Scenes from Sin City: Run to Reno brings tales of bad beats

If you walk around a sportsbook long enough and just keep your ears peeled, you’re almost certain to hear something that will make an interesting story.

Even on a lazy Friday afternoon at the Atlantis book in Reno.

(Yes, Covers blasted open the expense account as Scenes from Sin City hit the road for a weekend!)

The Atlantis was prepping for what surely would be another big crowd on a college football and NFL weekend. But around 3 p.m. Friday, it was the calm before the storm, with maybe a dozen or so patrons hanging out at the cleverly crafted sportsbook in the round.

Still, there were stories to be found, and Romeo Smith had a tale of woe to tell from Thursday night’s Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers tilt.

“I had the Steelers on the moneyline and the Over on a two-team parlay,” Smith lamented to one of his buddies as he discussed Pittsburgh’s 23-20 overtime loss as a 3-point home underdog, in a game with a total of 44.

That caught my ear, knowing the Steelers missed two late fourth-quarter field goals that not only would have prevented overtime, but would have made Smith’s two-team parlay a winning ticket. Smith couldn’t believe his misfortune, particularly after an early third-quarter touchdown put the Steelers up 20-7.

“I’m thinking, ‘Man, I’m good.’ They were doing their thing without Ben Roethlisberger,” he said, noting that Michael Vick was running Pittsburgh’s offense in the absence of the injured starter.

The critical play in overtime that cinched Smith’s fate? Pittsburgh failing to convert on a fourth-and-1 pass from the Ravens’ 33-yard line. This, in a game where Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell piled up 129 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

“There could’ve been better play-calling and coaching,” Smith said. “I’d have run the hell out of the ball with Bell in the second half. And those two field goals, that was a big deal.

“I was frustrated with that fourth-and-1 call. It was a bad pass. After that, I was kind of hot. It was kind of like when the Seahawks should’ve run Marshawn Lynch in the Super Bowl.”

To recount, last February, Seattle was driving for the potential game-winning score against New England. On second-and-goal from the one-yard line, with the whole world expecting the ball to go to Lynch, Russell Wilson instead threw a shocking interception, sealing New England’s 28-24 victory.

But in that case, Smith was more than happy to see the ball stay out of Lynch’s hands.

“I had the Patriots in that game!”

Indeed, the betting gods giveth, and the betting gods taketh away.

Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly.

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