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: 8-6 (+5.47 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. Tampa Bay Rays – 7:05 PM EST
This week’s marketwatch will focus on an AL East matchup between a pair of unlikely wild-card contenders as the Rays (50-47, 22-22 road) travel north to Baltimore to face the Orioles (51-46, 23-23 home). The O’s have been one of baseball’s best stories this season, defying pre-season expectations. Nearly 100 games into the season, Baltimore is just 1.5 games out of the wild-card despite being outscored by nearly 50 runs on the year.
On the other side, Tampa entered the season with World Series aspirations but their playoff chances were dealt a significant blow early in the season when all-star third baseman Evan Longoria suffered a torn left hamstring. Despite their best player’s prolonged absence (more than 70 games already), the Rays pitching has been amongst the best in the league — helping Tampa stay just 2.5 games out of the final wild-card spot.
Tonight’s pitching matchup should be intriguing with both hurlers having very different resumes. The Rays will send David Price to the hill — the first overall pick of the 2007 MLB draft, a three-time all-star, and a constant Cy Young threat. This season the 6’6″ lefty owns a 2.64 ERA with 120 strikeouts and a league-best 13 wins.
Taking the mound for the O’s will be 28-year old rookie Miguel Gonzalez. After being called up and utilized in long relief, Gonzalez has been thrust into the starting rotation and has not allowed more than three runs in any of this three starts this season. Including his relief appearances, the 6’1″ Mexican import is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Outside Longoria there are no major injuries to report, but make sure to check out our Injury Page for any late, breaking news updates prior to game-time. Some sportsbooks are slow to react when a player is given the day off for rest, so bettors can add value to their bets by receiving up to the minute information.
Tampa Bay opened as a -140 favorite at Pinnacle and, according to Sports Insights’ MLB Betting Trends, is currently receiving 78% of moneyline wagers, and 79% of parlay bets. Despite this one-sided betting percentage, the line has actually dropped off the opening number and currently sits at -132. This reverse line movement is an indicator that some sharp money has jumped all over the home dog. In addition, a Steam Move was triggered on Baltimore this morning at the Greek (Olympic) giving further evidence that sharp money loves the O’s tonight.
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.
Need more incentive to take Baltimore tonight? According to our BetLabs software, home underdogs receiving less than 30% of moneyline wagers have earned +67.25 units since 2005 — good for a 2.2% return on investment (ROI). The Orioles currently fits this system as they are receiving just 20% of moneyline bets.
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) was offering the best price on the Orioles at +125 but as a reminder, be sure to shop for the best line before wagering on this game.
Game to Watch (8-6, +5.47 units)
Baltimore Orioles +125 (SIA)
Enjoy the games!