Why one bettor could win big on World Series after oddsmaker’s slipup
Oct 25, 2022
David PurdumESPN Staff Writer
- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
A fortuitous bettor in Colorado is in position to win big on the World Series, a potential score magnified by a bookmaker’s miscalculation.
On April 13, one week into the Major League Baseball season, a bettor in Colorado placed a $50 futures wager with BetMGM on the Houston Astros to beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series at 2,500-1 odds. Nearly seven months later, the Astros and Phillies are in the World Series, and the bettor is position to win $125,000, if Houston prevails. A hedge bet on Philadelphia could also help the bettor lock in a profit. A $10,000 wager on Philadelphia at current series price of 160, for example, would secure a $15,950 profit if the Phillies pull the upset or a $115,000 payday if the Astros win off their original $50 wager. The bettor declined to give interviews but did provide some quotes to BetMGM.
” It’s been surreal living with the Phillies from April through ‘Philtober’,” the bettor stated. “Shoutouts to the Astros and the Dodgers for taking care business and for their continued choking. “
The bettor stated, “I’m no hedging.” “
Regardless, the bettor is in for a World Series sweat that could be more lucrative than it should be — because the odds on the wager were longer than they should’ve been. Instead of 2,500-1, the odds on the Astros’ win over the Phillies in the World Series should’ve been closer to 250-1, if not shorter. The simplest way to determine the outcome of a World Series is to multiply the odds of the projected champion winning with the odds of the other team winning the pennant. At the time of the bet, the Astros were 10-1 to win the World Series, and the Phillies, despite a slow start, were around 10-1 to win the National League. Using the traditional method, the odds would’ve been around 100-1, not 2,500-1. Different approaches might have produced longer odds but unlikely anywhere close to 2,500-1. In comparison, the odds offered on the Texas Rangers beating the Miami Marlins in the World Series were also 2,500-1 at BetMGM.
” We were probably a bit too aggressive on those,” said Jason Scott, vice-president of trading at Bet MGM. He acknowledged a mistake in the oddsmaking process.
Egregious odds errors, often referred to as palpable errors, can be a controversial topic in the betting community. Sportsbooks can post incorrect lines due to data entry or typos. This can sometimes make a favorite a underdog. Many sportsbooks include terms and conditions regarding egregious odds errors. In the past, they have had to pay out on bets placed on bad lines. Scott did not indicate that BetMGM would follow that path.
BetMGM offered the 2,500-1 price for two weeks but only took six bets on an exact Astros-over Phillies World Series outcome. Scott said the $50 wager accounted for “about 90%” of the total amount bet on the inflated odds. Scott stated that he was more concerned about Mattress Mack beating us than he is.
Jim McIngvale, Houston furniture store owner, placed a $2,000,000 bet with BetMGM that the Astros would win the World Series. In total, McIngvale has approximately $10 million riding on the Astros in the World Series with a chance at a $75 million payout. He’ll need it: After placing his seven-figure bets in June, McIngvale offered to refund customers who spent $3,000 at his store Gallery Furniture double their money back if the Astros win the World Series. Scott spoke out about McIngvale’s liability on McIngvale’s Astros bet.
BetMGM stated that it will send the Colorado bettor to Friday’s Game 1 in Houston.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.