Favorites off to a strong start in MLB betting
April 12, 2016 3:05 AM
by Ramon Scott
Bookmakers could well be playing catch-up against professional baseball bettors, as reported major league steam got off to a red-hot start to the season, according to line monitoring services that track such action.
Most of the damage done by limit players was on totals, as consensus reports by those tracking services show a winning percentage of well above 60 percent on such plays over the first eight days of the season.
However, not to be outdone were the sides of steam bettors, which lost just a handful of games since Monday, racking up an even higher winning percentage, but with less than half the volume of screen-lighting moves than were placed on totals.
Blindly chasing steam is often considered a losing proposition, and in baseball, missing out on just a half of a run or .10 or .20 on a money line, can turn that unbelievable record into a vig-losing season.
For now, however, it hasn’t mattered too much, as even ardent steam chasers can claim a winning opening week in the majors.
Bookmakers, however, have long been known to be able to turn things around once the season-long grind settles in.
Oddsmakers have a pretty strong lifetime record themselves.
Wednesday: Carlos Carrasco (CLE) had held the Rays to just a 7-for-43 clip, including top bats Longoria (2-for-16 and Kiermaier (0-for-7); Scott Feldman (HOU) hasn’t allowed a home run to this group of Royals in 157 PAs, and should be usable on a pretty weak slate, although he doesn’t record many strikeouts.
Thursday: Marcus Stroman (TOR) on the night card has looked strong against the Yankees, holding this group to a .159 average over 59 ABs and 14 Ks; New TEX pitcher Cole Hamels holds this group of Orioles hitters to just .228 against him.
Friday: Clayton Kershaw (SF) goes up against Madison Bumgarner again. It seemed the Dodgers’ ace had every Giants hitter figured out except MadBum, who connected for one of his patented line-shot homers, but he still has been worth paying up for against SF, who hits just .164 against him with 102 strikeouts over 341 at-bats; Zack Greinke (ARI) hasn’t looked strong for his new team, but has dominated the Padres to the tune of a .191 average over 136 ABs with 36 Ks.
Saturday: Take top target Max Scherzer against the Phillies on the road, as the Nats’ ace has limited them to just a .185 average over 54 ABs, including 17 strikeouts; Shelby Miller struck out nine of these Padres over just 21 at-bats, allowing just four hits.
Sunday: The Pirates’ Juan Nicasio has looked sharp against this group of Brewers, holding them to just a .115 mark over 26 at-bats, with seven strikeouts, as he faces them at home; Corey Kluber (CLE) has held the Mets to just a .182 average over 44 ABs, including 16 Ks.
Wednesday: Freddie Freeman (ATL) sees star hurler Stephen Strasburg well, going 12-for-31 with three homers off the Nats’ star; The Yanks’ Carlos Beltran is 7-for-24 with three homers against the Jays’ J.A. Happ, while hot-starting teammate Starlin Castro is 5-for-12 against him with two doubles and two walks; Nolan Arenado (COL) has looked strong after a week and is 5-for-10 with a homer off of aging Jake Peavy, of the Giants; The Tigers’ Victor Martinez is 13-for-31 off of the Bucs’ Francisco Lirano; Brewers’ C Jonathan Lucroy is 12-for-29 off the news Cards’ P Mike Leake.
Avoid: Jason Kipnis (CLE) is 1-for-13 against the Rays’ Drew Smyly, with 6 Ks.
Thursday: The Nats’ Bryce Harper hit a pair of solo home runs over the first three games and he carries an 11-for-25 mark with four homers against the Braves’ Julio Teheran, while new teammate Daniel Murphy is 7-for-17 against him, with five extra-base hits; The Braves’ Freeman is 9-for-22 against Nats’ starter Tanner Roark; The Cards’ Matt Carpenter is 15-for-33 with three homers against the Brewers’ Wily Peralta; The Royals’ Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are a combined 17-for-48 off the Astros’ Doug Fister.
Avoid: The Indians’ Mike Napoli is 1-for-13 with eight strikeouts against the Rays’ Chris Archer.
Friday: Albert Pujols (LAA) is 13-for-25 with three home runs against the Twins’ Ricky Nolasco; Toronto’s Justin Smoak is 7-for-16 with three home runs against Boston’s Rick Porcello, while teammate Jose Bautista is 13-for-28 with three home runs against him; Lucroy (MIL) is 10-for-24 agains the Pirates’ Jeff Locke.
Avoid: Brock Holt (BOS) is 0-for-8 against Toronto’s Marco Estrada.
Saturday: Mark Teixeira (NYY) has had strong success against the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, hitting six home runs in 69 at-bats against him for a .319 BA; Bautista is 16-for-49 with five homers against new Red Sox P David Price; Xander Bogaerts (BOS) see the Jays’ R.A. Dickey well, going 11-for-30 against him; The Dodgers’ Chase Utley is 9-for-21 against new Giants’ P Johnny Cueto.
Avoid: Nelson Cruz (SEA) is just 3-for-18 with 8 strikeouts against C.C. Sabathia, of the Yanks.
Sunday: TOR C Russell Martin has four homers in 21 ABs against Boston’s Clay Buchholz, while teammate Ryan Goins is 9-for-21 against him; The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo has connected for five home runs and a .311 average in 45 ABs against the Rangers’ Derek Holland; Zach Cozart has looked good in his return from a repaired knee, as he gets a favorable matchup the Cards’ Michael Wacha, who he has touched for an 8-for-17 mark; The Reds’ Joey Votto is 8-for-19 with five extra-base hits against Wacha.
Avoid: Jay Bruce (CIN) is 0-for-21 against Wacha with 10 strikeouts.
Ramon Scott is a Southern California-based sportswriter, covering the preps to the pros for over 25 years. Email: RamonScott@GamingToday.com.