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The Kick Heard ’Round the World: Sports Betting Just Got More Interesting

December 4, 2013

The world of sports betting had an upheaval this past weekend.  It was Saturday, November 30.  The place was Jordan-Hare Stadium.  The scene was one team wearing orange and blue and the reigning champs in white and red.  Yes, it was the 2013 Iron Bowl … a game that will go down in history as one of the best of all time as well as one that reinvigorated sports betting on college athletics.  The game accomplished all of this while knocking the point spread out the window.

Alabama Crimson Tide coached by the God of the South Nick Saban and headed up by golden-boy Quarterback AJ McCarron took on the underdog Auburn Tigers.  The Tigers had seen their best season after a few years on a losing streak and were ranked at #4 in college football.  Alabama had won the last two National Championships and had a three-peat in sight.  The world of sports betting was having a great day and the money was flying around the excitement of this old-school rivalry game.

Many people had the point spread at 10+ points in favor of the Tide.  They were sure that the Tide had the game (and this year’s national championship) in the bag.  The Iron Bowl is normally a hot ticket game in the South but this was the first year in the 78 years that the Iron Bowl has been played that both teams were ranked in the top 5 … making the match a win it all or lose it all situation.  The heavy players were hitting their preferred sportsbook hard for this game.

The 2013 Iron Bowl was a battle.  Alabama started off shaky and Auburn made it on the board first but Nick Saban settled his boys down and Alabama soon followed.  It continued to be a fight to the bitter end too.  As the final seconds of the game ticked away the game was tied at 28.  Nick Saban called for a long field goal attempt and that was where it all went wrong…unless you were an Auburn fan or involved with sports betting against the favorite.

Sports betting and the sportsbook places in particular took a big hit with what happened next.  Saban put a true freshman on the field to make a game-winning 56 yard field goal attempt.  This particular freshman had been regularly hitting 60 yarders in practice so this seemed to be a good way to end the game and avoid overtime.

So the kid goes out there and kicks the ball…and it falls short.  Even worse, it is caught in the end zone by Chris Davis of the Tigers who proceeds to run it back over 100 yards for a touchdown, making the game a bitter loss for the Tide.  With a line of heavy offensive players the only red and white that got near Davis was the freshman kicker and he missed the tackle, leaving Alabama fans (and sportsbooks) in tears.

The Tide went down, losing the chance at a three-peat while rival Auburn gets a shot at a National Championship all because of a kick.  The point spread was useless in this game and those who took part in the sports betting either lost or won…a lot.

There have only been four times that a field goal was returned more than 100 yards for a touchdown and this one is the only one that decided a game.  As a college football fan the entire game was toughly contested, making it great to watch and sports betting on rivalry games is always a big moment for sportsbooks whether or not there is a giant point spread involved.