A high-stakes sports bettor did something utterly amazing Wednesday night: He walked away a winner.
An unknown gambler in Las Vegas was experiencing the hot streak of a lifetime, successfully picking the winner of every game of the World Series, and “letting it ride” each step of the way.
Though not clear what his starting bet was, an initial investment presumably in the low six figures had grown to $14 million after Game 6, when the Dodgers beat the Astros to force a decisive Game 7.
Initially, according to the Las Vegas betting analyst tweeting about the run, the bettor intended to put it all on the line one last time, but ultimately, just more than an hour before the first pitch, apparently decided he had enough.
The unexpected tweet from RJ Bell (aka @RJinVegas) announced:
“CONFIRMED by my most trusted source – Perfect World Series “Let It Ride” bettor NOT expected to bet Game 7 … Walking away w/his winnings!”
The underdog Houston Astros would go on to win the game, on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers, to win Major League Baseball’s championship for the first time in the club’s history.
No one seems to know much about the high roller other than that he was “younger than 30,” and from Eastern Europe. There was some speculation that maybe the bets were coming from a group of gamblers, but many doubted that as it would be an unusual strategy for odds that professional sports bettors found unfavorable.
Bell confirmed that the gambler had spread his wagers across multiple sportsbooks around town. No single sportsbook will take an $8 million bet, which is the supposed amount he wagered on Game 6.
Las Vegas sportsbooks won’t release the names of their customers. But we do know this individual isn’t a known regular high-stakes sports bettor in Las Vegas. Bell did claim he was known to bet on MMA.
In many Major League Baseball games, especially in a series such as this where both teams are so talented, each team is approximately 50/50 to win. So, that means the odds of correctly picking the winner of six consecutive baseball games are about 1.56 percent.
Picking the loser of each game has the same long odds. But that didn’t stop David Ortiz, the former Boston Red Sox great and current Fox Sports analyst, from incorrectly predicting the winner of the first six games. Big Papi probably should stick to baseball and stay away from Las Vegas.
Most experts predicted the home team Los Angeles Dodgers would win Game 7. Had the unknown gambler gone this route, he would have been risking $14 million to win $10.85 million, at odds that opened at -129 odds.
These odds increased as game time neared, so the longer he waited to bet, the less he would’ve won if he put it all on the favored Dodgers. Odds on the Astros were around +140, so had he been willing to risk his entire stake on the underdog, the payout would’ve resulted in a $19.6 million profit.
Avoiding the temptation to bet may have been smart if the “Let It Ride” gambler was leaning toward the Dodgers, who lost 5-1 after squandering numerous scoring opportunities.
The Dodgers had seven baserunners in the first three innings and no runs. They finished the game 1-13 with runners in scoring position, which is almost unheard of from a team talented enough to make it to the World Series and win 104 games during the regular season. Not to mention averaging 5.5 runs per game in the first six of the World Series.
Starting pitcher Yu Darvish, traded to LA from Texas in July, had his second straight disastrous outing, allowing five runs in 1 2/3 innings. The dagger came in the second inning when George Springer, the World Series MVP, launched a three-run bomb with two outs, forcing Darvish out of the game for a reliever.
Sigh of Relief
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ decision to start Darvish after a lousy Game 3 performance has been questioned by many pundits and fans, and for good reason. Clayton Kershaw, the probable Cy Young winner, gave the team four strong innings in relief on Wednesday, leaving many to wonder what may have been had he started the game.
Kershaw, who some people say is the best pitcher of all-time, also had a rough outing in Game 5, but said he felt great despite the short rest and could go “27 innings” if needed. Obviously, that’s an exaggeration but Roberts’ decision to start a struggling Darvish instead of his ace will be questioned all offseason.
For Houston, the team’s bullpen has been its Achilles heel all season long. But on Wednesday, relievers were its strength.
Chad Morton, not exactly a Mariano Rivera clone, dominated the Dodgers over the final four innings to close out the game, the series, and the 2017 Major League Baseball season. And though Morton struggled throughout the regular season, after his Game 7 performance he will likely never have to buy a beer again in Houston.
As for our mystery sports bettor, if he is indeed real, only a certainty that he intended to bet on Houston will have him questioning what could’ve been.