Bad beats: Fantasy owners who lost on Packers-Seahawks Hail Mary

You didn’t think that sports bettors were the only ones who lost big on the botched call to end “Monday Night Football” between the Packers and Seahawks, did you? Of course not. There are plenty of stories of fantasy owners who were affected by the brutal call. We have the tales of some of those bad beats below.

Andrew Geiger lost his fantasy matchup by 1.84 points thanks to the bad call. Not only did he lose points when the Packers’ defensive points allowed went from 7 to 14, but he also lost on the yards gained on the final play. Double whammy!

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Blown call costs gamblers $150 million-plus, Sportsbook.com refunds Packers bets (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Deadspin pointed out that the website Sportsbook actually runs two separate sites — one that services the United States and another that services the rest of the world. Conveniently enough, bets are only being refunded through the site that Americans do not use.

Losing a wager because of a Hail Mary is a tough enough pill to swallow without the replacement officials making it even harder. The Packers were 3.5-point favorites at most major sports books and on most gambling websites Monday night. Green Bay had the spread covered until Golden Tate’s phantom reception won the game for Seattle, and ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that the blown call shifted at least $150 million in wagers worldwide. After refunding all lost Packers bets, the gambling website Sportsbook.com can no longer be included in that figure.

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South Carolina Fails to Cover Spread After Taking Safety on Last Play

South Carolina screwed many bettors Saturday when they decided to run out the clock on the game’s final play by taking an intentional safety.

The Gamecocks were up 14-10 and favored by 2.5 or 3 points in most sports books. They had a 4th and 12 with four seconds left in the game, and the ball at their nine. Instead of attempting a play, or kneeling down (the clock would have stopped and the ball would have been turned over on downs), they did the smart thing and had their quarterback run backwards until the four seconds ran off the clock.

Time expired on the final play, but the intentional safety counted in the final score. South Carolina ended up winning 14-12, screwing anyone who had the Gamecocks giving the points. It was the probably the smartest play for South Carolina, even if it hurt gamblers. Covers.com says 69% of bettors had the Gamecocks laying the points, so the move hurt a lot more people than it helped. And once again, Steve Spurrier is making many more enemies than he did in his press conference earlier in the week.

Thanks to The Wiz of Odds for the heads up

Sideline Violation Keeps USC from Covering Against Utah (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The play in question was reviewed after the game and USC was given the touchdown. The final score was changed to 23-14 as it should have been. The penalty applied to the bench for committing unsportsmanlike conduct, making it a dead ball foul, so the penalty is assessed after the play is over.

UPDATE II: Some sportsbooks will not adjust payouts to reflect the new 23-14 final. From Todd Fuhrman at Ceasars: We do not recognize defaults prior to the start of the event, suspended games, protests, or overturned decisions for wagering purposes.


USC was lucky to escape with a 17-14 win at home over Utah Saturday night. Folks who put some money on the Trojans weren’t as fortunate.

USC blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game to preserve the win. Torin Harris picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a score that would have made it 23-14. The only problem was half the team ran onto the field in celebration, resulting in a penalty flag.

The Trojans were hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for committing a sideline violation. The referee’s call was “unsportsmanlike conduct on the USC bench. By rule, we’ll decline that penalty. The game is over.”

The game ended with the score 17-14. The Trojans opened as a 10-point favorite in the game and the line closed at 7.5 or 8 most places. For most people, had the blocked field goal returned for a score counted, they would have covered or at least pushed. Sorry sports bettors, no dice on that one.

But that wasn’t the only controversial aspect of the ending. Prior to the field goal attempt, Utah got a poor spot on a 4th and 10 pass. Their pass went to the 38 but was initially spotted around the 40. After a review, the referees spotted the ball at the 39 (still a bad spot), and gave them a first down. They threw one more pass before attempting the field goal. Here’s a look at the terrible spot:

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Long Jumper Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova Loses Gold Because of Her Pony Tail

Belarusian long jumper Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova missed out on winning the gold medal at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea because of her pony tail.

True story.

Mironchyk-Ivanova leaped 6.90 meters on her third jump — good for first place — but her hair touched the sand, leaving her with a mark of 6.74 meters. The winner, American Brittney Reese, jumped 6.82 meters. She kept her hair up in a bun.

Losing because of the mark left by the pony tail not only cost Mironchyk-Ivanova the gold medal, but also $60,000 in prize money.

We’ve heard of some pretty brutal ways to lose events, but this may be the worst. Actually, this incident might just top it.

Note: This post also appeared on the Yardbarker Olympics Blog

High School Pole Vaulter Evan Barr Says Curse Word, Costs Team State Title

Loyola High pole vaulter Evan Barr only needed to clear his final height in order to win an individual state title at the California state track and field meet on Saturday.  All the Los Angeles product needed to do to ensure that his team won a state title was to remain quiet after he failed to clear that final height.  Unfortunately, emotions got the best of him, and Barr made a mistake that ended up costing his team a state title.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barr shouted a curse word after he missed his final jump and was disqualified because of it.  Had he not used a “profanity,” Barr would have finished in a tie for third place and given his team enough to win the state boys’ championship.

“He uttered a profanity out of frustration, and the officials thought it was significant to disqualify him,” Coach Mike Porterfield said. “He apologized immediately after he said it.”

Hal Harkness, the state rules interpreter, added that contestants “can’t be profane in a competitive area” and called Barr’s reaction “an unfortunate lapse in judgment.”

Apparently that would be an understatement.  This is one of those instances where the most simple approach to take would be the “rules are rules” approach.  The circumstances are obviously different from collegiate or professional athletics given that it happened at a high school event, but this still seems a bit harsh.  Barr wasn’t cursing at an official or an opponent.  He was simply frustrated that he screwed up.  On the other hand, you can’t make exceptions to the rules based on circumstances — especially when dealing with high schoolers.  One things for sure: Evan Barr will probably behave like he’s in church during athletic competition from here on in, and we’re left wondering what’s a bigger injustice, that or this.

Chest bump to Prep Rally for the story.

Did Las Vegas Wiseguys Know Something About Titans Against Colts?

Two days later, people are still smarting about the infamous backdoor cover by the Titans Thursday night against the Colts. In case you’re unaware of what happened, the Colts were favored by 3-3.5 points against Tennessee. The Colts got out to a 21-0 lead and were up 30-21 and had the game in hand with two minutes left. In typical heartbreak gambling fashion, Tennessee scored a meaningless touchdown on the very last play of the game allowing them to cover the spread. The TD mattered little to the Colts who were winning the game either way, but it swung millions of dollars in favor of “The House.”

Two separate friends inquired about Doc Brown’s thoughts on the game, thinking it was a steal of a bet. Both Doc and Del locked the Colts in as a Top 3 selection this week. 88% of the public had the Colts covering, an absolutely overwhelming margin. Everyone thought the Colts would win the game and win it handily. Except for the Wiseguys.

A source informed Larry Brown Sports that some big money came in game day on the Titans from the Wiseguys. Did they know something nobody else did? Did they know that difference-making wide receiver Kenny Britt would be active for the Titans for the first time since hurting his hamstring? Did they know Indy’s top two CBs would be inactive? Or were they simply going against the public, which often times is a smart move in itself?

Here’s an even better question: does Tennessee covering even prove the Wiseguys in fact did know something? Was the public right about the game? Were the Colts, who were up 21-0 and won the game handily, easily the better team? Was Tennessee and the Wiseguys lucky to have it end as a two-point game? At this point I have to say that the public was right, that Indy was easily the superior team, and that they were only playing to win the game, not cover the spread, and that’s why they didn’t. Sometimes even Las Vegas gets lucky.