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
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
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.