Updated February 8, 2020 - 4:07 pm
According to an old gambling saying, people remember their worst losses far more than their biggest wins.
With that in mind, the Review-Journal is keeping track of the worst sports betting bad beats each week.
We’ll focus on full-game sides and totals in major sports, but exceptions will be made in egregious cases (see this week’s No. 1).
If you have a nomination, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the five worst of the past week:
5. Bulls +5½ (Thursday)
This one doesn’t fit the definition of a bad beat for some, and could have arguably still been on this list if Chicago had covered as a home underdog after mounting a huge comeback against the New Orleans Pelicans.
— Barstool Bets (@barstoolbets) February 7, 2020
But hear us out: This is about the pain inflicted on the bettor. The Pelicans led by 22 points after three quarters, stretched the advantage to 25 and were up by 23 with less than four minutes to go.
Bulls bettors could have checked out at any time, marked the game as a loss and moved on. Instead, Chicago closed with a wild flurry and was actually inside the number at 123-119 with 4.7 seconds left. The cover seemed almost assured when New Orleans’ Jaxson Hayes missed a free throw. He then missed his second attempt … only for the Bulls’ Cristiano Felicio to tip the rebound into his own basket.
Pelicans win 125-119.
4. Under 226½ Spurs-Lakers (Tuesday)
Betting unders is a treacherous experience, but under takers in the San Antonio-Los Angeles game had to be feeling good when the first half ended with 92 points scored.
Not to be: 69 points in the third quarter, 70 in the fourth. Lakers 129, Spurs 102. Total lands 231. Over bettors win with about a minute to spare.
3. Hornets +13 (Tuesday)
Charlotte came to play against the Rockets in Houston, roaring to a 12-point lead after the first quarter. The Hornets led by one at halftime and by three with about eight minutes to play.
In fact, Charlotte did not trail by more than 13 for one minute of this game … until the final minute.
James Harden converted a four-point play with 1:08 left to put Houston up 15, and the Hornets didn’t score again.
Rockets win 125-110.
2. Baylor -7 (Monday)
The top-ranked Bears were cruising to victory as road favorites against Kansas State, up by as many as 16 points in the second half and by 11 with less than a minute to go.
Wildcats backers appeared sunk after they missed a 3-pointer and Baylor got the rebound up nine with 20 seconds left.
However, the Bears turned the ball over, and Kansas State made a 3 with eight seconds left to get inside the number at 73-67.
Baylor backers had to feel OK when MaCio Teague, an 85 percent free-throw shooter, got fouled and stepped to the line. Surely he would make at least one to pull out a push (and a win for bettors who snagged -6½).
Nope. Missed them both. Kansas State covers in a 73-67 loss.
The worst part about the game: Some bettors attacked Teague on social media after the game for costing them a cover.
Yeah, don’t be those guys.
1. Under 30½ Patrick Mahomes rushing yards (Sunday)
One that won’t be forgotten. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback had easily cleared his Super Bowl prop total with 44 yards on the ground before the Chiefs’ final possession.
The San Francisco 49ers’ two remaining timeouts ensured that the Chiefs could not quite kneel on the ball to run out the clock. Mahomes tried to take as much time off the clock as possible, so he moved back much farther on the kneel-downs than normal, losing a total of 15 yards in three plays to take his rushing total to 29.
And, of course, the over on Mahomes’ rushing total was one of the most popular Super Bowl props, according to Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The worst bad beat of 2020 might have already happened.