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Tracking every bad beat in the 2021 NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament brings it with crushing losses for teams and bettors. We’re here to track all the bad beats.

Dexter Dennis #0 of the Wichita State Shockers attempts a shot against the Drake Bulldogs during the second half in the First Four game prior to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Mackey Arena on March 18, 2021 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The 2021 NCAA Tournament is officially underway, and it remains a gambler’s paradise. We get arguably the two wildest days of betting on the sports calendar with the first two rounds. Some favorites will cruise, but plenty of underdogs will attempt to become put on Cinderella’s glass slipped in March.

Regardless of who wins or who gets upset, the sheer volume of games means bettors can expect a host of bad beats. These are college kids, so that 85 percent free-throw shooter is no sure thing during the pressure of March. A bet on three-point favorite holding a five point lead with 30 seconds left is not safe, and most of us are going to feel the sting of the bad beat.

We’ll be tracking them throughout the three weekends of the NCAA Tournament. Best wishes and we hope you can avoid as many of these as possible.

Houston (-8) beats Oregon State 67-61

The Cougars were well in control of a game where the outcome was decided, but a heaved three-pointer by Maurice Calloo with 3.5 seconds left shifted the spread from a Houston cover to an Oregon State one.

To add insult to injury to bettors, the Beavers called a timeout after the make but then didn’t even foul to put Houston back on the free throw line for the push.

Kansas (-10.5) beats Eastern Washington 93-84

It’s your pretty standard “just let him score” beat, as KU knocked down two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to take a 93-82 lead. But the Eagles had no quit in them, and Jacob Davison drove the lane and laid in with five seconds remaining to cut it to nine. EWU with the cover!

To be fair it’s certainly justified, as the Eagles were up eight at halftime and still ahead with 10 minutes remaining. But that doesn’t make Jayhawks bettors feel any better.

Florida beats Virginia Tech (Over 134.5)

With the total at 125 points with just seven seconds left, under bettors were nine points clear of the total. As long as the Gators make one of these two free throws...

It’s March Madness... you know what happens next.

18 total points in OT for the loss. The overtime beats are the worst.

No. 11 Drake (-2) beats No. 11 Wichita State 53-52

The Bulldogs seemed to have not just a date with USC locked up, but a cover for all their backers as well. With a 53-49 lead, they stole the ball from the Shockers with just 16 seconds left. Put ‘em in the second round, right?

Not exactly. D.J. Wilkins got his pocket picked by Alterique Gilbert, with the ball coming to Dennis Dexter for a 53-52 score. But with the needed foul given by WSU on the ensuing inbound, they’d have to miss the front end of a one-and-one with Joseph Yesufu, a career 82.1% free throw shooter...

And of course that happened because this is the bad beat tracker. It meant Drake -2 bettors were locked out before Gilbert’s three-point attempt drew front iron to end it as the horn sounded.

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