The guys of TheSportsDegens.com and their friends will be recapping some of their top moments of 2017, by sports and in their format. Before we move on, we would like to specially thank all the contributors to the many year end recap pieces and more importantly to the viewers and listeners of all the content throughout the year. Feel free to let us know your top moments as well. With all that said, let’s see the Top Betting Beats Moments of 2017.
@SkatingTripods of Bang the Book Radio-
So many bad beats, so little time. There are a lot of people out there who believe that 2017 began with the ultimate bad beat with the swearing in of the 46th President of the United States. Others reveled in the glory that was Donald Trump’s upset over Hillary Clinton. For them, it wasn’t a bad beat at all.
The non-sports bad beats continued the following month with La La Land going from Best Picture winner to hilarious (except for those that bet on it, of course) trivia question answer when Warren Beatty opened the wrong envelope. Do you even remember which movie won? (It was Moonlight)
That’s the thing about bad beats. While we always hear those bad beat stories at the poker table about runner-runner two-outers or in the sportsbooks about backdoor covers that zapped the life from somebody’s cold, dead, degenerate heart, somebody always wins in those situations, too.
This was a crazy year in sports. There are so many bad beats that could have wound up here. In the interest of saving readers from the heartbreak, I’ve been asked to cut the list down to three, which was nearly impossible. After all, every season of every sport gives us the opportunity to wonder why we gamble. Most of the time, we don’t even know the answer, but we do it anyway.
There are so many that just missed the cut. Yannick Ngakoue’s strip six of DeShone Kizer in Week 11 stands out, but anybody that bets on the Browns deserves it at this point (I had them in the Westgate SuperContest that week). The Oklahoma/Texas Tech under 77.5 hit when the two teams went scoreless over the last 11 minutes with 76 combined points. Do we even need to talk about Game 5 of the World Series?
Again, so many bad beats, not nearly enough words to describe them all. But, I’ll do the best I can.
Here are the three worst beats of the 2017 calendar year:
Welcome to the NBA, where bad beats aren’t as frequent as college basketball, but they seem to be quite a bit more painful. We go all the way back to April 8 for a seemingly innocuous game between the Knicks and the Grizzlies. Memphis was already ticketed for the playoffs and New York was ticketed for the lottery.
The Knicks carried a two-point lead into the fourth quarter as a 12.5-point underdog without Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joakim Noah. In that painfully overplayed Kenny Rogers song called “The Gambler”, he makes mention of why you never count your money while you’re sitting at the table. Well, with any sports wager, you never really want to count your money until the game is over.
Gamblers are a superstitious lot. Walt “Clyde” Frazier, probably better known for his Just For Men commercials at this point, is apparently that guy who talks about a no-hitter or a shutout. When the words came out of his mouth, Knicks backers cringed.
“I don’t think they’re going to take another shot,” Frazier said, as rookie Wade Baldwin IV casually dribbled up the court. “Showing sportsmanship here,” he added, blissfully unaware that this was coming.
In light of last night's backdoor cover, this is one of my favorite bad beats ever. Line was Knicks +12.5 pic.twitter.com/lznCMj4N5h
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) October 3, 2017
NO PLAY FOR MR. GRAY. Because Mr. Gray bet on the Knicks and he’s now sobbing and being emasculated by his wife.
3a. Meaningful to Some
Don’t you love gambling references on the telecast? We all do. We have to. It means that somebody understands our struggle. Sean McDonough understood our struggle on Monday Night Football in Week 4.
Harrison Butker’s 43-yard field goal with four seconds left gave the Chiefs a gritty win. Justin Houston’s 13-yard “fumble return” gave those that laid it and played it with the Chiefs a much more meaningful win.
— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2017
The Chiefs were favored by about a touchdown. It also pushed the game over the total. With Kansas City being such a public team and the public playing favorites and overs on Monday Night Football, this was merely a sign of things to come for the sportsbooks with the 2017 NFL season.
I can only assume all of the raucous fans at Arrowhead laid the points.
2. Lane Kiffin Gives FAU Backers Some Rat Poison
It was a banner season for Florida Atlantic football, with a perfect record in Conference USA play and a bowl game blowout of Akron to win 11 games. The Owls went 8-0 in conference play after winning seven conference games over the last three seasons combined. The Owls won nine games over the last three seasons combined.
Enter Lane Kiffin, or Joey Freshwater, as some may know him. Kiffin found his way to Boca Raton for his first head coaching stint since he was fired inside the terminal at LAX after his USC Trojans returned home from a loss to Arizona State in 2013. He made the controversial hire of Kendal Briles, who was part of the Baylor coaching staff that was sent packing after numerous sexual assault allegations came to light. Say what you will about the morality of the hire, but FAU had its best season in program history.
One of those eight wins for FAU against Conference USA foes came on November 3. Florida Atlantic hosted a Marshall Thundering Herd team that was in the midst of a bounce back season under solid head coach Doc Holliday, but this was the first big test in some time for the Marshall defense. With skeptics still out there about FAU, this line was just under a touchdown.
Florida Atlantic won the turnover battle 4-0, but this was somehow still a game. The Owls were actually outgained 381-353 and Marshall had the ball for over 35 minutes of game time. In that respect, this doesn’t look like a bad beat story. It is.
The Owls led 16-3 at half and were comfortably en route to covering with Devin Singletary, a running back who wound up with 1,920 yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. Marshall came out of the locker room and scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions with a scripted drive out of the intermission and with an onside kick that turned into six points because of a shanked PAT.
Some trickery gave FAU a 23-16 lead and an insurance touchdown gave the Owls a 30-16 lead. A 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive put Marshall back in the game, but a FAU pick with 2:30 left seemed to end the game. The Owls took over at their own 43-yard-line and simply needed to run the clock out. What came next is the stuff of nightmares.
A loss of five yards on first down set up 2nd-and-15, but Marshall was out of timeouts, so the precious seconds ticked away. A loss of nine on second down set up 3rd-and-24. Jason Driskel took a loss of five yards to set up 4th-and-29. Florida Atlantic called a timeout with 14 seconds left leading by seven.
Rather than risk a blocked punt, or risk running around for 14 seconds with some sort of enormous disaster, punter Ryan Rickel did this:
— Lil Mook (@Lilmook4real) November 4, 2017
The end result was a 30-25 FAU win, which did not cover the spread.
Kiffin, as only Kiffin can, added salt to the wounds:
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 4, 2017
Kiffin actually had to answer questions from reporters the next day and had to downplay the tweet because some were speculating that he was shaving points.
As the kids say, WATTBA.
1. Super Bowl LI
This bad beat transcends gambling. This bad beat affected more people than any other bad beat of the season. Those people call themselves Atlanta Falcons fans.
With 2:36 left in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI, the Falcons took a 21-0 lead. At this point, per the Win Probability Graph at Pro-Football-Reference, Atlanta was at 97.4 percent to win its first Super Bowl in franchise history. With 8:36 left in the third quarter, Atlanta scored again to make it a 27-3 game and kicked the PAT to make it 28-3. The Falcons were now at 99.8 percent. Shirts were being printed. Newspaper front pages were ready to be handed out to players and staff to hold up in pictures.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Patriots had a 0.03 percent win probability. The Falcons had a 2nd-and-2 at their own 35-yard-line with nine minutes left. The Patriots had a 0.01 percent win probability. Two plays later, Matt Ryan fumbled in Atlanta territory.
The game was still well-in-hand, right? The Falcons had to stop a 3rd-and-11 at their own 26 and hold New England to either another field goal attempt or force Bill Belichick to go for it. Instead, Tom Brady got 12 yards and Danny Amendola crossed the goal-line two plays later. After the two-point conversion, Atlanta led by eight with less than six minutes left. We all knew the ending. It was like watching a trainwreck in perfect clarity and in slow motion before it even happens.
Matt Ryan didn’t get points on Atlanta’s next drive, but the Falcons flipped the field. First-and-10 at the New England 22 became 4th-and-33 at the New England 45 and the Falcons punted with 3:38 left. Before we go further, let’s think about how Kyle Shanahan, one of the best offensive minds in the NFL, couldn’t figure out to run the football. A field goal attempt at this point likely makes it a two-score game with a sure-footed kicker in Matt Bryant. It was a 40-yarder from where the sequence of plays started. Baffling. Maddening. Frustrating. Indefensible.
The Patriots had an 8.5 percent chance of winning when they got the ball back. The first two passes were incomplete. The third-down play went for 16 yards. Another first down incompletion followed. Then, Malcolm Mitchell went for 11 yards and a first down. At this point, with 2:34 left, the Patriots had more than a 10 percent chance of winning for the first time since right before Tom Brady’s pick six late in the second quarter.
As we all know, James White went in from one yard out and Danny Amendola caught the game-tying two-point conversion pass. The Patriots marched right down the field in overtime and scored a touchdown to end the game. Not only did Atlanta lose outright, blow a 28-3 lead, and fail to win with 99.9 percent win probability, but those that bet Atlanta on the money line, Atlanta against the spread (closed +3), and those that bet the under (closed 57) lost.
It was a good Super Bowl for prop bettors with a defensive score, a team scoring at least three times in a row, a two-point conversion, and most people generally bet the over in the Super Bowl, but those that were on the Atlanta side, the under, or those that are fans of either team will never forget Super Bowl LI.
Since your New Year’s resolution will not be to stop betting, I’d suggest you commit to stocking the liquor cabinet in case of emergency and doing live betting instead.