Any sports bettor has been desperately watching a game, holding a ticket that has no chance to cash but still praying for a miracle.
Usually, the miracle doesn’t happen. And it’s probably not on a $200,000 bet if it does.
One bettor had the kind of win last week that anyone who gambles on sports dreams of. The anonymous bettor at BetMGM had a $200,000 bet on the total number of runs in the San Diego Padres-Texas Rangers game last Wednesday, according to BetMGM head of communications and public relations Elisa Richardson. That bettor had $200,000 on over 7.5 runs, at -110 odds.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Padres led 2-1. The chances of getting to eight runs was pretty much nil.
Hopefully that bettor didn’t turn off the game.
An unlikely scenario
The first step for keeping the over bet alive was the Rangers tying the game. Joey Gallo led off the inning with a homer to tie it up. Even that was a bit lucky; due to injuries in the bullpen, the Padres were using Matt Strahm, who has zero career saves. Maybe if tough lefty Drew Pomeranz was healthy, Gallo wouldn’t have homered. But that was just four runs, only halfway there. The Padres didn’t win the game in the bottom of the ninth, keeping a very slim hope alive.
The new extra-innings rules, with a runner beginning the inning on second base, help scoring a bit. The Rangers got one run in the top of the 10th, which meant there were only a couple ways for over 7.5 runs to cash: The Padres needed to score exactly one run to send the game to the 11th inning, or San Diego needed to win on a three-run homer or grand slam.
A sacrifice bunt started the inning, moving the runner to third. Then there was a glimmer of hope. Trent Grisham and Fernando Tatis Jr. walked, loading the bases. Suddenly a home run would win the $200,000 bet, which seemed as dead as could be to start the ninth inning.
But it had to be a home run. If Manny Machado singled home two runs, or there were two more walks or two wild pitches or any other way a team can score two runs, the Padres would have won 4-3. That wouldn’t push the total over 7.5.
It had to be a home run, even when a single would do.
Bettor needed a Manny Machado grand slam
Machado wasn’t a bad guy to have at the plate with the bases loaded if you needed a home run. He had 83 plate appearances with the bases loaded in his career, and 10 grand slams. Still, in more than 4,800 career plate appearances, Machado homers in only about 4.4 percent of his at-bats.
Then, it happened.
That home run turned an almost certain $200,000 loss into a win of a little more than $181,000.
If you’re betting $200,000 on the total of a baseball game on a Wednesday night, you’re a serious gambler and perhaps the thrill of a win like that has worn off a bit. But all of us should experience a win like that at least once in our lives.
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