MLB Betting News and Notes

MLB Betting News and Notes

The Best Bets in the Bigs
By Covers.com

Every week we take a look at the hottest and coldest teams as well as the best over and under bets in Major League Baseball.

For the week of June 10-16.

Hot team: San Diego Padres

Last week: 6-0
Season: 35-34
Upcoming schedule: at Giants, vs. Dodgers

Skinny: The Friars have strung together six consecutive wins against formidable opponents (Braves, Diamondbacks) to rise above the .500 mark and move within two games of the NL West Division lead.

Cold team: Texas Rangers
Last week: 1-6
Season: 38-31
Upcoming schedule: vs. A’s, at Cardinals

Skinny: The Rangers’ pitching staff is decimated with injuries and their bats have gone cold. Texas has dropped six straight games, scoring just eight runs in the process.

Over team: Miami Marlins

Last week: 5-0-1 over/under
Season: 30-33-5 over/under
Upcoming schedule: at Diamondbacks, at Giants

Skinny: Slugger Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) returned to the lineup on to boost the offense and Marlins pitchers surrendered 6.5 runs per game this past week.

Under team: Texas Rangers

Last week: 0-7-0 over/under
Season: 24-42-3 over/under
Upcoming schedule: vs. A’s, at Cardinals

Skinny: As stated above, the Rangers failed to put runs on the board. Texas continues to be an awesome under play to date (24-42-3 O/U).

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Re: MLB Betting News and Notes

Give Me Some Relief!             
By Jim Feist 
Playbook.com

Starting pitchers in baseball get much of the attention (and money) thrown their way. The average starter is asked to go 6-7 innings, while aces are expected to give 7-8 quality innings. Many games are decided in the last three innings, however, making relief pitchers an extremely important, and often overlooked, element.

The Boston Red Sox had a train wreck 2012 season under one-and-done manager Bobby Valentine. 2013 has been completely different under John Farrell and there's little doubt what has turned the tables: pitching. The Red Sox were a top 8 team in runs scored in 2012 and they are first this season despite trading away Adrian Gonzalez.

But Boston was awful on the mound last year, 27th in team ERA. This season: 12th in team ERA. Farrell was their former pitching coach when they won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, so he's familiar with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, both who are enjoying great bounce back seasons. What stands out is strikeouts: Boston ranked 20th last year, now they are second behind the Tigers. They loaded up on relievers in the offseason to upgrade a bad pen and that, despite injuries, has paid huge dividends.

The use of effective relievers is nothing new. Specialized closers were around in the 1960s, with terrific relievers like Dick Radatz, John Hiller, Luis Arroyo and knuckeballer Hoyt Wilhelm. During the early 1970s, the Oakland Athletics had a deep bullpen with Rollie Fingers, Dave Hamilton and Darold Knowles. That group helped win three straight World Series from 1972-74. Then came the Big Red Machine, and Sparky Anderson had lights-out relievers in Will McEnaney and Rawley Eastwick. That has evolved into a situation where today managers league-wide use a variety of closers, middlemen and lefty/righty specialists.

Oakland continues to be a force with a strong offense despite playing half their games in a huge, pitcher friendly park. While their five starters have ERAs over 3, the relief staff has been deep and dominant behind Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook, Pat Neshek and closer Grant Balfour. Less worry with extra-inning games when there is reliable depth in the pen.

It's important from a betting perspective to examine which teams have solid bullpen depth and which ones don't. The 2012 champion Giants won with the rock solid arms of Lincecum, Cain, Volgelsong, Zito and Bumgarner. That took a load off the bullpen, which was outstanding while being used only sparingly: The 2012 Giants had only two starts made by pitchers beyond those Big 5. That's why starters who can stay healthy and eat innings have value beyond their numbers, as they can have a domino effect on the relief staff.

The Yankees righted the ship in 2009 by getting two huge innings-eaters with the additions of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Two years ago they failed to add free agent starter Cliff Lee and the strains showed on an aging starting staff that has wilted the last two Octobers and has been struggling this year.

Two years ago the Milwaukee Brewers added Shaun Marcum and Zach Greinke alongside ace Yovani Gallardo and won the division. The last two years have been a fire sale of arms and theyíve paid the price, with weak starters and a taxed and ineffective pen. Their team ERA is last in the NL and third worst in baseball. Keep in mind the over is 42-17-2 over the total against a bad team, one with a winning percentage below .400. Two bad pitching staffs can mean higher scoring contests.

Don't be surprised if you see teams like the Yankees, Tigers, Reds and D-Backs looking for relief help before next month's trading deadline. Detroit has Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer throwing well, but 35-year old Jose Valverde hasn't been a lock down closer. They've struggled on the road, 15-37 as a road favorite of -110 to -150.

Strong bullpens can help keep scoring down from the sixth inning on. Five years ago, the Angels had a dynamite bullpen which helped fuel a stretch where they won 10 of 15 games, going 13-2 under the total. Over a nine-game stretch, the relievers didn't allow a run in 17 innings.

Teams that go with a lot of untested young arms can experience breakdowns. If the kids can't throw a lot of innings, that can wear down a pen fast, something to keep an eye on. You can't pay too little attention to the pen, which is a huge part of baseball success today, on the field and at the betting window.

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Fading MLB Traveling Teams a Profitable Betting Practice
By Jason Logan
Covers.com

The circus life of Major League Baseball is unlike any other pro sport. Teams play a game, rush to the airport to fly across the county that night, and are back on the field the next day staring down a new opponent.

Only four American League clubs have a winning record in this situation – Baltimore, Oakland, Seattle and Texas – while six National League teams are above .500 when coming off a game and travel the night before – Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Just the AL East (29-28) and NL Central (29-26) have a collective winning record in this situation. American League clubs are 76-93 coming off a game and travel while the National League boasts a 76-86 record when going field-runway-field. That’s an MLB-wide 45.9 winning percentage for teams playing and traveling the night before.

“(Travel) does play into (the odds) for sure,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, told Covers. “It’s a long season and clubs have to rest some people. We consider it more in extreme cases.”

Korner notes that oddsmakers send out the overnight MLB odds for the next day before that day’s schedule is even played, and says bettors can find value scouting those teams traveling that night especially if that day’s contest goes long.

“If we put the line out for the next day and that night’s game goes long or into extras, (bettors) play it. And it’s up to the bookmakers to make the change, but usually by that point (bettors) have already made their play,” he says. “It’s an angle bettors should play. There are so many games and it’s such a long tough season.”

A perfect example of finding value fading a team with a busy travel sked are the Pittsburgh Pirates, who enter Tuesday's action as the best bet in the majors at +15.10 units (41-29). However, the Bucs would be even more profitable if they weren't 2-10 in outings when coming off a game and travel the day before.

Here are the best and worst records in the majors when coming off a game and travel the night before:

Best travel bets (Records as of June 18, 2013)

St. Louis Cardinals: 8-2, 5-3-2 O/U
Oakland Athletics: 9-5, 10-4 O/U
Cincinnati Reds: 8-4, 5-7 O/U
Baltimore Orioles: 7-6, 7-6 O/U
Philadelphia Phillies: 7-6, 6-6-1 O/U
San Francisco Giants: 6-3, 4-3-2 O/U
Milwaukee Brewers: 6-4, 6-3-1 O/U
Atlanta Braves: 6-4, 6-4 O/U
Seattle Mariners: 6-5, 4-6-1 O/U
Texas Rangers: 6-5, 4-6-1 O/U

Worst travel bets (Records as of June 18, 2013)

Colorado Rockies: 1-10, 4-7 O/U
Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-10, 5-7 O/U
Miami Marlins: 2-8, 5-4-1 O/U
Chicago White Sox: 2-7, 4-5 O/U
Minnesota Twins: 2-7, 5-4 O/U
Los Angeles Angels: 3-8, 6-5 O/U
Houston Astros: 4-8, 6-5-1 O/U
Washington Nationals: 4-8, 6-5-1 O/U
New York Mets: 4-5, 4-4-1 O/U

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MLB's Best/Worst Bets
By Covers.com

Bucs bets are the best

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been in this position the past few seasons, stringing together a nice stretch of games at discount moneylines and jumping to the top of the MLB breadwinners. However, there is usually a tipping point for the Bucs. Last year it was September, when the Pirates went 7-21.

Pittsburgh has won +17.67 units on the moneyline and +17.35 units on the runline (baseball’s version of the spread), but bettors are waiting for the other shoe to drop. The All-Star break has been a reliable yield sign for Bucs backers, with the club going 87-140 following the Mid-Summer Classic over the past three seasons.

Live and Die in L.A.

Despite having massive payrolls, rosters packed with All-Star talent and some of the best baseball weather in the world, Los Angeles’ MLB clubs just plain stink. And if you’ve been betting either the Angles or the Dodgers, that’s the smell of money burning.

Los Angeles’ two teams are currently ranked as the two worst bets in the majors, with the Dodgers eating up -19.55 units and the Halos wasting -19.34 units heading into Friday. The pair are a combined 63-81 and still command hefty price tags on the moneyline based on name alone.

AL West totally awesome

The American League West is home to the best over and under teams in the big leagues.

While the Angels are draining bankrolls on the moneyline, they’re making a mint for over backers with a 42-30-1 over/under mark heading into Friday. The Halos rank 10th in scoring (4.55 runs per game) but allow 4.30 runs against (26th) an outing.

On the other end of the scale, the Texas Rangers have become the best under play in baseball with a 26-43-4 over/under count. The Rangers have actually leaned toward the over versus AL West rivals, going 15-14-3 O/U, but are 11-29-1 over/under (72 percent under) against the rest of the majors.

Brewers bust on runline

Good thing there’s plenty of beer in Miller Park. The Brewers are one of the worst bets in baseball, burning through more than 15 units on the moneyline but doing real damage to runline fans. Milwaukee is a costly -20.23 units against MLB’s version of the spread with a 27-44 ATS record.

Things aren’t getting any better for the Brew Crew either. Milwaukee just dropped a series to the lowly Houston Astros and could be without slugger Ryan Braun for longer than expected after injuring his thumb. The Brewers welcome the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves this weekend.

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