Every gambler can recount their worst beats off the top of their head. Not every loss at the book is created equal as sometimes you’re just on the wrong side from the beginning, but those moments when an assured trip to the window turns into a ripped ticket will haunt you forever.
In football, this might be on an otherwise meaningless Hail Mary to hit the Over or earn a backdoor cover. In basketball, it’s often a late score from a team way down in the closing seconds to cover a number. However, the worst beats of them all come when a team could run or dribble out the clock and instead tries to do something that results in a score one way or the other.
On Wednesday, anyone who bet on the Georgia-LSU basketball game spread got to experience either the ecstasy or crippling pain that comes with being on either end of that kind of a finish. LSU, laying 11 points, was up 12 with under 20 seconds to play when they got a steal. That should’ve been a moment to dribble out the clock, head to the handshake line and get to the locker room with a win and a cover for those backing the Bayou Bengals.
However, LSU’s players had a different idea and attempted and off-the-backboard alley-oop that went spectacularly wrong. Georgia collected the rebound and drilled a three to cut the lead to nine. For Georgia bettors, it was sweet, sweet victory. Right? Not yet. The Dawgs, down nine, decided to foul with four seconds left for…reasons, and bring a push into play. Life, for the LSU bettor, only to see the free throws get split for a 92-82 win. The sequence is nothing if not performance art.