The Buckeyes held a 28–3 lead in the fourth quarter, yet couldn't cover as a 5.5-point favorite.
Holding onto 28–3 leads in football isn't as simple as it sounds. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons, who infamously blew such an advantage in Super Bowl LI against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Ohio State wasn't as unfortunate as the Falcons were on Saturday night, but Buckeyes bettors weren't as lucky. The Buckeyes led Washington 28–3 during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl, but watched almost helplessly as the Huskies closed the margin down to five points with less than a minute remaining.
Ohio State held on, securing a win. But there were assuredly bettors who could only agonize at the final score.
The Buckeyes had closed as 5.5-point favorites over Washington. They won 28–23, giving the Huskies the backdoor cover.
For those who picked Ohio State to cover, things appeared to be in decent shape when the Huskies elected to punt trailing by 11 points with 3:49 remaining.
But Washington forced a three-and-out on the Buckeyes' following drive, then marched 71 yards in 10 plays to score on Myles Gaskin's two-yard run with 42 seconds left.
BACK DOOR COVER BABY!!!!! #Huskies trailed 28-3, battled back to lose 28-23 but cover the spread! 🙌🙌🙌 HUGE win for contrarian bettors and the books. Only 23% took #Huskies plus the points (closed +5.5) 💰💰💰https://t.co/RbqgnKcBQE pic.twitter.com/5QbF9rPHZY— Action Appelbaum (@Josh_Insights) January 2, 2019
Ohio State bettors watched a flicker of hope fade away during the ensuing two-point conversion attempt. Washington quarterback Jake Browning was intercepted by Buckeyes safety Brendon White, and he nearly returned the ball to add two points to Ohio State's total, but he was tripped up by a defender with only one man to beat.
A game that seemed well in hand entering the final quarter, turned out to be a nail-biter. For some bettors, it was a heartbreaking result.