Welcome back to the NFL season, where week 5 gave fans plenty of teams who let their games and/or seasons come off the rails.
And for many bettors, they probably felt the same way about the day they had.
That’s because there was a bevy of bad beats on Sunday, some of them coming in the same game. Over/Unders were the main attraction. Some games ended in ways where you expected Ashton Kutcher to come laughing out of the bushes.
And speaking of overrated jokes, Jon Gruden looks about ready to return to Hooters commercials after his Raiders went 1-4 on Sunday.
The same happened to the Falcons against the Steelers, who are finally looking less like their own reality TV show and more like a football team. And boy, were there ever some bad beats in that game.
The Bad Beats
Atlanta vs Pittsburgh: Under 57 Total Points
The Falcons and Steelers had already handed out plenty of misery to their fanbases this year. They decided to extend that to bettors.
First, they killed the hopes of first-half “over” bettors, thanks to Ben Roethlisberger’s outrageous jump-ball he threw with less than a half-minute to go.
Unfortunately for him, Antonio Brown was covered more than Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow”. And what was at the end of Roethlisberger’s rainbow of a throw was an interception by Atlanta.
Then the second half came, and it was the “under” bettors’ turn to get hoodwinked. The total was 57 points, and there were only 23 points on the board with under four minutes to play in the third quarter.
Atlanta had just missed the opportunity to pick up a James Connor fumble deep in their own territory. Then Roethlisberger threw a touchdown to Antonio Brown.
After flailing around for a few seconds, the Steelers tackled him and were set up generously. They’d score before the quarter ended. Atlanta would counter-punch the next drive with a touchdown of their own. All of a sudden, the total was skyrocketing.
Brown caught another TD from Big Ben soon after and what had seemed like a cakewalk had turned to egg on the face of under bettors.
The teams waited awhile to put the nail in the coffin. But Ryan eventually fumbled into his own end zone, ending any final hope for the total staying under 57.
Green Bay vs Detroit: Over 24.5 1st Half Points and Packers Straight Up
Honestly, I should just retitle this, “Anyone who bet on Mason Crosby.”
But before I go picking on another kicker, it should be noted that Crosby came into the game having hit 10 of 11 field goal tries this season. He’s been the Green Bay Packers’ kicker for over a decade and is on his way to finishing this year in the top-30 all-time in field goals made.
He’s not automatic in the way Adam Vinatieri has been his whole career. But he’s also not the type to have an absolute meltdown on some random Sunday in Detroit.
So, let’s start off with his first field goal attempt of the day, with the Lions up on Green Bay 7-0. It was a 41-yarder on the left hash. He skimmed the pigskin just to the left of the goalpost and the Pack got nothing off a drive that involved Aaron Rodgers risking life and limb just to pick up a first down.
The Lions had Uncle Mo on their side following the miss, eventually going up 17-0. Then Crosby had another attempt, this one from 42 yards in the second quarter. And adding to his daily collection of failure, he missed right off the goalpost this time.
The first-half over bettors and Packer fans groaned. But this was a kicker who rarely missed from these distances. He’d eventually turn it around.
Except, he didn’t.
A couple drives later, Packers TE Jimmy Graham seemingly climbed a staircase to catch one long pass and Davante Adams performed a juggling act to grab another. But once again, the field goal unit had to come out.
Crosby had last missed twice field goals versus Philadelphia five years ago. There was no way he’d miss another.
He missed it. The kick sliced so quickly to the right, there seemed to be magnetism between the ball and the area above the crossbar. After kicking through all the tough conditions at Lambeau, Crosby was crumbling like a pastry inside a windless dome.
The Lions would score on their next drive. But Matthew Stafford’s touchdown pass to Marvin Jones might as well have been a pound of salt on the over bettors’ wounds. It was halftime and they’d come up one-point shy of a payday.
Sadly, Crosby wasn’t done, first missing an extra point that looked like a lame duck. But that would be disrespectful to lame ducks. Then he shanked a 56-yarder late in the game that could’ve made it a one-score contest.
By the end of the day, he’d cost the Packers 10 easy (for a kicker with his reputation) points and three other potential points. The Packers lost by eight.
All in all, Crosby missed five kicks Sunday, four of them field goals. How weird is it for him to miss that many? Well, in five different seasons Crosby has finished with four total misses. That’s in 16 games, not one.
New York J vs Denver: Over 21 2nd-Half Points
There are those days when you feel so lucky, you get the urge to buy a lottery ticket.
But if you were as unlucky as the “over” bettors here, you’d feel inclined to drive 90 miles-an-hour to your nearest 7Eleven to demand a refund on any ticket you may have purchased.
The Jets were surprisingly dispatching the Broncos 34-16 Sunday when Denver drove down inside New York’s five-yard-line.
It was only second-down and there were 12 seconds to play. Score a touchdown and the score would go over.
Plenty of time was left for three passes into the end zone. QB Case Keenum had suddenly come alive. This seemed like one of those garbage-time scores that always happens at the end of lopsided games.
Then Keenum’s next pass went off WR Courtland Sutton’s hands and into the waiting arms of Jets’ safety Marcus Maye.
He could’ve fallen right there for a touchback and called it a day, breaking the hearts of over bettors. But instead, he ended up twisting the knife a little deeper.
Maye broke out of the end zone and juked past Keenum, who looked to have been tranquilized on his diving attempt. Then RB Devontae Booker would make an excellent tackle, but on his own lineman, Elijah Wilkinson.
Next thing you knew, Maye was off to the races. There only seemed to be offensive linemen to beat. Then he began to slow down. A lot.
Sure, playing a contact sport for three-and-half hours and then trying to run 105 yards is probably taxing. But it was almost like Maye didn’t realize what the second-half over/under was or something.
And once he tackled Maye, at the one-yard-line, the over bettors suddenly were stripped of their own cabbage. And in slow-motion nonetheless.
Cardinals vs 49ers: Under 40.5 Total
For over three-and-a-half quarters Sunday, the 49ers and Cardinals’ offenses looked like the lines at the local DMV.
But for as lethargic as those queues are, they eventually move. And in this case, a little too much for “under” wagers.
It was 14-6 Arizona with just over seven minutes to play. The season premiere of Doctor Who began looking like a much better alternative in these markets. But 49ers QB C.J. Beathard finished off a crisp passing drive with a one-yard TD strike on fourth down to give the game a sign of life.
Still, after a failed two-point attempt, it was only 14-12 Arizona.
But Beathard soon coughed the ball up and it popped right into the hands of linebacker Josh Bynes, who returned it for a touchdown. 21-12.
That was only one of the five turnovers the 49ers committed. That was half the number of completions Arizona QB Josh Rosen had on the day, and San Francisco still lost.
But before it went final, there were four minutes left and still eight points to get for the over to win. And then Beathard threw an interception on a desperate 4th-and-19. And even when the Cardinals scored another touchdown, it seemed the 49ers were too terrible to even get across midfield.
Of course, Arizona went into prevent defense, Beathard looked like Joe Montana, and he drove the Niners all the way down for the score and the “over”.
Even if putting Rosen in Arizona’s lineup seemed akin to buying a brand-new Mac and running dial-up off it. Even if the running backs appeared to have cinderblocks on their feet for the better part of the game.
Bad beats will occasionally find you no matter what.
The Worst Line
Cleveland vs Baltimore Over/Under 46
Vegas didn’t exactly have American Sniper aim this Sunday. But they weren’t that far off-target with most of the spreads either.
The greatest—or in this case sloppiest—game of note was the Ravens and Browns renewing the “Art Modell Rivalry”. And this game took longer to finalize than the Browns’ move to Baltimore in 1995.
Field goals and extra points were missed. Drops became a trend. Joe Flacco gifted the viewing audience with 27 incompletions. He threw 56 total passes without a touchdown to show for it. If you’re into pitching duels, this was the game for you.
But for the rest of the fans watching, they got to see the Browns miss a field goal that would’ve ended the game in regulation. So in a game in which both offenses and special teams deserved to lose, there’d be a chance for the next “best” thing: a tie.
Sure enough, the offenses took turns spinning their wheels in the mud until Baker Mayfield decided to flash some of his magic.
So in the end, the Browns and Ravens played five full quarters and ended up short of the over/under by 25 points.