Big -200 favorites in MLB a risky idea

Apr 3, 2018 3:00 AM

Are we contrarian?

While not a steadfast rule, baseball bettors usually should look to take a plus-price with a reliable underdog, but when can we trust that irresistible favorite?

It is a tough pill to swallow when backing the Major League’s best pitchers, laying two dollars or more when you know it can’t be profitable over a long term.

One way to consider whether there is still any value in your chalky selection is to compare your line to a consensus opening line and ensure you are not laying an inflated price as it relates to factors leading up to the start of the game, including lineups, injuries, bullpen use, weather, umpires and pitching changes.

Using a trusted odds service for tracking general betting percentages also can give you valuable information on whether your big favorite is truly square. Consider a consensus of bet-tracking reports if the numbers don’t seem to reflect the movement of the odds.

While you will often find those top-level pitchers getting backed by 70 percent of the public or more, which is usually almost an auto-consideration on the underdog, we may actually consider our favored selection provided we are not backing a true public side when the wagering percentages of tickets and money appear relatively balanced.

When considering whether you feel your underdog is “live” consider a market indicator many handicappers use to reassure themselves they may be on a sharp side. When tickets are running considerably on the favorite, as much as two-thirds, but the same percentage or more of the money as well as the responding line move has come in on the ‘dog, we may feel more confident we are aligned with sophisticated bettors.

Be sure the expected value you have assigned to your plus-money bet hasn’t declined similarly to a strong move on a favorite. Moves on dogs are often more subtle, still leaving residual value, but can easily be wiped off the boards by the most sophisticated of baseball bettors before your best line ever hits the market.

With sure volatility every day on the baseball board, gamblers should easily find plenty of opportunities as long as they are confident in their own handicap. If you’re passing, you may just need to roll up your sleeves.

Royals (-105, 9) at Tigers (Wed., 10:10): First game to have a featured broadcast on Facebook features two slowest out of the AL gate. The Royals’ Danny Duffy had a rough opening loss against the long-ball White Sox, allowing five earned runs in four innings. This group of Royals hits .361 against starter Daniel Norris, who is scheduled to make his season debut.

Indians (-150, 7.5o15) at Angels (Wed., 1:07): Corey Kluber allowed just two runs over eight innings, losing his season-debut at Seattle. Mike Trout is just 2-for-13 lifetime against Kluber, while Albert Pujols is 0-for-13 and this Angel group hits just .158 against him over 86 PAs. Cleveland bats hit .404 against Tyler Skaggs, who won a strong debut with 6.1 IP at Oakland.

Rangers (EV, 8.5o20) at A’s (Wed., 7:05): Two pitchers coming off solid debuts, but teams were off to equally slow starts. Rangers’ Doug Fister won at home against Houston with one ER over five IP, while the A’s Sean Manaea lost despite 7.2 innings, allowing just four hits and an earned run at home against the Angels. These A’s bat .333 against Manaea over 1-0 PAs.

Mariners (+110, 8.5o20) at Twins (Thu., 10:10): Two teams off to decent starts as Twins’ Kyle Gibson returns to the hill following six no-hit innings on 102 pitches, including five walks, which caused him to be removed in his season debut on Saturday. The M’s James Paxton struggled in his opener against Cleveland, allowing six ER over 4.2 innings.

Diamondbacks (+105, 8.5o20) at Cardinals (Thur., 4:15): Robbie Ray allowed six ER over five innings to earn the win at home against Colorado in debut. Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler have had good success against Ray. Michael Wacha lost at the Mets, allowing two HRs and four ER over 4.2 innings. Arizona’s Goldschmidt off to slow start, and is just 1-for-9 against Wacha.

Reds (+120, 8.5u20) at Pirates (Fri., 1:05): Bucs’ Trevor Williams also threw six no-hit innings in a win over Detroit on Sunday. Likely Cincy lineup hits nearly .350 against him, however, with nearly 70 PAs. Reds’ Luis Castillo took the money – 25 cents off a +150 opener – on Saturday against Stephen Strasburg, but got hit for 6 ER over 5 innings in loss, striking out five, allowing 2 HRs.

Dodgers (-145, 7.5) at Giants (Fri., 7:15): Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda was dominant, striking out 10 Giants over five innings on Saturday as a two-dollar favorite in this repeat matchup against Derek Holland, who allowed three runs over five innings. San Fran-newcomer Andrew McCutchen has two homers against Maeda in just seven PAs. Total in first game in L.A. was 8o10.

Orioles (+170, 9o20) at Yankees (Sat., 10:05): Sonny Gray was gone after four innings in a 7-4 loss at Toronto on Sunday as pro bettors appeared to score on the OVER. O’s Chris Tillman made his season debut on Monday at Houston as a two-dollar dog in a game sharp bettors hit hard on the OVER early, as well. Both teams hit well over .300 against the opposing hurler.

Cubs (-120, 8o15) at Brewers (Sat., 1:05): Chicago’s Jose Quintana had a rough opener at Miami on Sunday, allowing 6 runs over six innings in a 6-0 loss in a series split, although he holds the expected Brewer lineup to around a .225 avg. over more than 125 PAs. Milwaukee’s Zach Davies made season debut on Monday as a home favorite, with early move on the Cardinals.

Padres (+200, 8.5o15) at Astros (Sat., 4:10): Former Yankee Bryan Mitchell made his SD debut on Monday, as early steam took Padres from ‘dog to favorite against visiting Colorado. The Astros’ Gerrit Cole was dynamite his first start on Sunday, allowing just two hits and an earned run over seven innings to beat host Texas. Cole holds these Pads to around .235.

Rays (+110, 8.5) at Red Sox (Sun., 10:05): Mexican League star Hector Velazquez earned his start after Red Sox injuries to start the season, but he was really good in a win at Tampa Bay on Sunday despite moving from slight favorite to ‘dog. Rays’ Jake Faria went four innings in his first start on Sunday in that contest but got a no-decision. He’s been strong against the Sox.

Braves (-108, 10o20) at Rockies (Sun, 12:10): Julio Teheran makes his third start for the Braves, as he opened the season with a no-decision in a home win over Philly as a small ‘dog as sharps scored on the OVER in that one. Left-hander Kyle Freeland made his season debut at San Diego on Tuesday, but he’s been touched up a bit by a couple of key Rockies’ bats.

Mets (EV, 8o15) at Nationals (Sun., 5:08): Matt Harvey made his debut on Monday against the Phillies at home in a game that was driven down quickly from 8.5 to 8 in overnight wagering. Washington’s Tanner Roark also took the mound for the first time last Monday as a favorite at Atlanta, although the first move was on the home dog and UNDER.