Sharks looking for middles on MLB totals

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The Sharks were circling at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last Sunday at 11 a.m. when the 2015 MLB season win totals were posted, just because bettors were looking to cash in on a free-roll opportunity by middling several teams.

The Atlantis Reno posted its totals on Friday and CG Technologies followed suit with similar numbers on Saturday so by the time the Westgate opened theirs, bettors knew there would be several advantage plays for them.

It didn’t matter whether the ­bettors liked the totals or not, all they were trying to do was find the best scalp and in several cases they got a middle opportunity of at least three games.

Atlantis posted the Orioles at 84.5 wins, which was bet UNDER, while Westgate posted them at 81, which was bet OVER.

The same thing happened with the Indians where scalpers took UNDER 84.5 wins at Westgate and OVER 81 at Atlantis. In both cases, the most likely number to occur is somewhere in between, which means the bettor has a great chance of winning both wagers. Worst case scenario is they win one and lose one which costs a 10 percent juice fee.

Westgate saw more than two-thirds of their action come from scalpers on Sunday, but they did get a few bets from some baseball sharps making plays on who they actually felt strongly about rather than playing one book versus another.

“One guy’s opinion I really respect came in heavy on the Red Sox UNDER 86 wins,” said SuperBook manager Ed Salmons, “so I ended up using his opinion to move the number down more than I might for someone else.”

Those Red Sox UNDER wagers pushed Westgate down to 84.5.

Another valued opinion came in on the Nationals who had the highest total posted of all 30 teams. “We immediately got bet twice on the Nationals OVER from a sharp baseball guy so we moved from 93 to 93.5 and now were at 94.”

There were a couple of teams Salmons had a difficult time finalizing a number on.

“The hardest team I had figuring a number for was the Yankees because so much is unknown,” he said. “There’s a question mark at every position. They’ve got a lineup of old guys that were really good in 2006 like McCann, Teixiera, Beltran and Rodriguez. Then you look at their rotation after Tanaka; if Sabathia comes back healthy, a really good year for him would be 12-12 with 200 innings pitched, and Michael Pineda has missed four of the past five seasons.”

Another one of those tough teams was the Astros: “Houston is trending upward and they’re better than last year. It’s hard to judge all the young talent they have on the team; George Springer played about 70 games last year and hit 20 homers. How good will he be in a full year this season?

“I like what they did with their bullpen by picking up Luke Gregorson and Pat Neshak. But while they figure to be improved overall, you still have to consider they’re in one of the best divisions – top to bottom – in baseball with the Angels, Mariners, A’s and a Rangers team that will be vastly improved.” Westgate settled at 75.5 with Houston.

Nugget props

The Golden Nugget in downtown didn’t get into the season win total fray, but they did unveil seven sheets of 2015 MLB props with several of them geared for cashing within the first three months of the season. They included first pitcher to strike out 100 batters (Clayton Kershaw 9/5), first player to hit 25 home runs (Giancarlo Stanton 6/1) and first player to reach 50 RBIs (Miguel Cabrera 8/1).

They also have all those same categories geared for the entire season as well, along with 24 other interesting two-way props. You can bet OVER/UNDER on the highest average by a player at .343, home runs at 44.5, stolen bases at 58.5, doubles, 58.5; triples, 13.5; and wins, 20.5.

The only thing missing was an OVER/UNDER for the sabermetric guys using the highest WAR (wins above replacement) of 2015 at around 7.5 (Mike Trout 7.9 in 2014). Great job by the Nugget crew.

My selections on all the Nugget’s two-way props would be to almost blindly go UNDER every offensive statistical number except hits, which I would take OVER 206.5.

The Reds, Phillies and Pirates pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Thursday and the other teams will follow Friday and Saturday. The full squad will report for all teams next week.

The fresh cut grass in Arizona for March spring training baseball is one of the best times you’ll experience in the sports world. There’s a certain peace and serenity surrounding the environment that is unparalleled.

One of a Kind

We said goodbye to former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian last week, but for most of us who grew up in Las Vegas he’ll forever be entrenched in our hearts. It’s not so much his 729 career wins, four Final Four appearances or the 1990 National Championship that endears him so much to all of us, it’s more about bringing the community together like we had never seen before.

In a city filled with so many transients from all over the country, the first real togetherness I ever felt with fellow Las Vegans was from the University basketball team. I had the same rooting interest with the guy who had just moved here from Riverside the previous year.

We had a common bond and something to bring us all together socially. Las Vegas was our home and the basketball team gave us an identity nationally. And of course, the team was always very good with a menacing press defense that made them good no matter what offensive limitations any of the teams had.

They always won and we always cheered. To this day, the most exciting moment I ever had while living in Las Vegas was in 1990 when they won it all. I was a student there at the time, but I took the win as being for the city and there was a celebration throughout every neighborhood that I don’t think we’ll ever see again.

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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