On Friday, the L.A. Dodgers earned a historic win against the Boston Red Sox in a marathon 18-inning game. Each team went through nine pitchers in the more-than-seven-hour ordeal, obliterating the previous record for the longest World Series battle.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, it proved to be their only victory of the Series, which Boston wrapped by Game 5. However, simply by forcing at least a fifth game, it managed to create a very unique circumstance: the rare Super Sports Equinox. On Sunday, Los Angeles hosted home games in five major sports.
This unlikely confluence allowed for an opportunity for southern Californians to engage in a usually unwise move of local pride, a six-way multi-sport parlay bet. Though L.A. managed to win only half the games in question, there was a brief moment when it looked like the city had a chance to shine with a triumphant sweep of every event.
What went down
MLB: Dodgers vs. Red Sox, World Series Game 5
Though the Dodgers were down three games to one and had a very unlikely comeback path, they were still favored for this particular game right up until the first inning. However, Boston took an early lead, and while Los Angeles managed to keep a win within reach for most of the game, it slipped out of their grasp in the last few innings and they wound up with a 5-1 loss.
This not only ended the series, it collapsed most of the obvious L.A. parlay bets.
NFL: Rams vs. Packers
While the Packers are generally a formidable team, they had been having an up-and-down season while the Rams came in undefeated. What followed was an extremely dramatic game from a gambler’s perspective.
Green Bay took an early lead, cutting into L.A.’s advantage in live bets in a significant way (more on that later). The game shifted back and forth until the controversial ending that saw running back Todd Gurley make the tactical decision to slide short of the end zone and run out the clock instead of scoring an assured touchdown in the final moments.
Had he scored, the Rams would have beaten the spread and passed the over/under, and fantasy outcomes would have changed. There was extremely little risk that Green Bay could have managed a win if they regained control (the Rams would have had to miss an extra point just to give the Packers a remote chance of tying the game), but Gurley still chose to guarantee victory for his team instead of prioritizing either personal glory or betting results. This may have disappointed gamblers, but it speaks well to concerns about the integrity of sports in this new environment.
NBA: Clippers vs. Wizards
The Clippers came in with a 3-2 record while the Wizards were sputtering at 1-4. While that was no assurance of a blowout, L.A. managed to take command early on. After Markieff Morris had to leave the game due to injury, Washington never threatened to make a comeback and lost 136-104. The spread was obliterated.
MLS: Galaxy vs. Dynamo
This was, on paper, the safest game for an L.A. team, with many books setting the line at more than -400. The home team took a 2-0 lead early, setting them up to coast through the remainder of the game and secure their entrance to the playoffs.
Unfortunately it all went very wrong late in the game, when Houston rallied to win 3-2. The American soccer community, which is apparently a thing that exists, I am told, was stunned at the heartbreaking upset for Los Angeles.
NHL: Kings vs. Rangers and Ducks vs. Sharks
The Kings came in with a slightly worse record than the Rangers, but were still slight favorites on home ice. Though New York controlled play at first, the advantage shifted back and forth and L.A. managed to eke out the 4-3 win with a goal in the last 60 seconds.
The Anaheim Ducks, on the other hand, were the only team in the L.A. parlay that was not favored going into Sunday. The Ducks have been on a losing streak, which reached five consecutive games with their 4-3 loss to San Jose.
So was a parlay bet wise or foolish?
It is a subject of much debate, whether or not parlays are viable wagers or a trap for suckers, with the general consensus leaning toward them being something best done only occasionally and for fun.
In this case, Los Angeles won only three of the six games, despite having been favored in five of them. Immediately before the games began, a money line parlay bet across all six events was estimated to pay about 14-16 times the initial bet. A fan from L.A. could have dropped $10 simply for the thrill of the story he or she could have (potentially) walked away with on this unforgettable day when every home team won.
The mistake would have been in assuming that the teams mostly being favored meant the parlay was likely to hit, which is a normal psychological instinct even though statistics do not work that way. It was probable that several of the teams would win, but extremely unlikely they all would.
A compromise was also possible. A gambler who decided to ignore the existence of soccer and forget that Anaheim is part of the L.A. metro area could have focused on a smaller and more reasonable parlay. If that person had figured that the Dodgers looked poised to go quietly in the World Series (a very reasonable assumption under the circumstances) and they made a parlay bet on the Rams, Clippers, and Kings, that bet would have paid off about 6/1.
If that player still wanted to bet on the Dodgers, the smart move would have been to wait until the games were underway and bet at one specific mobile sportsbook in New Jersey. DraftKings Sportsbook was offering a “Multi Sport Parlay Insurance” promotion that protects players if exactly one team in the parlay loses. Before the Rams game began, they were not eligible due to being favored too highly, but after Green Bay took an early lead, the live odds shifted enough to protect the bet.
In any case, sports equinoxes like this almost never occur. The parlay was a poetic and appealing bet for anyone from Los Angeles, and like most parlays, it would have separated bettors from their money.
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