It takes a special kind of person to enjoy betting unders. Human nature makes us want to root for excitement, action and scoring. While most observers are rooting for home runs and excitement on the bases, under bettors sit there rooting for double plays and strikeouts. Sometimes, I find it hard to even watch a game where I bet the under because it's such an unnatural feeling.
You have to be extra special if you're willing to bet an under in this year's ALCS. The first three games of the series saw 38 runs scored and the over was 3-0. However, the under was the right side in Game 4 on Tuesday....until it wasn't.
Never in doubt
The best part of betting an under is that in most cases, you will be winning your bet for the majority of the game.
Game 4 got off to a bad start for under bettors, as Alex Bregman hit a first inning home run which was then answered in the bottom of the inning by a two-run blast from Xander Bogaerts.
However, the 2-1 score would hold until the top of the 8th inning. When Jose Altuve tied the game with a home run, under bettors still felt more than confident in the game finishing under the total of 9 runs. Sure, maybe they'd need to deal with extra innings to cash the ticket now, but a path to the over was hard to see.
It all changed with one controversial umpire call in the top of the ninth inning. Carlos Correa led the inning off with a double against Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi then struck out Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Diaz. He then appeared to strike out Jason Castro, but Laz Diaz didn't see it that way.
If this is called a strike, the inning is over and the game stays tied.
But Laz Diaz called it a ball. pic.twitter.com/yIrBezqk89
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) October 20, 2021
The at-bat continued, and Castro hit a single to drive in Correa to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. If Diaz called Castro out on strikes, the inning would have been over and the game would have still been tied at two. Instead, the Astros had a lead. While this might have been unfortunate for Red Sox backers, under bettors still had no real reason to sweat.
After walking Altuve, Eovaldi was replaced by lefty Martin Perez who came in and inherited a bases-loaded, two-out jam against left-handed batter Michael Brantley. Brantley cleared the bases with a double, making the score 6-2. Still alive for the under nine bettors and we still just need one out.
Perez once again went head-to-head with a lefty batter in Yordan Alvarez, but Alvarez hit a run-scoring single to push the score to 7-2. Now, under bettors who were in control for 8 innings were hoping for a push.
Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker both hit infield singles for Houston, scoring two more runs in the process before the inning wrapped up. The final score? 9-2 Astros. The winning side? Over 9 runs.
The top of the ninth inning started with the game tied at 2, and if the home plate umpire correctly punched out Castro, we might still be playing baseball. Instead, under bettors ripped up their tickets after an astonishing bad beat.
It's been a rough series overall
While Game 4 was the most recent and toughest beat for under bettors in the ALCS, we can't forget the bad beat that was Game 1. In that game, the total was set at 8.5 runs. The Red Sox had a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th, but the Astros tied it. We entered the seventh inning tied at 3 runs a piece before the Astros scored in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead. Houston added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-3. That insurance run proved to be huge, as in the top of the 9th inning off closer Ryan Pressly, Enrique Hernandez hit a home-run to make it a 5-4 game and push the game over the total of 8.5 runs.
Games 2 and 3 were rough for under bettors as well, but for a completely different reason. Those under bets never had a chance as Boston jumped out to early 9-0 leads in both games. There's nothing worse than betting a game and knowing you're on the wrong side right from the very beginning.
What's on tap
For some reason, I don't think people will be rushing to bet the under.