The college basketball season is ratcheting up as March approaches, and so are the brutal losses for bettors.
Here are our picks for the five worst sports betting bad beats of the week.
If you have a nomination, email email@example.com.
5. Under 6½ Blackhawks-Jets (Feb. 9)
Hockey bettors know the drill: A lot of games will come down to what happens in the frantic final two minutes when the trailing team pulls its goalie.
Giving up an empty-net goal to push a total over? Standard. But giving up two?
Winnipeg took a 3-2 lead with 6:33 to go and maintained it until the final two minutes. All appeared well for under bettors when Patrik Laine scored an empty-net goal with 1:23 left to give the Jets a 4-2 lead. OK, game over, total under.
But the Blackhawks didn’t quit, and Kyle Connor added a second empty-netter with 20 seconds left to give Winnipeg a 5-2 win.
4. Celtics -1½ (Feb. 9)
Oklahoma City led by nine at halftime, but Boston tied the game by the end of the third quarter and never trailed after taking the lead with 8:19 to go.
The Celtics stretched the lead to nine with 1:40 to go and led by five with 22.6 seconds left, but Thunder point guard Chris Paul would not quit.
He hit a layup to cut the lead to three. Oklahoma City got the ball back with a chance to tie, but Boston forced a turnover. Kemba Walker then made one of two free throws to put Boston on top 112-108 with 3.4 seconds left.
Paul still didn’t quit. His long 3 at the buzzer splashed through the net, and Thunder bettors got to the window.
Just another “meaningless” shot to end a game.
Chris Paul saving Thunder (+1.5) bettors everywhere with this 3 pointer at the buzzer.
Celtic bettors… we’re very sorry. 😬
— OddsUSA (@OddsUSA) February 9, 2020
3. Abilene Christian -15½ (Wednesday)
Here’s one for the people digging deep into the betting board.
The host Wildcats raced to a 17-point halftime lead over Houston Baptist and led by as many as 26 points in the second half.
Abilene Christian appeared set to finish off the cover and run out most of the clock up 16 in the final minute … until Philip McKenzie picked off an errant pass and scored with 24.6 seconds left.
Abilene Christian then dribbled out the clock on what was now a 14-point victory, 81-67.
On the last possession of the game, Abilene Christian (-16) turned the ball over and Houston Baptist covered the spread on a fast break layup
— Bet The Hoops (@betthehoops) February 13, 2020
2. Tulane +3 (Wednesday)
The Green Wave led Temple 35-28 at halftime, stretched the lead to 13 in the second half and still led by 11 with less than seven minutes to play before the gambling gods started to intervene.
Temple finally tied the game at 66 with 1:30 to go, and Green Wave bettors had to prepare themselves for the worst.
Quinton Rose hit two free throws to put the Owls up 68-66 with 27 seconds to go. Teshaun Hightower had his attempt to tie the game blocked, and Rose hit two more foul shots to put Temple outside the number for the first time all game at 70-66 with six seconds left.
Christion Thompson appeared to save the day for Tulane bettors by making a layup to cut the lead to two with 2.5 seconds left. But there was still time for one more foul, and Monty Scott made both free throws with 1.7 seconds left to give Temple a 72-68 victory.
The Owls were 6-for-6 on free throws in the final 27 seconds. College basketball players, they’re automatic from the foul line, right? Right?
Temple (-3) covers after Monty Scott drained two free throws in the last play of the game:pic.twitter.com/uxGABKym1z
— Nitrogen Sports (@NitrogenSports) February 13, 2020
1. Butler -5½ (Wednesday)
A gut punch for Bulldogs backers. Butler led Xavier by nine at halftime and was not outside the number in the second half — until less than a second remained.
Sean McDermott hit two free throws to give Butler a 66-58 lead with 18.7 seconds left. Naji Marshall drove right to the rim but missed an easy layup. The Musketeers got the rebound. Paul Scruggs missed a 3-pointer with six seconds left. The Musketeers got another offensive rebound.
Marshall then caught a pass on the left wing, double-pumped and broke Butler bettors’ hearts with a 3-pointer with six-tenths of a second to go.
Someone who surely laid the points with the Bulldogs could be seen slumping to the floor along the baseline after the shot went in.
Bring on March Madness.
Xavier +5.5 is unreal here. Just wait for it pic.twitter.com/FWl7ehqnto
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) February 13, 2020
Jim Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.