Predicting All The Ways I’ll Lose Money Betting the NFL Playoffs
The worst NFL playoff bet I ever made was drinking the water in Mexico. Seriously. It was 2012, and I had a flight to catch to the Super Bowl the morning after my best friend’s wedding. The problem? I got so sick that the flight attendants wouldn’t let me on the plane, and I spent a week trying to keep down ice chips and missed everything in Indianapolis, including the Super Bowl.
Not ideal. Neither is being a degen bettor during the NFL playoffs. Most of my pools are wrapped up, there’s less fantasy football to distract me from making dumb teasers, and the lines are so tight that you know it’s only a matter of time before you get got.
But I have to bet the playoffs because … they’re the PLAYOFFS, and the only thing worse than getting screwed is missing out on betting them altogether (you may have heard about my betting FOMO).
Make no mistake, though, I’m well aware the bad beats are coming. In hopes of lessening the blow when they become reality, here are my predictions for how my betting tickets will be lit aflame this postseason.
There will be a game-altering Hail Mary
It’s the worst when a team you are backing seemingly has the cover on lock and then a lucky Hail Mary detonates everything in the blink of an eye. This reminds me of when I was in Mexico during the Divisional Round of the playoffs in January 2016. (Yes, I’m fond of Mexico in the winter time. Sue me.) One evening we went to Playa del Carmen, and while everyone else decided to experience the best the city had to offer, I found my mecca: a bar with live sports betting.
Ahhhhhh yeah pic.twitter.com/iEXTaquQgg
— Lauren Joffe (@thespinzone) January 17, 2016
It was at the bar where I watched the NFC game between the Packers and Cardinals. It just so happened that every single cheesehead visiting the area was there and it turned out to be quite a treat. I took the Cardinals at -6.5. In the closing seconds, they led 20-13 and appeared to have the game (and the cover) all but sealed. Aaron Rodgers had different plans. On the last play of regulation, Rodgers threw a Hail Mary TD to Jeff Janis.
While the bar erupted, I had to take what felt like my 20th shot because that miracle play tied the game at 20, sent it to overtime, and cost me my bet. In overtime, notwithstanding this prediction of mine, Carson Palmer did NOT throw an INT. Instead he threw the game-winning touchdown. Since it was OT, the Cardinals did not have to kick the extra point. Thus, the game ended 26-20, the Cardinals didn’t cover, and the cheeseheads and I drowned our sorrows in mezcal.
I have no doubt this will happen in some form this year. I’m thinking Cam Newton may connect on a miracle bomb against New Orleans, which will somehow cost me the Saints game. I’m already mad and it hasn’t even happened yet.
There will be a meaningless last minute FG that blows a cover
You know when it’s coming, and it’s always the worst. The seconds are dwindling down, a team is down two scores and they kick a meaningless FG to blow your cover. Anyone else remember the 2016 AFC Divisional Round, when the Steelers played the Broncos?
The Steelers, who were getting around seven points (depending on where and when you wagered), were down 10 with 19 seconds left and on the Broncos 30-yard line. That’s when Mike Tomlin decided to kick a field goal on second down to assure an onside kick attempt. Chris Boswell made the kick to cut the Broncos’ lead to 7, but the Broncos easily recovered the ensuing onside kick and Denver won 23-16. If you had the -7 you were pissed but thankful to push, if you had the hook, well, Big Ben and the bumble bees were on your shit list for good reason. I don’t know who will do it this year, but it will happen, and I will be on the losing end.
Alex Smith will play poorly and cost me the cover
The Chiefs and Titans face off on Saturday in the AFC Wild Card game. If recent history tells us anything, this could be a long day for the Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Things have not gone well for Smith or KC backers the past few times he has faced the Titans. In December 2016, the Chiefs were favored by six over Tennessee and led 14-7 in the second half when Smith threw a bad interception in the end zone. That sparked a Tennessee rally which led to an eventual 19-17 Titans victory.
In 2014, Smith threw three interceptions against Tennessee. This was the only time he’s ever thrown three interceptions in a single game. I’m laying the points with the Chiefs on Saturday, so you can bet the guy who’s usually allergic to throwing interceptions will have at least two picks and cost me the cover. He’s screwed me before. Maybe this is a good game to hedge against my misery by taking the over on the Alex Smith INTs thrown prop bet.
Tony Romo will choke and cause me to lose a bet
Tony Romo always chokes in the playoffs. I know he’s not playing, but I’ve had no luck betting on him in the past, so he’s gotta mess something up from the CBS booth, right? The announcer jinx is the most likely scenario. I also wouldn’t rule out something a little more clandestine, like, say, an “accidental” tripping incident pregame that seriously injures the QB I bet on. Wipe that crazy look off your face. This season has gone wayyyyy too well for Tony Romo. He will mess it all up somehow.
Photo via Ed Mulholland -USA TODAY Sports