Both sports and sports betting are full of thrilling victories and heartbreaking losses. While victories bring joy and celebration, losses can be devastating for players, fans, and teams. Some losses are especially tough to bear, leaving a lasting impact on the players and fans. The same can also be said for sports bettors. In fact, we just had a brutal loss last night. We were up 2-0 going to the 9th and the Yankees blew it. Tough losses happen in when you make bets. The key is being able to overcome these losses and not let them cloud your judgment.
In this article, we will discuss some of the toughest losses in sports history and the biggest chokes by heavy favorites.
Toughest Losses in Sports:
- Super Bowl XXV – Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants (1991): The Buffalo Bills were heavy favorites going into the game and had an opportunity to win the Super Bowl for the first time in their history. However, they lost to the New York Giants 20-19 after Scott Norwood missed a field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game.
- Game 6 of the 1986 World Series – Boston Red Sox vs. New York Mets (1986): The Red Sox were one strike away from winning their first World Series in 68 years when Bill Buckner made an error that allowed the Mets to score the winning run. The Red Sox went on to lose Game 7 and the World Series.
- The Miracle on Ice – United States vs. Soviet Union (1980): The Soviet Union was the dominant force in international ice hockey, having won the gold medal in the last four Olympics. However, in the 1980 Winter Olympics, the US team, made up of amateur players, pulled off a stunning upset, defeating the Soviet Union 4-3 in the semi-finals.
Biggest Chokes in Sports by Heavy Favorites:
- Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2016 NBA Finals): The Golden State Warriors set a regular-season record of 73-9 and were heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals. However, they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games, becoming the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
- Brazil vs. Germany (2014 FIFA World Cup): Brazil, playing on home soil, was considered the favorite to win the World Cup. However, they suffered a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals.
- Greg Norman – Masters Tournament (1996): Greg Norman was leading the Masters by six shots going into the final round. However, he shot a 78 and lost to Nick Faldo by five strokes. It remains one of the biggest collapses in golf history.
How players respond to such defeats is what sets them apart from others. Some players are able to bounce back and use their defeat as motivation to achieve greater things, while others struggle to recover from such losses.
For example, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA playoffs for three straight years before finally breaking through and winning the NBA championship in 1991. Jordan used those losses as motivation and worked tirelessly to improve his game.
On the other hand, some players struggle to recover from tough losses. For example, Jana Novotna was leading 4-1 in the third set of the 1993 Wimbledon final when she suffered a stunning collapse and lost to Steffi Graf. Novotna was visibly distraught and struggled to recover from the loss, retiring from tennis five years later without ever winning a Grand Slam singles title.
All of this can be tied back to sports betting as well. Sometimes you know your bet isn’t going to go well early on in the game. Other times, like last night for us, the loss stings more since we were up all game and lost it in the 9th inning. Losses don’t define you as a sports bettor. It’s our reaction to these losses that really matters. We’ve posted a total of 3,631 bets publicly, starting with our social media accounts! Tough losses are part of the business.
In conclusion, if you can keep your head level and emotions out of it, you have a much better chance of long-term success. That is the ultimate goal. No team, player or bettor is going to avoid brutal losses. However, we CAN control our response to those brutal losses.