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 online sportsbooks, 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.