In one of the craziest opening weekend of games we have ever seen in tournament history, I hope you ended up on the right side of some of the worst beats of the weekend. It seems like we had a new moose alert every few hours, starting with the opening game of the tournament. Those who lost the Oklahoma-Rhode Island Under 158 by three points in overtime couldn’t have been happy after we had zero overtime games in last year’s tournament.
For those of you not familiar with the term “Moose,” it has been used for years within the sports betting world to reference a bad beat. It originated within the old-school gambling forums more than 15 years ago and has stuck ever since.
Let’s jump into the five worst beats from the first weekend of the the tourney.
5. Any ML wagers against Nevada
The comeback Pack from Nevada ripped the hearts out of Texas +1 backers on Friday afternoon after being down 14 in the second half. Nevada never held a lead in that second half. The Wolfpack then backed it up on Sunday with an even crazier comeback win against Cincinnati. Nevada trailed by 22 points with 11 minutes left in regulation before making a historic comeback. (That marked the second largest comeback in tournament history.) It took its first lead in that game with 9.1 seconds left. Two tournament wins to get to the Sweet 16, despite only holding a second half lead for fewer than a combined 10 seconds.
4. Georgia State +14.5
Georgia State held a 47-46 lead over Cincinnati with 9:29 left in the game, but couldn’t find a way to cover 14.5. The final dagger came when Georgia State fouled Cincy with 41 seconds left. The Bearcats, who led by 13 at the time, drained both free throws to push their lead out to 15 for the first time all game, which is where the contest ended. GSU only scored six points over the final nine and a half minutes to lose by the hook. Moose.
3. Duke/Iona Over 157
Over bettors had to feel good when Duke hit a 3 to end the first half, taking a 53-39 lead into halftime. After 92 total points over the first 20 minutes, those who bet the over simply needed 66 points in the second half to get to the window. The live total once got up above 180, but the game would finish with only 156 points after a torture of a finish for over backers. The teams combined for only seven total points (in a blowout) over the final four minutes. The most painful part of all for over backers was three missed free throws and three missed shots over the final 50 seconds.
2. Kentucky -5.5
Davidson covered 5.5, despite trailing 76-65 with 23 seconds remaining, thanks to the following sequence of events at the end of regulation:
- Kentucky foul (19 seconds left)
- Davidson makes both free throws (76-67)
- Kentucky turnover on inbounds
- Davidson 3 pointer (76-70)
- Davidson foul (10 seconds left)
- Kentucky makes both (78-70)
- Davidson missed 3 pointer (8 seconds left)
- Offensive rebound
- Davidson prayer 3 for the cover (0.6 seconds left)
Davidson backers then survived the inbound pass without fouling with under a second to go. I still don’t know how that Davidson shot went in. A true miracle cover in Boise.
1. The entire Kansas-Seton Hall game
Four “mooses” all in the same game. It started with a bad beat in the first half, when Kansas hit a 3 in the final seconds to take a five-point lead into halftime. That shot, which came after two missed Seton Hall free throws, covered the 1H line of -2.5 for those who backed the Jayhawks.
Seton Hall would get its revenge in the second half with a meaningless 3 at the buzzer, which covered +4.5 for the game and +1.5 for the second half. As if that wasn’t enough, this game barely went over the total of 155, thanks to 31 combined points over the final 80 seconds.
🚨🚨 #MOOSEALERT 🚨🚨
With 0:59 seconds left, Kansas led Seton Hall 71-64 (135 points).
Final Score: 83-79 (162 points).
Under (155) bettors… pic.twitter.com/GKWufo6O3B
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) March 18, 2018
Top photo: Texas forward Royce Hamm Jr.; credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports