Top 5 Sports Upsets of 2018 – Where Does UMBC’s Win Rank?

Virginia vs UMBC
The UMBC Retrievers became the first 16-seed to upset a #1 in the first-round of the March Madness Tournament this year. Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire.
  • We’re rounding up the five biggest upsets of 2018
  • Molinari, Blake Snell, UMBC, and more
  • What would a parlay have got me?

As SBD’s resident upset expert, it falls to me to round up the five biggest upsets of 2018. These are the bets nobody would have seen coming, except of course for everyone who lied about having this bet slip afterwards.

5: Stefanos Tsipsitas Makes the Canadian Open Final

Opponent Tsitsipas Odds
Damir Dzumhur -195
Dominic Thiem -111
Novak Djokovic +322
Alexander Zverev +310
Kevin Anderson +200
Rafael Nadal +428

Not one huge upset, but a string of pretty stout upsets.

Beating Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, and Kevin Anderson all in a row is hugely improbable for a 19 year old who has never made the top 10, but Stefanos Tsipsitas did it, and become one of the few players to make a Masters 1000 final in the Big 4 era.

It’s likely that Stefanos will have slightly inflated odds against top players for the next few years. He deserves it!

4: Old Dominion (+28) beats Virginia Tech

Team Spread Moneyline
Virginia Tech -28 (-105) -7000
Old Dominion +28 (-105) +3000

Virginia Tech had problems with defensive depth in 2018, but they didn’t really show up until their fourth game.

The Hokies had cruised through Delaware, Florida State, William & Mary, and had their East Carolina game cancelled. They were ranked a tasteful #13 in the AP Poll.

The betting market put the spread on their game with Old Dominion at 28 points, and expected a blowout.

That, uhhh, didn’t happen, and ODU torched Virginia Tech. Jonathan Duhart caught 9 passes for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was fun as hell.

3: UMBC (#16) beats Virginia (#1)

Team Spread  Moneyline
Virginia -20.5 (-108) -5000
UMBC +20.5 (-102) +3250

Where were you, when the best college basketball team in the country got waxed by the UMBC Retrievers?

Quick quiz: do you remember what UMBC stands for? I don’t! Do you remember what they did for the rest of the NCAA Tournament? Nobody does!

*University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and they lost to Kansas State in the next round.

2: Francesco Molinari (+10000) Wins The Open

Player Odds to Win The Open Championship
Francesco Molinari +10000

Golf futures always give pretty crazy odds, but Francesco Molinari winning the Open Championship was a wild payday for a few bettors. In April, Molinari’s odds were at +10000, and came down to +3300 as the tournament approach.

Molinari played extremely well that weekend, and held off a late/terrible charge from Rory McIlroy to seal the win.

1: Blake Snell Wins the AL Cy Young

Player Odds to Win AL Cy Young, March 16th
Blake Snell +30000

Anyone who tells you they saw this coming is lying.

In his first two seasons in the major leagues, Snell had put up ERAs of 3.54 and 4.04. In 2017, he was demoted to Durham and didn’t return to the team until late July.

He entered the 2018 season as the #2 starter, behind Chris Archer. At the All-Star break, he wasn’t originally on the AL roster.

Snell would finish the season with an ERA of 1.89, the lowest the American League had seen in 18 years. Just a wildly productive season, and one of the best in baseball’s history.

What if I Parlayed all These Bets?

If you’d somehow started 2018 with the ability to build this parlay, the payoff would have been incredible.

Bet Odds
Francesco Molinari, Open Champion +10000
Stefanos Tsipsitas def. Damir Dzumhur -195
Stefanos Tsipsitas def. Dominic Thiem -111
Stefanos Tsipsitas def. Novak Djokovic +322
Stefanos Tsipsitas def. Alexander Zverev +310
Stefanos Tsipsitas def. Kevin Anderson +200
UMBC def. Virginia +3250
Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young +30000
Parlay Odds (Fractional) +15201873597

We can all dream, right?

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