The problem with betting the run line in baseball, of course, is the agonizing one-run win for the favorite.
If you bet baseball enough, you've been there. You take a favorite at -1.5 to get some better odds. Then the favorite wins 4-3 and you have a losing ticket.
That was the path for all Los Angeles Dodgers bettors in the NL wild-card game. Then Chris Taylor happened.
Chris Taylor saves Dodgers bettors
The 106-win Dodgers were -225 to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. That's a heavy number to lay, for regular baseball bettors or those who just wanted some action on a playoff game. The run line, of Dodgers -1.5, was much more enticing at about -105 odds.
You have to imagine that most bettors who wanted the Dodgers were taking the run line. And until the final pitch of the game, they had to feel they were drawing dead.
The Dodgers got behind 1-0 early, then tied it 1-1 but squandered many opportunities to take the lead before the ninth inning. Once the game reached the ninth inning, the only path to victory for run line bettors was a walk-off homer that scored at least two runs. Only 11 times in MLB history, before Wednesday night, had there been a walk-off homer to advance a team in the playoffs or win a World Series.
Then, a gift to bettors who had Dodgers -1.5. And there were a lot of them.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 7, 2021
Taylor's walk-off homer was extra lucky. Giovanny Gallegos, the Cardinals' best reliever, had to come out after the eighth inning due to a split fingernail according to St. Louis manager Mike Schildt. When Alex Reyes, who gave up nine homers in the regular season, came in to face Taylor it gave life to those who needed a walk-off homer. And they got it.
If you had Dodgers -1.5, do a good deed today. You got a gift from the gambling gods on Wednesday night.