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The Improbable Spread Ending in England

Cincinnati Bengals Los Angeles Rams Week 8 London

Last week the Rams played the Bengals at Wembley Stadium in London, England, and Los Angeles opened as a 13.5-point favorite, but by game time, money had come in on Cincinnati and the line closed at -12.

It’s a good thing I don’t have any hair on my head because for the many gamblers that do have hair, they probably pulled it all out after what happened in the fourth quarter of this particular game. This ending is what, well, at least I will dub in the sports gambling world a true “180.”

I am in the Golden Nugget contest – doing extremely well – and I had a vested interest in this game because one of my selections was the Rams -13 against the Bengals. I was paying full attention to what was going on, so let me take you on the wild roller-coaster ride that was this insane money-swinging game.

Let’s start in the second quarter where Rams QB Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes (one to Josh Reynolds and one to Cooper Kupp) and the Rams took a 17-10 lead into halftime. With 10:14 left in the third quarter, Rams running back Todd Gurley scored to give the Rams a 24-10 lead.

The rest of the quarter was fairly boring with punts and that continued into the fourth. But with 9:45 left and Cincy starting a drive at its own 30-yard line, that’s when things got, well, please excuse the pun, but that’s when things got “hairy” for everyone who had action on this game.

Down 14, at midfield and facing a fourth-and-10, Bengals QB Andy Dalton (who was told he'd be benched for Week 9 on his birthday, by the way) completes a pass for 27 yards and Cincy was down to the Rams 24. After losing three yards on three plays, the Bengals found themselves in another fourth-down situation and again Dalton hooks up with his WR, this time Tyler Boyd, for 18 yards and Cincy was knocking at the Rams door.

Again a couple of plays stall, and on fourth-and-goal the Cincy QB hits wide receiver Stanley Morgan for only three yards, which was three yards short of the end zone, and the RAMS survived, the RAMS take over, the RAMS with two minutes and change left are going to win and cover, or are they?

The Rams decided to run the ball and were able to get a first down and take the game clock to under two minutes but had to punt again and Cincinnati took over trying to get that elusive score to cover the spread for Cincy backers.

The Bengals started again at their own 16 with 1:53 left in the game. A few plays go by and they get a first down and gain 14 yards. But a minute had ticked off the clock, they had no timeouts left and they’re at their own 30-yard line with only 54 seconds remaining, so Rams fans are in line ready to cash their “winning tickets,” until…

Rams fans had to get away from the ticket booth where they were ready to cash when Dalton found WR Alex Erickson (Who? Exactly!) for 52 yards, down to the Rams 18-yard line, with 30 seconds left in this insane game where the winner has been decided for quite some time but the spread is all we care about and have cared about since there was 9:45 left in the fourth quarter.

So, Cincy gets to the Rams four-yard line and then on third down, Rams bettors get a much-needed false-start penalty that pushes the ball back to the nine-yard line with eight seconds to go. At this point, eight seconds might as well be eight days because we all know you get two plays into the end zone at this juncture and Rams fans are way past nine lives of escaping the inevitable.

On the next play, Dalton (of course) found WR Auden Tate for a touchdown and pending the extra point the Bengals would lose 24-17 and go to 0-8 but score a “meaningless” touchdown to cover the spread for the Bengals faithful who were denied a score so many times during this fourth quarter.

However, every score with under two minutes to go is reviewed and replay officials remarkably reversed the call on the field, ruling the pass incomplete with four seconds left. Yet another wild swing where Los Angeles lucks out and Cincy gets screwed. On fourth down, the pass was incomplete and the Rams somehow survived to cover the -13 spread, holding on for a 24-10 win.

Again, that meant plenty for me as I went 6-1 in the Golden Nugget contest for the week instead of 5-2. It meant plenty for people who had the Rams on 6-point teasers and it meant the world for bettors in London, the United States, wherever, that the Rams won by 14. That was one of the wildest endings to a game that involved just the spread and not the winner of the game. One of the craziest touchdowns or not and one of the craziest covers or not, I guess it just depends on how you look at it or what side you had in the game.

Just the latest of why gambling is great or why it sucks. Again, I guess it’s the way YOU look at it.