• A missed extra point, a penalty that stopped the clock and college football overtime were responsible for brutal betting losses in this week's SI Backdoor Cover Jinx.
By Max Meyer
October 01, 2018

The SI Backdoor Cover Jinx was due for a letdown after last week featured a couple all-time bad beats. But unlike Stanford completely falling apart to Notre Dame after its improbable win over Oregon (last mention of this, I promise), we keep marching on with the five most excruciating betting finishes from the past week of football.

First, as always, some music to complement this somber reading.

5. Saints/Giants UNDER 50.5 Points

This total sat at around 50 for most of the week, although late steam caused it to close at 52. So if you took the under right before kickoff, you survived the carnage. For bettors who took the under earlier in the week, the fourth quarter in this game probably caused several broken objects.

The Giants punted the ball away down 19-10 with 13:37 left. The game had only two touchdowns at that point, so it appeared unlikely that 22 more points would be scored.

The Saints went on to have a clock-killing possession, eliminating over six minutes on a drive capped by an Alvin Kamara four-yard trip to paydirt. New York then responded with a 10-play drive of its own, ending with a Saquon Barkley one-yard TD run and a successful two-point conversion. That put the game at 26-18 with 3:40 left.

Ted Ginn Jr. muffed the catch on the ensuing kickoff, and the Saints started on their own three-yard line. A controversial call on the Giants for pass interference on third down extended the drive and caused New York to burn a couple timeouts afterward.

The Giants had just one timeout and the two-minute warning remaining (New York saved a timeout after Alvin Kamara was pushed out of bounds on a nine-yard run on first down), but the Saints had a first down near midfield.

Kamara then broke free, and instead of falling down to effectively end the game, scampered 49 yards into the end zone for a devastating touchdown. Wil Lutz’s extra point went through the uprights to make it 33-18, and, like they did in a couple more instances in this week’s SI Backdoor Cover Jinx, under bettors lost in heartbreaking fashion.

4. Northern Illinois/Eastern Michigan UNDER 48.5 Points

I feel like there’s a MAC affair that makes this list every week.

College football overtimes are where unders go to die, and this added another tombstone to the graveyard.

Northern Illinois led 13-10 at the half. A defensive struggle erupted in the second half, though, as the only points in the final 30 minutes of regulation were a 28-yard field goal by Eastern Michigan kicker Chad Ryland with seven seconds left to send it into overtime.

The Huskies and Eagles traded touchdowns in the first overtime period, however, under bettors caught a huge break after Northern Illinois fumbled on its next possession. All Eastern Michigan had to do was score in any fashion, and the game would be over and the under would be preserved.

Ryland was brought out for a 38-yard attempt. He had made all of his field goals in this campaign from inside 40 yards. There’s a first time for everything though, and he couldn’t deliver here, as the boot was no good.

The Eastern Michigan kicker drilled a 42-yard field goal in triple overtime (of course) to make it 23-20. But Northern Illinois ended the game and under bettors’ hopes on a one-yard Tre Harbison touchdown on third down.

3. Browns +2.5

Refs have a tough job, so they’re bound to miss a call or two. Yet, there is no excuse for getting something wrong after using replay or for the blatantly obvious.

First, there was this Derek Carr ruled non-fumble that is the textbook definition of a fumble.

The Browns ended up getting the ball back and scoring anyway to make it a 42-34 game, but that ruling was egregious.

The second questionable decision by the officials came after a third down Carlos Hyde run with 1:36 left that would have essentially iced the game. It was ruled a first down on the field, and it looked to be a first down on replay. At the very least, there certainly wasn’t conclusive evidence that it wasn’t a first down.

Instead—to the shock of FOX rules analyst and the NFL’s former Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino—the ruling was overturned and gave the Raiders one last shot.

It felt over for Browns bettors after that incredulous decision. After the agonizing events that unfolded the rest of the way—a Raiders TD with 30 seconds left, game-tying two-point conversion and game-winning field goal by Matt McCrane with 1:46 remaining in overtime—it surely was.

2. Arizona +3.5

If you had to subject yourself to this slopfest on your Saturday night, that’s already bad enough. Endless penalties (26 combined penalties for 249 yards!), head-scratching coaching decisions and just several dumb plays in general made this one tough to watch.

USC built a comfortable 24-0 lead early in the third quarter, which made taking the points with Arizona look dead in the water. Like they do seemingly every week, however, things get weird during #Pac12AfterDark.

The Trojans did everything in their power to give the game away, but the Wildcats couldn’t take the bait. USC’s four possessions in the fourth quarter before a drive consisting of only kneels: a three-and-out, fumble, fumble and a failed fourth-down conversion.

Arizona took advantage of the first fumble recovery, as on the following play Khalil Tate made a beautiful 32-yard touchdown throw to Cedric Peterson while rolling to his right. That play made it 24-14 with 9:34 to go.

USC fumbled again three plays later, but Arizona couldn’t take advantage this time as that possession ended with a turnover on downs. USC’s next drive ended in the same fashion, with Vavae Malepeai getting stuffed on a fourth-down try from Arizona’s 34-yard line.

So the Wildcats had the ball with four minutes left and Arizona bettors had a miraculous backdoor cover in sight. What transpired was a roller coaster for the ages.

It took just one snap for Arizona to reach the red zone, thanks to a 33-yard pass to Shun Brown with 15 yards tacked on due to a USC personal foul. Another flag on the Trojans, this time pass interference (on what would have been a Trojans interception), put the pigskin at the five-yard line.

J.J. Taylor's four-yard carry put it at the one on second down. Khalil Tate was stopped on the QB keeper, but another pass interference call on USC on third down gave Arizona a fresh set of downs. The Trojans added to the comedy of errors by going offsides on the next play.

Arizona still couldn’t convert, as two unsuccessful runs and an incomplete pass made it fourth-and-goal with 1:40 left. Finally, on the sixth play from the one-yard line, Gary Brightwell found paydirt to make it 24-20.

Then, in the midst of those who put money on the Wildcats celebrating, kicker Lucas Havrisik MISSED the extra point (7:17 into the video below), which slammed Arizona’s backdoor try shut.

And to add insult to injury, it happened on Havrisik’s birthday! If losing on that ending doesn’t have you looking inward and questioning your existence, I don’t know what will.

1. Jets/Jaguars UNDER 40.5 Points

Goodness gracious, this one was brutal.

Betting the under on low totals is a stress-inducing bet since all it takes is a couple big plays or flukes to ruin the wager. The sweats on this one started to creep in after Sam Darnold found tight end Jordan Leggett in the end zone from two yards out early in the fourth quarter. After the two-point conversion failed, the scoreboard read 25-12 with 11:21 left.

Fast forward to 2:35 remaining. The Jets had just used their final timeout of the game, and the Jaguars faced a third-and-1 from the New York 40-yard line. Blake Bortles found Dede Westbrook over the middle for an easy completion to ice the contest.

Except Jets safety Jamal Adams wrapped up Westbrook, brought him back a few yards and then slammed him to the ground.

That unnecessary roughness penalty not only gave the Jaguars a first-and-goal at the Jets 10-yard line, but it also stopped the clock at 2:10 instead of it running down to the two-minute warning. So instead of the Jaguars kneeling it three straight times, Jacksonville had to run an extra offensive play.

Three straight runs by T.J. Yeldon made it fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with 27 seconds left. He delivered the dagger on the ensuing play, plunging in to make it a 31-12 game. And just to laugh in under bettors faces (that’s the only reason I can think of for this), Doug Marrone had the Jaguars attempt a meaningless two-point conversion.

That failed, but unfortunately, the damage to the under had already been done. Until next time.

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