ATLANTIC CITY — Possibly the next Cinderella to hit the sportsbetting world is on her figurative knees battling mediocrity and scrubbing the NL Central floor, as her stepsisters in Chicago and Milwaukee fight it out for first place.
But the Cincinnati Reds are just 4.5 games back in the division, which is something one local bookmaker is keeping an eye on.
Back in May at the DraftKings sportsbook at Resorts in Atlantic City, an unidentified bettor fired $14,000 on the Reds at 33-1 to win the division and $6,000 on them to win the National League pennant at 80-1.
If Cincinnati wins the division, the bettor wins $462,000. If it wins the NLCS, he’ll grab an additional $480,000.
The Reds started the season 1-8 and have yet to crack .500. They went into the All-Star break at 41-46 after a rough two-game sweep at home by the Cleveland Indians.
“It wasn’t a bad play,” DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello. said“Look at the division. The Cubs can turn it on, but they haven’t yet.”
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Chicago leads Milwaukee by a half-game. St. Louis is two games back; Pittsburgh, 2.5; then the Reds at 4.5.
Cincinnati went into the break on a sour note, which included an 11-1 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. It was the Reds’ most-lopsided defeat of the season.
“We ran into a good team, a good lineup,” manager David Bell told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It’s two games. They were big games for us but … two games doesn’t take away from what we’ve been able to do. Really, what we’ve been able to do is give ourselves a chance here going into the second half.”
At last year’s All-Star break, Cincinnati was 13.5 games out and finished 28.5 back. Their current DraftKings’ odds are 11-1 for the division, 40-1 for the pennant.
Avello pointed out that the Reds could still become sellers at the July 31 trade deadline, which would sink any chances our bettor has at hitting it big.
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Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team was 200-1 to win this year’s NCAA championship and made it all the way to the title game. The St. Louis Blues were in last place midway through the NHL season and won the Stanley Cup. Even the Toronto Raptors were 10-1 as late as May. The Reds could fizzle or they could soar. As their manager said, at least they have a chance.
“You have to have foresight to make those plays" in futures bets, Avello said. “Look at Texas Tech. You have to know that something hasn’t clicked for a team. Anybody can bet the Dodgers or Yankees at 3-1. That’s what doing your homework on futures is about.”
Plenty of Philadelphia connections to this weekend’s American Century Championship celebrity golf championship.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson is 150-1 at William Hill, which listed 50 betting options, and 100-1 at Caesars, which handicapped the entire field. Shane Victorino (150-1), Jimmy Rollins (200-1), and Kyle Lowry (1,000-1) also are in the field.
As always, Charles Barkley and that painful-looking swing of his, is the biggest long shot at 7,500-1.
Tony Romo, who won it last year, is favored at 5-2. Mark Mulder, the winner from 2015 to ’17, is 3-1 at Caesars. The 54-hole tournament starts Friday.
DraftKings opened Carson Wentz at 14-1 on Wednesday to win NFL comeback player of the year, but dropped him to 8-1 overnight. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (+350) and Jets running back Le’Veon Bell (+400) are favored for the award, which was won by Andrew Luck last season. … Pederson is 14-1 to win coach of the year. … Bally’s, which has the largest sportsbook in the area, will be showing the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman fight on July 20, starting at 9 p.m. The pay-per-view price is $74.99, but Bally’s will have free general seating and reserved and premium spots in their “fancaves.” Call 609-412-6929 for details. Pacquiao was favored at -140. Thurman is +120. … Serena Williams will go for her eighth Wimbledon singles championship on Saturday, when she faces Simona Halep (9 a.m., ESPN;3 p.m., taped, 6ABC). FanDuel opened Williams at -194, while offering Halep at +164. Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam championships, won her first Wimbledon title in 2002 when Halep was 10 years old. Amazing.