Astros' losing streak provides lesson in false assumptions

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

June 25, 2019 12:45 AM

That stunning seven-game losing streak endured recently by the Houston Astros showed the drama and potential horror of “double up to catch up” betting approaches (commonly called “Martingale” strategies).

Squares are prone to errant thinking that magnifies the danger of false assumptions. First, they assume that they’re great bettors. Second, they assume that elite teams will always crush losing teams. Third, there is the assumption that elite teams won’t ever suffer losing streaks.

Look how fast the dangers multiply from this compound comedy of errors.

  • We start with “there’s no way the Astros -210 are going to lose at home to the horrible Toronto Blue Jays.” A square bettor figures it’s an easy 50 bucks. He gladly risks $105 to win $50 back on Sunday June 16. Oops.
  • Well, this team is too good to keep losing. Let’s get right back to break even (plus some spare change) with Houston plus 108 at Cincinnati. That’s easy…a $100 bet wins $108. Ouch.
  • This recreational bettor is suddenly down $205. He must risk -170 to ride Houston again Tuesday in Cincinnati. That’s a bet of $349 to win $205 for a guy initially hoping for an easy $50. Which loses.
  • The running loss is now $554. Wednesday’s money line in the series finale is -190. Our bettor has to lay 1,053 on Houston just to get back to even. Does he even have this kind of money handy? Carrying a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth, he was surely thanking the baseball gods for teach him a lesson about humility. Until the Reds rallied to crush his soul. Down $1,607 with Houston heading to the Bronx.
  • At least the Astros are an underdog! A bet Thursday of $1,340 at plus 120 odds would even out the slate (risking $1,340 to win $1,608 would actually yield a one dollar profit). Another loss, bringing the running deficit for a small bettor to $2,949.
  • A Friday bet of $2,035 at plus 145 odds to win $2,950 would dig all the way out of the hole. Who’s our bettor borrowing this money from? He’ll need to go back with his hands out again after another defeat, down $4,985.
  • A Saturday bet of $3,325 at plus 150 odds to win $4,987 would be an answer to desperate prayers. Sing another hymn. Total deficit is now $8,312.
  • Sunday, Justin Verlander is a -130 favorite. Laying $10,800 would win $8,308…which is close enough to save the day. Ultimately, the day was saved if our bettor could find a way to borrow almost $11K after digging a deep hole.

It was a week that probably took years off our bettor’s life, if he was able to scrounge up desperation funds to survive the slide. Now, imagine the size of his sinkhole if he was initially trying to win $100 instead of $50. Imagine how fast disaster could strike if he was doing this over seven hands at a blackjack table instead of betting sports.


Don’t double up to catch up

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