Let's get one thing straight: If you make the poor decision to wager money on a meaningless all-star exhibition contest, you deserve whatever bad beat you have coming to you.
Still, what happened at the end of Sunday night's Pro Bowl deserves to go down as a "Great Moment in Gambling History." Heck it might even be worth a fleeting amount of sympathy from comrades who bet professional wrestling results, reality television outcomes or the Washington Generals' money line.
In case you missed it: With his team down one, Baltimore kicker Matt Stover attempted at 67-yard field goal with just seconds remaining. The kick was short and it landed in the hands of New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie, who ran forward and raised his arm in celebration. Players and coaches streamed onto the field to celebrate Team Rice's 22-21 win over Team Sanders and it appeared that was that.
Or was it? Cromartie decided to keep running with the ball and slowly jogged through the crowd for an Auburn-style kick return. Baltimore's Terrell Suggs chased after in pursuit but Cromartie crossed the goal line for what looked like another six points, which would have allowed Team Rice to cover the 1.5-point spread it entered the game with. But the touchdown didn't count for whatever reason and Team Sanders tickets still cashed at the counter.
According to Sports Insights, a total of 60 percent of Pro Bowl money was placed on Team Rice, so some people had to be steamed at the outcome. And it's not like there was a meaningless amount of money at stake either. Vegas Insider RJ Bell tweeted on Sunday that the Pro Bowl attracts "DOUBLE the amount bet on a popular college basketball game."
We went trolling Twitter on Sunday to look for a few unlucky souls who lost money on that play. We couldn't find anyone who'd cop to it, but two lucky winners crowed about a win that should officially be chalked up to Pro Bowl indifference.
@JMV1070 I'm embarrassed that I bet the pro bowl but I won thanks to the "band is on the field" final play. Great gambling cover
— sbg (@discostu247) January 27, 2014
Stuck in the hospital so I watched the Pro Bowl and bet Team Sanders. Who says that degeneracy doesn't pay?
— LazyRSports (@Lazy_R_Sports) January 27, 2014
We'd posit that a lot of Pro Bowl action is made precisely because of the random nature of the outcome. If you win, you win a little extra money to lose on the Super Bowl the next Sunday. If you lose? Well, then you get a funny story to tell your pals at poker night the following weekend.
Sunday's outcome gave bettors in that latter group a bad beat they'll talk about for years.
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