Can the Royals keep the momentum up in the World Series?

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As the World Series begins on Tuesday, I think the main question you have to ask yourself before wagering is how much momentum is worth.

It’s not something you can really quantify, but a variable that definitely has some value when a team is rolling like the Kansas City Royals are, having won all eight of their playoff games.

Most sports books in Las Vegas have the Royals at Pick ‘em or a slight -120 favorite to beat the San Francisco Giants in the series, which if true would give Kansas City their first championship since 1985, which was the last year they made the postseason.

And that price is based on what we’ve seen throughout the postseason, but what about a reverse momentum effect, as in time from when we last saw them play?

Part of the Royals rating increase heading into Game 1 is because of their play in the postseason and the manner in which they’ve pulled out wins. They hit the least amount of home runs (95) in baseball during the regular season and got to the postseason with a high batting average and stealing bases coupled with a strong rotation and perhaps the best bullpen in baseball.

During eight postseason games, they didn’t hit for average as well as the regular season (.263), but they did increase their power averaging one home run a game.

Baseball is a daily game and momentum carries over day-to-day, but with Kansas City, they last played on Wednesday making the gap between their games five days, which is their longest delay of the season.

Can they just pick right back up from where they left off and continue to win in dramatic fashion, or has the time off cooled the streak?

The best example of a team on fire getting cooled off by a long delay is the 2007 Colorado Rockies who won 14 of their final 15 regular season games, including a one-game playoff against the Padres to make the postseason.

The Rockies swept the Phillies in three during the divisional round and swept the Diamondbacks in four to win the NLCS. That’s 21 wins in 22 games and some serious momentum heading into the World Series, but then they had to wait eight days for Game 1, proceeded to lose 13-1 to Boston and never recovered in getting swept.

Because of the delay, and even though Kansas City has home field, it should be worth about 30 cents to the number, which gives the Giants the value in the series.

Game 1 will be the critical game to either continue their momentum or thwart it and the Giants start road warrior Madison Bumgarner who hasn’t allowed a run in two postseason road starts. In 20 road starts during the regular and postseason, Bumgarner has gone 13-4 with a 1.96 ERA.

Of course one of those road losses was at Kansas City when the Royals swept the Giants in August. But while we analyze all the data each team brings to the table, we also have to consider postseason experience.

The Giants, with championships in each of the past two even numbered years, have a ton of it as well as having a huge edge with manager Bruce Bochy.

I’m going with the Giants in Game 1 behind Bumgarner (-105) and I’ll also take the Giants to win in five games.

Shifting powers: With Seattle losing two straight and Denver’s defense looking vastly improved with all the personnel changes made in the off-season, we’ve seen a dramatic switch in perception and ratings for each over the past three weeks.

At the time, Seattle was coming off a bye and had just beaten the Broncos in a home game they were favored by 4-points. They were 7-to-2 favorite to win the Super Bowl and the NFC was a 3-point favorite over the AFC at the Westgate SuperBook to win the Super Bowl.

Fast forward to this week and the Broncos are the top rated team, 3/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl (Seattle 8/1) and the AFC is now posted as the 2.5-point favorite in the Super Bowl.

If Denver gets home field advantage, which seems probable, they are the likely AFC representative again. The NFC has a much deeper pool of quality Super Bowl candidates than the AFC, but none are rated higher than Denver and we just saw one of those NFC candidates – the 49ers – get roasted, 42-17, on Sunday night.

Rood liking Dallas: “I think Dallas might be the real deal,” said MGM Resorts race and sports book VP Jay Rood. “I jumped on their bandwagon a couple of weeks ago. What they’re doing is impressive. They have a great offensive line and a running back that keeps moving the chains.

“They’re going to be tough to beat. Even in their loss to the 49ers in the season opener, they were impressive on both sides of the ball and then to hold Seattle last week to only nine first downs… Yes, I’m definitely a believer in Dallas.

“We do really well with Dallas on our futures and have been dropping their number weekly as they gain momentum. We’re down to 10-to-1 now,” Rood said.

The Cowboys’ rating has now increased by about 5 points since the season began.

Most books OK Sunday: The key game for every book in town Sunday was the Seahawks (-7) losing outright, 28-26, at St. Louis as Rams coach Jeff Fisher pulled out all the special teams’ trick plays.

One was a punt return off deception that went for a 90-yard TD to bump the lead in the first-half and another on a fake punt from their own 18-yard line that allowed them to get a first-down and run the final 2:55 off the clock.

“We had a good morning and then traded money (with the public) in the afternoon,” said Rood. “Our best game was St. Louis winning outright over Seattle because it killed so many teasers, parlays and large money-line parlays.”

Wynn Las Vegas was in the same boat with every book needing St. Louis, but on opposite sides of a few games because of big house players making the public plays almost irrelevant.

“Rams knocked out a lot of risk for us,” said Wynn book director John Avello. “Minnesota (+6.5) and Miami (+3) was good for us as well, but Carolina (+6.5) not covering hurt us and so did the Colts (-3.5). Everyone was on the Colts today.

“We did okay in the morning games, but our two biggest decisions on the day went against us in the afternoon. We needed the Chargers (-3) and Giants (+5.5) and it didn’t happen so were stuck a little for the day and there’s nothing that could happen in the Broncos-49ers night game that would have helped us.”

Week 7 favorites on Sunday went 6-7 against-the-spread with the popular OVER plays going 4-9.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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