Virginia-Duke Bad Beat: Last-Second ‘Meaningless’ Shot Swings Spread Bets

Jan 20, 2019 08:56 PM EST

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: De’Andre Hunter

  • Duke closed as 4-point favorites against Virginia on Saturday, but the line was -3 or -3.5 for much of the day.
  • A jumper from De'Andre Hunter as time expired made the final score 72-70 Duke.
  • A late flurry of points from Duke free throws and Virginia's desperation offense also pushed the game over the total (137.5).

Virginia-Duke was heralded as the Game of the Year — and it lived up to the hype for both fans and bettors.

The spread for the ACC showdown closed at a consensus of Duke -4, but that’s a little misleading. The line pinged between 3 and 3.5 all day on Saturday, before shooting up to 4 right before tip.

So I’d venture to say the majority of ticket holders had a spread of 3.5 or lower in what was by far the most heavily bet sporting event today (nearly 10,000 more tickets than the next-closest game).

All of that makes Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter’s shot as time expired all the more crucial.

If you watch this slow enough, it looks 50-50 whether Hunter’s shot should’ve counted.

The refs called it good on the floor — and with the shot not holding any game-swinging implications — they did not review it, leaving Duke chalk bettors none too pleased.

But take another look:

Now, you can make the case that Blue Devils’ backers were lucky to be in a position to get robbed of a cover.

The margin did not exceed three points for a significant portion of the second half — from 16:10 to 2:18.

And then Duke pulled away with a combination of clutch buckets and stifling defense, getting up by as much as eight with 44 seconds remaining.

The Blue Devils would miss three of their final six free throws from that point forward, with Virginia scoring eight points to pull off the miracle cover.

Not for nothing: The late scoring barrage also pushed the game over the total (137.5). The total score with 1:09 left was 125, so, yeah, our condolences to anyone who had the under.

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