The Washington Nationals had baseball’s best record (14-4) through Sunday, which translates to +8.4 units if betting them every game, which also is the best return on investment. But the really big story of April has been the Cubs at 14-5 and looking every bit like the best team as many prognosticators predicted.
Every year the Cubs are the team with the biggest World Series risk at sportsbooks, just because it’s a normal process for visitors to make the bets for friends and family. There is this love and fascination with the Cubbies because of a history that hasn’t seen them win a World Series since 1908. Also, millions of Americans watched them daily on WGN when cable television started get in everyone’s home in 1980. They partied with Harry Caray daily in the afternoon’s and it just stuck for most.
“Cub fans have been waiting since the (Leo) Durocher years to have a team this good,” said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews. “And this team is definitely legit. They have it all; starting pitching, hitting and solid bullpen.”
To capitalize on the popularity of the Cubs, Andrews posted couple of different props for the fans to chew on. One asks whether or not the Cubs will win 100 games or more with YES being -160 and NO +140. I’m starting to believe 100 is a strong possibility.
Initially, I thought 94 wins was a crazy thought just because of Chicago being in the NL Central with St. Louis and Pittsburgh, who both finished ahead of them last season. But Pittsburgh has been disappointing even though they’re 10-9. The past three seasons they had one of the best bullpens, but this year, it stinks. The Bucs pen has blown 3 of 8 save opportunities and has a 4.79 ERA – only six teams are worse. And the starting pitching hasn’t been getting to the seventh inning, so the pen has been worked hard every game. Because of the Pittsburgh rating being dropped, the Cubs become the beneficiary within the division.
Also Jake Arrieta is every bit as good as he was last season when he won the NL Cy Young Award. No way he can duplicate 2015, right? Think again, he’s won all four of his starts and allowed only two earned runs (0.87 ERA). He’s also thrown a no-hitter and even hit a homer. Throw in Jason Hammel allowing only two runs over his four starts plus the bullpen looking outstanding and you can see why I’ve changed my Cubs stance.
Andrews posted a prop on Arrieta asking whether or not he’ll throw a no-hitter again in the 2016 regular season, which he should have about 29 starts remaining. “We opened at NO -700, but the pros bet it up to -800. The public is taking the YES at 6-to-1.”
Still, winning three series makes it tougher than ever to win the World Series, unlike the 1908 Cubs that disposed of the Tigers in five games (4-1). No wild cards, no league championships, it was just one best of seven series way back then. And if the Cubs don’t win it this year, who will be the goat adding to the lovable loser mystique that no other sports franchise has? Have to blame someone, right?
Andrews is getting lots of Cubs future action and dropped their World Series odds from 4-to-1 down to 3-to-1 on Sunday.
There have been 30 playoff games played through Sunday and the betting results have favored the public with favorites going 20-10 ATS. The average bettor who throws a few games on a $20 parlay usually tends to side with laying points with the better team.
The totals have also been one sided with 21 of the 30 games staying UNDER. The public usually likes to play games OVER. All four games in the Toronto-Indiana series have stayed UNDER and there was only a two-point variance in the total from Game 1 (195) and Game 4 (193).
The first three games in the San Antonio-Memphis series went UNDER, but the adjustment for Game 4 was too much. Game 1 had a total at 188.5 and Game 4 was 181.5, and it went way OVER, 116-95, in a Spurs sweep.
Head over to any one of the eight CG Technology sportsbooks around the city for spreads and totals on every NFL game for the first 16 weeks of the 2016 season.
“The process really doesn’t take a lot time,” said CG’s VP of risk management Jason Simbal. “Most of the work was already done as we made potential spreads on every game prior to opening our season win totals (February). So for these, we just did a little tweaking before opening on Wednesday night.”
Simbal said their final ratings has Seattle with the highest number followed in order by Green Bay, Carolina, New England, with Pittsburgh and Arizona both tied as the No. 5 ranked teams. After that it was Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City and Indianapolis rounding out the top-10.
The basis for all the weeks of spreads begin with those ratings – subtract the two teams’ rating numbers and add then about 3-points to the home team. There were a couple of teams sharp bettors definitely disagreed with CG’s ratings.
“The two teams that stood out with immediate action throughout the schedule was the smarter guys fading the Jets and Redskins,” said Simbal. “The Jets still don’t have Ryan Fitzpatrick signed yet and they’ll play one of the toughest schedules, so I can see why bettors might be down on them a bit for 2016.”
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. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].