Sports betting winners and losers: Sacramento delivers excruciating NBA bad beat to end the week

Frank Schwab
·5 min read

If you were chasing your losses or trying to double your winnings last week, there was really only one late-night offering on Sunday: Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings. Not the best game, but it was a game.

And if you had the Kings, you woke up feeling extra terrible on Monday.

The Kings were as low as 1-point favorites, then got bet all the way up to -3.5 by tipoff. The Hornets were without leading scorer Gordon Hayward and big man Cody Zeller. With 1:09 to go, it seemed that there was no way the Kings were losing no matter the spread any bettor got them at.

When Kings guard De'Aaron Fox stole a pass in the backcourt and a foul on Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball was deemed to be a flagrant, Sacramento had a 123-115 lead with Fox going to the line for two free throws. They'd keep the ball too. You've watched enough NBA basketball games to know, this one was over.

But Fox missed both free throws. Then Marvin Bagley's short shot was blocked by Ball. On the other end, Terry Rozier drilled a 3 with 52.4 seconds left to cut the Kings' lead to 5. That was a bad sequence, but a 5-point lead with the ball should be safe with less than a minute to go.

Malik Monk celebrates a game-winning 3-point play to lift the Hornets to a great comeback win over the Kings.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Malik Monk celebrates a game-winning 3-point play to lift the Hornets to a great comeback win over the Kings. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Then Bagley missed two free throws for the Kings. Rozier was fouled shooting a 3 and hit all three free throws, cutting the deficit to 2. Fox hit a push shot to put the Kings up 4 with 23.8 seconds left — yet another "this game should be over" moment — but P.J. Washington hit a 3 to keep the Hornets alive. Buddy Hield, an 84.4 percent free-throw shooter, missed the first of two free throws. By that point, everyone with a Kings ticket knew what was coming.

Hornets guard Malik Monk got an open lane to the basket and was fouled while hitting a layup with 1.4 seconds left. The free throw gave Charlotte a 127-126 win. It gave Kings bettors a big headache.

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And that debacle is how you end the week with an excruciating bad beat. Here are the rest of the winners and losers from the sports betting world over the last week:

WINNERS

College basketball fans: Monday was a benchmark for fans of college hoops. It's March.

Last year, March Madness was in the middle of the coronavirus news cycle, with conference tournaments being canceled as the sports world shut down. The timing led to perhaps the most enduring image of the sports world stopping due to COVID-19:

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March Madness is mostly back. There are still questions about conference tournaments and the truly odd situation of teams left out of the NCAA tournament waiting to see if teams have to bow out due to positive tests, but there will be tournament basketball in March. Gonzaga and Baylor are the favorites at BetMGM to win the title at +300, Michigan is right behind at +400 and no other team is less than +1100.

It won't be a normal March in the college basketball world, but there will still be plenty of action.

Collin Morikawa: Morikawa will be a factor in golf's majors this year, and probably for many years.

Morikawa was fantastic in the WGC-Workday Championship, shooting 18-under par and winning the tournament by three strokes. He became the second golfer with a major win and a WGC win before the age of 25. The other to do it is Tiger Woods.

The Masters starts in a little more than a month, on April 8. Morikawa, who won the PGA Championship at age 23, is one of many talented young golfers who could pay off nicely on a bet to win.

LOSERS

Baylor's undefeated dreams: The Bears were 18-0 going into Kansas last weekend, and well ...

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The Bears lost 71-58 to the Jayhawks. They are still a lock to get a No. 1 seed but this does seem to be a bit of a lull in their season. Baylor has failed to cover the spread in three of four games. The Bears won by only five against a bad Iowa State team before losing to Kansas. Michigan has passed Baylor for the No. 2 spot in the KenPom rankings.

Baylor should be fine, but the past couple weeks haven't been smooth for the Bears. They'll be a team to keep an eye on before the NCAA tournament, to see if this turns into an ill-timed slump.

An Alabama bad beat: The only hope is that you weren't on the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night and Alabama over the weekend as well ...

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