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
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.