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Worst bad beats of week: Cowboys botch 2nd-half cover

This week’s bad beats offer a reminder: Those last two points — intentional or not — can make all the difference.

Here are our picks for the worst bad beats of the week:

5. Lakers -10½

The Los Angeles Lakers were cruising to a victory and a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Friday. They led Miami by 14 at halftime and largely maintained that edge throughout the second half. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seemed to clinch the cover when his 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 124-110 lead with 53.3 seconds left.

But then Kelly Olynyk stepped in. He made a basket to cut the lead to 12, then grabbed a rebound after LeBron James missed a layup with 23 seconds to go. Olynyk got the ball back on the other end and made a driving shot at the rim with 15.7 seconds left.

The Lakers were happy to dribble out a 124-114 victory, but Lakers bettors were beaten, all because Olynyk made two layups while James missed one.

4. Over 50 LSU-Vanderbilt

Pierson Cooke missed a 22-yard field goal for Vanderbilt with 16 seconds left in the first half, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. LSU led 21-7, and over bettors were ahead of the pace.

Down 34-7 early in the fourth quarter, Vanderbilt marched deep into LSU territory, but quarterback Ken Seals was picked off at the goal line. LSU responded with a long TD drive to go up 41-7 with 8:11 to go.

Any score would do now. Vanderbilt was intercepted on the first play, and LSU had the ball back at its 47 with 7:57 remaining. The Tigers would surely score something. They couldn’t just run the final eight minutes off the clock, right?

Wrong. LSU did the seemingly impossible, taking 13 plays to go 44 yards. The Tigers ended the game by kneeling on the ball at the Vanderbilt 7.

3. Under 62 TCU-Texas

Total bettors rode the roller coaster in the final minutes of the Horned Frogs’ upset win. TCU quarterback Max Duggan scored on a 26-yard run to put the Horned Frogs up 33-29, pushing the total at 62, but some early bettors at 63½ to 62½ were still winning.

TCU saved itself and appeared to save under bettors by forcing a Texas fumble on the Horned Frogs’ goal line with 2:32 to go. The Horned Frogs picked up one first down, but they couldn’t quite run out the clock.

Facing fourth down at their 15 with six seconds left, Duggan took the snap and ran out the back of the end zone for a safety.

2. Abilene Christian +31

It’s tough for a plodding triple-option team to cover a big number. Army got the lead to 31 twice in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats were never down by more than 31.

When Branden Hohenstein scored on a 61-yard TD pass with 3:01 to go, it appeared Abilene Christian backers would get to the window. A missed extra point meant that now an Army TD would cover, but the Black Knights would just be looking to run out the clock.

The Black Knights were just trying to run out the clock, but Anthony Adkins broke free up the middle and ran 28 yards for a TD. The extra point gave Army a 32-point victory at 55-23.

1. Cowboys -6½ 2H

We normally don’t highlight halftime or second-half beats, but the Cowboys found a special way to lose for their second-half backers in Sunday’s defeat to the Browns.

The Cowboys trailed 31-14 at halftime but were 6½-point favorites in the second half, with sportsbooks anticipating Dallas would at least mount some kind of comeback.

And the Cowboys eventually did. After the Browns extended the lead to 41-14, the Cowboys ripped off three straight touchdowns with 2-point conversions to cut the lead to 41-38 with 3:42 to go. Dallas now led 24-10 in the second half, so not even a late Browns TD would cover +6½.

But what if you get a 2-point conversion when you didn’t mean to? After Odell Beckham put the game away with a 50-yard TD run on a reverse, the Cowboys blocked the extra point. A Dallas player then bobbled the ball as he tried to pick it up. It bounced into the end zone after a scrum, and a Brown recovered it.

That’s a 2-point conversion. And Dallas won only by six in the second half in a 49-38 defeat.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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