Skip to main content

Gambling 101: What is a Backdoor Cover?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at the betting term “backdoor cover”. What constitutes a backdoor cover and how do they happen in sports wagering?

Welcomed by the winning side, and dreaded by the losing side, sports betting tickets sometimes end with a backdoor cover. This phenomenon often occurs when a team scores points, usually late in a game, that causes one side to cover the point spread. Backdoor covers can occur with favorites or underdogs and bettors on the losing side often refer to them as a bad beat. Points scored late, that don’t affect the outright winner, can create a backdoor cover.

Backdoor Covers are Common in Football

While they can affect all sorts of wagers, in virtually any sport, backdoors covers are common in NFL and US college football. Week 2 of the 2019 NCAA football season gave us a solid example as defending National Champion Clemson was a 16.5 point favorite over Texas A&M. The Tigers were up 24-3 but tossed an interception and a 91-yard drive by the Aggies resulted in a touchdown with six seconds left on the clock. Texas A&M tickets cashed as a backdoor cover.

A crazy turn of events can cause a backdoor cover and that was the case in the Washington vs. Kansas City in Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season. The Chiefs were -6.5 point favorites and kicked a field goal to go up 23-20 with four seconds left on the clock. The Redskins final play was a comedy of errors that resulted in a fumble and a Kansas City touchdown. That produced a backdoor cover by the Chiefs and the 29-20 final score was one point over the 48-point game total.

Kansas City and OVER bettors cashed backdoor covers after this:

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Empty Net Goals Create Backdoor Covers in Hockey

Although a regular occurrence, empty net goals are a thrilling backdoor cover for bettors who lay -1.5 puck lines in hockey. As long as their side is up by one goal, players backing the puck line favorite have a chance to cover right down to the last seconds of a game. The opportunity arises when a team pulls their goaltender trying to tie a game. When Edmonton (-1.5) defeated Montreal, 4-2 with an empty net goal, Oilers bettors earned a backdoor cover.