After it was all chalk in the first and second round of the tournament, three top seeds went down this past weekend, leaving most with a busted bracket. However, the bad beats for bettors happened throughout, capped off by an all-timer for those unlucky souls who had Purdue against Virginia on Saturday night.
Here are the worst bad beats of the 2019 NCAA tournament:
No. 13 Vermont Catamounts vs. No. 4 Florida State Seminoles
Line: Florida State -8.5
In one of the first games of this year's tournament, those who took the favorite found themselves in an early hole. This game was tied at halftime, but Florida State would take control in the second half and led by 13 with just over a minute left. Unfortunately for some unlucky bettors, Vermont would not go down without a fight.
The Catamounts scored 11 points in the game's final 65 seconds and cut the Florida State lead to 76-69 with 12 seconds left. The Seminoles proceeded to break the press and had leading scorer Mfiondu Kabengele wide open for a would-be dunk with five seconds left to cover the spread, but Kabengele dribbled past the hoop and ran out the clock instead. The pain of this bad beat was softened a little for those who bet with DraftKings, which actually offered a $25 bad beat refund for those that had Florida State -8.5.
Final score: Florida State 76, Vermont 69 (Vermont covers)
No. 7 Wofford Terriers vs. No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
Line: Wofford +5.5
Two days later, those who took the underdog were left with a losing ticket and bad beat story to tell.
Wofford played Kentucky to within single digits for the entire game and trailed by six with five minutes left. From that point on, the Terriers held Kentucky without a made field goal for the rest of the game. The deficit would get trimmed down to two with 18 seconds left before the worst possible sequence of events followed for those on Wofford +5.5: two made Kentucky free throws, a Wofford missed 3-pointer, two made Kentucky free throws, a Wofford missed 3-pointer, game over.
This half-point loss for those on the Terriers was especially frustrating when you consider that their star guard, Fletcher Magee, missed all 12 of his 3-point attempts.
Final score: Kentucky 62, Wofford 56 (Kentucky covers)
No. 9 UCF Knights vs. No. 1 Duke Blue Devils
First-half line:: UCF +7.5
This turned out to be one of the most exciting games and finishes of the tournament. However, it's quite possible that those who had UCF +7.5 on the first half line couldn't stand to watch after halftime.
The underdog Knights got off to a hot start and led 19-13 at the halfway point of the first half. Needless to say, those who took UCF to cover 7.5 in the first 20 minutes were feeling good. Then Duke started heating up, and the game was tied at 34 with just over two minutes left before halftime. The Blue Devils, led by their freshmen, would close the half on a 10-2 run and were on top by eight at the break. Just brutal for those who lost by a half-point on the underdog, especially when the Knights ended up losing by one and easily covering the full-game spread.
Halftime score: Duke 44, UCF 36 (Duke covers)
No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers
Line: Purdue +4.5
Those who bet on sports will inevitably have some tough breaks and bad beats. But no one deserves the feeling those on Purdue +4.5 had after this game on Saturday night.
In an incredible game that featured one of the all-time individual tournament performances, the final margin is what resonated in the gambling world. It looked like Carsen Edwards was going to carry Purdue to the Final Four, but Virginia somehow forced overtime on Mamadi Diakite's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. The Boilermakers showed resilience in the extra period and led by one with less than 30 seconds left, but it was all downhill from there. The Cavaliers took the lead on a De'Andre Hunter layup, while Edwards' historic performance ended with a missed 3-pointer and turnover on Purdue's final two possessions. Virginia would make all four of its free throws in the final five seconds, including the last one by Kihei Clark that hit the rim and backboard before going in to give his team an improbable five-point win. It left bettors who took Purdue with a loss that they will never forget.
Final score: Virginia 80, Purdue 75 in OT (Virginia covers)
No. 5 Auburn Tigers vs. No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats
One of the fears in taking the under is the game going into overtime. We saw it earlier in the tournament when the Iowa-Tennessee game went over in the extra five minutes after regulation. While that one was bad, those on the under in Sunday's Auburn-Kentucky game had hands down the worst bad beat on a total in this year's tournament.
These teams went to overtime tied at 60, with the 120 combined points still 22.5 below the closing total of 142.5. Sure, those on the under were sweating a little, but they probably figured they just needed to avoid a second overtime. They avoided the second overtime but watched as the Tigers and Wildcats combined for a ridiculous 28 points in five minutes, including 17 in the final 70 seconds to send the total over.
Final score: Auburn 77, Kentucky 71 in OT (total goes over)