Miami Marlins

It’s crunch time for the Marlins — in Vegas

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the team

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the state of the organization following the trade deadline, the farm system, and the future of catcher J.T. Realmuto
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Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter talks about the state of the organization following the trade deadline, the farm system, and the future of catcher J.T. Realmuto

It’s nail biting time for those who put their money on the Marlins before the season.

But for those who wagered the Marlins would finish with more than 64 1/2 wins, those nails became a little bit shorter Tuesday when Monday’s makeup game against the Pirates was canceled.

That meant that instead of 162 games, the Marlins will play just 161.

And with 62 wins going into their game on Tuesday against the Nationals, it left little margin for error. Including Tuesday’s game, the Marlins need to go 3-2 or better in their remaining five games to get over the hump.

Of course, those who bet the Marlins to go under 64 1/2 wins were likely pleased with Major League Baseball’s decision to cancel an otherwise meaningless game that carried no postseason implications.

“They’re one of the few teams that either hasn’t either gone over or under,” said Jimmy Shapiro, spokesman for Bovada, an online sports book. “They’re still in limbo.”

As are the Cubs, Rockies and Tigers.

Vegas oddsmakers were bearish on the Marlins from the very beginning. Their over-under number on the Marlins was the lowest of any major league team, generally ranging from 63 1/2 to 64 1/2 wins. At Bovada, the number closed at 64 1/2. At Westgate, it was 64.

As it turns out, the Marlins will finish with more wins than at least two — and as many as seven — other teams. Their final record will determine their slot in next summer’s amateur draft.

What’s more, the cancelation means the Marlins are assured of avoiding triple-digit losses for only the third time in franchise history. Even if they lose out, the worst they can do is 62-99.

But some bettors are still hanging in the balance.

Shapiro said Bovada automatically voids all such bets involving teams that don’t play 162. But Bovada is the exception, not the norm.

“They’re offshore, Bovada, so the rules are a little different,” Shapiro said. “If they don’t play 162 games, the bets are null and void and everyone gets their money back.”

Most Vegas sports books, though, only require teams to play at least 160 games for the wagers to become valid.

“With the NHL and NBA, we say they must play the full 82-game schedule,” said Jeff Sherman, race and sports manager at Westgate. “With baseball having so many games versus the other sports, as long as they play 160 games, we’ll honor action on it. We give it a few games’ leeway because of the weather.”

And Mother Nature is what caused the Marlins’ Sept. 9 game in Pittsburgh to be postponed and ultimately canceled when the Pirates were finally eliminated.

Barring some end-of-season winning surge by the Marlins, Sherman said there should be more happy bettors than disappointed ones.

“We had more (money) on the under than the over,” he said.

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