Worst bad beats in sports betting history
Bad beats have been at the heart of sports betting history's most memorable moments. What once appeared to be a certain win suddenly fades away at the blink of an eye. This page is dedicated to archiving sportsbetting's greatest bad beats as they happen.
In sports betting a bad beat is a wager that looks like it's going to win as the match progresses but suddenly ends up losing. This is most commonly achieved by a sequence of improbable last-minute scores which end up affecting the spread or total. The occurrence of bad beats might not be obvious to viewers who are not familiar with the closing betting lines for a given match.
Teams: Duke Blue Devils vs. Connecticut Huskies
Bad beat: Connecticut Huskies -1.5
On April 3rd, 2004 the Duke Blue Devils faced off against the Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA tournament Final Four. Duke lead for most of the game and was up 75-67 with just over three minutes remaining. The Huskies went on a 11-0 run to go ahead 78-75 with 3.2 seconds left.
Connecticut's Emeka Okafor was at the line to shoot two free-throws. Hitting both would have secured the spread. He missed the first one and made the second to bring the score to 79-75. Duke's Chris Duhon quickly crossed half court after being in-bounded the ball and drained a 38-foot three point shot as time expired to cover the small spread.
2012 Belk Bowl
Teams: Duke Blue Devils vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Bad beat: Duke Blue Devils +9.5
The Blue Devils opened the 2012 Belk Bowl with a 16-0 lead. As the game neared completion Duke found themselves in the Cincinnati red-zone with the score tied 34-34. Closing as +9.5 spread underdogs it seemed impossible for them not to cover. With 1:32 remaining on a 2nd & goal from the 5 yard line, Duke running back Josh Snead fumbled the ball after colliding with the back of Bearcats' defensive lineman Brandon Mills.
Even after the fumble it seemed inevitable that Duke would cover the spread. Four plays later Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce scored an 83-yard touchdown on a pass from quarterback Brendon Kay. After the extra point Cincinnati lead 41-34 with 0:44 remaining. The Blue Devils were still covering.
And then suddenly they weren't.
With 0:27 remaining on a 1st & 10 from the Cincinnati 40 yard line, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree threw an interception under pressure which was returned for a 55 yard touchdown. The Bearcats went up 48-34 which was the final score, and one of sportsbetting's most infamous bad beats was cemented in history.
2014 Bahamas Bowl
Teams: Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Bad beat: Western Kentucky -3
Western Kentucky dominating the game bringing a 49-14 lead into the fourth quarter. Central Michigan fired off four unanswered touchdowns narrowing the gap to 49-42 with 1:09 left. After forcing the Hilltoppers into a three-and-out, the Chippewas received the ball back on their own 25-yard line with 0:01 remaining. CMU quarterback Cooper Rush completed a 48-yard pass to wide receiver Jesse Kroll, who quickly lateraled the ball to tight end Deon Butler. Before being tackled Butler threw the ball back for receiver Courtney Williams, who again lateraled the ball to team mate Titus Davis. After a 17-yard sprint Davis dove for the end-zone pylon to complete one of the most memorable final drives in college football history.
Now trailing 49-48, Central Michigan elected to attempt the 2-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point for overtime. The conversion failed, further denying Western Kentucky -3 bettors a chance at covering in OT.
Astros vs. Athletics
Teams: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
Bad beat: Under 7
On April 24th, 2015 the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics played a scoreless nine innings. The under seemed secured heading into extra innings 0-0.
In the top of the 10th Astros' Marwin Gonzalez opened the scoring with a two-run double. Oakland's Josh Reddick responded with his own two RBI double in the bottom of the frame tying the game 2-2. He was thrown out trying to score on the play forcing the game to progress deeper into extra innings.
Robbie Grossman and George Springer combined for three runs in the top of the 11th to put the Astros up 5-2. This brought the total to a push, which Marcus Semien drove over with a two-run home-run in the bottom of the 11th.
Orioles vs. Tigers
Teams: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Bad beat: Under 9.5
On September 14th, 2019 two 100-loss teams were in the midst of a boring late season baseball game. Detroit held a 2-0 lead heading into the 8th inning. With a high total of 9.5 it seemed destined to go under.
With two outs in the top of the 8th Baltimore's Trey Mancini hit a three-run home run to put the Orioles up 3-2. In the bottom of the 9th down to their final out Detroit outfielder Victor Reyes tied the game with a solo home run. Extra innings were required with the score even at 3-3.
Orioles' third baseman Rio Ruiz broke the tie in the top of the 12th inning with an RBI single. The Tigers escaped the inning without giving up another run. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the frame, Detroit managed to load the bases with the help of two walks (one intentional) and a double. Baltimore relief pitcher Ryan Eades entered the game and issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced. This tied the score 4-4 and kept the bases loaded.
For those not familiar with the rules of baseball the home team cannot score multiple runs from the 9th inning onward on the game winning play unless via a home run. This means with the bases loaded a single, double, triple, walk, wild pitch, passed ball, hit-by-pitch, balk, or catcher's interference would result in Detroit winning 5-4 and the under 9.5 hitting.
But of course none of those things happened. Tigers' first baseman John Hicks hit a grand slam scoring four runs to send the game over the total with a final score of 8-4.
Vikings vs. Ravens
Teams: Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens
Bad beat: Under 42.5
On December 8th, 2013 the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Minnesota Vikings in a snowy afternoon match. The weather conditions inhibited both teams from generating offense. The Ravens lead 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
With 14:25 remaining in the game Vikings' receiver Jerome Simpson caught a touchdown pass giving his team a 12-7 lead. The next score came with only 2:07 left after a touchdown and successful two-point conversion allowed Baltimore to regain the lead 15-12.
On the ensuing drive Minnesota running back Toby Gerhart scored a 41-yard rushing touchdown to put the Vikings up 19-15 with 1:27 remaining on the clock. The Ravens responded immediately when Jacoby Jones returned the kickoff for a 77-yard touchdown. Baltimore was back on top 22-19 with 1:17 left in the game.
Vikings answered back on a 3rd & 10 play when receiver Cordarrelle Patterson scored a 79-yard touchdown. This put the game over the total as Minnesota lead 26-22 with 0:45 remaining. And just to screw anyone who might have teased the under the Ravens scored again on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Brown with 0:05 left for a final score of 29-26.