Welcome to WagerBop’s Daily Double! Our new hardball blog includes previews and picks for at least 2 Major League Baseball games every day, updated nightly with Las Vegas odds and expected starting hurlers.
MLB Vegas Odds and Previews 7/17
Action Moves Braves, Brewers Lines Again
The Atlanta Braves opened as (+110) underdogs to beat the Milwaukee Brewers in Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match at Miller Park. That was understandable enough – the Brew Crew has had a promising-enough campaign so far in a tightly-packed NL Central, and the hosts are in fine position to make a charge for the division lead in late summer despite slumbering out of the All-Star Break. But betting action on the Braves has moved Atlanta’s line to (-115), and why not? The visitors lost 3 times in the last 2 weeks, Freddie Freeman has an immense RBI total of 74 base runners knocked-in, and talented Dallas Keuchel is up in the rotation against Brewers hurler Chase Anderson. Not that the pitching staffs are getting all kinds of love in Las Vegas – the Over/Under line is (10) runs.
Gamblers Shy of Rodriguez and Red Sox…For Some Reason
Perhaps speculators are naturally wary of short-odds moneyline bets on Major League Baseball after a crazy spring full of big upsets. But the dog days are upon us, and it seems strange that bettors are ignoring the crushing advantages held by the host Boston Red Sox ((-250) after opening (-260)) over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday evening. Yes, Toronto bats have been alive through a so-far split 3-game series. The ‘Jays won Tuesday’s ballgame 10-8 after a 4-run 9th inning rally as CF Teoscar Hernández finished with 3 RBIs. But expected guest hurler Aaron Sanchez has 1 of the worst stat lines in all of American baseball: 3-13 and a 6.10 ERA. Opposing starter Eduardo Rodriguez may not be an incarnation of Satchel Paige, but he’s pretty solid at 10-4 on the year.
Pick: Red Sox to win
Gamblers Finally Trust Nationals During Hot Streak
Moneyline speculators have been let down by the Washington Nationals at short odds a few times prior to the All-Star Break. However, the D.C. ballclub’s stock is rising in July, and a 1-to-2 betting line on the Nats to beat the Baltimore Orioles (+170) on Tuesday evening is holding as steady as she pleases despite the contest taking place at Camden Yards. A potential pitcher’s mound mismatch of visiting Austin Voth against Asher Wojciechowski (0-2, 6.10 ERA) puts doubt on the underdogs’ chances, while the uncertainty over both pitching staffs has prompted Las Vegas to place an (11) run total on the 2-game series opener.
M’s a Popular Pick Despite Jilted Betting Public
The Seattle Mariners were a hot underdog ML pick early in the 2019 season. Since then, the AL West ballclub has struggled against world-class foes and also-rans alike, and the M’s only have 2 wins in their last 10 ballgames. Still Seattle’s underdog line for Tuesday’s nightcap against the host Oakland A’s is among the more “sexy” wagers on the current MLB betting board, shrinking to (+150) after opening at 1.75-to-1.
Surely, gamblers can’t be thinking of recent history – the Athletics won a series against the Mariners prior to the All-Star Break and swept the Chicago White Sox following the classic in Cleveland.
Pick: A’s to win
Atlanta Overtakes Favorite’s Role in Milwaukee
The Atlanta Braves opened as slight underdogs headed into Monday evening’s series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Vegas handicappers were noting that the Brew Crew is well above .500 at home, and Christian Yelich is just 1 of a few batters in the Milwaukee lineup who could push or surpass 100 RBIs on the season. But an injury to Gio Gonzalez has put strain on the hosts’ pitching staff, and the ballclub is struggling to get traction out of the All-Star Break. The Braves plan to start 9-4 Max Fried against Adrian Houser, and quickly earned a favorite’s ML of (-112) as the more-popular wager following Atlanta’s 3-game sweep of San Diego.
Pick: Braves to win
Bettors Love Underdog Pirates in NL Central Battle
It would take heavy action to make the Pittsburgh Pirates into a Monday night MLB favorite against the host St. Louis Cardinals after the club opened at longer than a 1.5-to-1 moneyline. But a few hours of betting have already helped Steeltown to a (+115) market as gamblers flock to the visitors. Expected Pirates starter Joe Musgrove is only 6-7 on the season, though opposing STL hurler Miles Mikolas has had just as many issues trying to get on track in 2019. Still the majority of MLB gamblers are expecting a dogfight and not a circus in the series opener at New Busch Stadium given the falling O/U total of (8.5).
Falling O/U Total Marks Closer in Cleveland
Fresh off their own Progressive Field hosting the 2019 All-Star Game, the Cleveland Indians have to feel pretty good about where they’re headed. The Tribe is well above .500 at home and on the road, and threatening the Minnesota Twins for 1st place in the AL Central. But the club has been slowed by losing the first 2 ballgames of a crucial series against Minny, and bettors are expecting a Sunday pitcher’s duel as Cleveland (-135) tries to avoid the broom. Visiting Jose Berrios of the Twins will pitch against host Shane Bieber in a ballgame with a falling (8.5) run total.
Pick: Indians to win
Sputtering Dodgers Not Favored for SNB in Beantown
The L.A. Dodgers and Boston Red Sox have split 2 mostly-lopsided ballgames of a 3-game series at Fenway Park, but the greater narrative going into July’s maiden installment of Sunday Night Baseball is that the Bums might be having their only slump of the season so far. The club lost 4 in a row prior to Saturday evening, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Sunday night’s closer in an effort to maintain a choke-hold on the NL West with a 2-1 series win. Not that bettors are trusting the ace to deliver against the surging Sawx – a scheduled start from David Price has the teams locked into (-110) moneylines while a healthy Vegas total of (9) portends a few extra-base hits and runs scored in early innings.
Gamblers Flock to Blue Jays Despite Weak Starter
It’s not a surprise to see the New York Yankees open as a 1-to-3 wager to beat a struggling MLB club. The Bronx Bombers have won 58 games – many while dealing with serious injury problems – and the Toronto Blue Jays scored nary a run against Domingo German and 2 other NY hurlers in Friday’s series opener at Yankee Stadium. Perhaps the betting public senses weakness in Saturday afternoon’s scheduled starter J.A. Happ who has an ERA of 5.02 despite a winning record. Toronto’s line-to-win has shortened to (+225) with several hours of wagering action, But it’s hard to see how the Jays could find an advantage on the mound with Clayton Richard and a thin bullpen against the AL East leaders.
Pick: Yankees to win
Flagging Mets Get Warm Reprieve in Florida
Meet the Mets! They’re double-digit ballgames below the .500 mark, but at least you can meet them in Miami. New York is a (-145) gamble to win Saturday evening’s 2nd-of-3 contests at Marlins Park, though the Fish pounded Friday’s starting hurler Jason Vargas for 6 earned runs. Noah Syndergaard will give it a whirl against youngster Zac Gallen, and the Over/Under is a stingy (7.5) total runs in Vegas despite Pete Alonzo and other talented batters in the lineup. Even Syndergaard is known to slug a few balls out of the park, though he’s been batting poorly in 2019 as trade rumors swirl.
Pick: Marlins to win
Cubs a Solid Favorite vs Pirates at Wrigley
Major League Baseball was back on the diamond in at least 1 ballpark Thursday, as the Houston Astros turned into a hot afternoon pick despite pitching unheralded Framber Valdez against 11-4 veteran Lance Lynn. Las Vegas seems equally confounded by the hurlers starting in Friday’s lone daylight contest, with bookmakers hesitating on an O/U total for an NL Central opener between the division-leading Chicago Cubs (-160) and visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. Expected Chicago starter Yu Darvish gave up a ton of hits to the Pirates on 7/3, but opposing hurler Chris Archer is doing some soul-searching after clashing with coaches over his tactics in early summer.
Pick: Cubs to win
Action Split on Red Sox, Bums at Fenway Park
Matching (-110) moneylines are the bettor’s conundrum as a marquee series kicks off between National and American Leagues in Boston on Friday evening. The L.A. Dodgers arrive with an MLB-best 60 wins, eager to right the ship after dropping 3 of 4 to San Diego headed into the All-Star Break. The host Boston Red Sox have been set on the mound with Eduardo Rodriguez scheduled as Friday’s starting pitcher, but the Bums dragged their feet before settling on Kenta Maeda fresh from his appearance in Cleveland. The potentially solid performances from the rubber must call into question a high (10.5) Over/Under despite the presence of Cody Bellinger, J.D. Martinez and other big bats aimed at the Green Monster.
(MLB All-Star Game 7/9)
Midsummer Classic Pits Epic Power vs Elite Hurlers
The 2017 and 2018 MLB All-Star Games were decided with 10th inning heroics, setting to rest any notion that AL and NL representatives would no longer play as hard without the promise of home field advantage in the World Series. Will Tuesday night’s Midsummer Classic turn into an epic slug-fest once again, or a cat-and-mouse game between world-class sluggers and hurlers?
Christian Yelich of the Brewers and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers lead a National League offense that has knocked an amazing 426 home runs out of the park this year, while the American League can counter with big bats like D.J. LeMahieu of the Yankees and Carlos Santana of Progressive Field’s own Cleveland Indians.
Pitching staffs may use slightly disparate tactics to try to prevent big rallies in the contest, as the AL stable is full of fastballers and strike-out kings like Justin Verlander of the Astros, but the NL will feature crafty placement-hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu on the mound with teammates Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler waiting in the bullpen.
Las Vegas currently likes the American League as a slight (-105) moneyline favorite in an All-Star Game with an (8.5) O/U run total.
Pick: National League to win
Halos Bring the Fight to Space City
The final ballgame prior to an All-Star Break is arguably more crucial than most of the other 161 games on a Major League Baseball schedule. Clubs are hoping to go into a well-earned sabbatical with a victory and a positive frame of mind. Houston’s powerful roster is likely to remain confident no matter what, of course, as the Astros are above .750 at Minute Maid Park and are holding a commanding lead in the AL West. But the Los Angeles Angels (+145) have climbed above the .500 mark with inspired performances on the diamond following the untimely death of hurler Tyler Skaggs.
Pick: Astros to win
Cards Try to Solve or at Least Spell Samardzija in Cali
San Francisco is still solidly in the cellar of the NL West, but a number of factors are causing MLB gamblers to move on the club’s underdog moneyline to prevail in a series closer against St. Louis at AT&T Park. Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina is injured, and the Giants are winning more games than the Redbirds in the short term. Furthermore while a pitching match-up of visiting Jack Flaherty vs host hurler Jeff Samardzija might have been seen as lopsided a while back, Samardzija nearly pitched a complete game against the Padres on 7/1 and could be rounding into better form. The Gigantes are a (+105) wager in a contest with a steady (8.5) Las Vegas total.
Slim Majority of Bettors Like Brew Crew at PNC
Line movement on Las Vegas MLB odds can be drastic or subtle. In the case of Saturday afternoon’s ballgame at PNC Park between the Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Milwaukee Brewers, the latter is the case. Lines appear to have opened with each club priced equally, but slightly more gamblers have taken the Brew Crew to win, driving Milwaukee’s moneyline to (-115). The Brew Crew is in 2nd place in the NL Central but not playing exceptional baseball, while the Pirates’ home record isn’t much better than the Brewers’ dismal road mark. The reason for the betting action could be on the mound – Adrian Houser has a superior ERA to expected host hurler Trevor Williams.
Pick: Brewers to win
Total Falling on Maeda Start in L.A.
L.A.’s record at Dodger Stadium is truly astounding. The Bums racked up another win in front of the faithful in the 1st of 4 against the visiting San Diego Padres in a 5-1 clubbing on Thursday before dropping the next game, a bizarre affair in which the umpire did not call timeout during a 7.1 earthquake that rattled the upper deck. Of course the 60-30 Bums are favored to beat the Padres again on Saturday night with a moneyline of (-160). But the Over/Under total has dropped to just (8) runs. Visiting starter Chris Paddack is no slouch, to be sure, but we’re thinking that an appearance from 7-4 Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers has more to do with it.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Hot Nationals Favored Despite Unproven Hurler
It’s time to check in on the Washington Nationals again, a club that floundered with various slumps and disappointments throughout spring but is now starting to climb prior to the All-Star Break. The Nats are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, with Anthony Rendon and Gerardo Parra combining for 4 hits and 4 RBIs in a comeback 5-2 victory on Thursday. Unproven 27-year-old pitcher Austin Voth will take the mound for Washington when the team hosts Kansas City in a series opener at Nationals Park on Friday evening. He’s taking on Brad Keller, however, a hurler who has lost more than twice as many ballgames as he was won this season. Will batters produce extra fireworks on the day after July 4th? The surging Nationals are the favorite at (-180) in a contest with a rising (10.5) Las Vegas total.
Giants a Popular Wager to Win 5th in a Row
Is an upset really an upset if gamblers expect it to happen? The San Francisco Giants are in last place in the National League West division and have been going to the plate with wiffle-ball bats for much of the 2019 season. They’re hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in a series opener on Friday night, and Las Vegas’ MLB bookies posted a “reputation”-influenced betting line of (-135) on the Redbirds. Action has quickly driven the ballgame’s moneyline to matching (-110) odds in both directions, thanks largely to the Giants’ 4-game winning streak that includes a series-sweep of San Diego. That’s despite scheduled San Francisco starter Drew Pomeranz being 2-8 with an ugly ERA and throwing against Dakota Hudson. A rising (8.5) total indicates respect for the Giants’ suddenly-solid wood bats or at least the club’s current momentum on offense.
Pick: Cardinals to win
Bettors Reject Tribe For Closer in KC
Gamblers may be in just as patriotic of a mood as the rest of the public headed into the 4th of July. They’re not projecting any good vibes toward the Cleveland Indians, however, a club which opened as a solid favorite and is now only a (-120) wager to win the 3rd of 3 ballgames at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday. Expected visiting starter Zach Plesac is only 3-3 on the season, but why would a far-superior team get downgraded on Las Vegas MLB betting boards after whipping the Royals in 2 straight games? Probably because “system” gamblers expect the lowly hosts to play very hard and try to avoid a sweep-against in their own park.
Pick: Indians to win
Braves Take Heavy Action for Independence Day
If the betting public is most-skeptical about Cleveland’s chances to complete a road sweep of Kansas City, a majority of high-rollers are quite satisfied that the Atlanta Braves will take care of business against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on July 4th evening. Atlanta has the momentum at 5.5 games ahead of the 2nd-place Phils in the NL East, and rebounded from a series-opening loss to post a 9-2 win on Wednesday in which Josh Donaldson slugged a 3-run blast. Starting hurler Mike Soroka creates a green-light special for moneyline gamblers who have quickly moved the Braves’ line-to-win the rubber match to (-170). But an Over/Under total of (10.5) indicates that ‘cappers are expecting a few “fireworks” at SunTrust Park to go along with those in Washington D.C.
Bettors “Cease” To Take ChiSox Stable Lightly
Major League Baseball’s 2019 All-Star Break is just a week away, and Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene will be representing the Motor City Kitties in Cleveland. This Wednesday afternoon, however, it’s another hurler who has caught gamblers’ attention as the Tigers visit the Chicago White Sox in an improvised “series opener” thanks to a postponement on Tuesday that forces a mid-week doubleheader. Dylan Cease is a 23-year-old prospect who is getting great reviews from scouts prior to his impending MLB debut with the ChiSox, and bettors are taking heed of the tips as an O/U line that began in double-digits has shrunk to (9.5) total runs.
Pick: White Sox to win
Bums Big Favorites at Home vs Snakes
Oddsmakers play the percentages knowing that many outcomes are always possible. But sometimes, you can tell that a majority of bookies and gamblers have a specific score in mind. The L.A. Dodgers are a (-260) favorite to defeat the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, and the Over/Under total is rigid at a perfectly-balanced (8) runs. With (-125) on the Run Line, it’s pretty clear that Sin City expects a routine 5-3 victory for the Dodgers. Walker Buehler will start for the hosts and is unlikely to lose for only the 2nd time in double-digit starts, while visiting hurler Merrill Kelly is under .500 but solid enough to frustrate Cody Bellinger and the Bums for at least a few innings.
Cubs, Pirates See Balanced Action for 2nd of 4 at PNC Park
Major League Baseball on Tuesday evening will be played with heavy hearts on the diamond. 27-year-old Tyler Skaggs of the Los Angeles Angels has passed away under mysterious circumstances, leading the Halos to cancel Monday’s planned meeting with the Texas Rangers. Perhaps some hardball gamblers are in no mood to speculate and wager big dollars at the moment – for whatever reason the Chicago Cubs (-120) and Pittsburgh Pirates are seeing balanced action and little line-movement headed into Tuesday evening’s contest at PNC Park. Joe Musgrove will start against visiting Kyle Hendricks in the 2nd of 4 between the NL Central rival as the Vegas run total holds at a steady (9) even.
Yankees Return to America…and Possibly Earth
Playing in a Japanese-style ballpark all the way over in England tends to make hurlers jet-lagged while making power hitters happy. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox combined for 12 runs in the opening frame of a 2-game series in London, finishing 18 innings with 50 total tallies as the Bronx Bombers won both ballgames by 4 runs apiece. It would be an understatement to say that gamblers don’t expect as many fireworks at Citi Field on Tuesday as the Vegas total is a modest (8.5) for Mets vs Yankees. But perhaps high-rollers are thinking the Yanks will be a little hung over from the triumphant trip, lengthening the visitors’ line to (-140) with just a few hours of wagering action.
Matching Moneylines for Brewers-Reds in Cincy
Many of Major League Baseball’s marquee clubs are sitting out on Monday evening. The Dodgers aren’t scheduled to play, and the Yankees and Red Sox deserve a day off after a wild 2-game series in the United Kingdom. Never fear – the NL Central could provide a barn-burner – or at least a well-matched and entertaining contest – as the 2nd-place Milwaukee Brewers visit a Cincinnati Reds team still trying to work its way out of the cellar. Scheduled host starter Tyler Mahle is 2-8 on the season and may have been a big reason why Las Vegas opened its O/U totals above the 10-run mark, but gambling action has quickly shrunk the line to (10) even to go along with matched (-110) odds-to-win in 9 or more innings.
Pads Hope to Maintain Momentum in Series vs SF
The San Diego Padres have acquitted themselves fairly well in ballgames against stout NL West foes like the Dodgers and the Rockies in spring and early summer. But there’s nothing like a series at home against a weaker rival to help build on recent momentum that has the club surfacing above .500. Vegas action on Monday’s series-opening nightcap between the Pads and visiting San Francisco Giants is intriguing as bookmakers don’t agree on whether the O/U run total should be (8) or (8.5) runs. But more so than San Diego’s superior batting, a potentially lopsided match-up on the mound between visiting Jeff Samardzija and host hurler Logan Allen (2-0, ERA 1.38) has moneyline speculators taking Padres-to-win at (-170) payoff odds.
Pick: Padres to win
Understanding MLB Betting Markets
Moneyline – A moneyline is a wager on which Major League Baseball team will win the game outright. Moneylines are listed in fractions relating to a $100 amount – to win $100 on a favorite you must gamble the number next to the “-“ symbol, while a $100 wager on the underdog will pay off with the amount next to the “+” symbol.
Run Line – This is the traditional MLB “point spread” always set at (+/- 1.5) runs. We will rarely make Run Line picks on the Daily Double, but have included one with our Wednesday launch of the blog just for aficionados of a time-honored betting market.
Total Runs – Occasionally we’ll make a pick on the “Over/Under” or “total runs” market for a ballgame, a proposition on whether more or less runs than the Vegas number will be scored by both MLB clubs combined in a given contest.
To learn more about these daily hardball betting markets (and how to play them successfully) visit WagerBop’s MLB betting strategy portal.
We’ve already been tracking ballgames and making “test” picks on various series around the MLB for a few weeks. Here’s some of the recent winners (and a few swing-and-misses) including a successful pick on the historic Yanks-Red Sox opener in London.
O/U Total Soars for Yankees and Red Sox in London
Rivalry ballgames are a different animal. This one might be very different as London Stadium in the UK hosts the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the 1st of 2 historic contests. The Pinstripes could ask for no better momentum to bring across the pond, coming off a sweep of Toronto that included 8-7 closing win behind the big bat of Aaron Judge and a bullpen that saved a poor start from James Paxton. Surely the Red Sox would like to pit their hottest hurler against the Yanks to try to slow down the AL East leaders, but it’s going to be hard for 5-7 Rick Porcello to out-pitch Masahiro Tanaka, and even harder for outfielders in a smallish, quirky, almost NPB-style ballpark with lots of home run potential. Those 2 factors are helping the Vegas run total soar to (11.5) while the Yankees moneyline has somewhat-mysteriously lengthened to (-130).
Pick: Yankees to win
Bums and Rox Prompt Another High O/U in Denver
You don’t see a lot of double-digit Las Vegas totals in ballgames featuring Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers as a scheduled starter. But the total is a whopping (12) for when Kershaw and the Bums visit the Colorado Rockies in the 3rd of 4 ballgames at Coors Field. It’s not like the other starting hurler is a “bum” himself – Jon Gray of the Rox is 8-5 and sports an ERA under 4.00 – not easy when you’re so often pitching in thin air. The clubs are already on pace to combine for 80+ runs in the series, though, so perhaps we’ll see the O/U line extend to a baker’s dozen before the 1st pitch on Saturday evening.
Cubs, Reds Face Evenly-Matched Tilt in Cincy
A batch of Friday evening MLB ballgames is not rich in betting opportunities on marquee clubs. The Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays are squaring off – a welcome respite for both teams but not exactly a star-studded occasion. The Orioles are not a solid match for the Indians, and the Texas vs Tampa Bay ballgame is being slow-walked by a majority of bookmakers. But there’s a nice tight line on a key NL Central opener between Chicago and Cincinnati. Bettors seem to like the Cubs (-115) who are pitching Cole Hamels against 3-5 Sonny Gray in a contest with a (9) run Vegas total.
Pick: Cubs to win
Battle of .500 Hurlers Equals Matched Odds in San Fran
How much do the scheduled starting pitchers affect Las Vegas MLB lines? You be the judge. Arizona is solidly ahead of San Francisco in the NL West, sports a nice winning record on the road, and is coming off a series-win over the powerful L.A. Dodgers. The Giants, meanwhile, are floundering in last place and well below the .500 mark at AT&T Park. Pitchers can set moneylines almost by themselves, though, and a match-up of 2-2 host hurler Shaun Anderson and visiting Merrill Kelly – 7-7 on the year with an almost-matching ERA – has produced even-up (-110) betting lines on both teams in a late-night ballgame with a cautious (8) run O/U total.
Pick: Over (8)
Nats Take Extra Action Thanks to Lopsided Series
Is it just us, or are the Washington Nationals heavy favorites in a few too many Las Vegas MLB lines for the club’s below-.500 record to justify? Of course, it helps when they’re playing an even-weaker opponent – and the Miami Marlins certainly qualify. The Nats rang-up big leads in wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, cementing Miami’s reputation as a club that can go cold from the plate against ordinary major-league pitching. Washington (-210) won’t serve up an “ordinary” hurler in the closer on Thursday evening as Stephen Strasburg takes the mound once again.
Pick: Over (7.5)
O/U Total Drops in Battle of Improving AL West Clubs
The Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels are each demonstrating some staying power in the American League West division, with either club poised to potentially make a charge at Houston later this summer. The Halos lost a 3-game series to the Cardinals over the weekend but rebounded against Cincinnati, while Oakland’s bats impressed against the Redbirds in a win on Tuesday. But it’s the visiting A’s (+145) bullpen which helped keep St. Louis off the board completely in Wednesday’s follow-up, and could be causing the O/U total to have ticked down to (9) even for Oakland’s visit to Angel Stadium on Thursday night despite expected starters Tanner Anderson and Griffin Canning having combined for just 2 wins on the season so far.
Pick: Angels to win
Tigers and Rangers Again See Split Action
Bookmakers often do metaphorical hand-stands trying to balance action on a 2-way moneyline. They’re getting a break with the Detroit Tigers vs Texas Rangers series at Comerica Park, which featured tight betting odds for Tuesday’s opener and is now offering matched (-110) lines-to-win for Wednesday evening’s follow-up. Texas fought-off a late rally by the hosts to salvage a 5-3 victory in the initial tilt as hefty 1B Ronald Guzmán and outfielder Nomar Mazara starred from the plate. But an evenly-matched pair of starters (visiting Mike Minor and Matt Boyd of the Tigers) has led to a 50-50 split of handicappers’ opinions in a contest with an (8.5) O/U total.
Pick: Tigers to win
Total Shrinks for Battle of Winning Hurlers in Minnesota
It’s not typical that the latest ballgames of the evening would include a match-up in the Twin Cities between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays. East coast gamblers who plan to stay up late could be in for a high-suspense treat as Las Vegas has cast the AL Central-leading Twins as slender (-112) favorites on the moneyline in the 2nd of 3 ballgames in the meeting. What’s happening with the O/U total is perhaps more enticing – public betting action tends to drive a run total up and not down, but not this time as an A #1 pitching match-up of visiting Charlie Morton vs expected host-starter Jake Odorizzi has caused a near double-digit opening line to shrink to just (9) runs.
Pick: Over (9)
Bettors Take Tribe Despite Short Payoff
It’s not often that you see a flood of action on a shorter-than 1-to-2 Vegas MLB line. Something about the Cleveland Indians vs Kansas City Royals match-up at Progressive Field on Tuesday evening is making gamblers flock to the Tribe despite the home team’s moneyline opening at super-short odds. It’s hard to say that the pitching battle is a lopsided one – Shane Bieber is solid for Cleveland but expected opposing hurler Glenn Sparkman had a fine outing against Minnesota on 6/20. The Royals are a pitiful 11-26 on the road, however, and will offer a batting lineup that scares nobody against sluggers like Carlos Santana of the Indians…currently a (-230) bet to prevail.
Pick: Indians to Win
Halos Favored in Battle of Flaky Hurlers
An inter-league nightcap comes with an interesting moneyline and O/U total on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Angels have clawed their way back to respectability in June while the Cincinnati Reds are doing OK in a difficult National League division race, but neither ballclub is offering up its best on the mound when the teams meet for a series opener at Angel Stadium. Likely Cincinnati starter Tyler Mahle is a disappointing 2-7 on the season, while L.A. is trotting out someone named Andrew Heaney who has looked mediocre in what little work he has gotten in the big leagues this year. The Vegas total is a modest (9) runs, and Heaney is respected enough by scouts to help the Angels maintain a (-155) moneyline. Could fireworks erupt with DHs in the batting order?
Pick: Over (9)
Kershaw Start Fails to Produce Big Action on Bums
What’s not to like about an L.A. Dodgers moneyline? The Bums have 4 more victories than anyone else in Major League Baseball, Cody Bellinger is a dangerous contact-batter and base-runner even when he’s not knocking balls over the fence, and long-time ace Clayton Kershaw is starting on the mound against host Arizona – a below .500 club – on Monday evening. The Dodgers aren’t nearly as good on the road as in SoCal, though, and the Diamondbacks (+120) are getting a healthy % of the betting handle as talented Zack Greinke defends Chase Field in a ballgame with an (8) run total.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Rox Not Heavily Favored to Beat Woeful Giants
The Colorado Rockies are solidly above the .500 mark despite being beaten in 3 straight games by the Dodgers. In fact, the club would probably be in better position to contend in almost any division except the NL West. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants are still lingering in the cellar and have only posted 15 wins at AT&T Park. A struggling Drew Pomeranz of the Giants is expected to start against 7-5 Jon Gray of the visiting Rockies late on Monday night, but Las Vegas was rather conservative in setting a tight opening line anyway. Bettors have since moved the market to (-140) on Colorado, but a lack of “Over” action is holding the total at a modest (8)…far from what it would be in Denver.
Pick: Over (8)
Disappointed Cubs an Unpopular Bet in Follow-Up
The NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs began Friday’s betting action as shorter than a 1.5-to-1 wager to beat the New York Mets in Saturday afternoon’s ballgame at Wrigley Field. Since then, the Cubs lost Friday’s contest to fall to 1-1 in the 4-game meeting, thanks in-part to a monster day from New York’s Jeff McNeil at the plate. Yu Darvish was unable to create a winning margin in 6 innings of work. With the opportunity for a sweep lost and only a razor-thin edge on Milwaukee for the division lead, action on Chicago has dwindled as the Mets are now just a (+117) wager to go up 2 games to 1. José Quintana is scheduled to pitch vs visiting Zach Wheeler as bookmakers hesitate to post an O/U total due to trade rumors involving the Mets hurler.
Pick: Cubs to win
Reds See Glimmer of Light After Bloody Spring
Another NL Central ballgame comes with an even-tighter ML. The Cincinnati Reds are feeling a glimmer of hope after spending much of the spring in the division cellar, and that vibe is underscored by a ML that casts Cincy as a (-105) wager to beat the host Milwaukee Brewers in the 3rd of 4 ballgames at Miller Park on Saturday. Derek Dietrich is slugging at a healthy .589, and the Reds won the series opener by 6 runs. However, perhaps Cincy isn’t getting all that much credit from gamblers after all – likely Reds starter Luis Castillo is 7-1 on the year while expected host hurler Jhoulys Chacín has had his outfield chasin’ the ball way too often. Milwaukee’s superior batting lineup is balancing the betting action despite any disparity on the mound.
Pick: Reds to win
Bettors Shy of Cubs Line vs Visiting Mets
Bookmakers opened action on Friday’s lone afternoon contest, a follow-up between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets at Wrigley Field, with a healthy (-160) nod toward the favored hosts. A few factors may have contributed to MLB gamblers’ home team shyness since then, as the Cubs are now a (-145) wager thanks to heavy action on the underdogs. Tyler Chatwood had to start in Thursday’s opener due to injury, leaving Chicago’s Yu Darvish to hold the rotation together headed into the weekend. Jason Vargas looms on the mound for the Mets on Friday, and the Cubs have not won a series in the club’s previous 3 tries.
Pick: Cubs to win
Boston is a Truly Massive Favorite vs Toronto
You don’t see a whole lot of 1-to-3 favorites’ moneylines in the 162-game world of Major League Baseball, especially considering that the organization is parity-rich compared to other hardball leagues around the globe. It’s even rarer to find a prohibitive MLB favorite with a 3-7 starting pitcher on the mound. Yet on Friday, the Boston Red Sox are a (-330) wager to beat the woeful Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park behind Chris Sale, a talented hurler who hasn’t always gotten support from a strong batting lineup in double-digit starts. Trent Thornton will start for the Blue Jays in a twilight 1st pitch with an (8.5) Vegas total.
Pick: Over (8.5)
Bonus Preview: L.A. Dodgers Soar Into Series With Rox
The Los Angeles Dodgers are storming toward the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball and less than 10 losses-to-date at Dodger Stadium. On Wednesday the club posted another powerhouse win in which Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor combined for 5 hits, 6 RBIs and 6 of the team’s 9 runs scored against San Francisco. The visiting Colorado Rockies (+155) won’t have the thin air of Denver contributing to any base hits on Friday night, but they’ll probably take the trade-off of not greeting Bellinger in home run-friendly conditions.
German Marquez will start against L.A.’s Walker Buehler in a series opener with a cautious (7.5) run O/U line.
Thursday, June 20th
Gamblers Like Tribe for Series Closer in Arlington
Sometimes a moneyline opens at such tight odds that the end result of adjusted markets following a day’s action is a flip-flop of the “favorite” and “underdog” roles. Such is not the case for Arlington on Thursday afternoon as the Texas Rangers host the Cleveland Indians in a series closer.
Not that the underdog Rangers aren’t acquitting themselves well in the AL Central – Texas owns a magnificent record at home and is closer to the top of its division than Cleveland. But gamblers have driven nearly-equal ML markets to a (-135) price for the visiting Tribe, thanks to the club’s recent momentum and a confident Shane Bieber taking on host hurler Mike Minor in the last of 4 ballgames.
Pick: Rangers to win
Tight Odds on Late Night Meeting in Oakland
The Cody Bellinger show continues at Dodger Stadium, and the Seattle Mariners might be getting back-in on the “Year of the Home Run” while facing a beatable Baltimore pitching staff as hosts and favorites. But it’s a ballgame in Oakland that is catching the eye of gamblers who hunt for evenly-matched teams and tight moneyline picks. The Tampa Bay Rays are a very slender (-115) favorite to beat the Oakland A’s in NorCal on Thursday night, but the contest could just as easily turn into an unpredictable pitchers’ duel as Charlie Morton of Tampa starts against 9-2 Frankie Montas in a game with an (8) run total.
Pick: Under (8)
Wednesday, June 19th
Rays Favored to Succeed vs C.C. in Bronx
Someone who has only glanced at baseball headlines over the past few seasons might be surprised to learn that Tampa Bay is a (-130) favorite to beat the New York Yankees in the Bronx on Wednesday afternoon.
Not only are the Yankees the AL East leaders, and not only are the Rays in a mild slump, but the Bronx Bombers blanked the guests behind a stellar complete game from Masahiro Tanaka in the series opener on Monday and will start well-known commodity C.C. Sabathia on the mound for the capper.
Bettors are brushing-off the Big Apple hype and giving Blake Snell and the Floridians a short line to take revenge.
Pick: Yankees to win
Giants Hit Bump in Rotation at Crucial Time
The San Francisco Giants are threatening to climb into a respectable spot in the NL West, having swept the Padres in 2 ballgames before posting a couple of nice 1-run victories over the Brewers and Dodgers. In Monday’s tense series opener at Dodger Stadium, shortstop Brandon Crawford and plate discipline combined to give San Francisco a delicate lead that the bullpen would not relinquish.
The unit may be tested again in Wednesday’s late battle, as Rich Hill will start for the Bums while struggling Drew Pomeranz must take his turn for the guests. Pomeranz has pitched 10 recent innings without giving up a run, but his prior outing vs Baltimore is warding-off action on a (+205) Giants’ moneyline.
Pick: Giants to cover run line (+1.5)
Gamblers Move on Mets Line in Atlanta (6/18)
Everything is peaches and cream for the Atlanta Braves as the club hosts the New York Mets in a 3-game series at SunTrust Park. The team has barely lost a game since the 1st week of June, capping-off a series win over the Philadelphia Phillies with a tremendous 15-1 victory on Sunday. Tuesday night’s expected host-starter Julio Teherán is solid statistically, but had a shut-out streak snapped by the Pirates in his last outing, while Jacob deGrom showed signs of rounding into form against St. Louis late last week. Gamblers love the Mets on Tuesday, driving even-up moneylines to a (-120) mark favoring New York.
Pick: Mets to win / Outcome: Mets 10, Braves 2
Brew Crew an Underdog at PETCO (6/17)
Sportsbooks have been late to release odds on Monday night’s late ballgame between the Seattle Mariners and visiting Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the L.A. Dodgers are a (-220) against the traveling San Francisco Giants. The odds are tight for PETCO Park in San Diego, however, as the Milwaukee Brewers have been cast as a (+110) underdog against Joey Lucchesi and the Padres. Milwaukee’s expected starter Jhoulys Chacín’s form is as hard to fathom as his name is to spell, having settled down in May before getting blown off the mound in less than 3 innings by the Pirates on 5/31.
Pick: Brewers to win / Outcome: Padres 2, Brewers 0
Strasburg, Nats Expected to Whip Snakes (6/15)
Steven Strasburg has not had a perfect spring, and the Washington Nationals have not appeared threatening in the NL pennant race. The season is still young, of course, and shortstop Trea Turner’s bat was just 1 of many that came alive against Arizona on Friday following a frustrating shut-out loss in the series opener. Still, gamblers aren’t sure what to make of (-195) Vegas odds on the Nats to prevail on Saturday evening. Soul Crusher will take on 1-2 visiting starter Taylor Clarke in a contest with a rising (9.5) O/U total.
Pick: Over (9.5) / Outcome: Diamondbacks 10, Nationals 3
Heartbroken Beantown Looks to Camden Yards (6/14)
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals may not have gone so well at TD Garden. But the city of Boston can’t really complain – not with eminently successful NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball clubs to boast about. While the past few weeks have been sparing on thrills at Fenway Park, the Red Sox wouldn’t be the first club to win a pennant after jogging in-place for much of May and June. Bettors seem to like Boston (-196) even at short odds as a 3-game series opener in Baltimore on Friday, as the O-Birds may offer less resistance than the Texas Rangers have throughout a frustrating 4-game stint.
Pick: Red Sox to win / Outcome: Red Sox 13, Orioles 2
Vegas Prefers Mets in Rivalry Meeting (6/13)
The Mets might be known as “pond scum” in St. Louis, however the bookmakers and gamblers focused on Thursday’s NL Central series opener at Citi Field think the algae have some advantages vs the Redbirds the time. It helps that favored New York (-137) has an excellent record at home, has Jeff McNeil backing up Pete Alonzo’s slugging with terrific contact batting, and are playing a Cardinals club that lost 9-0 on Wednesday. It’s a minor surprise, though, that Jacob deGrom is expected to out-duel visiting Jack Flaherty in a ballgame with a cautious (7.5) run total.
Pick: Cardinals to win / Outcome: Cardinals 5, Mets 4
Kershaw vs Lester Headlines Stellar Late Contest (6/13)
Tired of staying up to see the Mariners play the Angels? Here’s a west coast ballgame with some oomph to it. The L.A. Dodgers are leading the National League West, and Cody Bellinger remains an existential threat to knock any thrown baseball out of the park. The Chicago Cubs are trending upward and leading their own NL Central ahead of 4 quality teams. But despite the guests planning to start Jon Lester on the mound, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are one of the most popular moneyline picks of the evening at (-190) to win the series opener late on Thursday night.
Pick: Cubs to win / Outcome: Dodgers 7, Cubs 3
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.