Every football season brings its share of bad beats and back door covers that leave bettors cringing. A team just misses out on covering the spread, the over just hits on a meaningless touchdown.
Last night, the Temple Owls and East Carolina Pirates provided an ending that will go down as one of the classic gambling moments of 2019. It had zero bearing on the final outcome for the win/loss column, but it was insane nonetheless.
Temple was cruising along, taking a 27-10 lead with 10:37 left in the fourth quarter. They were 12 point favorites, and East Carolina had not shown any real life since the first quarter. Temple had the ball with just under four minutes to play, when the first sign of the coming insanity happened. The stadium lights went out as Temple was running a screen pass with 3:52 to go. It resulted in a brief delay before the game picked back up and Temple punted two plays later.
Looking back, we probably should have seen that as a sign. East Carolina got started at their own 16-yard line and proceeded to drive 84 yards to score a touchdown with 29 seconds left. The touchdown cut the Temple lead to ten, getting the Pirates inside the cover. The point total was between 46 and 48 depending on when you got it, so a 27-17 score meant the under would hit at 44. It’s also worth noting East Carolina was a six point second half dog and had cut the second half lead to 10-7. The second half point total was set at 21.5, so this game was going to end with the second half under hitting.
The late cover is a bad beat for Temple bettors, but then things almost got really crazy, and ESPN’s announcers were there for it!
East Carolina managed to recover their onside kick with 29 seconds remaining, giving them time for a desperation drive to at least cut into the Temple lead in an inevitable loss. Pirates QB Holton Ahlers was sacked, connected on a 13-yard pass, and then threw incomplete to set up 4th and 14. He connected with Tyler Snead for 14 yards, and as Snead tried to force something with the play, this happened.
The whistle blows Snead dead as he tried to push forward for more yards, but the Temple defenders don’t hear it as the ball comes loose and they run it back for a non-score.
Had the play counted and Temple scored, they would have covered for the game and for the second half, and the full game and second half overs would have hit. And with sports betting coming further out of the dark, ESPN’s announcers were all about it. Play-by-play man Adam Amin and color commentators Matt Hasselbeck and Pat McAfee all lost their shit, with Amin proclaiming, “The worst of beats, potentially!”
If you weren’t betting on the game, that final play had no bearing. But if you had money on any of the four bets above, you might have come close to having a heart attack.