If you’re a University of Michigan basketball fan, the final 20 seconds of Sunday’s win over Ohio State likely didn’t mean much to you. The Wolverines had already secured the win over their rival — their second consecutive conference triumph as they make a late-season push to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
If you bet on the points total, however, the final seconds were either maddening or downright joyful.
The total for the game closed at 145.5 at multiple mobile sportsbooks in Michigan, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel. With 20 seconds left, the Wolverines had the ball while leading 77-67. For those not great at math (I’m included in this camp), that means 144 points had been scored.
The Buckeyes, down 10, had no intention of fouling. Under bettors were going to cash their bets.
Travel call sparks weird ending
Michigan sophomore guard Kobe Bufkin — who put up 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in an impressively efficient performance — started high-fiving a teammate with just under 15 seconds left. Bufkin seemed to lose track of the situation, as he started walking with the ball while celebrating with his teammate.
The official called Bufkin for a travel, and the Michigan guard gave a look to the referee as if to say, “Really?” The broadcasters even started laughing after the travel was called.
But the correct call was made, and Bufkin’s turnover — his only one of the game — wouldn’t have any impact on his team winning or losing.
It did, however, give under bettors a heart attack.
Most absurd OVER in history, 144.5 to 145.5 and Ohio State stops fouling Michigan at 144.
Then the travel
Then the bucketpic.twitter.com/mAR5qiUuCY
— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) February 5, 2023
Ohio State regained possession with just over 10 seconds remaining, and the Buckeyes pushed down the court. After they missed a 3-pointer, an offensive rebound was tapped to Ohio State forward Zed Key. The big man easily put home an uncontested layup, pulling the Buckeyes within eight points.
The game’s outcome wasn’t altered, but over bettors rejoiced as the layup meant 146 points were scored. Under bettors had a winning wager ripped away from them just before the final buzzer sounded.
Oddly enough, a group of fans wearing Michigan jerseys just behind the Ohio State bench went crazy when Key’s layup slipped through the net. Unless they’re closeted Buckeye fans, those Wolverines likely took the over.
Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images