The biggest favorite in MLB history burned bettors and made a mint for Vegas bookies

Astros ace Justin Verlander gave up just two hits to the visiting Tigers on Wednesday night, but both were solo home runs as Houston, which was as high as a -600 favorite, lost outright 2-1.

Patrick Everson
Aug 22, 2019 • 06:07 ET
MLB Betting Odds Picks Predictions Tigers Astros Major League Baseball
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As another scorching hot summer afternoon unfolded in Las Vegas on Wednesday, the temperature wasn’t the only thing in triple digits and on the rise. So was the moneyline on the Houston Astros, for their home game against the cellar-dwelling Detroit Tigers, who at 38-86 had the worst record in baseball.

The Astros, with Justin Verlander on the mound, opened in the range of -500 favorites (you would have to wager $500 to win $100 on Houston), and as the 8:10 p.m. ET first pitch approached, many Vegas sportsbooks had them at -550 to -575 - a historically high price. MGM Resorts sportsbooks topped out at a massive -600 after taking bets of $55,000 and $63,250 – to win $10,000 and $11,000 respectively – in the 90 minutes leading to game time.

Along with moneyline cash on what seemed like a sure thing, several books were awash in parlays that included Houston, with bettors figuring that was a guaranteed win to throw in. The Astros entered with the third-best record in the major leagues at 81-46 and had a .750 winning percentage at home, with a 45-15 mark.


By now, though, we all know what happened: Verlander threw a solid complete game, allowing just two hits, but both were solo home runs - one in the top of the ninth inning - and the Tigers notched a 2-1 upset as underdogs in the +400 to +425 range.

“We were a six-figure winner,” said Scott Shelton, who as supervisor at The Mirage sportsbook – an MGM property – oversaw the acceptance of those big Astros bets and plenty more Houston cash. “All the parlays and the runline (were) pretty one-sided.”

Those bettors were left wanting on perhaps the largest Major League Baseball favorite ever. South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews, an industry veteran to be sure, said his shop’s closing price of Houston -540 and even higher prices elsewhere were “the highest I’ve ever seen.”


As the ninth inning unfolded at Minute Maid Park, with Detroit up 2-1 after the homer, The SuperBook at Westgate was in an enviable position of potentially winning on the moneyline and the runline. Supervisor Cameron Coombs shot out a text on his book’s position.

“Either way, we will be a winner. Better outcome with Tigers outright,” Coombs told Covers. “The Tigers will be a solid win for us if they hold on. We had a solid amount of parlay liability on the Astros.”

All that is not to say Detroit didn’t get a little betting attention. The massive plus-money price was hard to ignore for some, including your humble Covers correspondent. I ambled over to Green Valley Ranch Resort’s sportsbook 30 minutes before first pitch and took a couple of small fliers on Tigers moneyline and Tigers runline, at +425 and +200, respectively.


That was the case with a handful of MGM players, too, betting $50 here and there, a few $100 bets and a $300 wager. Although those moneyline wagers paid out nicely for bettors, MGM books still came out way ahead by scooping up all the Astros cash.

John Lukasik, sportsbook manager at The Book at The Linq, noted similar Tigers moneyline action at his outlet and other Caesars Palace books on the Vegas Strip.

“Nothing crazy, mostly bets in the sub-$100 range,” Lukasik said.

Exactly. As I like to say, just people looking to win some #ChilisMoney.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Cover_Vegas.

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