NFL bad beat: Missed field goal, meaningless Giants TD drive crushes Cowboys bettors

Dallas Cowboys bettors had already ate their turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and were going to end the day with a nice win.

Then Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed a field goal.

The Cowboys were a 10-point favorite at BetMGM when their Thanksgiving game against the New York Giants kicked off. They were on pace to cover that spread late in the fourth quarter when they led 28-13. When CeeDee Lamb drew a pass interference call with 2:55 left, Dallas had first-and-10 at the Giants' 30. There's no win expectancy chart for covering the spread, but the Cowboys had to be close to 100 percent at that moment. A first down would likely run out the clock. Even if the Cowboys couldn't get a first down, Brett Maher could kick a field goal to put the Cowboys up 18. Even a Giants touchdown and two-point conversion after that would mean Cowboys -10 bets would push, and it would still be a win for the -9.5 bettors who took Dallas earlier in the week.

The Cowboys didn't get a first down but that didn't ruin Dallas bettors. Maher lined up for a 46-yard field goal and an 18-point lead with 1:17 left. The kick didn't matter to the outcome, with the Cowboys comfortably ahead, but when Maher missed wide right every Cowboys bettor knew what was coming next.

The Giants hadn't moved the ball for a long time, but the Cowboys were up 15 and not worried about the Giants scoring once. They played soft coverage, not wanting to get beat deep right away. Daniel Jones, who was bad most of the game, suddenly started completing passes. The Giants converted a third-and-1. Richie James caught a pass to the 27-yard line with 40 seconds left when the death blow came. Micah Parsons was called for unnecessary roughness. That penalty put the ball halfway to the goal line, which was the 13-yard line. A Giants backdoor cover was inevitable after that. The Giants got to the 1-yard line and with seven seconds left James caught a touchdown that was meaningless to the outcome but meaningful to some.

Thanksgiving games get a lot of attention and some extra bets. In the middle Thanksgiving game, 59% of the money bet on the spread at BetMGM was on the Cowboys. The final two minutes was a sour turn on the holiday for all those Dallas backers.

Daniel Jones and the New York Giants lost but they covered the spread. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Daniel Jones and the New York Giants lost but they covered the spread. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)