March Madness is regularly popular in the sports betting world, and this year was no different. The 2018 NCAA tournament has produced a fair share of excitement and close games, but as is the case every year, many contests resulted in agony for bettors.
Here is a run through the worst five "bad beats" of this year's tournament.
Round of 64
On a day that featured UMBC's historic upset over top-overall seed Virginia, No. 2 Cincinnati looked like it might also go down against Georgia State. The Bearcats trailed 47-46 with less than 10 minutes left in a game that appeared to be an easy cover for the underdog.
The Panthers, however, couldn't get anything going down the stretch. Not only would there be no upset, but Cincinnati went on a 22-6 run to take a 15-point lead with 41 seconds left. After covering for the first 39:19 of game time, Georgia State now needed a late score to reward bettors who backed them. Devin Mitchell's missed 3-pointer would seal the fate of those on the underdog, as the Bearcats covered by one point.
Final score: Cincinnati 68, Georgia State 53 (Cincinnati covers)
This bad beat might have flown under the radar for many, but those who took Xavier -12.5 in the first half against Texas Southern will never forget it.
The Musketeers led 49-31 with six seconds left in the half, and you couldn't really draw up a scenario in which they didn't cover the 12.5 points. All Xavier needed to do was not get outscored by six points in six seconds. But Texas Southern's Demontrae Jefferson took matters into his own hands. He ended the half with a 3-point play the old fashioned way, getting a steal, yet another bucket and a foul. Jefferson then made the free throw with 0.4 seconds left to complete his own personal 6-0 run to end the half.
Halftime score: Xavier 49, Texas Southern 37 (Texas Southern covers)
Round of 32
This game featured a pair of tough losses for bettors. While Kansas -4.5 and under 155 appeared to be the "right side" for most of the night, both would end up as losing bets.
The Jayhawks led by as many as 13 points in second half, but had to hold off a late rally from the underdog. After a pair of Devonte' Graham free throws put Kansas up by seven in the final seconds, Seton Hall's Myles Powell nailed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to cover the spread by half a point.
While the total had already gone over before that buzzer-beater, you could argue that those on the under were even more unlucky. Why? With the under looking like a lock down the stretch, the two teams combined for 27 points in the final 58 seconds to push the total over by seven points.
Final score: Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79 (Seton Hall covers, and the total goes over)
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 5 Clemson Tigers
Line: Kansas -5
For the second straight game, bettors who laid the points with Kansas were left shaking their heads when it ended. The Jayhawks led by as many as 20 in the second half and were up 72-57 with less than five minutes left. But Clemson wouldn't go down without a fight.
The Tigers rallied to make it a game down the stretch and trailed 80-74 with less than 10 seconds left. Gabe DeVoe's jumper with 4.5 seconds left cut the Kansas lead down to four before Clemson called its final timeout. The spread was going to come down to free throws -- or so it appeared. However, the Tigers were unable to foul, and the clock ran out, resulting in a brutal loss for those on the Jayhawks.
Final score: Kansas 80, Clemson 76 (Clemson covers)
Ironically, it was those who bet Michigan -4.5 who had to pay the price for Leonard Hamilton and Florida State's late-game "strategy."
As most have already seen by now, the Seminoles -- with a spot in the Final Four on the line -- elected not to foul Duncan Robinson when down just four points with 11 seconds left. That not only frustrated FSU fans, but also those who bet the Wolverines, who surely would have liked Robinson's chances to make at least one free throw (89.1-percent FT shooter this season). Instead, those bettors would fall half a point shy of covering, despite Michigan leading by double-digits with 90 seconds left.
Final score: Michigan 58, Florida State 54 (Florida State covers)