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Gambling 101: What is a Bad Beat?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at some examples of bad beats in sports betting. What constitutes a bad beat on point spread, moneyline and game total wagering options?

While commonly associated with losing a poker hand on the river card, bad beats can occur regularly when betting on sports. From a buzzer beating three-point shot in basketball, an empty net goal in hockey, a last inning rally in baseball, or even a meaningless late score in football, bad beats can and will occur!

Since they usually occur late in a match, there isn’t much bettors can do to avoid a bad beat. Let’s look at a few of the worst bad beats from the big three betting options.

Washington vs. Philadelphia NFL Point Spread Bad Beat

Football bettors know bad beats are bound to happen when wagering on NFL and NCAAF college games. Philadelphia vs. Washington, during Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season is a classic example.

The Redskins were +6.5 point underdogs and were leading 27-24 with less than one minute to play. The Eagles scored a touchdown to take a 31-27 lead with 26 seconds left on the clock, but Washington bettors were still ahead with the spread. Then this happened:

On the final play of the game, Dwayne Haskins fumbled a lateral attempt and Nigel Bradham scored a 48- yard fumble return touchdown. With the Eagles winning by a 37-27 final score, Washington backers suffered a point spread bad beat while Philadelphia bettors celebrated a backdoor cover. Since the final two scores were posted with so little time left on the clock, there wasn’t anything Washington bettors could do to protect against this point spread bad beat.

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Toronto vs. Tampa Bay MLB Moneyline Bad Beat

Baseball bettors suffered a colossal bad beat in a match featuring Toronto and Tampa Bay during the 2018 MLB season. Despite being on the road, the Rays were a (-167) moneyline favorite against the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay was up 8-2 and looked like a lock to win heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Toronto stormed back though as the Blue Jays scored six runs. Capping the comeback, Justin Smoak hit a game winning walk-off home run and the Jays posted a 9-8 victory.

Atlanta vs San Francisco NFL Game Total Bad Beat

Arguably one of the worst bad beats in game total betting history occurred during the Atlanta vs. San Francisco NFL 2019 Week 15 contest. Bettors with UNDER tickets, on the 50-point game total, felt confident when the score was 22-17 with less than two minutes to play.

They were still comfortable when a Falcons TD made the score 23-22 with two seconds left in the game. However, the 49ers began chucking the ball around on the ensuing kickoff. Atlanta scored a fumble recovery TD and the 29-22 final score pushed the total OVER by one point.

Live Betting Can Help Reduce Bad Beat Losses

There isn’t much bettors can do to avoid a late game bad beat. It is however wise to track games as losses can be reduced with LIVE betting. That was the case when New England stormed back during Super Bowl 51 against Atlanta. Bettors who watched point spread tickets take a hit, when the Falcons blew a 25-point lead, would have been wise to hedge their bets prior to the game heading into overtime. LIVE hedge betting can help soften the blow of a bad beat.