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Worst bad beats of the week: Gonzaga finds a way

Gonzaga is one of the best teams in the country, and it delivered one of the worst losses for bettors this season.

Here are our picks for the five worst sports betting bad beats of the week.

If you have a nomination, email jbarnes@reviewjournal.com.

5. Northwestern State +3 (Wednesday)

Bettors have all seen an underdog race to a huge lead in the first half before slowly circling the drain in the second half.

The Demons compressed that process against Nicholls State. Northwestern State was up by only three at halftime, but it dominated the start of the second half and led 65-49 with 7:26 to go.

The lead was still 11 with 4:22 left, but Nicholls State closed on a 17-2 run (part of a 24-4 run overall) to crush Demons bettors.

With the Colonels up three, Northwestern State’s Brian White turned the ball over, and Nicholls State went to the line with 7.9 seconds left. Kevin Johnson missed the first foul shot but made the second to put the Colonels outside the number for the first time since midway through the first half.

White missed a 3-pointer, and Nicholls bettors escaped with a 73-69 win.

4. Nets +7 (Thursday)

The NBA returned from the All-Star break with a tough loss for Brooklyn bettors.

The Nets held a 10-point lead at halftime against Philadelphia. The 76ers closed the gap, but never led by more than five in a back-and-forth second half.

Brooklyn pushed back out to a six-point lead with 2:16 to go, and the only thing that could beat Nets bettors was overtime.

So of course the 76ers forced OT. The Nets scored the first point of the extra period, but they never scored again.

Joel Embiid made two free throws with 41.6 seconds left, the Nets missed two 3-pointers, and Philadelphia dribbled out a 112-104 victory.

3. Tennessee +6½ (Saturday)

Not a great start to the weekend for Volunteers backers.

Tennessee led No. 13 Auburn 41-33 at halftime and extended the lead to 17 five minutes into the second half.

The Tigers then closed on a 36-12 run, including scoring the final six points of the game in the final minute, to earn the unlikely cover. Samir Doughty’s free throws with eight seconds left put Auburn outside the number for the first time, and Santiago Vescovi missed a 3-pointer for Tennessee to end the game.

2. Under 150 North Dakota State-South Dakota (Wednesday)

A sickening finish for under bettors, who saw 20 points scored in the final 47 seconds — and nine in the final seven.

After two Tyson Ward free throws gave North Dakota State a 77-71 lead with 2.7 seconds left, the game was effectively over.

But South Dakota’s Triston Simpson was playing till the final buzzer. He threw up a half-court heave, and it hit nothing but net to push the final total to 151.

1. San Francisco +16½ (Thursday)

The Dons took it to No. 2 Gonzaga at the start and led 31-22 at halftime, giving bettors 25½ points worth of cushion.

The Bulldogs quickly erased the deficit in the second half and pushed its lead up to 13, but San Francisco stayed calm and worked the disadvantage back to single digits.

The Dons trailed by 12 with 1:16 to play. Charles Minlend missed a layup for San Francisco, and the teams traded turnovers before Joel Ayayi hit two free throws to give Gonzaga a 14-point lead with 43 seconds left.

After the Dons missed a 3-pointer, the Bulldogs could dribble out almost all of the clock. Almost.

Announcer Fran Fraschilla said he didn’t like it when teams took a shot clock violation when it wouldn’t end the game. “Get a shot up,” he said.

With 3.9 seconds left in the game (two seconds left on the shot clock), Corey Kispert complied and shot a 3.

“There you go. I like that,” Fraschilla said with the ball in the air.

Fair to say San Francisco bettors disagreed. Gonzaga wins 71-54, covering the number for the first time all game.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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