By Steve Kelly
In what may be the highlight of the season for the woeful Baltimore Orioles, they pulled off one of the biggest MLB upsets in the past 15 years.
The Orioles are now 39-78, 37 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yanks, and they were listed as high as +420 underdogs at some U.S. sportsbooks, knocked off Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros 8-7.
The Washington Nationals beat the Minnesota Twins as +390 underdogs in 2007, according to sports betting database BetLabSports.com, which has data back to the 2005 season. The Miami Marlins topped Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers as +320 underdogs last season.
The Astros, the consensus World Series favorites, were one of the largest single-game favorites ever. They closed as -460 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook but could be found as high as -550 favorites at Station Casinos’ sportsbooks in Nevada.
Houston is the ninth favorite of -400 or greater since 2005 and only the second to lose, joining the 2007 Twins. The Dodgers were -485 favorites against the Atlanta Braves in 2016.
The high price on the Astros’ money line scared away many bettors at Caesars, where 89% of the tickets and 97% of the money was on the underdog Orioles.
Station Casino sportsbook director Chuck Esposito told ESPN his shop took minimal straight bets on the Astros-Orioles game, but added that Houston was a popular pick on parlay bets. Bettors often bet big favorites like the Astros by parlaying them with other teams to reduce the price.
Trailing 7-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Baltimore rallied for three runs, capped by Rio Ruiz’s two-run homer with two out to give the Orioles the victory and snap their five-game losing streak.