- Among the five most excruciating betting losses in this week's SI Backdoor Cover Jinx were an under saved by a kicker's first-career XP miss and a game that needed 42 points in the fourth quarter to cash the over.
This was not a fun week for many bettors, it seemed like everyone was impacted by at least one crushing loss. Last weekend was filled with the types of unbelievable gambling finishes that you repeatedly tell your grandchildren about when you reach that age. Even Monday night's epic backdoor cover by the Giants wasn't brutal enough to make the list this week.
“Billy, I was just one extra point away from winning the over, but a kicker who had made every extra point in his life actually missed this extra point.”
“I know grandpa, you’ve told me this story thousands of times.”
“That doesn’t compare to the thousands of dollars that kick cost me,” you mutter under your breath.
“What was that grandpa?”
Welcome back to the SI Backdoor Cover Jinx, where we highlight the five most excruciating betting finishes from this past week of football. This is a place to live vicariously through those who suffered terrible misfortune to put a damper on their day, week or, in the most extreme of cases (which I would not recommend doing), month.
So get ready to shield your eyes and wipe the sweat away from your forehead, as we dive into betting purgatory. Warning: I think these five are the most agonizing compilation that has graced the SI Backdoor Cover Jinx this entire season.
And here’s this week’s music selection to pair with these cruel betting losses that no doubt caused plenty of anxiety and perspiration.
5. Ravens/Saints OVER 49 points
This is a classic case of the right side deserving to cash thanks to a horrendous finish that ultimately saved a bad beat. These two teams didn’t score until Justin Tucker’s 31-yard field goal with 6:04 left in the half, and had just 24 points combined through the first three quarters.
Yet a back-and-forth fourth quarter put the over in reach. Let’s fast-forward to Baltimore down 21-17, and the Ravens were facing a fourth-and-six at the New Orleans 36-yard line. Joe Flacco threw an incompletion to Willie Snead IV, giving the Saints possession and a chance to ice the game with 3:19 left.
The Saints did the opposite of burning the clock, stepping out of bounds twice and Drew Brees throwing the ball away to avoid a sack on third-and-three from the Ravens 21-yard line (just run the ball instead!). Wil Lutz’s field goal went through the uprights, but the Ravens were getting the ball back down seven. With 2:07 left, Baltimore had plenty of time to drive for a game-tying touchdown, thanks to the Saints’ gaffes on the time-management front.
With 24 seconds left, Flacco’s sixth straight completion of the drive was his most important one, as he found John Brown from 14 yards out to make it 24-23. So as long as Justin Tucker—arguably the best kicker in NFL history and who hadn’t missed an extra point in 222 career attempts—made the extra point, the over seemed like a near-certainty to cash barring a scoreless overtime.
Instead, this happened.
Announcer Chris Myers exclaiming “Are you kidding me?” at the end of the video above channeled the emotions of all bettors who took over 49 points and Ravens -2.5.
And amazingly, this cracked just the No. 5 spot. Told you we were in for a helluva week.
4. ECU +22
Undefeated—and defending national champions (show some respect!)—UCF seemed doomed to cover from the start, as star quarterback McKenzie Milton sat out of the game for “overall health” reasons. With backup QB Darriel Mack Jr. at the helm, the Knights sputtered out of the gate, as they trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. UCF bounced back, however, by scoring 20 unanswered in the second quarter to take a 17-point lead at the break.
A 29-yard touchdown throw from Holton Ahlers to Trevon Brown made it 20-10, with a UCF field goal late in the period extending the lead to 23-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
ECU was primed to put UCF on upset alert, as it drove all the way to the UCF one-yard line on a drive that began at its own one-yard line. On third-and-goal, Ahlers fumbled on a jump pass attempt (a jump pass!), and Nate Evans picked up the loose change and scampered 94 yards the other way for a backbreaking score. I’m not sure there’s a more demoralizing play in football than allowing a defensive touchdown to conclude a 98-yard drive.
The Pirates once again drove the ball deep into opposing territory, and once again fumbled after wideout Deondre Farrier lost the ball just outside the red zone. UCF recovered at its own six-yard line with 8:22 left. Still, ECU bettors were on the right side of the number, as UCF “only” led by 20.
That changed quickly after Knights tailback Greg McCrae dashed 74 yards to paydirt to make it a 37-10 game with 6:14 remaining.
If the gambling gods had a thing for karma, they would’ve given ECU bettors the backdoor cover. Instead, they revel in cruelty, as the Pirates had first-and-goal from the three-yard line with 4:05 left, but turned it over on downs to secure the horrendous beat.
3. Purdue/Ohio State UNDER 65.5 points
Wait, how in the world is this only No. 3? Seriously, you guys are in for some doozies.
The scoreboard read 21-6 after three quarters were in the books. The two teams needed to combine for 39 points in the fourth quarter for this prayer to cash.
Purdue did not take its foot off the gas, as the Boilermakers continually made trips into the end zone to ensure that Ohio State’s explosive offense had no shot of even sniffing a comeback.
Electrifying true freshman Rondale Moore scored one of the best touchdowns of the year with 3:37 left in the game that gave Purdue a 42-20 lead.
Then, Markus Bailey picked off Dwayne Haskins in Ohio State territory with just over two minutes left, and hearts started pounding across the country. Bailey clinched the demoralizing loss for under bettors by returning the interception for six.
An improbable 42 points were scored in the game’s final 12 minutes. Seriously. And we still have two more excruciating betting losses left!
2. Navy +12
Again, this was another side that deserved to lose, so it’s not a bad beat. This game did, however, provide incredible last-minute theatrics that left bettors on both sides looking for the nearest inhaler.
The Midshipmen led the game 24-21 at halftime, but Houston scored four straight touchdowns in the second half, with Nick Watkins seemingly providing the exclamation mark after a 50-yard interception return to the house to make it 49-24 with 6:01 left.
Navy starting quarterback Malcolm Perry sat out most of the second half due to a leg injury, and the Midshipmen offense appeared stagnant with backup signal-caller Garret Lewis. After throwing the pick-six, Lewis led Navy on a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive to cut the score to 49-30. Instead of going for the extra-point try, head coach Ken Niumatalolo went for two to try and make it a three-score game.
Sure, a comeback seemed impossible with less than two minutes to go, but it was the correct decision to attempt to make it a 17-point game with a triple-option offense designed to thrive in short yardage. The conversion attempt failed, though, leaving it at a 19-point deficit.
Houston recovered the ensuing onside kick, and gained a first down the following play on a Kevrin Justice 12-yard run. All the Cougars had to do was kneel, as the next play they ran was with 1:16 on the clock. Instead, they ran one more time and then decided to let backup quarterback Bryson Smith THROW the ball with 32 seconds left on the clock. Sure enough, he was picked off, and Navy had the ball at its own 35-yard line with 18 seconds left.
Lewis appeared determined to etch his name into gambling lore, as he connected with Taylor Jackson on a 50-yard bomb to put the pigskin at the Houston 15-yard line with nine seconds left. After Navy used its final timeout, Lewis and Jackson struck again, this time in the end zone with six seconds left.
At 49-36, all that was needed was an extra point to give Navy bettors a miraculous push thanks to two late touchdowns on drives led by Lewis. Instead, Niumatalolo had other ideas, again deciding to go for two.
The Midshipmen failed once again on the two-point try, which saved Houston bettors from suffering what would have been the worst betting beat of the season. But while they cashed, there was a whole lot of unnecessary sweating. Remember college football coaches (I’m looking at you Major Applewhite and Mario Cristobal): Just kneel the damn ball.
1. Western Kentucky ML (-180)
This is an all-time ridiculous college football finish.
Western Kentucky scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:37 left to take a 34-27 lead. Old Dominion responded as SI Gambling legend Blake LaRussa conducted the game-tying score on a six-yard throw to Travis Fulgham with nine ticks remaining.
Then borderline insanity ensued.
Western Kentucky’s drive started at the 30, and Garland LaFrance ran for 15 yards on what seemed like a carry to send the game to overtime. After the Hilltoppers called a timeout for one final play near midfield, Davis Shanley threw an incompletion for what appeared to be the final play of regulation. But Old Dominion was flagged for roughing the passer, which gave Western Kentucky another chance.
Alex Rinella was sent on for a 57-yard game-winning field goal with only zeroes showing on the scoreboard, but missed the kick. Once again, however, Old Dominion was penalized, this time for too many men on the field. Rinella had another shot from five yards closer, but his boot was short and the Monarchs’ Isaiah Harper caught it in the end zone with a head of steam.
Harper returned it 83 yards, but was tackled 17 yards shy of the end zone. ANOTHER flag—this time a facemask by Western Kentucky—gave the game another untimed down. Old Dominion kicker Nick Rice drilled the 26-yard game-winner, giving the Monarchs a victory that would have been impossible to accomplish even in video games, let alone real life.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the video of all the hoopla below. For those that suffered tough losses this week, just be glad you never go into C-USA betting.