Imagine wagering on 67 baseball games, falling 11 games under .500, and making money.
Welcome to the 2019 Major League Baseball season.
Underdogs went 28-39 over the first five days of the campaign — add in the two games played in Tokyo by Oakland and Seattle — but still produced a profit. Based on the consensus final numbers, a $100 bettor made $4,000 with the 28 dogs, highlighted by back-to-back pit bulls in the Baltimore Orioles, who won Saturday in the Bronx, catching plus-320 and Sunday at plus-260.
A $100 bettor on the Orioles, who were plus-320 in the 7-2 season-opening loss, left the three-game series from the Boogie Down ahead $480 thanks to monster wins in games two and three.
The best day for ‘dogs came on Sunday, when the pups were barking loud enough to produce an 8-6 mark.
Looking ahead to the week in action, there are a few series that intrigue me with both sides and totals.
I’d keep an eye on value prices when totals are between 11 and 13 with the Dodgers visiting Denver. Los Angeles opened the season tied with Seattle for the most home runs, each having 16. Only the Dodgers had done it in five, while the Mariners played seven. Los Angeles had scored 44 runs in five games, almost an average of nine runs per ball game. Now you have that lineup at Coors Field? The balls could be flying out.
The Phillies and Bryce Harper welcome Minnesota to town, and since the weekend set is at Citizens Bank Park, that means the Twins will have to bat their pitchers. Look for run value in run-line plays in this series.
Finally, there’s the showdown between last year’s National League Central Division top dogs, with the Chicago Cubs going into Milwaukee’s Miller Park to face the defending champion Brewers. The Cubs, who won the World Series the year before, ended up with the wild card, where they were shown the door by the Colorado Rockies in extra frames. The Cubs will be playing with a chip on their shoulders.
Here are this week’s best bets:
Reds at Pirates: Remember when making a wager on a baseball total, the ticket will auto-list the scheduled starting pitchers, and I’m basing this on the pitching matchup between Tyler Mahle and Jordan Lyles.
Mahle was originally opening the season in Triple-A, but an injury to Alex Wood cleared a starting spot. The right-hander diversified his arsenal beyond a four-seam fastball with the addition of a curveball and hybrid changeup/split-finger offering; but putting it to the test at an N.L. Central-rival could spell trouble.
Meanwhile, Lyles is in as the Pirates’ fifth starter and will be making his eighth career appearance at PNC Park, where he has a career 8.03 ERA over 24 2/3 frames. Both pitchers could struggle early. OVER
Rangers at Angels: I’m headed to Angel Stadium on Thursday night, when I see a potential pitching mismatch in Matt Harvey against Edinson Volquez.
Harvey looked superb against the Athletics in his Angels debut, and now he toes the slab in their home opener. After giving up just two runs on four hits over six innings in Oakland, look for him to spin that 95 mph fastball past the Rangers.
He’ll get run support, as Texas hands the ball to Volquez, who debuted against the Cubs last week and was pelted for four runs in just four innings on six hits and four walks. He hasn’t pitched against the Angels since 2016, when he was tagged for eight runs in five innings. I’ll list both and play the Halos. ANGELS
Cubs at Brewers: In the National League Central showdown between the Cubs and Brewers, I like Jose Quintana in his Friday showdown in what could be Brandon Woodruff. I won’t worry about who Milwaukee hands the ball to, however, as I’m going to only list Quintana.
The Cubs’ southpaw was pressed into action last Saturday, when he fired 81 pitches and struck out eight over four innings to bailout the bullpen in Texas. Quintana pitches well against Milwaukee, as he’s sporting a 1.62 career ERA against it, not to mention a 1.55 career ERA at Miller Park.
Quintana does a very good job at hiding the ball with his glove and attacking hitters from over the top with a low 90s fastball cuts well, and mixes with a curveball he isn’t afraid to throw anywhere in the lineup.CUBS
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