Top 5 NFL Bad Beats From the 2023 Season

By Chris Hughes   February 23, 2024 

Top 5 NFL Bad Beats From the 2023 Season

We love to look ahead here at Sidelines. After all, it’s how things go in the sports-betting world.

But sometimes, it’s fun to take a look down memory lane.

However, this could be a traumatic look for some.

We’re going to take a look back on the top 5 NFL bad beats (or bottom 5, depending on your perspective) bad beats from the just-completed 2023 season.

And if you’re looking for the inside track on early 2024 NFL wagers, check out these articles:

TOP 5 NFL BAD BEATS — No. 5. Texans Take a Knee

In the Week 9 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans, the rising Texans were 2-point favorites over the Buccaneers.

In a wild game featuring two quarterbacks who would eventually lead their first-year teams to the second round of the playoffs, a play in the second quarter would prove to be pivotal for bettors.

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn injured his quad, forcing backup running back Dare Ogunbowale to handle kickoff duties.

Fast-forward to 46 seconds remaining, the Bucs took a 37-33 lead on a Mayfield touchdown pass. Remarkably, the Texans wound up scoring with six seconds left to take a 39-37 advantage.

Instead of risk a turnover on a two-point conversion attempt that could result in two points for Tampa Bay, Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans opted to take a knee on the PAT. The final was 39-37, leaving Texans’ backers at -2.5 slack-jawed.

No. 4. Chargers and Chiefs Stop Scoring

With Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes at the helm of their respective teams, the Chargers and Chiefs have put on some shootouts over the years. As a result, the over-under total for this game was set at 48.5.

After a slow first quarter, the teams kicked it into high gear, scoring a combined five touchdowns in the second quarter. The halftime score? 24-17 Chiefs. Over bettors rejoiced — only eight points were needed in the second half to send them to the pay window.

Here was the next touchdown.

Note that it came with just over three minutes left in the game. That wound up being the last score of the game, so the final total was 48. A sure win turns into heartbreak.

No. 3. Hoping Against Hope

Here’s an example of what looked like a sure thing hung on to become a win by a nose, turning into a bad beat for over bettors who got their hopes up at the end.

For San Francisco vs. Jacksonville in Week 10, the Niners were coming off a bye and three losses before that. The Jags also had three losses and were actually holding the top spot in the AFC at this point. Fortunes changed for both teams. The 49ers won this one in a rout, 34-3, earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC, whereas Jacksonville missed the playoffs.

The over-under total for this one was 44. With the score at 34-3, over bettors were frustrated with the Jags’ lack of offensive production. But the 49ers were about to bail them out. They had first and goal with around three minutes left to play. Normally, a team would take their foot off the gas, but Christian McCaffrey was riding a streak of 17-straight games with a touchdown. Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan gave McCaffrey the ball on each down to try to get into the end zone, but it didn’t happen. The under survived.

No. 2. Did the Rams Have Something on This Game?

Sometimes, you can’t find any logic in the end-game of an NFL contest. You figure to yourself, “They must be trying to screw the bettors!”

While that’s unlikely, you have to wonder about the end of the Week 2 contest between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams.

Installed as a 7.5-point favorite, the 49ers led by 10 when Matthew Stafford got the ball with two minutes remaining. The strategy here typically is to try and score quickly — whether it’s a field goal or touchdown. Either way, you need two scores.

Facing a third and 2 at the 49ers’ 37-yard line, the Rams could’ve attempted a 54-yard field goal and had about 15 seconds remaining for an onsides kick. They opted to pass down the middle. LA got the first down, but Stafford had to clock the ball with :04 remaining. Here was the final play.

Are you kidding me? San Francisco fans crying over the Super Bowl result have nothing on 49ers bettors in Week 2.

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No. 1. McDaniels Bungles the End Game

The strategy we mentioned above — kick a quick field goal — comes into play when you’re down two scores. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, who was fired about a month after this game, showed that math wasn’t his strong suit.

Down 23-15 to Pittsburgh in Week 3, the Raiders were 2.5-point favorites and had all three time outs as they drove to potentially tie the game. Facing fourth and 4 from the Steelers’ 8-yard line with 2:22 remaining, McDaniels opted to kick a field goal.

So instead of being down eight points, they were down five. They still needed a touchdown to win.

Since they had all three timeouts, the Raiders did get the ball back. But they had to drive 85 yards with 12 seconds remaining. Shockingly, Jimmy Garoppolo threw an interception and that was that.

After the game, McDaniels was asked why he kicked a field goal there. He said that they needed two scores. Not true, unless you count the touchdown and two-point conversion as two scores.

We’re pretty sure Raiders backers in Week 3 rejoiced when McDaniels was given the pink slip a few weeks later.

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