The Loop

Tigers get two-hit by Justin Verlander, still pull off biggest baseball upset in 20 years

It's been a brutal year for the Detroit Tigers, historically brutal. It's been so bad that they're a game and a half worse than the Baltimore Orioles, who have at times looked like the worst team in the history of American sport in 2019. But the Tigers continue to out-bad them, the shining example being the play last week when two Detroit outfielders collided when going for a fly ball, causing it to ricochet over the fence.

Even the most optimistic of Tigers fans probably hasn't found much good in this season, but at least they can look back on what happened Wednesday night and say the 2019 team was part of history, gambling history, that is. Prior to first pitch, the Tigers were as high as a +440 underdog while the World Series favorite Houston Astros were a -525 favorite, meaning you'd have to wager $525 on Houston just to win $100. If you bet $100 on the Tigers, you'd win $440.

While betting on a -525 favorite seems stupid, especially in baseball, this was about as close to a lock as it gets in sports betting. Justin Verlander was on the hill for the Astros, who were also at home, where they've gone 45-16 on the year. This was one of the top three teams with their ace on the mound against the worst team in the league.

But there is no such thing as a lock in sports betting as the Tigers would go on to prove, winning 2-1 against their former star pitcher. According to data provided by, it's the biggest upset in baseball in the last 20 years. Making it even more unfathomable was the fact that Verlander had one of his best outings of the season. Check out this line:

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Complete game, two hits, 11 K's. You're winning that game nine times out of 10 when your ace pitches like that. But it just so happened that the two hits Verlander gave up were solo homers, enough to beat the Astros despite them having one of the most potent offenses in the sport.

Perhaps the craziest part of all is that this is not the first time this month that the Astros were on the losing side of another monumental upset. On August 11, the Astros were a -480 favorite over the Orioles, who they had just pummeled 23-2 the day prior. But the Orioles won 8-7 at Camden Yards, which was at the time biggest upset since 2007. Gambling!