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.
Vanderbilt 36, Mississippi 29
Line: Ole Miss +3
Vanderbilt and Ole Miss may be at the bottom of the SEC standings but they played a wild game on Saturday that ended in controversy when a potential game-tying touchdown in overtime was ruled incomplete.
This game was tight the entire way. Vanderbilt took a 26-23 lead with 5:20 left in the fourth quarter. At that point, the game was pushing the 3-point spread but Ole Miss and OVER backers got new life when the Rebels tied it on a Luke Logan 32-yard field goal with just 40 seconds on the clock. Interesting note: the field goal came on 4th-and-1. Ole Miss coach Matt Luke opted to tie the game and go into overtime instead of going for the win in regulation, despite the Rebels being 5-5 at the time.
With the game headed to overtime, the OVER was in play and Ole Miss bettors could end up with a win instead of a push. Vanderbilt got the ball first in overtime and scored to take a 36-29 lead. If Ole Miss answers and kicks the extra point, OVER bettors would cash.
Ole Miss answered. At least it appeared they did. A.J. Brown hauled in a third-down pass from Jordan Ta’amu, then was brought down by Vanderbilt cornerback Randall Haynie in the end zone for a touchdown. However, the touchdown was reviewed and overturned when it was determined that after initially making the catch in the end zone and maintaining control as he fell, the ball was jostled out of Brown’s hand when he hit the ground.
Vanderbilt ended up stopping Ole Miss on fourth down and winning the game 36-29, making it a tough beat for those on either the Rebels or the OVER.
While the ending was tough to take for Ole Miss bettors, it doesn’t even tell the entire story. The Rebels had three potential touchdowns called back or overturned in the game, including the one in overtime. The Rebels were inside the red zone six times and came away with just one touchdown. Those missed opportunities, a questionable decision to kick a field goal late, and a missed touchdown by inches in overtime all added up to give Ole Miss bettors one of the toughest beats of the weekend.
Wyoming 35, Air Force 27
Line: Air Force +3
Our condolences go out to anyone who had Air Force +3 on Saturday. It’s hard to say any one loss is the worst beat of the year but this game is certainly in the running.
The Falcons took a 27-14 lead with 8:44 left in the game. Air Force had to settle for a 21-yard field goal after failing to score a touchdown in the red zone. Still, Air Force bettors were in good shape up 13 points. Or so they thought.
A Wyoming touchdown with 4:32 left cut Air Force’s lead to 27-21. No problem. Air Force backers could still give up another touchdown and cover. After the Falcons went three and out, Wyoming got the ball back and took the lead with 1:09 on the clock when Tyler Vander Waal hit Austin Conway for a 22-yard touchdown.
Air Force bettors just needed nothing crazy to happen and they get out of here with a win. Then something crazy happened. Logan Wilson picked off Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III with just over a minute left in the game. On third down, just trying to run out the clock, Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay broke loose for a 27-yard touchdown run.
Wait, there’s a flag down. Holding on Wyoming. Bring it back. Whew, that was a close call for Air Force bettors. The only problem is Air Force declined the penalty so they could get the ball back down 35-27.
It was the right decision because that’s the only chance the Falcons had to tie the game and send it into overtime. For Air Force bettors, it was a crushing defeat. How many times in your lives have you lost a bet on a touchdown that’s going to get called back but the team declines the penalty?
Wyoming scored 21 points in the final 4:32 to erase a 13-point deficit and cover the three-point spread. That’s a tough loss to swallow if you had Air Force plus the points.
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Line: Jaguars +4
The wildest finish of the day Sunday came in the Steelers/Jaguars game. Pittsburgh was laying up to 5.5 points earlier in the week but closed -4 at most sportsbooks.
Jacksonville was absolutely dominating this game, leading 16-0 late in the fourth quarter. Gamblers have to feel good when they bet an underdog up 16 late in the third quarter. They feel even better when the other team has yet to score a point.
The Steelers finally got on the board with 1:31 left in the third quarter but failed on the two-point conversion. However, the Jaguars still led 16-6 with under five minutes remaining in the game.
That’s when Ben Roethlisberger went to work, leading Pittsburgh on an 80-yard drive that was capped off with a touchdown to tight end Vance McDonald. The Steelers trailed by just three with 2:28 on the clock.
Steelers backers needed a stop and a touchdown to get out with a PUSH. Unfortunately for Jacksonville backers, the Jaguars ran only 46 seconds off the clock before punting the ball back to Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Big Ben led Pittsburgh down the field again but it appeared the comeback would fall short when D.J. Hayden intercepted Roethlisberger in the end zone. Hayden was called for a facemask penalty though, so the Steelers got another life. Following another Hayden penalty on the next play, Roethlisberger took matters into in his own hands, diving into the end zone from one-yard out for the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining. The extra point made the game a PUSH.
For Steelers bettors, it was a PUSH that felt like a win. For Jaguars bettors, it was a PUSH that felt like a devastating loss. The late touchdown also saved many teasers and moneyline parlays that included the Steelers.