If you thought Evansville’s shocking upset over then-No. 1 Kentucky would be hard to top this college basketball season, you were wrong because Stephen F. Austin is here.
Tuesday night, the Texas school named after the state’s founder visited Duke and the Lumberjacks, who stepped into the game as 28-point underdogs, defeated the country’s top-ranked team. The upset came in spectacular fashion, as Nathan Bain’s fast-break layup beat the timer by a tenth of a second and disposed of the Blue Devils 85-83 in overtime.
Bain, who got the ball near Duke’s free throw line after a Blue Devils turnover, told reporters, “I looked up at the clock and saw I had 2.6 seconds, just going as fast as I can to lay it up. Like a layup drill. Prayed it would go in.”
As mentioned on the website Casino.org, it was the biggest upset in college basketball over the past 15 seasons according to ESPN, excelling 26-point underdog Gardner-Webb, who upset Kentucky back in 2007. The fourth-biggest upset in that time frame is the Purple Aces upset of the Wildcats from two weeks ago.
Only one US sportsbook offered moneoyline odds on Stephen F. Austin according to oddsFire. Bet365’s odds straight-up on the Lumberjacks were +2500, which gives an implied probability of 3.8 percent.
To further understand what a shocking upset it was, go through the school histories on the hardcourt. Stephen F. Austin has just five tournament appearances after joining NCAA Division I in 1986, and all of those have come since 2009. And although they’ve posted a few first-round upsets in recent years, the Lumberjacks’ history can’t compare to a Duke program which has five NCAA titles in 43 trips to the Big Dance.
Taking Advantage Of the Spread
Stephen F. Austin found a few other ways to publicize the historic win. The athletic department announced a special ticket sale on Twitter for the six remaining Lumberjacks Saturday games. For all six games fans could get tickets for just $28 dollars, playing off the point spread from the game. Or, towards the school’s general scholarship fund for student-athletes, fans could donate $28 and be put in drawing for an autographed team basketball.
The Lumberjacks’ hero’s story comes into focus.
Bain’s game-winner didn’t just lift up the Lumberjacks. It also gave the school an opportunity to highlight a GoFundMe page for Bain’s family, whose family lost nearly everything they owned when Hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas earlier this year. That included the church where Bain’s father serves as a minister.
Soon after the Duke upset, the page which was started in mid-September had raised just a couple thousand dollars. By Wednesday afternoon, however, over 2,000 donations had come in and contributed over $76,000 to help Bain’s family.
Oddsmakers Still Supporting Duke
Oddsmakers aren’t backing off the Blue Devils just yet even with the loss.
Duke is still listed by DraftKings as the favorites to win the national title next April, posting odds of +700. Next are a pair of ACC rivals as North Carolina commands +800 odds and Louisville is at +1000.
FanDuel has Duke at +800, together with Michigan State, a team with two losses already in the first month of the season. The third choice is Kentucky at +950.
At +900, the Duke is the second choice at William Hill, behind only Michigan State at +800. The third choice at America’s largest sports betting company is Kentucky, with odds of +1000.
State is the favorite at +600 over at Caesars, Michigan with Kentucky at +700 and Kansas at +900.
In case you wanted to know, FanDuel is the only sportsbook offering national title odds on Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks are available at +25000, which implies a $100 bet would net $25,000. Those are the maximum odds on FanDuel’s board, which offers that price for 75 other teams.