It would be an exaggeration to call it the “Shot Heard ‘Round the Betting World,” but Dominic Smith’s three-run homer in the Mets’ season finale put an exclamation point on the most dramatic win-total decision in memory.
The Westgate SuperBook closed the Mets’ win total at 85½, and oddsmakers could not have nailed that number any better. The Mets, sitting at 85-76, trailed the Atlanta Braves 6-4 in the 11th inning Sunday, when first baseman Pete Alonso was pulled from the game to allow a last ovation from Citi Field fans.
This was nothing like Bobby Thomson’s three-run shot at the Polo Grounds in 1951, but Smith’s blast was amazing for some Mets’ bettors who were full of optimism in March.
Smith, who had not played since July 27 because of a foot injury, replaced Alonso and ripped a two-out homer for a 7-6 win, the Mets’ 86th of the season. It was a thrilling win for some and a bad beat for others, with the SuperBook reporting strong two-way action. (It was already “Over” for those who wagered at William Hill sportsbooks, where the Mets’ total closed 84½.)
Ironically, Alonso finished as the MLB home run leader with 53. In March, William Hill posted odds on 49 players to win the home run title, but Alonso was not listed and was part of a field bet at 9/2 odds. The rookie slugger was offered at single-digit odds when the prop was reopened in July.
“Alonso is a great story,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “There’s a lot of interest in that home run prop. We faced six-figure liability on Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. It looked like it was a two-horse race for a while, but a few guys came out of nowhere.”
There were no long-shot division winners, but Minnesota (13/5) pulled a significant upset by winning the AL Central and knocking off Cleveland as the -400 favorite.
Betting baseball win totals can be a six-month sweat, but only one decision stretched into extra innings on the season’s last day in late September. A review of MLB’s best and worst (William Hill closing numbers):
The Twins were tagged with a win total of 84½ and went over that number on Sept. 2 on the way to 101-61. Bogdanovich said the book lost to the sharps on
Minnesota, which was baseball’s biggest overachiever.
Oakland stumbled to a 19-25 record in mid-May before launching an 11-game win streak en route to finishing 97-65, easily surpassing its win total of 82.
The A’s and Rays will meet in an AL wild-card game of small-budget surprise teams. Tampa Bay (84½) won 96 games.
Despite a rash of early-season injuries, the Yankees started hot and never cooled off even as injuries continued to pile up. Aaron Boone managed to win 103 games, topping the total of 97.
“The Yankees going over was terrible for us,” SuperBook manager Ed Salmons said. “People would not stop betting the Yankees. With all of their injuries, it was absolutely incredible they won over 100 games.”
The Indians (93-69) missed the playoffs but went over 91 wins. Other AL “Overs” were recorded by the Astros (96½), who won a major-league high 107, and Rangers (71).
The Mets were among eight NL teams to cash for “Over” bettors. The Dodgers (93) won 106 games. Also cashing were the Cardinals (88½), Nationals
(88½), Brewers (87), Braves (86), Diamondbacks (76) and Giants (74).
Four teams topped 100 wins as the best teams in baseball feasted on four terrible teams. The Tigers (67½) occupied baseball’s basement at 47-114, but as historically bad as Detroit was, the sportsbooks were bigger losers on Baltimore, which finished four wins under its total of 58. The Marlins (63) and Royals (69) were the other teams to win fewer than 60 games
“All of the bad teams were bet under, and those teams were all horrendous this year,” Salmons said. “We thought we made low numbers, but obviously they were not low enough.”
While the betting public pounded the Orioles “Under,” the sharps did the same with the Cubs, who finished four games under their win total of 88. A disappointing year meant the end for manager Joe Maddon, who was dismissed three years after winning the World Series.
“The wiseguys were betting the Cubs under,” Salmons said. “All of the analytics showed the Cubs were going to struggle to be better than .500.”
A year after winning the World Series, the Red Sox regressed to 84-78, under their total of 94. Other AL money burners were the Angels (82½), Blue Jays (74), Mariners (73½) and White Sox, who finished one game under their total of 73.
Bryce Harper and the Phillies (89) were NL busts along with Manny Machado and the Padres (78). The Rockies (85½), Reds (79½) and Pirates (77½) also flopped.