For every bad beat, there’s a miracle cover.
That was never more evident than in Saturday’s Bowling Green-Miami (Ohio) matchup.
Scott Van Pelt showcased the total on the game on his “Bad Beats” segment on ESPN “SportsCenter” instead of Stanford’s wildly improbable overtime win and cover at Oregon.
The bad beat for bettors who wagered on under 55½ points turned out to be a miracle win for a William Hill gambler at SLS Las Vegas who had over 55 on a $100 10-team college football parlay that he hit for $72,000.
Miami led 31-3 entering the fourth quarter, when Bowling Green scored two touchdowns in 91 seconds to make it a 31-17 game with 4:13 left.
Facing a fourth-and-2 at the Bowling Green 32, Miami running back Alonzo Smith broke loose for a 29-yard run to the 3. At that point, the Redhawks could have taken a knee and run out the clock, which would have killed the monster parlay. But instead they ran the ball, and Davion Johnson scored a TD to make it 38-17 with 34 seconds left.
That gave the William Hill bettor a push, which would have given him a winning nine-team parlay for $36,000.
And bettors who wagered under the closing number of 55½ were looking pretty good.
But the Falcons weren’t finished. On the final play of the game, Grant Loy scrambled and lofted a 40-yard Hail Mary pass that was tipped by two Miami defenders before landing in Justin Sawmiller’s arms in the end zone as time expired. The unlikely final score, 38-23, ended up being worth an additional $36,000 to the William Hill bettor while driving a stake through the hearts and wallets of under bettors.
The other nine legs of the parlay were Miami (Ohio) (-6½), Western Kentucky (+2½), Western Michigan (-8), West Virginia (-16½), Clemson (-16), Ohio State (-37), Florida State (-10), Miami (Fla.)-FIU (under 57) and Old Dominion — which closed it out with a 49-35 win over Virginia Tech as a 27½-point underdog.
Marquee matchups Stanford at Notre Dame (-5½)
The Fighting Irish, who opened as 3-point favorites over the Cardinal, exploded for 56 points at Wake Forest behind junior quarterback Ian Book, who was 25 of 34 for 325 yards and accounted for five TDs.
“Notre Dame looks like it has a lot better offense now that it switched quarterbacks,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “Stanford’s on back-to-back away games and now has to travel all the way back East. For a college team, that’s a big deal.
“If Stanford were to win this game under all these circumstances, it would be a monumental win. So I expect Notre Dame to win and probably cover.”
Ohio State (-3½) at Penn State
The Buckeyes have won five of the last six meetings, edging the Nittany Lions 39-38 at the Horseshoe last season after losing 24-21 in 2016 at Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.
“Two years ago, Ohio State was favored by 20 points. I definitely think the spread is a little short,” Salmons said. “All the value is with Ohio State. … Penn State’s defense is terrible.”
Penn State escaped with a 45-38 win over Appalachian State in its season opener at home and trailed Illinois 24-21 in the third quarter en route to a 63-24 rout.
Handicapper Paul Stone, who leads the Review-Journal College Challenge with a 14-6 ATS record, noted that the Buckeyes outgained the Nittany Lions by an average of almost 200 yards in each of the last two years and are riding a 40-20 cover streak against ranked opponents.
“Ohio State dominated those games statistically,” said Stone (@PaulStoneSports). “I see Penn State having great difficulty keeping Ohio State under wraps.”
Salmons took California as a 3½-point home underdog over Oregon, though the line is down to 2½. He also backed Clemson as a 23-point favorite over Syracuse, but the line is up to 25.
“The win Cal had at BYU looks a lot better after BYU went in and beat Wisconsin,” he said. “Cal’s off a bye last week and is in a real good situation to beat Oregon. They’re definitely a team on the rise.
“That Clemson game sure seems short to me. I had that game at 27. It’s a revenge game, and they’re switching to freshman Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. I like him a lot. A lot of things line up here, and you’re really getting a bargain cheap number here. I think Clemson will blow this team out.”
Stone’s top play is Army (+7½) over Buffalo. The New York state rivals split the last two games, which were decided by a total of seven points.
“Army’s getting more than a touchdown here after having been double-digit favorites the previous two seasons over Buffalo,” Stone said.
(Home team in CAPS)
CLEMSON (-25) over Syracuse
Ohio State (-3) over PENN STATE
Iowa State (+11) over TCU
NOTRE DAME (-5.5) over Stanford
CALIFORNIA (+2.5) over Oregon
Last week: 3-2 against the spread