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Duke disaster leads to Cincinnati covering spread in all-time bad beat

kick-nutsWe here at LBS don’t pretend like any of you were actually watching the BELK BOWL — whatever the hell that is — because you actually care about Duke or Cincinnati football. We know the real reason anyone watched the game was for the same reason — they had something riding on it. And those who had a little dough on Duke had to endure one of the worst bad beats of the football season.

As far as covers went, Duke was a lock. Not only did they start off the game up 16-0, but the game was tied at 34 with 1:32 left. Duke was getting either 9 or 9.5 points in most sportsbooks when the line closed. They were a lock. Game over, Duke covers.

That was until some incredibly bad luck struck.

Duke was driving and had the ball second-and-goal at the Cincinnati five. Not only were they going to cover, but they were about to win the game outright. That’s when Duke running back Josh Snead lost a fumble to give Cincinnati the ball at the six. Four plays later, Cincinnati threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-34.

Even though Duke was suddenly trailing, at least they were still covering. Not so fast, my friends!

Duke completed a pass and got a penalty, so they had the ball at the Cincinnati 40 following the touchdown. They still had a shot to tie the game. That’s when Cincinnati’s defense clobbered quarterback Sean Renfree, whose pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Duke went from driving for the win to losing 48-34 in one minute and 18 seconds. That, my friends, is an all-time bad beat.

Ben Roethlisberger worth four points against the spread, more than Jay Cutler

Several big-name NFL quarterbacks got injured last weekend, creating difficult spots for their teams, and changes in the point spreads. Unsurprisingly, the injury to Ben Roethlisberger has the most significant effect on the spread.

Per Pregame.com, here’s how much each starting quarterback’s injury is worth to his team’s point spread:

Big Ben: 4 points
Jay Cutler: 2 points
Alex Smith: 1.5 points
Michael Vick: 1 point

The difference in the spread is as much to do with the quarterback’s ability as it does the dropoff in talent level compared to the backup.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going from Roethlisberger to Byron Leftwich. Roethlisberger and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler are on a close level, but the difference in backups is huge. Chicago’s backup quarterback is Jason Campbell, who led the Raiders to an 11-7 record as their starter the past two seasons. Leftwich started five games from 2007-2011, and his teams went 0-5.

The 49ers have been winning mostly thanks to their defense and run game, not their passing game. The slight change in spread indicates they would be expected to do almost as well under Colin Kaepernick as Alex Smith. Right now, it looks like Smith will be cleared to start for San Francisco, so the spread would not be changed.

Michael Vick has been ruled out this week for the Eagles, and his concussion is significant enough to potentially keep him out for the rest of the season. The team hasn’t been playing too well with him, so a change to rookie Nick Foles, who seems pretty capable, presents little dropoff.

Other quarterbacks to compare:

Peyton Manning: 6.5 points
Tom Brady: 6 points
Aaron Rodgers: 6 points
Matt Ryan: 4 points
Eli Manning: 4 points
Matthew Stafford: 2 points

It’s debatable that Peyton would be worth more points than Brady and Rodgers. That could have to do with Peyton’s role as a coach/offensive coordinator on the field, as well as the difference in backups. Behind Peyton is rookie Brock Osweiler, while Brady (Ryan Mallett) and Rodgers (Graham Harrell) have backups with slightly more experience.

Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Woman reportedly turns $5 into $100,000 on 15-team parlay card

A woman who filled out a 15-team parlay card through the Red Rock casino in Las Vegas, Nev., reportedly turned $5 into nearly $100,000 over the past football weekend.

The woman, who according to Dave Tuley wished to be anonymous, bet the parlay card on Friday. Her card included two college football games — Nebraska at Michigan State, and San Diego State +15 — in addition to the entire NFL slate on Sunday and Monday night’s game. She caught a nice break in the Michigan State game, which isn’t surprising; one would need a lot of luck in order to hit a 15-teamer.

This woman wasn’t the only person to cash in big over the weekend.

According to Beyond the Bets, a Bet Online user hit two big parlays to make over $65,000 last weekend.

Here were that person’s bets, per Beyond the Bets:

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Gambler turns $100 into $25,772 with 23-team football parlay

Everyone loves an underdog, but sometimes it pays to play the favorites. A gambler who places wagers through BetOnline.ag was apparently feeling lucky last week, but in a way he could make the argument that he was simply playing the odds. According to Beyond the Bets, this risk-taker decided to place $100 on a 23-team football parlay with a potential payout of $25,772. He won.

Anyone who gambles on sports can tell you how difficult it is to win a parlay. Whether it be two teams or 10 teams, there’s a reason the payouts are so large. However, this gambler apparently decided that there’s also a reason certain teams are favored in Las Vegas. He included 21 college football favorites, one NFL favorite and one college football underdog in his wager.

The lone underdog was Kansas State on the road against West Virginia, where the Wildcats pulled off an upset and destroyed the Mountaineers by a score of 55-14. The only NFL team included was the 49ers, who the mystery bettor apparently felt confident in at home against the Seahawks. The list of the other 21 NCAA favorites can be seen here.

The favorites are favored for a reason, and one person is now more than $25,000 wealthier because of it. That being said, the people who have hit it big with all the crazy sports bets we’ve featured over the years here at LBS are tough to come by. That certainly isn’t a coincidence.

H/T The Big Lead

Jim Harbaugh declines safety against Seahawks, affects outcome for gamblers

The Seahawks put the final nail in their coffin on Thursday night when they were called for a chop block in their end zone with under a minute left to play, giving the Niners a two-possession lead. Or, should we say, it would have given San Francisco a two-possession lead had Jim Harbaugh not declined the penalty.

The play also happened to be 4th down, and Seattle came up short of the first-down mark on its completed pass. Instead of accepting the penalty and taking the safety, Harbaugh took the result of the play and had his offense take the field for a kneel down. Same outcome for the 49ers, entirely different outcome for the sports gambling world.

San Francisco was favored by anywhere from 7 to 8 points before the game began. Harbaugh’s bizarre decision resulted in a push for many gamblers and was the difference between a win and a loss for others. According to R.J. Bell of Pregame.com, an estimated 65% of the money on the game backed San Francisco while 35% backed Seattle. That would mean an estimated $75 million was transferred from the hands of bettors into the hands of bookies as a result of the decision to decline the safety.

The good news for the NFL is that this time it’s on Harbaugh. Unlike with this guy who won a fortune on the infamous blown call in the Seahawks-Packers game, Thursday night’s unexpected swing was not the result of poor officiating. It may have been a head-scratching move from the Niners coach, but such is life when you bet on sports. No refund will be handed out this time around.

Sportsbooks consider Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow equals

There have been many calls for Tim Tebow to supplant Mark Sanchez as the Jets’ starting quarterback in light of the offense’s stagnant start. The team is 2-2, ranked 23rd in the league in points and 28th in yards. While many feel like a change to Tebow could spark the offense, sportsbooks consider the two quarterbacks to be equal.

RJ Bell at Pregame.com explained in an email that the spread for the Jets’ Monday night game against the Texans would be the same (it’s currently Jets +8) regardless of whether Sanchez or Tebow starts. According to Bell, “this fact implies that Vegas considers Tim Tebow to be an equal quarterback to Mark Sanchez.”

It’s no surprise that they’re considered equals by sportsbooks. We already know what Sanchez gives the Jets, and it’s not very much. Tebow is not very respected as a quarterback because of his throwing deficiencies. But at least he can make some plays happen.

I said before the season began that the Tebow would probably be the starter after about four games, so it’s no surprise that we’re at the point where the speculation has begun. Coach Rex Ryan has said he will not let the media control his team, but there was a report earlier this week suggesting that team owner Woody Johnson might tell the coaches to play Tebow if the team doesn’t turn things around.

We’ve felt for a while that Sanchez isn’t the answer for the Jets at quarterback. They might as well play Tebow and see if he can reproduce some of the magic he had last season. And then they should go back to the draft and see about finding a new franchise quarterback.

Tiger Woods costs sports books millions on last hole of Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods cost sports books millions with his play on the final hole of the Ryder Cup on Sunday.

The U.S. had already lost the Ryder Cup before Woods began his head-to-head play against Francesco Molinari on the final hole Sunday. Europe was up 14-13 after Martin Kaymer defeated Steve Stricker a hole earlier. Had Woods won 18 to win his match against Molinari, he would have given the U.S. a point to tie the Ryder Cup 14-14. Because ties mean the country that won the previous Ryder Cup retains the title, the U.S. had already lost. Woods knew that and probably didn’t think much of it when he missed a putt on 18 and conceded a four-foot putt and the hole to Molinari.

Instead of Tiger winning his match to tie the Ryder Cup, he and Molinari halved giving Europe the outright Ryder Cup win 14.5-13.5. That development cost sports books millions because it awarded money to those who bet on Europe to win, while hardly any bettors wager that there would be a tie.

Here’s the sports book breakdown according to Metro:

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