The New England Patriots entered this past season as the favorites to win it all, and once again, they ended up as Super Bowl champions. Even though there was little betting drama in the Super Bowl, there was plenty throughout the season. And out of the 267 games played, there were plenty of unfortunate results for bettors.
Here are the five worst bad beats of the 2018 NFL season (listed in chronological order):
Line: Bengals -6
If you take a 6-point underdog in the NFL, and that team leads 17-0 with just over 20 minutes left, you expect to cover that spread. A late collapse by the Dolphins left bettors who backed them with a losing ticket and a bad beat story to tell.
The Bengals scored the game’s final 27 points in this Week 5 matchup, and incredibly, did so by scoring just one offensive touchdown. A pick-six by Michael Johnson tied the game early in the fourth quarter, and after Randy Bullock‘s field goal with 3:30 left gave Cincinnati the lead, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill made yet another mistake. After getting strip-sacked by Carlos Dunlap, the worst-case scenario happened for those who bet the Dolphins, as Sam Hubbard scooped the ball and ran it in from 19 yards out for the score.
Miami actually had two more possessions to try and get a backdoor cover, but one ended with another Tannehill interception and the other with Kenyan Drake sliding down at the Cincinnati 17-yard line on the game’s final play.
Final score: Bengals 27, Dolphins 17 (Bengals cover)
First half line: Saints -0.5
This was a first half bad beat, so maybe there wasn’t a ton of action on it, but those who took the Vikings +0.5 in this Week 8 Sunday night game suffered one of the worst gambling losses of the season.
Minnesota led 13-10 and was in the red zone with less than two minutes left in the half. Then one play completely changed the game. Adam Thielen fumbled at the Saints’ 14-yard line, while Marshon Lattimore proceeded to scoop the ball and return it 54 yards to the Minnesota 33-yard line with 57 seconds left. A Laquon Treadwell unsportsmanlike conduct penalty then moved the ball to the 18, and it somehow became dicey for those on the Vikings. Two plays later, Alvin Kamara‘s touchdown gave New Orleans the lead with 30 seconds left. After that, it was time to either go to sleep or watch the Red Sox win the World Series with their Game 5 win in Los Angeles.
Halftime score: Saints 17, Vikings 13 (Saints cover)
This Week 16 game had playoff implications for both teams. The Redskins were starting Josh Johnson at quarterback, their fourth different starter in 2018. The Titans, on the other hand, had to play the second half with backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert after Marcus Mariota went down with a neck injury.
Good news for the under, right? Well, it was, until an unfortunate ending for some unlucky bettors out there. Washington led 16-12 with less than five minutes left, but Tennessee would take the lead on a Gabbert-to-MyCole Pruitt 2-yard touchdown. After a Josh Johnson interception and a three-and-out by Tennessee, the Redskins got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with 14 seconds left.
With no timeouts, Washington needed a miracle to save its season, while those on the under were just seconds away from cashing their bets. But on the game’s final play, Malcolm Butler not only picked off Johnson to seal the victory, but returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to send the total over.
Final score: Titans 25, Redskins 16 (total goes over)
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Line: Browns -9.5
The next day saw yet another brutal bad beat in Week 16. The Browns led 23-0 entering the fourth quarter and looked like they would cruise to an easy cover against the seemingly lifeless Bengals.
The teams traded field goals in the fourth to make the score 26-3 Cleveland. Cincinnati proceeded to put together its first touchdown drive of the game, capped off by a Jeff Driskel to C.J. Uzomah touchdown with 4:56 left. Now, for the first time since the early stages of the game, those on the Browns had to somewhat worry about covering the 9.5-point spread. Things then got real dicey when Cleveland’s Britton Colquitt had his punt blocked, which set up the Bengals at the Browns’ 23-yard line with less than four minutes left. Three plays later, Driskel hooked up with John Ross for a 3-yard touchdown to cut the lead down to 10.
On the all-important two-point try, Driskel connected with Cody Core to cut the margin to eight. The game’s final possession saw Cleveland reach the Cincinnati 3-yard line, but ended with Baker Mayfield taking three consecutive kneel downs to run out the clock, a brutal finish for those on the Browns.
Final score: Browns 26, Bengals 18 (Bengals cover)
Line: Cowboys -2.5
With playoff games garnering more action from bettors, it’s bad beats like this one that will always be remembered.
For those that need reminding, the key play came at the end of the first half when Seattle’s Sebastian Janikowski suffered a left hamstring injury on a 57-yard field goal attempt. That would prove to be a major factor in the second half. After their punter and de-facto backup kicker Michael Dickson struggled to make any field goals when warming up during halftime, the Seahawks planned to go for two after touchdowns for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys took control of the game with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, capped off by Dak Prescott‘s 1-yard score to put his team up 24-14 with 2:08 left. Normally, anyone who had Dallas -2.5 would be celebrating, but the fact that Seattle had to go for two kept home alive for Seahawks backers.
Seattle proceeded to drive 75 yards in six plays and found the end zone on a Russell Wilson to J.D. McKissic 7-yard touchdown on fourth down with 1:18 left. They, of course, elected to go for two, and were successful on Chris Carson‘s run. The Cowboys recovered the onside kick and ran out the final 1:18, but only won by two, resulting in a half-point loss for those that bet them. Ouch.
Final score: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22 (Seahawks cover)