10/21/2008 4PM EST
by The Team at SportsInsights.com
With the World Series starting, this will be the last issue of the MLB Edition of Sports MarketWatch. Stay tuned for the NBA Edition of Sports MarketWatch next week — and keep your eyes on SportsInsights.com for live betting odds and winning betting strategies!
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Sports MarketWatch – MLB Edition, where the Team at SportsInsights gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the sports marketplace. If you ever wanted to know what was really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports MarketWatch!
The staff at SportsInsights.com speaks directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. We’ll take a look at what’s in store for upcoming games.
Sports Marketplace – MLB Edition
The MLB Edition of Sports MarketWatch had a strong day last week, sweeping the two underdog plays. We’re still underwater during the second half of the baseball season — which has been difficult for MLB value/dog plays. We typically will win in the mid-forty percent range in money-line sports — which yields profits in the long run. For the entire season, MLB was profitable, with SportsInsights’ Square Plays connecting at a 45% and yielding +36 units.
2008 MLB Games to Watch: 19-37, 33.9%, -11.84 units
Sports MarketWatch – MLB World Series Notes
Philadelphia Phillies versus Tampa Bay Rays – Series Odds
Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies are strong teams — and have shown that they deserve to be in the MLB World Series. It’s nice to see some new talent — and some of the “smaller markets” represented — in the playoffs. Let’s look at how the teams match up:
|Starting Pitchers||Hamels, Myers and Moyer are good, solid pitchers — that are perhaps less flashy than TB’s big three — especially Kazmir. However, Kazmir is a huge name who struggles with high pitch counts and can often last only around 5-6 innings.||Kazmir, Shields and Garza all have ERA’s in the mid-three’s — which is great in the AL. Kazmir is a young stud who strikes out almost 10 per nine innings. The Ray big three match up better than the Phil’s big three — although Cole Hamels on the Phils has been “lights out” in the playoffs.||Slight Edge to Tampa Bay|
|Closer||Brad Lidge had a huge season, striking out 92 in 69 innings, with a 1.95 ERA. It looks like he’s past the 2005 playoff nightmare with Houston that continued into the 2006 season.||The Ray’s closer had a 4.5 ERA during the regular season. Enough said. TB’s middle relievers have been good.||Big Edge to Phillies|
|Offense||The Phils scored 799 runs in the NL without the DH. Normalized to the Al with the DH, the Phils have the better offense. They also have scary HR power with Ryan Howard who hasn’t even connected for a HR this post-season. Utley and Burrell also hit more than 30 HRs this season.||Tampa Bay scored 774 runs during the regular season and had a +103 run differential. There has been much talk about TB’s young 23-year old slugger Evan Longoria who has hit 6 HRs in the playoffs — but he hit just 27 HRs this season (less than the 30 that 3 Phillies starters hit).||Phillies|
|Media Attention||The Phillies beat a solid NY Met team the past two seasons. However, much of this rivalry has revolved around how the Mets choked — without giving credit to where credit is due. The Phillies are a well-balanced team with power, starting pitching — and now — a good closer.||TB has had a magical run. They overcame a great comeback from the Red Sox powerhouse — after beating up on the Red Sox and Yankees in the tough AL East Division. The media loves the TB story — and this might lead to an over-valuation of TB.||Value on Phillies (TB is loved by media; Phillies have done well, but in shadow of NY)|
|Playoff Experience||The Phillies have made the playoffs after tough pennant races each of the past few years. The core of the Phillies seems hungry.||This is the first time in the playoffs for the Rays and they are making the most of it — getting to the World Series.||Phillies|
|Home Field||SportsInsights.com’s research shows that home field in the playoffs is over-rated.||Due to the AL’s All-Star game win, TB has home field advantage with a 2-3-2 format.||Tampa Bay|
|Series Odds||Phillies +137||The Rays are World Series favorites, at -142.||Edge to Phillies, especially as Series Underdogs|
If you like to bet on sports futures, we see value on the Phillies at +137 odds.
Game 1: Philadelphia Phillies (Hamels) versus Tampa Bay Rays (Kazmir)
The Public and the media loves Tampa Bay. As we noted above, Scott Kazmir is a young up-and-coming ace pitcher who struck out close to 10 per nine innings this season. However, he continues to struggle with high pitch counts and normally pitches only 5 or 6 innings. We’ll bet against the media hype on TB and their young up-and-coming stars — and take the value on the under-rated Phillies.
Because Philly starter Cole Hamels has been red-hot during the playoffs, the line is about even. We would have liked receiving more value with the visiting Phillies — but at least early Public money moved the line from Philly -115 to about even odds. Early bets were landing on TB at a rate of almost 70%. The line has stabilized at even odds with bets now evenly split. We like the extra value on the under-rated Phillies, based on the early line move from the opener.
Lean to Philadelphia Phillies -104 for slight value.
World Series Plays (19-37, -11.84 units)
Game One: We lean towards Phillies -104
It should be another exciting weekend in the sports marketplace. Keep Sports MarketWatch picks handy and your browser pointed to SportsInsights.com for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools.
We hope you enjoyed the Sports MarketWatch – MLB Edition.
Enjoy the games!