Welcome to the 2012 edition of MLB Marketwatch, where the team at Sports Insights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the MLB betting market.
Every week we analyze the sports betting marketplace to pinpoint which games the public is chasing and which the sharps are pounding.
Overall Record: 7-4 (+5.77 units)
The goal of this weekly column is to highlight games that offer true line value. Often, if a line looks too good to be true, there is a reason. You’ll occasionally need the worst teams on the board to come through. We typically buy on bad news and sell on good.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels
Two teams vying for a playoff spot will square off tonight as the Los Angeles Angels (40-33, 18-16 Away) travel east to Baltimore to take on the Orioles (41-31, 21-15 Home). The two teams came into the season with vastly different expectations, however, they are currently the front runners in the wild-card standings.
Both teams will send a southpaw to the mound tonight, although they enter this game with contrasting levels of success. C.J. Wilson, who came over from Texas this off-season after signing a lucrative free agent contract, will get the nod for Los Angeles having gone 8-4 this year with a 2.24 ERA — good for second in the American League. For the Orioles, Brian Matusz will get the start. The 25-year old was once regarded as one of the game’s top prospects, but has struggled during his time in the majors. After posting a woeful 10.69 ERA in 12 starts last season, Matusz has seen minimal improvement and currently owns a 5-8 record with a 5.00 ERA.
Prior to the start of the season, the Angels were tied with the third best odds to win the title at 15/2, but the team struggled out of the gate with an 8-14 record. In fact Albert Pujols — who broke the bank by signing a ten-year contract worth $254 million — hit just .217 in April, with zero home runs. Fortunately for L.A. fans, Pujols has since turned his season around batting .278 with 11 home runs over the past two months. His turnaround plus the astounding success of MVP-hopeful Mike Trout (league-leading .338 BA, 7 HR, 21 SB) have turned the Angels into one of baseball’s hottest teams.
For the Orioles, expectations were lower than a snake’s ankles. Baltimore’s pre-season 150/1 odds to win the 2012 World Series trailed only the Houston Astros — yet this team remains in the thick of the playoff hunt as we approach the midway point. Despite playing in arguably the most competitive division in baseball and possessing neither a potent offense (18th in baseball in runs scored) nor an elite pitching staff (11th in baseball in team ERA), Baltimore is 10 games above .500. The biggest reason for their success? That would be the emergence of outfielder Adam Jones. Acquired years ago in exchange for then-ace Erik Bedard, Jones leads the team in average (.300), home runs (19), RBI (40), runs (49) and steals (9).
Los Angeles opened as a -150 favorite at Pinnacle and, according to Sports Insights’ MLB Betting Trends, has received 84% of moneyline wagers and 82% of parlay bets. Despite this heavily one-sided betting, the line has dropped significantly with the Angels now listed as just -133 favorites. This reverse line movement is an indicator that sharp money sees value on the Orioles at home.
The public betting chart below is available on our Live Odds 3.0 page to all Live Odds and All-Pro Combo members and shows a breakdown of moneyline Betting Percentages from our six contributing sportsbooks.
According to our BetLabs software, teams receiving less than 20% of moneyline wagers have gone 82-106 for +17.70 units and a 9.4% return on investment (ROI) during the 2012 season. There has also been a smart money move triggered on the Orioles at BetOnline (12-11, +3.85 units) which gives further evidence that there is value on Baltimore.
The line history graph below, which is available to all Live Odds and All-Pro Combo members, shows how the public Betting Percentages have affected line movement for this game at Pinnacle.
At the time of publication, Sports Interaction (SIA) is offering the best price on the Orioles at +130, but as always, be sure to shop for the best line before getting down on this game.
Game to Watch (7-4, +5.77 units)
Baltimore Orioles +130 (SIA)
Enjoy the games!