(Welcome to the latest edition of a new weekly feature for Fox Valley Magazine, Jeff’s Sports Bets. Local punter Jeff gives his methodology and picks each Friday for MLB games If you’re unfamiliar with betting, check out the introductory article, where Jeff begins by defining terms and discussing his process. Enjoy!)
We finally had a good Friday last week! Though they certainly won’t all be this good, that success shows the correlated same-game parlay system has far more up than downside. So, let’s take a look at our bets.
Padres (Darvish) run line vs. Pirates (H) (Z. Thompson) – Over 7
Padres 7 – Pirates 3 = $73.09
As we suspected, the Padres easily covered those 1.5 run line runs and the total score went well over 7.
Marlins (H) (E. Hernandez) mline v. Mariners (Brash) – Over 7.5
Marlins 8 – Mariners 6 = $85.87
It was a close game, but Miami won and the total score easily exceed that 7.5 run over/under.
Red Sox (Rich Hill) rline v. Orioles (H) (Bradish) – Over 8.5
Red Sox 3 – Orioles 1 = -$30.00
Our team won, but the score surprisingly went well under the 8.5 run mark. Since we have to win both ends of correlated parlays to win the bet, this one is a loss.
Blue Jays (H) (Kikuchi) mline v. Astros (Urquidy) – Over 8.5
Astros 11 – Blue Jays 7 = -$30.00
The Astros bats finally came alive and we lost this bet.
Mets (H) (Megill) mline vs. Phillies (Nola) – Under 7
Mets 3 – Phillies 0 = $74.47
Tylor Megill’s amazing early season success persisted and we easily won this bet. Mr. Megill may be due for some regression to the mean soon, but it’s fun to watch him mow them down in the meantime.
Rays (H) (Kluber) mline vs. Twins (Bundy) – Over 7.5
Rays 6 – Twins 1 = -$30
As the great Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by that much!” But when the teams come up half a run short, so does the bet.
Braves (H) (I. Anderson) mline vs. Rangers (G. Richards) – Under 9
Braves 6 – Rangers 3 = $22.22
This is what I call “a half win” because the Braves won, but the total tied or “pushed.” So, the push voids the under bet and then the money line – including the hold – takes over. So, we won $22.22 which is far better than losing $30.00.
Yankees (Cortes, Jr.) rline vs. Royals (H) (Bubic) – Over 8.5
Yankees 12 – Royals 2 = $72.82
The Yankees are on the kind of roll that makes them good as gold. Could this be their year?
Cardinals (H) (Wainwright) rline vs. Diamondbacks (Bumgarner) – Under 7.5
D’backs 8 – Cardinals 2 = -$30.00
Though we can certainly call this an upset, as previously stipulated, on any given day the worst MLB team can beat the best. The Cardinals have been a great bet so far, but not this time. We’ll also be watching Madison Bumgarner a little more closely as he seems to have discovered the fountain of youth in Arizona.
Rockies (H) (Senzatela) mline vs. Reds (Greene) – Over 10
Rockies 10 – Reds 4 = $80.65
The Reds are in the kind of epic early season swoon that will have us betting against them every time.
Dodgers (H) (T. Anderson) rline vs. Tigers (T. Alexander) – Over 8
Dodgers 5 – Tigers 1 = -$30
Though it didn’t work out this time, we’ll take the over on this bet every time. It’s hard to hit the over when the Tigers only manage to muster one run.
Giants (Wood) rline vs. Nationals (H) (A. Sanchez) – Over 7.5
Nationals 14 – Giants 4 = -$30
The typically reliable Alex Wood wasn’t and the and second worst National League Nationals destroyed the Giants.
That brings our April 29 winning total to a rather robust $229.12. And please note that we won that amount while losing 6.5 of our 12 bets, which is another great example of the power of well-researched correlated same-game parlays. Not to mention the fact that we don’t have to pay any holds on parlays, either.
Though truth be told, in light of our 33 percent success goal, anytime we win nearly half of our correlated parlay bets it’s going to be a very good day, but let’s not get used to that.
Before we move on to today’s game I’d like to cover a few betting strategies first.
I don’t want to go all New Agey on you, but just as it is with competing at the highest levels of a sport, once you’ve developed a reasonable system, betting becomes a mostly mental game. If you descend too far into the lows or soar into the euphoric highs, you will eventually blow out your bankroll.
So, in an effort to avoid those mood swings I do three things every morning.
The first is to spend ten minutes doing a series of standing stretches. Have you ever noticed the first thing your dog and/or cat does in the morning is stretch? It’s amazing how that short endeavor clears the mind, frees up those tight muscles and tendons, and gets the mental juices flowing.
The second is to write a ten-point gratitude list that typically includes items like being thankful for a warm house, a great dinner, and living in a First World county. Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and that daily list reminds me that losing streaks won’t last and not to let winning streaks lead to overconfidence.
And third, I sit back in my home office chair, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualize doing well as I place my bets. The mind is a powerful thing and it tends to live up, or down to expectations.
Lastly, as we noted in last week’s column, Fanduel offered a 7.5 over/under on the Rays – Twins game while Draftkings’ was set at 8. Since our data indicated the over was the best bet, we went with Fanduel for that half-run advantage.
We know sportsbook odds continually shift right up through game time, so if you see that kind of disparity LEAP at it because it won’t last. I’m not saying bet so quickly that you don’t apply your due diligence or you make a silly entry mistake, but if one sportsbook raises the over/under to 8 the others will surely follow (or vice versa).
So, let’s move on today’s full slate of 15 glorious baseball games.
Dodgers (T. Anderson) vs. Cubs (TBA)
As of this writing, the Cubs have yet to announce their starting pitcher, and without that critical information, the books generally won’t offer any line on the game. Even if they do, it’s tough to make a well-educated wager when you don’t know who both pitchers are. And that mystery can persist right up to gametime.
Given Tyler Anderson’s LA resurgence, the Dodgers 3-game winning streak, and the Cubs general fade, I’ll likely go with the Dodgers’ run line. If it stops raining long enough for the game to be played, considering those 25-mph howling in from left field on an abundantly cold Chicago baseball day, unless it’s patently absurd, I’ll be going with the under.
I hate betting against the home team, but the Dodgers have been just short of a sure thing this season and it would be foolish to miss out on that.
Pirates (Brubaker) mline vs. Reds (H) (Overton) – Over 8.5
This one’s a bit tough. Connor Overton may have a 1.69 ERA, but he’s only pitched in one game after posting an 8+ ERA last year. If Cincinnati weren’t in a complete 3-22 freefall, I might avoid this game, but betting against the Reds has been a very profitable proposition.
Brubaker ain’t exactly lighting up the league, and with the total going well over 8.5 in 7 of the Reds’ last 8 games and 3 of the Pirates last 6, and two of the worst bullpens (25th and 29th) over the last two weeks, that makes the over the best bet.
Draftkings +242 = $72.82
Mets (Scherzer) mline vs. Phillies (H) (Gibson) – Under 7
The ageless Scherzer had his worst outing against the Phillies May 1 giving up four runs in five innings. But his lifetime 2.60 ERA against Philadelphia is the far more important stat. Similarly, Gibson beat the Mets on April 30 ceding no earned runs in 4.1 innings. But his lifetime ERA against the Mets is 4.15. Add the Mets 26 runs to the Phills 15 last week and the Mets are clearly the better bet.
Though that under makes me very nervous for two team who generally hit the over, both pitchers are throwing so well, and with a forecasted rainy game in the low 50s, the under is the best bet.
Fanduel +276 = $82.97
Orioles (H) (Lyles) mline vs. Royals (C. Hernandez) – Over 8
The Orioles may have been the doormat of the American League last year, but they’re showing signs of life this season while the Royals certainly aren’t. Baltimore’s 21st OPS ranking isn’t anything to brag about, but KC is worse at 24th. Add Carlos Hernandez’ 6.00 ERA to Lyles pitching well in 3 of his 5 outings to Baltimore’s 7 – 6 home record, and the Orioles are the better bet.
Normally, it would be difficult to bet the over with teams that scored just 24 and 13 runs last week. But both teams have terrible bullpens and with the Royals giving up an average 6.3 runs in their last 7 losses, the over is the way to go.
Fanduel +259 = $77.94
Yankees (H) (Cole) rline vs. Rangers (Otto) – Over 7
This entire line shocks me. The Yankees moneyline is a mere -225 with Gerrit Cole pitching, and the over/under is just 7 runs when New York can easily score than many runs on their own. There’s a reason the Yankees are 6th in OPS.
The wind may be forecasted to blow in from right at 9 mph, but that’s not nearly enough to offset that legendarily short RF porch. Otto’s pitching reasonably well (2.89 ERA), but that’s over two scant games after he posted an 8.53 ERA last year.
Draftkings +272 = $81.81
White Sox (Velasquez) mline vs. Red Sox (H) (Eovaldi) – Over 8.5
This game presents us with another surprising line because if you bet on the White Sox outright you’re looking at a +154 moneyline which hugely disrespects the team with a 3-game winning streak. Eovaldi may be a star pitcher, but his lifetime mark against Chicago is not-so-stellar 5.63. Add Velasquez giving up no runs to the Angles stacked lineup in his last outing to a significantly better Chicago bullpen (15th to 26th) and the ChiSox are better bet. In fact, I’d bet on them simply as a consequence of that very favorable money line.
For all the same reasons and our teams being 11th and 12th in OPS, we’re going with the over.
Draftkings +377 = $113.18
Blue Jays (Gausman) mline vs. Guardians (H) (Bieber) – Under 6.5
It’s a battle of the AL pitching titans with Guasman’s ERA at 2.27 and Bieber’s only slightly worse at 2.45. Both hurlers have done well against their opponents, too. And while it looks like Cleveland is a bit better in the OPS department right now (8th vs. 13th), the Guardians just played the Reds and Royals while the Blue Jays faced the much tougher Yankees and Astros. So, despite the high -145 moneyline, we’re going with the Jays who have a significantly better lineup.
And we’re gonna go with that terrifying Under, too. The Jays may be capable of scoring 6.5 runs in a single inning, but with these two pitchers and the wind will be blowing in from right at 12 mph with light rains, it’s the best bet
Fanduel +235 = $70.68
Astros (H) (Garcia) rline vs. Tigers (Brieske) – Under 8
We could start and end this analysis with the Astros’ third (.804) and Detroits’ 28th (.583) OPS rankings. Now add Garcia’s 1.74 lifetime ERA against the Tigers to Brieske only pitching in only two major league games and this part of the bet is a no-brainer.
But the over/under gets a little tricker because the Tigers’ bullpen is the best in baseball with the Astros holding a reasonable 12th place. What cinches the under is Houston going under in 5 of their last 6 games with Detroit doing the same in 12 out of their last 18. Of course, the weather will have no effect in a domed stadium.
Fanduel +398 = $119.48
I’m more than surprised that the Fanduel line is a full 108 points higher than Draftkings’ here, but those kind of disparities do happen and it’s our job to jump on them when they do.
Rockies (Kuhl) mline vs. Diamondbacks (H) (M. Kelly) – Under 8.5
This is another line that surprises me because the lowly D’backs are favored here. Merrill Kelly is having a breakout spring with a 1.27 ERA, but Chad Kuhl is right there at 1.97. Arizona may be sporting a 3-game winning streak, but the Rockies have won 2. So, with the D’backs coming with a steep -145 moneyline, the better bet is the Rockies at +120.
The over/under is a bit more difficult with the Rockies’ 4th and D’backs 5th place OPS rankings, and their terrible 30th and 26th bullpens, generally indicating an over. But neither Kuhl nor Kelly have pitched a bad game so 9 runs is a lot to ask for from batters facing with those microscopic ERAs.
Draftkings +339 = $101.78
Marlins (Alcantara) mline vs. Padres (H) (Darvish) – Over 6.5
With great pitchers like these, this is a tough one to call. But it gets a little easier when you consider Darvish’s lifetime 6.25 ERA against the Marlins over 6 games. Meanwhile, Alcantara hasn’t given up a run against the Padres in 7 innings, and while that’s not a huge sample, Darvish’s numbers are significant.
Both pitchers are good, but they have a tendency to go off the rails every third or fourth game. We’re also talking the 9th (Miami) and 17th OPS rankings here. But the icing on the over cake is San Diego has gone over in 8 of their last 10 games with Miami doing the same in 4 out of their last 5.
Draftkings +310 = $93.13
Mariners (H) (Gilbert) mline vs. Rays (Wisler) – Under 7
The Rays may have the 10th ranked OPS with Seattle sitting at 27, but Logan Gilbert’s 0.64 ERA is the best in baseball. Then we have Tampa’s 2nd place bullpen to the Mariners 13th. Add that Wisler’s an “opener” who hasn’t pitched more that 2 innings a game and this one’s a tough call. But with Logan being unhittable, Josh Fleming and his 6.32 ERA likely taking over after the second inning for the Rays, and Seattle’s 7 – 3 home record, and the Mariners are the better bet.
With Gilbert on the mound, Seattle scoring all of 5 runs in their last four games, and four of the last six between these teams going under, we’ll do the same.
Fanduel +274 = $82.30
Cardinals (Hicks) mline vs. Giants (H) (Cobb) – Over 7
The Cardinals have won two and the Giants have lost four straight. They’re 26th and 20th in OPS respectively, and their bullpens are 17th and 23rd. But what tips this one in favor of the Redbirds is Alex Cobb hasn’t been himself with a massive 5.40 ERA and the Giant’s used NINE pitchers in their 7 – 1 loss against the Cards last night. The Giants only scoring 1 run on 10 hits and 4 walks doesn’t bode well for their prospects either.
With both teams hitting the over is almost every single game, this part of the bet is easy.
Draftkings +283 = $84.97
Just like the Cubs – Dodgers situation, Atlanta hasn’t announced their pitcher, either so, for now, we can’t bet on the Brewers – Braves game. But with Milwuakee on a roll and Eric Lauer’ stellar 1.36 ERA, I’ll likely go with the mline on them, but I’d need to see the over/under before making that call.
We have the same problem with the Nationals – Angels game, and though I’d likely bet on Los Angeles and the over, I need to know who will pitch for the Angels before putting money on it.
In the process of researching and writing this piece, both the Cubs – Dodgers and Yankees – Rangers game have already been postponed due to our daily spring monsoons. And those two games were pretty close to sure things, too. Ah well, in the immortal words of John Fogerty, “Who’ll stop the rain.”
Until next week!