Welcome back to NFL Bad Beats.
This is a weekly support group for those still salty about their weekend betting losses. It’s also where I throw around wild similes like they’re Jameis Winston interceptions.
Last Sunday brought several interesting matchups. It also gave us Cardinals vs 49ers and Colts vs Raiders, so it could’ve been better.
Also included was the “Underachievers Championship” between the Eagles and Jaguars in London. The Jags proved themselves the true underachievers by giving up three touchdown passes to Carson Wentz and four members of their secondary to the local police.
And wasn’t that the team that was supposed to possibly move across the pond? Yikes.
Back in the States, things were a little more typical. The Patriots pulled away from another AFC East opponent. The Chiefs and Rams were tested but stayed rolling. And Oakland has still yet to find a team they can look presentable against. I don’t think Vegas even wants them anymore.
Even with some predictability, several beats were worth ripping off couch arms over.
The Rams’ Todd Gurley was whether your best friend (he was indeed mine) or someone who’s yard you wanted to fork. He also may be the first person to ever decide an over/under and spread by giving up an easy score.
Then there was what the Vikings did before halftime with the Saints. It was one of those moments where a car crash seems to be happening in slow motion, but there’s still nothing you can do about it.
But first, let me begin with Cleveland. Because nothing spells misery better than the Browns.
The Bad Beats
Pittsburgh vs Cleveland: Under 49
This one looked like money for most of the day.
The line fluctuated between 47.5 and 50 during the week. But it seemed everyone who picked under was in good shape early on.
It was 14-6 at halftime and things only seemed to get better for “under” bettors in the 3rd quarter. That is until the Steelers forced a safety on a penalty in the end zone. Then the free-sailing under bettors realized they had a monsoon sneaking up behind them.
Pittsburgh literally forgot how to play football on the free kick, which the Browns recovered. Just like every other kickoff, the kicking team can recover it and get possession.
The Steelers whether had no clue or every player just assumed someone else would get it. And someone else did. They were just on the other team.
The Browns were set up inside the 30 from there and scored soon after. James Conner punched right back with a couple long runs, one of them a touchdown for Pittsburgh.
But even after a field goal that made it 26-12 going into the 4th, it seemed like things might slow down. And it did until almost the two-minute warning. Then, without warning, the pace of points took off like an F-22 Raptor, breaking sound barriers and opposing defenses.
Connor once again made Cleveland crumble like feta, dashing for a 22-yard touchdown run.
After that, the inevitable dink-and-dunk down the field ensued in garbage time. It seems like any time a team is up by two scores with under two minutes and a spread or over/under is on the line, the win is in the bag for whoever bet the over or the losing team to cover.
That’s because these prevent defenses have all the fierceness of a floating manatee.
So Baker Mayfield made his stat-line look way better and drove Cleveland all the way down the field. And on 4th-and-6, from 24 yards away, in the middle of five lackadaisical defenders, he hit Seth DeValve for a touchdown. It was his third catch all season. There were only six seconds left.
So for anyone who bet the under here, you have my sincerest condolences.
Green Bay vs Los Angeles Rams: Over 57 and -7.5
“Some people” grabbed this line early at +9.5 for the Packers. Because how in the world are you making Aaron Rodgers a 9.5-point underdog ever?
Maybe if the ’86 Bears played him at Soldier Field and he had Mike Singletary running after him and his bum leg. But not in today’s NFL.
Anyway, while giving 7.5 points to the Pack still seemed too high, the Rams nearly made a nine-point win a reality. In a way, this should’ve been an easy spread win for Green Bay, as they were up 27-26 until just before the two-minute warning when the Rams kicked a field goal.
So the fact Rams’ bettors were in this at the end was pretty incredible. And it was a product of Packers’ Ty Montgomery letting out a little brain gas at exactly the wrong time.
He caught the subsequent kickoff in the end zone. If he had kneeled, there would’ve been over two minutes left in the game. Rodgers would’ve had it at the 25 with the two-minute warning and a timeout in his back pocket.
Oh, and he’s also one of the best quarterbacks of his generation and holds more value than the rest of the team put together. But Montgomery decided to take a chance and not just hand it over to a Hall-of-Famer.
Instead, he handed it to the Rams. Coughing up the ball, LA pounced on it and put itself in prime scoring position. All of a sudden, things that seemed so bleak for these bettors suddenly seemed delivered to their doorstep.
And sure enough, Todd Gurley was fed the rock at the 21 yard-line, found a seam for a first down, and had no one left in front of him. The overs and the Rams bettors would rejoice and thank their lucky stars for the late wager win.
Then Gurley did the smart thing and the last thing any of these people wanted him to do. He slowed down and let the Packers tackle him before he got to the end zone. Him sacrificing a TD to secure a victory was a selfless thing to do. Not giving Rodgers the ball back was an intelligent decision.
But of course, for those who were betting and drinking their third or fourth beer on Sunday, he was the masterminding villain rubbing his Nike gloves together.
The only payback salty bettors can get now after losing this bet is if running into the end zone costs Gurley the single-season touchdown record (non-passing) held by LaDainian Tomlinson.
But who stays butt-hurt for that long? Oh yeah, 90% of passionate football fans.
Kansas City vs Denver 1st half: Under 26.5
Under bettors—for the most part—stayed away from the wrath of Patrick Mahomes in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Broncos. And somehow, the “over” still prevailed.
And with only one minute before halftime, the score was only 10-7. Even if the Chiefs were on the doorstep at this time, the Broncos has done next-to-nothing after their long opening drive.
For a moment, it probably felt like strutting up to a bank to make a deposit with a briefcase of dollars. But pretty soon, it was akin to having the bills blow off into the wind and get run over by cars that then backed over them for good measure.
That’s because Mahomes threw yet another touchdown, this time to Sammy Watkins. And even when a missed KC extra point meant Denver had to drive for a touchdown and not a field goal, the Broncos pulled off a death for bettors that not even Final Destination could’ve topped.
From their own 34-yard-line with only 45 seconds left, Case Keenum chucked a long pass that Courtland Sutton brought down.
I ran that replay back a few times trying to figure out where the ladder was that he climbed. But I decided it was Halloween weekend and a mixture of freakish talent and voodoo magic had allowed for the catch.
The Chiefs decided to keep “under” bettors waiting for the death blow by getting the Broncos to 3rd down on their 24. But when they needed just one more stop to force a field goal and reward the under bettors, it was all for naught.
Keenum found Tim Patrick for the receiver’s first career score, putting the 1st half total over. And I’m left wondering how that entire secondary wasn’t listed as “questionable” with unfilled contact subscriptions. How you let a 6’5” human being get that open baffles me.
Minnesota +0.5 1st Half
In the first half, this was the back-and-forth contest I and many others wanted to see.
It was a true playoff preview and the Saints ended up getting a little revenge in the end for that haunting play that ended their 2017 season. But for those betting on the Vikings in the first half, things looked particularly cozy with a little over a minute to play.
The Norsemen were in the red zone and already up by three points. They could’ve run in circles, sat on the ball like an egg, or dispersed passes into the friendly Minnesota crowd.
Sure, they were in scoring position. But the only thing that they had to do to win this half spread literally made sure the guys in gold helmets didn’t get the ball.
So you know where I’m going with this.
Adam Thielen, after not fumbling all season, decided this would be the time to pretend his arms were Teflon. He not only let the ball slip, but CB Marshon Lattimore returned it for the Saints back into field goal range.
This was one of those bad beats that stand above the rest. One that makes you think some Vegas overlord is pushing buttons and making these things happen a la The Truman Show just to get your blood boiling.
And of course, the Saints scored a touchdown, burning a hole in the pockets of Viking bettors.
You had one job, Minnesota.