NCAA March Madness bad beat: Drake wins by 1, but that doesn't help bettors

Frank Schwab
·2 min read

Drake battled back and the best team in the nation at covering the spread was on the verge of doing it again.

In fact, with less than 20 seconds left, Drake bettors probably couldn't fathom the Bulldogs not covering the 2-point spread.

If you're a novice to NCAA tournament betting — and Iowa folks who just got BetMGM available to them, we're talking to you — welcome to the wonderful world of March Madness bad beats.

Drake won 53-52 in a great game against Wichita State on Thursday night in a First Four contest. That's fantastic for the Bulldogs, not so fun for the bettors who had them -2.

Drake somehow doesn't cover

Drake came back after trailing most of the game, getting in position to cover the spread late. Then they looked like a lock.

There are no locks.

Drake led by 4 points, then got a steal with 18 seconds left. Those who have watched enough basketball knew how the rest of the game should play out. Wichita State would foul. Drake would go to the line and likely go up 5 or 6. If Drake hit both free throws, even a 3-pointer wouldn't hurt them in regards to covering the spread. It was going to be very hard for Wichita to win, or lose by exactly 1.

But then Drake turned the ball over before Wichita State could foul. Uh oh. The Shockers got a wide-open look from 3 and Dexter Dennis buried it. And still, up 1, Drake should have covered. Joesph Yesufu, a career 82.1 percent free-throw shooter was fouled. And ... he missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Wichita State had a shot to win as Drake bettors ripped up their tickets, but missed at the buzzer. That sent Drake into a celebration over the 1-point win.

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Bettors who wanted Drake to win by more than 2 weren't in the mood to celebrate. The second game of the NCAA tournament — the second game in almost two calendar years, no less — had a rough beat. It won't be the last one.

Drake's Jonah Jackson (20) drives against Wichita State's Craig Porter Jr. (2) in an NCAA tournament First Four game. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Drake's Jonah Jackson (20) drives against Wichita State's Craig Porter Jr. (2) in an NCAA tournament First Four game. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

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