and neither quarterback threw for more than 125 yards.

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The Weekend In Bad Beats: “Impossible” Defensive TD Spurs Bengals Cover Vs. Dolphins

Thomas Casale October 8, 2018
Bengals Bad Beats

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.

Bengals 27, Dolphins 17

Line: Bengals -6

The NFL season is only five weeks old but we have a strong contender for Bad Beat of the Year. In a game that looked like an easy winner, the fourth quarter turned out to be a nightmare for Dolphins bettors.

Miami dominated the first half, leading the Bengals 14-0 at halftime. After the two teams exchanged field goals, Miami entered the fourth quarter up 17-3. With the Bengals’ offense struggling and a 14-point cushion, Miami backers had to feel good about the Dolphins +6 with only one quarter to go.

The feeling wouldn’t last long.

After a Joe Mixon touchdown cut the lead to 17-10, Cincinnati’s defense took over. Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson scored on a 22-yard interception return after the ball rebounded off another player’s back into Johnson’s waiting arms.

With the score now tied, the Miami meltdown was only beginning.

The Bengals were driving to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Luckily for Miami backers, the Dolphins held on third-and-goal, forcing the Bengals to settle for a field goal to make it 20-17.

Trailing by three and still covering, Dolphins bettors just needed to avoid disaster. Then the Bengals’ defense struck again. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill was stripped by defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Sam Hubbard scooped up the ball and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown with 2:37 on the clock. It was the first time all game the Bengals were covering the spread.

Miami’s chance for a backdoor cover ended with another Tannehill interception, securing the ATS win for Cincinnati.

According to numberFire (see right), the Dolphins were nearly 80% to win the game before Johnson’s pick-six. But the Bengals put up 24 fourth quarter points, including two defensive scores, to cover the six-point spread and send Miami bettors home with one of the worst beats of the season so far.

Texas A&M 20, Kentucky 14

Line: Texas A&M -5.5

Arguably the worst defeat a gambler has to swallow is when they take an underdog and lose the cover in overtime. It’s even worse when the team has the ball first OT and doinks a field goal.

This was an ugly offensive game. After scoring to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Kentucky offense disappeared. Texas A&M wasn’t much better on offense but a touchdown with 10:13 left in the game gave the Aggies a 14-7 lead. With the way Kentucky was moving the ball, that looked like it might be enough to cover.

Then Kentucky backers caught a break. The offense couldn’t get out of its own way, so the Wildcats’ defense took matters into their own hands. Darius West returned a fumble 40 yards for the tying touchdown with just 4:17 left in the game.

The game went into overtime and Kentucky got the ball first. The ideal situation for Wildcats bettors would be a field goal followed by a stop or Texas A&M touchdown to lose by three.

Things were going according to plan when Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson was sacked on third down to set up a 31-yard field goal. The plan blew up though when kicker Miles Butler hit the crossbar on a 43-yard field goal attempt.

All wasn’t lost for Kentucky backers yet. An A&M field goal and everyone goes home happy. The only problem is Aggies running back Trayveon Williams had a different plan. Williams busted through the Kentucky defense for a game-winning touchdown.

The line closed at 5.5 at most Las Vegas and New Jersey books, giving those who took the underdog a tough half point loss. Although, bettors at the Wynn went home happy, as Kentucky closed at +6.5 there.

North Carolina State 28, Boston College 23

Line: NC State -6.5

Every week it feels like spread and totals are being decided by blocked punts. On Saturday, a blocked punt struck again much to the dismay of NC State bettors.

The Wolfpack held a commanding 28-3 lead with 2:57 left in the third quarter. NC State was cruising and looked on its way to an easy cover.

Then a minute and a half later the BC comeback began with a Ben Glines 21-yard touchdown run. Glines followed that up with a touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter. Now things were getting tight for NC State backers with the Wolfpack’s lead cut to 28-17.

It looked like NC State would need to make one final defensive stop when they lined up to punt with 3:33 remaining in the game. Just get the kickoff and it was on NC State’s defense to seal the deal.

The Wolfpack defense never got an opportunity to close the game out and cash for NC State backers. Instead, Travis Levy blocked the NC State punt and returned it for the Eagles’ third straight unanswered touchdown.

Boston College missed the two-point conversion but the damage had been done. NC State ran out the clock to win 28-23, giving Boston College the late cover.

The Eagles closed the game on a 20-0 run capped off by the blocked punt for a touchdown to break the hearts of NC State -6.5 bettors.

The Weekend In Bad Beats: A Third-String QB Saves OVER Bettors In Texas

Thomas Casale October 1, 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.

West Virginia 42, Texas Tech 34

Total: 75.5

An UNDER in a Big 12 game is never safe but bettors had to feel pretty good when West Virginia led Texas Tech 35-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

UNDER bettors could still allow three touchdowns and Texas Tech was down to their third-string quarterback, Jett Duffey. Duffey wasn’t expected to make a big impact in this game but he ended up being an OVER bettor’s best friend by the end of it.

That ridiculous run, straight out of a video game, set up a field goal to make it 35-20 West Virginia. Duffey then scored on a 3-yard run with 7:50 remaining to make the score 35-27 — still 13.5 points short of the total. The Red Raiders got the ball back for one final drive late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie. As long as the game didn’t go into overtime, UNDER bettors were safe — or so it appeared.

Then Duffey did the one thing UNDER backers couldn’t have happen. He threw a pick-six with 2:58 left in the game. Not only did that give West Virginia a commanding 42-27 lead, it set up for a backdoor cover for OVER bettors.

With West Virginia playing soft on defense, Duffey led Texas Tech down the field on a nine-play drive that was capped off by a Ta’Zhawn Henry 1-yard run with 38 seconds left to put the nail in the coffin for UNDER bettors.

It took 24 fourth quarter points and two touchdowns in the final three minutes for the game to go OVER. To make matters worse, the total opened at 77 at most books and dropped to 75.5, meaning gamblers who hit the OVER early lost as well. The sports books also took a hit on the late score with 72 percent of the bets and 75 percent of money wagered coming in on the OVER.

Texas 19, Kansas State 0 (First Half)

Total: 24

Bettors who had the OVER 24 in the first half of the Texas/Kansas State suffered a bad beat that has to be seen to be believed.

Texas dominated the first half even though either team produced much on offense. The Longhorns scored on a 90-yard punt return and added a safety for nine of their 19 points. Kansas State was completely shut down by Texas’ defense until the Wildcats finally came alive on their last drive of the half.

Kansas State faced a fourth-and-goal with just two seconds remaining in the half. OVER bettors could care less about a field goal and luckily, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder agreed. He decided to go for the touchdown, to the delight of everyone who bet OVER 24 points.

Kansas State fullback Adam Harter was wide open in the end zone for an easy touchdown. Quarterback Alex Delton sailed the ball high and Harter couldn’t bring it in. The game stayed UNDER 24 points and as you can see from the video below, OVER bettors must still be sick to their stomachs.

Texans 37, Colts 34

Line: Texans -1

Where do we begin with one? In a game that was a roller coaster of emotions for bettors, it will forever be remembered for a coach’s decision not to punt.

The Indianapolis Colts opened as a one-point favorite but the game closed Houston -1. The Texans took an eight-point lead after a Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal put them up 31-23 with just 2:58 remaining in the game. Texans backers needed just one stop or an unsuccessful two-point conversion if the Colts scored. They got neither.

Andrew Luck hit running back Nyheim Hines for a nine-yard touchdown with only 45 seconds left and converted the two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. After a Colts field goal, the Texans tied the game with 1:50 remaining in the extra stanza.

Were we headed for another tie? Not if Colts head coach Frank Reich could help it. Indianapolis faced a fourth-and-four from its own 43-yard line with just 24 seconds remaining. Colts bettors just needed a punt and the game would end in a tie. Indy +1 cashes. Just the punt the football.

Reich had other ideas.

The Colts lined up to go for it, obviously just trying to draw the Texans offsides. No one is crazy enough to go for it in this situation, right? Then, to the surprise of almost everyone, Luck snapped the ball. His pass to Chester Rogers fell incomplete. Colts bettors were left stunned.

Houston needed just one play to get into field goal range. Fairbairn connected from 37 yards out to give the Texans a 37-34 win.

There were a lot of tough beats on Sunday. The Browns losing in overtime by three as a 2.5-point dog stung, but none were worse than the Colts failing to cover. One punt away from victory, Indy bettors will be re-telling the story about the time Reich went for it from his own 43-yard line in overtime for years.

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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