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.
Northern Illinois 30, Buffalo 29
Line: Buffalo -3
It didn’t take long for gamblers to experience a bad beat during championship week. The MAC Championship Game kicked things off Friday night and a fourth-quarter comeback by Northern Illinois got the weekend off to a rough start for bettors on Buffalo -3
This one looked like an easy win. Full disclosure: I had Buffalo -3 and was getting bored watching the game. The Bulls were completely dominating after taking a commanding 29-10 lead early in the second half.
The momentum began to shift though when Northern Illinois quarterback Marcus Childers hit D.J. Brown for a 28-yard touchdown to cut Buffalo’s lead to 29-17 with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Not the end of the world. Northern Illinois can’t stop Buffalo. It’s not like the Bulls will suddenly stop scoring, right?
The fourth quarter was all Huskies. Childers found Spencer Tears from 32-yards out to get Northern Illinois within five points. Now it was time for Buffalo bettors to get nervous for the first time all game. The Huskies were one score away from covering.
The Huskies completed the comeback in dramatic fashion when Childers hit Brown again with just 1:09 left on the clock to give Northern Illinois its first lead of the game.
— Sports Daily (@SportsDGI) December 1, 2018
Buffalo had one last drive but it wasn’t meant to be for the Bulls backers. Buffalo’s drive stalled at the Northern Illinois’ 41-yard line and the Huskies held on to win the MAC Championship in a thrilling comeback…for some.
Buffalo bettors watched the Bulls jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, hold a 29-10 edge in the third quarter, only to have Northern Illinois score 20 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes to win and cover.
Oklahoma 39, Texas 27
Line: Texas +9
Oklahoma and Texas played a wild shootout earlier this season with the Longhorns winning 48-45. History repeated itself on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship game, only this time it was Oklahoma winning 39-27, and sticking it to Texas +9 bettors in the process.
The last few minutes of this game was really a roller coaster of emotions for gamblers on both sides. Texas had been covering the spread most of the game and entered the fourth quarter tied at 27. Oklahoma took a 30-27 lead and then tacked on a safety with 8:27 remaining to go up 32-27.
Following the safety, Oklahoma went on an 11-play drive that took 6:27 off the clock and sucked the life out of Texas backers. The Sooners converted three third downs on the drive to bleed the clock but if the Longhorns held on a critical 3rd-and-10 from the 18-yard line, Oklahoma would have to settle for a field goal. Texas just couldn’t get a stop though. Kyler Murray threw a pinpoint pass to Grant Calcaterra, who made a beautiful one-handed catch for the touchdown.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) December 1, 2018
Now trailing by 12, Texas bettors needed a touchdown to cover. Then it happened. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey returned the ensuing kickoff for a score. Amazing. However, the touchdown got called back because of a holding penalty. There were some questionable calls in this game but this wasn’t one of them. It was clearly holding on the return.
Texas bettors weren’t dead yet. There was always the backdoor cover. Sam Ehlinger drove the Longhorns down to the Oklahoma 18-yard line, giving Texas one final shot at a touchdown. On the next play, Oklahoma’s much-maligned defense shut the back door on Longhorn bettors when Tre Norwood picked off Ehlinger to secure the 39-27 and College Football Playoff berth for the Sooners.
A one-handed catch on third down, a kickoff return for a touchdown that got called back and a late interception in the red zone doomed Texas bettors in the final minutes.
Los Angeles Rams 30, Detroit Lions 16
Line: Lions +10
Remember back in Week 8 when Todd Gurley broke the Internet by taking a knee against the Packers in the final seconds instead of scoring to give the Rams a cover? Well, it almost happened again on Sunday. Luckily for Rams bettors, Gurley mismanaged the clock.
The Rams were 10-point favorites over the Lions, but Los Angeles wasn’t sharp coming off its bye. Detroit was covering most of the day until a Gurley touchdown with 6:53 remaining gave the Rams a 23-13 lead. The Lions kicked a field goal with 2:57 left to make it a one-possession game at 23-16.
Los Angeles was content to run out the clock, but Rams bettors got a break when Gurley busted free for an easy touchdown.
Todd Gurley with the Madden move 🎮
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 2, 2018
No way. Not again. Gurley stopped at the one-yard line instead of scoring for the second time this season. Amazingly, both times it impacted the spread. There was one significant difference though. This time he did it before the two-minute warning and the Lions had timeouts. Unlike the first time when Gurley made the correct decision by falling down, he should have scored to give the Rams a two-touchdown lead.
Everything worked out for Rams bettors. Gurley realized his error on and on the next play, he plunged into the end zone from one-yard out to give Los Angeles a 30-16 lead.
Rams backers weren’t out of the woods yet. Matthew Stafford drove the Lions down to the Rams’ 14-yard line for a potential backdoor touchdown. However, Stafford was picked off in the end zone with 17 seconds left on the clock, securing the win for the Rams.
Just make a mental note for the future: If you need Todd Gurley to bust a big run to cover a spread, there better be like five minutes left in the game. Anything less and Gurley is stopping short.
— Sports Daily (@SportsDGI) December 1, 2018