There’s bad beats, and then there’s moments of sports betting torment that linger forever. These moments typically occur when a bettor has put a lot on the line, has a large potential win at stake, has handicapped a game perfectly, maybe all of the above. And then it goes to shit for no good reason.
Most professional bettors are able to quickly wash away the stench from a good bet gone bet belly up, while regular folks have limits. Personally I have a longstanding, unilateral beef with Brett Gardner, but I’m saving my own tales of misery for another time.
The question presented to Friends of SportsHandle for this story was: What team or player do you detest the most for ruining a bet that you made? They’re not all traditional “bad beats,” but brutal losses that left an indelible mark, in their own words.
(Have a tale you’d like to share for a future installment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sports Betting Stories of Everlasting, Possibly Irrational Disdain for Teams and Players Causing Memorable, Heart-Wrenching Losses
John and the Time That Tom Brady’s Favorite Target Couldn’t Catch the Ball
Wes Welker’s dropped catch in Super Bowl XLVI. I had the prop bet for over on Welker for 82.5 receiving yards. Late in the fourth quarter, TB12 is looking to put the Giants away and tosses a perfect pass that Wes Welker drops for what looked to have been a 25-yard gain. Welker at the time had 60 total yards receiving.
Mario Manningham would become a star and Welker wouldn’t see another target for the rest of the game. Still makes me sick how wide open he was. I was 20 at the time so the $110 I lost was a lot of beer money.
Jeff swears off Notre Dame in 1991
I used to love Notre Dame and I had a $200 wager on them to beat Tennessee… this is probably 1991, so that was a lot of money for me back then. They were giving a half a point to the Vols, the Irish were up 31-7 at the half. Tennessee came back and took the lead 35-34. Notre Dame then had a chance to win it with a SHORT field goal with like 10 seconds left. The [backup, walk-on sophomore] kicker missed it. Ball hit off a Tennessee player’s ass! I’ve hated them ever since.
[Editor’s note: This from then-Notre Dame head coach, Lou Holtz: “I’ve been in this game a long time. That was as difficult a loss as I’ve been associated with, ever. Ever.”]
Josh’s future ticket and a most unusual end to a ballgame
As a St. Louis baseball fan, I was inspired by the story of a better placing and winning a 9999-1 future ticket on the 2011 Cardinals to win the World Series. I wouldn’t dare back a team to repeat, but I bought them two years later at 20-1 in 2013.
They made it all the way to the WS again, this time facing the Red Sox. As only a slight dog to win the series, the Cardinals stole home-field advantage from Boston by winning Game 2 and went on to take the lead 2-1 after Game 3. Game 4 saw the Sox take control with a Jonny Gomes 3-run dinger, but the Cards set the table in the 9th. With 2 outs and 1 on, Matheny put in rookie Kolten Wong to pinch run for Allen Craig with the toughest out in the St. Louis lineup up, Carlos Beltran.
The largest crowd in Busch Stadium history was raucous as Beltran stared down the Boston closer Koji Uehara. But then Wong got picked off 1st base like a dumbass rookie, marking the only time in history an MLB playoff game ended in that manner. The Cards never had another lead in the series, losing 4-2. It wasn’t exactly a bad beat, but I’ve hated that kid ever since.
Dan and the goalie-defender malfunction in the final minute
Arsenal. I was in Vegas with Brian a few years ago and we woke up at 5 am to watch this match, the League Cup Final , where I had sharply bet the draw in regulation for us. That was looking like a nice winner with the game tied 1-1 until in the LAST minute of regulation. The Birmingham goalie booted one away deep and it hit off a Birmingham player’s head near the top of the penalty box, bounced pretty softly to the Arsenal goalie [Wojciech Szczęsny], only he gets mixed up with a defender who tries to kick it away. The ball spits out and Birmingham kicks it into an empty net easy to make it 2-1 with like 30 seconds to go. We wanted to throw up. I might have.
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