Bad beat: Illinois bettors take a horrendous loss on final play vs. Mississippi State

Bettors will want a universal rule outlawing the pitch play at the end of games.

There's no worse way to lose than to take an underdog, watch it battle the entire game, then get beat on a dumb and desperate lateral play as time expires.

Illinois +3.5 bettors are nodding. Or breaking something.

The Illini did a fine job for bettors in a low scoring ReliaQuest Bowl. Illinois led 10-3 into the fourth quarter. Mississippi State rallied and took a 13-10 lead with four seconds left. Novice bettors might have felt good about that. The vets knew they had to sweat what ESPN's Scott Van Pelt has affectionately called "pitchy pitchy woo woo."

The worst part about Illinois' pitch play, aside from how it ended, was the Illini got down to about the 35-yard line. Mississippi State backers couldn't just win with a defender falling on a bad lateral in the end zone. There needed to be a long return and arrrrrrgh ...

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Yep, that's how Mississippi State covered the spread. For the record, that's a 53-yard fumble return touchdown on the final play for the Mississippi State cover. If Illinois bettors want to feel even worse, there's some question if the final ill-fated lateral was forward or not. It was probably backward, slightly, but it doesn't matter.

There's probably someone out there who decided for the new year, he or she would give sports betting a try. Maybe one of their first bets was on Illinois. Then that happened. While nobody can say that will never happen again, just know that you're not experiencing many worse beats than that one.

Mississippi State kicker Massimo Biscardi (29) celebrates a field goal, and Bulldogs bettors would have more to celebrate later. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Mississippi State kicker Massimo Biscardi (29) celebrates a field goal, and Bulldogs bettors would have more to celebrate later. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)