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.
Oakland Athletics at San Diego Padres
WagerBop’s fine summer MLB record soured a little bit prior to Tuesday’s total whiff, but as always, the solution for a mishap at the sportsbook is to look for the upside and bet confidently. Perhaps the 24+ hour break in predictions could serve to reset our logic as it pertains to forecasting Wednesday’s scores.
Hitting “reset” is an especially good idea when a team is a really good story. San Diego is a terrific baseball story in 2021, but the Padres are vulnerable to a surprise blow-out loss just like any club in the major leagues, and how the betting public chooses to accept or reject the mythology of bright headlines is a key angle from which to attack the odds.
For instance, Pads supporters aren’t helping to prop-up San Diego’s moneyline for Wednesday night, fattening to (-127) with the action. Give the high-rollers credit – they’re noticing that Oakland’s probable pitcher Sean Manaea is lasting longer on the mound than opposing Blake Snell, and the Padres are ailing in the bullpen just as the unit may be especially needed if Snell gets into a mid-game jam.
But the As aren’t in A+ form, having dropped 4 ballgames in a row. That’s a funny kind of “hot” underdog. San Diego’s plate discipline has been out of sight at Petco Park, meaning that the visitors are just as likely to get into jams on Wednesday…and gamblers should capitalize on the less pricey line.
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Angels
As we’ve discussed in past previews, MLB gamblers who usually read too much into unique angles have weirdly blanked on Colorado’s mad disparity of home and away form in ’21. It’s not just that the Rockies are a more dangerous club at Coors Field, but that the lineup’s batting prowess and confidence level vary so severely from ballpark to ballpark that the overall tone of the games changes as the Rox travel and return.
To be fair, the Rockies aren’t winning baseball series, period, and speculators should be cautious about reading too much into Tuesday’s 12-3 victory for Colorado at Angel Stadium. Action has favored the Over (9.5) while the Rockies hold fast as a minus-odds Run Line underdog (yes, a Run Line “underdog” market can be pricey due to that good old “+1.5”) despite a probable start from Chi Chi Gonzalez, who’s almost a sure bet to give up a number of runs with an ugly ERA of 6.06.
Can the Halos capitalize and win the series 2-1? There aren’t many desperate clubs at .500 in the National League, but an AL full of runaway division-leaders creates urgency for in-the-pack playoff hopefuls to overcome listless summers. If psychology isn’t a good reason to pick the Angels and (-1.5), try Colorado’s 19-28 record ATS on the road, or the fact that L.A.’s pitching stable is almost 100% healthy and unlikely to give up 10+ runs to any sub-3.00 average offenses again any time soon.
Pick: Angels (-1.5) (-115)
Note: Due to a publisher’s error, our Daily Double predictions were left unposted on Tuesday. Please check-in Wednesday for regularly-scheduled broadcasting.
Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
Olympic baseball will feature a collection of Nippon Professional Baseball aces, KBO journeymen, American minor-league pros, and recent college grads that only true hardball aficionados will be familiar with ahead of time. (It will also be hosted on a diamond that’s < 400 feet to the center-field fence, making the high-side of O/U totals a running angle for Tokyo.) Back here in the United States, bookmakers are more than acquainted with the failures of probable pitchers Spencer Howard and Joe Ross of the Phillies and Nationals respectively, prompting Sin City to open wagers with a (10) run O/U total on Philadelphia’s series opener with Washington (+108) on Monday evening.
But the gambling public has bucked its usual tendency by dragging the ballgame’s O/U line down to single digits, standing at just (9.5) runs as of the wee hours. Ross remained steady and patient following a promising 7-frame outing vs Miami, only to get injured prior to the All-Star Break. Howard allowed 0 runs in his latest appearance on the mound. It’s easy to see why bettors were quickly drawn to U(10). But it’s not the best market available.
Nats hitters have let D.C. fans down while getting trounced by the lowly Orioles, a costly downturn that could ultimately cost the Washington Nationals a shot in the pennant race. But for now, neither club is above .500, and each still has a chance in an NL East with exactly 1 winning team in July. Ross has exhibited so much more stamina than Howard that the Phillies’ bullpen injuries could show up in the contest’s tactics more than the Nationals’ injury woes loom large, making the visitors a fine ML pick at plus-odds.
Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners
Pick the Under (9) in this Monday ballgame instead. Probable starter Luis Garcia of the Astros appears to be as consistent as the Texas sun headed into the dog days, while Seattle call-up starter Darren McCaughan can get by on surprise pitches for a game or 2 before scouting and elite batters welcome him to the big leagues AL-style. Houston’s pitching and defense is the quiet reason why ‘Stros against-the-spread bets are paying off more consistently as of late…along with low-side O/U bets on what’s often a go-to club for high scores.
Scroll onward for WagerBop scout Jake Peter’s MLB rankings! (Note: Delayed posting this week, stats from the weekend not included in Jake’s otherwise kingly analysis.)
1 – Boston Red Sox
The race for the AL’s top spot is as close as ever, but the Red Sox have not relinquished their hold on it yet. Boston leads the league with a 59-38 record, and they’re on a 3-game winning streak to boot. The team’s 4.08 average ERA is hardly impressive, but every single starter currently has a winning record. Boston’s pitchers also rank third in the AL in strikeouts and first in home runs allowed.
2 – Chicago White Sox
The White Sox continued their dominant season this week, and at 58-38 they possess the second spot in the AL. Chicago has won 7 of its last 10 games. As expected, returning stars José Abreu and Tim Anderson have produced offensively, but it’s been designated hitter Yermin Mercedes who has stolen the show. In just his second MLB season Mercedes has racked up 7 homers and 37 RBIs while batting .271. Look for him to help power the White Sox offense down the stretch of the regular season.
3 – Houston Astros
The Astros have faltered recently, but they’re still in the thick of things in the AL at 58-39. Losses in 6 of their last 10 has bumped Houston back to third in the league. Alex Bregman has hit the Injured List, but co-stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are having MVP seasons right now. They have combined for 39 homers and 111 RBIs so far this season, and both are batting above .270. The pair has also drawn nearly 100 walks between them.
4 – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays sit in fourth in the AL at 58-39, but they are heating up and could seize the top spot any day now. Tampa has won 7 of its last 10 and is on a 3-game winning streak. Familiar faces like Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, and Randy Arozarena have led the way for Tampa offensively, but catcher Mike Zunino has also had a strangely effective 2021 campaign. Zunino is batting an abysmal .196, but he’s already totaled 19 home runs and 38 RBIs this season.
5 – Oakland Athletics
The Athletics hardly announce themselves and seem to rarely receive attention from the press, but they are still in the midst of yet another notable regular season. The team has won 7 of its last 10 and holds the fifth spot in the AL at 56-42. First baseman Matt Olsen very well may win the AL MVP award, but he’s starting to face some real competition from teammate Matt Chapman, who’s hit the ball quite well this season. Chapman has accumulated 11 home runs and 42 RBIs so far this year.
1 – San Francisco Giants
The Giants are looking less like a Cinderella story and more like a legitimate contender by the day. San Francisco currently owns the top spot in the NL and the best record in the MLB at 61-35, and the team has won 7 of its last 10. Former MVP catcher Buster Posey has displayed incredible longevity this season. It’s his 12th year in the MLB, and he’s put up 13 home runs and 30 RBIs while batting .326. He even leads the team with a .418 on-base percentage.
2 – Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers still have one of the most intimidating rosters in recent MLB history, and it has lifted them to the second spot in the NL. L.A. has won just 5 of its last 10, but it still owns a 59-39 record. With Clayton Kershaw on the injured list, the rest of the Dodgers’ starters have stepped up. In particular, Julia Urias has emerged as a top-flight MLB pitcher. On the season, Urias is 12-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 127 strikeouts through 20 starts. The Dodgers’ 3.24 team ERA is the best in the NL.
3 – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers didn’t make much noise this week, but they’re still clinging to the third spot in the NL at 56-41. Milwaukee is 29-18 on the road this season. The team hasn’t had much of a true ace this season, but starter Brandon Woodruff has put up stellar numbers for them so far. This season, Woodruff is 7-4 with a 2.04 ERA and 137 strikeouts through 19 starts. The Brewers’ pitching staff currently has the most strikeouts in the NL with 985.
4 – San Diego Padres
The Padres may not have the most balanced roster, but their stars have managed to do enough to seize fourth place in the NL. San Diego has a 57-42 record and has won 6 of its last 10 games. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado have provided the most offensive pop for the Padres this season, but the team would not be experiencing such success without the efforts of guys like Wil Myers. The 9th-year right fielder is in the midst of another impressive campaign that has seen him put up 12 homers and 44 RBIs while batting .262.
5 – New York Mets
The Mets are facing fierce competition for the fifth spot in the NL, but they haven’t released their stranglehold on it yet. New York is 50-43 this season and possesses a 28-14 home record. The team has had 3 of its pitchers hit the Injured List, including Cy Young frontrunner Jacob deGrom, so the rest of its staff will have to step up their game in the meantime. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for Taijuan Walker, though. This season, Walker is 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA and has compiled 89 strikeouts in 17 starts.
Texas Rangers at Houston Astros
The Houston Astros have been dodgy as a heavy favorite at times in the past 3 seasons, most notably when the ‘Stros hosted Detroit as a (-500) favorite in 2019 and lost to a flurry of base hits. Houston’s strength as a host-favorite will be put to the test again when the Astros (-1.5) (-115) host the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Could a series sweep be in the offing? Texas has been a miserable team on the road this season, and it hasn’t gotten any better over the last 2 days as Kyle Tucker and the Astros took an easy 2-0 lead in the meeting. Zack Greinke vs Dale Dunning promises more advantages for Houston on Sunday, even though Dunning’s ERA of 4.30 is somewhat sturdier than his 3-7 record.
Houston is 19 games above .500 as a favorite in 2021, meaning that the shock upsets probably stand out for their rarity as much as for any other reason. With a visiting team having packed it in for the year already, and a solid hurler on the mound, there’s no reason to not like the ‘Stros chances on a 1/1 Run Line.
Pick: Astros Run Line
Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers
The Chicago White Sox are getting Brew-Crewed. Chicago’s exciting offense and strike-out pitching is well known to MLB fans who’ve watched the ChiSox grow into a mature ballclub in 2021. But the White Sox aren’t yet mature enough to shake off the stunning news from this week, and the team appears even more shorthanded mentally than what the lineup is left with physically.
Gamblers are no longer tentative after watching the AL Central leaders fall by a blow-out score on 2 consecutive days in Milwaukee. The Brewers are a trending (-137) moneyline pick in a SNB game with a cautious O/U line of (7) total runs, with a Woodruff vs Lynn showdown on the mound helping hold the number in place.
I’m feeling the (+100) price on O(7) runs. Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers are a better team when fireworks aren’t erupting all over the ballpark, but the White Sox are very unlikely to go 3 straight ballgames scoring 1 run at a time. Meanwhile, Lynn is due for negative reversion through no fault of his own, since the MLB landscape doesn’t allow even an ace starter to go 7-8 innings and give up 0 or 1 run in every appearance consecutively for a whole summer. If there’s a time when Lynn could be vulnerable against a modest offense, it’s now.
Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles
If the Chicago White Sox are strangely devoid of line-movement this weekend, that doesn’t mean MLB markets are free of gold rushes and abandoned picks. Odds on the Orioles vs Nationals ballgame at Camden Yards on Saturday have gone 100% bananas since opening for action, with few obvious angles or narratives on which the wild swing in Las Vegas lines can be directly attributed.
Washington, a (-205) pick to win after opening as a (-133) wager, has gone 3-4 since the July break. The Nats – despite competing in a relatively soft division – could be about to play their way out of the 2021 pennant race. In fact, the visitors didn’t come close to winning the series opener on Friday, as the O-Birds prevailed 6-1 with a great outing from the bullpen. So why are the Nationals a (-130) Run Line favorite for Saturday’s contest, apart from Baltimore resting in last place in the American League East?
Some high-rollers don’t trust Baltimore starter Spenser Watkins, a prodigal fresh face who has the regrettable task of opposing Max Scherzer in the follow-up. Scherzer has lost 4 times this season, though, and is somewhat familiar to the hosts’ lineup. A falling (9.5) O/U line doesn’t jive with pitching analysts expecting some kind of reality-check collapse from Watkins. Washington may be motivated as a team that could still make it to the playoffs, but bookmakers are/were still correct that a low final score could produce an upset, especially on a Run Line that opened at 1.4-to-1 on Baltimore.
Pick: Orioles Run Line (+1.5) (+110)
Toronto Blue Jays at New York Mets
Friday’s series opener at Citi Field was an emotional one, at least in the infield. Steven Matz took on his former team and settled into a solid performance after the 1st inning, but he didn’t get much help from his Toronto teammates as the Blue Jays fell 3-0. Saturday’s expected pitching duel between Hyun Jin Ryu and Taijuan Walker has the Jays trending at (-125) and the O/U steady at (8) total runs.
More than just the starting Ps appear evenly-matched. New York has a wonderful record at home, but Toronto has been strong on the road. While the Mets have struggled against left-handed pitchers, Walker’s brand is only superficially tarnished by his controversial error and departure from the diamond against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If the starting pitchers combine for 10 frames, the match-up on the mound is unlikely to decide the ballgame.
Runs decide every ballgame, and there’s plus-odds on the club with spring in its step. While the opponents’ records are comparable, the Blue Jays are lagging in a fierce AL race while the Mets stand proudly atop the NL East. Toronto’s batters have produced little since feasting on the Texas Rangers following the All-Star Break. Mets hitters could be trending in the opposite direction.
Pick: Mets (+110)
Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers
Daily Double wondered yesterday what the sports-betting impact of Yermin Mercedes’ sudden, unexpected sabbatical would be. As it turns out, the line-movement on Friday’s series opener between the ChiSox and host Milwaukee Brewers is so subtle that gamblers unaware of the drama out of Chicago might mistake the market’s brief history for any old MLB moneyline trend.
Milwaukee is the (-120) favorite in a clash of division leaders despite coming off 2 strange losses in a row to Kansas City. Perhaps the Brew Crew was looking ahead to hosting a stronger American League club, having prepared 7-3 Freddy Peralta for a start in the opener against Chicago’s probable pitcher Lucas Giolito.
If the match-up on the mound is comparable, the mindset of the clubs is not. Milwaukee could lose a fireworks-fest against the Chicago White Sox 2 out of 3 times, but given an expected tense, anxious, low-scoring ballgame on Friday, we’re not predicting 100% focus from a visiting team that’s dealing with mad distractions.
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado is back on the road, but L.A. is still only a 1/1 Run Line pick with David Price on the mound?
No need for a long digression this time.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5)
Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins
The MLB community was cold-cocked on Wednesday by the news that Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox is quitting baseball indefinitely, causing Daily Double to wonder exactly what kind of shock wave will impact the Las Vegas odds on Chicago’s next ballgame on Friday. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins might be shocked at their own trendiness as a (-135) moneyline wager for Thursday night, given the 2021 season that the club has had.
There are some indications that L.A. Angels starter Andrew Heaney can keep up with opposing Kenta Maeda in the series opener at Target Field, at least for a few innings. Maeda has improved his form as well recently, though, even as his spot in the rotation lands the veteran hurler in match-ups against pedestrian lineups.
Paradoxically, the ball team with the better win-loss record by a mile – Los Angeles – appears to be the roster without any spirit, while Minnesota continues to fight bravely onward. The Halos won 2 out of 6 games against the Mariners before getting trounced by Oakland 11-1 in 18 innings. Meanwhile, the Twins won twice as an underdog vs the ChiSox and are batting well enough to give visiting hurlers trouble. Heaney fared poorly in Seattle on Friday.
Pick: Twins (-135) or Twins Run Line (-1.5) (+140)
San Francisco Giants at L.A. Dodgers
There’s no shock over a modest (8) run O/U total in SoCal (I like my segues to be of the “beating a dead horse” variety) when the Dodgers meet the Giants for a co-nightcap, but a (+100) payoff line on the Over betrays a lack of basic analysis on the part of bookmakers.
Neither host-starter Walker Buehler or opposing Anthony DeSclafani’s starts have been leading to low-side totals outcomes with any regularity lately, despite exceptionally solid W/L records and ERAs. San Francisco isn’t the small-ball team it once was and we know what the Bums can do to a bullpen. Try O(8) for a road-less-traveled (than my segue game) brand of 1/1 winner.
Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
Las Vegas and London sportsbooks agree that the Houston Astros are a minus-odds favorite to win ATS (-1.5) when the Cleveland Indians visit Space City for a series closer on Wednesday. However, oddsmakers are split as to whether O(9) or U(9) runs should carry the more generous payoff line.
No wonder there’s a consensus (excuse the pun) on Houston as a heavy favorite. Kyle Tucker led a batting onslaught from the ‘Stros on Tuesday in a 9-3 win that secured at least a 2-1 triumph in the series. Cleveland is trotting out 1-3 Eli Morgan vs Lance McCullers Jr. in a meek effort to ward-off a costly 3-game sweep.
But there’s indications that each hurler could be on his best form Wednesday night, making the O/U line a much better “line” of attack for hardball handicappers. Morgan has steadied considerably, and McCullers could be good for 7 or 8 innings of service. Houston’s recent trend toward the low-side of O/U totals belies the club’s 2021 betting stats, and the Tribe hasn’t scored 5+ runs in a ballgame for about a week and a half now.
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals could be a vulnerable baseball club on Wednesday, or at least the most anxious of any MLB team that’s threatening to get on a hot streak. The Redbirds had already won 4 out of 5 ballgames upon taking a lead on the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, but a crazy 6-run 9th inning rally brought the Cubbies back from the brink of defeat and evened the series 1-1.
Cardinals moneylines are popular at (-115) despite the snafu. But I’m not feeling the pitching match-up for St. Louis. Adam Wainwright has played the role of bona-fide heartland hero, but that’s not the role he’s playing now. Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs has been markedly superior to Wainwright in ’21 despite like ERAs.
Pick: Cubs (+105)
New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds
Early numbers on the Cincinnati Reds vs New York Mets contest on Tuesday indicate opening odds of (+115) on the visiting Metropolitans, leaving Cincy’s moneyline close to 1/1. While the NL East leaders look superficially superior to the Reds right now, there’s only so many days in a row that a ball team can dominate with only 1 aspect of its game.
New York’s starting-rotation depth is losing a battle with injuries, causing the Mets to cough-up 36 runs-against in the last 5 games. The Cincinnati Reds are coming off a bummer series-loss to the rival Milwaukee Brewers, but it’s no kind of adversity that the club didn’t already work through during a sour spring.
Wade Miley will start against 0-2 Robert Stock on Tuesday, marking the Reds likely to get better in at least 1 category following Monday’s whirlwind loss, while the Mets might just give up another big bundle of runs without scoring as many this time.
Seattle Mariners at Colorado Rockies
We’ve had a lot of fun predicting Colorado Rockies ballgames this season, mostly thanks to the Rockies’ amazing disparity of home vs away performance, still strangely underrated at times by bookmakers who appear to be waiting for the phenomenon to end. Colorado is a confident (Even) Run Line favorite for Tuesday night’s series opener with the visiting Seattle Mariners.
There are angles countervailing Colorado’s fine record at Coors Field and Seattle’s struggles on the road. Seattle has successfully hefted weight through a July schedule that’s included a meeting with the New York Yankees and 6 straight ballgames against the L.A. Angels, 2 opponents far more desperate (and dangerous) than their season records might indicate in the dog days. The Rox just upset the L.A. Dodgers in a series closer, but the Bums weren’t necessarily expected to win 3 straight in Denver.
Those angles diminish when you inspect the pitching match-up. Reliable German Marquez will start against 1-5 Marco Gonzales, an even bigger mismatch with you consider how good the Rox are at taking advantage of weak pitching on hot mile-high days.
Pick: Rockies Run Line (-1.5)
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays
The Houston Astros are getting a ton of respect from Las Vegas prior to Monday’s action, with a 1-to-1 (-1.5) Run Line on the ‘Stros headed into a series opener with the formidable Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park. However, despite Houston’s AL rival Tampa Bay playing a far-lesser opponent on Monday evening, the Rays are also a 1/1 bet minus a run and a half against the Baltimore Orioles in a game with a (9) run O/U line.
If the Astros are a potential easy RL winner against a solid ballclub, why are the Rays not getting even thinner payoff odds against a patsy? The key angle is Baltimore’s probable pitcher Spencer Watkins, a rookie who’s been excellent in appearances against the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox. Tampa took its time to settle on probable starter Ryan Yarbrough.
Yarbrough is 6-3 this season, completing a tough pair on the mound. Baltimore’s offense could be due for negative reversion even though the Orioles have lost more than enough games already, and the Rays won’t mind scoring just enough to win.
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Why are most of the sharks in Sin City (and elsewhere) going for L.A.’s shrinking (-120) moneyline to defeat the San Francisco Giants on Monday night? San Francisco is leading the division, and plans to start 9-3 Kevin Gausman to begin the crucial series. While the Dodgers beat the Giants twice in a short series at the end of June, it’s noteworthy that both ballgames were in doubt to the finish, and Gigantes are 7 games over .500 on the road.
Some MLB gamblers are likely drawn to a subtle angle involving L.A. probable pitcher Tony Gonsolin. Gonsolin’s meek 4-innings pitched against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last outing would seem to pale in the face of Gausman’s most recent appearances, but the Bums also have a terrific coaching staff that knows how to think ahead. Los Angeles didn’t need 6+ innings from Gonsolin to beat the poor Diamondbacks, and he’ll be coming in on more rest than Gausman – who has endured 2 consecutive stressful games vs the Cardinals and Nationals.
There’s an even better reason to pick the defending champs, though. Dodger bats are finally getting tuned-up for the stretch run, and L.A. has scored 5+ runs in 75% of its last dozen ballgames, including a mammoth 22-run performance against Arizona. San Francisco, meanwhile, has blown 2 chances to win series against a vulnerable St. Louis team while dealing with prolonged injury problems, and could be ready to play the foil in an NL West takeover at Dodger Stadium.
Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Central clubs are getting a dose of respect from the MLB betting community prior to Sunday’s hardball. Cincinnati and Milwaukee are each drawing healthy moneyline action for an expected close game at Great American Ball Park, while the St. Louis Cardinals have turned from a plus-odds underdog to a (-104) ML wager to defeat San Francisco in the afternoon.
Chicago Cubs fans must feel left out, or at least like their team is getting a paltry favorite’s line at just (-115) to beat the host Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom as a case can be made as the worst team in the major leagues. 2 angles are holding the Cubs back from drawing more Sunday bets – uncertainty about the form of visiting probable pitcher Zach Davies and the fact that Arizona is defending against a potential series-sweep.
Those prognosticating a surprise Snakes victory should look at the home team’s side of the pitching ledger. Caleb Smith appears to have finally fallen off a cliff after a season of trying to hold up a sinking franchise. Given that Davies hasn’t won a ballgame in weeks and Smith was just on the wrong side of an historic winning margin, the hurlers could pitch so cautiously that each offense is allowed to chip away a run or 2 at a time. But that just increases the chances of a 4-4 tie and a fail-safe on the game’s (9) run O/U line, a line that could just as easily get blown-away by the batting orders.
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sunday Night Baseball hasn’t forgotten the AL East, and a marquee pairing of the New York Yankees and visiting Boston Red Sox promises fireworks 2 weekends after July 4th. But it’s been mostly smoke bombs and bottle rockets at Yankee Stadium so far, with Boston posting a shut-out on Friday and the Pinstripes fighting back with a 3-1 “Little League” win on Saturday behind 6 strong innings (the only 6 innings) from Garrit Cole.
Nevertheless, the high side of a (9) run total is the trendy bet for Sunday’s closer. Speculators are noting, correctly, that neither of SNB’s starters Jameson Taillon or Martin Perez are headed for stellar years. Given that the Yankees appear to have a slight edge on the mound, but the Red Sox are an excellent road team taking on a Bronx lineup still mired in 4th place, the O/U line would indeed be a safer market than a side…normally.
The Yankees have been hit with a COVID-19 rash at a very bad time, thinning the team’s lineup considerably. Perhaps the Boston at New York series isn’t a shaken bottle with a cork on the top, but the Red Sox doing just enough to handle a home team that’s running out of time to catch momentum. Offense could be in short supply for a 3rd straight ballgame, but there’s no mistaking which club is basking in the sunshine and which is ice cold.
Pick: Red Sox (+101)
Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox
Houston (-102) and Chicago each went into the All-Star break by winning a bunch of games, but caveats and considerations are still weighing on each club’s Sin City handicap. ChiSox wins over the Twins, Orioles, and Tigers can be seen as nothing more than Tony LaRussa putting as many Ws in the bank as possible vs the dregs of the AL. Injuries have been an issue for the Astros, who regained Carlos “Chick” Correa’s services already this weekend.
You wouldn’t know the series at Guaranteed Rate Field was a clash of titans from game 1’s outcome, a 7-1 pasting in favor of the Astros. Chicago managed only 2 hits against Lance McCullers Jr. while producing the team’s worst run output in weeks. Houston’s getting some grudgingly increased action at sportsbooks on Friday night, but many bookmakers are still offering the Astros at a technical underdog’s line of (-102) in the follow-up.
That could be a mistake. Probable visiting pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been belying his 3-4 record as a model of consistency in recent appearances. The same can’t be said for opposing starter Lucas Giolito, who was embarrassed by the Detroit Tigers on Independence Day. It’s going to take ace-level performances to corral the ‘Stros offense in the dog days.
Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros fans are looking at their club’s prodigious road stats and wondering if Houston is overachieving in other ballparks, or simply underachieving at home. Seattle supporters (not to be confused with the Emerald City Supporters) are asking different questions about a baseball club that can’t take its show on the road. To reach the land of Oz, or at least the MLB playoffs, the Seattle Mariners must build on recent success at T-Mobile Park. A puncher’s chance to win the AL West in September is at stake.
Friday’s series-opening in L.A. was a positive step in that development, but victory didn’t come with ease. Seattle took a 4-run lead into the late innings before warding-off a furious Halos rally that put a tying run at 3rd and a potential winning run on 1st base with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.
The Los Angeles Angels do not appear to be a popular moneyline pick at (-120) and fattening odds to win Saturday night’s ballgame. Bettors trust visiting starter Yusei Kikuchi to play well against SoCal pitcher Alex Cobb, and it’s true that Cobb’s 6-3 W/L record spanks his 4.00+ ERA. But the latter starting hurler has been terrific against the Ms as recently as 7/9, while the same can’t be said for Kikuchi, who lasted 4 innings in his last appearance against Los Angeles and comes off a bummer start vs the Yankees.
Tampa Bay Rays at Atlanta Braves
A pair of MLB clubs were on the verge of taking win streaks into the All-Star break, yet each team lost its ballgame last Sunday. Will the Atlanta Braves or the visiting Tampa Bay Rays arrive refreshed, focused, and dialed-in enough to get back on the winning track?
If you accept the premise that Tampa Bay’s laundry list of injuries will eventually slow the Rays down, at least defensively, then there’s reason to take the slightly-favored Braves in Friday’s opener. Gamblers are counting on a start from Charlie Morton to keep Tampa bats quiet, and opposing Michael Wacha has only rowed a W ashore for the ’21 Rays twice, and that won’t dooooo ya.
However, an analysis of recent form reveals that Wacha could be poised to prosper in this season’s dog days. Morton, meanwhile, has the burden of taking on his old teammates. A likely toss-up type of outcome means there’s only 1 logical side-bet.
Pick: Rays (+117)
San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Probable pitcher Kevin Gausman and the San Francisco Giants are a solid (-160) favorite to win a 2nd-half launch at Ballpark Village on Friday night. But a wide gap in payoff odds between ML and Run Line markets betrays that while bookmakers think San Fran is likely to win by 1 run, it might be difficult for either club to win by 2 or more runs in what’s expected to be a low-scoring ballgame. O/U totals for St. Louis vs San Francisco opened at (7.5).
Gausman’s weaknesses on the mound are few, but he’s been prone to high-risk, high-reward battles with dangerous hitters, and gunning for a big K total isn’t the best means to put out the Cardinals, a team that seldom strikes out at home. That makes the San Fran moneyline a fool’s gambit. But opposing hurler Adam Wainwright’s got the opposite problem, since the Giants are prone to strike out a lot despite a nice stat line from the plate, but Wainwright’s current form is not conducive to whiffing a ton of batters. I’m expecting at least 8-9 runs in the contest.
*2021 All-Star Break*
Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
One of our rules for Daily Double is that a day’s previews and predictions shouldn’t go on top of the page while a predicted ballgame is still in progress. The L.A. Dodgers have taken care of that quite easily on Saturday night by whipping the Arizona Diamondbacks from pillar to post. Press time for Sunday’s picks may fall on the 7th inning stretch at Dodger Stadium, but the defending champs currently lead 9-0 in the 6th inning of a game that included Justin Turner’s first major league Grand Slam.
What other batting lineups could be poised for 1 last hurrah before the All-Star break? San Diego has been garnering plenty of headlines, with the Padres’ generous RBI total helping to overcome a laundry list of injuries in the pitching stable. The Pads’ series closer with Colorado on Sunday (what Sunday ballgame isn’t a series closer this time?) comes with a rising (9) run O/U line thanks to the hype around the host offense.
It takes 2 teams’ worth of potential scoring to make a high % “Over” pick however, and the Rockies aren’t ready to tango in that department against a start from Ryan Weathers. Colorado is not a dangerous batting order on the road by any stretch, having won a mind-numbing 7 games away from Coors Field. Rox road games have lost on the Over almost twice as often as the Under.
Those factors make plus-odds of (+105) a really nice deal for the Padres and minus 1.5.
Pick: Padres Run Line (-1.5)
Arizona Diamondbacks at L.A. Dodgers
It’s only fitting to cover the World Champs again before leaving readers until next weekend. But you’d want to pay attention to the Las Vegas action for Arizona’s last game of an embarrassing series at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon regardless, since bookmakers are stuck in a bases-loaded jam with a previously falling O/U total of (8.5) now poised for a different turn given the Los Angeles Dodgers’ nuclear explosion of offense on Saturday.
Maybe the high-side of (8.5) is a nice bet given that the Bums are already threatening to hit a batting efficiency peak, matching superstars with parking-lot power with solid plate discipline. Merrill Kelly sounds like an insurance CEO sponsoring golf tournaments, but he’ll have more than a nervous 15-second CBS spot to deal with on Sunday. However, all of the angles I just mentioned are probably best applied to the Run Line, with (-110) odds on Los Angeles (-1.5) standing as a very, very cautious, perhaps too cautious, line on a huge mismatch that just happened to end in a weird low-scoring upset in Game 1 but is otherwise predictable, at a time when L.A. is making a statement.
Dodger hurler Tony Gonsolin comes into the ballgame looking pretty spotless. His stamina hasn’t been great lately, at least from an innings-pitched POV. But if Gonsolin leaves under duress in the 5th inning again, it’s probably not going to affect the ATS outcome. L.A. bullpen is in a well-rested position after not needing any kind of serious work on Saturday night.
I don’t necessarily like O(9) at anything but reverse-juiced payoff odds, so if your sportsbook doesn’t offer (8.5), a lone wager on just the side should provide a 65% chance of winning.
Picks: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5) and Over (8.5)
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins may soon have to face facts – there will be no repeating the Cinderella playoff run of 2020 this season. That’s not stopping MLB gamblers from hedging toward the Fish for Saturday’s follow-up with the Atlanta Braves (+100) and turning the visitors from a thin favorite on opening to an underdog as of Saturday morning. Probable pitcher Trevor Rogers has been shining for Magic City while opposing Max Fried of the Braves fared freakishly badly against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his most recent start.
It’s tempting to bet Atlanta’s moneyline, especially at pure 1-to-1 odds. Atlanta is the well motivated club, a team that’s taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule to put together a warm streak and look to charge for the division crown following the All-Star break. The shock of Marcell Ozuna’s disgusting alleged crime and indefinite hiatus from the clubhouse has begun to wear off, putting the Braves in position to play as a true favorite on Saturday if Fried’s expected reversion to form produces a strong defensive day.
The low O/U total of (7) shows that bookmakers and sharks alike expect Fried to fare well vs the Fish. Yes, the Miami Marlins won a series with the L.A. Dodgers very recently, but the Bums can’t help that fans’ expectations are out-pacing the calendar and the natural flow of a season.
I’m also feeling a system-pick on the high side of the total since the 2nd game is almost certain to be a close contest, making a late 3-3 tie and a fail-safe scenario more likely.
Picks: Braves + Over (7)
Arizona Diamondbacks at L.A. Dodgers
Speaking of the Dodgers, the ballclub’s performance has to be maddening for SoCal baseball fans at the moment, except those exclusively loyal to the Padres or Angels. Every time the Bums appear to get some serious momentum going, the team loses a series to a lesser foe or falls flat at an unexpected time, such as in Friday’s opening 5-2 loss to the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks.
Saturday night’s follow-up handicap has less to do with the wildly disparate records of L.A. and Arizona and more to do with a simple principle of MLB offense. Ballgames are designed to give pitchers and fielders an advantage most of the time, but the Dodger lineup is so dangerous, and the Diamondbacks so weak at the worst possible spot, that series like Snakes vs Dodgers will become ticking time-bombs for the underdog as the season goes on. Caleb Smith has been pretty solid considering the circumstances and could stand up vs opposing Walker Buehler for a few innings, but it won’t be enough. Buehler has lost only once all year.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5) (-130)
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
We knew that at some point in 2021, the old “bet against the trending wager on a rising total” would come back into play. Gamblers who aren’t obsessed with which team will win the 2nd contest between the Brewers and Reds on Friday have already pushed a standard opening O/U total to (9) runs despite potential shower-delays and wind that might not be cooperative. Nobody seems that impressed with Milwaukee probable pitcher Eric Lauer, but he’s played really well in consecutive starts and could get into a long-innings duel with Reds starter Wade Miley.
Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Readers may have noticed our mistake yesterday, when Detroit’s “Run Line” was advertised as “-1.5” runs even though Minnesota was clearly the favorite to win and a (-1.5) bet to cover. Apologies all, but I won’t bother to say anything pithy like “it won’t happen again” or “we’ll check for typos next time.” Proofreading usually does take place at WagerBop, but I’ve come to realize over the years that + vs – errors in odds listings happen about once every month or 2 for every sports website, independent of any effort (or lack thereof) to catch and fix them prior to publish.
Detroit, of course, looked to cover easily with an early lead before falling short in Thursday’s opener. Kenta Maeda’s previous start for the Twins has MLB bettors excited enough about Milwaukee’s chances to shut down the Tigers on Friday night that the Brew Crew (-1.5) (-120) (<— triple checked!) has become the morning’s most popular ATS pick.
Maeda needs more than just 1 or 2 solid starts to prove that his form is approaching what fans have hoped for. Detroit’s pitching staff, meanwhile, is a disaster with injuries and attrition. Bovada’s (+100) odds on the high-side of a modest O/U line is the value. Detroit’s real problems aren’t on offense, at least at this particular time in the season.
Pick: Over (9.5)
Scroll onward for WagerBop scout Jake Peter’s weekend MLB rankings!
1 – Houston Astros
Losing star outfielder George Springer hasn’t slowed the Astros down at all. The team currently holds the top spot in the AL at 54-33, and they’ve won 6 straight. Houston’s stars have hit well
this season, but it’s been contributions from newcomers like right fielder Kyle Tucker that have made the difference. On the season, Tucker has 14 homers and 48 RBIs, and he’s hitting .264.
2 – Boston Red Sox
Few expected much from the Red Sox this season, but they’ve continued to defy expectations. Boston is second in the AL at 54-34, and they’ve won 7 of their last 10. The team’s offense has been strong, but their pitching staff has been especially impressive given the lack of star power they have on paper. Nathan Eovaldi in particular is playing like an All-Star, and he’s 9-5 through 18 starts with 99 strikeouts and a 3.66 ERA.
3 – Chicago White Sox
The White Sox wallowed at the bottom of the AL standings for much of the 2010s, but they’ve finally managed to turn things around. Chicago is currently third in the AL at 51-35, and they’ve
won 7 of their last 10. Superstar first baseman José Abreu is putting together another MVP campaign, racking up 15 homers and 63 RBIs while hitting .246.
4 – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays go about their business quietly, but they’re once again one of the most dangerous sleepers in the AL this season. At the moment, the team is fourth in the AL at 51-36 and has won
4 straight. Second baseman Brandon Lowe is having a career year, and he’s powered Tampa’s offense with 18 homers and 44 RBIs while batting .206 and drawing 37 walks.
5 – Oakland Athletics
The Athletics slipped this week, having lost 7 of 10, but they’re still clinging to fifth place in the AL at 49-39. Oakland has put forward a balanced offensive attack this season, but some hitters
have stood out. Namely, catcher Sean Murphy and third baseman Matt Chapman have combined for 21 home runs and 82 RBIs so far.
1 – San Francisco Giants
The Giants finally appeared mortal this week, and they have lost 6 of their last 10. Still, San Francisco holds the top spot in the NL at 54-32. Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria have landed onthe Injured List, but shortstop Brandon Crawford just can’t stop raking. Crawford has 17 homers and 55 RBIs on the season, and he’s hitting .275.
2 – Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers continued their hot streak this week, and they’re breathing down the Giants’ neck in second place in the NL. L.A. is currently 53-34 and has won 7 of 10. Clayton Kershaw hit the Injured List, but the rest of the pitching staff hasn’t let up. The Dodgers rank first in the NL in team ERA, second in hits allowed, and second in strikeouts.
3 – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers finally broke out of their middling ways this week, and they’ve won 7 of their last 10. That run has lifted the team to third in the NL, where they sit at 52-36. Kolten Wong, Travis Shaw, and Daniel Vogelbach have all hit the Injured List, but right fielder Avisail Garcia has maintained his ridiculous production in their stead. Garcia has 15 homers and 51 RBIs on the year.
4 – San Diego Padres
The Padres didn’t move much this week, but they still own the fourth spot in the NL at 51-38. San Diego is 31-17 at home this season. The team’s pitchers haven’t been particularly impressiveoutside of Yu Darvish, but Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado have almost single-handedly turned the Padres into a force to be reckoned with. On the season, they have combined for 42 homers and 117 RBIs so far.
5 – New York Mets
The Mets didn’t make any major moves in the standings either, but they still possess the fifth spot in the NL at 45-38. New York is 26-12 at home this season. Taijuan Walker has stepped for-ward as the team’s second pitching option behind Jacob deGrom by going 7-3 through 15 starts and totaling 87 strikeouts with a 2.44 ERA.
Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Among the group of Over/Under lines shifting wildly prior to Thursday’s hardball action is a rising (9.5) line for Minnesota and Detroit’s series opener at Target Field. While the number isn’t necessarily moving as quickly as other Thursday lines, it’s noteworthy that the puny Detroit Tigers – and a Twins club that’s disappointed at almost every turn in 2021 – should be responsible for an O/U run total rising sharply.
Regrettably, only half of the prevailing handicap makes any sense. It’s true that J.A. Happ and Tarik Skubal aren’t the most attractive probable pitching pair, and Detroit’s bats are certainly alive enough to earn Ws for the Tigers even when a terribly injured pitching stable doesn’t hold up. But the Minnesota Twins could be headed into another dreadful slump from the plate and in the field, failing to win a do-or-die series with KC and losing 5 out of 6 ballgames to the Chicago White Sox.
The better of 2 baseball clubs will be occupying the visitors’ dugout, making Detroit’s (-150) Run Line odds into a home-plate steal.
Pick: Tigers Run Line (+1.5) (-150)
Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres
Daily Double does recommend a wager on another moving O/U line for Thursday night, a falling (7) number for a series closing San Diego Padres vs Washington Nationals ballgame in which a pair of excellent starting pitchers will try to corral dangerous batting lineups. Max Scherzer and Yu Darvish are big games in the game for a reason, but it’s irrational to think 8 more runs can’t be scored in a series that’s been lit up with fireworks since the day after Independence Day.
Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels
Assuming the Yankees and Mariners can combine for 2+ runs in the last 5 innings of T-Mobile’s Tuesday nightcap, Daily Double is on yet another unbeaten weekday roll. “Action Points” gamblers who check our predictions made out like bandits on the Chicago-Philadelphia ballgame as the Cubs and Phillies combined for 25 runs, 15.5 over the O/U line.
As always when picks are winning, our aim isn’t to look predominantly for fat underdog lines on which to “spend house money” (which doesn’t exist) but rather to try to maintain and build on the successful process going forward. Still, it’s hard to know where to start on a Wednesday evening of upcoming MLB action for which sharks don’t seem to have picked out a moneyline worth going after.
Except for 1 – the (-123) Boston Red Sox line to defeat host Los Angeles for the 2nd game in a row. Boston’s odds opened at a standard (-110) but gamblers have quickly figured out that there’s no pitching advantage for the underdog, which is otherwise not looking so hot when the Halos face tough competition. Probable pitcher Andrew Heaney has been dreadful against teams like San Francisco and Oakland in recent appearances, and probable won’t notch another W until the Angels hit a softer spot in the schedule.
Pick: Red Sox
Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros
Another O/U total has fallen a mite too far as Houston vs Oakland can be found at O/U (8.5) or at least (9) runs. Bookmakers appear to be waiting for Wednesday’s starting hurlers Luis Garcia and Sean Manaea to return to ace-like form with sharp reversion, but there’s more than just a few innings’ worth of evidence from recent appearances – neither man is likely to shut down his opponent. The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics need no “reversion” from the plate to have success on Wednesday night, with the wind expected to blow out of Minute Maid Park and 15 runs already scored in the series opener.
Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs
Gamblers aren’t worried about the Chicago Cubs winning on the moneyline. In midst of a dreadful downturn for the NL Central club, the Philadelphia Phillies (-133) have become a trending pick to win a 2nd ballgame at Wrigley Field after crushing the ailing Cubbies by 10 runs in the opener on Monday. Philly could easily punish Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, who’s been blown off the diamond prematurely in 2 out of 3 starts. However, the same is true for Philadelphia’s probable pitcher Aaron Nola, who’s just 5-5 on the year.
The duel possibilities of another huge Phillies romp or a lavish early-innings result for both batting lineups calls a line of O(9.5) (+100) into question. Perhaps bookmakers will hope that gamblers intrigued by straight up 1/1 payout will get giddy and drive the total into the stratosphere for 2 ordinary offenses, with books cleaning up when the game ends 6-4. But that won’t matter if you bet early on the high-side of a foolishly low number.
New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Why are the New York Yankees such a popular bet at (-150) in midst of a very inconsistent summer on the Bronx diamond? Apologies to those readers who enjoy our most long-winded MLB touts (all 4 of you!) but this will be succinct – the O/U (9) is once again a much better market to consider than a favorite’s ML. Not to say the Yankees (and/or Phillies) won’t win on Tuesday, but the Seattle Mariners are fighting hard to remain in contention and have won 4 out of 5 ballgames coming into the series opener with New York. You’ll find that the game’s starting hurlers (Tallion vs Sheffield) are not living up to their name brands in 2021, making the Over the strongest main-market pick to be gleaned from the chaotic analysis of 2 shaky starters.
Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets
Our MLB picks were looking good for 2-0-0 on Independence Day as of the 5th inning of Baltimore at L.A. – when all hell broke loose and sent the Angels vs Orioles final score over the pregame Over/Under total. Could the same thing be about to happen in the Big Apple, where gamblers have moved the O/U line up to (7.5) total runs despite Brandon Woodruff taking the mound for the Brewers in addition to Mets probable P Tylor Megill’s promise shown in a recent 8-strikeout outing vs the Atlanta Braves.
Milwaukee’s had a superficial trend of high-side totals results in the past handful of ballgames, but the team’s games are still under .500 vs the O/U on the road. New York just completed a rivalry series with the Yankees. Milwaukee just blew a chance to sweep Pittsburgh and saw a winning streak snapped in frustrating shut-out fashion for the trouble. Neither lineup is likely to be feeling it from the plate against quality pitching.
Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels
The Red Sox are clearly a better ballclub than the Angels, but lines are drawn at even (-110) for the series opener between L.A. and Boston thanks to each team’s momentum and a start from Jose Suarez of the Halos.
Boston’s starter Martin Perez has been pretty effective at 6-4 on the season, but has been treated with kid gloves and pulled out of jams early in games. Suarez, meanwhile, is new to the Angel rotation and could have issues with an extended pitch-count that haven’t been as big of a factor while he’s worked up good numbers pitching out of the bullpen in 2021. Meanwhile, Perez’s lack of clutch put-outs in recent contests (or the opportunity to make them) makes the Red Sox bullpen stand out as a key angle. But the unit is healthy and playing well, which is more than could be said for just about any given group of ballplayers with the L.A. Angels until last week, when the club happened to meet up with 2 troubled American League opponents.
Pick: Red Sox
Happy Independence Day, ‘Boppers! Daily Double is sure that no one cares to read long-winded MLB predictions today – readers want to gather tips quickly while gathering food, dessert, spirits, and bottle rockets. So here’s a couple of concise handicaps for July 4th on the diamond, but please be advised that just a little bit more than 1 paragraph of careful analysis lies behind each single-paragraph pick on Sunday’s ledger.
Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels
Bookmakers feel compelled to slap a double-digit run total on L.A. vs Baltimore, even though we more often see O/U (10) on less downtrodden teams in thinner air or more tropical conditions than SoCal. Bookmakers are convinced that batters will punish starting hurlers Patrick Sandoval and Thomas Eshelman of the Halos and O-Birds respectively, but since when do sagging baseball clubs only struggle on the mound? Saturday’s game finished 4-1, and the Angels’ expected 2+ run win on Sunday is a scenario that would reduce the chance of an extra-innings bad beat for U(10) wagers.
San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB’s Independence Day nightcap features another match-up on the mound that could outshine expectations, the 8-3 Anthony DeSclafani of San Francisco and hard-luck hurler Caleb Smith of Arizona. Smith’s bad luck refers to his solid ERA next to a 2-4 W/L record, but we can safely say that Smith’s foul fortune extends to his contract to pitch for the 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks. The San Francisco Giants were unexpectedly stung at the beginning of the 4-game meeting and would love to not only win the series 3 wins to 1 but do so in convincing fashion on July 4th. Gamblers perusing the weather forecast may be stung by a prediction of 100+ degrees on the diamond on Sunday night, but the temperature will drop swiftly as the sun does, allowing Gigantes to manage normally and execute a win.
Pick: Giants Run Line (-1.5) (-105)
Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals
It’s hard to look at the L.A. Dodgers ledger of games and know if the defending World Series champs are finally on the summertime roll that they’re expected to eventually ride toward another NL pennant. Like the Allied Forces disguising the Normandy invasion as a tactical jab, the Dodgers (a 1-to-1 (-1.5) Run Line pick for Saturday’s game at Washington) could be storming the beach sooner than anticipated, though technically they’re on a roller-coaster.
Things got interesting last Friday, when Max Muncy led the Bums to a 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs that snapped a brief losing skid. Snap your fingers, and suddenly it’s a week later and the Dodgers haven’t lost a ballgame since. L.A. produced an amazing 9-run rally in the 7th inning of Friday’s contest, turning the 7th-inning stretch at Nationals Park into a glum affair. Washington is hovering around .500 and is perceived to be helpless against the onslaught.
Gamblers are ignoring the hosts’ Run Line compared to a shrinking Saturday ML on the Nats, which opens the door to an against-the-grain pick ATS. Nationals probable pitcher Paolo Espino can keep up with a 9-7 Clayton Kershaw for at least a while, and Washington was putting its own hot streak together coming into the 4-game series. Nasty headlines about Trevor Bauer’s alleged crimes will be splashed across 6 continents this weekend, an angle that may not hurt L.A.’s momentum in the short term but cannot possibly help.
Pick: Nationals Run Line (+1.5) (+100)
Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners
Bookmakers appear to have out-thought themselves when setting the consensus O/U line for the 2nd of 3 Seattle Mariners vs Texas Rangers contests on Saturday night. The run-total line of (8.5) runs is a clear nod to expected batting reversion for both ballclubs, Sleepy early innings for each team in Friday’s series opener appeared to confirm the theory just as bookmakers were readjusting the numbers for Saturday’s nightcap.
While scheduled starters Marco Gonzales and Jordan Lyles have combined for only 4 wins on the 2021 season, Sin City ‘cappers seem impressed enough by the pair’s improvement in recent outings to slap an ordinary O/U on the teams. T-Mobile Park has been known for clutch saves this season as the Mariners build a fine home record despite quiet bats on occasion.
The handicap flies in the face of promising recent outings for both batting lineups, Apart from a 7-strikeout performance from Gonzales against the Lone Stars last season, neither hurler has shown much improvement vs the opponents at hand, and Gonzales is also having the worse year of Saturday’s starters. With each probable pitcher giving up a 5+ ERA, the only way an (8.5) total makes sense is if reversion were already bearing down on the clubs. Seattle is motivated to make a Cinderella playoff run, but if oddsmakers are right that the Mariners (-140) can’t pull away from the Rangers, that also increases the chances of extra-innings and a back-door line cover.
New York Mets at New York Yankees
Popular MLB underdog markets have been scarce for the past week as gamblers watch hurlers get harassed by umpires and plagued by strict substance-use rules, leaving strong batting lineups to inflict damage. The NL East leading New York Mets gave up 20 runs on Wednesday in midst of a series loss to the Atlanta Braves, leaving the Mets in a state of chagrin headed into an Independence Day rivalry series with the Bronx Bombers. The New York Yankees opened as a solid favorite for Friday evening’s series opener at Yankee Stadium, but excitement over the Mets has shrunk the underdog ML to (+118).
You can get excited about the Mets leading the division, or even cheerful about the Yankees’ prospects to surge in September with a talented roster. But it’s hard to get a rush of adrenaline from looking at either club’s outcomes over the past 2 weeks. Each team has been subject to pitiful dry spells at the plate. Neither the Yankees or Mets have won any series in recent memory, save for the Pinstripes taking 2 in a 3-game meeting with Kansas City on the 2nd to last week of June. Yankee base-runners scored a grand total of 8 times against quality Boston Red Sox pitching in the series to follow.
An O/U line of (9) total runs provides a superior betting option than the Mets’ essentially 1-to-1 odds to win. Friday starting hurlers Jordan Montgomery and Taijuan Walker are not slumping along with their teams, making this week’s high-scoring Yankees vs Angels tilt into an O/U betting mirage. Ballgames played-in by Big Apple teams are 17 games under .500 vs the O/U in ’21.
St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies
Colorado could be on pace to post the best record of defending its home diamond of any recent team to lose 90-100 ballgames. The offense is a profoundly different unit in Denver, and 29 host-victories ranks the Rockies an incredible 2nd in the National League despite a 16-game gap separating the team from San Diego in the standings. That’s of little consolation to Rox fans, with exception of those who make Coors Field into a weekly party, but it’s important news for MLB gamblers.
A sky-high O/U total of (12) for Colorado’s 2nd of 4 games against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals (-110) reflects more than the thin Rocky Mountain air. Friday night’s starting pitchers Chi Chi “Don’t Call Me Rodriguez” Gonzalez will go up against Johan Oviedo of the Redbirds, with each P surrendering an ERA of close to 6 and standing a combined 2-9 in the W/L column. With each club coming into the series having greedily taken 3 games in a row from poor opponents (Pittsburgh in Colorado’s case and Arizona in St. Louis’s) it’s hard to discount either batting lineup against less-than-ideal pitching and defense.
But a headwind for hitters could make the Over (12) wager taboo, along with managers’ willingness to piece 9 innings of pitching together out of an entire staff. Friday’s starters should combine to play half of the ballgame at most, but crucially, Rodriguez has shown more promise (if either man has) in early summer. If either team’s defense has an edge in the early innings it’ll be Colorado – and that makes a trend-tastic Rox moneyline wager into the proper choice from a raw analytical standpoint as well.
Scroll onward for this week’s MLB rankings courtesy of WagerBop scout Jake Peter.
Daily Double’s Weekend MLB Rankings 7/2/21
1 – Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are stunning the baseball world right now, and currently own the top spot in the AL with a 50-31 record. Boston has won 6 straight and 7 of their last 10, and the Red Sox don’t look to be slowing down at all. Returners like J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers have powered the team’s offense, but it’s been other position players like first baseman Bobby Dalbec who’ve made all the difference. Dalbec has 10 homers and 34 RBIs so far in his second MLB season.
2 – Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are 47-32, and sit in second place in the AL. The team has won just 4 of its last 10, but have continued to stick around at the top of the standings all season. Every single starter on the team has a winning record, and Chicago ranks first in the AL in team ERA, hits allowed, runs allowed, and strikeouts.
3 – Houston Astros
The Astros had a middling week and have split their last 10 games, but they still possess the third spot in the AL at 48-33. Houston will look to break out of a 4-game losing streak heading into next week. Alex Bregman is still on the injured list, but Jose Altuve has come on lately to make up the difference. Altuve is hitting .287 and has 17 homers, 43 RBIs, and 40 walks on the season.
4 – Oakland Athletics
Much like the White Sox, the Oakland As just keep finding ways to quietly win games. The team’s currently fourth in the AL at 48-34, though they’ve lost 6 of their last 10.
Surprisingly, it’s been Chris Bassitt who’s emerged as the team’s ace. He’s 9-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 109 strikeouts through 17 starts.
5 – Tampa Bay Rays
Despite a lack of star power, the Tampa Bay Rays appear to yet again be in position to make a World Series run. Today, the team sits in fifth place in the AL at 47-34 and have lost 6 of their last 10. Left fielder Randy Arozarena made a name for himself in last year’s playoffs and has carried that hot streak into this season. So far, he’s totaled 10 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 11 steals while hitting .261.
1 — San Francisco Giants
Raise your hand if you picked the Giants to have the best record in baseball midway through the season. San Francisco just doesn’t know how to lose, and their 50-29 record is still the best in the NL. Former Cincinnati Red Anthony DeSclafani has come on as the team’s second-best starter, and he’s been putting up ace numbers. This year, he’s 8-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 86 strikeouts through 16 starts.
2 – Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are starting to hit their stride, and that could spell trouble for the rest of the MLB. The “superteam” roster is 49-31, and their 5-game winning stream has lifted them to second in the NL. Amazingly, it’s been Justin Turner who’s led the team in his 13th MLB season, racking up 12 homers and 40 RBIs while hitting .285.
3 – San Diego Padres
The Padres have also hit a hot streak recently, winning 9 of their last 10. San Diego’s 49-33 record is good enough for third in the NL right now. Third baseman Manny Machado has lived up to his monster contract this season by totaling 12 home runs and 50 RBIs while hitting .258.
4 – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are the hottest team in baseball right now, having won 8 straight games. That streak has catapulted Milwaukee to fourth in the NL at 48-33. Starter Brandon Woodruff is having a career year in his fifth season. He’s currently 7-3 with an impressive 1.87 ERA and 119 strikeouts through 16 starts.
5 – New York Mets
The Mets may not be living up to their fans’ expectations, but they’re still putting themselves in position for a playoff run come October. At the moment, New York’s 41-35 record has them in fifth place in the NL. First baseman Pete Alonso has turned into a true superstar for the Mets, andhe’s got 13 homers and 40 RBIs, while hitting .264 this season.
San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds
Thursday night’s tightest MLB moneylines are drawn for the Cincinnati Reds’ series closer with the visiting San Diego Padres. Cincy’s healthy supply of RBIs appears to have met its match at Great American Ball Park, with San Diego taking a 2-0 series lead on Trent Grisham’s decisive Grand Slam in the 5th inning of Wednesday’s shortened ballgame. Cincinnati’s line has threatened to shorten at a few sportsbooks, but remains stubbornly at around (+102) while the O/U total lowers to (9.5) runs, indicating that the public could be whiffing on the precise implications of a key angle for the closing contest.
Probable pitcher Luis Castillo’s season stats look hideously bad, but his form has improved markedly over several games. Over/Under gamblers have noticed that, but they should also consider that opposing P Ryan Weathers hasn’t been lasting as long on the mound, and that the Padres pitching staff is becoming a casualty ward. Castillo’s start combined with a healthier bullpen will put the Reds under less stress overall, and so the team’s superior offense at home makes Cincy an easy plus-odds pick.
San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco’s (-135) moneyline is a popular (and shrinking) line for Thursday night, but Under (9) is the correct wager with Merrill Kelly poised to step in for the Snakes on the mound. Kelly has a more substantial record than a lot of Arizona hurlers in a terrible defensive year for the cellar ballclub, but the Giants aren’t poised for a batting explosion after scoring 5 or less runs in about 75% of their ballgames over a 10-day span. Johnny Cueto should be able to keep host bats quiet enough to bring the run total in below the Las Vegas number, given that Arizona is on yet another losing streak and isn’t motivated on offense.
Tampa Bay Rays vs Washington Nationals
There are lots of solid, ingrained “dollar and a half” ML favorites on Major League Baseball’s ledger for Wednesday, but the Tampa Bay Rays’ line is moving perilously close to 1/1 headed into the back end of a 2-game stint with the host Washington Nationals. Tampa Bay fell behind early in Tuesday’s ballgame and never quite caught up, helping Washington peek above .500 and giving rise to the notion that starter Jon Lester will produce a much-needed sweep in an afternoon closer.
Lester’s last outing was dreadful, while opposing Michael Wacha had a terrific appearance vs the Boston Red Sox last week. Speculators imagine that Lester, the name-brand starter of the pair, will find his best form again as a matter of course in what’s been a roller-coaster campaign. But they’re missing the point – even if Lester pitches as well as Wacha is currently throwing the bean, Tampa Bay has the better offense and the superior team and could win easily regardless. If the visiting hurler has the edge, then so much the better for the visitors’ (-117) moneyline.
Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros
Yet another falling O/U total gives WagerBop readers a chance at a “modern” fade-the-public gambit, in which trendy wagers are viewed with skepticism and often bet-against with confidence even if the lines are not moving in a classic direction, such as higher on the O/U. Baltimore has embarrassed Houston with 2 straight victories, but neither team is planning the kind of pitch count from a strikeout king that would make the Astros’ likely revenge into a 3-2 kind of affair. 12-5 is more likely, since it’s not a matter of Houston’s defense playing gritty-enough baseball, but batter vs pitcher dynamics that have the series full of fireworks.
Pick: Over (9.5)
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Okay, so the Daily Double is almost as obsessed with Midwestern ballclubs as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball producers. But it’s noteworthy that while Tuesday night’s MLB slate is full of popular favorites ATS and on the moneyline, the Minnesota Twins are drawing solid action at plus-odds to defeat the Chicago White Sox in a series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field. So much so that the ChiSox ML market, which opened around 1/1.4 odds, is being pulled closer to 1-to-1 at various offshore books.
Bettors think the Twins are coming around after a lousy spring. Still, the hosts appear to be an excellent % pick due to several promising angles instead of a single factor. Visiting starter Kenta Maeda is looking pretty good, but host hurler Lucas Giolito is putting-out more batters at the plate. Minnesota has indeed improved its record lately, but Chicago has the far superior record, and is threatening to snap out of a brief swoon after staving-off sweep attempts in 2 consecutive series.
Pick: White Sox
Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics
There’s a saying in American pigskin that the hardest thing to do is to beat a team you’ve already beaten once. Perhaps in hardball, there’s nothing more difficult than being out-matched against a club you’ve recently drawn a series with. Your side isn’t holding a grudge based on a 2-2 tie. But theirs knows it can do better next time, and is hungry to prove it.
Take the Athletics vs Rangers series, a rematch of a 4-game meeting from last week in which the Lone Stars were able to win twice and keep Oakland’s bats relatively quiet in 3 out of 4 ballgames. Oakland is (-180) on the moneyline and (+110) on a (-1.5) favorite’s Run Line for Tuesday, the latter bet not a great gambit on principle since Texas has winning records ATS and vs the O/U number on the road this season.
But almost any gambling strategy can work given the proper timing, tactics, and analysis. The Texas Rangers are in last place while the Oakland Athletics contend for 1st, and the excellent James Kaprielian is scheduled to start for Oakland following a hard-luck loss to Texas in his last outing. The hosts will be psychologically primed to rally for insurance runs, a key factor in turning a plus-odds Run Line into a plus-50% payoff scenario.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (-1.5) (+110)
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
The intuitive Monday night sides-bet would be a wager on the Chicago Cubs as a (+120) moneyline underdog, at least now that frantic action on the low-side of the O/U total has plunged the latter line to (7.5) runs. Chicago’s loss to Los Angeles on Sunday could be chalked up to miserable pitching, something that shouldn’t be an issue with Kyle Hendricks taking the rubber in Monday’s series-opener at Milwaukee. But sloppy Cubs fielding characterized Sunday’s blow-out defeat as much as the Dodgers’ electric offense, and the Brew Crew appears to have finally gained enough momentum to put a real hot streak together in early summer. Probable host hurler Freddy Peralta has fanned 16 batters in his last 2 outings, including a 7-inning stint against the hot-hitting Cincinnati Reds.
San Francisco Giants at L.A. Dodgers
Monday night’s MLB betting markets are marked by extreme O/U line movement, including a number of lines that have fallen so drastically, you’d think there had been a 7-innings-only announcement such as typical for the back-end of a COVID-era doubleheader. Instead, the falling (7.5) number on a Dodgers vs Giants opener is a product of fans’ excitement over starting hurlers Anthony DeSclafani and Trevor Bauer. As we’ve discussed often in 2021, “fading the public” on the high side of a falling Over/Under total is an unorthodox move. But if the shoe fits, dress the Bums in it – each team is generating rallies and slugging RBIs against strong and fair pitching alike, as the Dodger offense begins to purr, and Gigantes batters earn San Francisco a new reputation for balance.
Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox
It’s been high time to look at the Chicago White Sox again, a team with such a high ceiling of performance that wagers can be won simply by predicting when the ChiSox will be in solid form. But “solid form” doesn’t describe Tony LaRussa’s club over the last week, as the upstarts face a potential swoon that could help Cleveland ratchet into 1st place in the AL Central division. You wouldn’t expect Chicago to be a (+105) “underdog” against a (-1.5) spread with Dallas Kuechel on the mound against 1-4 Marco Gonzales this Sunday afternoon, but Seattle won the opener 9-3 as a surprisingly dangerous batting team on the road. While it’s tempting to take plus-odds on the White Sox to rebound in a big way, the superior wager is O(8.5) as injuries limit pitching options for both clubs.
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
The St. Louis Cardinals will not be participating in Sunday Night Baseball this weekend, an historic occasion for sure. But don’t think the brand could get rid of the NL Central that easy. This week it’s the Chicago Cubs (if it can’t be the Cardinals, dammit, ESPN will air their blood rivals!) taking on the defending World Series champions at Dodger Stadium.
Once again, the favorites’ Run Line (-1.5) (-120) is held at 1/1 payoff odds by a hesitancy to trust the superior team. L.A. barely took a 2-1 lead in the series on Saturday in a ballgame that was tied going into the 9th inning, and Sunday’s probable pitcher Clayton Kershaw has lost 2 in a row.
However, the star hurler has been a hard-luck case with little support from big bats since opening the season 8-5. Chicago is striking out too often in away games, and it won’t be surprising if Kershaw approaches 10+ Ks.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line
Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds
Bookmakers cave to trends occasionally, not just gamblers. Trying to anticipate where the public will land on a given “community prediction” is as crucial to balancing lines as handicapping the ballgame itself. Las Vegas professionals suggested a (9) run O/U total for the 3rd of 4 games between Cincinnati and visiting Atlanta on Saturday, a reasonable number given an unpredictable Castillo vs Anderson match-up on the mound. But at least 1 prominent online sportsbook (BetNow) is offering (8.5), believing that MLB speculators will be tempted by trends such as Atlanta’s 4-of-5 streak of “Under” outcomes, or the low-scoring outcomes of the 2 prior games.
That could be a mistake, since good pitching isn’t what has the Reds in contention in the NL Central. The club would be well below .500 were it not for an offense that’s producing 6 runs per game at home, and yet Cincinnati’s pitching and defense are allowing a healthy number of runs to guest batting lineups. There’s bound to be at least 1 or 2 high-scoring ballgames in the current series, and Saturday afternoon’s expected dampness and crosswind at Great American Ball Park might do as much to confuse fielders and propel extra base-hits as to tamp down fly balls.
Pick: Over (8.5)
Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants
Las Vegas is also guilty of overlooking the weather forecast for the 2nd game of San Francisco vs Oakland at Oracle Park on Saturday night. Benign outcomes like Friday’s 2-0 opener and Oakland’s low-key finale with Texas are steering the public toward low-side bets, and bookmakers are happy to balance-out odds at (-110) on either side of O/U (8). There’s arguments in favor of both batting orders and starting pitchers, with Alex Wood gunning for a 7-3 season start and visiting Frankie Montas posing an unfamiliar challenge for Gigantes. While each hurler has had blow-up innings in recent contests, Sin City’s not wrong not to overreact.
The tipping-point angle is a forecasted 15-20 MPH wind blowing straight toward the center field wall, which threatens to make San Francisco into a slugger’s paradise for a change, even if it’s back to small-ball on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Friday’s MLB moneylines and Run Line odds, or “sides” markets, are all but devoid of sharp line movement as of Thursday night. While there’s at least 1 O/U market with a rising number, perhaps casual totals-bettors should take a page from the W/L speculators and settle down. At long last, the natural inclination to “cheer for runs” is overtaking the public’s newfound appreciation for low-side O/U picks during the regular seasons of major sports, and totals are rising when they shouldn’t.
Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates punished the sagging St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Thursday, taking a 1-0 lead in a series that the Redbirds badly need to win to get back on track. Bryan Reynolds was a thorn in the side of the Cardinals’ overwhelmed staff, and Las Vegas doesn’t seem all that confident in Kwang Hyun-Kim to hold the fort on Friday, also reflected in the rising (9) run total.
But there are reasons why Cardinal ballgames are way under .500 vs the O/U number at Busch Stadium, while the Pirates haven’t helped produce many Over-results on the road. Offense is a challenge for both clubs at the moment, and with Buccos hurler Will Crowe’s recent improvement belying his season stat line (and his ironic tendency not to brag loudly), methodical pitching should be enough to keep NL Central bats quiet on yet another night.
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres
A question about Las Vegas and lopsided MLB match-ups that occasionally gets asked on Daily Double – “which favorite’s line?” – almost answers itself for Friday’s nightcap between the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. At press time, sharks were just beginning to shorten the Padres’ generous (-130) (-1.5) Run Line compared to the super-juiced (-275) number on a host win by any score. We’ve witnessed teams rebound from massive slumps to take down favorites or at least cover against-the-spread in 2021 ballgames, but Arizona takes the cake among the clubs headed for the tank this season, with a sub-.050 winning % over the last 3 weeks and yet another unpromising option on the mound in 0-2 starter Corbin Martin. San Diego isn’t the ultimate (-1.5) pick as a ballclub that relies on pitching and defense, but we’re predicting that a competent, talented, tough team with a huge motivation edge will seal the deal 6-8 innings into the contest.
Pick: Padres Run Line (-1.5)
WagerBop’s Weekend AL and NL Power Rankings
Please enjoy a Daily Double “extra” – MLB rankings from our chief scout Jake Peter!
Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
There’s a quieter Thursday afternoon MLB schedule than there was on Wednesday, and little line-movement to speak of on Thursday’s early ballgames. It makes sense – if people are planning to miss a sporting event, why gamble on it. But the lack of action-prompted odds shifting could be a blessing, if the scenario arises that the bookmaker makes a mistake.
It looks like a few sharks have picked-up on Oakland’s (+101) (-1.5) Run Line, “underdog” odds for a likely outcome. With a solid, even pitching match-up and Texas’ home woes to counter any crowd/momentum advantages, the Athletics are simply more than “1.5 runs” better than the Rangers. The visitors also badly need Thursday’s win to even the series 2-2 (nobody said the 2-run underdog isn’t dangerous over a short sample-size) after having a solid streak flummoxed by the Yankees.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (-1.5)
Chicago Cubs at L.A. Dodgers
Speaking of Run Line wagers, everyone’s favorite underdog RL of Thursday night appears to be Cleveland (+1.5) (-130), but the juiced odds on the Indians ATS create a sucker’s line that will only pay off if the visitors are fortunate in Minnesota. Probable pitcher J.C. Mejia has been getting blown out of the box by NL Central offenses, and it’s not as if the Tribe is a hot ballclub. In fact, Minnesota is arguably playing a little better ball, having swept the last 3+ game series the Twins played in.
Chicago offers a lot better investment as a ‘dog ATS, offered at a tasty (+105) that the betting public seems hesitant to move on. Walker “No Ben Stein Please” Buehler is starting for the host L.A. Dodgers and hasn’t lost yet this season, but doesn’t need to take an L for the Cubs to cover on the Run Line.
Probable pitcher Zach Davies was playing well for the Cubbies until getting tired against the Marlins last weekend. Albert Pujols hit into a double play to end a disappointing Dodger loss to San Diego on Wednesday, casting doubt on L.A.’s mid-season form once again.
Pick: Cubs Run Line (+1.5)
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Ole, ole! Me mind on fire. Me soul on fire. Feeling hot, hot, hot. WagerBop’s Daily Double is double-digit Ws above .500 in less than 3 weeks’ time, officially the website’s hottest MLB prediction streak since the column’s epic comeback late last season.
What prompts a hot streak at the sportsbook when a speculator has not changed her process, or spent extra time scouting and investigating? My pet theory is that any logical handicap of a ballgame’s crucial angles technically always should bear-out in the outcome with a high-% chance to win the prediction and the wager in the end. Strong predictions lose when unknowable, unlucky, and unexpected factors affect the scoreboard. Like the weather, “chaos” agents can come in waves, cycles, and the occasional thunderbolt. When the storm of foul fortune subsides, and skies are clear, the winning streak happens naturally. Less chaos is getting in the way.
It’s challenging to identify the #1 important angle (and avoid chaos) at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, at least at a glance. Tampa Bay’s in the awkward position of fighting for 1st while in midst of a slump, and Boston batters like Hunter Renfroe and Xander Bogarts feasted on an aimless Tampa Bay pitching staff in Tuesday’s opener. Sin City likes the Rays (-145) to snap back behind popular veteran hurler Rich Hill, but refuses to juice the hosts’ Run Line (-1.5) (+135).
The O/U total (8.5) is an intriguing market, since a trend of offense in the rivalry would need a collection of forces to slow it down. The Rays and Red Sox are routinely producing 12+ runs in 9-inning meetings, and Boston is pretty healthy at the plate while Tampa Bay’s injuries, somewhat ominously, are almost 100% in the pitching stable. Hill is likely to pitch 4-5 frames.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Not so surprisingly, the L.A. Dodgers aren’t quite as trendy a ticket for the betting public in late June, following a blitz of hype for a beefed-up batting order earlier this month. The Bums have been upset by the Philadelphia Phillies and lately the San Diego Padres, who’ve ensured a series win at Petco Park with victories over visiting L.A. on Monday and Tuesday. As is often the case, pitching and defense are the narrative in Navy-ville. The Pads have put out some nice offense, including Manny Machado’s mash in the opening frame of the 2nd contest, which ended in a 6-2 triumph. But fittingly, Machado’s fine defense became another big headline from late in Tuesday’s ballgame. San Diego and L.A. carry matching (-110) moneylines into the closer on Wednesday night, with a vaunted match-up of Musgrove vs Bauer keeping the O/U at (7) runs.
Cody Bellinger could play in the series closer, but any momentum boost for the Dodgers on behalf of a clubhouse working to avoid a sweep-against could be tempered by the Padres’ great desire to earn a sweep in front of a growing cast of Pads-partisans in the stands at Petco. However, if the game is hard-fought and tight on the scoreboard, the Padres may not have an answer for the improving depth of the Dodger lineup. San Diego’s injury woes aren’t going anywhere fast.
Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees
Whew-eee! ‘Twas a crying shame to break-up WagerBop’s lovely momentum in recent MLB predictions, with a 12-and-4 stretch now marred by the total lack of recommendations for Monday’s ballgames. But there’s no point trying to make accurate picks with a flu-addled brain. (No, in case you’re wondering, vaccinated sports writers don’t tend to catch or give away the coronavirus, nor is COVID-19 likely to A) last exactly 36 hours or B) produce a gastric bubble that could melt Rob Halford’s vocal chords.)
New York hurler Gerrit Cole is used to giving opposing batters heartburn, but Cole is also among the most scrutinized players in Major League Baseball this week due to MLB’s brand new in-game policy of searching pitchers for spin-affecting substances. Early reports of starting Ps suffering major injury due to changing their grips to cope with the crack-down can only serve to make the Pinstripes hesitant to pitch Cole for more than 4-5 innings in his planned start on Tuesday evening. That’s good news for the Kansas City Royals, who are a popular underdog bet at 2.25 to 1 odds, but who have failed to inspire a shift in KC’s (+115) Run Line.
Run Line speculation gauges how likely an underdog is to hang around on the scoreboard, while the moneyline is all about winning. The gambling public believes it’ll be a feast-or-famine scenario for the Kansas City offense with New York facing an almost unprecedented situation, and that Cole will either give up a million runs or none at all through 7-8 innings. Such a “casino” element causes surprise outcomes about half of the time, making a steep underdog seem like the obvious play based on risk-reward.
Frankly, that sort of thinking betrays a real lack of perspective. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the New York Yankees are 250,000 times more likely to care about limiting Cole’s pitch count vs the Royals and keeping a precious commodity nice and healthy than squeezing an extra 15 fastballs out of the anxious hurler on Tuesday. Kansas City will probably score runs here and there against a distracted Cole and a well-taxed stable of host relievers, and Yankee Nation is prepared to win ugly after a trying spring.
Pick: Royals (+1.5)
Colorado Rockies at Seattle Mariners
The Colorado Rockies are another tempting ATS pick for Tuesday at not-so-juiced (-142) on the underdog Run Line. Rox batters woke up as predicted in a thrilling, tight series with Milwaukee at Coors Field, and some handicappers are hoping that maybe, just maybe, this is the time for Colorado to carry its momentum away from home. The National League club has covered Run Lines for a week running.
But outstanding turn-arounds require a number of ingredients, and the underdogs are facing a pitching mismatch that doesn’t cling in conjunction with “percentage pick ATS.” Rox probable P Kyle Freeland is giving batters a free hand. Conversely, host starter Chris Flexen’s name can be added to a long list of MLB players who’ve improved since spending a short stint overseas.
Update 6/21: Due to the author’s illness, Daily Double will be shelved for a day and is set to return on Tuesday, June 22.
(Don’t worry ‘boppers, it’s called the “24-hour bug” for a reason.)
New York Mets at Washington Nationals
The New York Metropolitans are a popular moneyline wager for Sunday afternoon’s series closer with Washington, and it’s easy to see why when analyzing superficially. NY has the better W/L record, and probable Mets starter Taijuan Walker not only has a much better 2021 stat line than opposing Patrick “Colossus: The Corbin Project” Corbin, but has had the better form over the pair’s recent appearances.
I’m taking the hosts against-the-public at generous (+114) odds. Corbin was excellent in a start 5 days ago vs Pittsburgh, and the Mets’ offense truthfully isn’t much more explosive than that of the Buccos. Washington has a chance to win the series 3-1 and has won 7 of its last 9 ballgames.
Pick: Nationals or Nationals (+1.5)
St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Update: The numbers were finally coughed out of Sin City, of course, and gamblers appear to like the Braves’ shrinking (-122) moneyline, but with Drew Smyly and Kwang Hyun-Kim scheduled to start on the mound, we’re looking at Over (7.5) even though the contest is scheduled for just 7 innings.
It’s hard to publish our weekly SNB pick without odds, lines, or an opening Las Vegas consensus, but that’s Daily Double‘s dilemma as of late Saturday night.
Check this URL by early afternoon on game-day for fresh betting numbers and a Sunday Night Baseball prediction on the moneyline, Run Line, or Over/Under run total.
Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies
WagerBop takes no sadistic pleasure in accurately calling the Brew Crew unprepared for what was to come in Denver this week. Colorado’s batting order is simply a different bunch when playing in the thin air of home, and a suddenly-awake offense is giving the 0-2 series visitors fits. Bookmakers opened wagers on the 3rd of 4 games with a cautious (+115) line on the Rockies, but the odds have evened at (-110) as gamblers ponder a surprisingly evenly-matched pair of ballclubs.
Who’s the better side at even numbers? Milwaukee is an understandable pick as the team with a far-superior record and infinitely fatter chances in the National League pennant race. Friday’s ballgame went into extra innings and nearly ended with the series tied 1-1.
But the pitching match-up doesn’t ode well for a turnaround on Saturday, with 4-5 Adrian Houser going-up against Austin Gomber of the Rox, who was already hurling lights-out prior to Colorado’s team-wide uptick.
Detroit Tigers at L.A. Angels
We’ve seen scenarios this season where the Run Line was a better pick than the favorites’ moneyline, but the ML shrinks anyway while the Run Line stays put at 1-1 payoff odds. It’s happening again with the Los Angeles Angels’ next game vs the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Detroit is trotting-out veteran relief pitcher Willy Peralta, who’s been holding about a 3.00 ERA in the minor leagues. Though I’m not convinced the Halos will blow Peralta off the mound immediately, he never had great stamina as a part-time starter in his past MLB career, and shouldn’t last past the 4th inning. L.A.’s bats have been alive through a roller coaster of good and bad series, and Detroit’s injuries could prevent the Tigers from challenging the Angels late in the 3rd ballgame of an already 0-2 meeting for the visitors, even if it’s a close score or a slim Motor City lead at some point between innings 3 and 6.
Pick: Angels (-1.5) (-110)
Cleveland Indians at Pittsburgh Pirates
We’ve had some success identifying live MLB underdogs this week, but discovering which favorites are truly solid can be just as challenging. Cleveland (-150) comes into a series at Pittsburgh as only a modest minus-odds pick for Friday’s opener, despite the Pirates’ status as a dreadful club that hasn’t won a game since June 5th.
Why? For a start, the Indians haven’t been a marvelous ballclub on the road, as evidenced by the Tribe dropping a 3-game series at Baltimore earlier this month with a 13-run loss in the rubber match. Friday’s probable visiting pitcher J.C. Mejia hasn’t been able to stay on the mound for very long in recent appearances.
But opposing Chad Kuhl of the Buccos has been far worse, and Cleveland is coming in hot after taking revenge on Baltimore with a 4-game sweep. Pittsburgh’s losing skid may well end before Arizona’s does, but it isn’t likely to happen under the circumstances at hand.
Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
An even simpler handicap applies to Friday’s marquee game between Houston and the ChiSox, a game with an (8.5) run total as strong lineups meet outstanding hurlers in Luis Garcia and Carlos Rodon. Ordinarily a high-side totals pick would make sense, as the clubs will play in a warm, calm setting friendly to big bats. But a series opener embarrassed Chicago 10-2 on Thursday, and Tony LaRussa will look to orchestrate a quieter road contest in which the White Sox can take a comfortable lead without having to score 8+ runs on Garcia.
MLB Power Rankings 6/18/21
1 – Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are in second place in the NL at 41-27, but they haven’t lived up to many fans’ lofty expectations. Injuries to Corey Seager and Max Muncy haven’t helped, but L.A.’s stacked roster led many to believe they would have a much more dominant start to their season. The Dodgers’ pitching staff has performed well, though, earning the third best ERA in the NL at 3.20 and the second-most saves with 24. Star right fielder Mookie Betts, who’s only hitting .253 right now, may need to improve his play to give his team an offensive jolt.
2 – New York Mets
The New York Mets’ postseason woes may be behind them. The team is in third place in the NL at 35-25, and they’ve won 8 of their last 10. Their offense leads the NL in strikeouts and hasn’t been particularly strong with the exception of first baseman Pete Alonso, who has 10 homers and 34 RBIs. It’s New York’s pitching that has been notable, with the starters earning the best ERA in the NL at 3.12 while allowing the fewest hits, home runs, and walks. Jacob deGrom is having a historically great year with his 0.54 ERA and 111 strikeouts through 11 starts.
3 – Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs have long had the talent to threaten the MLB’s best, and it appears as though they’re harnessing it for the first time since they won the World Series in 2016. Chicago sits in fourth place in the NL at 38-30, and they’re 24-10 at home this season. Infielder Kris Bryant has continued his offensive tear of late, and he now has 13 homers and 39 RBIs to go along with a .292 batting average. Chicago ranks third in homers and fourth in stolen bases in the NL.
4 – San Francisco Giants
Nobody could have expected the San Francisco Giants to own the best record in the NL this season, but they have earned that honor so far. The team sits atop the league at 43-25, and they’re an impressive 21-9 at home. 7 of San Francisco’s 8 starters are 30 or older, yet they lead the NL in home runs and rank third in on-base percentage. The ageless Buster Posey hasn’t slowed down either, accumulating 12 homers and 26 RBI’s while hitting a stellar .337.
5 – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers may fly below the radar, but their 38-30 record is good enough for fifth in the NL at the moment. The team’s offense has been unspectacular, though, and Kolten Wong and Travis Shaw’s injuries have not done the team any favors. Fortunately, Milwaukee’s starters have stepped up. In particular, Freddy Peralta is 6-2 with a 2.28 ERA and Brandon Woodruff is 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA. The Brewers also rank second in the NL in strikeouts with 705
American League Power Rankings
1 – Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are rolling. They’re 43-25, and they’ve won 8 of their last 10 games. Despite injuries to Nick Madrigal and Luis Robert, Chicago still ranks fourth in the AL in batting average and second in on-base percentage.
Shortstop Tim Anderson has continued to contribute in all facets of the game, batting .313 and totaling 25 RBIs and 13 stolen bases so far.
2 – Boston Red Sox
Don’t look now, but the Boston Red Sox are still well on their way to a surprise playoff berth. Their 42-27 record has them in fourth place in the AL, and they’re an impressive 22-10 on the road this season. Boston owes much of their success to their stacked offense, which currently ranks second in hits and runs scored in the AL. Young third baseman Rafael Devers is en route to another career year with a .283 batting average and 16 homers and 55 RBIs to date.
3 – Houston Astros
The Astros may still invoke the ire of many MLB fans, but that hasn’t stopped them from putting together a special 2021 campaign. Houston is in fifth place in the AL at 39-28, and they’ve won 7 of their last 10. Though most of the Astros’ starters have turned in mixed results through the first half of the season, ace Zack Greinke has shined. He currently owns a 7-2 record and a 3.74 ERA through 15 starts.
4 – Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays may not garner a lot of media buzz, but they’re quietly in the midst of yet another remarkable regular season. Tampa is second in the AL with a 43-26 record, and they’re challenging the White Sox for the top spot. Unsurprisingly, it’s been the Rays’ defense that has carried them during this hot start. The team’s 3.24 team ERA is second in the AL, and their 22 saves ranks first in the league. Ace Tyler Glasnow just hit the injured list, however, so that may slow the Rays down.
5 – Oakland Athletics
Like the Rays, the Athletics have had a successful start to their season without much fanfare. The team is currently in third in the AL with a 43-27 record, and they’ve won six straight. And, like Tampa, the A’s have mostly relied on their defense to carry the load.
Chris Bassitt has turned in a 7-2 record, a 3.43 ERA, and 91 strikeouts, and starter Sean Manaea is 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA. Those two have provided a deadly one-two punch so far for Oakland.
Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies
Drat! Daily Double nearly pulled off a double-delivery on MLB underdog lines yesterday, predicting Philadelphia’s 2-0 upset of the L.A. Dodgers, but losing a Toronto-over-New York Yankees pick when the Bronx Bombers slipped ahead in the 7th inning for a 3-2 comeback win. Thankfully, we’ve already found generous odds on another live underdog this Thursday night, when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the Colorado Rockies in a series opener.
Colorado’s road offense is hapless. But the Rockies know how to play in the thin air of Coors Field, and proved it by whipping the San Diego Padres in 3 straight ballgames this week. Milwaukee (-164) looks solid with a start from Brandon Woodruff on the ledger, opposing German Marquez of the Rox who was shivered by Cincy for 8 earned runs in his last outing. But the host hurler had begun to put his form together prior to that mess, and the Brewers’ methodical style will be put to the test with wind blowing out of the park. Milwaukee isn’t a phantom favorite, but things could get complicated, especially once Woodruff’s night is over.
Picks: Rockies Run Line (+1.5) and Over (10)
Detroit Tigers at L.A. Angels
Another “reverse”-classic fade-the-public scenario presents itself in SoCal on Thursday night, with a ballgame for which gamblers appear too giddily hyped-up about a pair of pitchers, at least 1 of whom has little experience at the MLB level.
Under (9) opened as an extremely-popular pick, with scheduled starts from Shohei Ohtani and worthy newcomer Matt Manning. But look at the fine print and Ohtani has been allowing runs consistently, as a methodical pitcher who cannot simply overwhelm every batter in all circumstances. Nor was his heralded stamina on display following 6 days’ rest in a 5-inning appearance on 6/11. It all comes down to Manning’s performance when handicapping a totals bet, and the funny thing is that the Halos wouldn’t be a 1-to-2 moneyline bet or a 1-to-1 Run Line bet if sharks really thought Manning was about to take the league by storm. We’ve seen a lot of prospect hurlers get blown out of the box by 75% lineups in 2021.
The ballgame’s O/U has dropped to (8.5) at at least 1 sportsbook already, giving “fade the public” style hardball gamblers the opportunity to cheer for offense for a change.
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Your favorite MLB handicapper will be first to admit the truth about Daily Double‘s mediocre, even losing W/L records through patches of 2020 and 2021. But the column must be given credit from another angle – our hot streaks tend to be nuclear-hot.
Daily Double is a perfect 6-0 since last Saturday, including a pair of plus-odds underdog wagers that cashed-in. Rather than try to protect the W streak with safe predictions on minus-payoff lines, we’ll try to go to 7-0 on recent 1-to-1 market picks while also pausing to recommend a live underdog for Wednesday evening in which to carefully invest some well-earned stake.
But who’s the barking ‘dog on the board? Detroit won its opening 2 games in KC, making the Royals a motivated mid-week favorite in the series closer. Arizona fought like hell in Tuesday night’s 9-8 loss to San Francisco, but the Diamondbacks’ pitching is so bad that it’s hard to imagine the club snapping its extended losing streak in any kind of predictable fashion.
Here’s a vote for the Toronto Blue Jays, a (+150) underdog hosting the New York Yankees for the 2nd of 3 ballgames. Toronto has played better baseball than the Yanks as of late, as the latter team faces another slump much like the spring swoon that drew heavy criticism. The Blue Jays are a quality batting team against right-handed hurlers like Garrit Cole, who must deal with the distraction of MLB’s “sticky stuff” controversy.
Pick: Blue Jays (+150)
Philadelphia Phillies at L.A. Dodgers
Okay, nevermind the plan about selecting a “1-to-1” market for today’s 2nd pick. Neither of Philadelphia’s main-market “pick a team/side” bets for a Wednesday series closer with the L.A. Dodgers are at close to 1/1 payoff odds, but the Phils are as intriguing of a moneyline underdog as a (+1.5) “favorite.”
Yes, L.A. began the series getting the best of Philly. But extract the star-adulation factor from the Bums’ probable pitcher in the upcoming game (C…C…Clayton K..Kershaw!) and Philadelphia’s planned starter Zack Wheeler has actually looked better than Kershaw when comparing the pair’s recent appearances. The Phillies have about half the injury woes of the Dodgers and should continue to fight hard in a series that’s well-matched, given of-course the caveat of L.A.’s preparation for a potentially dominant stretch run and the frustration of famed Dodger hurlers trying to conjure their best stuff on the mound by August.
Pick: Phillies Run Line (+1.5)
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Given the circumstances of Tuesday’s series opener in Kansas City, it’s a surprise that the slightly-favored Royals (-135) aren’t getting more high-roller action on a (+136) Run Line. But that doesn’t mean that the (-1.5) market is the right gamble.
KC is the team that might be contending were it not for a single, terrible losing streak early in spring, but if the outcomes of the past week continue, you can add “and the June slump” to the Royals’ list of regrets. A start from Mike Minor is reason enough to think the pain could be salved on Tuesday, but a better reason is the competition (or lack thereof) in town. Detroit is losing just as many outings in June, has a dreadful road record, and is bad as an underdog in 2021 – bad news for a team that’s often the ‘dog.
The low-side of a surprising (9) O/U total is a safer pick than either side. Yes, we’re to the time of year when sample-sizes are large enough to give team stats added credence, and the Royals’ offense is actually pretty good at home from a wide POV. But betting on a single outcome is about the here and now, and struggling Tigers and Royals have combined for 15 runs-scored in their last 6 ballgames.
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners
It’s typically not a bad idea to set cautious O/U lines for meetings of downtrodden baseball clubs. But the (8.5) line set for Minnesota at Seattle on Tuesday night is too low. Minnesota’s bats haven’t been the Twins’ main issue on the road, as the team’s games have beaten the Over/Under line 40 out of 65 times this season. Starting host-hurler Chris Flexen has good stamina, but like opposing J.A. Happ, he’s been coughing-up RBIs.
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
The Cincinnati Reds have won a lot of ballgames in late spring for a club still mired in 3rd place of a winnable division. Cincy’s “treadmill” hot streak includes 2 series-sweeps and 4 wins in the last 5 outings, but the Reds are just barely ahead of the slumping St. Louis Cardinals and 5 games back of the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, the latter of which begins a 3-game meeting with Cincinnati on Monday night.
Brew Crew moneyline and Run Line odds are shrinking fast, which (to the uninitiated means) a majority thinks Milwaukee will win the series opener, perhaps by a bundle of runs. Gamblers are jumping on what they see as a mistaken Las Vegas handicap, with the “inferior” Reds opening as a (+110) wager and swelling to (+132) soon after betting opened.
This prognosticator’s vote is firmly against the public. Cincinnati didn’t have a great spring campaign, but the crucial angle here is that the Reds have been as dangerous as the Brewers for close to 2 weeks running. Vladimir Gutierrez had a terrific start against the Brewers on 6/9 and is poised to continue to improve thru 5+ innings on Monday, while opposing Eric Lauer has lost in 2 of his last 3 starts.
Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals
It looks like the Arch-front could be the latest scene of an MLB legacy club in a deep swoon. St. Louis was swept in 3 games by the Chicago Cubs to lose its 7th, 8th, and 9th games in just 10 appearances, including the Cardinals’ latest discouraging defeat, a 2-0 loss on Sunday Night Baseball in which the visitors to Wrigley Field only managed a pair of hits and could have been beaten a lot worse.
Nevertheless, the homecoming Redbirds are a (-154) favorite to beat the Miami Marlins in Monday night’s series opener, thanks to a start from Adam Wainwright and a soft spot in Miami’s pitching rotation that could have made Monday a bullpen day (or a bullpen evening as it were) until Don Mattingly decided on Braxton Garrett, a prospect P who was awful in a single 2021 performance to-date, to oppose Wainwright.
Lines are 1 thing, but the odds-makers are getting this ballgame’s angles Isan Diazzz-backward with formulaic payoffs on SU and (-1.5) St. Louis markets. Wainwright is a hometown hero but he’s also 4-5 this season and prone to off-nights. It’s certainly a 65-75% proposition that the Cardinals will win with even a fading ace-type hurler against a struggling neophyte, but the home team is likely to either feast early and snap-out of its slump or (less likely but possibly) simply lose another contest. The chances of the Cardinals keeping their nerve through 10 tight innings to win 7-6 is far lessened under the circumstances, making the Run Line pick at a mispriced (+130) more valuable than the ML.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line (-1.5)
Los Angeles Angels at Arizona Diamondbacks
When will Arizona’s miserable losing streak end? Diamondback batters produced a 5-0 lead on the L.A. Angels at Chase Field on Saturday, giving rise to hope that the skid would end within a couple of hours. But the Snakes let the lead dwindle away prior to a 3-run 9th delivering a KO for the Halos in what had to have been an agonizing outcome in the flesh. Still, the popular “home team defending vs sweep” angle has Los Angeles held close to a 1-to-1 moneyline bet for Sunday’s series closer, a ballgame with a (9.5) O/U run total.
Sin City might need to offer $5 on the dollar to get MLB speculators excited to bet on Jon Duplantier, the Snakes’ sabbath-day starter and owner of a 10+ ERA. “Mr. Duplicitous” is serving-up derby balls to eager sluggers, while at least the opposing Patrick Sandoval has had bright spots despite an 0-2 mark.
Rather than try to guess if motivation will be enough to lift Arizona and prevent a 10+ game losing streak, it’s smarter to find a gamble that will flourish if the Diamondbacks continue to fight like hell on offense in home games, but won’t fall to a bad beat if the allow more late runs and lose again.
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
The NL Central, and the Cardinals specifically, seem to be playing on Sunday Night Baseball so often that the rosters are liable to miss 8 weeks of NFL action. STL’s pitching stable has enough injuries to rival an NFL unit, while Chicago is running low on healthy catchers and 3rd basemen. But the teams have managed to play an exciting series so far, with the Cubs threatening a sweep with an early explosion on Saturday following an 8-5 win in the opener, and are drawing ML action at (-135) despite a slow uptake on announcing a starter.
All signs show that Zach Davies will step into the SNB pitching role, coming off a victory against a slightly-overrated San Diego batting order. Chicago’s pitching let the team down in a previous series vs San Francisco, keeping Cubbies fans on edge even as the club nips at 1st place following the west-coast swing.
But the Cardinals are known as a long-term thinking organization even as its fans howl for blood against rivals like the Cubs and Reds. Taking a 3-game sweep wouldn’t be the end of the world with the division still tightly bunched, and the Redbirds’ choice of Carlos Martinez on the mound exemplifies that. Martinez is 3-6 and has fared poorly enough as of late that Chicago’s 5-innings payoff should be (-250), yet ledgers still show Chicago’s moneyline hovering near 1/1 and a Run Line at fat (+125) odds.
Picks: Cubs, Cubs 5-Innings
Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds
While the preceding week brought hectic line-movement on the MLB odds board, Saturday’s viewing public seems skeptical of all but a few teams’ prices. San Diego’s odds to beat the New York Mets are thinning with optimism, and the Boston Red Sox are a popular wager headed into a meeting with Toronto. However, the analyses for both ballgames are pretty inconclusive.
Better value can be found in Cincinnati, where the Reds are a less-popular, fattening (-127) ML to beat the visiting Colorado Rockies, in a game with a surprising (9) run Over/Under total. Neither probable pitcher, Wade Miley or German Marquez, has a grand stat line on the season. But each has been markedly solid and consistent in multiple recent appearances.
Cincy’s offense is on another level compared to Colorado’s meek batting away from Denver. In fact, Colorado’s road offense is so poor that the Reds could score 3-4 runs and still win on the Run Line without Miley hurling a classic.
Picks: Reds and Under
Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
There are less-flaky MLB clubs to wager on than the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins of spring 2021. Minnesota has disappointed fans and sportsbook speculators alike over the season’s first 60+ games, Meanwhile, the Astros are just waiting for their next patsy to be swept by in a 3 or 4-game series.
Good news comes in small doses – the ‘Stros already beat the Twins in an opener on Friday and are a 1-to-1 wager for Saturday night’s follow-up.
The low-side of a (9.5) run Las Vegas total is tempting enough, given that probable Ps Jose Berrios and Luis Garcia are in confident form, and because each starting hurler has the stamina to help the Twins and Astros work around injuries in the bullpen.
But each batting lineup is on a relative hot streak – Minnesota and Houston are scoring runs consistently win-or-lose. The side is a lot higher-percentage play, since the formula of comparable starters + disparate teams usually works out with the better club finding a way to prevail. The Houston Astros may be hard to predict this year, but there’s no arguing that the ‘Stros haven’t looked a million times more promising than the Twins.
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins
MLB speculators tend to ignore trends only when less-heralded clubs are involved in the betting angle. Far be it from a respectable baseball shark to miss a narrative on the New York Yankees, but the Yanks (or Yahoos) who set sportsbook odds on the Miami Marlins-Atlanta Braves opener this Friday night could be guilty of assuming that a marked change is mere statistical noise when it comes to an underdog that shook-up the majors in 2020.
Miami is a (+121) bet to win despite roaring to life from the plate on Thursday, swatting 3 massive home runs in the 2nd inning of a romp over Colorado. Improved opposition for the far-behind Fish is the basic story behind Atlanta’s (-135) line-to-win and near 1/1 odds giving (-1.5) on the Run Line. Charlie “Salt” Morton brings a 5-2 record into a road start in expected fine weather.
Host-starter Sandy Alcantara has quietly been as or more effective than Morton in the pair’s latest appearances, and there are a bunch of trends pointing to Run Line value on Miami. We’ve witnessed how modest-salaried clubs have played pretty good baseball in 2021 after emerging from terrible spring slumps, and the Marlins’ 3-2 record in 5 games qualifies as breaking a bugaboo. Atlanta has a losing record on the road, is plagued by an ugly scandal, and has given-up a ton of runs to the Fish in recent meetings.
Pick: Marlins Run Line (+1.5) (-145)
Texas Rangers at L.A. Dodgers
Ka-Boom, or make that Ka-BUM. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ moneyline went bananas after opening at a cautious (-250) with Clayton Kershaw pitching against the dregs of the Lone Star rotation on Friday night, moving to (-330) in a blink. However, the (-1.5) Run Line on Los Angeles opened at just (-120), moving substantially but not critically further away from 1/1 with early action. Why the huge gap in a contest with a rising (8) run total?
It’s true that the Bums have played in their fair share of 1-run and 2-run ballgames this spring, but since mid-May the Dodgers have actually fared poorly in tight games, losing several 1 and 2-run contests in a row (not consecutively but as a sample) before finally managing to hold-off the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 by playing expert defense on a bullpen-pitching day this week.
Each time the L.A. Dodgers of late spring ’21 win another ballgame, they tend to win it by a wide margin, making the Run Line vs moneyline gap even more of a mystery, or maybe just a bad price, given a favorite that’s coming home from a 4-2 road trip with an average margin-of-victory of exactly 2 runs.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line
*WagerBop’s Weekly Weekend MLB Rankings*
Since we only look at 4 teams at a time at Daily Double, it seems like a good idea to begin updating MLB gamblers on the progress of many World Series contenders every so often. So, here’s a weekly top-10 rundown of Major League Baseball’s best, and a few notes on player performances and pennant-race position.
The worst thing any blog can do is begin a new ranking chart with a bunch of unorthodox, ill-fated choices, and daily Run Line bettors aren’t presently worried about the World Series anyway. Therefore, we’ll start by giving the major leagues’ top June W/L records the credit that they’re due, but don’t be surprised if the rankings begin shifting irrespective of minor fluctuations in MLB standings, as powerful teams prepare to take command in July and August.
1 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Some very, very good MLB teams take spring to recalibrate and recharge a lineup, but the Dodgers took early-season baseball seriously in 2021, and are poised at 2nd place in the NL with a 36-25 record. Star shortstop Corey Seager is missing time on the IL, but veteran infielders Justin Turner and Max Muncy have answered the bell and combined for a whopping 24 homers and 63 RBIs so far this year. The incomparable Mookie Betts is off to a less-than-stellar start, though, hitting just .250 and accumulating 5 homers and 21 RBIs. Walker Buehler has at least temporarily assumed the status of ace with a 7-0 record and a 2.56 ERA. The Dodgers’ 3.21 team ERA is third overall in the NL.
2 – Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay hasn’t missed a beat since falling just short in last season’s World Series. They currently sit atop the American League with a 39-24 record thanks to the same balanced attack that worked for the MLB’s bridesmaid in 2020. Ace hurler Tyler Glasnow is off to a solid start with a 5-2 record and a 2.57 ERA, and veteran addition Rich Hill is also 5-2 on the season.
On offense, DH Austin Meadows leads the team with 14 homers and 48 RBIs, and the ever-steady Ji-Man Choi has a team-high .304 batting average despite only having played 15 games due to injury. Joey Wendle, Yandy Diaz, and rising star Randy Arozarena have also contributed to the Rays’ promising campaign.
3 – Chicago White Sox
The White Sox aren’t far behind the Tampa Bay Rays, and they’re looking to make the postseason for the 2nd time in a row. Super-slugging José Abreu is once again leading the way with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs, and the fiery Tim Anderson has added 6 homers and 23 RBIs of his own while batting a stellar .302.
The “ChiSox” pitching stable is currently putting up the best numbers in the American League, giving the club even more upside for the pennant race to come in late summer and fall.
4 – San Francisco Giants
Surprising pundits, the San Francisco Giants have owned the NL so far this season, running-up a 38-23 record despite slumps on offense. Solid pitching, handy bats, and teamwork has allowed Gigantes to out-pace everyone, even the defending World Series-champion Dodgers, in the National League West.
Veterans are getting it done for San Francisco. Buster Posey is experiencing a late-career resurgence that has him hitting .336 and getting on base in 41% of his plate appearances. Though the 35-year-old veteran Evan Longoria has landed on the IL, he’s racked up 9 homers and 30 RBIs of his own while batting .280. Finally, 34-year-old shortstop Brandon Crawford has powered the Giants’ offense with14 homers and 41 RBIs. Giants opponents are getting taken to the yard, too. San Francisco is 10th in the NL in hits, but tops in homers with 90 so far. Star hurler Kevin Gausman has a spotless 7-0 record and an incredible 1.27 ERA through 12 starts.
5 – San Diego Padres
Pads’ offseason moves look like they’re paying dividends already. Superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has racked up an impressive 17 homers and 39 RBIs while batting .277, and young Trent Grisham turned heads by hitting .301 before suffering an injury. San Diego ranks 3rd in the NL in hits and tops in steals. Yu Darvish has performed well as San Diego’s new ace, putting together a 6-2 record, 92 strikeouts, and a 2.28 ERA. He hasn’t gotten much help from the rest of the staff, though, who collectively own a 12-15 record. Still, San Diego’s average ERA of 2.96 is the top mark in the National League.
6 – Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park may not have quite as much star-power since the departure of Mookie Betts, but the Red Sox are still a formidable ball team, and signs show that Beantown baseball could be headed for better things in 2021 following a sour pandemic-era campaign. Boston’s pitching staff has given up 48 homers, the least in the AL.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts and DH J.D. Martinez have shared top dog status on offense. Bogaerts is in the midst of yet another efficient campaign, batting .321 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs while Martinez is hitting .313 and has collected 12 homers and 39 RBIs. But it’s the young Rafael Devers who has really made a breakthrough for the Red Sox, contributing 15 homers and 48 RBIs through just over 1/3 of the season.
7 – Chicago Cubs
Chicago currently holds the fourth spot in the NL with a 35-27 record. Just 2 Cubs are hitting better than .250, but they’ve both had excellent starts to the 2021 season. Kris Bryant is leading the team with a .307 batting average and has collected 13 homers and 38 RBIs, and Anthony Rizzo has hit 6 homers and 26 RBIs while batting .263. Chicago ranks third in the NL with 82 home runs.
8 – Oakland Athletics
Another year, another Oakland A’s team that manages to put itself in playoff position despite a modest salary cap. 1st baseman Matt Olson hasn’t missed a beat, racking up 15 homers and 41 RBIs while hitting .276 so far. Veteran left fielder Mark Canha is right behind him with 11 homers and 25 RBIs, and the young center fielder Ramon Laureano has also made strides this season despite missing some time with injury. The A’s pitching staff has allowed the 2nd-least home runs and 2nd-least walks in the AL this season.
9 – Houston Astros
Houston hasn’t been a consistent favorite in 2021, but the ‘Stros know how to expose a weak pitching staff. 37-year-old Yuli Gurriel has put together the best campaign of his career for the Houston Astros this spring, with 8 homers, 43 RBIs and a .335 batting average. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley are all hitting .290 or better. Houston currently leads the AL in runs, hits, batting average, and slugging percentage. Celebrated hurler Zack Greinke hasn’t disappointed either, getting off to a hot 6-2 start to go along with a 3.38 ERA.
10 – Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the hottest teams in the MLB right now, having won 8 of their last 10 games. Milwaukee has had its fair share of injury issues this season, but the “Brew Crew” has emerged stronger than ever. Journeyman Avisail Garcia has surprisingly powered the team’s offense thus far, accumulating 12 homers and 35 RBIs. Milwaukee’s pitching staff hasn’t been elite in all respects, but they’ve done enough to keep their team in games. Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have performed the best of the team’s starters, combining to go 10-3 in spring appearances.
Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins
Thursday’s MLB run-total markets are almost devoid of line-movement or shifting prices, but the same can’t be said for moneylines, which are expanding and melting like hail in a thunderstorm. Gamblers seem especially drawn to the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and Miami Marlins, the latter of which is a 1/2 favorite and 1/1 Run Line pick against visiting Colorado in a southeastern twilight contest.
With Trevor Rogers pitching against Chi Chi Gonzalez, you’d almost expect Miami to be favored on a (-1.5) spread. Rogers hasn’t won a game, however, in weeks following an extremely-hot start. Miami has only split with the road-challenged Rox so far in the series, and needs a rubber match triumph to produce any semblance of comeback-momentum after taking 3 straight series-losses.
Of more interest to gamblers is that Miami is 13-13 at home, while the Colorado Rockies have less road wins than the 2020-21 New Orleans Saints despite nearly 30 cracks at host-opponents so far. Colorado’s batting is so poor away from Coors Field that Rogers doesn’t need positive reversion to get a W, while the Marlin batting order could actually be more talented in places than some of the ailing National League clubs Gonzalez has found recent success against from the mound.
Pick: Marlins (-1.5)
Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics
With Oakland’s moneyline taking-on more juice than a grade school cafeteria, consider a bet on Over (8) total runs instead. Probable hurlers Frankie Montas and Mike Minor each appear vulnerable despite positive W/L records, a nearly 20 MPH wind is predicted to blow out of the ballpark, and the high-side of the total has been a surprisingly strong pick in recent Royals games despite the team’s slow climb back to .500.
Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox
There are 2 popular favorite’s moneylines on Wednesday night’s MLB ledger, Boston’s line to beat the Houston Astros, and odds on the Chicago White Sox (-137) to earn a 5th victory in 6 ballgames against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Red Sox-Astros betting trends appear based on thin analysis. Yes, probable pitcher Jake Odorizzi was burned by Beantown batters in his last outing, but Houston is coming off a 7-1 win, and if Odorizzi wasn’t due for positive reversion with a 7+ run ERA, he’d be out of the rotation. The ChiSox vs Blue Birds battle abides a clearer-cut handicap.
Toronto’s hitting stats look fine, but the club is riddled with injuries, and coming off a series loss to (speak of the devil) Houston. A start from Lance Lynn of the White Sox will keep Blue Jays’ bats quiet long enough for the AL Central leaders to manufacture a lead from the plate. Now that the smoke is clearing on the spring’s “dress rehearsal” pennant race, it would appear that the Chicago White Sox are only rarely vulnerable at home.
Pick: White Sox
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
Daily Double was on the verge of another double-winner on Tuesday night when the Yankees and Twins suffered bullpen bloopers in the late innings of an 8-4 New York victory. Gamblers love the Pinstripes’ Run Line (-1.5 (-115) and have caused the O/U line to jump up to (8.5) runs, but only 1 of the early betting trends makes sense analytically.
Twins starter Randy Dobnak is 1-5 and coming off a pair of ineffective outings. But he’s had some hard luck too, and could be more focused than his heralded opponent. New York’s probable starting pitcher Gerrit Cole has been involved in controversy and could potentially be letting it interfere with his routine, giving up 5 runs to Tampa Bay in 5 innings-pitched less than a week ago. Maybe it’s an anomaly or something else, but the chance at betting on 2 vulnerable pitchers vs lineups with formidable power to wind-up going over (8.5) is worth a 1 or 2-unit risk.
Pick: Over (8.5)
Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds
There are rivalry wins, and then there’s rebounding from a 16-run loss to defeat an arch (Arch?) enemy 4 straight times in its own backyard. The Cincinnati Reds invaded Ballpark Village at week’s end and emerged with hard-fought wins in every ballgame, surviving a 7-run St. Louis rally in midst of Sunday’s closing contest. The impressive sweep has Cincy’s moneyline (-132) shrinking for a Tuesday opener vs Milwaukee.
Milwaukee’s edge is pitching, as the Brew Crew has averaged 160% as many strikeouts as hits in spring ’21, but remains buoyed above .500 by an excellent stable of hurlers. Speculators think Reds’ bats could take advantage of a rare vulnerability in Milwaukee pitching on Tuesday night, as probable visiting starter Adrian Houser was cold-cocked by Cincinnati for 6 earned runs in a recent appearance. Probable host P Sonny Gray pitched in the Phillies’ 17-1 massacre of the Reds, but helped shut-out the Washington Nationals in a previous start.
The timing isn’t right for a juiced-up Cincinnati wager, since Milwaukee is on a nuclear-hot streak on the road and isn’t the club coming off an extended rivalry battle in front of boo-birds. The Brew Crew is simply going about its business, while the Reds have had a rest day for the inevitable letdown to take hold. Handicappers concerned with strength-of-schedule should consider that Cincy is meeting a plus-odds ‘dog with a better W/L record who matches the Reds in short-term momentum.
Pick: Brewers (+116)
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
2 distinct trends marked the open of wagering on Minnesota’s opener with the visiting New York Yankees on Tuesday night – the Yankee moneyline has thinned from underdog-territory to (-117) while the O/U action is so off-kilter that books can’t figure out whether to juice O(8.5) or Over (9). Why such live action on a club that’s lost 4 in a row?
The Minnesota Twins are having a dismal season at Target Field, and Jordan Montgomery could be poised to out-pitch host hurler Michael Pineta. Still, we’re jumping on the (9) run O/U line instead of employing the basement psychoanalysis that leads fans to bet on legacy teams in their darkest hours, even when flying to play the (so-far) terrible Twins.
Pick: Under (9)
Miami Marlins at Boston Red Sox
Flaky intraleague outcomes of the past and a trendy underdog angle have Boston’s ML fattening to (-145) despite coming-off a fantastic series sweep of the New York Yankees on the Pinstripes’ home diamond, culminating in a 6-5 extra innings triumph on Sunday Night Baseball. The public clearly imagines a letdown for the Red Sox as they transition away from rivalry baseball.
Miami is certainly good enough to surprise a team having a swoon, especially with Monday’s starter Pablo Lopez’s ERA through 4 starts this season. Boston probable P Nick Pivetta has not hurled against the Fish and looks vulnerable in late spring.
But the high-rollers and influencers responsible for line-movement may have picked the wrong ‘dog at the wrong time of the season. The Miami Marlins just finished losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 in a 4-game series, and were swept out of the ballpark in consecutive earlier meetings including a 2-game stint with the Boston Red Sox. Given the Marlins’ poor form, only a pitching mismatch in favor of the visitors would make Miami anything close to a true favorite on Monday.
Pick: Red Sox (-145) or (-1.5) (+125)
Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres
The Chicago Cubs can get high marks for their performance vs the NL West so far, or at least, as high of marks as you can give a ballclub that lost the maiden series of the trip. Chicago led early in a painful 4-3 loss on Saturday, the Cubs’ 3rd straight defeat at the hands of the Giants. But the team fought-off a sweep attempt in the 4th contest and arrives in San Diego still tied for the lead in a bunched NL Central, ready to face a Padres team looking for revenge after getting swept at Wrigley Field.
Gamblers appear to like San Diego at (-125) odds, though mounting injuries and sluggish offense are angles that point to profitable bets in alterative markets. Probable visiting hurler Adbert Alzolay has been improving in warmer weather, while opposing P Ryan Weathers of the Pads met with a storm of live Chicago bats in his last appearance.
The Padres-Cubs O/U (7.5) is a vulnerable line on which a wise bet bends to genuine trends other than, “the Padres are upset with the Cubs by now.” Weathers and the San Diego defense are the sort to adjust well in a 2nd go at an adversary, and 12 of the Cubs’ last 18 ballgames have gone low-side on the Vegas total. San Diego may not turn into the small-ball capital of California by 2025, but so go the 2021 San Diego Padres…who haven’t played in a game that’s totaled 10+ runs since May 30th.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers
Arizona’s meek pitching has done more than wake up Milwaukee’s bats over the last 3 days. It’s allowed the Brew Crew to produce 3 much-needed wins in a row and tie for the lead in the NL Central. Milwaukee is a (-250) moneyline pick and a (-120) Run Line wager to beat the Diamondbacks by 2+ runs in Sunday afternoon’s closer, a ballgame with a cautious (7.5) O/U line in Sin City.
It’s understandable why the Brewers vs Snakes total is stuck in place as of late Saturday night, since probable Arizona pitcher Chris Smith’s season thus far is an enigma without an adequate sample size for analysis. Host hurler Corbin Burnes has been a hard-luck, 6-inning starter who throws a healthy # of Ks. The (-1.5) bet feels safest for some considering the D-Backs’ poor spring.
A contradiction in the betting action is that speculators trust Milwaukee to keep pounding Arizona’s pitching, but imagine a low-scoring series closer. The Brewers shouldn’t be a minus-odds RL bet if a pitcher’s duel is imminent, which is probably an overrated prediction to begin with. Any kind of 2-2 or 3-3 tie in the late innings provides an easy trap-door escape if O(7.5) is nail-biting.
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
First critics were frying the New York Yankees, then the ballclub’s improved May campaign quieted them down a little bit. Rabble has been roused all over again with Boston’s strong start in a series at Yankee Stadium, as Rafael Devers’ immense home run highlighted the Red Sox’s 7-3 win on Saturday. New York can’t win the series but must aim to prevent an opposing sweep, helping the Yanks to a tentative favorite’s line of (-143) for Sunday Night Baseball.
Boston can hope to squeeze just enough out of starting pitcher Garrett Richards to keep things fun into the late innings when big visiting bats could take over again. Like the rest of the AL East, the Red Sox sense an opportunity to put Ws in the bank against the Yankees while the New York club is floundering.
Probable NY hurler Domingo German’s stamina has matched excellent WHIP numbers in several consecutive starts. His consistency is a boon to Pinstripe speculators who’ve watched the team look like All-Stars and cellar-dwellers on back-to-back days in 2021. Bookies don’t think 1-to-1 Run Line odds would draw a balanced handle given Boston’s success in the series, but the Yanks will have more than just motivation to draw on Sunday night.
Pick: Yankees (-143) or (-1.5) (+130)
Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
It’s understandable that there’s no special buzz around the NL East right now. Some divisions have as many as 3-4 inspired lineups vying for 1st place, but the New York Mets are allowed to hold a commanding NL East lead despite a lousy 12-17 record on the road. Still, overlooked games can offer a bounty of mistaken lines and smart wagers, such as can be found when the Phillies (-135) host the Nationals for the 2nd of 3 ballgames on Saturday.
The O/U total has dropped to (9) on betting boards despite quasi-serviceable starting hurlers. Joe Ross and Spencer Howard have been on short leashes even after efficient innings, the pair’s lack of stamina likely to tax both bullpens. Under-gamblers are motivated by trends, not pitching. Low-side wagers have been winning for both teams’ games as a rule, and the Phils especially look shaky from the plate without injured Bryce Harper. Friday’s 2-1 outcome hasn’t inspired a lot of high-side action.
Look closer, though, and the Nats are a stronger offensive club on the road, while the Phillies’ 17-run party against the Reds shows that Philadelphia isn’t doomed to score 1 base-runner at a time until a slugger returns. Wind will be blowing outward, Washington is as healthy as it’s been in 3 years, and analysis will probably trump “hunch” bets once again as the innings unfold.
Oakland Athletics at Colorado Rockies
When there’s a decent argument in favor of both opposing starting pitchers, is finding the best bet about discovering other angles, or about which argument is the superior one? That’s the conundrum faced by MLB speculators headed into Saturday’s follow-up between Colorado and visiting Oakland, the latter a (-125) pick to win but only a (+115) payoff on the Run Line thanks to an anticipated high-scoring ballgame with an O/U total of (11.5) runs.
The promise of probable Rox hurler Kyle Freeland getting back to his vintage form is a compelling reason for bettors to pick Colorado ATS, as is the fact that the Rockies have a winning record at home. Saturday night’s host lineup knows how to avoid strike-outs and make solid contact in thin air, which could be bad news for 3-7 Oakland starter Cole Irvin.
But there are several convincing angles in favor of taking Oakland as a side. The Athletics have adjusted from the plate since getting tamped-down in a series against the Angels, with discipline to match power and improved scoring with runners on-base. Irvin’s stamina has been solid while Freeland hasn’t been lasting 5 innings at a time, giving the superior team a chance to pick on Colorado’s bullpen in favorable hitting conditions.
L.A. Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Sportsbooks almost appear to be trying to lure bettors away from simply picking the Dodgers (-122) to win on Friday night, putting (+100) payoff odds on O(9) and a (+134) Run Line on Los Angeles beating the Atlanta Braves by 2 or more runs in a series opener.
Betting the total’s high-side might not be a bad idea, since each club’s ballgames have been outscoring Las Vegas totals around 55% of the time, visiting starter Julio Urias has gotten progressively worse results in recent appearances, and probable Braves P Ian Anderson was dinged-around more than a Jethro Tull drum-kit by the Mets in his last outing.
But it’s hard to steer away from the side, with the Bums breaking through on offense earlier than anticipated, and given the L.A. stable’s penchant for snapping back from the mound.
Picks: Dodgers and Over
Note: Thursday night’s incomplete set of Friday MLB odds does not include San Diego vs New York, but with Blake Snell inked as the Pads’ starting pitcher and Joey Lucchesi scheduled for the Metropolitans, we’re hoping to find and handicap odds on the Mets-at-Padres battle as soon as early AM.
Update: Some handicaps are simpler than others! New York’s fat (+163) moneyline is at least 30 cents on the dollar lower-risk than what WagerBop’s line-forecast anticipated. Visiting starter Joey Lucchesi and host hurler Blake Snell have been equally erratic this spring, and with New York’s bats alive, the angle of the Mets’ bad road record to date isn’t quite as important as Friday’s specific scenario. Offense might be enough to win a ragged battle.
Pick: Mets (+163) or (+1.5) (-140)
Texas Rangers at Colorado Rockies
Ouch! Daily Double‘s hot streak hit a major 0-2 bump in the road on Wednesday, courtesy of the New York Yankees’ grit and the L.A. Dodgers’ irrepressible bats. Let’s get back to our winning ways with a high-percentage tactic, trying to guess exactly when an MLB losing streak will end.
Just kidding! Long L streaks like the Kansas City Royals’ and Detroit Tigers’ skids earlier in 2021 cause a conundrum for moneyline gamblers, trying to anticipate when the inevitable will occur. A better question is, when a losing streak like the Texas Rangers’ current slide is broken, what will the ingredients to the victory be, and what is the ballgame likely to look like on the score sheet? Keeping the likely character of a losing club’s success at-long-last in mind when handicapping all other outcomes can help turn bets with 50% chances to win into 60% likelihoods to score payoff on a gambling line.
For the Texas Rangers, snapping a deadly yawn of a losing streak will probably mean eke-ing out a 3-2 or a 4-1 win. No matter what the team’s pitching does – usually just enough to fall in the 9th inning – the Lone Stars’ bats are as quiet as your favorite constellation. Cautious pitching and Colorado’s sudden motivation to play small-ball against a team that loses to 2-run rallies should be enough to keep Over (10.5) from getting covered by home runs in the Denver air on Thursday.
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
The ChiSox are becoming a known, rich quantity in the AL Central, but it’s more of a mystery whether the Detroit Tigers will become a live underdog or a sleepy kitten in the remainder of 2021. No doubt that the Detroit batting lineup has had some pop in the last few games, earning the Tigers another surprise sweep (this time over the New York Yankees) and defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 10-7 on Tuesday. The upset-alert has tempered a Run Line that opened with Chicago at (-1.5) and minus-odds for Wednesday night’s opener, while a not-so-correlated O/U line movement has books already dropping the total to (7.5) from an opening (8) runs.
It’s probably a fool’s errand to wager on the Run Line, since it’s never easy to predict whether a hot upstart will be beaten by 2+ runs by an even hotter one. Unlike many David vs Goliath scenarios, Chicago could actually be helped by the division rivalry at stake, since it gives the White Sox a reason to play hard. New York was snuck-up on by Motor City.
The O/U is another story, as Lance Lynn’s start isn’t the only factor for low-side bettors to feel good about. Detroit hurler Casey Mize has been responsible for solid, consistent performances throughout May, and led the Tigers to a win over the Pinstripes on Friday. Furthermore, if the scoreboard does become slanted in Chi-Town’s favor, the possibility of a bad beat via a 3-3 tie and extra innings recedes.
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
With consideration of the Tampa Bay Rays winning Monday’s series opener against the host New York Yankees, then making life difficult for the Pinstripes in an 11-inning battle on Tuesday, bookmakers set New York’s line to win Wednesday evening’s game at a cautious (-112). However, a start from Jordan Montgomery and the chance to bet the Yanks at 1-1 made the hosts’ opening odds among Tuesday night’s most popular wagers, and New York quickly thinned to a (-133) moneyline while the Rays’ odds swelled to (+117).
What exactly is the line-movement all about, if not a mismatch on the mound? Probable pitcher Shane McLanahan of the Rays has been effective in recent starts, though MLB analysts might think he’s faced modest batting lineups in the process.
Still, pitching is pitching, and the guest hurler has to be at least as confident as Montgomery, who is coming off a bad outing (and a lucky W) against Toronto. There’s no solid reason to back the public’s rush to a legacy club’s market this time.
Pick: Rays (+117) or Rays 5-Innings Bet
St. Louis Cardinals at L.A. Dodgers
Why are the Dodgers such an overwhelming Run Line favorite to beat the visiting Cardinals by 2+ runs on Wednesday night? It’s not like the lead hasn’t see-sawed back and forth over the opening 2 games of the series. Once again, there’s a whole lot of hype around the Bums’ batting order at present, but fans (and gamblers alike) must have patience. A promised start for ace Walker Buehler might not justify a (-225) ML.
Sure, the Cardinals are traditionally prone to poor batting against strong pitching on the road – to be fair, a majority of MLB clubs can go in that same category – and might well get shut down on Wednesday. But a rising O/U total of (8) indicates that fireworks are expected in SoCal, even as the reputable Carlos Martinez takes the mound for St. Louis. That’s premature when L.A. is trying to win games by however many runs it can to keep pace while key pieces assemble.
*Red Sox at Astros Reprise: Game 2″
Uh oh. After a nuclear-hot finish to 2020 and a mediocre spring of ’21, Daily Double is starting to feel it again with double-digit Ws since last Tuesday, including winners at plus-odds. But not to select a ballgame for this Tuesday night as a means of extending the braggadocio. Houston vs Boston (Round 2) is rather a good opportunity on the Las Vegas numbers alone, given that a variety of sportsbooks are shy to give the Red Sox (+108) a favorite’s moneyline despite solid betting action on the Beantown visitors.
What the odds don’t take into account is Monday’s blow-out in favor of the ‘Stros, which is weird to say when a team just clocked another contender by 9 runs while impressing bookmakers even more than the public. But the Memorial Day ballgame’s outcome was settled by starting pitching, as Jose Urquidy kept visiting bats quiet in the first several innings while the Astros racked-up 6 earned runs and compelled Boston to go with Colten Brewer, an average relief pitcher who didn’t fare any better but at least spared superior set-up men for what promises to be an anxious chore in Tuesday’s late innings.
Bookies have observed a lot of lopsided series this year and don’t want to miss the shot on another. But the Red Sox are poised to fight back in the follow-up behind a start from Garrett Richards, who has been pitching as effectively and even lasting as long on the mound as probable Houston pitcher Luis Garcia. Boston is a healthier club with a bullpen much closer to 100%, a reason why O(9) isn’t drawing more wagers even though the predicted wind is batter-friendly.
Pick: Red Sox
San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs
National League gamblers’ 2 trendiest sides on Tuesday night are arguably the L.A. Dodgers and San Diego Padres, the former of which is a mystifying Run Line bet for more than 1 reason. The Bums are having sudden, unexpected pitching issues that threaten to overshadow the hype around L.A.’s batting order, and have dragged their feet just picking out a starter for Tuesday’s game. Let’s turn to the Padres’ thinning (-111) line to beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field with a little more solid information to chew on.
Granted, now may not seem like the intuitive time to wager against the Cubbies. Javier Báez slugged 2 more home runs on Monday as the Cubs beat the Pads 7-2, and Chicago, which has won about 2/3 of its ballgames at Wrigley, is vaulting over STL in the NL Central. However, speculators are excited about probable Pads pitcher Ryan Weathers, who has given up 1 earned run in 2 outings.
That’s great, but Weather has also been yanked in the 5th inning religiously, while Chicago’s starter Kyle Hendricks is capable of pitching well for twice as long in a ballgame. The Cubs were quietly among the hotter baseball teams of late May and can feel good about how the pitching staff held up on Memorial Day. San Diego, meanwhile, isn’t in a great spot to win with a 4-inning starter, with 8 bullpen injuries dotting a clubhouse-wide list of wounds.
Pick: Cubs (+101)
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
Monday evening is highlighted by a clash of…2nd-place clubs in the American League? Perhaps the Astros and Red Sox are not in full command of their respective AL divisions at the present time, but let’s be real – the 4-game series opener at Minute Maid Park is a marquee ballgame on the MLB’s Memorial Day slate. For some reason, bettors are drawn to pick Boston to win the holiday contest despite probable P Eduardo Rodriguez’s poor performance in May. Jose Urquidy will return from injury for the Astros, who may not be winning at the same clip as the Red Sox over the last 1-2 weeks, but who’ve also faced tougher competition. Houston hasn’t scored many runs in recent series against Boston but that trend could change given a host lineup averaging well over 5 runs-per-game and making solid contact in almost every at-bat against visiting hurlers.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Kansas City Royals
The original blueprint for The Jerry Springer Show was to welcome genuine, blue-collar guests who were honestly dealing with their problems. As we now know, it didn’t quite work out that way. But there’s a “dark side” of fair MLB previewing too, and it involves handicapping the have-nots almost as often as the haves, lest we narrow the scope of potentially valuable betting lines out of Las Vegas. Kansas City vs Pittsburgh is a “cruiserweight” battle on Monday night in which there’s a straight 1/1 payoff line (+100) on the Royals to win by 2 runs or more and earn a W for the favorite’s Run Line.
Only 1 wrinkle in that narrative – Pittsburgh is the ballclub behaving like a traditional patsy, while KC has roared back to life following a long losing streak and will savor playing a familiar, beatable team with a chance to reach .500. Probable Royals hurler Mike Minor has been pitching his way out of jams with Ks, while Monday’s Buccos starter Chad Kuhl is consistently allowing runs from every opponent.
Pick: Royals (-1.5)
San Francisco Giants at L.A. Dodgers
Kevin Gausman of the Giants is going to lose a ballgame one of these days. In fact, he might even get blown off the mound in a 3rd or 4th inning, a fate that befalls countless effective MLB hurlers in the 2020s. Las Vegas sees Sunday as the time for San Fran’s ace to finally face adversity, with a thinning (+120) Run Line payoff on the L.A. Dodgers to beat Gigantes by 2+ runs or more in the series closer. To be sure, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the Dodgers in almost any key game over the next 2-3 months – at least. Cody Bellinger is set to return, Albert Pulojs’ bat is alive, and to make things rosier for Sunday, Clayton Kershaw is set to do battle against Gausman on the mound. But a bet on Sunday’s action is about the here and now, and the Bums have lost 2 games in a row to slow the club’s momentum in temporary terms. Gausman’s numbers are simply too good to justify payoff odds slanted so far in L.A.’s direction, especially for what’s expected to be a 4-3 type of score.
Pick: Giants (+1.5)
If you’re wondering where Daily Double‘s traditional Sunday Night Baseball prediction is – well, as of overnight Sat-Sunday, it’s out with the rain. We’ve sent gamblers to the betting window only to wind up with cancelled ballgames and pushes too many times this spring, to the point where playing chicken with Mother Nature is on the table when game after game is threatened with inclement skies. We’ll track the weather (and the odds) in the Big Apple to see if there’s a fair chance SNB will be played on Memorial Day weekend. If so, WagerBop readers can expect a prediction on the New York Mets vs the Atlanta Braves by Sunday afternoon.
*Provisional Mets vs Braves Prediction*
Wouldn’t you know, a revised rain-likelihood of below 50% in New York City as of 10 PM on Sunday night means that Sunday Night Baseball between the Mets and visiting Braves could actually happen, and provides a good reason to preview and handicap the contest – though there’s still a good chance that a planned 7 PM start time will be delayed. New York is a thin (-120) favorite to win its 5th straight in a ballgame with an Over/Under line that’s dropped into the Lower Manhattan subway at (5.5) total runs.
An MLB total of (5.5) might seem like a line from those “Little League” 7-inning specials that keep taking place in 2021’s make-up doubleheaders. But it’s the ultimate inning total that bookmakers (and trendy speculators) have in mind as much as the recent stats of starting hurlers Jacob deGrom and Max Fried. While both pitchers are in strong form, the strange line-movement can also be traced to the prospect of the Mets and Braves fitting-in just enough frames to post an official result before rain overtakes the diamond. Depending on the rules of sportsbooks and specific bets, there are worse ways to win on the Under.
Sports bettors should stick to runs, hits, and errors, and skip the meteorology. With the evening’s rain now expected to slowly subside, not intensify in late PM hours, the question is not how many innings can be played but how warm Fried and deGrom’s arms can stay. Atlanta’s fielding could be sloppy due to distraction from the horrid Marcell Ozuna allegations. Moreover, neither starter has been averaging beyond 5-6 innings on the mound, making any “dueling complete games” prediction as flawed as “increasing rain.”
Pick: Over (5.5)
Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals
My oh my, did it take a long while for Sin City bookmakers to croak-out overnight odds on Washington vs Milwaukee. And what did the long, fruitful toil bring us? Nothing out of the ordinary – just a (-120) line on the Nationals to beat the visiting Brew Crew in the opener of a 3-game series.
Nationals Park is among many MLB venues threatened by rainy weather on Saturday evening, though it appears that there could be ample opportunity to fit 7-9 innings in periodic patches of calm and drizzle. Washington has been solid as a favorite this spring, but speculators could be undecided about probable starter Patrick “Colossus: The Corbin Project” Corbin after a 3-3 start.
But there’s no disaster lurking in either team’s stable of hurlers. It’s the offenses that are the issue. Nationals bats are quieter at home than on the road, and Brewers home-field broadcasts are turning into long discussions about how to support a pitching staff that’s holding up the world, or at least Wisconsin.
Pick: Under (8.5)
St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks
TVN clients have had enough valuable picks rain-out this MLB season already. How about a game in the desert, so late at night that even the cacti aren’t thirsty anymore? Arizona is in midst of a losing streak that could become even more ignominious than what Kansas City suffered through earlier in spring, but the last-place Diamondbacks can’t pass – they’ve got to host St. Louis for the 3rd out of 4 ballgames on Saturday night.
The Cards are only a mild ML favorite, closer to 1-to-1 odds than we’re used to seeing when Adam Wainwright pitches against a patsy. KC’s almost too-easy rehabilitation from its own losing skid may have caused oddsmakers to believe there’s always a competitive team lurking in every MLB dugout, and that these things happen due to psychology and bad luck more than analytical factors.
Here’s an analytical factor that may have something to do with Arizona’s 18-34 record – the Diamondbacks’ pitching stinks. Expected host-starter Seth Frankoff hasn’t had an effective start since even Phoenix was still a bit chilly, and it appears that the club’s management has decided to ride out the doldrums rather than tinker too proactively with a helpless rotation.
Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
It’s surreal to contemplate, but the Kansas City Royals’ extended spring losing streak is the only thing that’s kept KC from a Miami Marlins-style interloper run at the top of an MLB division. Kansas City beat Tampa Bay in Tuesday’s series opener to climb above .500 on the road, prior to the talented Rays fighting back with strong pitching and defense to earn a 2-1 triumph in the trio. Echoes of the Royals’ slump still reverberate in the club’s (+135) moneyline for Friday night’s opener in Minnesota, a ballgame with an O/U run total (8.5) that’s not drawing much action on the high-side.
Kris Bubic has something to do with that. Bubic is off to a promising start in 2021, and we know he’s got something to do with the U(9) betting trend despite getting knocked out of the box in the 4th inning by the Twins last August. That’s because his counterpart, probable host-starter Randy Dobnak, is 1-3 with an ERA as ugly as the Twins’ W/L record.
Dobnak has shown flashes of vastly improved form as of late, making the low-side a tasty pick indeed. But with Bubic hurling Ks for a club that’s been pretty good outside of a voodoo-hexed stretch, going up against a disappointing team on a downcast diamond, should KC (+135) really be a thing?
Picks: Royals (+135) and Under
San Diego Padres at Houston Astros
The Houston Astros disappoint, and they disappoint, and disappoint some more. Speculators loaded-up on the ‘Stros after each loss to the Texas Rangers, thinking that the dam would break sooner or later – the same logic applied when Houston was swept by the Detroit Tigers earlier in 2021, a series that cost high-risk ML takers a fortune. The Astros’ pitching stable saved some face with a series split against the Los Angeles Angels, casting the club as a 1-to-1 bet in Friday’s opener against the visiting San Diego Padres. San Diego is getting more and more dangerous against solid opponents on the road, but Houston should benefit from Framber Valdez’s return on Friday night. Injuries and weather delays could make for a flaky, disjointed ballgame, making the Over (8.5) a better gamble than either side.
Once again, we must commence Daily Double predictions before knowing how a night will finish-out – or in-fact if the night will finish-out vis-a-vis the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds. If she’s a washed-out ballgame then it’s a push at the betting counter, and so we’ll go back to the drawing board for a (hopefully) dry batch of picks for Thursday.
Baltimore Orioles at Chicago White Sox
So the franchise-revival party was spoiled in Chicago, at least for 1 day. The ChiSox, a popular Run Line pick in the final game of a victorious series with guest St. Louis, stranded double-digit base runners in an 0-4 loss that could wound an upstart team’s pride more than an AL Central-leading W/L record. Undeterred by a hiccup against the Cardinals, the MLB betting community has again installed Chi-Town as a 1/1 Run Line bet, this time for a series opener against Baltimore on Thursday night.
The logic behind favoring the White Sox by (-1.5) runs is simple. Chicago’s bats should be good for at least 1 or 2 runs more than Baltimore’s on an otherwise-level diamond. In fact, the ChiSox are due for some positive reversion from the plate at home despite averaging nearly 5 runs per game at Guaranteed Rate Field, which might as well refer to the White Sox’s “moneyball” tendency to put extra runners on-base with less put-outs. Scoring improvement could be a matter of time, though it’s notable that Billy Bean’s moneyball team knew to gear its pitching around the “maximum RBI chances” system, while White Sox management likely never dreamed that the 2021 club would lead its division while waiting for so many stuck-in-place runners to find home. Moneyball is no panacea when the RBIs aren’t coming often enough.
But there’s money in a pitching match-up of struggling Bruce Zimmermann against host-hurler Dylan Cease. Other betting angles “cease” to be as important when you consider the young righty’s improved form in 2021 compared to Zimmerman’s semi-comic woes on the mound.
Pick: White Sox (-1.5)
Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners
A handful of double-digit scoring explosions on seemingly random MLB afternoons and evenings has had bookmakers coughing-up a billion dollars in “action points” totals bets on the high-side. It’s natural that sportsbooks would begin adjusting O/U run totals upward a little bit in late May. Still, late-night totals bettors aren’t used to seeing U(9) at standard odds for such a pair of flaccid offenses as Seattle and Texas, clubs which have been as banged-up as they are hapless despite the Lone Stars’ outlier sweep of Houston (maybe the Astros’ sweep-losses to underdogs are a pattern) and the Mariners’ series-win against the Oakland Athletics.
Are the starting hurlers a mess? Not necessarily. Visiting starter Kolby Allard’s historical stats belie a fine spring-training report and a nice start to the 2021 campaign. Probable host-starter Chris Flexen lasted into the 7th frame and put together a 5-4 win over the Rangers on 5/7.
Wind is predicted to blow out of the ballpark, but a threat of showers could make this game a safer investment for low-side O/U gamblers. Delays might ice arms but they can ice already-frigid lineups too, and more importantly, changes in weather over a 5 or 6-hour period could nix the strong wind and turn the advantage to those U(9) believers after all.
Early-bird (or night-owl) readers will note that Seattle and Oakland still have a chunk of Tuesday’s game to go, and will hopefully pile-up enough total runs to snap a very brief losing streak for Daily Double. However, at least the ballgame’s in-progress status makes the last of yesterday’s MLB pregame betting odds a moot point. Do scroll down if you’re still analyzing the outcome of Ms vs As, or visit some other letters (along with odds for Wednesday night) atop the page.
Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are technically in the cellar of the National League East division, though the 5 ballclubs are so tightly drawn that a single series could become the difference between holding a spring lead or trailing the pack.
Since the Nats lack the morale-bummer of a traditional “last place” status, Sin City is comfortable giving Washington a (-135) line to level a series with the Cincinnati Reds at 1-1 on Wednesday evening. Cincy and Washington have similar records and comparable batting lineups (from a talent/production POV anyway) and pundits hesitate to tout the Reds on the Run Line because the team has been poor ATS so far. To be sure, both starting hurlers – Joe Ross and visiting Jeff Hoffman – can be called serviceable in the long term.
But in the short term? Ross recently gave up 8 runs in an 11-4 loss to Arizona, before getting knocked-out in the 4th inning by the ChiSox last week. That’s not what I call service.
Pick: Reds (+125) or (+1.5) (-165)
San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers
This is another “double” from Daily Double – O(8) is a nice pick against-the-public on a falling O/U total. However, Chris Paddack is in position to fare better than struggling host-hurler Adrian Houser, even though handicappers think Paddack isn’t being tested in close ballgames, that’s not his fault. San Diego is scoring 1.5 more runs per game on the road than the Brew Crew is eking out at home.
Picks: Padres and Over
L.A. Dodgers at Houston Astros
While the Houston Astros and L.A, Dodgers share status as early 2021 contenders, there’s no question that the Bums are the hotter commodity headed into an interleague series at Minute Maid Park. The club’s current streak includes a 4-game sweep of Arizona and a proud 3-0 performance in San Diego, helping the Dodgers to a (-120) line to win Tuesday’s opener behind a start from Clayton Kershaw.
Once again, a litany of Dodger injuries could slow the club down more than any opponent. Thin spots in the field and in the bullpen are matched only by Houston’s problems keeping a starting rotation healthy, but Zack Greinke is having a better spring than the cycles in which he’s been caught by unmerciful L.A. lineups in the past.
It’s rare to find a “buck and a half” (-150) Run Line on such a strong host-underdog as the Astros, who have played up and down to the competition along with a number of noteworthy MLB teams in ’21. Los Angeles could find a way to win and keep the W streak alive for a short while longer, but the ‘Stros are very likely to spoil the fun for at least 7 or 8 innings with an offense tuned-in ahead of schedule.
Pick: Astros (+1.5)
Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Have the Mariners already hit a wall, the inevitable slump we’ve come to expect will block Seattle’s winning ambitions every summer? Yes, the Ms snapped a painful losing streak in the opener against visiting Oakland on Monday, but injuries and problems at the plate don’t promise a wonderful June and July at T-Mobile.
Bookmakers’ tactics are divided on the O/U line, which is at a standard (8.5) and (-115) payoff for the high side at some sportsbooks but offered at a juice-less O(8) at others. Despite Seattle’s recent offensive woes, we’re taking the latter bet.
The starting pitchers are catch-and-catch can, and Oakland’s (-170) moneyline mostly refers to the damage As batters can do. Seattle will probably sneak-in some late runs as hometown announcers try to chirp optimistic notes about the impending closer, but the prospect of another wacky Seattle series-win steers us away from the ML.
Pick: Over (8)
Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins
The Baltimore Orioles have suffered through a 6-game losing streak and 2 series sweeps-against, and yet the O-Birds are a (-110) wager to defeat the host Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
As you might expect, there’s quite a mismatch on the mound, a lopsided pairing of starting hurlers that would surely snap a losing streak for any more talented lineup. John Means is a perfect 4-0 on the season and looks almost unbreakable despite some episodes, while Minnesota’s Matt Shoemaker is ready to try pitching barefooted after a miserable spring. Can the Twins shake-off any Orioles rallies and slug their way to a 4th win in 5 outings?
That’s the fallacy – Minnesota isn’t playing any better baseball than Baltimore. In fact, the Orioles’ road record of 11-11 is the only promising thing about either team’s 17-win campaign. Take the superior starting pitcher in a battle of struggling clubs.
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers
Detroit might not have much to show for a freaky string of sweeps of good ballclubs, but the Tigers are 6-4 in 10 games, and have surprisingly made way for the Twins – not the Royals – in the AL Central caboose. Cleveland is only a (+105) underdog in Motor City on Monday despite limping through recent series with Seattle and Minnesota.
Speculators are focused on a rising run total (9) on a night of baseball for which O/U numbers are falling out of the sky. It’s true that there are some questions about pitching form headed into the Tigers-Indians opener. But aren’t most of them about 1 side only?
There should be few worries about Spencer Trumbull of the Tigers, who has improved as the spring has gone on despite a shaky supporting cast. Sam Hentges of the Tribe is not the pick to quiet a noisy underdog after a regressive outing against the Angels.
Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees
So the Chicago White Sox appear to have finally met their match in 2021, dropping 2 painful games in a row to the host Bronx Bombers. Yankees outdueled ChiSox in a tense 2-1 victory on Friday, then shut-out the seemingly flat visitors 7-0 on Saturday. Bookmakers opened betting at pick’em lines for Sunday afternoon’s closing contest, but the public loves the Yankees, shrinking New York’s moneyline to (-130) as Chicago balloons to a (+120) wager.
How will the White Sox respond to a spring-time belt in the bugle? Probably with a 110% effort to win Sunday’s ballgame behind Dallas Kuechel. Opposing hurler Jameson Tallion may not be able to stem the tide as ace starters of the past 2 days have, but that hasn’t stopped the O/U from falling to (8.5) runs.
Gamblers are overthinking the Yankees’ psychology if not the ChiSox’s mental game. New York wants the sweep and will play hard, but Tallion isn’t the kind of starting P who broadcasts a “to the irons” atmosphere over 1 game. In fact, Kuechel could have a big edge on the mound in a series that’s been all about pitching. The Yankees aren’t division rivals with the White Sox and aren’t as giddy about Chicago’s downturn as many fans are.
Pick: White Sox
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Surprise – it’s the Cardinals and Cubs on national TV. But unlike a lot of recent meetings between the Redbirds and Cubbies, this is no battle of rock-solid pitching staffs against batting lineups trying to squeak-out runs at a time. Not that the home team is benefiting from bat bats so far. Chicago socked St. Louis 13-4 in Friday’s opener before losing a 2-1 result on Saturday night.
Chicago (+107) could become a trendy wager for Sunday Night Baseball’s rubber match. The Cardinals had a better time getting to 1st place than they’ve had trying to hold on to it, and if you remove games played against the woebegone Pirates, the NL Central leaders are under .500 for 2 weeks.
However, Adam Wainwright’s start will be an emotional one as the long-time fixture tries to battle back from a dreadful west coast outing. Opposing P Zach Davies of the Cubs is sort of like the Cardinal staff this spring – he fares well against Pittsburgh while the rest of the league is a challenge.
Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies
What can line-movement in a betting market teach us about another? Not always a whole lot, especially when different groups of high-rollers are speculating on each one. But there’s a Saturday contest in Philly for which Las Vegas has forgotten about correlation, or at least it’s been overlooked by those not handling parlay tickets.
Boston bats are expected to be alive against a starting pitcher with an 8+ ERA. Spencer Howard didn’t have a grand MLB debut last season, and only a resounding explosion of offense from the Phillies saved Howard from a loss to the Marlins in his most recent start back in September. The Red Sox (-131) have scored 5+ runs in 5 of 6 games and won Friday’s opener 11-3.
But the match-up of Philadelphia’s batting order against Boston’s pitching doesn’t look so rosy for Saturday night, with guest hurler Nathan Eovaldi standing at 4-2 on the season and 1 start removed from a noble, hard luck appearance vs Oakland. Philadelphia’s hitting woes with competent pitchers on the mound have caused the O/U total to drop to (8.5) overnight, but the Boston ML should be the faster-moving odds.
Pick: Red Sox
Oakland Athletics at L.A. Angels
Oakland’s opener against the last-place L.A. Angels was somewhat of a mirror image of the club’s series-closing loss to Boston, the latter a ballgame in which As batters produced runs but were overwhelmed by mid-game fireworks from the opposing order. Chad Pinder’s big outing paced the Athletics to an 8-4 victory on Friday, and the visitors are a thin (-112) favorite in late-opening odds for a Saturday night follow-up with a (9) run Over/Under total.
At some point, each team’s bats are likely to cool down. The Halos can’t count on “automatic” offense at Angel Stadium despite talent and slugging power, since the team’s occasional struggle to score on the road and a sour W/L record could eventually grind-down on overall numbers. Oakland is lucky to be healthier in the field than in the pitching stable.
But the reversion isn’t likely to come on Saturday, with visiting Chris Bassitt taking the mound after a poor start against the Twins. The Angels are starting Patrick Sandoval, a 24 y/o whose MLB losses could match his age before he reaches 10 wins. Mike Trout’s injury and the obvious discrepancy in form makes Oakland an easy pick at (-112), but don’t forget about the run total with high-side outcomes winning for both clubs and wind blowing out.
Picks: Athletics and Over
Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds
There are a pair of NL Central run totals trending upward prior to Friday’s action on the diamond, but at least 1 of the 2 markets is fool’s gold. Carlos Martinez and Kyle Hendricks aren’t having great statistical campaigns so far, but Hendricks has had success against the Redbirds, and Martinez has developed his game since last meeting the Cubs 3 seasons ago. Are there similar pitfalls that could await bets on 0(9) for the division’s other head-to-head contest in Cincinnati?
Chances are, the high-side action for Reds vs Brewers is not sparked by overwhelming belief in the clubs’ bats. Cincinnati is averaging plenty of runs at home but was just quieted by the Giants’ pitching stable in an ugly sweep-against. Milwaukee’s offense is only slowly waking up in fits and starts.
But each starting hurler’s form has been going to pieces. Visiting probable pitcher Adrian Houser was jerked after 3 innings of a recent loss to Atlanta, and Jeff Hoffman of the Cincinnati Reds has been allowing too many baserunners to remain mentally sharp through 5-6 innings. The Brew Crew is a strong 5-innings bet, but our main-market prediction is on both teams to bat crisply and reach base in a rivalry opener.
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Those pesky FBS underdogs can step aside, at least for summer, anyway. There’s a new, different version of that football team that can’t beat a contender on its best day but which preys on enough wounded beasts to procure a respectable record in September, and it’s the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. Detroit (+140) enters a series opener at Kansas City having swept the Seattle Mariners, exposing the Ms just days after whipping the Royals in 3 straight games.
KC is playing better baseball too, “sweeping” the Milwaukee Brewers in only a 2-game stint that ended Wednesday. Of course, there’s as much room for improvement in Kansas City as in any MLB town following a protracted losing streak. Superior performances are likely to blow-out either of the teams in Friday’s opening match-up. It’s a question of which club can take advantage of more opposing vulnerabilies, as the Tigers were able to do in Motor City last week.
The moneylines demonstrate a lack of understanding in how to handicap a ballgame without many superstars in it. Detroit may wind up an awful bet as a steep underdog in ’21 by the time all is said and done, but the Tigers can handle the Royals with Mike Minor on the mound. Even if the outcome is as random as a coin toss, you’d bet heads or tails at (+140).
New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Thursday afternoon’s series closers may present an illusion on which is the best legacy club to gamble on. New York of the American League and Chicago of the NL are each slightly thinner than 1-to-1 bets on the moneyline against the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals respectively, and it’s the Nats whose hurler looks headed for an early hook.
Washington pitcher Joe Ross, following a spring filled with sprayed balls to the outfield, will start against the Cubbies at Wrigley Field. An alluring forecast of wind blowing out of the park has helped drive the O/U total to (10.5). But the “juiced” Chicago line could be dicey, as the Cubs have a poor record against right-handed pitchers in 2021 and may not be able to exploit Ross as badly as some other foes.
So does probable pitcher Dane Dunning of the Rangers look as obviously vulnerable as Ross? Hardly, despite the Houston Astros knocking Dunning around in a recent ballgame. But the Yankees are pitching Domingo German on Thursday with a chance to earn a 3-1 series win headed into a marquee clash with the ChiSox, and the Pinstripes have had a hard time against southpaws in ’21, not righties like Dunning.
Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
Multiple ballgames on Thursday are handicapped with double digit run-total lines in Sin City, not a huge surprise considering that several teams have played their way out of spring slumps with high-risk, high-reward at-bats and a resulting uptick in slugging %. But it’s strange to see 2 opposing hurlers with a 10-2 combined W/L record pitching in a game with a (10) run O/U line, as is the case in Toronto where host-starter Steven Matz is taking on Nick Pivetta of the visiting Boston Red Sox (-130).
Locked in a “dress rehearsal” pennant race in the AL East, the rivals have traded blow-out victories to tie the series at 1-1 headed into Thursday’s rubber match. Toronto’s Hyun-jin Ryu dominated the opener as the Blue Jays won 8-0, but Boston ripped Ross Stripling for 8 earned runs the next day.
Toronto is averaging 6+ runs per game at home, but those numbers haven’t all been racked-up against division leaders of MLB. Matz’s form is improving and Pivetta has been more than solid, making us think Toronto’s injuries in the bullpen and in the field could be contributing to the high O/U. But if that’s the case, why aren’t the Red Sox a wider favorite?
Pick: Red Sox and Under
Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies
Potential mismatches on Wednesday night have led to Run Line conundrums on St. Louis and San Diego, clubs with advantages on the pitching mound that, while reassuring to gamblers holding thin moneyline slips, could just as easily help manufacture careful 1-run victories and lose for 1-to-1 bets. Philadelphia’s follow-up against the Miami Marlins (+110) provides tighter National League odds that provide greater betting value without the (-1.5) caveat.
The Fish have yet to prove that 2020’s success was based on something other than handling COVID-19 better than other ballclubs in the NL East were able to. They won’t make a statement by winning only a token series or 2 in the whole month of May, a fate the Marlins could easily be headed for after dropping Tuesday’s opener 8-3 in Philadelphia. Bookmakers are counting on 5-2 Trevor Rogers to level the diamond against Wednesday’s host-starter Zach Eflin.
Eflin had a terrible 1st inning against the Washington Nationals in his previous outing, but settled down after that, and continued to show promise for the season. Rogers has been allowing base-runners and isn’t far removed from his own loss to the Nats. Furthermore, the Phillies were a good team at home in 2020 even as Miami enjoyed a rebirth – a trend that has continued right through spring ’21.
Pick: Phillies (-120)
Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners
One can imagine MLB headquarters thinking, “here’s a game for the hardball junkies” when scheduling the Mariners and Tigers to close-out Wednesday night’s proceedings. Then, since Seattle and Detroit have been headed in opposite directions for much of spring, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Ms would be a big favorite for the 3-game series, including the closer. Instead it’s the Tigers threatening to pull off a 2nd stunning road sweep in as many months after holding the hosts to just 1 run on the week so far.
The “home team to defend vs sweep” angle certainly comes into play when handicapping the Mariners (-135) for Wednesday’s late game, but so does probable pitcher Logan Gilbert’s unfamiliarity to the Tigers, who only have 0-6 Tarik Skubal to fight back with. Why not adjust the rota to come up with a better option for another sweep attempt, Detroit?
Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels
Ah, what the emotion of a series-loss can do to a baseball club’s Las Vegas odds. The Cleveland Indians fell flat against the host Seattle Mariners after going 4-1 against the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs, leading to a (+128) moneyline and 1-to-1.5 Run Line odds on the Tribe for a Tuesday night contest at Angel Stadium.
Mid-spring W/L records aren’t everything, and it certainly didn’t hurt the early betting trend that L.A.’s bats exploded on Cleveland hurler Sam Hentges in the 2nd inning on Monday night. Los Angeles 1st baseman Jared Walsh is outpacing even Mike Trout’s formidable batting numbers. Maybe the Halos are starting to turn things around after a disappointing start in the AL West.
With less MLB clubs than usual biding their time until the dog days, it’s safer to speculate on the here-and-now rather than try to envision what a team could become down the road. Cleveland is playing well enough to keep pressure on the ChiSox, and if a very inconsistent spring is any indication, L.A.’s Tuesday starter Andrew Heaney could suffer an early-inning pitfall just as Cleveland’s man did on Monday. Probable guest pitcher Zach Plesac has shown excellent form and stamina in consecutive starts.
Pick: Indians (+128) or (+1.5) (-150)
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
The Over (8.5) is the obvious wager against (+105) odds for Oakland’s series opener vs visiting Houston on Tuesday, or at least as obvious as any pick at plus-odds can be. Probable pitchers Sean Manaea and Cristian Javier are expected to keep opposing bats quiet, but Manaea didn’t look so hot against the Red Sox last week and has consistently allowed base-runners against the Astros, while Javier has been giving up healthy batting averages and run totals in May. Bookmakers are counting on percentages winning the day (or night), but opening odds might not have accounted for Tuesday weather forecasts that point more and more toward a solid, prevailing wind blowing toward right-center field in Oakland.
Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
An interesting Monday night betting scenario offers a (+100) market on Under (8.5) in the Twins vs White Sox ballgame, with 2 starting hurlers, Dallas Keuchel and J.A. Happ, who recently faced each other in spring ’21. Chicago is a (-115) moneyline pick for the series opener with very little line movement, unaided by a fixation on the run total following a double-disaster on the mound in similar circumstances.
The same starting pair gave up a combined 15 runs in about half as many innings on May 12th. The ChiSox scored 3 more runs on Happ and largely coasted to a 13-8 victory. Wind blowing into the infield could tempt speculators to try the 1/1 wager on U(8.5), though the (-120) odds on O(8.5) illustrate that bookmakers don’t think the pitching issues are solved.
How about the school of thought that when starting Ps are comparable, the better team is the solid ML pick? There’s no team in the league with more upside than the AL Central leaders, who are averaging close to 6 runs per game on road trips. Chicago ran into a desperate club in Kansas City, but can’t be faulted for relaxing once in a while. The Minnesota Twins, meanwhile, could be digging themselves a deep, dark hole before the pennant race can even get hopping.
Pick: White Sox
New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Daily Double found the starting-hurler mismatch of spring on Sunday when the Miami Marlins went up to bat against…nobody, aka a mixed bag of relievers from up and down the Dodgers’ bullpen depth-chart from the 1st inning onward. On Monday, there’s an old-fashioned mismatch in Texas even though the Rangers have a real life starting pitcher taking the mound. Garrit Cole’s fire on the rubber has helped the New York Yankees turn things around, and he’ll be taking on Jordan Lyles, a player who has struggled against lesser batting lineups than the Pinstripes in ’21. Odds of (-160) on the Yankee Run Line are a tad juiced, but Over (8) is a good safety-valve wager, as there appears to be no way Lyles can stand up to his next opponent and prevent big rallies, so any surprise scoring from the Lone Stars would easily push the final score over the Sin City number.
Picks: Yankees (-1.5) and Over (8)
Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB speculators waited long into the night on opening odds for Dodgers-Marlins on Sunday. Los Angeles is threatening to sweep the 3-game meeting after a pair of powerhouse performances, scoring 16 combined runs and shutting down the scrappy Fish on Saturday in a 7-0 drubbing. L.A. is taking a bullpen day for the series closer, but bookies are so confident in the Bums; stable that the consensus O/U rests at (7.5) runs with L.A. the 1-to-2 ML favorite.
The defending World Series champs could prove to be trending up once again, while last year’s Cinderella ballclub trends downward. Dodger momentum will be buoyed by the team’s move to acquire Albert Pujols, showing that management wants to take another kick at the can in 2021 and prove that the Bums can win a full-length pennant race and a standard championship.
But the hosts’ 4-game winning streak doesn’t seem long for the world, thanks to a ledger of injuries that could make Sunday a challenge. Visiting starter Pablo Lopez looked awful against Arizona in his last outing, but he’s a brand new face at Dodger Stadium and had had 2 excellent starts in games prior. L.A. has listed so many injuries in the bullpen that Dave Roberts must stay cautious if Miami happens to produce rallies. Run Line bets ought not to be close to 1-to-1 as the Marlins anticipate a last chance to stay relevant in May.
Picks: Marlins (+1.5) and Over (7.5)
St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres
Another threatened series-sweep is happening a couple hours away from Dodger Stadium in SoCal, as the San Diego Padres stand (-123) favorites to win a 3rd-straight ballgame vs St. Louis on Sunday Night Baseball. San Diego 1st-baseman Austin Nola nearly blasted the Redbirds back to the Midwest by himself in Saturday’s 13-3 win for the Pads.
Based on early line movement, bettors appear to like Kwang-Hyun Kim of the Cardinals to win a pitcher’s duel with Ryan Weathers, even though the former hurler has less victories and a less-strong ERA on the young season. Weathers left a ballgame early with arm soreness 2 weeks ago, but there’s no mystery about the benefits of rest in what could become a test of endurance.
The Padres have owned the Cardinals at Petco Park as of late, showing no pity for the Cards’ bugaboo batting issues. San Diego’s lineup bothered Kim in multiple innings last September. St. Louis probably isn’t headed for a disastrous slump, but it’s not as if the Redbirds are defending vs a sweep-against at home, and chances are we’ll see “Cards rebound from sweep in SoCal” headlines soon enough, as opposed to STL stemming the Pacific tide on SNB.
Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks
Betting action quickly turned the Washington Nationals into a bona-fide favorite for Saturday, as clips went viral from the Nats’ blistering blow-out of Arizona on Friday night. Washington’s bats produced 17 runs, including 6 tallies in the 1st inning alone, and 22 hits paced by a career day from catcher Yan Gomes. To further the hosts’ embarrassment, the Diamondbacks added 3 errors.
How will the Snakes respond with a day to fume? An Over/Under total of (9) runs might appear to be based on fireworks in the series opener, but long-term handicapping could make runs seem likely as well. Arizona’s offense has flourished at home in terms of 40+ game sample-size numbers. Luke Weaver and visiting Joe Ross aren’t too intimidating on the mound.
Arizona’s bats have been quiet lately, though, and the home team is likely to bear-down on defense as proud MLB athletes under fire. The last-place Nationals have been so mediocre from the plate that if D.C. loses this weekend, the D-Backs might have to cover 4/5ths of the total themselves to cover O/U lines approaching double-digits. The best reason to bet Under (9) is Weaver’s experience against the Nationals this spring, after having proven his mettle as a batting scout by stoning Miami just 5 days after giving-up rallies to the Fish.
St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres
The buzz is building for a battle by the beach, as the San Diego Padres host the St. Louis Cardinals for a series in which the Redbirds were slow out of the gate but woke up late in Friday’s opener. The wide gap between STL’s moneyline (+115) and Run Line (-180) for Saturday night’s contest reflects a cautious handicap of only (7) total runs.
St. Louis has a reputation as a wiffle-ball team with fine pitching, but the Cardinals have found a key to success from the plate while taking over the early NL Central race. No one on the Redbird roster is batting above .300 but the club’s team average is healthy enough to do damage, with players up and down the lineup swatting home runs and extra-base hits. Meanwhile, the Padres enjoyed streaks of good batting in a handful of recent road games.
Adam Wainwright’s start should make the Cardinals at least a (-110) wager, as Wainwright gives every impression of a hurler rounding into stretch-run shape, while opposing Chris Paddack has been a shaky hurler on a short leash. STL’s records in San Diego and west-coast road trips are angles clouded by the Cards being a well-motivated club on a hot streak. The Pads have been batting poorly at Petco Park despite OK plate discipline, which means there’s something amiss psychologically other than the pressure of a winning W/L mark.
Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
Note: WagerBop predicted the Royals-at-White Sox run total on Friday evening while going by an erroneous schedule. Due to the addition of a ballgame in the afternoon and the resulting doubleheader, Friday’s game will last only 7 innings.
Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners have outplayed expectations so far in 2021, so much so that Las Vegas is giving a blue-collar MLB club the benefit of the doubt for once. Cleveland dealt Seattle its 5th loss in as many games on Thursday behind a home run from José Ramírez and 7 no-hit innings from Zach Plesac. Still, the Indians are merely a (-118) favorite for Friday night’s follow-up.
What’s behind such counterintuitive odds? Cleveland could be called lucky for winning a trio of 1-run ballgames during a hot streak that’s lasted almost 2 solid weeks, not to mention snagging 4 relatively-easy wins over the KC Royals. Friday’s visiting starter Aaron Civale has to lose a game sometime after starting the year 5-0, and Chris Flexen of Seattle will make a formidable foe.
Pundits are often guilty of missing the forest for the trees, and it would take a lot more than Chris Flexen’s skills to make Seattle a true favorite on Friday. Yes, the Mariners have played well against the Indians in recent series, but the Cleveland ML is still just (-118) on a sizzling-hot club with an ace starter against a team that could be headed into a free-fall.
Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox
Sports gamblers have been flocking to pick low-side totals bets more often as legal online betting becomes more common, thanks to countless blogs advising players against “recreational” wagers designed for cheering. But there are ballgames for which all the caution-flags in the world can’t prevent speculators from impulse-buying a side, such as the series closer at Fenway Park on Thursday evening.
Oakland has already won the 3-night meeting by at least a single game, invading Beantown with quality pitching and (almost) error-free fielding. Nice batting from shortstop Elvis Andrus and a few other Athletics has produced enough runs for the visitors to win twice – not that it has taken fireworks from the plate with the Red Sox scoring 3 runs in 18 frames. Boston starter Garrett Richards is far from a sure bet to outpitch Oakland’s Sean Manaea, helping draw action to the guests’ ML while the Red Sox line (-108) fattens slightly.
However, the fact remains that a very good MLB team defending against a potential series-sweep on home turf can be a tough out, or at least a tough 27 outs. Boston might have leveled-off for the time being, but with both clubs reasonably healthy, we can expect a desperate and likely-winning effort from the Red Sox against an Oakland lineup that’s barely scoring 4 runs per game on the road.
Pick: Red Sox
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Another “defending against the sweep” scenario in the American League is getting overlooked due to renewed hype around the New York Yankees, who have won the first 2 ballgames of a 3-game stand in Tampa Bay. There’s no reason for the Rays’ moneyline (+135) to be as close to perfect 1-to-1 odds as the Run Line on Tampa (+1.5) (-135), as fans who are looking at Rich Hill vs Jameson Tallion and expecting a mismatch are seeing through pinstriped glasses. However, Tampa Bay’s higher-risk Run Line remains the higher % pick by far, since the Rays have played 3 single-run games in their last 5 outings, and would seem far too focused and filled with urgency to get blown away by the Yankees on Thursday.
Pick: Rays Run Line
L.A. Angels at Houston Astros
There’s another bargain moneyline waiting for wise MLB speculators on Wednesday, and it’s in Space City, where an initial favorites’ ML on Houston in an Angels-at-Astros series closer almost immediately tightened into a 1-to-1 line at the open of betting action a day prior. Los Angeles has split 2 games at Minute Maid Park to stay above .500 as an underdog, a lone bright spot for gamblers tied to the Halos.
Andrew Heaney is the Angel starter ‘cappers are confident in, and Heaney definitely deserved better from his last appearance against Tampa Bay, fanning 10 Rays batters and allowing no earned runs only to watch the bullpen allow a snowman. Opposing hurler José Urquidy isn’t that kind of horse to ride, but as is often the case, there’s more than meets the eye in his numbers.
Urquidy is getting put-outs by the bushel without striking out a lot of players, kind of a modern-day Dennis Eckersley tactic that could be kryptonite for a Los Angeles lineup geared for slugging and keeping the ball in the air. Houston has begun to gather momentum after being knocked down a peg in April, and has been averaging (depending on the sample size) around 7 runs per-game against the L.A. Angels.
Seattle Mariners at L.A. Dodgers
The “weighted bat” metaphor takes on special significance in the game from whence it originally sprang. Las Vegas believes Julio Urias of the L.A. Dodgers will benefit from hurling against the “wiffle bats” of Seattle after going through some episodes against the Angels, Brewers, and Reds, an angle which helped O/U (8) open with (+105) odds on the high side. However, the same could be true in reverse for scheduled Ms starter Justin Dunn, who looked pretty good against Baltimore prior to taking on the defending World Series champs. L.A.’s (-110) Run Line is juiced out of all value, but O(8) is a nice bet at bargain prices.
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers
Las Vegas sportsbooks quickly corrected themselves on Colorado vs San Diego’s total, posting an Over/Under total of (9) and not (8) for Tuesday’s accidental opener. Which of Tuesday’s run totals could be inaccurate or mispriced as of Monday night, as bookmakers offer plus-odds on “Over” bets and dare speculators to take the high-side during a trend of cautious MLB games?
Over (7) for the Mets and Orioles is a nice fat market at (+105), but probable starters Marcus Stroman and John Means are reliable bat-killers this spring, and New York has been good on offense at home while Baltimore has been better from the plate in away games. Besides, both clubs have been crushing it in the rivalry from a run-scoring POV. Milwaukee vs St. Louis, while missing some sizzle (literally) in the brisk setting of Wisconsin, provides a better chance to win on a Tuesday O/U.
Freddy Peralta is pitching against Kwang Hyun Kim, a name-brand starting hurlers’ match-up. But neither man’s stats or stamina have been otherworldly in spring, and (+105) on O(7.5) is too pessimistic for Brewers-Cardinals no matter how well the NL Central clubs play defensively in the ballgame. St. Louis is scoring 5+ runs per game on the road, and Milwaukee is due for positive reversion at American Family Field. Both teams remain banged-up in the bullpen.
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Another MLB gambler’s gold rush to the low-side of a total characterizes action on Chicago vs Minnesota, a Tuesday opener at Guaranteed Rate Field. A divisional match-up between the struggling Twins and the host White Sox (-125) comes with with an (8.5) O/U line that’s getting more and more juiced on U(8.5), as speculators ponder an MLB landscape of ground balls and strike-outs that’s even got Coors Field run totals dipping below the current O/U number in Chi-Town.
There are reasons to doubt both batting orders, beginning with the Twins’ spring slump that includes a dismal series loss to the Texas Rangers and last weekend’s depressing split with Detroit. As for the ChiSox, a breezy sweep of the KC Royals felt easy enough, but a pair of previous shut-out losses to Cincinnati and Cleveland show what good pitching and quality defense can do to a developing team’s fragile formula for success.
Did anyone notice the tight moneyline on a ballgame between 2 disparate clubs? Probable visiting pitcher Kenta Maeda (who’s bound for an AEW title run with Kenny Omega on name-brand alone) seemed to find his form in giving Minnesota its only win over the Lone Stars, though a week’s rest helps to make Maeda’s appearance a question mark. No such uncertainty should surround Dylan Cease of the White Sox. Tuesday’s hosts have a bright upside, but more importantly, they’re playing up to that ceiling – at least for now – while the Twins labor to compete.
Pick: White Sox
Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Major League Baseball betting for Tuesday, May 10th began with a pair of wild O/U line-movements, as if runs had been lifted from 1 total and added to another. An anticipated duel between Gibson and Wood is not only making the San Francisco vs Texas O/U line plummet, it’s threatening to pull the moneyline tighter than a guitar string. Meanwhile in Baltimore, a Monday closer between the sinking Orioles and the red-hot Boston Red Sox (-136) is inspiring so many high-side bets that the total jumped 1.5 runs after opening.
The prevailing handicap is understandable seeing as though probable pitcher Jorge Lopez has been inadequate for the O-Birds, while visiting starter Martin Perez is 0-2. However, the line has already risen logically to (8.5) and it’s too late to get in on the gold rush now.
Look instead to a favorites’ ML that’s tightened thanks to the good old “home team defending against potential sweep” angle. In the landscape of 2021 said angle is better utilized when a talented host has lost 2 hard-luck games of a 3-game stint. The Baltimore Orioles, conversely, are overwhelmed by a cranked-up contender, and probably know it inside the clubhouse.
Pick: Red Sox
San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies
St. Louis’ 4-0 win over Colorado on Sunday was half-expected to be rained out, raising the conundrum of betting on MLB games threatened by nasty weather forecasts. It’s frustrating to think that a missed opportunity and a push could occur. However, the weather can also give speculators a leg-up on Sin City by creating angles not factored into opening consensus lines. To wit, take the (+100) price on O(8) vs (-120) for U(8) offered for Monday’s Colorado Rockies vs San Diego Padres contest, a sorely-needed return home for the Rox.
Yes, the STL series was a new low point for the Rockies, at least with bats in hand. The last-place club was held scoreless in 24 out of 27 innings, and shut out in promising batting conditions on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Pads have played in a few low-scoring series of their own recently, including a snoozefest with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But the Denver ballplayers still know how to score in thin, friendly air, averaging 6+ runs per game at Coors Field. San Diego is expected to trot-out Dinelson Lamet, a hurler plagued with injuries, to go against 1-3 Antonio Senzatela. Wind may blow inward, but the temperature won’t abide blazing sliders, and the Padres have actually been a solid hitting team on the road. If the ballgame is postponed into a doubleheader on Tuesday, strongly consider the high side on any similar line with a similar pitching match-up for either 9 innings.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
Anchor detail! Sin City’s run total for Sunday’s series closer between Chicago and visiting Pittsburgh has sunk 20,000 leagues below the sea, or at least a handful of tallies below the median average at (6) runs even after opening at (6.5). The noteworthy number calls into focus a pair of batting orders which have been swinging for the fences with inconsistent results.
It’s true that Pittsburgh’s offense is sagging badly on the road, as evidenced by the Cubs needing only 6 runs to manufacture a pair of 1-run victories and threaten a sweep at Wrigley Field. Starting hurlers Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Anderson’s legit numbers also belie a pair of 2-3 W/L records. No Pirates game has tallied 7+ runs since 5/1.
Hendricks was terrific in his last outing, and Cubs’ bats have been alive and kicking against southpaws like Anderson. Sportsbooks are offering Chicago at (+130) on the Run Line, as close to a coin-flip outcome as you’ll see at that price. But don’t forget Hendricks is a game removed from humiliation against Atlanta. If the Pirates’ streak of low-side O/U outcomes is bound to end with a bang, Sunday’s ballgame might provide the scenario.
Pick: Chicago (-1.5) and/or Over
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia is causing all kinds of problems for the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park, an indicator that the Braves’ current (+108) moneyline for Sunday Night Baseball could be about to shrink considerably. Betting on MLB clubs to ward-off rallying rivals in series closers at home is a time-honored trope, and Atlanta’s got momentum after a great comeback and 8-7 extra-innings win on Saturday. As always, though, the “system” pick must be vetted in case conditions don’t really apply or for the potential of an anomaly on the scoreboard.
Both teams were living large and confident coming into the series – that’s a positive for the defending-home-pride angle. Atlanta has been scoring a lot of runs at home, but depended on pitching and defense to help earn 3 straight Ws over the Washington Nationals and remain in touch with the division leaders. Philadelphia’s 12-2 opening win was a shock in a series expected to be as hotly contested as Friday’s nail-biter. But it could be the “anomaly” in the mix.
Visiting starter Aaron Nola can keep Atlanta’s bats quiet, while Huascar Ynoa of the Braves should shut down a Philly lineup that’s lagged in OBP when traveling. To prefer a pick on an opening (8) run O/U total is not to disregard the psychology of the Phils’ success, because both lineups will play desperate defense looking for an edge, and the teams’ bullpens are healthier than most, poised to help both managers wiggle out of jams in a slow-burn SNB duel.
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
It’s hard to imagine hype playing a huge role in MLB odds until June or July. After all, pundits don’t expect dominant clubs and players to emerge until summer in a typical season. But the buzz around Joe Musgrove persists despite the San Diego hurler’s 2-3 record, and it’s causing San Francisco’s (+1.5) Run Line to grow closer to 1-to-1 odds than the Pads’ ML on Saturday.
With a marquee pitching match-up of Kevin Gausman taking on Musgrove, the ballgame’s O/U total is steady at a low (7) runs. Yet for some reason, almost every sportsbook’s numbers are giving the Padres a 30-40% chance to blow out Gigantes, with betting handles increasing on San Diego’s side even as San Francisco held the upper hand in a tight Friday contest.
San Diego is a phantom favorite. Wind blowing to the outfield will benefit the club that makes contact more often and puts more runners on 1st base, and the Giants have paradoxically had far better plate discipline at home than away. Musgrove has already been dinged-around once by the Giants.
Pick: Giants (+125) or (+1.5) (-150)
Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros
Have the Houston Astros finally shaken-off an April swoon? Houston was headed for an early pole position in the American League when the ‘Stros were swept by visiting Detroit, among the worst teams in Major League Baseball. But the club has recently beaten Tampa Bay in a series, and whipped Toronto 10-4 on Friday behind 3 hits from Alex Bregman, casting the hosts as a thin favorite for a Saturday evening ballgame with a falling (8.5) O/U total.
Should the words “Steven Matz” and “Under (8.5)” ever cling in conjunction? No offense to Toronto’s probable starter, but he’s given up 11 earned runs in less than 9 innings in 2 starts against smaller bats than Houston’s. What’s worse, opposing hurler Cristian Javier is off to a nuclear-hot start in 2021, though the unbeaten Javier did show some cracks in his last appearance.
Line-movement shows a plurality of handicappers concerned with Saturday’s run total, which is understandable, since each team’s pitching stable is riddled with injuries and the O/U outcome could hinge on Javier’s stamina. But with a potential pitching mismatch and the Blue Jays cooling off while the Astros heat up, are totals-bettors missing the forest for the trees? Houston’s (-140) moneyline odds are about where payoff on (-0.5) ATS should be.
Pick: Astros and/or Over
Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers
Don’t look now, but the Texas Rangers have been playing decent baseball since getting swept by the Chicago White Sox in April. Texas has gone 6-2 in a pair of arduous 4-game series and can hope to get above the .500 mark during a series with the visiting Seattle Mariners. Friday night’s opener is handicapped with identical (-110) Las Vegas odds on both clubs.
Chris Flexen’s disappointing start against the L.A. Angels could be the chief reason Seattle isn’t favored. Flexen whiffed 0 batters in 4 innings and gave up 3 runs, not a splendid outing en route to facing a Texas Rangers team hungry to put real distance between the Lone Stars and last place. You don’t need to pronounce the name of opposing starter Mike Foltynewicz so long as you know how to pronounce “adequate.”
Seattle has bested Texas in recent meetings, but the correlation of right vs left handed starting hurlers with Texas’ wins and losses is illusory, and Foltynewicz could actually out-last Flexen on the mound on Friday. MLB underdogs and cellar-dwellers tend to lose all the time but just get hot every so often. There’s only 1 club on a hot streak coming into the series in question.
Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals
It’s reasonable to think Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals will have an off day sooner than later, the 5-0 hurler being fortunate enough to have his team score double-digits in multiple Ws so far this season. But the Redbirds’ (-1.5) Run Line is priced too ordinarily (-108) to avoid taking the percentage pick on Friday evening, considering the Colorado Rockies’ overall problems and St. Louis’ rise to 1st place in the NL Central. Rox starter Austin Gomber has been putrid, while the Cardinals’ offense actually looks pretty good and adequately powerful for a change. STL has been worlds better ATS in 2021.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Looking at the betting trends for Washington vs Atlanta on Thursday evening, it’s as if the Atlanta Braves had lost the opening 2 ballgames of a 3-game series, not the Nationals. It also wouldn’t be surprising if the more famous of 2 starting pitchers appeared for the visitors. Neither is the case as the Braves (-119) crush the Nats in drawn moneyline action that’s influenced Washington’s (+1.5) Run Line into the 1-to-1.5 range.
Jon Lester’s $5,000,000 contract the Nationals is not without its share of detractors, considering the 37 year-old’s decay as a Chicago Cubs workhorse prior to the pandemic. But a pair of Braves covers ATS has helped make bettors confident that Drew Smyly will be adequate to lead an Atlanta sweep. WagerBop isn’t so sure, considering that Washington will play hard to avoid an embarrassing sweep-against at home, while Lester’s last outing against Miami showcased the effictive style of an old pro who doesn’t mind adapting his tactics.
The best way for a creaking hurler to stay in Major League Baseball is to become Dennis Eckersley and make batters swat softballs for frames at a time. Just because Lester isn’t in vintage form doesn’t mean a newly-cautious player can’t out-pitch Smyly, who’s been beyond dreadful in 3 starts.
Picks: Nationals Run Line and Over (9)
Tampa Bay Rays at L.A. Angels
There is no such national TV brand as “Thursday Night Baseball,” and if there were such an animal, praise Jove it wouldn’t end up a blunder-bowl like the NFL’s weekday games often devolve into. But the L.A. Angels and Tampa Bay Rays are starting so late that the ballgame could stretch into Friday’s wee hours. Barring extra innings in Miami, the contest will be stand-alone.
Moneylines are drawn tight as the Angels vs Rays O/U total falls to (8) runs, following an initial suggestion of (8.5) out of Sin City. That’s a strange turn considering that the Halos are getting healthier and that the Rays have been averaging about 6 runs per-game in recent outings with L.A. Fans are tired of watching their high-side bets lose as late-spring hardball turns cautious.
You’d think nobody stopped to look at the pitching. Visiting starter Collin McHugh is a wild card whose stamina isn’t adequate to overcome Tampa Bay’s excoriated bullpen even if he does have a good game. Angel starter Andrew Heaney was destroyed by the Seattle Mariners’ lineup on 4/30. Only 4 of the clubs’ last 12 ballgames have tallied less than 9 total runs.
Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Wednesday night’s best MLB betting opportunity comes at Fenway Park, where the Boston Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 11-7 in a 3-game series opener on Tuesday. Detroit looked like a Cinderella ballclub after a series sweep of the Astros in April, but the Tigers have been a sad sack since then, winning just 2 out of 16 games. Still, the Red Sox are a fat (+110) on Wednesday’s (-1.5) Run Line.
To be sure, there are reasons to doubt the gambling value of a Boston team that’s flatlined as a short-odds favorite, dealing with inconsistency on home turf and failing to drive-in runners. Wednesday starter Martin Perez has dropped 2 decisions without a victory in 2021.
Yet the Tigers are as close to a genuine patsy as anyone in a contrived pro league full of competitive parity. Detroit is a few more shut-out losses from a runs-per-game average that would make Patrick Roy proud as a goals-against average. The chill at Fenway will help Boston punish Detroit starter Casey Mize more than it will help the Tigers solve Perez, and the Red Sox have been whipping the visitors in far more than the current series-meeting. Detroit hasn’t been losing many of its ballgames by a single run and is 8-17 against Run Lines since the Houston miracle.
Pick: Red Sox (-1.5)
Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies
It’s not often you see a ballclub with the superior W/L record and an outstanding hurler taking the mound with near-1-to-1 moneyline odds to win, but that’s the scenario in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, where the Phillies are only a (+117) underdog despite facing Freddy Peralta in the 3rd of 4 ballgames at Citizens Bank Park.
Philly has won the opening 2 games by 1-run scores to climb to the .500 mark. Brad Miller is a hero after hitting a 3-run shot on Tuesday, but the broader narrative includes a potential Milwaukee slump following a hot start. The Brew Crew recently lost a series to Miami and blew a chance to sweep the L.A. Dodgers before dropping 2 more ballgames against the NL East.
If the Brewers are beginning to swoon, other factors outweigh any consideration of the Phillies as an underdog bet. Starting P Chase Anderson is off to a rough start, and the Brewers have outplayed the Phils in recent meetings. Milwaukee is still 9-4 on the road in ’21.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
There are 2 ballgames on Tuesday’s mid-evening slate with rapidly changing odds and a gold-rush to bet on the favorite. Chicago’s White Sox are a popular, thin favorite over the Cincinnati Reds. Atlanta’s moneyline is also at (-135) and shrinking payoff if the Braves defeat the host Nationals in a series-opening ballgame. While neither favored club’s odds to win is the highest % pick, the latter contest’s betting action points the way to a fade-the-public angle on a different market. Atlanta’s perceived pitching advantage is probably a mirage, since as good as expected starter Huascar Ynoa might have been against the Chicago Cubs, he’s been just as bad as that earlier in spring.
Joe Ross of Washington showed comparable stamina and superior form in his last outing on 4/24. The O/U total has shifted up to (9) runs as high-rollers get excited about each team’s bats, but that’s the fatal angle of all. Atlanta’s scoring less than 4 runs per game on the road and Washington’s lineup has been even worse at Nationals Park.
New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals
School children from St. Louis are still taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and that the New York Mets are pond scum. Rivalry vinegar aside, Sin City pundits expect algae to rise to the top (see what we did there?) when the Metropolitans face the Redbirds in the 2nd of 4 ballgames at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.
The STL-NY series opened with a strange game in which bullpens far outshone starting pitchers. “Under” bets lost quickly as bats combined for 11 runs in 3 innings, but that was it for the scoring as New York lost a frustrating outcome 6-5. Pete Alonzo whacked 3 hits without an RBI, epitomizing the wasted effort over 6 closing frames. A probable start from Jacob deGrom against host hurler Johan Oviedo has helped the Mets to a (-190) Tuesday moneyline and a high-risk Run Line.
Oviedo probably won’t have the superior night, but speculators are too quick to overlook NY’s poor batting stats while disregarding the other offense thanks to the Cardinals’ small-ball reputation. St. Louis has owned recent series with the New York Mets and has the stronger W/L mark. The threat of cold showers and a fly-ball slowing crosswind are elements of pure chance, making the Cards’ (+1.5) feel like “teaser” points for an unpredictable game with only a (6.5) run total.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line
San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies
Monday night’s series opener in Denver is an example of a scenario not seen often in Major League Baseball this season – a definite underdog that turns into a definite favorite. The Colorado Rockies opened as a (+115) moneyline wager, only to wind up at an eye-rubbing (-115) odds to beat the visiting San Francisco Giants. It’s not just the Gigantes’ immense list of injuries driving bets. Colorado has been outscoring teams at Coors Field. Rox batters are swinging for contact at all costs, using the advantage of mile high air earlier in the season that opponents are able to adjust. Colorado is 10-18 overall while San Francisco is 17-11. For Monday, however, gamblers are factoring that both SPs have had episodes. That’s true enough, except San Fran starter Aaron Sanchez has simply been more efficient than a 1-2 German Marquez has been for the hosts. That’s not a great reason to pick Over(10) runs because the Giants are an O-killer. San Francisco is the lean at fortuitous odds, and a 5-innings bet would take the bullpen’s injury bug mostly out of the equation.
Pick: Giants (5 Innings)
Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners
WagerBop’s soft spot for low-key American League ballgames led to a line-forecast and a provisional pick for Mariners-Orioles late on Monday night. However, waiting patiently (all night and AM, in fact) for odds to arrive and settle has been to no avail! Please check back and join us for a special evening-hour pick on a weekday nightcap by 6 PM EST. Update: Oddsmakers finally crawled to the finish line with a (+125) opening moneyline on Baltimore, the handicap focused on a pitching duo that took extra time to suss out, host hurler Justin Dunn vs visiting Jorge Lopez. Lopez has been more serviceable than his poor ERA shows, but he’ll be throwing on only a few days’ rest. Gamblers are siding with Baltimore based on the O-Birds’ excellent road record and the fact that Dunn hasn’t done so much as to tower over Lopez in superiority. However, an O/U (8.5) line provides the better bet, since there are more well-argued reasons for why Dunn won’t last 6 innings than reasons why Lopez could have a miracle outing.
Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics
Baltimore is making hay while the sun shines in NorCal, defeating the Oakland Athletes twice to threaten a rare underdog visitors’ sweep on Sunday afternoon. Oakland is the (-180) ML favorite based in-part on the popular MLB betting system in which speculators wager on a home team to stave-off embarrassment rather than capitulate and lose to a visiting sweep.
There seem to be solid reasons to bet Baltimore’s (+1.5) Run Line, starting with the O-Birds having won 3 games in a row and 5 out of 7. Oakland could avoid getting swept without winning the ballgame by 2+ runs, in fact, the A’s might be more likely to play small-ball in late innings to squeeze out a 1-run win and avoid disaster.
However, the match-up on the mound amounts to efficiency vs liability. Host hurler Sean Manaea has gotten better each time out this spring, while Baltimore’s expected SP Bruce Zimmerman has regressed from start to start. The Orioles aren’t getting on base enough in early innings to negate a marked disadvantage over the first 5-6 frames on Sunday.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (-1.5)
New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Sin City’s run total for a Sunday Night Baseball date between the visiting New York Mets and host Philadelphia Phillies opened at O/U(8), seemingly an optimistic number given that each club is struggling to score. Bryce Harper is banged up, 2 of the Phils’ last 3 wins were by a 2-1 final, and the Mets have crossed home plate a grand total of 2 times in 3 ballgames. Those factors are tempered by a pitching card that looks shaky on both sides. Zach Eflin hasn’t hit his stride for Philadelphia and David Peterson of New York took part in the 12-run ChiSox-over-Mets demolition on 4/21.
When angles cancel out, look to history, and occasionally the weather in Philadelphia. Batting orders may indeed come alive against less-scary pitching, but they’ll need help the way things have been going, and a 15 MPH wind blowing toward center field should be a boon. Philadelphia looks like the team with an actual chance to score 6-7 runs in the game, but consider that the New York offense has had success against this opponent in recent battles.
Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Saturday afternoon’s ballgame at Target Field is a “target” for deceptive statistics, and no, we’re not talking about Kansas City’s W/L record compared to the Minnesota Twins’ disappointing April mark. An O/U total of (8) on the Twins and slight-underdog Royals 2nd of 4 ballgames on Saturday ticked up to (8.5) on Friday evening, thanks in-part to the clubs’ early success from the plate in Friday’s series opener.
Season stats show a pair of healthy offenses, but fans of each team know better than that. Starting P Matt Shoemaker’s bad start compared to visiting hurler Danny Duffy’s fine April is the only thing keeping Minnesota from solid favorite’s odds as MLB gamblers expect reversion to begin rearing its ugly head on the Royals.
There’s no trend that says big, strong lineups are apt to knock upstart teams back to Earth if they’re not on solid footing themselves. Duffy is indeed capable of striking-out the Minnesota Twins, who have had a couple of spurts of good batting in midst of a frigid April. But look at Kansas City’s recent scores, and W/L record aside, there’s no reason to assume KC can beat up on Shoemaker or a healthy Twins bullpen.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
If you’re going to handicap an MLB contest prior to the previous ballgame of the series being completed, it’s best to choose a scenario such as Saturday’s game between Arizona and visiting Colorado. Saturday isn’t the series closer, and the Diamondbacks already won a tight ballgame on Friday, setting the stage for a scientific rather than an emotional outing at Chase Field. Arizona’s popular ML belies a stubborn Run Line payoff of (+115) as pundits ponder the Rockies’ chances.
The opponents are comparable. Colorado is batting surprisingly OK for a 9-16 club, and while the Rox aren’t walking nearly enough, you can’t always slam Colorado for bad plate discipline because swatting the ball in-play isn’t an unwise tactic at Coors Field. Arizona’s live lumber has fans annoyed that the D-Backs aren’t slithering above .500.
But there’s no comparison of current form from Saturday’s starting hurlers. Arizona’s Zac Gallen recently stoned the Atlanta Braves for 7 innings following a weird outing vs Cincinnati. Austin Gomber of Colorado was a goner just 5 outs into a blow-out loss after getting pulverized by the Giants – the Giants! – batting lineup on April 26th.
Pick: Diamondbacks (-1.5)
New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
It’s a tale of 2 wagers involving New York baseball clubs on Friday, with the sexier bet of the pair also the less valuable. The Yankees are solid Run Line favorites to blow away the visiting Detroit Tigers, and a start from Garrit Cole is supposed to tame Detroit’s bats while a 20 MPH wind helps the Bronx Bombers bomb away. But the Yanks’ early-season struggles could resurface against the fine-fielding Tigers, and low O/U totals (7.5) don’t mix well with (-1.5) point spreads. Meanwhile, the Mets are the “sober” bet to beat the Phillies at about (-140) odds. Expected host-starter Chase Anderson is off to a miserable start, and the Metropolitans will benefit from “weighted bats” after taking on titan after titan in rough series.
L.A. Angels at Seattle Mariners
There appear to be tempting reasons for betting the high-side of a Mariners vs Angels total (8) that’s sitting at standard (-110) payoff odds for the ballclubs’ series opener on Friday night. The breeze will be blowing toward center field, each team is averaging 4+ runs per game, and the rivalry has produced high scores for a while.
Is it wise to ignore trends as they’re forming, though, while paying attention once the numbers have congealed further? Friday night’s starting hurlers Chris Flexen and Andrew Heaney have shown the ability to last beyond a standard 5-6 innings in 2021, a crucial component to quality 9-inning defense in a spring riddled with bullpen injuries. But unlike the case with many lineups around Major League Baseball, a plurality of injuries for Seattle and L.A. are not in the relief pitching stables but elsewhere.
Flexen began 2021 poorly and then started flexin’ with improved starts worthy of trending-up status. Heaney was outstanding against the Mariners late in 2020. With each club struggling to generate runs at the moment, it’s only worthwhile to bet the low side of the run total before any more head room is lost.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers
The NHL’s 2021 alignment has kept skaters (mostly) safe in “COVID bubbles,” but Major League Baseball knows that craftsmen traveling across time zones is part of the romance of sports, allowing series like Milwaukee vs L.A, to take place. Saturday’s cool opener in Wisconsin is expected to feature cool bats.
The Bums are cast as a (-152) favorite behind Trevor Bauer, and the presence of Freddy Peralta of the Brew Crew has the O/U total locked at (7.5) with a (+100) payoff on winning O(7.5) wagers. Many handicappers will view the latter as a suckers’ line. But are there trends pointing to a high-side outcome? Sure, the Dodgers keep landing on “under” on the road, but they’re winning for over-bets night after night as of late. None of either team’s last 3 ballgames have gone under 7.5 total runs, and for L.A. you’ve got to go back to 4/23 to find a game that did. Both bullpens are wounded. The roof could keep players and fans dry if expected showers arrive, but it can’t keep the air from holding the baseball aloft.
PIck: Over (+100)
Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers
Not to keep throwing MLB “Over” picks at you, ‘Boppers, but a line of (8.5) total runs for Texas vs Boston on Thursday evening seems too good to pass up.
The prevailing handicap is that Texas will use a pitching advantage gained by starting Kyle Gibson on the mound against Martin Perez to make hay and potentially take a lead on the BoSox, only for a superior Boston batting order to bring the visitors back in the end. Maybe the Red Sox cover the Run Line in that scenario, and maybe they don’t, but (8.5) is a pretty small number to reflect all that likely business. Perez is potentially a weak link in the guests’ rotation and his lineup knows it needs runs early to gain the hurler a cushion.
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
Maybe folks can’t get used to gambling on the ChiSox as they would another MLB contender. Chicago’s season is going well enough that the White Sox were able to defeat Cleveland in a 1-off before sweeping the Texas Rangers over the weekend, but Tuesday’s 5-2 loss in the series opener with visiting Detroit has the White Sox Run Line odds stuck in neutral gear at (-110) for Wednesday’s folllow-up ballgame. Surely a Yankees or Astros team that stood at 12-10 would get more of a nod from Sin City, considering that Detroit’s game has totally fallen apart following some hopeful spark in April. Detroit is coming off an opposing sweep from the Kansas City Royals, and already pulled off its 2-to-1 upset of the new series yesterday.
Pick: White Sox (-1.5)
Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
San Francisco’s bats are beginning to come alive following a strange hot streak in which the club relied almost entirely on pitching and defense to work through tense innings and improve Gigantes’ W/L mark. Yet plenty of gamblers are ready to wager on Colorado’s (-170) underdog Run Line for Wednesday night considering that the Rockies snapped back from a 12-0 drubbing to even the series 1-1 on Tuesday. San Francisco money line speculators would point out that Alex Wood is expected to outpitch German Marquez of the visiting Rox.
Look again at the lines, and a better “percentage” pick emerges immediately. Over/Under (7) is a wildly low number for ballclubs who’ve produced 24 runs in 18 innings already, and Wood hasn’t fared extremely well against Colorado in years past. San Francisco’s trend of “Under” outcomes has vanished, and the Rockies are trending-over. Last but not least, near-20 MPH wind is expected to blow straight at the center field wall, more than negating the heavy ocean air.
Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
One of the problems pro handicappers have is an obsession with “the number,” a belief that finding the right line is more important than predictions, intuition, or reducing juice. Preoccupation with numbers can lead to the flaw of looking at teams as stat sheets on a ledger, without regard for the fact that 162 ballgames’ worth of “leveled-out” statistics are the product of many emotional twists and turns. Such a scenario could be occurring in Cleveland, where the odds on Tuesday’s game with the visiting Minnesota Twins are drawn tight despite what appears to be serious advantages for a side.
Probable hurler Kenta Maeda of the Twins is having a troubled start to match his own ballclub’s awful April, while opposing Aaron Civale of the Indians has been efficient in a 3-0 season so far. There appears to be some kind of irrational belief that the Minnesota Twins’ slump can end at any time, or at least a reliance on the visitors’ nice recent record against Cleveland. Those factors won’t matter so much if Maeda is banged around in a batter’s wind while Civale keeps shining.
Pick: Indians (+102)
Miami Marlins at Milwaukee Brewers
Gamblers appear to be too clever by-half in speculating on the Milwaukee vs Miami follow-up on Tuesday night. The ballgame’s Las Vegas total has settled low at (7.5) runs while the Marlins stand as an underdog despite whipping the Brew Crew 8-0 in the series opener. Lots of “system” handicaps would point to a Milwaukee rebound at home against an April “rabbit” that’s fading away soon, but the pitchers at hand aren’t overwhelming and the question is whether Miami’s bats can keep up with the expected breakout for the Brewers. By all accounts in the series so far, the Fish can.
L.A. Angels at Texas Rangers
At first it could be hard to fathom why the Los Angeles Angels’ (-1.5) Run Line is the less-popular of 2 opposing Major League Baseball bets for Monday night, with the Texas Rangers drawing action at (-120) despite a cellar W/L record. Few of the Lone Stars’ poor batting stats point to a reversion to quality offense in late May, in fact the Rangers are showing too many signs of being a club that might never figure things out from home plate with any consistency. Shohei Ohtani vs Jordan Lyles looks like a pitching mismatch in favor of the visiting team.
But the trends are all wrong for a confident pick on Halos-to-cover. Ohtani wasn’t fantastic in his last outing against Texas, and Lyles’ WHIP number was actually superior when the pair went head to head. Ohtani hasn’t showed stamina in a pair of starts, and the Rangers have been OK as a Run Line underdog. L.A. just snapped a losing streak and isn’t the cockiest ballclub at this juncture. Over (8.5) is a much higher-percentage pick for Tuesday’s opener at Globe Life Park, as the retractable roof will cancel a howling cross-wind and each bullpen could work overtime in the event Lyles is knocked-out while Ohtani gets tired.
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros
Monday night’s Astros-Mariners opener comes with yet another tricky Run Line in a spring full of them. Each team’s handicap is a paradox. The Houston Astros (-1.5) (+111) ought not to be a happy team after falling to the L.A. Angels in a disappointing close outcome. But given the proud ballclub’s struggles in April, 3 wins out of 4 in any series is good news. The Seattle Mariners suffered a teeth-gnashing loss of their own in a closer with Boston, but are generating runs and winning games.
Look to the mound and another market emerges as promising. Not only are the aces resting for both clubs, there are extensive injury issues in each bullpen, while the batting lineups appear to be healthier overall for both sides. Last but not least, a solid, steady wind will be blowing directly at the center-right field stands on Monday evening. With an O/U total of just (9) runs even, gamblers can do a lot worse than trusting the high-side, given a pair of lineups which are psychologically well-positioned to have a nice night at the plate against ordinary pitching.
Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox
Saturday’s O/U outcome in the Marlins-Giants ballgame illustrates how MLB “under” bets can remain anxious until the final umpire’s signal. Among other “bad beat” motifs, there’s always the threat that 2 tied opponents will “FBS” it up and match each other score for score, adding total runs until midnight Sin City time, and/or a game-winning rally will spark “consolation” runs in retaliation. Retaliation rallies are especially a problem when taking the Run Line against a spirited underdog with confident bats in springtime.
‘Cappers are confident in Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez against Nick Margevicius of the Mariners, and think that the Ms are in for M-barrassment in a Sunday series closer for which the Red Sox are a heavy favorite. But why isn’t the Run Line a more-popular bet on Boston’s side at 1-to-1 odds?
Because the wiser high-rollers know Seattle is playing big-league baseball. Seattle has covered (+1.5) twice in the series so far with a straight W on the ledger, and whipped the Astros and split with the Dodgers before that. Will the hosts probably rally for 5-7 runs and earn the series win? Sure, but the Mariners can keep up, at least for the time being.
Pick: Over (9)
San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego’s solid road record and an electric start to a 4-game series with the host L.A. Dodgers has moneylines drawn tight prior to Sunday Night Baseball’s last April installment. Gamblers still trust Pads starter Joe Musgrove after the veteran hurled a no-hitter earlier in spring. eagerly grabbing a U(7.5) wager that’s juiced a little extra at major sportsbooks.
Not to say Musgrove’s aura is a product of hype, but it’s very early in ’21 to be allowing any single MLBer to affect betting lines so profoundly. Musgrove has allowed 3 runs in 11 innings while losing twice in his last 2 starts. Probable Dodger P Dustin May is a quizzical name for speculators, given that May was used and pulled as a surprise Halos-style “opener” despite not giving up an earned run in a playoff game with San Diego in 2020, a move that had baseball’s entire fan base trolling the Bums afterward.
May could (excuse the pun) use the incident for motivation, itching to close the book on a troubling outing. He’s got the talent to smoke the Pads, who aren’t batting all that great at just 12-10. The Dodgers are scoring more runs than the Padres and are leading the AL West for a reason, with or without Cody Bellinger. San Diego’s bullpen is a casualty ward.
Pick: Dodgers (-125)
New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
National League speculators are frozen as of Thursday night, waiting to see how the New York-at-Chicago series sweep bid pans out for the Cubs. Maybe a humiliation would rouse the Mets’ bats to life and help the club prevail in an important April home-stand. Plus-odds on O(7) is tempting but could change at any time, while we already know a lot about how the die is cast in Tampa, where another O/U line is buried at (7) and (-115) payoff odds on the high side.
The scenarios are similar. Tampa’s bats are a little more live, but New York is playing looser hardball (to a fault) and each team is a threat to score with unlikely rallies or give-up runs in unlucky ways. That’s not a wonderful sign for bets of U(7) at any price on an MLB game. Those hedging low are counting on probable starters Tyler Glasnow of the Rays and Steven Matz of the Blue Jays to keep hitters at bay all night, especially given Toronto’s flat offense.
But maximum pitch counts will be reached, and that will be that for both aces with at least 3-4 innings to play. The pair’s combined starts have led to more over-run total outcomes as the Blue Jays and Rays operate recovery-clinics in the bullpens. Managers know a complete game for a trusted starter is a Pyrrhic victory in ear;y 2021, dampening the chances of an all-night duel and a microscopic run tally in the series opener.
Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies
A handful of extra gamblers are taking the Under (10.5) in Colorado tonight, hoping that the Rox’ dejected morale and an outfield-to-infield wind will produce a low run total. They should be looking at (-125) of the Rockies instead. Colorado has been decent on the home diamond in Union Station Square, and German Vasquez knows the key to preventing RBIs in wacky Denver air is to keep runners off-base with Ks. Philly has been bad on the road, and the Phillies’ problems should have led to a few more “dimes” floating in the juice on Friday night’s home team.
New York Mets at Chicago Cubs
You would do well to remember, Mr. Lucchesi, that these Cubs have very different ideas than the last ones. Chicago (+119) is in business at Wrigley Field, beating the New York Mets in 2 straight ballgames, scoring 16 runs on Wednesday night, and setting-up a potential series sweep that could raise the Cubbies out of the 2021 NL Central cellar before the caboose ever gets uncomfortable. So why Chicago standing at plus-odds on Thursday? Bookmakers don’t trust host-starter Trevor Williams to out-pitch Joey Lucchesi of the Mets despite a 2-1 mark in April, and are taking the Cubs’ new institutional focus into account. Superb pitching helped Chicago to the pennant but the stable hasn’t been replenished. The ’21 Cubs need rallies to win and haven’t been getting enough of them.
Reverse psychology is at work, as the media focuses on New York’s defensive issues and pretends as if Javier Báez didn’t define Wednesday’s game with a single blast, or that David Bote didn’t account for another 4 RBIs. Chicago’s lineup is swinging for the fence to get out of a hole, and New York’s “Vatican Henchman” has begun 2021 as shakily as he ended 2020. Sin City is treating the Cubs like fool’s gold…while the Metropolitans eagerly pack for home.
San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Wowee, the L.A. Dodgers aren’t correlated with a (7.5) Vegas run total unless a true ace is on the mound, and it’s Walker Buehler pitching the opening ballgame of a series with the visiting San Diego Padres on Thursday night. He’s been a machine so far in 2021, lasting until the 7th innings of 3 consecutive, well, ace-like starts. Host batters are crushing the Pads on all sides of the stat sheet. Some linemakers have moved the total to (8) runs as speculators rush to take the high-side and count on big Bums bats against a wounded pitching stable. But the real steal on the betting board is L.A. with the juice anywhere under (-175), since visiting starter Ryan Weathers was cautiously pulled in the 4th inning of a San Diego-LA tilt on 4/16, once the Dodgers had already gotten a feel for the called-up youngster.
Pick: Dodgers ((-170) or (-1.5) (+115))
Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres
We whiffed on Milwaukee’s series opener with San Diego on Monday night, but that doesn’t mean Over (7) was the wrong recommendation. At some point in any MLB season, O/U outcomes will begin tipping to the low-side when efficient pitchers are on the mound and quality fielding teams are on the diamond, not when feast-or-famine hurlers are coming off 8 scoreless innings and poised for reversion. Wednesday’s series closer brings the same efficiency-vs-buzz angle into play, but on a Run Line as opposed to the run total.
Gamblers are leaning O(7.5) for Wednesday in America’s Finest City, understandable since the O/U opened at such a low number. But the line-movement doesn’t jive with a handicap of (-190) on the Padres’ moneyline, since host P Dinelson Lamet is an unknown quantity in 2021 and guest Adrian Houser has given up 5 runs in 3 starts. Houser is limited and methodical enough to give up 5 base hits when he ought to have allowed 3, causing the Brew Crew to lose a tight ballgame. It’s less likely that San Diego will win in a blow-out considering the match-up of quiet bats against a team averaging more runs-per-game than the Pads.
Pick: Brewers Run Line (-125)
New York Mets at Chicago Cubs
There’s a pitching mismatch brewing for the Cubs (not the Brewers) and visiting Mets at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, with struggling Zach Davies taking on New York starter David Peterson in the 2nd of a 3-game series. The Metropolitans’ (-135) moneyline is likely to shrink faster once more gamblers figure out the key angle. Yes, Peterson didn’t have an electric start to his season or a stellar spring-training appearance for that matter. But the 25-year old figured things out in his 2nd start against a Philly club that had punished Peterson earlier in April, a sign that the Mets’ up-and-comer could be on his way to another fine season after going a promising 6-2 in 2020. We’re not excited enough about the away team’s pitching to recommend anything but a high-side pick against a (7.5) O/U total however. Cold and potentially damp weather will slow down fastballs in a hitter’s park, negating the effect of slight wind-against and helping the whiff-tastic Cubs score at least a few runs on a Big Apple club with superior plate discipline and a better W/L record.
Picks: Mets and Over
Arizona Diamondbacks at Cincinnati Reds
As a rule of thumb, rising Over/Under totals are easier lines on which to “fade the public” than dropping totals. Recreational gamblers like to pick the high-side at every opportunity, since cheering for runs, baskets, goals, or touchdowns is more fun than rooting for a pair of clubs to stymie their opponents. There are exceptions, though, such as when “hot” MLB hurlers impress speculators with outstanding performances and cause O/U lines to drop unnaturally. Arizona and host Cincinnati’s run total has fallen to (7.5) at Sin City sportsbooks prior to Tuesday’s ballgame, even though the Reds are scoring 6+ runs per contest and the D-Backs can’t blame problems at the plate for most of Arizona’s 10 losses. Furthermore, we’re not convinced either starting P is a threat to have a banner evening. Luis Castillo of the Reds has given up 12 runs in 3 starts, and visiting Zac Gallen’s form outshined his stamina in a no-decision appearance on 4/13.
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
There are lots of trendy low-side MLB run total picks going around, perhaps leading speculators to concentrate on lines that take the focus away from superior bets. Boston vs Toronto on Tuesday night presents a mirror image of that scenario, as gamblers try to guess who’s going to win the ballgame while passing up what’s potentially a much higher-percentage wager against the O/U (8.5).
Boston is the high-action moneyline for the series opener, having just crowned the talented Chicago White Sox 11-4 behind a big night from DH J.D. Martinez. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are sitting under .500 and couldn’t prevail in a 4-game series with the Kansas City Royals that ended with a 2-0 win for KC. That would seem to entrench Boston as a solid favorite on Tuesday. But we know that day-to-day fortunes remain volatile in hardball, especially in spring. Look to the mound instead, and you’ll find a pair of efficient hurlers who, unlike many of the MLB pitchers getting buzz in the press and play at sportsbooks, aren’t relying on dangerous pitches to get results. Eduardo Rodriguez and visiting Hyun-Jin Ryu have well-earned reputations and stamina to match, and neither man has allowed more than 3 runs in a 2021 start despite not lighting-up the stat sheet with Ks.
San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies
Hey there, ‘boppers – we’re publishing a little early today so apologies to those still searching for a Sunday Night Baseball prediction. Just scroll down to find WagerBop’s pick on tonight’s Cubs vs Braves contest. Or, if you’re already prepping for Monday night’s MLB action, consider a small-unit bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to win at (-110).
The opening odds might have given Philly the nod in Monday’s series opener with the visiting San Francisco Giants, except that bookmakers had just watched the Phils pitching staff give up 9 runs and 11 hits to the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that has struggled out of the gate in 2021. Sunday’s 2-0 closing victory might make a few gamblers more optimistic about the host club, but the best reason to wager Philadelphia is that P Chase Anderson – who’s had a couple of decent, cautious outings vs the New York Mets – should be able to keep San Fran’s meager bats quiet for 5-6 innings. Gigantes starting hurler Kevin Gausman’s 3.20 ERA appears to be poised for a rise with a larger sample size.
Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres
The Over/Under total for Monday night’s Padres-Brewers opener has dropped to a subterranean (7) runs, daring gamblers to predict an all-night pitcher’s duel between Joe Musgrove and Brandon Woodruff or wager the high side at odds of anywhere from (-110) to (-120). Both hurlers have certainly had exceptional starts in 2021, allowing less than 10 runs in their previous 5 combined starts. Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history on April 9th. MIlwakuee’s offense belies the club’s 8-7 record with just over a .200 team batting average, and the Pads’ bats aren’t exactly legendary at this point. However, careful April management of pitching stables and a worm-burning O/U line doesn’t mix, and Philly is due for some reversion from the plate. Modern MLB clubs play a style of “advanced moneyball” that encourages hitters to swing for the outfield to prevent double plays and maximize at-bats with runners on base, meaning Musgrove and Woodruff’s confident K hunting will eventually lead to a few extra HRs and doubles. San Diego has been generating rallies throughout a 10-7 opening stretch and each team is scoring 4+ runs per contest.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
Despite similar team scoring stats, the Milwaukee Brewers have gotten an early leg up on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. Milwaukee will trot out a nuclear-hot hurler in Sunday afternoon’s series closer after splitting 2 contests with the Buccos, starting Freddy Peralta against visiting Chad Kuhl. Apparently, the betting public sees Peralta’s start as a sure-thing advantage for the Brew Crew, but only to the extent that Milwaukee is poised for a close win. The hosts’ moneyline has shrunk to 1-to-2 payoff odds while the Run Line remains exactly 1-to-1 on the favorites.
Perhaps batting is the key angle behind a more-adventurous pick. Nearly 10 Milwaukee Brewers have dinged home runs despite a .201 team batting average that’s likely to start moving upward. Pittsburgh’s lineup hasn’t produced nearly as much power despite walking more often, a lifeline that will probably vanish against top-quality pitching.
Pick: Brewers Run Line (+100)
Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
Speculators waited a long time for sportsbooks to post odds for Sunday Night Baseball, only to find the most basic numbers that are possible in matching (-110) opening moneylines. Kyle Hendricks was always entrenched as the Chicago Cubs’ starter, but the Atlanta Braves took a while to select Bryce Wilson, a promising hurler making his 2021 debut. Cubs’ bats have been quiet to begin the campaign, notwithstanding a 13-run bonanza on Saturday in which 6 host homers and infielder Kris Bryant’s perfect day at the plate helped even the series at 1-1. Atlanta’s injuries in the pitching stable have led the Braves to their own weak start despite better scoring. But the Braves are missing only a single relief pitcher, while the Cubs’ bullpen is full of early-season wounds and COVID-setbacks. That’s an important angle for a contest in which neither starter is likely to see the 7th inning. Hendricks has been ill and was scratched from his last start, while Atlanta’s plan for Wilson is so long-term that coaches are counting his throws to 1st base. Look for the Braves’ stable to close-out a tight ballgame successfully.
St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies
At a glance, the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be the most hapless baseball club ever to hold a .500 record in mid-April. St. Louis has lost series to the Reds, Brewers, and Nationals, and has been out-scored 15-2 in its last pair of ballgames. Philadelphia has a (-105) line to win the 2nd of 3 against the visiting Cardinals on Saturday, payoff odds that are shrinking with early action. Philly has been almost as flaky in the early-going however. The Phils were recently swept by the New York Mets in a trio of contests and barely avoided a series sweep from Atlanta before that. The club is suffering from lax plate discipline and averaging well under 4 runs per game. STL is scoring runs in bunches or not at all, which calls an (8.5) O/U line into question. Probable guest pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim was all style and little substance late in 2020, and opposing Matt Moore’s skills have begun to erode since he last faced the Redbirds in 2017. The Cardinals may be poised to knock Moore out of the box or look like trash and lose another blow-out, either case leading to a likely totals-win on the high side.
Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels
Most pundits agree the Minnesota Twins are talented at the plate and have at least a competitive pitching staff. Is the Twins’ mediocre early record a hint of trouble, or simply a strong club gearing up to take over in June? We’ll potentially know more after the AL Central team’s current 6-game road trip.
Gamblers seem to like Minnesota’s (-110) odds to win the 2nd of 3 games in Los Angeles on Saturday, but bookmakers are clearly shy of probable Twins P Matt Shoemaker, who’s begun 2021 like a golfer who swings well but can’t score under par. Shoemaker fanned 7 visiting Seattle batters on 4/11 but gave up 4 runs in 5 frames as the Mariners won in an upset. But there is no such ambiguity about Jose Quintana’s dreadful start for the Los Angeles Angels. Quintana was punished by Houston and blown off the mound by Toronto 5 days later. Minnesota has the firepower to keep up in a high-scoring game, but if the Angels are losing 5-1 and the Twins can work around Mike Trout and other opposing bats, the visitors’ live odds could shrink 3-fold by the 4th inning.
San Francisco Giants at Miami Marlins
Every sport has a “loophole” by which an Under outcome can turn into an Over result. In football and basketball it’s overtime, in hockey it’s the empty-net goal. MLB games will always go “Over” if tied at 1/2 of a run below the O/U total, since somebody has to score to finish the ballgame. Baseball’s version of the Over/Under loophole comes into play when handicapping San Francisco’s visit to Miami on Friday evening.
Gigantes are winning while not batting-in more than a few runs per game, thanks to an exceptional pitching staff and fielding form well above the quality expected from clubs in April. Miami is also playing well enough to have won a 4-game series with the Atlanta Braves. Is it time to predict a more exciting ballgame between a pair of hot teams? Maybe sometime soon, but consider that while visiting starter Anthony DeSclafani could be a budding superstar, Marlins probable P Daniel Castano is a wild card headed into Friday. Pitcher’s duels obviously work for U(8.5), but if Castano departs halfway through with the Giants up 4-1, at least a bad beat is less likely.
Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
Over (8.5) is already a popular pick for Friday night’s 2nd of 4 games between the Oakland A’s and visiting Detroit Tigers. As house percentages shrink on the low side and get stiffer for bets on 9+ total runs, is it time to bet with or against the public?
It’s hard to overlook the success Detroit has had on its current road trip, whipping the powerful Houston Astros and threatening to make noise in the AL Central. Despite any perceived disparity in talent, Oakland is in almost the same position, gobbling up wins to compensate for a bad start. But as usual, the pitching mound is a key angle.
Probable starter Jose Urena is off to a miserable start for Motor City, and opposing hurler Frankie Montas isn’t having a shiny spring either. It’s true that large sample sizes are crucial in handicapping MLB performances over the long haul, but don’t confuse the inevitable ebbs and flows with a need to disregard the obvious. It would be hard enough for Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan to tame 18 live bats, let alone a couple of guys who’re giving up RBIs to far-less confident lineups.
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays
Making 300+ picks in a season involves a lot of different MLB betting markets. But we hope that Daily Double doesn’t come across like the kid from Summer School who keeps marking “C” on every multiple-choice question. We’re making another “Over” pick – the blog’s third in a row.
Speculators are betting Tampa Bay on a (-175) moneyline for Thursday, hoping that probable Rays pitcher Rich Hill will outplay Jordan Lyles of the Rangers, and allow Tampa Bay to even the 4-game series at 2-2. But it’s unreasonable to expect either man to pitch an exceptional game given that the starting Ps’ runs allowed have belied promising WHIP numbers in early starts. The Rays may prove to be a superior club despite matching 5-7 records after a dozen ballgames, but Hill’s last start resulted in a 10-5 loss and another 15-run contest isn’t out of the question in a closer handicapped at O/U (8.5).
Pick: Over (+100)
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers
Can MLB gamblers trust the L.A. Dodgers after seeing what happened to the Houston Astros against Detroit? Houston appeared to be keeping pace with the best clubs in both leagues after starting the season with 6 wins in a week’s time. Next thing we knew, the ‘Stros were getting swept by the Tigers in 3 straight games to fall back to .500. Not only is the betting public somewhat shy of L.A.’s (-140) Run Line against Colorado on Thursday night, the ballgame’s Las Vegas total is sitting at a modest (8) runs thanks to the Rockies getting shut-out in the series opener, followed by a slow trickle of small-ball scoring in Wednesday night’s follow-up contest. Colorado might make a fine underdog pick, except probable P Austin Gomber’s sub-3.00 ERA is a mirage after 2 games, since his 2nd start was against a San Francisco team that’s relying on its pitching staff to overcome quiet bats. Gomber only lasted 3 innings in a previous start vs L.A., while opposing starter Julio Urias is coming off 2 Ws by comfortable margins and owned the Rox in the aforementioned ballgame on 4/4.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line
San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates
“Hey Fowler, don’t you know I hate losin’ to the PIRATES!?” Pop Fischer probably wouldn’t mind managing the New York Knights against the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring, since the Buccos appear no threat to win any series unless the Chicago Cubs are in town. Another opening loss – this time to the San Diego Padres – has San Diego’s ML as thin as (-230) for Wednesday’s ballgame at PNC Park. To be sure, there’s reason to believe another easy win could be in store for a Pittsburgh opponent. The hosts will trot out Tyler Anderson, a hurler who’s off to a dreadful start in 2021, against Joe Musgrove, a veteran righty who’s already got a no-hitter and a separate shut-out win to his credit this season. But the Pirates are hurting more on the mound than at the plate, and Musgrove’s too precious of a commodity as a potential late-blooming ace for the Pads to wear him out. The clubs exploded for 10 runs early in Tuesday’s game and have collectively played in 1 pitcher’s duel in the last 8 contests, calling an (8) run O/U line into doubt.
Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox
There are certain MLB ballgames that Las Vegas just doesn’t seem to want to croak out a betting line on, and Chicago vs Cleveland on Wednesday is a prime example. Even though neither team is fiddling with its pitching order, and even though April is not a time when a given outcome necessarily has a huge impact on the game to follow, sportsbooks took until late on Tuesday night to post a (-128) moneyline on the host White Sox for a contest with a low-ball (7.5) O/U run total. Expected starters Carlos Rodon and Zach Plesac have been impressive so far, fanning a combined 15 batters in their previous starts. The fact that 9 total runs have been scored in the maiden half of a 4-game series isn’t helping the Over draw bets. And yet just as in the Wednesday ballgame previewed above, a cold shower might be needed for anyone who thinks a low-scoring outcome is a sure thing based on flaky early-spring scores. There’s usually at least 1 display of fireworks in a 4-game stint. Chicago is averaging nearly 6 runs per game and Cleveland is averaging nearly 5, making (7.5) kind of like a (121.5) O/U line on a pair of basketball teams averaging 70 points per game. At some point, hurlers pitching aggressively for strikeouts are going to make mistakes that result with the ball in the center field stands.
Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles
The Daily Double turned into the “Daily Single” despite our best efforts on Monday, as Baltimore’s ballgame against the visiting Seattle Mariners was rained out. As is ideal in such circumstances, the game was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
However, plans for starting pitchers have changed, and so have the odds. The O-Birds are now about a (-140) moneyline favorite with John Means on the mound taking on Nick Margevicius of the Mariners. Though Baltimore’s line to win is the trendy pick due to an apparent pitching mismatch, it’s of note that Margevicious’ stats in his brief duty so far this season are pretty damn good apart from a couple of allowed home runs. The Baltimore Orioles are now in the unfamiliar position of getting “juiced” in Las Vegas despite carrying a losing record, and without a lineup of sluggers to take advantage of the odd Margevicious mistake, we’re liking a sober pick on the Under (9) that bookmakers expect to win but can’t juice quite as much.
Pick: Under (-120)
Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros
It’s common for high-rollers to disregard hot streaks from low-budget clubs in April. But it’s less frequent that a powerful team like the Houston Astros is shunned by gamblers because of a few unlucky losses in the early-going. MLB speculators are shy of Houston’s relatively rare (-180) line to beat the less-talented Detroit Tigers at home on Tuesday night thanks to 3 Astros losses in a row, including Detroit’s 6-2 victory on Monday in the series opener.
Look deeper, though, and the Astros’ bats are not quiet. The club is simply stranding its runners on base. Houston hasn’t posted less than 7 hits in a ballgame since the losing streak began, and even out-hit the Oakland A’s in 1 of the recent losses. Underdog bettors are excited about probable Detroit starter Matthew Boyd, but he’s been clobbered by the Astros in the past and makes $500,000 a year as a 30-year-old hurler for a reason. By contrast, Houston starter Jake Odorizzi has owned the Tigers and wants badly to win his maiden start for the ‘Stros.
Pick: Astros Run Line (+100)
Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants
WagerBop has discovered the late Monday night line-movement we were looking for, not just on 1 ballgame but on 2. However, only a single pick against-the-public appears to be worth a recommendation in the final analysis. Sharks are convinced that Brady Singer of the Kansas City Royals will out-pitch Alex Cobb of the L.A. Angels, so much so that the Royals have gone from an underdog to about a 1-to-1 wager. Your blogger disagrees, but KC is notorious for having “mirage” success in the early season, making the Halos an iffy pick in any case. Meanwhile, however, the optimism around Cincinnati’s chances in San Francisco is probably misplaced, and we’ll take the reduced juice on Gigantes at (-113).
Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis has begun 2021 doing what the Redbirds need to do to keep pace in the NL Central, posting a series-sweep of Miami and splitting 2 ballgames against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, setting up a rubber match with the Brew Crew on Sunday. Betting lines are stable despite a potential pitching advantage for the hosts, calling the oft-criticized Cardinal offense into question again.
It wasn’t the batting lineup that let St. Louis down in Saturday’s 9-5 Brewers win. Yadier Molina had a huge day at the plate, but relief hurler Tyler Webb was walloped as Milwaukee scored 5 decisive runs in the 7th inning. Milwaukee’s bats have been quiet to begin the campaign, and it’s notable that Sunday’s guest starter Brett Anderson has fared poorly against a host of Cardinal batters (sans Molina) and began the season with a division loss, while St. Louis probable P Daniel Ponce de Leon is pitching well when not looking for the Fountain of Youth in his off-days.
Pick: Cardinals (-117)
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
So much for sentimental (or political) picks on the Phillies to beat the Braves. Betting action for Sunday Night Baseball is almost a mirror image of the gambling trend prior to Atlanta’s 5-4 victory on Saturday, with Atlanta’s moneyline quickly shooting to 1-to-1.7 payoff odds despite what’s been a well-contested series so far. Maybe it’s the probable starter for Philly, hurler Matt Moore, who can accurately be called a journeyman after playing for 6 clubs on 2 continents. Moore was excellent in the Japanese league last season but only lasted into the 4th inning in his 2021 debut against the New York Mets. Philadelphia’s road woes make Atlanta’s ML a reasonable wager, but as the chess champion Emanuel Lasker said, when you see a good move, wait for a better one. Moore’s follow-up appearance (and his shaky stamina after a year facing finesse batters) means that the chances of a 2-1 Atlanta win are lessened while a blow-out becomes more likely. Philly will be the team trying to squeak-out a close win. Atlanta’s sluggers won’t be in the mood to let that occur.
Pick: Braves Run Line (+125)
Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
To say that less runs are expected when Colorado plays away from home would be an understatement. Not only is the Colorado at San Francisco O/U total stationary at a meager (8.5) runs, a plurality of high-rollers have wagered the low side since betting markets opened on the Saturday ballgame.
To be sure, neither club’s offense sparkled in the series opener. San Francisco catcher Buster Posey’s big day helped Los Gigantes score a few late runs and prevail 3-1 as Johnny Cueto nearly pitched a complete game. Saturday’s pitching match-up of Logan Webb vs Chi Chi (don’t call me “Rodriguez”) Gonzalez could supply enough skill and experience to keep bats quiet again. But most effective hurlers don’t last 8+ innings, especially early in the season when managers stick stubbornly to the long-term plan. Colorado’s healthy scoring vs Arizona wasn’t all a matter of elevation. After all, the D-Backs only averaged 4.33 runs in the series. San Francisco’s “Under” streak could be ready to snap, and most importantly, a 10-15 MPH wind is expected to blow almost directly at the center-field wall.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
The Philadelphia Phillies are the trendiest MLB ‘dog of Saturday night, drawing more action at (+115) than the L.A. Angels or Baltimore Orioles at similar prices. We can thank the schedule, designed to force familiar pitchers and hitters to face each other again very quickly. Braves and Phillies hurlers Ian “Jethro Tull” Anderson and Zach Elfin respectively whiffed 15 combined batters on April 4th as Philadelphia prevailed 2-1, but a lot of hardball speculators doubt that Atlanta (-135) will be able to follow-up an 8-1 victory in the current series’ opener on Friday, and expect a repeat of 4/4’s W/L outcome, given Philly’s superior start and a smattering of bullpen injuries for the hosts.
Don’t overlook the effect of wishful-thinking in the current political climate. A swath of closet sports gamblers consider Atlanta baseball a “heel” in the ongoing pro-wrestling match on cable news, especially when Braves fans engage in the anti-PC “Tomahawk Chop” at home games. Philadelphia may have started the season 5-2, but the Phillies floundered on the road late in 2020, and didn’t look very good in 2021’s maiden road game. Anderson is a young lion who could be a superstar soon, and Atlanta’s takers may thank Philly’s impulse-buyers for knocking some juice off the moneyline.
Washington Nationals at L.A. Dodgers
Ballclubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers are not supposed to begin the spring at top form. They’re supposed to bide time patiently until taking over the division in June or July. But the Bums have begun 2021 in similar fashion as they ended 2020, slugging extra-base hits and relying on an A+ pitching staff to get through the tight spots. L.A. is a heavy favorite to earn a 6th victory in Friday’s series opener with visiting Washington, and a (-150) Run Line shows that a majority of handicappers don’t expect it to be a tight contest. The Washington Nationals have the batting and pitching to keep up with the defending champs, even though probable starter Joe Ross didn’t fare well in his last game against the Dodgers, and could easily be outlasted by L.A. starter Walker Buehler. It’s the mental state of the Nats that’s concerning, with the team facing its first road trip after a backsliding series loss to the Atlanta Braves and dealing with a laundry list of key players in quarantine.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are drawing plenty of bets on a short (-190) moneyline for Friday’s series opener against the visiting Detroit Tigers. It’s an interesting gambling trend that less than 50% of the ballgame’s ML speculators are going with the underdog, despite the lower risk in Detroit’s odds and despite the fact that the Tigers won the maiden series of the season 2-1 over the Wahoos. It’s not as if Detroit is trotting-out a weak starting pitcher. Julio Teheran was solid against Cleveland in the earlier series, allowing only a single earned run and striking-out 5 batters while earning a win. Zach Plesac of the Reds played well in the same ballgame and will start again Friday, causing the O/U market to sit at a conservative (8.5) total runs. Gamblers appear to be too impatient to wager efficiently this early in the MLB campaign, perhaps remembering the full-on sprint of 2020. Managers are treating 2021 a little differently, and there’s no reason to pass up near 1-to-1 underdog Run Line odds for a visiting club that’s had the Indians’ number so far. It might be summer before Cleveland asserts its superiority in the AL Central, if at all.
Pick: Tigers Run Line
Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
MLB “system” gamblers were delighted by the Mariners-White Sox series finale on Wednesday, in which Seattle – surprise, surprise – staved off a series-sweep from a superior ballclub by beating Chicago after taking 2 losses from the visiting ChiSox. That leaves Chicago at a mediocre 3-4 on the season, but it’s way too early to read much into a losing record, and the White Sox will be fine if a home opener against Kansas City goes well. Veteran hurler and probable Chicago starter Lance Lynn was solid against the Angels in his maiden start of the year, while opposing Brad Keller of the Royals was chased by the Texas Rangers after recording 4 outs. Both pitchers will revert to the mean, but early-season starts can be a boon for old workhorses, and Chicago’s moneyline odds to win (-158) don’t feel quite juiced enough given a host ballpark, superior talent, and superior pitching.
Pick: White Sox
L.A. Angels at Toronto Blue Jays
The O/U total for a Toronto vs Los Angeles series opener on Thursday night has ticked up to (10) runs as the Blue Jays’ moneyline proves to be a popular choice at (-120). Is there any chance that a few intoxicated gamblers think Toronto’s “home opener” is anything but a neutral-site contest in Florida? It’s possible, since probable hurlers Ross Stripling and Griffin Canning weren’t exactly dead fish at the end of last season, and the ballclubs have been winning for Under-bets more often than high-side picks over the last handful of games. There’s no denying the Halos have a talented batting order, but each club is dealing with injuries, and TD Ballpark’s dimensions are more-or-less standard at 400 feet to the center field wall. That doesn’t mean U(10) is a fantastic pick for Thursday’s 2nd-to-last ballgame, but the ML could also provide an opportunity to fade the public. Toronto’s been scrapping for runs since Opening Day, with the Blue Jay offense looking particularly ineffective during a series-loss to the Texas Rangers. Mike Trout and the L.A. Angels are coming off a series-win over ChiSox and an impressive 2-game split with Houston that slowed a hot-starting Astros club down just a little bit. The Angels should relish the chance to play a weaker opponent in friendly Florida weather.
New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Lick – touch – sizzle! Daily Double has begun the 2021 season the same way it ended the 2020 season, on a red-hot streak that includes 11 or 12 wins in our first 14 picks of the year, depending on the outcome of a delayed contest in Denver on Tuesday night. Rather than make reckless picks with “house money,” we’ll try to keep money away from the house by making another week’s worth of solid MLB predictions.
The Philadelphia Phillies are drawing heavy action to a (-140) moneyline for a Wednesday closer vs New York, and despite the presence of Aaron Nola on the mound for the Phils, the trendy wager does not appear to be based on solid handicapping. The Metropolitans may be faltering less than their schedule has to begin the season, with Jacob deGrom shining on the mound and at the plate in the opener, and the offense producing more runs than total hits while running up a lead on Philly in the 2nd ballgame. Nola gave up a lot of runs to the Mets in 2020 while also striking a lot of batters out, and feast/famine style pitching doesn’t mix well with a (-1.5) Run Line that could allow Pete Alonzo’s club a backdoor cover. Probable New York starter David Peterson isn’t always as spectacular to watch, but was quietly effective near the end of the 2020 campaign.
Pick: Mets Run Line
Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
We’re not laying “2 bucks” on the New York Yankees, a 1-to-2 favorite for Wednesday’s closer against the visiting Baltimore Orioles, who have scored exactly 2 runs in 1 inning (the top of the 9th on Tuesday) in the series so far, losing twice in a row by lopsided scores. That’s drawing more action to New York’s thin line, but the O/U total of (9) runs is more interesting. Baltimore is a new opponent for Yankee starter Jameson Taillon, and it would be anomalous for a club to start 3-0 and then score 2 or 3 runs in the next 3-game series. Projected starter John Means has been called the Orioles’ “ace” but you wouldn’t know it from watching him play the Yankees.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Line-movement on MLB games has been subtle since the young 2021 season began. But there’s nothing subtle about the rush of wagers on the Atlanta Braves headed into Tuesday’s belated opener in Washington. Atlanta opened as a 1.3-to-1 underdog and quickly became a 1-to-1 risk to reward pick at (+100), even though highly-regarded Max Scherzer is scheduled to pitch for the Nationals. Bettors are clearly hoping that yet another COVID-19 roster scenario will lead to a thin, unorthodox lineup for Washington and that the Braves will benefit from having played prior to the contest while the Nats come in cold. Daily Double is recommending the Atlanta Braves’ run line as an alternative angle, since Atlanta is still technically a (+1.5) underdog and the most-likely winning scenario for the (perhaps?) underestimated Nationals is Scherzer pitching well and helping the hosts eke-out a 1-run victory.
Pick: Braves Run Line
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies
Coors Field is usually reliable to produce a high run total, at least when both ballclubs are motivated to focus and achieve good plate discipline that puts mile-high hurlers behind in the count. Tuesday’s series opener in Denver pits the Rox against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, 2 clubs in need of a victory after beginning the season 1-3. The contest’s O/U run total has dipped to (10.5) under strange weather circumstances of which MLB speculators might have an imperfect grasp of the consequences.
Firstly, a strong wind is expected to blow toward the plate, potentially negating the effect of the thin air on long fly balls. The weather forecast is so pronounced – with a 15-mph breeze blowing straight at the batter’s box – that you’d imagine the total would drop further in less time. Rain showers are expected that could help the ball fly over the fence due to the thinness of humid air. Yet the effect of rain or humid air on baseballs is overrated, especially considering that Colorado’s organization treats its baseballs to soak-up water and gain weight more easily than typical hardballs. It is unlikely that a fair drizzle will allow for 3 hours of rainy action on the diamond without a rain delay. Coors Field could become a pitcher’s ballpark for an evening and win for the low-side of another high total.
St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins
It wouldn’t feel like a genuine Major League Baseball season without the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds clearing dugouts to intimidate each other, and yet another such dust-up occurred during a debut series between Cincy and STL over the weekend. Not that anyone cared what the final scores were compared to fascination with fisticuffs, but the Redbirds can read respect into a (-110) Las Vegas line for a series opener at Miami on Monday, considering that the Reds won the closer in a blow-out. Daniel Ponce de Leon will take the mound for St. Louis and has a solid chance to out-pitch Miami’s Trevor Rogers, but smart gamblers remain as skeptical of each offense as they are attuned to psychology. If there’s a day in which both batting orders will be subdued, it’s this one, with the Cards recovering emotionally and the Marlins simply flat.
Pick: Under (8.5)
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
One day, it looks like Las Vegas is giving Oakland too much respect, and the next, it appears that the Astros’ opening opponent is getting no respect at all. Otherwise, why would the Houston Astros be a (+107) moneyline pick for a series opener against the L.A. Angels, a club that lost batter-pitcher Shohei Ohtani to an injury on Sunday Night Baseball at the tail end of a hard-fought series with the ChiSox? Sure, the A’s looked lousy for 4 straight days to begin the season, but Houston had a lot to do with that, overcoming boos and jeers from a sparse California crowd to score 35 runs in the series. Sharks have their eye on potentially vulnerable guest-hurler Luis Garcia, but the Halos took a while to even announce a start from Jose Quintana, whose ERA was actually inferior to Garcia’s last season. All in all, plus odds on a championship-level club with early-season momentum is rarely a bad wager.
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
Oakland is drawing bets at a pretty good rate for having been blown off its home diamond in 3 straight games. Following 3/4 of a series full of decisive wins for the visiting Houston Astros, the A’s are catching the eyes of speculators as a “system” pick in the same fashion as the victorious Miami Marlins did on Saturday, a host ballclub suffering from embarrassment that’s sure to play its best 9 innings to try to turn things around and avoid a sweep. However, there are substantial differences between the 2 betting scenarios, and it’s not just that Houston and Oakland play in the American League. Miami showed promise and an ability to hang with Tampa Bay defensively, whereas Oakland has been out-scored 26-7 in the series so far. Boos or no boos, Houston’s bats are hot, and the ‘Stros could cover today’s (8.5) O/U total by themselves. If Oakland helps, even better.
Pick: Astros and/or Over
Chicago White Sox at L.A. Angels
2021’s maiden installment of Sunday Night Baseball features a ballclub that just about everyone agrees is improving headed into the 2020s – the talented Chicago White Sox. The ChiSox and the host L.A. Angels have waged a hard-fought series with the Halos emerging 4-3 winners on Opening Day and staging a comeback to prevail 5-3 on Saturday, but not without taking a 12-8 pounding from Chicago in Friday’s ballgame.
Bookmakers installed the Angels as a slight (-120) favorite for Sunday’s series closer, but picking a side involves a lot of luck. Probable ChiSox hurler Dylan Cease had a miserable finish to his 2020 campaign, and while Los Angeles starter Shohei Ohtani is a credit to international hardball and among the most-versatile players on any continent, his ongoing injury problems and failed experiments on the mound late last season make the host-hurler a wild card too. Given the number of live bats in the series and the issues with the bottom of each club’s rotation, it doesn’t seem logical that Sunday’s run total is still holding steady at (9) runs even.
Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins
While many MLB gamblers reflexively pick a home team to ward-off a sweep in the final game of an unlucky series, a better tactic could be to examine the specific circumstances around an 0-2 series start and determine if the hosts are downtrodden or ready to fight back.
Miami was a popular Friday moneyline pick to defeat Tampa Bay in the 2nd game of a 3-game set at Marlins Park, now known as LoanDepot Park. The Fish totaled 4 runs in the 7th and 8th innings and held a 4-2 lead, but infielder Joey Wendle of the Rays dinged a winning 3-run shot in the 9th frame, handing the Marlins another heartbreaking loss to open the 2021 season. Sin City sharks were correct about Miami’s bats coming alive on Friday, and Tampa Bay is pretty fortunate to be 2-0 in the series. Don Mattingly will babysit his bullpen through late innings to prevent a costly Tampa sweep, and should be steering a well-motivated club on Saturday.
Pick: Marlins (+105)
Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers
Can there be a logical “gold rush” to a betting line in an NL Central division that was as muddy as the Mississippi last year? Only if there’s a mismatch on the pitching mound. Milwaukee is a trending (-130) bet to defeat Minnesota on Saturday following the Brew Crew’s epic comeback win in extra innings. This isn’t the 1950s when the same closers pitched all the time, and the Twins’ bullpen woes from Opening Day might not be a factor on the weekend. But it’s the starting hurlers who could be the key to a successful pick on the ballgame.
Probable Twins starter Jose Berrios pitched well against Milwaukee last summer, but expected Milwaukee P Corbin Burnes is a burgeoning player who improved his ERA 4-fold in 2020 while losing just once in 12 appearances. Burnes has burned batters with an immense strikeout % and fared well enough in recent Cactus League ballgames to begin the year in top form.
Day 2 Redux: L.A. Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Some of baseball’s betting line-movement for Friday night makes little sense, such as the rush of Miami moneyline bets following the Marlins’ bad Opening Day at the plate in a 1-0 loss to Tampa. But a “stock” O/U total of (11.5) for Dodgers at Rockies doesn’t appear to be moving fast enough, even though Colorado’s 8-5 debut victory would have beaten the ballgame’s O/U total easily were it not for a bizarre Dodger home run that turned into a single thanks to a baserunning error. Friday’s match-up of Antonio Senzatela vs visiting Trevor Bauer seems solid, but both pitchers were dinged-around by the current opponent last season, and L.A. will be prepared to fight for runs and a decisive win to avoid an embarrassing 0-2 start.
San Francisco Giants at Seattle Mariners
Let’s “spend” some of our stake money earned via a 2-0 Opening Day record and a Run Line win at “plus” odds on the Colorado Rockies. San Francisco’s follow-up (+1.5) Run Line market is carrying a steady payoff number at (-175) while the Giants’ ML mysteriously shifts into underdog territory. Gamblers probably think the Giants will win by a few runs or not at all, while dismissing any prediction of a 1-run SF victory. The angle becomes sharper when the corollary is applied to the host Seattle Mariners, though, who’re putting Yusei Kikuchi on the mound to go against Johnny Cueto on Friday. Kikuchi’s skills and stamina are not special enough to move the needle so much. Cueto has fared well historically against the M’s, and while one can imagine the hosts pulling out a gritty 4-3 win to even the series, the promise of an easy romp is not in the cards for Seattle at this particular time.
Pick: Giants Run Line
*2021 MLB Season Opening Day*
L.A. Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Welcome to another season of daily Major League Baseball previews and predictions! ‘Boppers can count on Daily Double for moneyline and run-total picks throughout the 2021 MLB season, but we’re always down to look at a Run Line once in a while, especially when a ML is so high-risk as (-220) on the defending World Series champions for an Opening Day contest in Colorado.
Championship baseball clubs tend to begin the MLB marathon at a leisurely pace, hoping to peak in late summer and win the pennant. 2020’s short season threw a wrinkle in that design, but 2021’s full slate should cause a reversion to the norm when it comes to early-season favorites. Clayton Kershaw is pitching for the Bums, but L.A.’s Run Line is way too juiced on the road at (-142).
Pick: Rockies (+1.5)
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics
The 2021 season won’t be an immediate return to normalcy in all things baseball, and a lack of packed, vibrant stadiums on Opening Day could lead to a disadvantage for host clubs who would normally enjoy a morale boost from the spring fan support. Nonetheless, the Astros and A’s are at even (-110) odds to win Thursday’s opener in NorCal, given Oakland’s division triumph and the optimism surrounding probable pitcher Chris Bassitt, who takes on aging Zack Greinke of Houston. Greinke will probably exit by the 6th inning to give way to the ‘Stros bullpen, but his age won’t be a factor on Opening Day, and Houston has remained potent on offense even without trash-can-drumming cheat codes.
(2020 Season Predictions)
Sunday MLB Closer – Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs
The stage is set for a rubber match between A-grade baseball clubs in Chi-Town. It’s been a long time since we could say that! An ugly hit-batter incident marred the 2nd outing in which the ChiSox claimed a revenge 9-5 victory after getting powdered in the opener. An iffy pitching match-up of Lopez vs Alzolay and loose batters having fun may be angles that appear to make the falling Over (9.5) a worthy wager, but managers will be cautious under the circumstances, allowing partial lineups to go 100% instead of asking every superstar to bat 6 times. As for the pitching staffs, 1 suspended hurler is enough, and they’ll be more careful too. Sleepy is probably the word of the day, until the rivals try to break a 2-2 tie in the late innings. (Yes, there’s a chance this outcome will be 15-13 and put a rotten cherry on top of an otherwise successful season of MLB touting.)
Sunday Closer Redux: Atlanta Braves vs Boston Red Sox
No time to waste on a long-winded pick with the campaign ending. Boston has turned the Bos-at-Atl series into a statement of sorts, but the Braves don’t want to advance into the playoffs on a sour note, and will probably play well defensively even if the batting order doesn’t roar at full volume. As for the Red Sox, they’ll miss the elements of shock and surprise after giving the successful 2020 club all kinds of problems for 2 days.
Enjoy the MLB postseason, ‘Boppers, and check WagerBop for recaps and handicapping throughout the 2020 playoffs and World Series.
Red Sox Wrap-Up Bloody Season in Atlanta
Saturday’s latest eastern battle is its most intriguing in terms of the pitching scenario. Boston’s season was essentially over a long time ago. That’s why you haven’t heard much about the Red Sox from WagerBop lately, because when a talented club sits in the cellar, lines and outcomes are volatile, and a matter of luck and timing. Tanner Houck is a starting pitcher that some ‘cappers like enough to predict a Boston win (or a least an Under (9.5) result) when the Red Sox play the Braves at Truist Park on Saturday evening. But the Braves may come out slugging behind an enigma of their own in Tucker Davidson. It’s a fun project for a club that’s otherwise bored to try to get a W for an 0-0 hurler.
Don’t Overlook the Obvious on Bums-Halos
Everybody likes the Over (9) for a Dodgers-Angels nightcap, since L.A. is likely to whale away on the Halo bullpen now that the American League team is out of the playoff hunt. However, there are all sort of weird macro-factors that could drive the total-outcome up or down. The Angels won’t be sacrificing any veteran bodies and could get worse offensively as the Bums get better, but then the Dodgers aren’t a desperate club themselves at the moment. You can imagine a 3-1 snoozer or a 10-2 Dodger win…the common denominator is the better, more-motivated side winning.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5)
Ladies and gentlemen, 1 day only…The Daily Triple!
NY is the Popular Line…and Not Just Because it Pays More
The Metropolitans’ season is on the brink after dropping 2 out of 3 games to the Atlanta Braves (who have clinched an NL East crown) and the Tampa Bay Rays. All there is left to do is try to sweep the Washington Nationals in 4 games and hope vs hope that the standings work out in New York’s favor. Thursday’s 3-2 win looks like a good start on the scoreboard even though the Mets stranded a ton of base-runners. Gamblers love the visitors to win again on Friday anyway, shrinking the Mets’ ML to (+125), but Max Scherzer lurks as the opposing starter on an anxious evening.
Pick: Under (8.5)
Reds Draw Action vs Twins in Minny
Cincinnati at Minnesota is another ballgame for which the shifting line belies a pitching match-up. Bettors seem to like Cincy (+130) but the Twins will enjoy a start from Jose Berrios and are likely to score enough runs to win at home.
Pick: Twins (-150)
Handicapping the Oakland A’s Run Line
The Seattle Mariners rebounded from a series loss to San Diego by winning a best-of-3 against the Houston Astros, but it may not do the club a whole lot of good at 6 games below .500. Seattle is also hitting a soft spot in the rotation headed into a series opener in Oakland on Friday night. 2-4 Yusei Kikuchi is probably no match for Chris Bassitt of the A’s, but the best reasons to put your money on Moneyball with a (-105) host Run Line are that the Athletics are 20-8 at home this season, and still have visions of finishing 1st or 2nd overall in the American League.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (-1.5)
St. Louis an Underdog vs Own Farm Team…Just Kidding
You could imagine many scenarios in which the Cardinals might lose to the lowly Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, but it was hard to foresee the Redbirds getting trounced by nearly double-digit runs. KC dinged Carlos Martinez around early and often, posting a surprise series win. Gamblers have responded by moving St. Louis to a (+143) underdog’s line against visiting Milwaukee on Thursday, as the Brewers have more to play for than the Royals probably do right now, and theoretically should be able to leave the Gateway City with playoff hopes alive. Kwang-Hyun Kim faces Corbin Burnes in an expected pitcher’s duel in the opener, though, and STL knows how to play small-ball.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line (+1.5)
Sorry ‘Boppers, due to a mishap, a scratched prediction for tonight has made it a Daily Single. We’ll follow-up with a “triple” tomorrow 9/25.
Cards Scrappy, Undervalued vs Cellar Dwellers
Welcome to another special “afternoon edition” of the Daily Double, brought to you by a ‘capper who spent too much time celebrating the Bronx Bombers putting an end to our brief losing streak last night. It’s important to finish the year solidly after building that bankroll with a nuclear-hot summer. I’m touting a pair of late-night ballgames as a courtesy of browsers who need time to find our picks, but even though the Cardinals aren’t as sexy of a Wednesday nightcap-favorite as the L.A. Dodgers, the Redbirds have the fatter odds at (-130) and are the stronger bet to defeat Kansas City. P Carlos Martinez is more of an “opener” for St. Louis at this point, and will be yanked early on the road if there’s trouble. Meanwhile, Danny Duffy may help win for KC Run Line bettors by a run, but that’s the best a cellar club can do after dropping 4 of its last 5.
Battle of Untimely Slumpers in San Fran
Because of the gaggle of National League clubs hanging around .500, the San Francisco Giants and – yes – even the Colorado Rockies are in reach of playoff bids. But neither team is playing like it wants to keep going after this weekend. Rox haven’t won a series since the 1st week of September, and the Giants are still wobbling their way out of a sweep rivalry-series loss to San Diego. Logan Webb is a hurler that gamblers entrust to a shrinking (-192) moneyline for the host Gigantes. However, Webb hasn’t been throwing past the 4th or 5th inning very often, making the ballgame a crap-shoot and a better bet on the underdog and the high side of a modest Over/Under line.
Pick: Rockies Run Line (+1.5) and/or Over (9)
White Sox a Hot ‘Dog in Cleveland
Is the pennant race really a clue to what’s going to occur on the diamond next, or is our time better spent looking at individual match-ups and subtle angles? Gamblers know that the Chicago White Sox of the AL Central are desperate to keep winning with the Minnesota Twins a wafer’s breadth behind at 1 and 1/2 games. Even though the ChiSox are essentially guaranteed a decent playoff seed at this point, a division title would mean a lot. But we’re thinking handicappers have more than motivation in mind as Chicago’s “sexy” underdog line shrinks to (+155) for Tuesday afternoon’s ballgame at Progressive Field. Cal Quantrill is a talented hurler with whom Cleveland is being very careful from a pitch-count POV, while Reynaldo “Ruy” Lopez of the White Sox will probably last longer. The idea is that Chicago will bat successfully against the Indian bullpen for at least 4 or 5 innings. Not sure if that’s enough to call the guests true favorites, but I’m feeling a run total close to the 11 runs scored in Monday’s opener.
Pick: Over (8)
Succinct Will Suffice on Blue Jays-Pinstripes
We’ve printed some long-winded handicaps over the last few days – with diminishing success. So here’s a quickie.
The Yankees and Blue Jays – the latter of which have ruined a hot mid-season with poor starting and finishing form – are averaging a combined 10+ runs per game, and the Yanks are poised to knock Tanner Roark of Toronto around for 3-5 innings on Tuesday evening. Given the Blue Jays’ bankrupt fielding effort at times this season, that’s not a good recipe for touting the Under on a sub-10 run O/U line.
Pick: Over (9.5)
Phillies May Need 3 or 4 in Washington
For all of Daily Double’s boasting of a mid-season hot streak, your pundit also admits to having made a stupid call on 2020’s last-place MLB clubs. I predicted in June that the shortened season and quick eliminations from the pennant race would turn struggling teams into dead-in-the-water patsies by September. It hasn’t worked out that way. Ballclubs like the Nationals, Red Sox, and Royals are fighting to the finish with lots of strong individual efforts, even though a GM can always excuse a hot batting average or ERA over a small sample-size.
The Philadelphia Phillies are trying to earn a wild card spot in the National League, and appear blessed with a 4-game series in Washington. The Nats, however, just clobbered Miami 15-0 on Sunday. Is the Phillies’ Run Line worth giving (-1.5) runs at (-105) payoff for Monday’s opener against a dangerous cellar team? Yes, but only because 4-0 Zack Wheeler is starting for Philadelphia after getting snake-bitten in a strong outing against the Mets last week.
Pick: Phillies Run Line
Astros, M’s Wind Up Unlikely Wild Card Hopefuls
I’ve avoided touting batting averages and ERA numbers in 2020 because so many such stat lines can be skewed to insignificance by a short season. But it’s interesting to see that Seattle – lowly Seattle – has a few superior %s in the lineup than Houston after 50+ ballgames. M’s catcher Austin Nola is hitting .308 and slugging an outstanding .531. While the Mariners don’t have the pitching or athleticism to win a pennant, the club is actually still in the race for a Wild Card spot in the postseason. The Astros are too, of course, and just beat the D-Backs in a pair of consecutive 3-2 squeakers to solidify the team’s record at 27-26. A sturdy pitching match-up of Marco Gonzales vs Lance McCullers Jr. has combined with the Astros’ low-scoring wins to shrink an already-cautious O/U to (8) total runs on the Seattle-Houston opener Monday night. I’m not feeling that line-movement given the crucial scenario and last-ditch pinch hitting decisions to be made by teams hungry for a series win.
Braves Battle to Hold Off Unlikely Upstart
What if someone had said 2 months ago (for all I know, someone may have said it) that the fiercest MLB division race of September would come down to Atlanta, Philadelphia…and Miami? Strangely enough, the upstart Marlins might have the hottest momentum of the 3 ballclubs. Miami has won the last 2 contests of a 5-game stint with Washington and will play a doubleheader before meeting the Braves, who are being pushed to accumulate a magic number by next weekend at just (+2.5) games ahead in the NL East. Gamblers seem to like Atlanta (-105) to beat the host New York Mets behind P Kyle Wright on Sunday afternoon, but with Rick Porcello throwing again for the Mets, the (9.5) Over/Under line seems too conservative given 2 pitchers averaging about 5 catch-as-catch-can innings per appearance.
Cubs Hope to Seal the Deal by Mid-Week
The Chicago Cubs will play a 3-game rivalry series with the ChiSox to cap off the regular season, but it’s looking as though the meeting could be a ceremonial outing for 2 clinched division-winners. It may prove an easier task for the Cubbies, who are nearly 5 games ahead of St. Louis and play the lowly Pirates in the next series, than the White Sox – who have the Minnesota Twins hot on their trail. Minnesota is a (+135) underdog for Sunday Night Baseball against the National League club in Chi-Town, but the paradoxical pairing of Yu Darvish and Jose Berries throwing in the batter’s ballpark of Wrigley Field has bookmakers wary of committing to Over/Under markets. Minnesota’s offense is so feast or famine that I dare not recommend the Twins (+1.5). Over (7.5) or Under (9) are provisional value bets for when lines are available.
Pick: Cubs Run Line (-1.5)
When Only 1 Major Market is Moving (At All)
Moneylines are almost completely stationary for Major League Baseball on Saturday. Daily Double isn’t naive enough to think that every high-roller is deferring to bookmaker opinion. More likely, not enough “sexy” predictions are catching-on because of the saturation of weekend sports markets like the Premier League and NFL. Over/Under totals are moving – namely falling slowly – across a few MLB markets. But our only “R-rated” suggestion is that the St. Louis Cardinals’ odds and not the Redbird O/U line should be shrinking. Sin City forecasts (8) total runs and falling for the 4th of 5 ballgames in Pittsburgh. The Pirates beat the Cardinals in a token opener, but St. Louis has controlled the series since then, and if gamblers think a start from visiting P Kwang Hyun Kim is a reason to pick the Under (surely host hurler Mitch Keller isn’t sparking the trend) then why is the favorite’s Run Line still a cool (-110)? St. Louis needs the series desperately – Pittsburgh needs the offseason.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line
Morton Tries to Salt Away 4th of 5 in Baltimore
Division-leading Tampa Bay has been making a case as the world’s best baseball team with a modest payroll, but the Rays must hold off a pricier New York Yankee lineup that’s making a late charge at the AL East crown. 5 games of a sweep in Baltimore would come in handy for sure, and Tampa has won the first 3 so far with a mix of slugging and error-free fielding in tight ballgames. Just 2 runs were enough to propel the Rays to a win on Friday as P Tyler Glasnow fanned 10 batters while building the lead. Charlie Morton is Saturday’s name-brand visiting starter at Camden Yards, but watch for host hurler Jorge Lopez to match Morton’s early innings and produce a 3rd low-scoring nailbiter in the series.
Royals a Rare In-Vogue Underdog on Friday
There are a bunch of Friday underdog lines that gamblers aren’t especially taking to, but an exception in Milwaukee as the Kansas City Royals are a shrinking (+127) bet to prevail in a series opener vs the Brew Crew. Milwaukee is still technically in the National League playoff chase at 23-26, but Kansas City’s record may be deceiving Las Vegas at 21-29. Last place may be an all-too-familiar spot for the Royals, but KC has won 7 of its last 10, and will pitch 3-3 Danny Duffy against struggling Adrian Houser of the Brewers. Duffy helped blank the Cleveland Indians in his most-recent start on 9/9.
Banner Year in Chi-Town Picks Up Steam
The Chicago Cubs appear to be getting the mojo back. 4 wins in a row have helped to solidify the club’s grip on the NL Central, and 2 of the Cubbies’ 3 starting outfielders are slugging above .500. (LF Kyle Schwarber, slugging only .406, has nevertheless batted 10 home runs in 50 games.) Kyle Hendricks is yet another quality go-to on the mound in Friday night’s opener against the visiting Minnesota Twins. But don’t be quick to jump on the Chi-Town bandwagon at (-135) moneyline odds – the Twins are even more desperate to keep winning and close the gap on the AL Central-leading White Sox. Minny’s bats have quieted down recently, but in a hitter’s park, I’m liking the Over (8.5) for a ballgame that could go into extra innings tied 4-4 and clinch the Over win before a 9th run is scored.
Chase Indeed: Yankees Could Continue to Crush Blue Jay Pitching
What are the Toronto Blue Jays doing better than other Cinderella candidates who’re under .500 in 2020? Lots of good things, maybe, but given recent developments, handicappers may stop answering that question with glowing praise of Toronto batters and pitchers – especially pitchers – and posit that the Canadian club simply played a nice manageable schedule for a month or so. The Blue Jays have collapsed from the mound and on defense against high-priced Big Apple clubs in 3 of the last 5 contests and in the last 2 games consecutively, losing 18-1 to the Mets on Friday and giving up 33 combined runs to the Yankees in 2 outings this week. Gamblers think the Yanks (-230) will chase Chase Anderson off the rubber early in Thursday night’s series closer, but scheduled New York starter Masahiro Tanaka is holding the O/U at (9.5) total runs.
Pick: Yankees Run Line (-1.5)
Rox Beyond Rescue Headed Into 4 Battles With Bums
Cue corny TV commercial: “Sleepy Major League nightcaps got you snoozing? How about a late-night trip…miles high?” Okay, that’s closer to a stoner-themed Jack In The Box ad. But the point stands – despite the Rockies’ presence in a western state we don’t often get to see night-capping games (or “bailout” ballgames in gambling terms) in such a batter-friendly venue as Coors Field. The Colorado Rockies have pitched well and batted poorly in consecutive series with the Angels and Athletics, and will rely heavily on starting hurlers to put the club on solid footing throughout a 4-game meeting with Cody Bellinger and the L.A. Dodgers. But even if the Rox were to somehow win the series 3-1, they’re not going to make the playoffs, which means skipper Bud Black is ready to roll with untested relief pitchers as soon as soon as starter Kyle Freeland is dismissed by the Bums on Thursday night. L.A. starter Julio Urias is 3-0 on the season and knows how to cut his losses to prevent big rallies…which Dodger bats are likely to produce in thin air.
Pick: Dodgers (-160)
Public Buys Low, Sells Short on MLB O/U Totals
Once again, Daily Double has chosen to track AM line-movement on a pair of late-night contests, hoping to pick vs the betting public and snap out of a brief slump that has brought our picks to single-digits above .500 on the season. But when seeking to pick against the public, it’s important to examine why line-movement is taking place, instead of taking for granted that it’s foolhardy. Gamblers have pulled an Over/Under total for the Cubs-Indians return bout on Thursday from (7.5) to (8), but is it because they’ve recognized how fragile and likely to miss some of Las Vegas’ “Under” predictions are this season, or because of irrational belief in batting prowess? WagerBop will side with the former theory this time, because Chicago was able to overcome a massive outing from Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor and 8 combined hits from the Indian outfield in a 6-5 series-opening triumph on Wednesday. Jon Lester is starting for the Cubs, but I don’t see Chicago winning Thursday night’s ballgame 2-1 with each lineup finding ways to score vs quality pitching.
Pick: Cubs (-110) and/or Over (8)
Giants Too Giant a Favorite in Nightcap ML
The Seattle Mariners have played their way back into the fringes of contention in the American League ranks, though losing to Oakland 9-0 in 7 innings on Wednesday could threaten to bust the M’s momentum. Twas lousy pitching that done it as much as quiet bats – Seattle squeezed 6 very solid innings out of P Marco Gonzales in a 6-5 opening win, but all 3 Mariner hurlers pitched their way into impossible jams in the follow-up. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants deserve better than to be 10 games back in the NL West, but can take heart in the lack of winning records around the league. Both starting pitchers in Thursday’s series-opening Mariners vs Giants nightcap have been yanked early in consecutive starts, meaning bullpens may decide the contest. Does San Fran have an advantage in relief pitching and available pinch-batters? Sure, but not as decisive as gamblers think – gamblers who have shrunk the Giants’ ML close to 1-to-2.
Pick: Mariners (+145)
Mets and Under the Popular Lean for Philly Opener
With the visitors’ moneyline for the New York Mets’ opener in Philadelphia on Tuesday shrinking to (-130) and the total falling from (10) to (9.5), it’s clear that wiseguys expect the Mets to win a relevatively low-scoring ballgame. While it’s true that the Metropolitans used-up all their run scoring in game #1 of a sour series with Toronto prior to the meeting, the Phillies are demoralized themselves after dropping all but 1 contest in Miami. Like the ML movement the dropping O/U is correlated with Philadelphia’s lagging bats, but with each club poised to go deep into its bullpen, the former popular bet is the safer pick.
Cubs vs Indians Odds Still Convalescing in AM
We haven’t had much opportunity to check on the Cleveland Indians at Daily Double this season, and must apologize to fans in northeast Ohio for only bringing the team up now. That’s because Cleveland is on a 5-game losing streak, a slump that would be manageable in any other year, but threatens to knock the Indians out of the playoffs in the short season of 2020. Strong starting hurlers highlight Tuesday night’s opener between the Indians and the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field as Yu Darvish takes on visiting Carlos Carrasco. But even as bookmakers seem shy to put out early Run Lines, an opening-consensus O/U of (8.5) seems a tick too high considering that each pitcher has been consistently standing tall on the mound into late innings.
Gamblers Cease to be Confident in ChiSox
Just as the Pinstripes’ 4-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles helped to shape an AL East division race going forward, the Minnesota Twins visit the Chicago White Sox for a 4-game meeting to determine 2020’s stretch front-runner in the American League Central. Bettors are shy of the ChiSox (+112) with P Dylan Cease scheduled on the mound on Monday, but Cease is 5-3 this season, though up-against a solid hurler in Jose Berrios of the Twins. Minnesota bats have been warming over the past few games, but the White Sox are hot too, and have won 5 more ballgames at Guaranteed Rate Field than the Twins have won in 22 road appearances.
Pick: White Sox and/or Over (9)
Total Drawn Low for Expected Pitcher’s Duel
San Diego has had a few ballgames go “Under” the Sin City total lately, and not simply because the Padres have played some 7-inning contests. The Pads just held the San Francisco Giants to a grand total of 2 runs in a 3-game sweep over the weekend, starter Mike Clevinger posting a 2-hit complete game and a shut-out in Sunday’s early game. Cody Bellinger and the L.A. Dodgers clearly pose a superior threat from the plate, and I’m counting on L.A.’s livelier at-bats to help blunt the Padres’ fielding prowess in what should be a close Dodger win behind Clayton Kershaw in Monday’s series-opening nightcap at Petco Park. Dinelson Lamet is pitching for the Padres, but he’ll be bound to leave the mound by inning #7. Forget the O/U of (8) – focus on a tight ML.
Pick: Dodgers (-130)
Yankee Wins Yank NY Moneyline Short for Closer
The Bronx Bombers are using a 4-game rivalry series as a springboard in the pennant race, clocking the Baltimore Orioles in the opening 3 games despite the O-Birds’ improved form in 2020. Thursday and Friday were dominant wins for the hosts, but on Saturday the Yankees won a pitcher’s duel 2-1 behind 9 Ks from Jordan Montgomery and a quartet of solid bullpen hurlers. Say what you will about the chances of sweeping 4-game series, but Sunday afternoon is likely to end in just that scenario. Baltimore isn’t hosting, and neither club is atop its pitching rota for the closer, so I find it more than reasonable that Las Vegas likes New York (-205), a pricey team trending upward, over the Orioles – a budget team trending downward, thanks to the Yankees.
Pick: Yankees Run Line (-1.5)
Top vs Cellar Division Battle Draws Tight Line
What factors would cause Las Vegas and London speculators to draw tight odds on a 1st place team vs a last-place team? For a start, the NL East’s Atlanta at Washington series has produced 2 excellent ballgames so far. The Braves followed an historic 20-run win over Miami with a 7-6 win in the opener, but the Nats fought back with an extra-innings victory on Friday despite Atlanta DH Marcell Ozuna swatting an immense 5 hits in 6 at-bats. Washington is a talented, losing club with a spoiler’s point to prove, and a (-105) bet to win Saturday’s 3rd contest. But it isn’t a rubber match, and although our buddy The Corbin Project is hurling for the Nats, Ian “Jethro Tull” Anderson of the front-running Braves is the better 70s reference (and wager) this time.
Weird Nightcap and Weirder Records
It’s not just an NL Central nightcap on Saturday, it’s a truly strange match-up of a striding club that can take on the division leaders, and a horse-fly that just won’t let go. St. Louis’ “all-average” record of .500 home, away, and overall (in addition to 5-5 in the last 10 games!) belies the Cardinals’ stubborn streak and the fact that the Chicago Cubs aren’t running away from the Redbirds in the race for 1st. But the Reds won a series opener 3-1 at Ballpark Village behind a complete game from P Luis Castillo. Solid pitching and fielding (and a lack of monster bats) has Saturday night’s O/U total sitting at (8.5), but I’m more interested in a fattening (-115) line on the Cardinals, who appear due to dismiss Cincy behind starter Dakota Hudson and set up a series rubber-match.
Our humble regrets on posting today’s picks on a late, lazy California morning (thankfully not an apocalyptic-orange one) but we’ve been tracking some shifting lines on a pair of Friday MLB nightcaps.
(If you’re staying home to watch late-Friday night baseball you’re either a fanatic or a quarantine victim, either of which leaves plenty of time to read picks in the PM.)
Gamblers Don’t Trust Halos to Capitalize in CO
It’s rare to see an O/U total trend downward when batters like Albert Pujols and Mike Trout are visiting Coors Field in the thin mountainous air of Colorado. But gamblers are expecting the Angels to fall back again following a brief decent stretch that still leaves L.A. too far back to catch up in the pennant race, moving the run total to (12) instead of sending it soaring to (13) or (14) for Friday night’s Rox vs Angels opener. Expected visiting starter Griffin Canning has skills to belie an 0-3 record, lending credence to the betting action. But starters aren’t pitching complete games for contenders or pretenders alike, and I’m not liking Colorado starter German Marquez’s chances for an epic outing.
Favorite and Underdog MLs Reverse in AZ
There is no denying that the Seattle Mariners are an improved ballclub in 2020, though the team’s poor road record may ensure that it misses the postseason. Bookmakers figured Arizona (formerly (-115) on opening) would handle Seattle in Friday’s nightcap opener at Chase Field, but gamblers have turned the tables with a new line of L.A. (-120). Part is of the reason is doubt that host hurler Caleb Smith will substantially out-play or out-last visiting starter Yusei Kikuchi. But wiseguys also noticed the Ms looking alive on the diamond while the D-Backs ponder golf and 2021.
Matching Moneylines in Magic City
How about a “system” pick to try to kick-start another Daily Double winning streak? The realization that most clubs have less than 20 ballgames to go has gamblers looking at the standings, and the Miami Marlins are among the few true underdogs with a chance to make noise in September. Sin City is paying respect to the Fish with matching (-110) moneylines on Philadelphia at Miami on Thursday evening despite the dangerous Phillies standing 21-18 and 2 games back in the NL East. and despite the Marlins giving up a staggering 29 runs to the division-leading Braves in Wednesday’s historic closer. But my focus is on Thursday’s Over (9) payoff of (+100) and our 2020 success in picking mispriced Over bets below (10) and Under bets on double-digit O/U numbers. Each starting pitcher in the Miami-Philly opener (Sandy Alcantera and Jake Arrieta) has had serious early-innings issues in his last 2 outings.
Bookmakers Skeptical of Hapless Gigantes Hurler
The Giants and Padres are a pair of upstarts (if not long-shots) who still have a shot at the pennant, and bettors like San Diego to win Thursday’s opener with visiting San Francisco. P Trevor Cahill is the culprit behind a long-shot underdog’s line of (+175) for Gigantes, a player who can’t stay on the mound long enough to help a worthy bullpen play to its potential. We’re all for rating Cahill a steep underdog against the Pads, but San Diego starter Chris Paddock hasn’t pad-locked too many offenses lately. Over and Favorite Win are still correlated most of the time, right? So why is the O/U just (8.5) with batting orders clicking, each team on a hot streak, and just a 9 MPH expected breeze blowing to the corner?
Nostalgic Series Underlines Clubs’ Present Problems
Among the more colorful inter-league series of 2020 is the current 2-game stint between the New York Mets and visiting Baltimore Orioles. But peanuts and Cracker-Jacks won’t erase the present-day dilemmas faced by both historic clubs. Baltimore needs a sweep to keep playoff hopes healthy, and New York has to put a hot streak together in short-order. The Orioles dominated the opener on Tuesday for the guests’ 4th win in as many ballgames, CF Cedric Mullens pacing the O-Birds with 3 hits in an 11-2 romp. Bookmakers like Rick Porcello of the Mets (-152) to out-gun Jorge Lopez and the Orioles on Wednesday, but the counter-intuitive gambling line almost seems to mimic what Las Vegas would do with a division-rivalry series in which the hosts needed to win the final meeting to avoid a sweep. Baltimore’s momentum is a plus, not a minus. The series isn’t Yankees-Red Sox, and the Orioles haven’t been beating the Mets for 3 days.
Pick: Orioles Run Line (+1.5)
Gamblers Trust Teheran in Texas
Julio Teheran and the L.A. Angels opened as underdogs for Wednesday night’s 2nd of 3 contests with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. After all, Teheran is leading a club that has played its way out of the pennant race already, and which lost Tuesday’s opener 7-1. Worse, the hurler lost his last outing vs San Diego. But it’s not up for debate that the Rangers are in worse straits than the Halos, who have out-played the cellar ballclub over the last 2 weeks. Opposing starter Kyle Cody pitched all of 3 innings to drop to 0-1 on the season against the Mariners, and WagerBop aligns with the moneyline action that has moved the Angels into a favorite’s market of (-122) as of Wednesday morning.
Enigma on Mound Leads to Tight Line in STL
The Minnesota Twins would seem to be an obvious pick at (-120) for the 1st of 2 games in St. Louis on Tuesday. Jose Berrios is starting for the Twins following another effective 6-inning day and a win over the White Sox. The Cardinals are pitching Carlos Martinez, a summer COVID-19 case who has labored to regain the form of his mid-20s. But handicappers are convinced Martinez will have a good outing against a high-powered division rival, plunging the O/U to (7). I’m not as swayed by whatever Sin City sees this time.
Pick: Twins and/or Over
Total Rises for Rox at Pads
The golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez used to put his hat over the hole after making a birdie. Chi Chi Gonzales, the Colorado Rockies’ starter on Tuesday night in San Diego, may be a mad hatter to think he can beat a zoned-in Mike Clevinger and the Padres. Gamblers don’t think so, rating the Pads as a (-240) favorite despite the club opening at a chintzy 1-to-2 price. But the total is also rising despite the fact that Colorado’s batting numbers are always inflated, and San Diego’s identity as a methodical club that will be happy with small rallies after taking an early lead.
Yankees Deal With an Ace in Canada
Believe it or not, Daily Double took a sigh of relief when the Braves vs Nationals game went over the Sin City run total on Sunday. A week of 10-0-0 or 15-0-1 predictions would have to be partially due to good luck, which would be sure to run out and disappoint expectations going forward. It’s sort of the pop-handicapper’s version of a successful gambler not wanting to get thrown-out of the house.
The New York Yankees were once hot enough to get dirty looks from opposing fans if not pit bosses, but a mid-season downturn and a ghastly away-record could prevent the Pinstripes from even reaching the 2020 postseason. The Yanks lost a series to AL-East leader Tampa Bay, allowed 9 runs in a 1-off loss to the rival Mets, then lost a 4-game series with Baltimore while falling to 3rd place behind Toronto. The Blue Jays will pitch ace Hyun-Jin Ryu against Jordan Montgomery in Monday’s series opener with the Yankees, leading to a favorite’s moneyline on the Canadian club. But the underdog hurler has been pretty solid outside of a mishap vs the Rays and should help New York’s batting order keep the score tight in an absolute must-win scenario.
Pick: Yankees Run Line (+1.5)
‘Stros Underdog Line Marks Turning Point in Houston Odds
Without a handful of doubleheaders scheduled on Labor Day, it’s time to drop the macro-analysis of each depth chart and pitching stable and focus on some individual numbers. Houston’s (+130) moneyline to win the 1st of a 5-game stint with Monday’s host Oakland A’s is far from the sexiest pick on the betting board, but gamblers may be looking at the Athletics’ fine overall W/L record and not the team’s last 10 results, which match Houston’s at 4-6. Injuries have thinned the Space City batting order, but LF Kyle Tucker and DH Michael Brantley are slugging well over .500. Tucker posted 3 hits and 3 more RBIs in a truncated loss to the Halos on Saturday. Gamblers don’t think Frankie Montas vs guest hurler Cristian Javier is a big mismatch despite Javier winning 2x as many times and holding about half the ERA of Montas. But the Oakland heavyweight is getting yanked early in ballgames, meaning that the Astros will have a chance to methodically wear down the A’s bullpen.
The betting public may finally be starting to undervalue Houston after overvaluing a club without its most potent (and illegal) weapon early in summer.
Braves and Nats Produce Tight Line in Atlanta
Daily Double is nuclear-hot with a 70%+ streak since mid-August and 59% season winners on bets not pushed. While it would probably be wise to look into new markets following a satisfying O/U pick on a 2-0 Saturday, the Over/Under might be a better way to take advantage of the pitching scenario in Atlanta on Sunday than the Washington Nationals’ popular (and shrinking) (+107) moneyline. Patrick “Colossus: The Corbin Project” Corbin will be starting in the closer vs host hurler Josh Tomlin, but although Corbin looks like a classic case of a potential ace holding up the world for a flailing ballclub, and though Tomlin hasn’t been winning baseball games, each has gotten little help from batters. Corbin is likely to out-last Tomlin but I’m not feeling Washington’s lineup against the Braves’ bullpen despite a pair of high-scoring outcomes in the series.
Pick: Under (9.5)
Bettors Taking Bums at Premium Prices
The consensus Las Vegas and London run total is also O/U (9.5) for the back-end of a Sunday night doubleheader, but the moneyline is as lopsided as you might expect with P Julio Urias leading the L.A. Dodgers against the visiting Colorado Rockies, with the latter club just treading water in the middle of the NL West. Rox batters haven’t been so bad in the heavy air of opposing parks, in fact, the team has a better W/L record on the road, and has split a pair of outings with L.A. prior to Sunday’s rubber match. But the guests are pitching Ryan Castellani, who was blown off the diamond by San Diego and Houston in 2 of his last 3 starts. The Bums stranded 8 runners in Saturday’s loss.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5)
Handicappers Think Snell’s About to Snare a Marlin
Miami is watching its brave pennant bid go a-glimmer. The Marlins have slipped under the .500 mark, nearly 5 games behind the NL East division-leading Atlanta Braves with just over 50 combined ballgames left to go. Fish fought hard in Friday’s inter-league opener at Tampa Bay, out-playing the AL East leaders with exception of Pablo Lopez giving up a 3-run double to Rays catcher Michael Pérez that made the difference in Tampa’s 6-5 win. Gamblers don’t think Miami (+200) will damage Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell in Saturday’s follow-up yet the O/U is rising from (7) to (7.5). Daily Double’s 2020 SOP aligns perfectly with the public’s opinion.
Resurgent M’s Prompt Favorite’s ML on Saturday Night
Is the 3-game Seattle winning streak a product of improving hardball, or just statistical noise? It’s harder to discount “short” winning or losing streaks in a short season, since teams are bringing A-games every day. Seattle fielders protected 2-1 and 6-3 victories without making an error on Thursday and Friday. Respect for the M’s defense is reflecting in a falling O/U of (8.5) for Saturday night’s follow-up with the Texas Rangers, but bettors don’t feel the same about Seattle’s chances to win 4 in a row, with the Texas moneyline shrinking to (+116). It bears mentioning, though, that betting against a win streak can suffer from a “coin-flip” fallacy – yes, the coin is unlikely to land on heads 10 straight times, but each toss is still 50-50. The Lone Stars are having a poor season and will try a struggling Kyle Gibson on the mound, while Seattle’s Justus Sheffield is coming off a bad outing vs L.A. that looks like an anomaly when compared to his previous starts.
It’s All About That Run Total…Low-Side Style
As baseball clubs get into the grueling part of the schedule – what “grueling” there is in a 60-game slate – gamblers seem more and more inclined to pick the low side of the O/U total when pitchers show the slightest promise. All kinds of totals are sinking prior to Friday’s ballgames, and the most-promising of such bets could be the (9.5) total on the New York Mets vs Philadelphia Phillies. A match-up of starters Jake Arrieta and host Rick Porcello promoted Sin City to open with a double-digit O/U line, but the Phillies have been winning with defense, and the Mets’ hurler hasn’t gotten much help from his batters in 2 of 4 losses.
Host Bullpen a Key Angle in Los Angeles
Houston has a popular (-116) moneyline for Friday night’s series opener against the host L.A. Angels. Given that L.A.’s probable pitcher Dylan Bundy possesses twice as handy of an ERA (and then some) as counterpart Lance McCullers Jr., there’s more than the listed hurlers involved in pregame gambling action. Bundy isn’t going to pitch a complete game unless providence smiles on every inning, and wiseguys are correct to think the ‘Stros can do damage against the Angel bullpen. However, there’s also a chance that the Halos will win thanks to superior pitching in the opening 4-5 innings, and if you’re not into 5-innings markets, there’s betting value in an educated guess that L.A. will hang tight and play spoiler against a division rival.
Pick: Angels Run Line (+1.5)
What’s Really Holding the Total Down?
Sometimes there are so many factors affecting an MLB run total, it’s hard to say whether the line-movement is caused by 1 or 2 angles or just a combination of everything. Toronto and Miami are at O/U (7.5) runs and falling for Wednesday evening’s closer at Marlins Park with Hyun-jin Ryu and Sixto Sanchez starting for the visiting and host clubs respectively. It’s more than just the impressive hurlers, though – Toronto’s series with Baltimore was low-scoring, Miami’s 1-off with the New York Mets was low-scoring, and Tuesday’s 2-game-series opener included a total of 5 runs. Considering that the Marlins can challenge the Blue Jay bullpen a little more aggressively than the slumping Orioles can, and that a 5-3 outcome wins the Over, I’m betting against the action once again.
Gamblers Trust Allard, Rangers as Underdogs in Houston
While the Houston Astros are having a fine season under the circumstances, Space City fans are beginning to worry that the club’s penchant for losing on the road could turn into a lack of nerve at home. The ‘Stros recently blew a chance to sweep the Padres at Minute Maid Park prior to a 3-day string of postponed ballgames, then lost Tuesday’s opener to Texas in extra innings despite a strong outing from Framber Valdez. Gamblers love the Rangers’ underdog line-to-win Wednesday night’s contest, currently (+185) payoff odds and shrinking. Too many things are pointing Houston’s way for Texas to be a value pick, however, including a 3-1 vs 0-3 pitching match-up of Cristian Javier vs visiting Kolby Allard. Tuesday was the Lone Stars’ 4th road win of the year in 15 tries.
Update 9/1: Sorry for taking an extra day or 2 to get back, ‘Boppers, but it was time to wait-out the cancellation bug in earnest. Major League Baseball has successfully held 100% of its scheduled ballgames on 2 of the last 3 days, making Daily Double fairly confident (though with fingers-crossed) that all of our hardball predictions will be supplied with outcomes from Labor Day week onward.
Gamblers’ Confidence in Brew Crew Warranted?
Milwaukee is not having a season to write home about, at least not so far. The Brewers needed a huge day from CF Ben Gamel just to squeak-out a series win over the lowly Pirates on Monday, and the 2-1 advantage doesn’t begin to make up for the club blowing a chance to win a series with Cincinnati and losing 3 straight to Pittsburgh before that. Bettors seem to think that the Brew Crew will benefit from escaping division rivalries, shrinking Milwaukee’s line-to-win to (-180) in a series opener vs visiting Detroit on Tuesday. But the Tigers have won 5 ballgames in a row including a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. Without an obvious mismatch in the pitching mound to speak of, it’s hard to see Motor City laying down given the team’s 1st chance to make noise in quite a while.
Pick: Detroit Run Line (+1.5)
Correlation Consternation in Bums vs Snakes Betting
Under outcomes and underdog wins are correlated often in sports gambling, for instance in FBS football, or the English FA Cup. In the world of baseball, however, it seems that perceived correlation depends on circumstances. The L.A. Dodgers are massive (-260) favorites over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks in Tuesday’s nightcap, but is Las Vegas skeptical of a blow-out Dodger win, given that the O/U total has shrunk from around 10 runs to an even (9)? It may simply be that Arizona’s offense was putrid over the weekend against San Francisco, and Julio Urias and the Bums are expected to close-out Arizona defensively without needing gratuitous at-bats for the stars in the host batting order.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-1.5)
Now That’s a Low Run Total
Bookmakers and gamblers alike have appeared tentative throughout the 1st half of a shortened MLB season, uncertain how various changes, postponements, and roster moves will affect outcomes. O/U lines have hovered between 8 and 10 runs religiously, at least without thin Rocky Mountain air as a factor. But that trend could be going bye-bye if Sin City’s Over/Under run total on St. Louis vs Pittsburgh this Thursday is any indication. Las Vegas is so impressed by new Cardinals hurler Kwang Hyun Kim that the total has opened at (7) runs and stayed there, even following Tyler O’ Neill and the Redbirds’ lively bats at the end of Wednesday’s win over Kansas City. I’m not fond of predicting 2-1 games between such disparate clubs, however. Pittsburgh is taking a nosedive and could easily lose by a whopping score.
Motown Boys a Popular Underdog vs Visiting Twins
Early action closed the gap on a substantial favorite vs underdog line in Detroit, as the Tigers are now just a (+142) wager to beat the Minnesota Twins. Detroit has posted perfectly nice wins at Comerica Park this season, including last night’s surprise rubber-match victory over the Chicago Cubs. But it’s hard to fathom why bettors are taking a chance on Tiger starter Matthew Boyd, who hasn’t sniffed a victory in an 0-4 start, against the solid Randy Dobnak. Cleveland was able to keep Minnesota bats quiet for 3 games this week, but Detroit used a veritable stable of no-names to out-last the Cubs, and could finally run out of pitching ideas vs a crew of sluggers.
Let’s Put the Odds in a 5-Market Rotation
Daily Double is running about .800 in mid-August, improving a dismal opening record to 30-26-5 with a handful of 2-to-1 underdog bets. Hold the other shoe, and don’t let it drop! Like a good hardball manager, our predictions must now guard against pitfalls and losses of momentum while staying aggressive enough to maintain the groove.
It’s never easy to keep that balance, especially in 2020’s landscape. The New York Mets are getting a rare nod from gamblers after a lackluster 1st half, a 1-to-2 (-200) moneyline favorite to beat an upstart club with a yawn. Yet the Mets are 12-15 and in midst of 1 of the least-predictable “series” ever recorded. New York began playing ball with the Miami Marlins a week-ago Monday, postponed a follow-up meeting with the rival Yankees, then resumed to play even more ballgames against the Fish. The Mets are leading the accidental “7-game series” 3-2, though win or lose Wednesday, here’s a hunch that “Game 7” will be necessary. ‘Cappers have overlooked that the Over/Under total (7.5) for a 6th-consecutive meeting belies the recent stat lines of the starting hurlers. Rick Porcello and visiting Dan Castano are 1-5 in 6 combined starts. MLB bullpens appear as busy as ever despite less risk of fatigue among aces, and so it’s rarely a bad idea to take the high or low side when a total shrinks to 7 or shoots to 11+ respectively.
Dodgers Expected to Prevail in Marquee Mound Match-Up
The total is O/U (9) for a name-brand pitching contest in San Francisco, so maybe hurlers aren’t getting as overrated as all that. The Dodgers and host Giants are collectively averaging 5+ runs per game but bookmakers know better than to let the number climb higher with Johnny Cueto and Julio Urias standing at a combined 4-0 this season. The close, anxious ballgame played in Tuesday night’s series opener is nearly anomalous because the Dodgers (-220) are 22-8 and playing well enough to blow many teams out. Still, skipper Dave Roberts has shown that he doesn’t mind solid 1 and 2-run wins as opposed to fireworks at the end of ballgames, making the Bums’ Run Line (-1.5) as taboo as the favorite’s Wednesday night ML is chintzy.
Total Plummets for Angels at Astros
Houston just snapped a 3-game skid by beating the L.A. Angels 11-4 at home. The run total opened at a reasonable Over/Under (10) as the Astros shuffled their pitching order and the Halos plan to start a struggling Julio Teheran. But thanks to belief in Houston’s pitching staff as a whole and the belief that Teheran is about to snap out of it, bettors have been veritably “panic buying” on the Under, driving the total down to (8) runs at some sportsbooks. Hell, maybe the series follow-up on Tuesday will feature 6 runs. Or 4 runs. Or 1 run. But the crazy betting action makes the % pick obvious for 2 slugging teams that aren’t really trying to win 1-0.
ChiSox Popular Minus-ML Pick vs Sinking Pirates
Pop Fischer from The Natural may hate losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the Chicago White Sox are happy to be meeting the NL Central’s caboose for a pair of games in the Windy City. The ChiSox almost swept a rivalry series with the Chicago Cubs and have become 1 of the most popular bets on Tuesday night’s MLB betting board at (-240). Is the Chicago Run Line worth it at (-120)? White Sox starter Lucas Giolito shut out the Detroit Tigers for 7 innings last time he was on the mound, but the best reason to predict a substantial Pittsburgh loss is that the Steel City club just isn’t feeling it this year, and has essentially already played its way out of the pennant race.
Pick: White Sox Run Line (-1.5)
Why are the Fish a Popular Catch?
The Miami Marlins have fit the prototype of what we thought a successful underdog team might look like in 2020, making up for a dicey pitching staff with timely batting and solid fielding, and building a 20-game record from which a 40-game sprint to a playoff berth is not out of the question. Late August has proven more challenging, though, and the Marlins missed out on an opportunity to go ahead 3-1 in a 5-game stint at Nationals Park. Monday’s visiting starter Pablo Lopez has hurled so well for Miami that gamblers have driven a near-1.5-to-1 line to just (+107) on the underdogs (and perhaps soon-to-be favorites). The Under (9.5) is probably a better wager considering that only 1 game out of the 4 in the series so far has gone over the current run total.
D-Backs Look to Snap Out of Slump in AZ
Perhaps no batting lineup in baseball will be as maligned as Arizona’s, at least if the trend of the past few days continues for very long. The Snakes scored 10 runs in a blow-out win over Oakland about a week ago – since then Arizona has scored a grand total of 6 runs in 5 straight losses. Speculators expect that the Diamondbacks will snap out of it this Monday night against visiting Colorado (+141) but the Rockies’ Run Line is tempting at (-135) payoff odds. Ryan Castellani’s chances of out-pitching and out-lasting host hurler Merrill Kelly are not so slim as to prompt substantial underdog odds in a contest between 2 losing teams. Yes, Colorado is working on a losing streak longer than Arizona’s, but the Rox were swept by the Astros and Dodgers, not exactly the weak sisters of MLB.
Pick: Rockies Run Line (+1.5)
ChiSox Can Usher New Era in Windy City Rivalry
Rivalry games are always important, but until recently, a hometown rivalry might have been the best – and only – reason to tout the Chicago White Sox over the Chicago Cubs. Welcome to 2020, and a White Sox team that’s not only threatening for the AL Central lead, but is potentially about to vanquish the Cubbies at Wrigley Field in 3 straight ballgames. ChiSox 1B José Abreu is having 1 of the best MLB series-performances in recent memory with 7 hits and a staggering 5 home runs in just 9 at-bats. Sin City seems to think starter Yu Darvish and an angry National League club will dismiss the White Sox (+155) sweep attempt on Sunday. Don’t be so sure.
Pick: White Sox Run Line (+1.5)
Phils Considered Solid Underdog Despite Losing Streak
What began as a brief setback is getting to be a crisis for the Philadelphia Phillies. 5 losses in a row in 2020 is worse than a 12-game losing streak in a normal MLB season, and the fact that 3 of the losses came by 1 run is no salve for the wound. Philly led 4-0 as of the 7th-inning stretch at Truist Park on Saturday night but lost 6-5 to an Atlanta comeback. The underdog line on the Phillies is stable at (+107) and maybe even shrinking toward minus-odds range as bettors debate whether host P Josh Tomlin or visiting Zach Eflin will have the superior outing, but neither man is a stamina phenom, meaning that plate discipline and bullpen performance could become the biggest factors in Sunday night’s closer.
Minnesota Bats Prompt Rising O/U in AL Central
Outside of Atlanta and Philadelphia swapping slight-favorite/slight-underdog odds for the 2nd straight day, there hasn’t been a lot of noteworthy moneyline movement for Saturday’s ballgames. There are a handful of moving O/U lines, though, including a rising (9.5) total for the 2nd of 3 Kansas City Royals vs Minnesota Twins games in the Show-Me State. Marquee names like Nelson Cruz produced hits for the Twins in the opener, but KC’s rank-and-file managed to out-play the division leaders in a 7-2 triumph. Gamblers don’t think Kansas City starter Brady Singer will stand up to the Twins’ bats, but Singer has been on-pitch vs Minnesota, and the 2 teams have already played 6 low-scoring defensive battles on the season.
Bookies, Gamblers Weigh Home Field Heavily in San Diego
For some reason, the San Diego Padres are a (-106) wager to beat the visiting Houston Astros on Friday night, even though the ‘Stros nearly came back to win a 1-run opener in which Manny Machado’s pair of RBI singles made the difference for the Pads. Space City’s Brandon Bielak has a good shot to out-pitch San Diego starter Zach Davies, and the Astros have been the superior club over the past 1-2 weeks. Davies hasn’t shown handicappers a whole lot of consistency so far this season, as evidenced by a rising (9) run Over/Under total.
Philly, Atlanta Swap Places on MLB Betting Board
Gamblers are convinced that Atlanta’s Max Fried and Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola will keep opposing bats quiet on Friday night, so much so that action on the Under has driven the O/U total down to just (8) runs. Speculators are just as convinced that Philadelphia will win the 1st of 3 ballgames at Truist Park, moving a substantial underdog’s line to (-112) on the visitors in a half-day’s time. Philly’s batters vs Atlanta’s bullpen could give the Phils a victory in the late-going, but Fried has been pitching too well to bet against right now.
Pick: Braves 5-innings bet
Halos Garner Moneyline Rush for Oakland Meeting
Handicappers (if not bookmakers) are also less frightened of Mike Fiers these days, as a planned start from the Oakland A’s hurler has not stopped the visiting L.A. Angels’ line from shrinking to (-120) after opening in plus-range. One supposes there is an argument that L.A. simply needs this ballgame far worse than Oakland does, since at 8-18 the last-place Halos are on the precipice of a throw-away season. But the hosts are 11-3 at home and an extremely-solid Run Line bet for Friday night at (-155) payoff.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (+1.5)
Red Sox Racking Up Bets for Baltimore
The Boston Red Sox won a ballgame yesterday as 3B Rafael Devers led a comeback effort over Philadelphia. Wednesday’s band-aid of a win allows us to assess the horrible month Boston has had, and the club’s slim hopes to contend after winning 7 of 25 outings. Gamblers are flocking to a (-146) Red Sox moneyline prior to Thursday’s series opener in Baltimore, almost trying to will the team to series wins over familiar opponents in the Orioles and Blue Jays. Only problem? The chances of that are slimmer than those of any of a dozen other MLB clubs putting together a hot streak, and Baltimore’s morale is superior to Toronto’s right now despite similar W/L records. To say that the Orioles enjoy superior morale to the Red Sox as of 8/20 would be an understatement.
Pick: Orioles Run Line (+1.5)
New Law: No Bets on the Cards and Wainwright
The drastic line-movement toward Cincinnati (-147) and away from St. Louis (+127) for Thursday night’s NL Central series opener (opening moneylines matched at (-110)) may turn out to be 1 of the biggest collective gambling errors of the season. Yes, the Cardinals have had to deal with COVID-19 complications up to the beak, but the club just went 4-4 in closely-contested ballgames against talented Chicago teams. Catcher Yadi Molina is returning to give the Redbirds a batting boost, but St. Louis already makes up for a lack of elite power and gap-hitting with solid defense and plate discipline, and is blessed by another start by Adam Wainwright…who’s been underrated by Sin City already this year. The Reds have dealt with recent postponements themselves and appear to be nothing special at 10-12. Cincy starter Sonny Gray has been up and down.
Oh, Dolly I’m Hot Today…But July Was a Peach, Hun
Hurrah! Daily Double is not only perking above 52% on the fresh season, but shot firmly into the black on a Monday and Tuesday filled with accurate against-the-grain picks, including a neato (+225) 5-innings bet on Seattle. But as Hunter S. Thompson once counseled, there is no fool like one who takes winning for granted. Caution and cold showers must win the moment. July was filled with unpopular picks that didn’t work.
Much of July and August didn’t work for the Washington Nationals, who have spent the last 2 weeks settling back into every-day baseball, and who appear to finally be warming to the challenge. D.C. clipped the upstart Baltimore Orioles 2 games to 1 in a previous series and faces a crucial rubber match against the hosting Atlanta Braves on Wednesday evening. Is it time for another against-the-flow prediction, with Atlanta’s ML having fattened to (-126) as gamblers pick the underdog Nats? Atlanta’s fielders did not have a good outing on Tuesday and the club stranded 11 runners in an 8-5 loss, leading Sin City ‘cappers to conclude that the Braves are still the more-talented team. But the scheduled host hurler on Wednesday is 0-3 Kyle Wright, who was punished by the Miami Marlins just 5 days ago.
Pick: Nationals (+106)
Mile High Meeting Bends Brains of O/U Bettors
With recent history as a betting angle, there would be every reason to pick the Over (12.5) in Wednesday’s ballgame between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting Houston Astros. Each club’s batters appear due after combining for 6 runs in 20 frames. Space City bats are still alive despite the lack of video-surveillance in 2020, and if anything, the Astros simply cannot control where the ball flies off the bat as well this season, not a big deal in Denver where the thin air does wonders for hard-hit baseballs. Colorado’s scheduled starter Ryan Castellani doesn’t have the best contact % for an otherwise solid rookie. However, visiting starter Framber Valdez has been terrific despite a 1-2 record, and Houston’s defense is obviously helping to hold the Astros in contention despite a disappointing team batting average.
Early Line Shift Reshapes Big Apple Narrative
The New York Yankees appeared to be in position to play well in a series with visiting division rival Tampa Bay. Or at least bookmakers thought so, anyway. The hosts have won 6 ballgames in a row, completing a 4-game sweep of hated Boston with a 6-3 Sunday win that featured 7 hits and 6 RBIs from the Pinstripe infield. Meanwhile, the Rays needed poor opposition fielding just to escape with a series win vs Toronto. Yet heavy gambling action on a former 1.3-to-1 underdog has re-cast P Blake Snell and the Rays as (-113) favorites for the opener at New York on Tuesday, with the Yankees a slight underdog at (-107) despite a start from hurler Masahiro Tanaka. The O/U line has shrunk to (8), giving wiseguys a convenient against-the-public wager in a year surprisingly full of quick pitching changes.
MLB Pitching Debut Marks ChiSox vs Tigers Follow-Up
There are essentially 4 nightcaps on the MLB slate this Tuesday – 2 meetings of contenders and 2 ballgames between flagging underdog team. You can’t predict that the Cinderella candidates in Kansas City will have a barn burner, as the Reds and the Royals appear to be headed for also-ran status in 2020. But the Chicago White Sox have shown promise, leading to a weird scenario in which the underdog Detroit Tigers have a more popular moneyline (+150) than Run Line (+1.5) (-130) for the 2nd of 4 games in Chi-Town. Detroit will be debuting new Major League starter Tarik Skubal, an exciting fastball specialist. But Chicago starter Dylan Cease has been excellent vs the Tigers and could pitch as many as 6-8 innings, meaning that the ballgame will probably be 1 of those outings in which a raw prospect looks outstanding on the mound, but his club loses anyway.
Pick: White Sox
Gamblers Love Mets in Magic City
The Miami Marlins are in danger of slowing down. While a 9-6 opening record might get a ballclub more say in the 2020 pennant race than in any other season, the Fish have dropped consecutive series and badly need a victory in Monday’s opener with the visiting Mets. It’s getting to a point where handicappers will expect Miami to either win a 3-game or 4-game meeting and get things right again, or be swept by a more-powerful National League opponent and dismissed from the division lead. The gambling action for Monday makes it look like gamblers think New York is the team to lay on a beat-down, with the moneyline shrinking to (-145) on the favored Mets as the Marlins reshuffle a streaky stable of hurlers. But scheduled New York starter Robert Gsellman was yanked 6 outs into his previous start against Washington. The O/U line of (9) seems a half-run low for a volatile outcome.
Pick: Marlins Run Line (+1.5) and/or Over
Seattle Provides Rare ML Among Season’s Early Whoppers
This handicapper’s guess would’ve been that underdog MLB moneylines would get fat quickly in August and September. After all, a 60-game season means every outing is magnified, and skippers must feel compelled to play as many strong lineups as they can without regard for fatigue. But the former hasn’t happened so far. Most underdogs have enjoyed at least 1.75-to-1 odds to win their ballgames. The trend could be shifting now that ‘cappers finally have decent sample-sizes of 2020 games to work with, and Seattle’s nearly 2.5-to-1 odds to win Monday night’s battle at Dodger Stadium illustrates a betting public assured of the Bums’ dominance over meek rivals. The Seattle Mariners are 6-17 and unlikely to win a 4-game series with the L.A. Dodgers, but Monday’s probable pitching match-up of Ross Stripling vs Justin Dunn actually looks favorable to the guests.
Pick: Mariners 5-innings bet (+225)
MLB Speculators Don’t Learn From Saturday Debacle
It’s more than reasonable for Las Vegas to set an underdog’s moneyline on the St. Louis Cardinals in Sunday’s afternoon ballgame at Guaranteed Rate Field, even though the Redbirds surprised pundits by winning both games of Saturday’s doubleheader by wide margins. The pitching match-up is favorable to the Chicago White Sox. Probable host hurler Dallas Keuchel is due to get some help from ChiSox bats, and visiting starter Dakota Hudson hasn’t had it together before or after the COVID-19 break. However, gamblers driving the Cardinals ML to (+140) and preventing the O/U from rising above (9) total runs appear to be underestimating STL batters yet again. OFs Dexter Fowler and Tyler O’ Neill had excellent Saturdays at the plate, and we already know the club’s infielders are savvy and dangerous with runners on-base.
Pick: Cardinals and/or Over (9)
Potential Sweep on the Line in Colorado Closer
Betting odds are late to arrive for Sunday Night Baseball between the Yankees and Red Sox (imagine that) so we’ll turn attention back to the Texas Rangers at Colorado Rockies series. Texas clamped down on Colorado batters for 5 consecutive frames on Saturday, giving the offense time to produce a 6-4 win behind Choo Shin-soo’s terrific outing. That leaves the Rox without a victory in the series so far, and gives handicappers another chance to test the old “home team stops sweep to ward-off embarrassment” prediction tactic. Except timing doesn’t fit the storyline – Jon Gray starts for the hosts on Sunday afternoon after getting blasted by Arizona in his previous start.
Welcome Back. Redbirds…From All Except 2 Cities
The St. Louis Cardinals will finally play a ballgame – 2 of them in fact – if all goes well at “Not Exactly” Guaranteed Rate Field this afternoon. Sin City has not given the Redbirds any kinder of a welcome than the White Sox hope to in Chi-Town. Betting action on the hosts has driven an already-skeptical moneyline to (+158) on the Cards, with the prevailing sentiment that St. Louis probable pitcher Adam Wainwright won’t be used for more than 5 or 6 innings. But Wainwright has sparked STL action to plenty of minus moneylines by making an appearance on the mound, and the popular prediction overlooks that no ballgame will be considered just a “warmup” in 2020. Managers can’t afford that, especially with the 2nd half of a key doubleheader to gin-up momentum for. There’s no Run Line available at Bovada Sportsbook until morning, maybe because bookmakers think the Cardinals will make the opener interesting, and plan to have incongruous payoff odds to offer on the visitors (+1.5).
Pick: Cardinals or Cardinals Run Line if Longer Than (-130) on Opening
Dodgers Look to Assert Dominance in SoCal
WagerBop’s theory that the Dodgers and Yankees are better gambles than the Astros in 2020 is working out so far, as Houston learns how to win without video-surveillance while those experienced in fair play hold an inside lane. Los Angeles is leading the NL West, working on a 3-game winning streak, and happy to be visiting the cross-town rival Angels at a crisis point in the 7-13 Halos’ slump. Game 1 of a 3-game stint went about as expected. Cody Bellinger of the Bums knocked it all over the park in a 7-4 guest victory. A probable start from Walker Buehler has the Dodgers’ moneyline swirling around (-160) and the O/U steady at (9) runs for Saturday night’s follow-up. Actually, the changing payoff odds tell us that gamblers are taking the Over often, but bookies are choosing to sit pat on the number with sturdy Andrew Heaney starting for the American League club. The hosts’ Run Line feels like a sucker’s market at (-115), but conversely the Dodgers (-1.5) is at 1-to-1 odds when it ought not to be. Heaney should be improved from a previous dismal outing but the bullpen might not contain Bellinger and associates.
Pick: Dodgers Run Line
Rangers Aim to K-O Rockies in Denver
Daily Double is working on a hot streak, finally sniffing .500 on the season despite taking chances on a handful of 2-to-1 moneylines. In a similar fashion, the Texas Rangers are enjoying a rebound after a lousy audition, winning every game of consecutive 3-game series save for an upset loss to Seattle on Monday. OF Willie Calhoun’s late heroics gave Texas a rubber-match win over the Mariners last night, but gamblers expect volatility in the 1st outcome of a Rockies-Rangers meeting beginning on Friday night with a (-120) Rangers moneyline and a (12) run O/U. The trick to preventing extra-base hits from the Rockies at Coors Field is to not allow hits in general, and expected starter Lance Lynn fits that game plan for Texas, while Colorado’s starter Ryan Castellani has been handled with kid gloves (excuse the pun) and may not throw as many pitches or generate as many put-outs and Ks as the veteran despite a comparable skill level.
Athletics Inspire ‘Capper Confidence vs Gagging Giants
The Oakland As appear poised and confident despite losing a 3-game series to the Los Angeles Angels, standing tall at 13-6 and leading the AL West division. It couldn’t be a more different story for the San Francisco Giants, sagging at 8-12 and last place in the National League’s west coast grouping. A thread of WagerBop’s recent success has been picking “Over” on ballgames in which talented clubs are facing desperate underdogs, and a dropping Sin City total of (8) runs makes the Over seem promising for Friday night’s series opener between Oakland and San Fran despite Johnny Cueto meeting Frankie Montas on the mound. However, line movement as given the visitors an almost 1-to-2 favorite’s ML while blowing San Francisco’s line up to (+170). Considering that the Giants have endured a hellacious schedule without getting blown-out once since July, 1.7-to-1 is a little too fat for a cross-town rivalry opponent playing at home.
Pick: Under (8) and/or Giants Run Line (+1.5) (-105)
Condition Red at Fenway Park
It’s high time to check in on the Boston Red Sox, who are in danger of disappointing a rabid fan base for yet another season. We’ve noticed that teams playing ballgames every day aren’t necessarily losing to clubs with loads of extra rest, meaning that Boston’s 18 appearances are absolutely no excuse for a ghastly 6-12 record. As we’ve been over at Daily Double already, that’s like beginning with a 17-34 mark in a normal pennant race. It’s not getting any better against visiting Tampa Bay, which has out-scored the Fenway Park hosts 17-7 in 2 games and could be threatening a statement-sweep in a 4-game series. The Rays have been priced unattractively at (-157) for Thursday’s meeting and aren’t holding up their end of the betting handle, mostly because expected starter Tyler Glasnow isn’t setting the mound on fire. But the Red Sox are asking P Kyle Hart to snap the team out of a slump in a move that may be labeled an experiment. Over (9.5) is a (+100) payoff at Bovada Sportsbook, a superior pick given a weird spot in the rotations and a desperate Boston lineup.
Pads Try To Notch Series Win in L.A.
The San Diego Padres are getting decent action as a (+122) moneyline underdog at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Sturdy P Chris Paddack will start the ballgame for the Pads, but it will be interesting to see if the latest final score impacts Las Vegas action on tonight’s closer. San Diego won a by-committee pitcher’s duel 2-1 on Monday, then whipped the Dodgers again on Tuesday with a 5-run rally and another awesome slugging performance from Manny Machado. Wednesday night’s dreary 6-0 loss, in which the Padres stranded and squandered double-digit base runners, was another story. I’m old-fashioned enough to think live bats are a good sign for the 3rd-place Pads despite the disappointing lack of a sweep opportunity. But if I can find Bums at (-130) or (-135) following last night’s triumph, I’m in for 2 units.
Surprising NL East Leaders Still Underdogs in Hogtown
Chronic postponements are making MLB standings look bizarre, making it hard to tell exactly how well the league’s underdogs are doing. This much is certain – the Miami Marlins are exceeding expectations at the 1/3 pole, or really the 1/5 pole as far as the Florida club is concerned. In the 11 games the Fish have been able to compete in, Miami has won 7 times, and the ballclub even acquitted itself fairly well in an 0-3 stretch since Friday. Betting action has Toronto (standing at a proud 6-8 mind you) a (-154) favorite in Wednesday’s follow-up against the visiting Marlins. The consensus seems to be that probable Miami pitcher Jordan Yamamoto will get socked out of the box by the Blue Jays, but if that’s the case, why an (8.5) run O/U line with a shrinking Under payoff?! I’m not recommending the Over because Yamamoto is certain to get blown away, but because if he does, the clearly-underrated guests are likely to fight back from the plate.
A Gambling Pick Solid Enough to Break Protocol
Is there an advantage for National League clubs which have played less games so far? The obvious answer is yes. Books have been written about keeping batters and pitchers healthy and at maximum efficiency over a 200-day marathon. Philadelphia has its share of COVID complications yet has also only played 12 games, with most postponements having been timed all together, giving the Philly pitching stable a nice long rest in late July. However the Baltimore Orioles (+155), who have played 15 times, beat the Phillies 10-9 with a tremendous road comeback on Tuesday and have momentum headed into Wednesday’s match-up vs Zach Eflin.
The outcome underscored weaknesses in Philadelphia’s bullpen and the fact that Philly owns only 1 shut-out so far despite a scenario in which hurlers could potentially out-pitch their ERAs. I’m not feeling leaky-defense favorites in a season where underdog managers are likely to try anything to stay above .500.
Oh, and apologies to readers who click here for the nightcap pick – we’ll get back to the west coast for Thursday but these eastern ballgames appear to offer best value at present. Pick: Orioles
Porcello Tries to Perk Up Desperate Mets
We learned a tough lesson about COVID-19 complications yesterday – even as the pandemic has hampered clubs vying for the 2020 World Series, the long break has also helped batters prepare in-secret for pitches they knew would eventually come. Washington made mince-meat out of New York’s stable in a 4-game series opener, scoring 7 runs in the 5th inning of a 16-4 blow-out. The Mets are clearly not driving-in enough base-runners. Jeff McNeil and Wilson Ramos got on base a combined 5 times and scored a combined 1 run. More immediate is the fact that the club’s pace has it winding up at 14-20 after 34 ballgames, the type of start that a shortened season makes it nearly-impossible to recover from. Big Apple hosts will be playing urgent baseball for better or worse, but the bullpen did have a couple of decent innings on Monday, potentially boding well for a rebound if the bleeding stops. Rick Porcello’s stats aren’t amazing, but the Mets’ probable Tuesday starter smoked the Nats in his last outing. Washington (-150) has heavy artillery on the mound in the form of Max Scherzer. But the NY Run Line is strangely appealing for a 2nd day.
Pick: Mets Run Line (+1.5)
Handicappers Hail Halos as Strong Tuesday Favorite
Tuesday night’s alternative L.A.-themed nightcap pits the swooning L.A. Angels vs the visiting AL West leaders from Oakland. Gamblers appear to love the Angels in game 2 of the series following a dramatic 10-9 victory in the opener. Mike Trout is fully engaged and could be nearing the height of his powers after a Roy Hobbs-like 4 hits, 4 runs, and 3 RBIs on 5 at-bats. Los Angeles manager Pop Fischer, er, Joe Maddon has P Dylan Bundy lined-up to start against Oakland’s Mike Fiers in a match-up that has bettors rushing to pitch the Halos at (-145). Bundy’s recent outings include a nice complete game W against Seattle, but gamblers could be forgetting that the 12-5 Athletics, not the 7-11 Mariners are facing the Angels tonight.
Gambling Public Sees Nats Beating Mets in Big Apple
Previews posted at 9 AM SoCal time aren’t exactly adherent to Daily Double’s promise of “nightly” updates, but sometimes waiting for 12-18 hours of gambling action can help to reveal MLB line-movement. 1 such shift is occurring in markets for New York Mets vs Washington Nationals on Monday evening, as gamblers have moved what was essentially a “pick’em” moneyline to (-120) for the visiting Nats. That’s a lot of optimism when you consider the circumstances. Washington is 4-7, has been ravaged by COVID-19 postponements, and still has players refusing to participate in the season. But the Mets have a losing record of their own and will be facing Patrick “Colossus: The Corbin Project” Corbin, whom New York lost to in his last trip to the mound.
Pick: Mets Run Line (+1.5)
Dodgers Underrated in Las Vegas…Really?
All of the fundamentals appeared to be in place for the L.A. Dodgers to carry a skinny favorite’s moneyline into Monday night’s opener against the San Diego Padres. Sin City loves power-hitting teams with strong pitching, and Dustin May is expected to make another quality start for the Bums. The Dodgers have also beaten the Pads in 7 of the last 8 meetings. But gamblers are taking the underdog visitors (+135) like hotcakes with probable pitcher Garrett Richards, who came close to beating L.A. in his last appearance. The Padres also just won a rubber match vs Arizona thanks to 9 early runs and big outings at the plate from Wil Myers and Manny Muchado, giving the 9-7 club at least a semblance of momentum in the season’s 2nd quarter.
NL Central Series Gets Serious on the Mound
To state the obvious, the Cincinnati Reds are having a better time with the current series than the last. Cincinnati dropped 3 out of 4 ballgames to the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, losing the closing contest by an embarrassing 13-0 score. But the Reds have dominated a subsequent 3-game stint in Milwaukee so far, putting on a 6-run rally in the 2nd inning of Friday’s win and riding a 3-run shot from Eugenio Suárez, who is working through a bad start after rehabbing a shoulder injury, in game 2. Bookmakers gave the Brewers a slight edge on the moneyline for Sunday afternoon’s closer as Brandon Woodruff is scheduled to start for the Brew Crew, but gamblers like P Sonny Gray and Cincinnati at (-106) despite Milwaukee’s motivation to avoid a sweep. The pair of solid starting hurlers has taken the O/U total down to (7.5), but Under bets on such low numbers are somewhat dubious with pitchers getting micro-managed as if there were 600 games and not 60 games in the 2020 season.
SNB Anticipation a Sign of the Times
99 times out of 100, when you hear or read the words “these changing times” or “these troubled times,” it refers to COVID-19 precautions and social distancing. But things are changing in the world of competitive sports too. A match-up of Cleveland Indians vs Chicago White Sox might not have been highly-anticipated in 2019, but the improving ChiSox are a (+114) wager in their 1st Sunday Night Baseball appearance in 5 years after posting a winning record in the opening 15 ballgames. Fans who are excited to finally pick a strong White Sox team to win should look at the pitching match-up again, though – Shane Bieber vs Lucas Giolito should give the Indians a better than (-134) chance to prevail even though Giolito held the Indians scoreless in 6 innings in his last appearance vs Cleveland. 5-innings bets on Cleveland are an even better idea.
Pick: Indians 5-innings bet
Picking a Side in Philly – Bookmakers or Wiseguys
The fundamentals seemed to be in place for Philadelphia to be a slight favorite over Atlanta on Saturday evening. Rain, not COVID, forced a postponement on Friday, giving the hosts an extra day to prepare for a 9-5 team while the Braves had to deal with cautious travel and lodging. The popular veteran Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start for the Phillies. But moneyline gamblers have swapped the sides in Las Vegas as Atlanta is now a (-115) favorite behind probable starter Kyle Wright, who pitched 3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in his last outing.
Pick: Braves and/or Under (10)
Bettors Blank on Rockies in Seattle Follow-Up
A line that should be moving in the home team’s direction is Colorado’s (-108) odds to beat the Mariners for the 2nd time in 2 tries on Saturday night. Yes, we’ve blogged here that MLB outcomes are still volatile from day-to-day despite the shortened season. But if 1 NHL team was 10-3 as the Rockies are, and its opponent was 4-8 as the Mariners are, would that produce a favorite’s moneyline?
Aces Spade Hole for O/U Number in Tampa
When the PGA Tour began timing shots, players didn’t change their routines. They just walked to the ball faster. MLB managers have taken a similar approach to handling the shortened season of 2020, yanking pitchers off the mound and going deep into the bullpen despite a lessened danger of fatigue. Skippers may believe that if their clubs get to the postseason, each hurler’s lack of substantial innings-pitched could make aces of an entire stable. Bettors are counting on 2 aces to hold the run total down in Tampa on Friday evening, as expected starters Blake Snell and Masahiro Tanaka are helping the O/U total drop to (8) runs and potentially lower. The pair combined for less than 6 innings pitched in each’s latest start, however, and so the bets are really being placed on a pair of bullpens to hold-off talented batting lineups. If the ballgame does turn into a deadlocked pitcher’s duel, extra innings is another factor that could produce an Over outcome.
Bums Drawing Betting Action as Usual vs Gigantes
The L.A. Dodgers opened as a 1-to-2.4 favorite to defeat the visiting San Francisco Giants on Friday night, a paltry payoff indeed. But MLB gamblers went right ahead and took the Bums to win for an 8th time in 10 outings, driving L.A.’s line to (-260) payoff on a series-opening win. Host hurler Julio Urias is expected to out-pitch Jeff Samardzija of the visitors, but that’s not the only factor discouraging wagers on the 6-8 Giants. San Francisco (+220) was nearly swept by the Colorado Rockies in 4 games at Coors Field this week. As has been the case a few times this season, betting action is focused on the moneyline when the Over (9) is a solid pick at 1-to-1 odds. It would probably take the Giants at least 6 runs to beat the Dodgers, but if the ballgame goes as expected, L.A. will knock Samardzija and the San Fran bullpen around in several innings.
Bookie, Gambler Cat-Mouse Continues in AZ
Bookmakers may have expected gamblers to be all over the Over (9) for Chase Field on Thursday night, considering that Arizona won Wednesday’s ballgame with a hell of an offensive explosion. The Diamondbacks scored 9 runs in the 4th inning to double-up the Houston Astros 14-7, and the Snakes outfield combined for 6 hits and 7 RBIs. When Sin City offered-up a skimpy (-120) payoff on the Over, however, bettors took to picking Zac Gallen and visiting Brandon Bielak to hurl a low-scoring duel in the series closer on Thursday. Gallen doesn’t average many innings, though, and once again the O/U angle leads to an even better pick on the moneyline. Houston has consistently punished average pitching so far in 2020 and should score enough runs to win late in the rubber match.
Fans Hypnotized by Low Scores in Chicago-Milwaukee Series
If 2 Major League ballclubs have 2 low-scoring games in a row, it’s not a trend. If they have 3 or 4 pitcher’s duels in a row, it still might not be a trend…even in a short season. Gamblers ought to be taking the Over (9) for Thursday night’s White Sox vs Brewers rubber match but the O/U payoff lines are stationary so far. Yes, each club’s defense deserves credit, but there’s no evidence to suggest Thursday’s starters are anything to write Milwaukee about. Gio Gonzales of the ChiSox walked 3 batters and gave up 5 hits before getting yanked in the 4th inning in a shaky August 1st win, and Josh “Suitcase” Lindblom of the Brew Crew has played in 9 stints for 8 teams on 2 continents since 2012.
Cubs Massively Popular Favs for KC Night Meeting
We’ve half-complained at Daily Double that too many MLB betting lines are sitting still, not allowing for enough useful angles to gauge whether the public is right or wrong. That could be changing if the odds on Kansas City vs Chicago Cubs are any indication. Gamblers flew to buy-in on Yu Darvish and Chicago’s formerly 1-to-1.7 Wednesday moneyline, turning the odds into a lopsided (-220) and (+190) after just hours of action, but the Cubs have a defensive ballclub which has only won once after giving up more than 5 runs. KC might do some surprising damage against the Cubbies’ bullpen although the teams are certainly headed in opposite directions nearing the 1/4 pole. Darvish is unlikely to go 8-9 innings.
Pick: Cubs 5-inning bet
Halos Might Be Weaker Favorite Than Advertised
The Seattle Mariners and L.A. Angels are at least partially glad to be playing each other, badly needing victories lest a short pennant race get far out of grasp by September. The 4-7 Angels struck early with a 3-run rally in the 1st inning of the series opener at T-Mobile Park, with aging slugger Albert Pujols making a crucial difference in the 2-run victory as he has so often in his career in the Midwest and on the coast. Wednesday night could be the Mariners’ turn to retaliate, even with a (-160) moneyline on the visitors and Julio Teheran starting on the mound for the Halos. Seattle’s probable starter Marco Gonzales has beaten the Angels twice in a row and was very solid against Oakland in his final start of 2019.
Pick: Mariners Run Line (+1.5)
ChiSox Efficient as Predicted…So Far
It’s time to check-in on the Chicago White Sox following an offseason of glowing predictions (and, of course, lots of waiting). Turns out that the ballclub is doing just fine in the American League, save for a calamitous opening series vs powerful Minnesota. The ChiSox weathered a postponement and 18 innings of above-average pitching from the Cleveland Indians to prevail in the series closer, then ran-up a 5-game winning streak with a sweep of Kansas City and a 6-4 opening win over host Milwaukee. Probable pitcher Lucas Giolito and the Windy City visitors are a (+100) slight underdog for Tuesday’s follow-up at Miller Park, but that might not last many hours after the Monday outcome.
Pick: White Sox
Lines Move Against Correlation for Oakland Opener
Not too many MLB betting lines have been moving well-prior to 1st pitches, but it’s clear from the small handle on Oakland vs Texas that gamblers think the A’s will win Tuesday night’s road opener over the Rangers and that starting hurler Jesus Luzardo will have a lot to do with it. Lone Stars opened as (+115) underdogs but quickly grew to (+135) as the O/U shrank from (8.5) to (8) total runs, making us wonder if anyone has heard of a correlated parlay before. If the contest is lower scoring that means better chances for the underdog, and besides, Lance Lynn on the mound for the visitors could make the guests a true 5-innings favorite no matter what happens in Sin City and London.
Pick: Rangers Run Line (+1.5)
Left-Behind Moneyline Could be Key to Monday Money
Daily Double scored its maiden “double-play” of the 2020 season with the Twins and Under (9.5) at Target Field on Sunday, but the winning parlay only begins to make up for WagerBop’s dreadful losing streak to begin the shortened MLB season. Losing streaks happen to all gamblers, and the worst thing you can do is begin counter-intuitive picking against your own predictions. Suppose you’ve handicapped the National League to expect a lot of Under results, and finally start betting the Over in frustration just about when the Under-outcomes kick in? It makes things worse. DD’s confidence-method is to look at O/U lines and “correlated” O/U + moneyline relationships, and there is no better example than the New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies on Monday evening.
The Phillies are a drastic (+270) ML underdog, brought-upon by the COVID complications and New York’s impressive 7-1 record. But just because there are less ballgames this year doesn’t mean that baseball outcomes are necessarily less volatile. Philadelphia has tested its players thoroughly and found no new coronavirus cases; it’s other teams that have cause the postponements of Phillies games. Last but not least, ‘cappers are sticking pat with a 9-run O/U total on the contest. If the ballgame’s going to be that tight, should a talented-yet-idle club be a 3-to-1 underdog in any universe?
Gigantes a Popular Bet for Mile High City
The 20th-century pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez used to put his hat over the hole after sinking birdie putts. When it comes to the Colorado Rockies and probable starting hurler Chi Chi Gonzalez, MLB gamblers don’t want to count their birdies before they hat…or something. San Francisco is a popular underdog pick, shrinking to (+125) on the moneyline and (-130) on the Run Line of (+1.5). I’m taking the Rockies, because we’ve made 1 upset prediction today already. No, really, because expected Giants starter Johnny Cueto has failed and flailed in a number of recent outings without giving-up any garish earned-run totals that would draw gamblers’ attention.
Target Field Closer Well-Matched on Mound
5-innings gamblers who picked the Minnesota Twins had a low-stress Saturday afternoon. Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda gave up 0 runs and only 1 hit in the opening 5 frames while 1B Miguel Sanó scored twice with a pair of RBIs in his 1st pair of at-bats. But those lopsided innings were uncharacteristic of how the 4-game series with visiting Cleveland has gone. The clubs split the maiden 2 ballgames while allowing just 7 combined-total runs. Aaron Civale vs host hurler Homer Bailey promises a well-matched opening 5 innings in Sunday afternoon’s series closer. The Twins haven’t been as explosive from the plate as we’re used to, save for a couple of outings against the ChiSox, but Indian bats have been quiet too.
Pick: Twins and/or Under (9.5)
Astros Still Enigmatic as Series in L.A. Winds Down
We now have a handful of Houston Astros ballgames from which to analyze how well the club is batting without the benefit of illegal video surveillance and communication. Houston looked just fine scoring 9 runs against the L.A. Angels on the road in a 3-game series opener on Friday, and batted well against Seattle while winning 3 out of 4. But the ‘Stros were meek from the plate against the Dodgers in a 2-game sweep by the Bums, making us think that without tricks, the Houston lineup could be another example of a strong, athletic group which batters poor pitching but wanes against strong pitching. The visitors struggled to spark rallies against Halo starter Griffin Canning and will face Shohei Ohtani in Sunday’s closer as a (-125) favorite vs L.A.’s plus-payoff moneyline of (+105).
Braves vs Mets Stands Out in Thinning MLB Schedule
Maybe we’d have more afternoon ballgames to preview if hardball wasn’t getting cancelled all across the Eastern Time Zone. Phillies, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Nationals will be out of action on Saturday, and the Yankees have been close to the edge of suspending travel and activity on the diamond. Brighter focus will result on the eastern series still in motion such as New York Mets at Atlanta Braves, which did not disappoint with an astounding 21-run opener on Friday. The Mets built a 5-run mid-game lead only to have the Braves knock former All-Star Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo around in the 8th inning. Atlanta is a slight favorite in the follow-up but a 10-run O/U may be too conservative given the even-weaker pitching we might see on Saturday. WagerBop isn’t overreacting to the 21 runs…we just think 11 or so might be scored in ATL.
Gamblers Could Be Shifting Wrong Line in Denver
Speaking of Over/Under run totals, it’s always fun to handicap some home games in the Mile High City to watch the O/U number shoot Rocky Mountain high. A generous opening-consensus O/U has jumped to (12.5) as bettors are giddy about the Rockies batting against Joey Lucchesi of the San Diego Padres on Saturday night. But Lucchesi’s performances haven’t been far-superior or inferior to opposing starter Kyle Freeland, and the skilled Padres won the opener 8-7 behind LF Tommy Pham’s whammin’ night at the plate, making the (+100) Pads moneyline a much better choice.
Pick: Padres and/or Under
Weber’s Woes Lead to Strange Over/Under Shift
Could a starting pitcher be playing so lousy that it causes the Over/Under line to move downward? Boston is a (+180) road underdog vs the rival New York Yankees despite upsetting the other New York club on Thursday. Friday’s probable host-starter Jordan Montgomery has shown a lot of promise in consecutive outings, and Boston starter Ryan Weber has fared so poorly in early innings that his chances of making it to the 7th-inning stretch are slim. In fact, bettors have dragged down a generous O/U to (10.5) runs, perhaps going by recent history in thinking that Weber will be pulled too early in the game for Yankee bats to ring-up a sizable 5-inning run total. But what if he manages to stay on the mound just long enough for NY to get a big rally going? Whether the Yankees ding the opposing pitcher in the 1st or the 4th inning, the favorite’s Run Line seems like a safer gamble than fiddling with a weird O/U.
Pick: Yankees Run Line (-1.5)
Texas Rangers Not a Popular Favorite vs San Francisco
The San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers could each use a series win. Gamblers appear to be less-enthused about the Giants at a (-142) favorite’s line than bookmakers who net the club’s line-to-win a tad shorter when betting began. San Fran bats did produce 14 runs in the last 2 games vs San Diego, and the Rangers scored 7 of their own on Thursday night with 1st baseman Todd Frazier knocking 3 hits and scoring twice. But a pitching match-up of Mike Minor against scheduled host hurler Logan Webb could turn this contest into 1 of the lowest-scoring games of the weekend.
Pick: Under (8)
Matz Boosts Mets to Favorite’s Line vs Red Sox
WagerBop apologizes for the belated 7/30 update – with so many twilight and prime-time ballgames it feels like we should wait until morning every so often to catch the latest lines. There isn’t much movement to speak of on the New York Mets vs Boston Red Sox moneyline, but the team with the favorite’s number might be a surprise to anyone who took the 2018 and 2019 preseason burials of the Mets to heart. The Metropolitans have grown a lot in 2 years only to stand at 3-3 and 1/2 game behind the Miami Marlins – yes the Miami Marlins – in the NL East after about a week of the shortened 2020 campaign. But the Red Sox are at 2-4 and expected to lose at Citi Field tonight with Steven Matz scheduled to start for the hosts on the mound.
Pick: Mets and/or Over (9)
Gamblers Take Bookmakers’ Word for it on Dodgers at Diamondbacks
Major League Baseball has scheduled not 1, not 2, but 3 nightcaps at around 10 PM New York time on Thursday night. Betting action is fairly split on a marquee series opener at Chase Field – once considered a possible all-time venue for MLB in 2020 – with all-but stationary lines on the Bums at (-150) and the run total at O/U (9). Robbie Ray suffered a dreary loss to the Padres in his lone outing of the season to date, but didn’t pitch that badly on a day in which his offense only scored a single run.
Pick: Diamondbacks Run Line (+1.5) and/or Under
Cinderella Candidates Fight in Detroit for 1 More Evening
It’s important to track the underdogs in this shortened season, since it could be exponentially easier for a Cinderella MLB club to make noise in the pennant race with a thin roster. But before Kansas City or Detroit can challenge Cleveland or Minnesota in the AL Central, they’ve got to battle in a series against each other. Series wins are like gold in 2020 and each club has a chance to grab the 2-1 victory after splitting the opening 2 games. The Over/Under total has ticked up to (9.5) for the contest at Comerica Park as bettors survey the records of host hurler Matthew Boyd and visiting probable starter Danny Duffy. But Duffy has pitched well and been snake-bitten 2 losses in a row.
Pick: Royals (+115)
Gamblers Shift Odds for Late Night Contest in L.A.
San Diego at San Francisco is not the official nightcap of MLB’s Wednesday night slate. But it’s what underdog gamblers are more interested in. The later ballgame has the L.A. Angels hosting the Seattle Mariners, and the public thinks the Halos have it, moving a modest favorite’s moneyline to (-180) as of late Tuesday night. Andrew Heaney should theoretically be able to out-pitch visiting starter Justin Dunn, but speculators are just as excited about veteran Albert Pujols and live Angel bats that produced 10 runs in the series opener.
Pick: Angels Run Line (+1.5)
Let’s Try to Pick a Ballgame That Actually Occurs
Coronavirus concerns knocked-out not 1, but both of WagerBop’s Daily Double games yesterday. You can’t say we don’t know how to pick ’em…sorta. Oddsmakers feel confident enough in NL Central medical staffs to have placed betting odds on a pair of the Midwestern division’s twilight games on Tuesday. Chicago and Cincinnati are absolutely deadlocked at (-110) moneylines apiece after a day’s worth of betting action, showing that gamblers haven’t distinguished between expected starters Alec Mills of the Cubs and Tyler Mahle of the Reds. But the O/U total for Great American Ball Park has expanded to (10.5) total runs, yet another number that ignores how often batting lineups struggled last weekend as teams consolidate their pitching stables.
Las Vegas Likes Bums vs Astros…Gamblers Aren’t So Sure
A potential Tuesday night pitching mismatch of L.A.’s Walker Buehler vs Houston’s Framber Valdez has prompted a (-150) moneyline on the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. However, the betting action hasn’t been loaded in Los Angeles’ direction after a 2-2 series draw to begin the short season. The Astros’ maiden stab at playing offense without the aid of video surveillance and signal-drumming is going well so far. Houston averaged 7+ runs per-outing in a 3-1 series win over Seattle. Bums’ bats appeared quiet on Monday night’s scoreboard but the Dodgers laced 7 hits and stranded ample base-runners in a 3-1 loss to San Francisco. Buehler’s start and L.A.’s 2-game skid has helped bring about (+100) payoff odds on the Over (9) for a ballgame that could easily fatigue several hurlers and go into extra innings.
Fireworks Expected for Yankees at Phillies Opener
Another MLB Over/Under total is rising, curious given that NBA gamblers are all over the Under markets for the basketball reboot in Orlando. Bettors don’t have much confidence in Yankee starter J.A. Happ or host hurler Jake Arrieta to hold respective Philadelphia and New York batters to less than (10.5) total runs on Monday evening. But it’s not as if either team’s lineup is on fire yet. The Bronx Bombers had to chip-out runs vs Washington’s bullpen in a 3-2 Sunday victory, while the Phillies only averaged 5 runs vs Miami.
Intriguing Battle of “Contenders” in Magic City
It’s important to track how many underdog clubs bid for a Cinderella pennant run this season, since the answer will tell if early-season upsets are natural or just a product of favorites not paying attention. Miami and Baltimore will be paying attention on Monday night, 2 “have-nots” of Major League Baseball who stand at 2-1 following series wins over tough opponents. Series wins are like gold in a 60-game series, and each club can hope to make hay against a fellow upstart. Gamblers love the Marlins’ (-141) chances with Pablo Lopez starting against visiting Asher Wojciechowski. But several Miami players tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, giving the hosts a distraction at a crucial time.
Late-Arriving Odds Could Still Bend Prior to Tampa-Toronto
MLB ballplayers must adjust to a 2020 scenario in which losing a series-sweep is like losing 10+ games in a row in a normal pennant race. Handicappers must adapt the the circumstances as well. WagerBop’s slump in predictions to begin the Daily Double year would be no big deal in a 162-game campaign with hundreds more recommended bets on the way. This season, it’s a crisis! To soothe frayed nerves, we’ll return to a series we had success predicting on Opening Day – Toronto at Tampa Bay. Bookmakers have been slow to place odds on the rubber match in Florida, but the moneyline is likely to contain value on the Toronto side. Blue Jay bats were alive on Saturday even as the club struggled to score and lost to drop to 1-1. That outcome should increase impulse-buys on the home team and fatten payoff on a Blue Jays win once the numbers appear.
Pick: Blue Jays
Trend Turns to Over/Under as Odds Draw Tight in NYC
MLB odds aren’t moving around a lot prior to ballgames as gamblers wrap their heads around a 60-game season. New York vs Atlanta is an example, a Sunday night series closer and rubber match that opened in “standard point spread odds” territory and has leveled-out at (-110) moneyline bets on either club. The Metropolitans prevailed 1-0 in Game 1 thanks to the temporary National League DH rule as Yoenis Céspedes slugged a winning solo homer in the 7th inning. The Braves fought back with a 5-3 extra-innings win on Saturday, but it’s strange to see the O/U ticking toward (10) total runs for Sunday’s ballgame, considering that the clubs needed 10 frames to score 8 runs in the more-offense oriented of 2 contests. The match-up of host hurler Rick Porcello and visiting Sean Newcomb is difficult to handicap, but pitchers have often appeared better-prepared than batters throughout opening MLB weekend.
Lone “Sexy” Underdog Looks for Advantage on Mound
As was the case for Friday, the odds for Saturday’s ballgames have appeared to “freeze” prior to 1st pitch, with no significant gambling trends toward favorites or underdogs. An exception is the Oakland A’s vs L.A. Angels follow-up at Ring Central Coliseum. Stricken by tragedy and a fatigued autumn in 2019, the Halos opened as a 1.5-to-1 underdog for Game 2 at Oakland before shrinking to (+135). Wiseguys are high on probable visiting pitcher Dylan Bundy, who may benefit from a change of scenery after toiling in Baltimore. Meanwhile, expected A’s starter Sean Manaea was dismissed early by Tampa in his most-recent appearance.
Pick: Over (9)
Padres, D-Backs Present Nuanced Match-Up at Petco
Starting hurlers Madison Bumgarner of Arizona and Chris Paddock of San Diego were having a good old scoreless MLB pitchers’ duel on Opening Night…until Bumgarner sprung a leak in the 6th inning. It will be interesting to see whether “Over” or “Under” outcomes prevail early in the truncated 2020 season, since teams are compelled to play their top 12-15 ballplayers as often as possible. Skippers can sometimes goose an April rally by inserting a Double-A prospect with unknown Major League tendencies at the plate. In 2020, if a ballclub’s well-scouted stars are struggling to hit, there’s less such trickery to fall back on. Whether or not Game 2 of the Padres vs Diamondbacks series scores Over or Under (8.5) total runs, the Pads probably shouldn’t be (-125) favorites with Dinelson Lamet starting opposite Arizona’s Robbie Ray in a crowdless, dispassionate Petco Park.
Gamblers Like Invading Underdog in USA vs Canada Battle
The 2020 MLB season will be fascinating for several reasons, including the chance to see how early-season David vs Goliath ballgames play-out without a 162-game safety net for the favorites. Underdogs that win series in July and August could become part of fierce pennant races immediately. Odds on favorite vs ‘dog match-ups appear almost frozen for a number of Opening Day contests, but gamblers love Toronto’s (+127) moneyline in an away Game 1 against Tampa Bay despite the Rays’ superior 2019 campaign. Charlie Morton will begin the season for the hosts on the mound, but new Blue Jays acquisition Hyun-jin Ryu is worth his salt and will start for the visitors.
Pick: Blue Jays Run Line (+1.5) (-155)
Astros Get Credit for Success Not Yet Earned
The Seattle Mariners were a lucrative underdog pick early in 2019, and may be an excellent Opening Night gamble at (+255) odds to beat the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Houston is coming off an excellent W/L mark on the 2019 season, and stands at (+750) odds to win the upcoming World Series according to FanDuel Sportsbook. However, the club’s now-exposed cheating on offense means Astros stats from the past several seasons could be skewed. The lineup has more to prove than any other MLB squad. Houston should be considered a fringe contender until the roster shows it can win ballgames fair and square.
Nats Host Yanks in Cathartic Game for COVID-Stricken Cities
It feels strangely normal to report that the New York Yankees are a (-123) moneyline favorite against host Washington on a weekday evening in July.
What’s so different about this particular Thursday? Where to begin?
Nationals Park will host an Opening Day ballgame like nothing ever experienced in baseball, not a ceremonial parade but a tense, crowd-less atmosphere in which every final score is crucial in the pennant race. The Nats and Yankees have been affected badly by COVID-19, and bookmakers are skeptical that distracted batters will score more than (7.5) runs against ace pitching.
Bettors Love Bums Right Out of the Gate in 2020
The story of MLB’s maiden nightcap of 2020 is lopsided pregame touting. Los Angeles is expected to dismiss its in-state rival at Dodger Stadium, with an expanding (+255) moneyline attached to the underdog Giants. San Francisco is even getting underdog odds on a (+1.5) Run Line.
Is a powerful Bums batting order solely responsible for the action? Not with Clayton Kershaw on the mound against visiting Johnny Cueto. Injuries have taken a toll on Cueto following his All-Star campaign in 2016, and the 34 year-old has won just 3 ballgames over the last 2 seasons.
Pick: Giants Run Line (+1.5) (+130)
MLB Vegas Odds and Previews 9/29/2019 (Season Finale)
Yankees Playing for Pride, Handicapped as 1-to-2 Favorites Anyway
Few of the current division leaders of Major League Baseball have anything left to play for (at least for the time being) as the regular season concludes on Sunday. The St. Louis Cardinals are an exception, of course, as the Redbirds try to stay ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers with a win over the pesky Cubs – something the front-runners were unable to pull off on Saturday. Houston can also clinch the best 2019 record of any club by beating the L.A. Angels. The New York Yankees have dropped 3 of their last 4 ballgames as Aaron Boone has the team firmly in preparation mode for the postseason yet to come, and there is technically nothing to be gained by beating the Texas Rangers in the 3rd and closing game of a final series at Arlington. But the gambling community thinks that the Yanks can prevail in a rubber match without giving 100%, marking the AL East victors a (-190) favorite in a contest with a rising (11) run total as Masahiro Tanaka pitches against host hurler Lance Lynn.
Forecasting Lines for the Crucial St. Louis vs Chicago Finale
Neither the St. Louis Cardinals nor the Milwaukee Brewers were able to win games against eliminated clubs on Saturday. Division-leading St. Louis fell 8-6 to the Chicago Cubs to give the spoilers a 2-0 edge in the series at Busch Stadium despite Tommy Edman’s big day at the plate, while Milwaukee lost 3-2 in a rare low-scoring ballgame at Coors Field for which Daily Double nailed the Under prediction with room to spare. The Cardinals were actually lucky to be in Saturday’s contest considering that Adam Wainwright gave up a hideous 12 hits to the Cubbies in just over 4 innings pitched. A win is now imperative as the Redbirds cannot expect Colorado to help them out again, and getting swept by a visiting rival is no way to gear up for the MLB postseason. With no lines on the series closer yet offered in Las Vegas as of late Saturday night, it’s hard to forecast an Over/Under total, as the Cubs have not officially settled on a starter to face Jack Flaherty on Sunday afternoon. But I expect the Cardinals to be at least a (-150) favorite as bookmakers know the hosts will pull out all the stops trying to prevail in the division race without further ado.
Pick: Cardinals Run Line (-1.5)
Thanks for checking out our daily MLB picks this season, ‘Boppers…and enjoy the playoffs!
Las Vegas MLB Odds Now “Centralized” as Cards, Rivals Duke it Out
They’re playing practical jokes on us, ‘boppers. Yesterday’s ballgames were all handicapped early in Las Vegas except for the NL Central division, and lo and behold on Saturday the NL Central opened for betting earlier than other divisions. Is it a dirty trick? Why, only if your wagers lose! The St. Louis Cardinals hold a razor-thin 1-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the division, and though the Chicago Cubs are out of the race, the Redbird rivals are happy to play spoiler. The Cubs won the 1st of 3 season-capping ballgames at Busch Stadium 8-2 on Friday as pinch-hitting Robel Garcia starred in a 7-run rally late in the contest. Saturday evening’s crucial follow-up pits Adam Wainwright (who seems to pitch for the Cardinals every day just as Edgar Renteria used to bat every inning) against Cole Hamels as St. Louis is a solid but unpopular ML favorite at (-190).
Pick: Cardinals to win
Brew Crew Needs Ws and Help From Cubs After Dropping Rox Opener
Milwaukee’s scenario very similar to that of St. Louis on the diamond and on the betting board. The Brew Crew isn’t playing a rival NL Central club, but faces a dangerous spoiler in the Colorado Rockies anyway, and must play in the unfriendly (and home-run abiding) confines of Coors Field. Like the Cardinals, the Brewers were firmly in Friday’s contest until a 7-run host rally stole the show. Milwaukee’s bullpen was helpless to slow down the Rox after starting P Zach Davies left the mound with a full 4 innings to play. Saturday night’s pitching match-up will be a battle of Gonzales vs Gonzales, Gio for the visitors and Chi Chi for the Rockies. Gio Gonzales’ stats are far-superior in 2019 and the Brewers are a (-190) favorite, again just like the Cardinals. But the Vegas run total is (12.5) thanks to the mile-high setting and Friday’s 2-runs-per-inning output by the ballclubs. At least the pair of NL Central hopefuls know that a loss in the division race means an assured Wild Card seed.
“De-Centralized” Odds Include Interesting Line on Washington-Cleveland
Hooray! This time around (for whatever reason) bookmakers have not been shy about posting early betting lines for Friday despite so many managers being at cross-purposes with the season winding down. The NL Central is 1 noteworthy exception – odds on the Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs are scarce as the clubs battle it out in the division race. But the opener of an interleague series between Cleveland and host Washington has drawn significant gambling action as the Tribe makes its last stand while the Nats jockey for position with an NL Wild Card seed assured. The Indians have more to play for and will start well-respected Zach Plesac on the pitcher’s rubber, which prompted sportsbooks to offer even-up moneylines when wagering began. Oakland’s Thursday night victory that took the A’s to 96 wins must be weighing on the minds of the visitors, though, and Cleveland’s likely demise in the playoff hunt has caused speculators to lean Washington’s way (-123) in a contest with a falling (9.5) Vegas total.
Pick: Indians to win
Bums Look to Reign Over Major Leagues With 3 in San Francisco
The NL Central race might be dramatic, and the Wild Card chase could be climatic. But there’s another interesting race going on between the 3 finest ballclubs in North American baseball, as the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros are still vying for the #1 win-loss record of 2019. Unlike a lot of contenders currently resting aces and sluggers in the dugout, Los Angeles is not backing down, headed into a season-capping trio at AT&T Park with a chance to sweep the Giants and stay ahead of New York while eclipsing Houston. Clayton Kershaw struck-out 7 batters as the Bums shut-out the Padres 1-0 to complete a 3-game sweep on Thursday with Max Muncy nailing a game-winning single in the 6th inning. San Francisco will try veteran Johnny Cueto on the mound on Friday night following a strong September from the Dominican hurler, but a scheduled start from visiting Walker Buehler has cast the Dodgers as a (-185) moneyline favorite in a ballgame with a falling (7.5) Over/Under.
Gambling Public Likes Pirates to Beat Sorrowful Cubs
Well, we had to wait all night and all day for some lines (and some line-movement) on Thursday evening’s Major League Baseball action, but heavily-weighted betting trends are already taking the odds to unexpected places. For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates opened as a 1.5-to-1 underdog to beat the Chicago Cubs in the last of 3 ballgames at PNC Park, but surprisingly the Buccos are now almost an (Even) wager. Should it be a surprise considering where the Cubs have fallen to in the standings, though? Chicago is now mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, and additionally the Pirates have dominated the series with 2 wins to extend the Cubbies’ losing streak to a disastrous 7 games.
Pick: Over (8.5)
Oakland A’s May Need All 4 in Seattle
Now on to a team that is in the thick of the postseason chase despite playing in the relatively top-heavy American League. Oakland is deadlocked with the Tampa Bay Rays at 95 wins apiece, and both ballclubs are trying to hold off the dangerous Cleveland Indians who sit 2 games back of a Wild Card position with half of a week to go in the season. The A’s have blown opportunities for key sweeps in the past 10 games, losing openers to the Kansas City Royals and the L.A. Angels. The woeful Seattle Mariners provide a vulnerable final opponent who could be prone to a sweep-against, but the upcoming series is at T-Mobile Park, and gamblers are hesitant to move on Oakland’s (-230) moneyline after watching fat ML favorites occasionally fall in late summer and early autumn. Thursday’s nightcap involves a mismatch on the mound, however, as visiting Sean Manaea has shined in limited duty while host-starter Felix Hernandez is 1-7 with a tepid 6.51 ERA.
Pick: Athletics Run Line (-1.5)
Why Are Bettors Shy of the Brew Crew in Cincy?
Unlike a lot of Major League Baseball clubs at this late date in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers’ postseason chances are alive and well. In fact, the Brew Crew can still overtake the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central with a winning streak and a little luck over the final 5 ballgames. So why is Milwaukee only a (-138) favorite to beat the woebegone Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday evening despite opening at shorter than 1-to-1.5? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s not like the visitors didn’t win the opener on Tuesday, and Cincinnati will be starting 2-11 Tyler Mahle on the mound. Perhaps gamblers believe the Brewers are due for a bad result after winning just about every contest since mid-September, since expected guest starter Jordan Lyles has only allowed 4 runs in his previous 3 trips to the rubber.
Pick: Brewers to win
Atlanta’s Line Popular Despite Little Motivation vs KC
Strangely the Atlanta Braves’ (-205) moneyline to beat the host Kansas City Royals is shrinking shorter in small increments – not that Atlanta isn’t a much better ballclub than the Royals, but the playoff-bound Braves are in a spot in the standings from which the team has zilch to play for in games 158 through 162. Wednesday night’s visitors to the Show-Me State have clinched the NL East but cannot catch the L.A. Dodgers for 1st overall in the National League and cannot be passed-up by anyone else with so few outings to go. Likely Braves starter Mike Soroka is an ace with a sub-3.00 ERA and only 4 losses in 2019, but you have to believe he’ll be pulled at the 1st sign of trouble along with any teammates who suffer hangnails or bouts of sneezing. It seems rather obvious that Atlanta-to-win is a shaky betting market because the Braves have nothing to gain and the Royals have nothing to lose.
Mike Montgomery will pitch for the underdog Crowns in a ballgame with a rising (9.5) O/U line.
Yanks, Rays Have Very Different Goals in Series at Tropicana
Forgive me if I seem a little obsessed with reporting Major League Baseball standings these days. Gamblers are interested in batting averages, ERA and WHIP numbers, and week-to-week trends with competing ballclubs. But it’s the final home stretch of the pennant race, and managers are making choices with many different goals in mind depending on where their club fits into the “table” as they say across the pond. For instance the New York Yankees have an opportunity to surpass the Houston Astros for baseball’s best record in 2019, but Tuesday night’s visitors to Tropicana Field are a (+105) underdog on betting boards as the Yanks mess around with their pitching staff in preparation for the playoffs. Meanwhile the host Tampa Bay Rays are in a fierce battle for Wild Card seeds and will start 9-5 Yonny Chirinos in a contest with a rising (9.5) Vegas total.
Pick: Rays to win
Bettors Like Mets to Win as Club Faces Last Chance
It appears as though the New York Mets are likely to fall short in the NL Wild Card race, 5 games behind the Brewers and Nationals with 6 to play. Put simply, the Metropolitans need a miracle, and it involves going unbeaten the rest of the way and getting a whole lot of help from the opponents of Milwaukee and/or Washington. The Miami Marlins are chipping-in charitably by starting 5-14 Sandy Alcantara in Tuesday evening’s visit to Citi Field. However the hurler might not be responsible for most of his losses on a poor team and has a decent ERA of 4 runs even. Noah Syndergaard will pitch for the desperate Mets and has been known to produce from the plate as well as the mound…but the Las Vegas run total is only (8) despite playing with a juiced baseball as gamblers expect a tense atmosphere with the hosts almost out of it.
Nationals Solid, Phillies Desperate as Race Enters Final Week
The slumping Philadelphia Phillies are probably down to their final shot to contend for an NL Wild Card bid, but it’s a doozy. The ballclub is 6 games behind the likely playoff-bound Washington Nationals, but will visit the nation’s capital for a 5-game series beginning on Monday evening. The initial pitching match-up doesn’t look all that swell for the guests as 9-12 Zach Eflin will be tagged to start opposite Patrick “Colossus: The Corbin Project” Corbin of the Nats and his impressive 3.10 ERA. Las Vegas has done the expected and given Washington a (-180) moneyline for the opener in D.C., but a falling O/U total of (9) runs indicates respect for both hurlers’ chances of success against crafty batting lineups.
Redbirds Can Seal Division Before Returning to Busch
Much like the Phillies, the Arizona Diamondbacks are hanging on by a thread in the Wild Card race. The Snakes have missed out on a pair of crucial sweep opportunities in the last 2 series, giving up 12 runs to the pitiful Miami Marlins on September 17th and blowing a 4-run lead in an extra-innings loss to the eliminated San Diego Padres on Sunday. Arizona now hosts St. Louis for 3 games in a last-gasp bid to gain ground on other playoff contenders, but the trio is equally important for the Redbirds, who can all but sew up the NL Central with a sweep or even a series win. The Milwaukee Brewers are surging well ahead of the Chicago Cubs and are only 3 games back with a week to go, however, which does put pressure on Monday night’s guests at Chase Field. Alex Young is scheduled as a formidable host starter, but the Cardinals are a popular (-133) pick behind Adam Wainwright in a ballgame with a conservative (9) run Over/Under.
Pick: Diamondbacks to win
Cards-Cubs Among Shy Vegas MLB Handicaps on Sunday
Monday marks the final week of the 2019 regular season, and Las Vegas handicappers are recommending lines that sportsbooks are not thrilled about opening markets with until at least later in the AM when more information can be gathered. Houston is an example as the Astros are an unfamiliar 4-to-1 underdog vs the Angels due in-part to circumstances and neither club having all that much to play for until the ‘Stros embark in the playoffs. It’s weirder to see bookies balking on the Cardinals and Cubs though, 2 teams still duking it out in the NL Central. Chicago came up with a terrific comeback win in Saturday’s contest and are hoping it’s not too little and too late. Opening consensus gives the Cubbies a (-160) line to win Sunday’s contest as Sin City apparently doesn’t believe the club is finished.
Pick: Cardinals to win
Tribe Favored on Sunday, But Phils Getting the Action
Lovers may swoon about hooking up in glamorous cities like Paris and New York, but the Philadelphia Phillies are getting plenty of “action” of their own in the blue-collar town of Cleveland. Lines opened with the Indians a substantial favorite for the series closer at Progressive Field on Sunday Night Baseball, but since then the Phillies’ underdog odds have shrunk to just (+119). The movement may reflect the current momentum of the 3-game stint, as Philadelphia roared back from a 1st-game loss to win 9-4 on Saturday following Bryce Harper’s 3-run homer that is mistakenly credited as a grand slam on Google’s sports ticker. You don’t need the world’s largest search engine to see that the pitching match-up is fairly even with starters Adam Plutko and Vince Velasquez’s nearly-equal ERA numbers, but a rising O/U total of (10.5) indicates gamblers think fireworks from the plate will ultimately decide the ballgame.
Mets Racking Up the Ws vs Fortuitous Schedule
The Daily Double has a 5-2 record over the past few days, including some welcome winning action on the Run Line. That didn’t stop the New York Mets from making WagerBop look foolish on Friday, as the Metropolitans hammered the Cincinnati Reds bullpen en route to an 8-1 triumph at Great American Ball Park. Jeff McNeil had a monster day at the plate, the popular Pete Alonzo scored twice while pushing his season RBI total to 113, and starting P Jacob deGrom lasted 7 scoreless innings. Now the Mets will try to sweep the hapless Reds prior to facing another soft opponent in the Miami Marlins, potentially on track to go on a streak to propel the club to the postseason. But gamblers aren’t buying-in with confidence as the NL East contenders are only slim (-132) favorites behind Zack Wheeler for the follow-up on Saturday afternoon.
Pick: Mets to win
Phillies Win With Speculators, But Maybe Not on the Diamond
Philadelphia is in danger of missing the playoffs after a poor stretch that has sunk the club to just 4 games above the .500 mark. That hasn’t stopped the Phillies’ (+150) moneyline from taking a healthy amount of action in Las Vegas and on internet betting sites. The hosting Cleveland Indians prevailed in the series opener on Friday however, as Shane Bieber recorded his 250th strikeout. And it’s not as if the pitching match-up for Saturday evening’s interleague contest is all that favorable to the National League team – expected Tribe hurler Zach Plesac has a better W/L record in addition to a superior ERA when compared to likely Phillies go-to Jason Vargas. Bookmakers opened wagering with a (10) run O/U total and it’s stayed right where it is, indicating that no one can agree on where this series is headed despite the fact that Cleveland has an awful lot at stake in the pennant race.
Pick: Cleveland to win
Mets Ready for Final Sprint, Favored in Cincinnati
The New York Mets are playing good baseball, winning twice as many games as the club is losing down the stretch. But other National League Wild Card contenders are prevailing often too, and time is short. The Mets are looking forward to a potential 4-game sweep of the woeful Marlins next week to set everything right with the world, but before then comes a 3-game swing through Cincinnati. The betting odds present a conundrum as expected host hurler Luis Castillo has a far-superior stat line to anyone New York is prepared to put on the mound on Friday night. But gamblers are liking a motivated ballclub to prevail over the dead-in-the-water Reds, helping to give the Metropolitans a (-140) moneyline in a contest with a falling (7.5) Vegas total.
Pick: Reds to win
Lo and Behold, Gamblers Shy of Dodgers at Home vs Rox
The Mets-Reds ballgame’s betting line-movement shows that speculators value motivation in the early autumn. If a contender is playing a dead fish (or THE Fish) it’s usually not long before the favorite’s moneyline begins to shrink. But the L.A. Dodgers have moved from (-330) to (-315) for Friday’s late-night ballgame against the visiting Colorado Rockies, who were eliminated from the pennant race weeks ago. Why? The Bums just won 2 series in a row before splitting with the dangerous Tampa Bay Rays, so it’s not a question of the club dialing things back as opposed to shooting for best-record in the National League after 162 games. Expected starter Clayton Kershaw is the culprit, an ace who has been playing in a comfortable 6-days-rest cycle but who was blown out of the box early in a pair of recent outings vs Arizona and San Francisco.
Pick: Dodgers to win ((-1.5) Run Line if available)
Apologies for the delay on today’s picks. This time it was a WordPress glitch and not explicitly the author’s fault…1st time for everything! Enjoy a couple of previews of tonight’s ballgames on short notice.
Tribe Gets an “Astros” Moneyline vs Detroit
The Cleveland Indians are in the thick of the American League postseason chase, and have a double-digit winning streak going against the Detroit Tigers. Mike Clevenger is 11-3 on the season with a sub-3.00 ERA and will start on Thursday night opposite 3-12 Daniel Norris of the Tigers. Everything seems set for the Tribe to win yet again in the series closer, but MLB gamblers must remember the Houston Astros losing to Detroit on a (-500) moneyline this summer. Not that anyone seems to care – the Cleveland line-to-win has shrunk to (-420) after opening at around 1-to-3 payoff odds. A falling O/U total of (8.5) seems to portend anything but an Indians blow-out.
Pick: Indians Run Line (-1.5)
Cards, Cubs Evenly Handicapped at Wrigley Field
The Chicago Cubs are running out of chances to catch the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central race. Chicago looked ready to storm down the stretch following a 3-game sweep of Pittsburgh and an 8-2 victory over Cincinnati on Monday in which the bullpen shined in relief of Cole Hamels. Then the other shoe dropped as the Reds came back to win 2 in a row to end the series, including a 3-2 result in an extra-innings closer that saw only 4 hits from the Cubbies. Still the team is just 3 games out and has a shot to surpass the Redbirds with a 4-game series sweep at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks will hurl against visiting Jack Flaherty on Thursday night in a ballgame with evenly-matched (-110) moneylines and a plummeting (7) run O/U total.
MLB Gamblers Just Love Nats vs Redbirds in St. Louis
Profound line-movement doesn’t occur on every ballgame, and bettors have been proven right quite a few times this year with rushes on MLB moneylines and Over/Under totals. Do the high-rollers have it correct again? Betting has surged on the Washington Nationals in Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match with the host St. Louis Cardinals, shrinking the Nats’ Vegas line to (-170) with half a day’s wagers to go. Adam Wainwright, who seems to pitch every game for the Cardinals, gives the Redbirds a solid scheduled hurler to start the 1st inning. But visiting starter Max Scherzer’s kingly ERA of 2.65 outweighs his 10-6 record in gamblers’ eyes, and Washington’s bats appeared to come alive late in Tuesday’s 6-4 victory despite the club having gone under .500 in the previous 10 ballgames.
Pick: Cardinals to win (+150) or Over (7.5)
Houston Gets Stunning Moneyline vs Unbeaten Hurler
The Houston Astros are having a terrific 2019 so far, but suffered a minor ignominy earlier in the season upon losing to the Detroit Tigers on a (-500) moneyline. Could it happen again on Wednesday night? Against an unbeaten pitcher, no less? Kolby Allard will start for the visiting Texas Rangers following a 4-1 win by the ‘Stros on Tuesday – the 22-year-old 1st-rounder is 4-0 on the season to date. Allard did have a mediocre day against the Tampa Bay Rays in his previous start, possibly helping to push the Vegas line even further in Houston’s direction. But he’s been solid otherwise. Gerrit Cole is certainly a tough nut to crack for the Ranger lineup and will pitch in the 2-game closer, though you’ve got to believe at least a few high-rollers will be skeptical of getting burned again by the 1-to-5 market despite the Astros competing for their 100th win of the campaign and 1st-place overall in the American League.
Pick: Under (8.5)
Regretful Red Sox Are Popular Favorites on Tuesday Night
It is time to declare a post-mortem on what has been a disappointing 2019 campaign for the Boston Red Sox. The ballclub sits at more than 10 games out of a Wild Card slot in the American League with only 2 weeks to go. A number of Beantown batters have had impressive seasons, such as DH J.D. Martinez who leads the Red Sox with 35 home runs, and infielder Rafael Devers whose .311 batting average is the best among Boston’s full-time starters. But a disastrous 6-11 campaign from hurler Chris Sale ended in injury, and closer Brandon Workmon has only posted 14 saves. Still the sportsbook gamblers of America are happy to take wagers on the failed contender, with the Fenway Park hosts shrinking to a (-190) line to beat San Francisco on Tuesday night in a game with a (10.5) Vegas total.
Crucial L.A. Nightcap Pits Stripling vs Snell
The Tampa Bay Rays are in fine position to embark on a final stretch-run to a postseason bid. Tampa nearly swept the L.A. Angels in a 3-game series over the weekend, and face a favorable schedule in the late-going with series against the dead-in-the-water Red Sox, the Yankees (who may be served by fielding a Triple-A lineup by 9/24), and finally the miserable Toronto Blue Jays. First, however, the Rays must battle through an interleague series with 1 of the better ballclubs to come along in a while – the 2019 L.A. Dodgers. Betting action on Tuesday night’s opener is nearly even as the Bums are only a (-125) wager, and visiting starter Blake Snell could easily be a match for host hurler Ross Stripling. Perhaps gamblers are thinking that Tampa Bay has more to play for in this scenario – but the Dodgers can seal 1st place in the National League with a few more wins and a couple of Braves losses.
Pick: Rays to win
Nats Start Soul Crusher in Bid to Stay Atop Cubs
The Washington Nationals needed a win in a series closer with Atlanta on Sunday, and the Nats got their wish with 6 runs to spare, shutting-out the Braves while Howie Kendrick connected on 3 out of 4 at-bats. Now the club heads to St. Louis to play the NL Central-leading Cardinals in a series that could prove fateful for both cities with Chicago in hot pursuit in the Wild Card and division races. The Redbirds are hanging on to a 2-game advantage having lost consecutive 3-game series, and will start 15-7 Dakota Hudson in Monday evening’s opener. But the “Soul Crusher” Steven Strasburg is slated to pitch for Washington (-140) and was solid in his last outing against the Twins.
Pick: Nationals to win
Matz and Mets a Popular Moneyline Pick in Denver
Massive Over/Under totals at Coors Field are nothing new, but perhaps Monday night’s (13.5) Vegas run total for the 1st of 3 in Denver has as much to do with ability as thin air. Big Apple bats have looked plenty alive prior to the Mets taking on the L.A. Dodger pitching staff, and the host Colorado Rockies just finished scoring 31 total runs in 3 straight victories over San Diego. Meanwhile the Rox don’t have anyone ready to start on the mound except the 9-10 Antonio Senzatela, while the Metropolitans are going with 10-8 Steven Matz. New York is a popular (-160) favorite thanks to the somewhat favorable match-up but also has a lot more to play ball for than the mathematically-eliminated home team.
Tribe and Twins See Mixed Action on Sunday Tilt
The Cleveland Indians have 1 real shot at catching the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central – which is to whip the visiting front-runners in the current 4-game series at Progressive Field. That hope has gone a’glimmer as the 1st ballgame was postponed and then followed by 2 victories for Minnesota. The Tribe is will be desperate to stop the bleeding, but gamblers still prefer the Twins to maintain the momentum as Sunday afternoon’s guests are a popular (+120) wager. Shane Bieber will pitch against visiting Jose Berrios in a contest with a falling (8.5) Vegas run total, indicating bettors’ respect for quality fielders in addition to excellent starting hurlers from both clubs.
Pick: Indians to win
Mets Still Hanging On, Face Key Rubber Match on SNB
Another falling O/U total of (7.5) runs reflects what should be a tense atmosphere at Dodger Stadium on Sunday Night Baseball. L.A. still hasn’t closed-out Atlanta for tops in the National League, and looks to regain form after suffering brief swoons late in the season. The visiting New York Mets are alive in the postseason chase and playing good baseball, looking forward to a winnable stretch of ballgames against clubs like Colorado and Miami. But only a victory in the rubber-match closer will give the Mets momentum and a shorter climb to catch the Wild Card leaders. The Dodgers are a (-147) favorite behind Walker Buehler as Zack Wheeler prepares to pitch for the Metropolitans.
Braves Clobber Nats, Made Into Vegas Underdog Anyway
Did the Atlanta Braves just spoil their own reason to play hard in a road series? With a 5-0 win over the host Washington Nationals in D.C. on Friday, the NL East leaders essentially sealed the division while forcing the Nats to watch out for the Wild Card hopefuls behind them – namely Arizona, Philly, and Milwaukee. Gamblers trust Austin Voth of Washington to make more of his scheduled start than guest hurler Mike Foltynewicz in Saturday’s follow-up, marking the Braves a thin (-106) underdog in a ballgame with a (10) run Vegas total.
Pick: Braves to win
Why is Texas Such a Sexy Saturday Pick?
The Texas Rangers opened as a 1.4-to-1 underdog to beat the Oakland A’s on Saturday night, but gamblers are flocking to the Rangers’ line as if the club wasn’t below .500 and headed home right after the regular season. The Athletics have won 4 ballgames in a row and plan to start Mike Fiers on the mound, typically a sign of impending victory. But speculators think the streak is bound to end quickly and are comparing scheduled host hurler Mike Minor favorably with the visiting ace. Also, fireworks are expected with a (10.5) run total, adding the kind of chaos-element that plus moneyline gamblers like. Too bad Texas’ line isn’t “plus” anymore – the Rangers have shrunk to a (-104) wager.
Action Points to Redbird Relapse at New Busch
Here we are wondering if the betting public thinks Washington D.C. is cursed (well, of course, that goes well beyond baseball) and ignoring the voodoo-hex that Las Vegas has drawn around the Gateway City. The St. Louis Cardinals are 4 games in front of the NL Central and snapped a surprise sweep-attempt by the Colorado Rockies on Thursday as hurler Miles Mikolas grabbed a W in a 10-3 victory. But the Cards’ moneyline is expanding prior to a series opener at Busch with the 2nd-place Milwaukee Brewers (+110) as speculators believe the unorthodox methods of the Redbirds will finally spell doom against the Brew Crew. Adam Wainwright will throw against visiting Adrian Houser in Friday night’s crucial ballgame, which comes with a dropping (8) run Vegas total.
Relevant is Not the Word for Rays at Halos
There are few relevant ballgames on Friday’s late-night MLB schedule. The Diamondbacks are playing the Reds, but Arizona must simply win and win down the stretch no matter who the opponent is. The Mariners and White Sox are having a Consolation Series, and the Giants are favored over the Marlins at home. But intrigue is running high in Los Angeles, where the Tampa Bay Rays – fighting for a postseason chance in the American League – are not a shrinking (-140) wager to beat the Angels. Visiting starter Charlie Morton has the O/U settled at (8) runs, but somehow enough bettors feel that the proud Halos will rally behind 4-4 hurler Andrew Heaney despite the club’s poor September form.
Pick: Rays to win
Curses! All year I’ve worried about something knocking-out a full day of Daily Double research and picks, and lo and behold a hardware crash (followed by storms) rendered this handicapping office inoperative for 48 hours.
Never fear, we’re back on the prowl for those winning moneylines and O/U markets…and don’t expect any more sequels of Twister interfering with our brand of Major League.
Do Gamblers Finally Believe in Washington?
A senator once wrote an editorial in which he claimed the Washington Nationals’ eternally poor record was a blessing, since it took the pressure off and allowed fans to enjoy the atmosphere. That was then, and the Nats have grown up into a major factor in the National League postseason chase as the decade winds down. However it has taken gamblers a while to forgive Washington for a slow start this spring – Vegas lines on the Nats have expanded rather than shortened more often than for several comparable contenders. Finally the Nationals are a popular (-125) pick in a road rubber-match against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday despite visiting hurler Patrick Corbin’s meager W/L record compared to opposing Kyle Gibson of Minnesota.
Pick: Nationals to win
Verlander Holds Astros Lines in Place
You might think it’s the perfect setup for an underdog ML pick, but there’s rarely a perfect setup for any pick. The Oakland A’s are a 3-to-1 ‘dog at Minute Maid Park on Thursday night after falling twice in 3 tries in what has been a wild series so far. Houston has dominated the league in 2019 and could always use another series win, but doesn’t really need it like Oakland desperately needs a 2-2 result. Homer Bailey takes the mound for the Athletics with designs on tamping the ‘Stros attack down further, but it’s Justin Verlander on the other side who is keeping Houston’s odds-to-win short and the Over/Under at (9) total runs.
Pick: A’s to win (+300)
9/10 & 9/11 – No Picks
Gamblers Really, Really Like Brew Crew in Magic City
It’s not exactly common to see a Las Vegas MLB line shrink by 4 dimes on the dollar in the limited time American hardball games are allotted on the betting board. But the Milwaukee Brewers opened as a 1-to-1.65 line to beat the host Miami Marlins in a series opener on Monday and are now a (-205) moneyline at Bovada. Unusually the line-movement is not primarily based on mound analytics, as Miami starter Robert Duggar is capable of a decent outing, and the Brew Crew plans to trot-out Jordan Lyles who is just 10-8 on the year. Milwaukee is in the thick of the NL Wild Card race, though, and just whipped the Cubs in 3 out of 4 ballgames as newly-acquired Tyler Austin led a 5-run 4th inning on Sunday. In contrast Miami is a sorry outfit with a 29-45 record at Marlins Park.
Pick: Over (8.5)
How Hard Will Pads Fight in San Diego on Monday?
Remember how virtue-signalling color analysts always stuck-up for discretionary hurlers in the “manual intentional walk” era? “Well,” they’d say as boos rained over the ballpark, “the Anywhere Browns are in a pennant race.” Now that intentional walks are going the way of the Dodo, it becomes an even more-subtle art form to handicap a contender vs a roster of ballplayers bound for golf courses and fishing boats later in September. Managers’ tactics are looser with a nowhere team, and dugout psychology is often hard to get a bead on. For instance the underdog San Diego Padres (+135) are a talented up-and-coming club that fell short this season but which has fought nobly to win 2 of its last 3 series. The Chicago Cubs (-155) are visiting for the 1st of 4 on Monday night with designs on the postseason, however, meaning that skipper Joe Maddon will hold absolutely nothing back. .500 pitchers Cal Quantrill of the Pads and Kyle Hendricks of the Cubbies will start in a ballgame with a falling (8) run total.
Pick: Cubs to win
Atlanta Threatens Sweep While Icing NL East Race
Few series results in 2019 have been as definitive as the Atlanta Braves’ tour de force vs National League East division-rival Washington over the past 3 ballgames. Worse yet for the visiting Nationals, it’s not over yet. The Braves won their 2nd straight 1-run result over the Nats on Saturday, threatening a 4-game sweep that would not only put a bow on ATL’s likely division crown but muddy the postseason outlook for a formerly-hot D.C. ballclub. Washington is a popular (-130) moneyline pick to avert embarrassment on Sunday afternoon, but a falling O/U total of just (8) runs is a sign of gamblers’ respect for scheduled Atlanta starter Mike Soroka, who will pitch against stingy Max Scherzer at SunTrust Park.
Yankees and Red Sox Battle on National TV Once More
Sunday Night Baseball has enjoyed plenty of ratings-winners with the storied New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox rivalry, so why not stick with a good thing? This week’s installment catches up with the BoSox and visiting Bronx Bombers at Fenway Park with Beantown in crisis-mode at 6 games out of a Wild Card berth. Boston has managed to split the opening 2 ballgames of the meeting, thanks to a nice Friday outing from Mitch Moreland and a by-committee effort on the pitching mound in the 6-1 win. The Yanks took revenge with a 5-1 triumph on Saturday and stand as a (-116) ML favorite for Sunday evening, as Masahiro Tanaka will start the bottom half of the 1st for New York against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello in a game with a healthy (11) run Vegas total.
Pick: Red Sox to win
Wish we could tell you that the mysteriously unreported (and fateful) O/U line on the A’s Friday ballgame was only (9) or (8.5) but alas, it was (9.5), and we missed the Over by a run. Nailed it on the Snakes, however.
Cardinals Look to Rebound Through Key Stretch
Nothing comes easy for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019. The Redbirds began the season floundering, spent most of the summer scoffed-at by hometown pundits, and recently pulled into a narrow lead in the NL Central only to find things not exactly going to plan once there. A pair of series against the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates and struggling Colorado Rockies provides an opportunity to expand a (2.5) game lead with less than 2 dozen ballgames to go in the regular season. But the Cards (-140) lost the 1st of 3 to Pittsburgh at PNC Park and will try old hand Adam Wainwright on the mound against Steven Brault on Saturday evening.
Pick: Pirates to win
‘Stros Huge Vegas Favorites for a Reason
It sure seems like the front-running Houston Astros are at the minus-end of a lot of whopper moneyline markets this season, and sure enough, the ‘Stros are an eye-popping (-400) gamble to beat the woeful Seattle Mariners in the 3rd straight on Saturday night. Houston defeated Seattle for the 2nd outing in a row on Friday and the visitors to Minute Maid Park may have spent all of their remaining competitive juice in an extra-innings loss in the opener. Even the pervasive “bet against the sweep” philosophy isn’t drumming-up much action on the last-place M’s, but action is tight on an O/U total of just (8.5) runs.
Snakes Make a Popular Wager at Great American Ball Park
Typically when an MLB Vegas line moves sharply after opening, gamblers have their eyes on the pitching mound. Starting hurlers are probably part of the reason that the Arizona Diamondbacks have become a (-125) favorite to win an opener in Cincinnati on Friday, as 12-7 Robbie Ray of the Snakes is slated to throw against 2-10 Tyler Mahle of the Reds. But don’t overlook that the Diamondbacks are a hot baseball club. Arizona is coming off a pair of terrific series performances in which the club won 3 out of 4 ballgames with the L.A. Dodgers and followed-up by sweeping the San Diego Padres, putting the final nails in the coffin on San Diego’s up-and-down campaign. The O/U total is holding steady for the game in Cincy with a (9.5) number.
Pick: Diamondbacks to win
Athletics Hope to “Homer” Again After Sweeping Halos
We try to include at least 1 late-night/west coast 1st pitch in every Daily Double, but the pickings are slim on a Friday night of David vs Goliath ballgames. The San Francisco Giants made an heroic charge at the postseason that appears to be falling short, and the Dodgers are a near-prohibitive favorite to beat Gigantes in Friday’s opener. San Diego is in even worse shape and will host the Colorado Rockies in another snoozer. Things could get interesting in Oakland, however, where the A’s look to keep a streak going after sweeping the L.A. Angels in 3 ballgames. The woeful Detroit Tigers are coming to NorCal, marking the Athletics a (-240) moneyline wager in Friday’s opener. The run total could prove a suspenseful outcome, though, because visiting starter Spencer Turnbull’s 4.45 ERA belies his 3-14 W/L record, while expected A’s hurler Homer Bailey has actually posted a less-impressive number of 4.96 despite winning a dozen ballgames for Oakland so far.
Cubs, Brewers Head Into Crucial 4-Game Division Rivalry Series
Last week we previewed a series between San Francisco and San Diego that would help to determine which club would emerge alive in the Wild Card race. This week, the Milwaukee Brewers host the Chicago Cubs in a 4-game tilt that could go a long way in determining who stays relevant in the NL Central. The red-hot Redbirds are atop the division with the Cubbies in pursuit, but the Brew Crew still stands 6.5 games out and could begin a charge at the pennant with a sweep at home. If the Cubs win 3 or 4 games, they could threaten for the division lead over the weekend. Vegas odds are tight with Chicago (-125) a thin moneyline favorite behind Jose Quintana, scheduled to start against host hurler Chase Anderson in a ballgame with a steady (9.5) Over/Under total.
Nats Celebrated, But Not Perfect Headed Into Opener in GA
The Washington Nationals are more than a hot National League club vying for a playoff spot with 24 ballgames left in the regular season. As of this week the Nats are an historic team, having put together an almost unheard-of 9th-inning comeback to beat the New York Mets 11-10 on Tuesday after trailing by 6 runs in the final frame. Juan Soto and Kurt Suzuki slugged 7 RBIs and Max Scherzer was spared a loss despite the ballclub’s numerous errors. Look more closely at the D.C. vs NYC meeting, though, and the Nationals were actually beaten 2 games to 1. Thursday’s series opener in Atlanta pairs Washington (-122) against the NL East-leading Braves, a team that has just completed consecutive sweeps against the dregs of Major League Baseball. Max Fried will pitch against visiting Stephen Strasburg in a battle of excellent pitchers, but respect for both batting lineups (and an enhanced 2019 baseball according to 99% of MLB hurlers) is keeping the O/U total at (9) runs.
Pick: Braves to win
Another AM update from Las Vegas, ‘Boppers…but in plenty of time as we’re looking at a couple of late ballgames on Hump Day.
Batting Lineups Hold Sway in Over/Under Line on BoSox-Twins
Las Vegas’ MLB Over/Under totals have been climbing upward on-average throughout the Year of the Home Run. If there was going to be a single-digit O/U line based on a pair of starting hurlers, it would seem like the Boston Red Sox (-140) vs the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night would be a likely candidate. Jose Berrios is scheduled to begin the 1st inning for visiting Minnesota, while expected host hurler Eduardo Rodriguez has only lost 5 games on the season. But Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler have been taking turns swatting balls out of the park for the Twins, while DH J.D. Martinez is 1 of 4 Red Sox batters with a slugging % over .500, helping to keep the Vegas total at a healthy (11) runs for the 2nd of 3 at Fenway Park.
Pick: Twins to win and/or Under
Gamblers Think Ryu is Vulnerable vs Rox
We’ve picked an underdog in the ballgame above, is it time to pick a favorite with the line lengthening? The L.A. Dodgers are threatening a 3-game series sweep of the visiting Colorado Rockies following a 16-9 blow-out on Monday and a 5-3 win on Tuesday in which catcher Russell Martin and the entire bullpen shined. Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to start for the Bums in the closer on Wednesday night, and the ace will face an 8-9 hurler in Antonio Senzatela. System gambling seems to have taken over as Colorado (+260) is taking all kinds of wagers while trying avoid a sweep…but I’m only inclined to take that bait on better teams (like the Phillies on 9/1) playing at home.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Redbirds Heavily Favored Over Giants on Tuesday
It’s no surprise that the St. Louis Cardinals are a (-270) favorite to beat visiting San Francisco on Tuesday evening. The Giants are in a late-summer slump that will probably cost the club any chance to contend in the Wild Card race, while the Cardinals have swept the Rockies, then prevailed in series over division-rivals Milwaukee and Cincinnati to pull into a nice lead in the NL Central. Finally, Monday’s series opener at Busch Stadium resulted in a 3-1 win as Adam Wainwright went 7 shut-out innings against Gigantes. Tuesday’s expected starting hurler Jack Flaherty is above .500 on the season, but it’s Flaherty’s solid ERA of 3.31 that has bettors sticking with the Cards over Dereck Rodriguez and the Giants in a ballgame with a rising (8.5) O/U total.
Are Halos Moneyline Gamblers Just Being Sentimental?
Given the cult status of cities’ “other” franchises such as the New York Jets, Chicago White Sox, and Brooklyn Nets, it’s no wonder the L.A. Angels inspire sentimentality in baseball fans – and don’t forget that the team went through a heartbreaking tragedy earlier this season. Cheering interest has to come 2nd in sports gambling, however, leading to somewhat of a mystery as the Halos’ underdog line shrinks to (+146) headed into a series opener against the Oakland A’s in NorCal. Nothing sets up well for L.A. going into the road contest, as the Angels haven’t won a series since mid-August and will start 4-7 Jamie Barria vs Oakland ace Mike Fiers. A stiff 13 MPH breeze is expected to blow against batters but the O/U total is stubborn at (9.5), presumably because run-total speculators aren’t confident in Barria but have too much stock in Fiers to allow a double-digit number.
Pick: A’s to win
So an editing error appears to have cut a “Phillies to win” pick yesterday – scout’s honor. (If anyone thinks that’s made-up for the purpose of “sneaking” a 1-1 daily record, understandable, but please reread the final lines of the 9/1 preview carefully in context of the “fade the sweep” system mentioned often on Daily Double. It was a gimme.) Anyway, further apologies to loyal readers in this space – double-checking that crucial bold font from now on. Happy Labor Day!
Mets, Nationals Meet With Postseason Hopes on the Line
Despite neither ballclub residing in 1st place in the NL East, there is no more crucial series in baseball than the upcoming 3-game tilt between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets in the nation’s capital. The Mets appear to have broken a costly August slump that has left the team’s unexpected playoff push in jeopardy, winning 2 out of 3 games over the Philadelphia Phillies prior to continuing the road trip south. But the Nats are absolutely on fire, having casually swept the Miami Marlins 3 games to 0 just to warm up for the more-anticipated meeting. New York is an unlikely (-113) favorite for an early-afternoon start on Labor Day as Joe Ross pitches against visiting dual-threat Noah Syndergaard in a contest with a (9.5) Over/Under total.
Pick: Nationals to win
Dodgers a Big Favorite to Win 3-Game Rox Opener
The best kind of late-night “bailout” wager doesn’t cost much and comes with a big payoff. The Colorado Rockies are a 3-to-1 moneyline pick to upset the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 3-game opener on Monday night, and would erase a lot of gamblers’ Labor Day losses with a victory. L.A. has won only 4 of its last 10 ballgames, and Colorado brings dangerous contact-batters with power such as Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. However, the Rockies are in an awful slump that has taken the team out of respectable position into the cellar of the NL West. The Bums are at least jockeying for all-time home ballpark advantage in fall while we question just how much motivation the Rox are taking with them to Dodger Stadium. Even if motivated, the visiting club will be fielding behind scheduled starter Peter Lambert while ace Walker Buehler pitches for the powerful hosts.
Pick: Over (9)
Happy September, ‘Boppers! The Daily Double didn’t enjoy quite as many winning stretches in August as in July, but we’ve survived the dog-days slump and remain well above water moving toward autumn.
Gamblers Confident in Darvish, Cubs vs Brew Crew
A National League Central race that looked weak and overblown just a few weeks ago is starting to heat up for the home stretch. The St. Louis Cardinals have cured batting and fielding issues enough to soar into 1st place by a comfortable (for NL Central standards) margin, and the Chicago Cubs are well-within striking distance at 2.5 games behind while the Milwaukee Brewers lurk in a tight 3rd place. Chicago and Milwaukee have split the 1st 2 games of a 3-game meeting at Wrigley Field with a key rubber match on Sunday, and a scheduled start from host hurler Yu Darvish has helped the Cubbies’ moneyline shrink to (-177) while bettors mostly avoid wagering on 2-2 starter Gio Gonzalez and the Brew Crew.
Pick: Cubs to win
Snakebitten Hurlers Fight to Win NL East Closer on SNB
The New York Mets are dominating a crucial 3-game series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. We touched on Todd Frazier’s monster outing at the plate on Friday, and the infielder shined again on Saturday with 3 hits in a ballgame New York won 6-3 without ever trailing. Sunday Night Baseball will be full of fanfare as the Metropolitans try to complete the sweep, and a pitcher’s duel is not out of the question considering that scheduled host hurler Zach Eflin and visiting turn-taker Marcus Stroman each hold reasonable ERA numbers that belie losing W/L records in ’19. But the Over/Under total is a healthy (9.5) runs, and the Phillies (+100) will surely do everything in their power to get across home plate and avoid 0-for-3 embarrassment against a division rival.
Pick: Phillies to win
New York Reverses Roles With Philadelphia on Betting Board
The New York Mets appeared to be all but asleep on offense through 7 innings of Friday’s ballgame with the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia would go on to score 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Does that mean the Mets’ losing streak was extended at Citizens Bank Park? Hardly. NY exploded for 10 runs in the club’s final 6 outs as infielder Todd Frazier slugged his way to 6 RBIs with a pair of crucial dingers. Las Vegas is keen on the upstarts from the Big Apple now that the skid appears to be busted, turning the Mets from a 1.2-to-1 underdog to a (-112) favorite for Saturday’s game with less than a day’s worth of betting action. Jason Vargas will pitch against visiting Steven Matz in an afternoon 1st pitch with a (9.5) Sin City run total.
Odds Tight for Key Follow-up in San Fran
We said at the start of the current 4-game San Francisco vs San Diego series that a 4-0 or 3-1 series winner would be more optimistic about making a run at the playoffs. So far, neither team appears to be on its way to a commanding win in the meeting. Outfielder Manuel Margot and catcher Austin Hedges starred in Thursday’s 5-3 win for the Padres, but the Giants fought back with a nice 8-3 victory on Friday as Brandon Belt belted 3 RBIs and crossed the plate 3 total times while Madison Bumgarner whiffed 9 batters in 7 innings. The Pads will try Joey Lucchesi against host hurler Logan Webb on Saturday, and the comparable skills of each pitcher are holding the Over/Under at merely (8) runs while keeping MLs tight and hovering around (-110) each.
Mets Line Shortens vs Phils After Disappointing Sweep
Given the cynical attitude of many hometown New York Mets pundits, you’d think the negative vibes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens would filter out to the general public at a time like this. After all, the Metropolitans have now lost 6 ballgames in a row, suffering another sweep-against vs fellow Wild Card contender Chicago. Friday evening’s series opener in Philadelphia looks grim, considering that New York will start 9-7 Zack Wheeler against 12-4 Aaron Nola at Citizens Bank Park. Gamblers are convinced that the Mets are going to snap out of it and get back to tracking for a playoff spot, however, moving the Big Apple’s line-to-win from 1.4-to-1 to (+115) with just hours of action on a game with a falling (8.5) run Vegas total.
Pick: Phillies to win
Another Falling O/U Line as Bettors Fixate on Starting Hurlers
The L.A. Dodgers are only a (-140) favorite to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. That’s a minor story in itself, since there’s no better ballclub than the Bums in all of Major League Baseball, and since the MLB betting system “pick against underdogs after a win” would seem to be in effect as the Dodgers have spent most of Thursday night giving up runs to the Snakes in the series opener. Tony Gonsolin is expected to have a solid start on Friday, but as usual the reason for the slender Vegas lines is an interesting hurler on the other side. 24-year-old scheduled Arizona starter Zac Gellen has given up a healthy number of hits in his previous 3 starts…but only 5 runs.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Rox O/U Grows Despite Under Result on Wednesday
WagerBop guessed correct on an Over/Under market at Coors Field on Wednesday, can we do it again on Thursday night? Perhaps, but what if a moneyline or a Run Line is a better gamble? The Pittsburgh Pirates are a (-105) wager to beat the Colorado Rockies in a series opener this evening, and it stands to mention that Rox hurler Chi Chi Gonzalez – not to be confused with longtime PGA Tour golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez – has gone 0-5 this season as a starting pitcher and is scheduled to pitch again against the Buccos. Pittsburgh’s road record of 27-40 isn’t giving speculators a real good feeling about keeping Gonzalez’s losing streak going, however, and neither is a scheduled start from visiting Trevor Williams in a game with a gigantic (14) Over/Under line.
Pick: Rockies on the Run Line (-1.5, (+160))
Giants Host Pads in Important 4-Game Series
We published a preview some days ago implying that the San Diego Padres have played their way out of it in the National League, and maybe they have, but it also stands to mention that the top Wild Card contenders aren’t exactly killing it right now. The Chicago Cubs can’t even lead the NL Central, and the Pads could conceivably catch up if the Midwestern club goes cold and SoCal burns rubber. The Padres are headed to visit AT&T Park for a 4-game series with the San Francisco Giants…and it’s safe to say that if either club sweeps 4-0, their fan base will be whistling a hopeful tune while the other side’s ballplayers contemplate golf in October. Dereck Rodriguez will face visiting Chris Paddack for a so-so mound match-up in Thursday night’s opener as the Pads are a popular (-125) wager in a contest with a falling (8) run Vegas total.
Pick: Padres to win
Mets Slipping, Badly Need Win vs Chicago
The New York Mets sat in a pretty good position late last week following an impressive 3-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. Noah Syndergaard and a Big Apple bullpen combined to give up just 2 hits in 8 innings in a shut-out win last Thursday that left the Metropolitans just 1 more hot series away from being 10 games above .500. Then the other shoe dropped, with the club losing 4 in a row and getting swept by Atlanta in the process. Tuesday’s opener against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field led to more frustration as New York took the lead but lost 5-2. Syndergaard will pitch again on Wednesday evening, helping the Mets to a (-125) favorite’s moneyline. But formidable starter Kyle Hendricks will emerge from the visiting dugout, putting the cork in any pro-NY line movement and helping the Over/Under tick down to a cellar-level (7.5) total runs.
Red Sox Earn Short Moneyline vs Rox
The Boston Red Sox would be in fine position were it not for the impressive number of highly-competitive ball teams in the American League. Even at nearly 10 games above the .500 mark, the Red Sox need all the series sweeps they can get in late summer, and the Colorado Rockies would seem like a likely target after falling behind 0-1 in a quick 2-game series with Beantown at Coors Field. Boston won Tuesday’s opener 10-6 thanks to a 4-run late-inning rally as hard-hitting utility man Brock Holt finished with 3 hits and 2 RBIs. Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch for the visitors against Peter Lambert of the Rox as the Red Sox are a (-166) favorite in a game with a whopping (13.5) O/U total.
Sorry for the AM delay, ‘boppers! Here’s 2 previews of tonight’s big slate of MLB action.
Gamblers Shy to Pick Minnesota Twins vs ChiSox Ace
We haven’t looked in on the Minnesota Twins often enough at Daily Double yet, and the AL Central leaders are coming off a series win over the Detroit Tigers. 1B C.J. Kron starred in a 7-4 win on Sunday as the Twins won their 2nd in a row over the Motor City Kitties at Target Field. Minnesota did not win its previous series against the Chicago White Sox, however, losing a rubber match 4-0 as starter Jake Odorizzi gave up 8 hits in 5 innings. Gamblers are unsure about the pitching match-up of visiting Michael Pineda vs 14-6 Lucas Giolito of Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field in Tuesday night’s 3-game opener, lengthening the Twins’ moneyline to (-118) in a contest with a rising (9) Over/Under total.
Pick: Twins to win
Giants Getting All Kinds of Action vs Snakes
The San Francisco Giants need to make a charge sometime soon if the club is going to fulfill the impossible dream of making the postseason in 2019. Sunday’s opener against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks brought more frustration for a ballclub hovering around .500, as the Giants led in the 1st inning but fell 6-4 despite 3 hits from shortstop Brandon Crawford. A majority of bettors prefer San Francisco (-140) in Monday night’s follow-up at AT&T Park however, favoring the Giants in a pitching match-up of Jeff Samardzija vs scheduled Arizona starter Mike Leake. Leake could not contain bats from Gigantes (or the Colorado Rockies) despite pitching at home in his previous 2 outings.
Pick: Giants to win and/or Over (8)
Gonzalez Shrinks Brew Crew Line vs Visiting Cards
Milwaukee has been treading water, but is still within striking distance in a tightly-bunched NL Central. A series win over the St. Louis Cardinals would sure help the cause, but the Brew Crew’s biggest problem in the pennant race is a woeful record on the road. The Brewers’ previous 2 away series are good examples – Christian Yelich solved hurlers 5 times as Milwaukee scored 15 runs in a win over Washington on 8/17, but it was the only bright spot of the series. By the time the Brewers won again, it was 4 days later in St. Louis. Gamblers are undaunted heading into the reciprocal rematch at Miller Park on Monday, shrinking Milwaukee’s line to (-133) as Gio Gonzalez hurls against visiting Adam Wainwright. Don’t overlook the basic numbers and trends as another reason for line-movement – the ’19 Brewers are a heartening 38-27 in front of hometown faithful.
Pick: Brewers to win
Folding Pads Face MLB Leaders at PETCO
How does a team face the mighty L.A. Dodgers after playing its way out of the National League playoff hunt? The 2019 San Diego Padres can probably be pronounced dead-in-the-water at nearly double-digit games under .500, but it will help the Pads to meet the MLB’s top ballclub at PETCO Park in front of a crowd that has been patiently waiting for a young roster to improve. Inspiration will be needed from the pitching mound to ward-off the offense of the Dodgers, however, and 6-8 Eric Lauer of San Diego isn’t giving bettors much hope with a planned start in Monday night’s series opener against the Bums. L.A. newcomer Dustin May gets the nod from skipper Dave Roberts after a 1st big hiccup in ’19 against the Braves in his most recent day on the rubber. That’s the sort of red flag that should be driving the Vegas O/U total (8.5) upward…but it isn’t.
Action Favors Rox to Crack Redbirds
The Colorado Rockies are a popular underdog bet for a date at New Busch Stadium on Sunday, seeing bets on a (+130) moneyline after opening much closer to 2-to-1 in Las Vegas. St. Louis has largely embarrassed the Denver club over the past 2 of 3 outings, causing some “system” gamblers to pick the Rox as a motivated team in the series closer. Dakota Hudson blanked the Rockies in 6 innings on Saturday but speculators are putting less stock in Sunday’s scheduled hurler Michael Wacha, who is only 6-6 on the season despite a solid August. Respect for visiting pitcher Antonio Senzatela has helped the Over/Under tick down to (9.5) runs.
Pick: Cardinals to win
SNB Airs Rubber Match Between AL and NL Leaders
Interleague ballgames in the regular season don’t get much bigger than this. The L.A. Dodgers took revenge for a series-opening loss on Saturday, squeaking past the New York Yankees 2-1 behind a strong start from Tony Gonsolin and 8 Ks from the bullpen. Sunday Night Baseball will hail a rubber match at Dodger Stadium that looks even to the naked eye – deep batting lineups led by Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge are equally dangerous. But a scheduled start by Clayton Kershaw is helping the Dodgers to a (-175) moneyline even with 16-3 Domingo German scheduled to pitch for the visiting Pinstripes.
Pick: Under (9)
Gamblers Like Gonsolin in Yanks-Bums Follow-Up
Why would the L.A. Dodgers open as a solid favorite and shrink (-150) odds to beat the New York Yankees at Dodger Stadium this Saturday as of Friday afternoon? After all, the 1st contest of the marquee series hasn’t been decided yet, and scheduled host hurler Tony Gonsolin has seen limited MLB action in 2019. But ‘cappers like the 25-year-old righty, whose arm is whippy enough to post a strong WHIP and who recently blanked the St. Louis Cardinals through 6 innings-pitched. Meanwhile expected Pinstripe starter C.C. Sabathia has struggled mightily since mid-July, giving up 15 hits and 12 runs to the Twins and Red Sox in consecutive starts on the road.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Dueling Nightcaps Not Much of a Duel
There are a pair of late games on Saturday night – and not much mystery as to which will get more attention in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The Seattle Mariners will play the Toronto Blue Jays in a battle of cellar ballclubs at T-Mobile Park, but the Oakland A’s will host the San Francisco Giants in a much more-anticipated contest as each team struggles for altitude in respective postseason chases. Saturday is the opener of merely a 2-game interleague series, and the A’s are a (-140) moneyline favorite behind a scheduled appearance from hurler Chris Bassett against visiting Madison Bumgarner. The Over/Under total has shrunk to just (8) runs – not a huge number in this day and age.
Pick: Giants to win
Gamblers Like Nats as ‘Dog at Wrigley
Washington’s line-to-win Friday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field has shrunk to (+105) since opening at nearly 1.4-to-1, not a surprise given the ballclub’s powerhouse showing in the last 2 meetings. The Nationals won a rubber match against Milwaukee by the impressive score of 16-8 before taking 3 of 4 from the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Howie Kendrick starring at the plate late in Thursday’s contest. Don’t go to sleep on the Cubs, who just blanked the San Francisco Giants 1-0 and plan to start Jon Lester on the mound.
Pick: Cubs to win
Mets an Unpopular Pick at Home Despite Fine Form
Much has been made of the San Francisco Giants’ slim chances to make noise in autumn, but keep an eye on the New York Mets, a ballclub which is not seeing much moneyline action at (-180) despite sitting well above .500 and carrying some advantages into a series with Atlanta at Citi Field. The Mets currently have a sweep over powerful Cleveland – pending a held 2-run lead following a weather delay. But another win streak demonstrates the National League underdog’s staying power with sub-3.00 ERA Jacob deGrom preparing to start on the mound against Mike Foltynewicz (bless you) of the Braves on Friday evening. The Vegas total – a solid (7.5) runs – sneers at both batting lineups even as the clubs contend in the NL.
Pick: Mets to win and/or Over
Houston Gets Short Moneyline of the Month vs Detroit
The Houston Astros are beating the Detroit Tigers in a 4-game series at Minute Maid Park, but it’s not coming easy. Monday and Tuesday contests began with the AL West leaders putting up rallies against weak starting pitchers, but Detroit’s bullpen somehow held up late in both ballgames as the Tigers chipped away and had a chance to win each time. Not that the tight outcomes are registering with the gambling public at all – Houston’s (-500) moneyline for Thursday evening’s closer is among the shortest 9-innings betting lines of the month in Major League Baseball. Gerrit Cole will start against 1-8 Jordan Zimmerman in an expected blow-out with a weirdly falling (8.5) total.
Action Slackens on Bums in Cross-Continental Series
It’s no shock that National League-leading L.A. was handed a near-1-to-3 moneyline to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in Thursday’s MLB nightcap. The Dodgers won the opening contest by 13 runs, boast slugging power from Cody Bellinger and half of a dozen other stars, and produce more mean sliders and rug-yanking curveballs from the starting rotation than most bullpens can muster up. But betting action has soured on Los Angeles (-250) headed into the 3rd of 4 ballgames with Toronto, probably because scheduled starter Kenta Maeda is among the few pitchers in the Dodgers’ stable who bettors don’t think they can rely on. Jacob Waguespack is an interesting up-and-comer who will start for the ‘Jays as the Vegas run total rises to (9) after a half day’s action.
Hey there ‘boppers, we’re sorry for whiffing on yesterday’s Daily Double update – and for the mysterious (and winning) “White Sox” pick that was really a misprint. Since we’re still riding a hot July nothing if not honest journalists, the “winning” pick has since been corrected to a (barely) losing pick on the Tigers.
Don’t sleep on those huge underdogs, though – moneylines for the ChiSox and Motor City Kitties almost paid off handsomely on the same day.
Here’s 2 friendly MLB picks for a happy Hump Day, and as Puck says at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “for Pete Rose’s sake stop waxing poetic about WagerBop’s mistakes and get on with the baseball.” ***
*** Translated from Middle English by Daily Double
Lines Balance for Busch as Gamblers Abandon Redbirds
Adam Wainwright gets the nod on Wednesday night at New Busch Stadium, and brings a generally-solid stat line to the ballpark. Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals will be facing Adrian Houser of the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, another solid hurler but hardly a legend in his own time. Still the gambling public largely passed on an opening favorite’s moneyline for the Redbirds to win the series closer. It’s not as if St. Louis bats aren’t live – the club is still leading the NL Central and is threatening to sweep the Brew Crew as of Tuesday night, when Milwaukee misplayed a pop-up from STL’s Dexter Fowler and turned a slim deficit into a yawning gap on the scoreboard. But speculators don’t think the Cardinals can hit Houser, who has allowed just 2 base hits in his last 2 outings, and have driven the moneylines to matching (-110) payouts while shrinking the O/U to (8.5) total runs.
Yanks a Popular Pick vs A’s Despite B-Grade Start
The New York Yankees have fallen behind in the early innings of a series opener at Oakland, and opened as a plus-moneyline wager to beat the Athletics in a Wednesday night follow-up. Gamblers are leaning toward New York despite the shaky start of a 12-game west coast swing. Lines-to-win are now matched at (-110) each with J.A. Happ visiting the mound against host hurler Mike Fiers, who is provoking fears in opposing dugouts with an 11-3 record in 2019. The Over/Under is stable at (9.5) in spite of live starts from both batting orders in the series, showing that while Fiers is the man to give Oakland a fighting chance against the Bronx Bombers, the Yanks aren’t exactly Happ-less on the mound.
Pick: Yankees to win
Astros Line Shrinks as Sublime Meets Ridiculous in Houston
Anything can happen in the day-to-day world of MLB moneyline and Run Line gambling. but the public has a pretty good idea what’s going to happen in at least 1 ballpark on Monday night, and Las Vegas is not in the mood to pay out very much if the popular wager is correct. The Houston Astros are a (-420) favorite and still taking a flood of bets to defeat dreadful Detroit in the 1st of 4 at Minute Maid Park. Houston’s advantages are numerous – a trio of Astros are gunning for 100 RBIs on the season and DH Yordan Alvarez’s power is off the charts. Wade Miley will start against struggling Edwin Jackson of the Tigers, helping the Over/Under total sink under double-digits at (9.5). Still it bears mentioning that the ‘Stros aren’t having a magnificent mid-August stretch and recently lost 2 in a row to the hapless Chicago White Sox.
Pick: Tigers to win (1 or less units) or Over
Gamblers Flock to Twins After Sweep of Rangers
Minnesota completed a dazzling 4-game series sweep of the Texas Rangers on Sunday, prevailing 6-3 following a 3-run 8th inning. Pitching was a team effort with 4 players leaving the bullpen to take the mound, but shortstop Jorge Polanco shined with a bases-clearing triple that would vanquish the Lone Stars once again. The Twins are now a (-215) moneyline wager to beat the visiting Chicago White Sox on Monday night, and in some ways the gamble on Minnesota could be viewed as a healthy alternative to the all-risk and scant-payoff Houston Astros’ line of (-420) against Detroit. Scheduled ChiSox starter Ivan Nova has been strong for a lousy club in 2019, but he’ll be up against 11-5 Kyle Gibson in a series opener with a plummeting (9.5) O/U total.
Pick: Twins to win
Yanks and Tribe Reverse Roles in Bronx
The New York Yankees opened as a very, very slight favorite to beat the Cleveland Indians in Sunday afternoon’s final ballgame of 4 in the Big Apple. But the Tribe has taken most of the betting action since then, and stands as a (-125) wager to prevail as of Saturday evening. Expected Yankee starter C.C. Sabathia is under .500 on the season and has an ERA pushing close to 5.00 – speculators are weighing his form against a visiting batting order that includes Carlos Santana, Francisco Lindor and 9-deep slugging power. Gamblers are high on scheduled Cleveland hurler Mike Clevinger, however, despite a nasty outing against Boston on 8/13. The Over/Under has ticked down to (10) total runs from an opening 10 and 1/2.
Pick: Yankees to win
Cubs Can Regain Momentum in SNB Rubber Match
Pittsburgh has officially had it for the 2019 baseball season. The Buccos are 20 games below .500, have been swept by the Cardinals and the Reds (and nearly the Mets) in recent series, and scored nary a run against Jon Lester and the Chicago Cubs at BB&T Ballpark on Saturday. The series closer on Sunday Night Baseball will be a rubber match that the Cubs badly need to win for sake of dugout and hometown morale. St. Louis has been making it somewhat easy to catch up in the NL Central, but 4 wins in 11 games is still not enough to surpass the Redbirds. Mitch Keller takes the start for the Pirates after impressing against the Angels in his last outing, and José Quintana’s turn for the Cubbies is helping the Over/Under total shrink to (9.5). Uncertainty as to which hurler will stake his club to a better start is holding Chicago’s moneyline firm at (-155).
Cubs Must Cure Road Woes in Pittsburgh
Strange to see the Chicago Cubs touted as a solid favorite for a road game. Often in 2019, things have appeared peachy for the NL Central contender, and then up jumps the devil in the form of a dreadful away series. Those shots into Wrigley Field ivy that turn into easy put-outs in massive ballparks? That’s nothing compared to the inexplicable lack of quality pitching outside of 1060 West Addison Street, including a collapse by Cole Hamels in a 10-run drubbing at Philly this week. Jon Lester will attempt to provide medicine for travel-sickness with a start on Saturday in Pittsburgh, and the Cubs are a (-140) wager despite scheduled Buccos hurler Steven Brault’s solid stats on the year. A shaky opening Vegas run-total market appears to have stabilized at (10).
Pick: Cubs to win
Quirky Ballgame at Coors Field Highlights Late Slate
The Colorado Rockies are all but out of it in the National League postseason race, and the Miami Marlins – currently visiting Denver for a 3-game series – were out of it a long time ago. Yet the ballgame in the Rocky Mountains could be the most entertaining of Saturday’s late contests, considering that the Dodgers are hosting the White Sox and San Francisco’s stable is shorthanded against the Snakes. Think of it – a baseball manufactured in 2019 (wink, nudge) flying around in thin air off the bats of sluggers facing Miami journeyman Héctor Noesí. The Over/Under is (12.5) total runs and Colorado is a popular wager at (-250), meaning that gamblers do not like the Marlins’ chances to retaliate against starter German Marquez or the host bullpen.
Syndergaard, Mets Visit Missouri at Opportune Time
Several MLB clubs have kept themselves in contention by feasting on poor lineups in 3 and 4-game series, and the New York Mets may think it’s about time to get in on the fun. The ballclub is above .500 and fought the Atlanta Braves in a good old-fashioned fireworks show of a closer on Thursday night. But the less highly-touted of a pair of Big Apple teams needs to post a 3-game sweep in Kansas City this weekend. Fearsome Noah Syndergaard will pitch for the visitors having gone 8-5 and slugged 2 home runs to help his own cause so far. Mike Montgomery hasn’t been feeling it on the mound with the Crowns this season and his presence on the mound for KC helps the O/U total to (9.5) runs in a contest in which New York is favored at a short (-180) price.
Picks: Mets to win and Over (9.5) Total Runs
Verlander – Surprise – Expected to Post Win vs A’s
Oakland’s “moneyball” playoff run of Hollywood lore ultimately had little to do with advanced calculus and mathematical wizardry. Billy Bean’s staff used analytics as means to an end, but the simple goal was to put more baserunners on the diamond with a maximum number of RBI opportunities. Gamblers do not think the Athletics are going to be picking up many RBIs on Friday night, as the American League contenders are faced with a tall order against Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander. Verlander is 15-4 and has a microscopic (by today’s standards) 2.88 ERA while scheduled host hurler Tanner Roark is below .500 on the season. Houston is a (-210) favorite in NorCal in a ballgame with a rising (9) run Vegas total.
Dodgers Hit 80, Push Pedal to Metal in Magic City
A challenge that will face Vegas MLB speculators late in the 2019 season is knowing whether the skipper of a front-running team is going all-out to win a series or giving his lineup room to coast. Manager Dave Roberts and the L.A. Dodgers are making it clear that Major League Baseball’s winningest club has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon, least of all during a 3-game series at Miami. The Bums have crushed the Fish by a combined score of 24-2 over the past 2 games, capturing the season’s 80th and 81st victories in the process. It remains to be seen whether there will be a rush on Miami moneyline bets for Thursday afternoon’s contest at the bargain price of (+220) thanks to the popular home-team-to-avoid-sweep hardball gambling system. Regardless, Clayton Kershaw’s scheduled presence on the mound next to stout Marlins hurler Caleb Smith has the Over/Under resting at a low (7.5), anticipating at last a decent contest in a round of massacres.
No Fiers of an Upset in NorCal
Oakland LF Robbie Grossman had a fine day sparking the A’s batting lineup on Wednesday and has notched 5 hits in his last dozen at-bats. Grossman is a healthy veteran in his prime who hasn’t logged so many MLB miles as to be vulnerable to late season fatigue, and he’s got 8 stolen bases on the season – just the type of sneaky asset ‘cappers love to consider in the Dog Days. But the speculators of Sin City aren’t giving the subtleties of Oakland’s lineup much thought, in fact, they’re ready to ignore even the obvious when a powerhouse club like Houston comes to town. Mike Fiers is scheduled to pitch for the Athletics in Thursday night’s opener in NorCal, carrying an 11-3 W/L record and an impressive 3.18 ERA into the ballgame. Yet the visiting Astros are a popular wager even at (-125) and with Aaron Sanchez on the mound against Fiers. Then again the AL West leaders just pulled a mere 3 wins out of consecutive series against the lowly Orioles and White Sox, so perhaps gamblers think the ‘Stros are due or at least mighty angry.
Pick: Athletics to win
Nationals Right the Ship, Favored to Beat Cincinnati Again
Washington may be a sexy pick to ascend into the NLCS this autumn, but the Nationals need to put more series-sweeps together to potentially vault over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. How about a 3-game clobbering of the Cincinnati Reds, then? The Nats are 2/3 of the way there, having beaten the NL Central visitors in 2 straight approaching Wednesday’s closer. Monday’s game was especially dramatic as D.C. warded-off a dangerous 2-inning charge from the Reds late after taking a sizable lead courtesy of Trea Turner’s big bat. The hosts are (-140) to turn the trio behind Stephen Strasburg on Hump Day, but a falling (8.5) O/U line also reflects respect for visiting starter Trevor Bauer.
Pick: Nationals to win
Redbirds Line Lengthens for Late Contest in KC
It’s strange indeed for contending ballclubs to be marked on the betting board as underdogs vs lowly opponents, and even stranger to see so many fans being skeptical of the St. Louis Cardinals prior to a ballgame in Missouri. But Wednesday night’s venue is Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, and the Royals have been getting live at-bats (and RBIs) against the likes of Boston, Cleveland and Minnesota in recent series. Expected KC starter Brad Keller is just 7-12 and had a miserable outing at Detroit late last week, but bettors still seem to prefer the Royals’ defense to the Redbirds behind likely hurler Dakota Hudson, shrinking KC’s line to (+107) after the opening odds promised a payoff of 1.4-to-1. The Over/Under total for the 2nd of 2 ballgames is holding at a firm (10) total runs.
Don’t Look Now, But Mets Are On Pace to Make It
The New York Mets are still on a roll, having taken 2 out of 3 ballgames in a series with Washington. The club’s road record still leaves a lot to be desired, and you’d never have known it by the ugly turns of May and June – but it’s August now and come hell or high Hudson River the Mets are at 61 wins and in fine position in the NL Wild Card race. A bonus opportunity comes this week with a 3-game trip to Atlanta, where if New York can somehow sweep, even the NL East division lead would be in sight. Surely Mickey Callaway prefers to take it 1 ballgame at a time, and he’ll trot out Zack Wheeler to face 13-4 Max Fried of the Braves (-120) in a 3-game series opener with a (9.5) Over/Under total.
Pick: Mets to win
Rays Thought Vulnerable in San Diego
Why would the contending Tampa Bay Rays be a (-110) wager to beat San Diego pm Tuesday night with the Padres seemingly slipping out of contention for good? The Floridians are playing quality defensive baseball, and the team’s pitching is solid headed into this week’s series at PETCO Park. Perhaps it’s the offense that has bettors concerned – the Rays lost 2-0 to Toronto earlier in August and needed journeyman Eric Sogard’s solo shot just to pencil-in a lone RBI while shutting-out the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. Meanwhile, expected Tampa Bay starter Brendan McKay has had to pitch his way out of jams in his last 2 outings and gave up 10 hits to the White Sox before that. But his counterpart on Tuesday is Pads hurler Eric Lauer, who is having his own shaky summer, A Vegas total of (8) seems low considering the bats of both clubs.
Bettors Flock to Reds for Tilt in D.C.
A hefty selection of Tuesday night MLB games will be co-headlined by the Washington Nationals hosting the Cincinnati Reds in a 3-game series opener. The Nats opened as solid underdogs, but Monday action has shortened Cincy’s line all the way to (-105) as speculators observe the trajectory of both clubs. The Reds have been showing signs of life, sweeping the L.A. Angels in 2 while standing firm in 4-gamers against Atlanta and Chicago. Erick Fedde will start for Washington at Nationals Park but has given up 15 hits in his last 2 outings, while scheduled guest starter Anthony DeSclafani is above .500 on the season. A rising O/U total of (10) indicates little respect for the hurlers…or for defense in the year 2019.
Pick: Reds to win
Hey Fowler, Don’t You Know I Hate Losing to the Pirates
Presumably someone in the L.A. Angels organization hates losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates every bit as much as Pop Fischer from The Natural. You wouldn’t know it, though, from the team’s choice of starting hurler for the front end of a series against the Buccos at Angel Stadium – a series that the Halos must win or else risk slipping out of contention thanks to a Dog Days slump. Scheduled youngster Jose Suarez gave up an ugly 10 hits in 5 innings to Cincinnati on 8/6, but circumstances will compel another trip to the rubber on Tuesday night. Thankfully for the Angels (-145) the Pirates have slated Mitch Keller, a 23-year-old project who has struggled in limited MLB action, to start against Suarez in SoCal. Should we prepare for another massive O/U total? Not quite – the number has ticked down to (9.5) with a half day’s action.
Pick: Angels to win
Astros a Big Fat Favorite at Camden Yards
Even in the unpredictable world of day-to-day hardball betting, bookmakers aren’t opposed to attaching a short betting line to a true prohibitive favorite. The Houston Astros (-350) certainly qualify heading into a Sunday afternoon game at Camden Yards. Houston entered the weekend having not lost a ballgame in August, and jumped out to an early lead on woeful Baltimore on Saturday. An expected start from Justin Verlander is causing the Over/Under to tick down to (9.5), but doesn’t an old-fashioned “correlated parlay” involve betting on a powerful favorite plus the Over? After all, if the final score stays below double-digits it will be because O-Birds starter Asher Wojciechowski has an above-average day.
Matched Odds for SNB as Giants Fight Back
There are 2 cardinal sins a team on the fringes of contention cannot make, which are A) losing to bad teams and B) getting swept by the good’uns. Pablo Sandoval and the San Francisco Giants are recently guilty of both as a Dog Days slump threatens to derail the club’s miraculous charge up the standings. Gigantes are officially showing signs of life once more as of this weekend, however, taking a 2-1 series lead on the visiting Philadelphia Phillies when Evan Longoria slugged a winning 2-run homer early on Saturday afternoon. San Francisco (-110) skipper Bruce Bochy faces an awkward moment in his pitching rotation for the Sunday Night Baseball closer with still-developing southpaw Conner Menez scheduled to start against Jake Arrieta of the Phillies.
Pick: Phillies to win
Halos a Popular ‘Dog Wager at Fenway Park
There appears to be no standard handicapping reason why the L.A. Angels would be a popular underdog moneyline (at (+150) and shrinking) for this Saturday afternoon’s ballgame in Beantown. The Angels have been woeful over the last 2 weeks as Wild Card dreams begin to fade following a brief summer charge. Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox need Ws desperately after only pulling a single win out of a late-week meeting with Kansas City. Of course the pitching rubber can always be the culprit when a Vegas MLB line starts to move, and returning Halo starter Andrew Heaney is helping the O/U tick down to (10.5) total runs thanks to solid outings against Houston in July while gamblers do not trust scheduled Red Sox hurler Rick Porcello’s 10-8 record with an ERA pushing close to 5.75.
Dodgers Considered a Bum Deal vs Young
Saturday night’s Dodgers-Diamondbacks ballgame stands as a rare moment in 2019 when gamblers are unsure about the Bums on their home field. It’s certainly hard to impugn a team that won 5 in a row over the Padres and Cardinals headed into the series opener at Dodger Stadium. The weekend follow-up features Kenta Maeda on the mound for Los Angeles, but he’s below .500 on the season and not close to matching the finest form in L.A,’s rotation. Meanwhile, everyone is mighty impressed with up-and-coming Arizona pitcher Alex Young, and Bellinger’s big bat might be the only thing keeping the Over/Under from sinking below (8.5) runs. The Dodgers opened at 1-to-2.05 but are now merely (-180) after a half day of betting action.
Pick: Dodgers to win
WagerBop was “swept in 3” on Thursday, but the Daily Double is still above .500 on the season! Here’s 3 more picks for a new day and a welcome weekend.
Oakland Steadier Than O/U for Windy City
The Oakland A’s are contending for a Wild Card spot in the American League, and just prevailed in 6 out of 10 games against the NL Central. That, and the fact that Mike Fiers is due on the mound, are enough to make Oakland a (-175) favorite to beat Ross Detwiler and the host Chicago White Sox on Friday afternoon. At the same time, however, gamblers have been keen to notice a flaw in the odds as the opening Over/Under line anticipated a high-scoring ballgame instead of Fiers shutting the ChiSox down. The total has shrunk from (11) to (10.5) with a few hours of betting action.
Bettors Think Yanks Will Be Hapless on Friday
Why would the New York Yankees be an unpopular moneyline wager at any reasonable price? The Bronx Bombers are firmly in control of the AL East and will be visiting the Toronto Blue Jays, who the Yankees already clobbered 12-6 on Thursday, in the 2nd of 4 ballgames at Rogers Centre. An opening 1-to-1.75 market seemed to promise plenty of action until gamblers started flocking to the underdog. J.A. Happ is viewed as a potentially-weak starting hurler against Blue Jay starter Sean Reid Foley. Foley is an up-and-comer who blanked the Royals and Red Sox across 8+ innings of play prior to a less-effective outing vs Baltimore in early August. Young lion meets old, or baby chick meets old Pinstripe at least, on the mound in Canada as the O/U settles at (11) total runs.
Pick: Yankees to win
Bonus O/U Pick: Philadelphia, San Francisco Offenses Get Little Respect
You’d think that the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants would get more respect as worthwhile batting teams. The clubs are locked in a crucial 4-game battle at AT&T Park with San Francisco in dire danger of slipping out of the playoff chase for good. Friday night’s contest could come with fireworks from the plate as batters like Pablo Sandoval go-up against B-list pitching. Scheduled Philly starter Drew Smyly gave up 5 runs in 5 innings to the Chicago White Sox in his last outing and holds a season ERA of 7.01. Host hurler Tyler Beede has also been underwhelming in 2019. Yet the cautious Over/Under line from Las Vegas looks meant for the early leg of a doubleheader between 2 wiffle ball teams when viewed in context of iffy pitching, ticking down to (8.5) runs as moneylines match at (-110).
Red Sox Most Popular Moneyline of Thursday Evening
There are several favorites taking heavy action for Thursday’s slate of 5 twilight ballgames on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Atlanta is seen as a solid pick to win an opener in Miami, the Cubs’ line at Cincinnati has shrunk from (-115) to (-124), and the New York Yankees are expected to keep feasting on poor rosters in an opener at Toronto. None of those clubs are taking the most ML action on short odds though. That honor belongs to the Boston Red Sox, a team that gamblers just won’t give up on despite Beantown’s slowed momentum following another series-sweep by the Yanks. Chris Sale and his woeful W/L record will meet the visiting L.A. Angels and expected starter Dillon Peters in a ballgame in which Boston is the (-255) moneyline favorite (gulp) as of Wednesday night.
Bonus Run Line Pick: Angels (+1.5) (+115)
Matched Odds in Minnesota for Potential Pitcher’s Duel
Only in the Year of the Home Run would a match-up of starting pitchers with a combined 17-6 record result in a (9.5) Over/Under total opening in Vegas. That was the number, though, for a contest of Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins vs the visiting Cleveland Indians and Mike Clevenger. Moneylines are even at (-110) each, and gamblers don’t trust bookmakers’ high score predictions even with lumber-laying studs like Carlos Santana stalking the diamond. The O/U market has ticked down to (9) total runs as the Tribe and Twins prepare for a crucial series of 4 games.
Giants Face Crisis Moment at Home
In every special season there’s a point at which it appears that the club has lost its mojo for good. The San Francisco Giants raced away from the cellar with such ferocity over the summer that Gigantes were listed among the top 10 or 15 World Series futures lines at online sportsbooks. Now the team has dug itself another hole, losing a 3-game sweep to the Washington Nationals. It was the Philadelphia Phillies who originally slowed San Francisco’s momentum, capping a series-win at Citizens Bank Park on the maiden day of August. The Giants must take revenge now or risk falling out of the NL Wild Card race altogether. Another pair of (-110) moneylines marks an opener at AT&T Park with a (7.5) run total thanks to Aaron Nola taking the mound for Philly.
Pick: Phillies to win
Rox a Popular Underdog – Sort Of
Colorado is probably too far below .500 to make any kind of serious run at the postseason. Ballplayers on the team know that, meaning that Rox coaches will spend the next few weeks imploring batters to continue making sacrifice-outs instead of working to improve their averages. But gamblers aren’t ready to count such subtle factors against a 3-to-1 moneyline, and pounced when the Rockies were given long Vegas odds to beat Houston in the 2nd of just 2 ballgames at Minute Maid Park. Action on the ‘dog has dropped Colorado’s ML to (+275) as the Astros prepare to pitch Garrit Cole against visiting Peter Lambert. Surely no one likes Cole to lose the game so much as they’re drawn to a fat payoff line between any 2 respectable teams, but a falling O/U total of (8.5) does indicate some kind of respect for Lambert.
Snakes Favored by Betting Public vs Philly
Gamblers struck fast when the Arizona Diamondbacks (-140) were offered as a near-1-to-1 opening wager against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night. There are reasonable explanations for the rush of bets on Arizona – Philadelphia will be playing a series closer 3 time zones from home. Furthermore, the fact that there is no Daylight Savings Time in AZ means that the 1st pitch of a night game at Chase Field feels even later for the east coast club. But you can’t help but wonder if moneyline speculators saw Philly win the 1st outing of the series 7-3, saw the guests go up again in the 1st inning of the follow-up on Tuesday, and decided to place a prior-evening bet on a D-Backs team that could be playing to avoid getting swept-in-3 at home. Zac Gallen will throw for the Snakes against recent Phillies acquisition Jason Vargas in a ballgame with a (9.5) O/U total.
Pick: Phillies to win
Tribe Need Wins, Favored to Snag W on Tuesday
The Cleveland Indians must be frustrated trying to catch the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, as the Indians are playing good baseball but the Twins are on a streak of their own. Nothing for the Ohio ballclub to do except keep swimming well above .500 and trust in the Wild Card system’s safety net. Vegas MLB ‘cappers like the match-up of Cleveland’s Zach Plesac against visiting Texas Ranger hurler Ariel Jurado in the 2nd of 3 ballgames at Progressive Field on Tuesday evening, and the Tribe opened as nearly a 1-to-2 moneyline favorite to prevail and hopefully inch-up on Minny. However, action has lengthened the hosts’ ML to (-175) as bettors observe how Cleveland has feasted on poor clubs in a lot of the Indians’ recent victories.
Pick: Indians to win
Dodgers Line Shrinks as Kershaw Looms on Mound
You could make a case for handicapping the L.A. Dodgers as a 1-to-1.5 favorite against visiting St. Louis on Tuesday night even if starting pitchers were equally metered-out automatons. The Bums expect to dominate any series they play in, and while the Cardinals must improve their contact hitting, Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers are slugging so many extra-base hits that opposing pitchers get dizzy no matter what the rate of strike-outs. Yet of course when there’s a moneyline like “L.A. (-200)” on the betting board it’s not just a matter of ‘cappers comparing the batting lineups. Clayton Kershaw awaits as expected 2nd-of-3 starter against 7-11 Miles Mikolas of the Redbirds in a ballgame with an (8.5) Las Vegas run total.
Mets Huge Favorites in Lone Afternoon Game
Monday’s hardball schedule is comprised of almost 100% evening and night games, but Vegas MLB ‘cappers and speculators have made a bold statement with the day’s only afternoon contest. The New York Mets are (-320) moneyline favorites to beat the Miami Marlins in the 1st of a doubleheader at Citi Field after crushing the Pirates 13-2 in a rubber match on Sunday. Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis combined for 5 hits and 6 RBIs in the drubbing of Steeltown, and the Mets have only lost once in their last 10 outings. However, expected Miami hurler Sandy Alcantara’s pitiful W/L record and counterpart Jacob deGrom’s fine 2.78 ERA have just as much to do with the ML in a ballgame with a cautious (7.5) Over/Under.
Bums Favored to Beat Frustrated Redbirds
There’s a resistable force meeting a removable object at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. Visiting St. Louis has fallen out of the NL Central division lead by way of getting swept-in-2 by the Oakland A’s over the weekend. Sunday’s loss was especially galling as Adam Wainwright pitched well enough to win and the bullpen gave up only 1 run vs 11 outs, but the batting lineup couldn’t hit it where fielders weren’t in a 4-2 loss. Meanwhile, Monday’s scheduled L.A. starter Hyun-Jin Ryu can’t go in the series opener due to a neck injury, forcing rookie Tony Gonsolin into the slot instead. Gonsolin is a wild card but gamblers aren’t ready to stop buying the Dodgers (-160) against Cards hurler Michael Wacha in a ballgame with a (9) run O/U total.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Not Quite Amazin’ But Still Pretty Good
New York’s Metropolitans had an awful time in late spring and early summer. Those slumps have left the club under .500 and still a long shot in the NL Wild Card race. But the Mets are on a hot streak in the dog days, and fans are enjoying the ride while it lasts. The team put together a 7-game winning streak that the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped 8-4 on Friday, but a sweep of the Buccos at Citi Field accounted for 3 of the victories. New York is a (-130) moneyline favorite in Sunday’s closer at PNC Park as Joe Musgrove hurls against visiting Noah Sindergaard in a ballgame with a conservative (8.5) O/U total.
Pick: Mets to win
Oh Baby, a Bookmaker’s Conundrum on SNB
Even online bookmakers based out of London – those that often beat state-side markets to the punch – hesitated to post Saturday evening gambling odds on this week’s installment of Sunday Night Baseball. For a start, it’s a rivalry series between the New York Yankees and visiting Boston Red Sox. Both expected starting hurlers, David Price and J.A. Happ, are now on paternity leave as they welcome new offspring. They could each return and play, or choose to take up to 3 days off. Finally, the clubs are playing a doubleheader over the weekend. That makes fatigue more of a factor with each team’s pitching staff is already down a man. For what it’s worth the Yanks have dominated the series through 2 ballgames and should be the minus-moneyline next to a healthy Over/Under total.
Update: Perhaps due to Boston being down 0-3 in the series, Sunday morning MLs are now evenly handicapped at (-110) for a SNB with a (10) run total.
Rox Line Lengthens for Saturday Night at Coors
WagerBop whiffed on the Giants yesterday, and the Rockies (-125) are favored to win again in the 2nd of 3 ballgames in the meeting. But the odds have been tightening with the action on an intriguing match-up of hurlers. Jon Gray’s sub-4.00 ERA is terrific for a pitcher who works often in the thin Denver air, and expected Giants starter Madison Bumgarner is no slouch despite a 6-7 record. San Francisco surged mid-game on Friday behind LF Mike Yastrzemski, who is having himself an excellent week (and season). Colorado’s bullpen came up large in the late-going of a 5-4 result but that’s unlikely to happen every night of the series.
Pick: Giants to win
A’s Touted to Win Opener vs Visiting Redbirds
For a more-popular moneyline pick on Saturday night, look to the Oakland A’s and their series opener against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, for which Oakland opened as a slim favorite but has seen the line shorten to (-150) with just under a day’s gambling action. The Cardinals are playing well and will be a formidable foe behind Dakota Hudson, and likely opposing hurler Mike Fiers will be challenged by Redbirds batters whose solid RBI total belies the team batting average. Yet pundits and fans in the Gateway City are still beside themselves that St. Louis has not taken over an NL Central division that looks surprisingly ripe for the picking.
Pick: Athletics to win
Gamblers Not Digging Davies as Cubs Host Brew Crew
Fool me once, fool me twice. Despite expected Friday afternoon starter Zach Davies’ excellent 8-4 record on the season, his poor outings for Milwaukee at the end of July have gamblers passing on the Brew Crew as the NL Central club travels to meet the Cubs (-140) in a Wrigley opener. It’s not as if host Chicago won its most-recent series against the Brewers, and the Cubbies lost a series in-between to the St. Louis Cardinals this week. But with Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo having combined for 140 RBIs so far and Jose Quintana starting on the mound, speculators appear to think this is finally the Cubs’ time to shine in divisional ballgames.
Pick: Brewers to win
Rockies, Giants 2 of a Kind at Coors Field
You know that “deuces wild” scenario play-by-play commentators are so fond of, when there’s 2 men on, 2 men out, and the count is 2-2? A gambler’s version is taking place in Colorado on Friday night as the Rockies and visiting San Francisco Giants are each (-110) on the moneyline with both starting hurlers at exactly .500 in the W/L column, and at about the same ERA. All even-up! Of course, it’s harder to earn a decent ERA when pitching in Coors Field, and the Rox are hoping Peter Lambert’s home-field experience tells the tale against Shaun Anderson. Then again, Denver’s baseball franchise is slumping and just about out of it for 2019, while the Giants are among the best stories in the game having roared out of the cellar to contend.
Pick: Giants to win
Popular MLB Betting System Sways Line for Miami
Experienced baseball ‘cappers know there are a few popular systems that a hefty % of moneyline gamblers play, some of which affect the lines in predictable ways. One tactic is to wait for a ballclub to be facing a sweep-against at home, and place bets on the likely underdog to get inspired and fend off embarrassment with a win. That conceit might be kind of stretch in Miami this Thursday afternoon, where the Marlins will try to avoid losing 3 straight against the division front-running Minnesota Twins. Talented hurler Jordan Yamamota has somehow gone 4-2 with the woeful Fishes and will start for the home team, a (+145) market after opening longer. However a decent chunk of the betting public is still with the excellent Twins (-170) to prevail.
Pick: Twins to win
Bad Moon Rising for Padres in L.A.
Thursday night’s final late-night contest may begin after all other Vegas MLB live-betting action has ended, giving the public a chance to focus firmly on San Diego at Los Angeles. However, the series may have promised more drama a while back, when the Padres were making it look like a playoff run might just be in the offing. The ballclub has slumped since then, losing or drawing 6 series in a row since besting the Bums in early July. Since then, even the Marlins and Orioles have been able to overwhelm the Pads. It doesn’t look any better headed into the upcoming series opener at Dodger Stadium, as Joey Lucchesi lays awake thinking about Clayton Kershaw. The L.A. Dodgers are a sturdy (-200) favorite in a game with a plummeting (7.5) Over/Under total.
Rox a Popular Underdog ML in Dodgers Closer
It’s rather uncommon to see any subset of MLB gamblers wagering against the hurler named Ryu. Yet that is the case headed into Wednesday afternoon’s 3-game series closer between the Colorado Rockies and visiting L.A. Dodgers. It’s not as if scheduled Rox starter German Marquez can hold a candle to Hyun-Jin Ryu’s won-loss record or ERA on the season, and the ballgame at Coors Field will be a rubber match…not the classic bet-the-underdog-to-avoid-a-sweep on home turf scenario. Still gamblers have taken Colorado’s ML from an opening 1.4 to 1 to (+117) in just hours of betting action, while a falling O/U of (12) total runs (conservative for a game played in thin Rocky Mountain air) exhibits respect for both hurlers…not just the phenom who’ll pitch the back end of innings.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Brew Crew Also a Popular ‘Dog in Oakland
The Milwaukee Brewers are treading water, in danger of falling substantially behind the Cardinals or the Cubs in the NL Central. Good thing for the Brew Crew that the 2 aforementioned division front-runners are playing each other in a series at the moment, so 1 of the 2 has to lose each day. Milwaukee lost for the 2nd time in as many days on Tuesday, however, falling to the Oakland A’s in a series opener in NorCal. Oakland is sporting such a strong record at home that Las Vegas MLB bookies gave the 2nd-place club nearly 1-to-1.5 odds-to-win the follow-up on Wednesday night. Those numbers have lengthened to (-125) in a hurry as Milwaukee rivals Colorado as an underdog pick in a ballgame with a falling (9) run O/U total.
Yanks Avoid Fenway Sweep, Big Favs Over Snakes
The Boston Red Sox made up some ground with a 4-game series win over the Bronx Bombers at Fenway Park, but the Yankees won yesterday’s ballgame and hope to right the ship against visiting Arizona on Tuesday evening. Neither Yankee starter J.,A. Happ or guest hurler Taylor Clarke have posted sterling ERA or WHIP numbers in 2019, leading to a high (11.5) Over/Under total which has ticked up half a run since opening. Las Vegas MLB ‘cappers have little doubt who’s going to win the series opener though – New York is a strong (-230) favorite to prevail and remain nearly double-digit games ahead in the AL East.
Tight Moneylines for Busch as Cards and Cubs Meet for 3
Tuesday night’s expected Cardinals-Cubs starters Adam Wainwright and Yu Darvish are sporting identical 4.54 ERA numbers in late July, making the Vegas run total of (9) about on-par for a crucial NL Central series opener at New Busch Stadium. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see sluggers take center stage before the 3-game meeting reaches its 2nd chapter. Whenever Wilson Contreras knocks his next bean out of the park, the Cubbies (-112) will have 5 batters with 20+ home runs each. Meanwhile the Cards’ lineup is ravaged by injuries to players like Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, but Paul DeJong is responsible for 25 doubles and utility fielder Yairo Munoz is hitting a healthy .280.
Pick: Cubs to win
Nats Favored in Opener After Fighting Off Sweep
Washington is in a solid 2nd place position in the NL East going into a series at National Park against the division-leading Atlanta Braves. The Nats are too far behind in the race to catch up even if they win all 3 ballgames, but have to be feeling better about their chances after a heartening 11-4 win over the L.A. Dodgers on Sunday. Anthony Rendon is batting a healthy .317 and had a 3-for-4 day with a base-on-balls as D.C. avoided a costly sweep at the hands of the Bums. Monday evening’s hosts are (-150) favorites to handle Atlanta as Patrick Corbin throws against visiting Dallas Keuchel in a contest with a rising (9.5) Vegas total.
Strong Pitching Battles Thin Air in Denver
It must be fun to read the betting board alongside a newbie who doesn’t know how weather and air conditions can affect the flight of a baseball. Only in Colorado would a sky-high Over/Under total result from scheduled starts by a pair of quality hurlers. L.A.’s Kenta Maeda is a veteran who can contribute in spot duty or excel as a starter, and Jon Gray has just over a 4-run ERA which is excellent for any pitcher who must deal with the thin atmosphere and resulting slugger’s paradise of Coors Field. Still the Over/Under total is a nuclear (12.5) for Monday’s series opener as the Dodgers’ popular moneyline has shortened to (-140) with several hours’ worth of betting action.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Astros Favored at Busch Despite Hudson’s W/L
Friday’s headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports section proudly stated “Cardinals Soar Into 1st Place” in the NL Central. Gateway City fans have reason to be proud – the Redbirds recently swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in 4 games as Paul DeJong’s flawless batting day and a 9-run 2nd inning rally led to a statement 14-8 win on Wednesday. Gamblers are hard sells, though, and Las Vegas is not ready to mark the Cards (+110) as a favorite over the visiting Houston Astros in Sunday’s interleague rubber match between front-running clubs. 10-4 Dakota Hudson will pitch against Houston’s talented Wade Miley in a ballgame with a (9.5) Over/Under line.
Red Sox Favored to Complete Stunning Sweep of Yanks
It’s no surprise that an iconic rivalry ballgame like Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees would be booked to feature on Sunday Night Baseball. But after watching the Bronx Bombers dominate the American League for most of the season, it’s surprising to see Beantown simply dominate the crucial 4-game series at Fenway Park. Sunday’s closer could result in a series sweep that would leave the Red Sox only 8 games back in the AL East. Yankee pitching has been savaged in the press as Boston (-180) has outscored New York 38-13 over 3 outings. Sunday evening’s contest could be the Yanks’ best chance to gain an advantage on the mound as 12-2 Domingo German takes on 5-9 Chris Sale, who gave up more than a run per inning to the L.A. Dodgers 2 weeks ago.
Pick: Yankees to win
Gamblers Love Twins in Chi-Town
Ivan Nova, Saturday evening’s scheduled Chicago White Sox hurler, has a full name that sounds like a last name, “Ivanova.” Unfortunately gamblers have pretty much spent their last ounce of patience waiting for the 2019 ChiSox to show some sign of life at Guaranteed Rate Field, and while there might be a few partisan speculators still hanging on in the Windy City, an MLB bettor’s middle name is always “profit.” That’s why starting hurler Martin Perez and the powerful Minnesota Twins are nearly a 1-to-2 wager (-180) to prevail over Nova and Chi-Town when the clubs meet for the 3rd time prior to Sunday afternoon’s closer. Minnesota could use a 4-game sweep and has a 2-0 start, but Vegas does not expect a methodical low-scoring win as the Over/Under line is a fat (10.5).
Pick: Twins to win
Rangers and Athletics Meet Again With Lines Tightening
Thursday’s series opener between Oakland and visiting Texas was not a close contest. The Rangers destroyed the A’s pitching staff for 10 runs in the 5th and 6th innings combined as switch-hitter Danny Santana drove shots all over the park in a monster 6-RBI outing. Friday’s ballgame was a somewhat more closely-contested affair, however, which may help explain the tightening moneylines for Saturday evening’s 3rd of 4 in NorCal. Expected starters Homer Bailey of the A’s and Adrian Sampson of the Rangers have fought to remain around .500 on the season, but neither’s ERA is anything to crow about. Still the Athletics are a (-160) ML favorite in Sin City based on the ballclub’s superior record and the Rangers’ lack of live bats and steady pitching over the last 2 weeks. The (9.5) run total is conservative given the so-so records on the mound but stands as a nod to Oakland’s 5th-ranked fielding stats.
Bums Favored in DC After Suffering Unlikely Sweep
L.A. Dodger opponents and “sweep” haven’t clung in conjunction very often in 2019. Leave it to the inspired Angels to pull it off. Though the cross-town rivalry series only lasted 2 games, the Halos still shocked the aristocrats of the National League, beating the Bums in a pair of 1-run outcomes. The Dodgers must now travel to face an improving Washington Nationals club that came within a trout’s scales of sweeping the Colorado Rockies in 4 straight this week. The .500 Nationals hurler Anibal Sanchez will pitch against vaunted visitor Hyun-Jin Ryu on Friday, marking L.A. a (-165) favorite in a twilight ballgame with a (9) run Vegas total.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Giants, Padres Meet Going in Opposite Directions
San Francisco is playing like crazy on the diamond, racing to make up lost ground after sliding into the NL West cellar in spring. The impressive Giants have won several series in a row despite facing tough foes like the Brewers and Cubs. Now, the team travels to meet the San Diego Padres, a franchise watching its postseason hopes dwindle as the calendar approaches August. The Pads are somehow still a (-145) favorite-to-win Friday’s series opener at PETCO Park despite losing yet another series to a below-.500 team in the New York Mets this week. Bookmakers believe that a Friday night start from Joey Lucchesi will stop the bleeding in SoCal, but to paraphrase a line from The Godfather Part III, Mr. Lucchesi would do well to remember that these Giants have very different ideas than the Giants of April or May.
Pick: Giants to win
Mound Mismatch Makes Nationals Huge Favorites
The Washington Nationals have been dominating a 4-game series against Colorado at Nationals Park. Still, handicappers who know the randomness of daily MLB results will tell you that the Nats’ (-310) moneyline for the closer on Thursday afternoon is an extremely short market for a regular season ballgame. As usual we can point to the mound for the impetus behind the number – vaunted Max Scherzer is returning to start for Washington after a brief sabbatical, having only allowed 1 run in his last 15 innings pitched. The Rockies’ 1-3 starter Jeff Hoffman is expected to provide less fierce resistance of an improving host batting order, as shown by the O/U total ticking up to (9) after opening lower.
Hot Bronx Bats Lead to Big O/U Total for Fenway
It’s safe to say that the New York Yankees are batting well. The club beat the Minnesota Twins 14-12 on Tuesday as shortstop Didi Gregorius had a career outing, going 5-for-5 with an incredible 7 RBIs while Aaron Judge and company did the rest to overcome shaky New York pitching. Vegas MLB ‘cappers are taking notice, offering a high (11) run Over/Under total for Thursday evening’s series opener against the rival Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Don’t sleep on Boston (-102) however, as the host Red Sox are slowly gaining ground in the American League and bested the Rays in a 3-game series early in the week.
Pick: Red Sox to win
Vegas MLB ‘Cappers Like Rangers – Bettors Like Them More
The Texas Rangers opened as thin road favorites to beat lowly Seattle in Wednesday’s series closer, but action on the visitors has driven Texas’ moneyline to (-135) already. Each club has had a lousy couple of weeks – the Rangers are hovering at .500 after dropping a number of series following the All-Star Break, and the Mariners have been simply dreadful after starting off with a few noteworthy upset wins in spring. Mike Leake has somehow managed an 8-8 record with a last-place team, and will throw against expected Texas starter Mike Minor. Bettors do not expect either pitching staff to spring more than minor leaks as the total is holding firm at (9) runs.
Halos Happening, But Competition Fierce in Rivalry 2-Gamer
Halo Nation is hoping that the L.A. Angels didn’t run into their cross-town rivals at a bad time. The improving ballclub has been feasting on poor opponents, beating the Seattle Mariners in 5 out of 6 recent outings. But a 2-game rivalry series with the L.A. Dodgers is upon us, and gambling commenced with the outcome on Tuesday’s game still in doubt. No matter – the public has chosen a solid favorite and it’s not the Angels. The Bums’ moneyline has already shortened to (-190) with the NL West leaders coming off a powerhouse sweep of Miami. Ross Stripling will start against visiting Jamie Barria, who is well-respected enough that the total (9.5) is in single-digits despite the looming presence of Cody Bellinger on the diamond.
Pick: Dodgers to win
Gamblers Like Archer, Buccos to Beat Cards at Home
Internal conflict at Pittsburgh Pirates headquarters and an on-paper mismatch on the mound helped Steeltown and St. Louis to nearly-matching opening lines for Tuesday evening’s 2nd of 4 ballgames at PNC Park. However, a dose of common sense from gamblers has the Pirates installed as a solid favorite just hours later. Likely Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson is 9-4 and his counterpart Chris Archer is just 3-6, and the Redbird hurler’s ERA is far superior. But Archer pitched well against St. Louis on the road last week, and the Pirates’ 2-game suspension of malfeasant relief pitcher Keone Kela is expected to have little impact on the outcome…especially as the 26-year-old hurler is just returning to the MLB ranks following his recovery from an injury suffered in May.
Pick: Cardinals to win
Giants, Cubs a Tight Handicap Once More in NorCal
The San Francisco Giants are probably tired of thinking of every series as a “must win.” But that’s the mentality it takes to make a run at the postseason after spending spring in the cellar. Madison Bumgarner is expected to start in the 2nd of 3 against the visiting Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. That forces ‘cappers to compare the night-and-day circumstances of pitching for the lowly Giants in April compared to hurling for the surging Gigantes now. Bumgarner is in fine form having scarcely given up any runs in July, but opposing Yu Darvish is backed up by an elite skill-set and batters like .557 slugger Kris Bryant. A stingy (7.5) Vegas total demonstrates respect for both starting pitchers.
AL Front-Runners Tightly ‘Capped After Disappointments
Neither the AL East-leading New York Yankees or AL Central front-running Minnesota Twins got as much out of their most-recent series as they had hoped. The Pinstripes blew a chance to sweep the Rockies when James Paxton was batted out of the box in the 4th inning on Sunday, and the Twins have spent much of the past 4 days struggling to overcome Oakland while worrying about their pitching depth behind the scenes. Scheduled Twinkies starter Martin Perez can see opposing C.C. Sabathia’s 5-4 record and raise it a few Ws, but are the Yankees a (-120) favorite in Monday evening’s series opener thanks to their bullpen? The Over/Under total is a hefty (11) and handicappers clearly expect both clubs to use a handful of hurlers in the ballgame.
Giants Still Surging, Host Hot Cubs at AT&T Park
Every baseball fan’s favorite episode of M.A.S.H. involves Winchester losing thousands of dollars on Bobby Thompson’s iconic “Giants win the pennant!” home run. Teams that catch up in the pennant race as fast as Thompson’s did may be once-in-a-lifetime. But if San Francisco somehow contends for the NLCS crown this season, it will be an historic comeback in its own right. The ’19 Giants were a laughingstock in spring but have sprung out of the cellar with energy to burn, sweeping the Padres-in-3 and the Rockies-in-4 in July. Only problem is that the latest visitors from Chi-Town as as hot as the Midwestern summer – the Cubs have hardly lost any ballgames since the All-Star Break. Shaun Anderson will pitch against journeyman Alec Mills in Monday’s nighttime Giants-vs-Cubs opener with Chicago a (-112) favorite and the Over/Under set at a conservative (8.5) total runs.
Cards, Reds Offer Only Tight ML of Afternoon
There aren’t many tight Vegas MLB lines set for Sunday’s earliest round of 1st pitches. The Yankees are strongly favored to beat the Rockies, the Red Sox and Rays are shorter than 1-to-2 against the Orioles and ChiSox respectively, and the Indians are expected to feast on the Royals. The St, Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds are the lone well-matched meeting with identical (-110) markets for a 4-game series closer at Great American Ball Park. Cincy appears to be the more-popular moneyline after opening in plus-odds, curious since the Redbirds have stunned the Reds with offense during the series. Friday’s win for STL came with an epic 10-run 6th inning as swift shortstop Paul DeJong finished with 4 RBIs. Action is holding Sunday’s O/U total at a high (10.5).
Steady Lines, Towering O/U Total for Braves-Nats
Sunday Night Baseball figures to see plenty of action as the only MLB ballgame held in prime-time on the Sabbath. High-roller’s handle or not, the wagering on this Sunday night’s Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals series closer has not produced much line movement with the Braves a slender (-130) moneyline favorite since midday Saturday. The Over/Under total for SNB is a bold (11) runs as gamblers contemplate Kevin Gausman and visiting starter Austin Voth taking on a pair of dynamic NL East lineups. No contact hitters in the Braves batting order are fooling fielders often enough to crack the .300 mark, but 10+ Atlanta players are batting above .250. Gausman is also returning from injury rehab, another factor that should keep the Vegas total in double-digits.
Pick: Nationals to win
Yankees, Rox Play David vs Goliath in Bronx
Saturday’s MLB slate is full of tightly-handicapped markets bookies are daring each other to open first. The Houston Astros are raising a rabble about their arduous travel schedule, for instance, causing sportsbooks to come in late on a line for the Astros and the Rangers. But there was going to be little question about who plays the favorite in the afternoon’s earliest start. Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees host the Colorado Rockies for the 2nd of 3 at Yankee Stadium as a (-250) moneyline wager. The Rox are taking enough action to move their ML to (+225) on Friday evening, with bettors noting that scheduled starter Antonio Senzatela actually has a slightly-superior W/L record with a much less prolific offense. The ballgame’s O/U has climbed to (11.5).
Subtle Fielding Factor Holds O/U in L.A.
The L.A. Dodgers will host the woeful Miami Marlins for 3 games in SoCal beginning on Saturday night, and gamblers are fairly sure of who’s going to win with the Bums a (-320) favorite. Something more subtle may be happening with the Over/Under total (8) despite the market’s lack of movement. An expected lopsided ballgame that could eventually see the losing skipper cut his losses will often generate more action on the Over. But gamblers are noting that Miami is a strong defensive club that can turn some of Cody Bellinger’s line drives into singles or outs, while L.A. starter Clayton Kershaw will keep Magic City’s offense at bay despite the Dodgers’ weaker fielding.
Cubs, Pads Begin Pivotal Series at Wrigley
It’s hard to think of other instances past the All-Star Break in which 1st-place and last-place clubs are meeting with both in the hunt for a postseason bid yet teetering on the brink of losing-out. Chicago’s grip on the NL Central has felt tenuous, and you can’t say much for the schedule with division rivals like Milwaukee and St. Louis always ready to rumble. As for the San Diego Padres (+145) who will visit Wrigley Field for Friday’s lone afternoon ballgame, it’s now or never to get rolling toward a Wild-Card seed. They’ve got the talent to pull it off, but we’ll see. The 3-game series opener pits visiting Eric Lauer vs Jon Lester, and though pitching staff shuffles have bookies nervous about setting an O/U total, Lauer and Lester are confirmed as scheduled by Major League Baseball.
Pick: Cubs to win
Tribe Basks in Hot Streak, Weak Opponent
The Cleveland Indians have been on fire since losing a pair of ballgames to the Minnesota Twins, and any club looking to overtake Minny in the AL Central could use a few series against cellar clubs once in a while. As if a 4-gamer against Detroit wasn’t enough, the woeful Kansas City Royals visit Progressive Field for an opener on Friday evening, and gamblers are placing a healthy number of bets on the Indians even with a commanding (-275) favorite’s number on the betting board. The total is only (9.5) which indicates some type of respect for visiting K.C. hurler Mike Montgomery. It’s clear that Las Vegas expects Cleveland starter Shane Bieber and a strong batting lineup to produce another methodical win against a patsy without the score getting out of hand.
Bettors Like Yanks in Extended Series vs Rays
The Bronx Bombers are having an astoundingly good season despite numerous injuries in springtime. But it sure seems like they’re stuck playing a tough Tampa Bay Rays club often. The Yankees and Rays played to a 2-2 stalemate in a 4-game series prior to the All-Star Break, and have been paired again for an entire work week’s worth of ballgames and a weather postponement on Hump Day. The eager rosters will try it again on Thursday evening with 11-2 Charlie Morton scheduled to start for visiting Tampa Bay. Gamblers seem to prefer the Yanks (-120) at home despite likely starter J.A. Happ’s pedestrian stat line.
Pick: Rays to win
Improving Giants, Mets Earn Respect from Sin City
Big Apple baseball is largely a 1-team show in 2019, but Mets fans will be frustrated if the club’s post-ASG improvement continues to go overlooked. The New York Mets have won 4 ballgames in a row, including an impressive 2-game sweep of Minnesota in which the AL Central-leading Twins were outscored 14-4 in the 2nd contest. But meanwhile the lines are deadlocked at (-110) apiece for the Metropolitans’ series opener vs San Francisco at AT&T Park on Thursday night. Perhaps the moneyline is less about skepticism of the NL East club and more about the Giants roaring out of the NL West cellar, beating the Colorado Rockies in 4 straight following surprise series-triumphs over the Padres, Brewers, and Cardinals. A falling O/U total of (7) indicates handicappers’ deep respect for starting hurlers Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard.
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.
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.