6/30/2009 5:00 PM EST
By The Team at SportsInsights.com
Welcome to the 2009 MLB Sports Marketwatch, 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! Sports MarketWatch will be published twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday, around 5PM Eastern Time.
Sports Marketplace – MLB Edition
Interleague play produced a rough couple of weeks for the Marketwatch as we have hit one of the inevitable valleys in the roller-coaster that is the sports marketplace. These things happen when you focus on playing the “plus money” involved with baseball underdogs, but the positives have easily outweighed the negatives so far in 2009. In our first matchup from last week, we saw a pitchers’ duel go against us. Josh Beckett continued his dominance over Atlanta by throwing seven innings of shutout ball, while the Red Sox were able to plate three runs against Jair Jurrjens in his eight innings. In our second game, Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer to cap off an eight-run second inning against Arizona. That pretty much put the game out of reach for the Diamondbacks’ inept offense, and it handed us another zero in the win column. We’re hoping to return to the positive now that the schedule is back to normal, AL pitchers don’t have to swing a bat, and cement-handed DHs don’t have to be relegated to first base or the bench.
Baseball can be a very profitable sport to bet on when you base it off moneyline odds, especially when betting underdogs. The “plus odds” is a reason that MLB moneyline dogs can show value over time. Most people like to win – thus overvaluing winning teams. Our selections on moneyline underdogs will normally hit at less than 50%, but the “plus odds” payoff makes it a profitable investment.
2009 MLB Games to Watch: 24-23, 51.1%, +10.16 units
Sports MarketWatch – MLB Games to Watch
Pittsburgh Pirates +117 over Chicago Cubs
Coming into the 2009 season, experts were picking the Cubs to run away with the NL Central and the Pirates to dwell near the bottom yet again. Well, one of those things is happening, as the Pirates are in last place in the division, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. The Buccos are only six games behind division-leading Milwaukee and two-and-a-half games behind fourth place Chicago. A big part of that is its solid play at home and a better-than-expected pitching staff. Pittsburgh owns a 21-15 record at PNC Park, and the pitching staff has allowed only 4.34 runs per game. They don’t have a lot of power in their lineup with only 49 total HRs hit by the team, second-fewest in the majors. The Pirates will send Russ Ohlendorf (6-6, 4.75 ERA) to the mound against Chicago’s Ted Lilly (7-5, 3.41). Lilly has been lights out in Wrigley Field this season (4-1, 1.85 ERA at home), but on the road he has put up much more pedestrian numbers (3-4, 4.96). The Cubbies have also seen last year’s dominant offense vanish mysteriously. Slugger Alfonso Soriano leads the way in these struggles with a .232 batting average and only 32 RBIs despite 14 HRs.
The Cubs are still receiving a great deal of respect from the betting public. It could be due to their exposure as a media darling, patience in waiting for them to turn the season around, or just the fact that they are playing the perennially rebuilding Pirates. The North Siders from Chicago are receiving 74% of the public’s moneyline wagers, as well as 67% of their parlay plays. This seems like too much support for a team that hasn’t shown a sign of being able to play well on the road this season. Even with the strong public support, the line has moved in the opposite direction since opening at Olympic as Chciago -135. The Cubbies are currently -130 favorites, which indicates some Sharp money on the Pirates. Sure enough, we can see multiple Betting System plays with positive Units Won triggered on the Buccos, including a Steam Move from Pinnacle (+26.4 Units). The game also fits in with our Bet Against the Public research, so we’re taking the homedog Pirates.
Pittsburgh Pirates +117
Chicago White Sox +180 over Cleveland Indians
There isn’t much that affects a moneyline in baseball like a mismatch of starting pitchers, like a true staff ace going against a struggling youngster. That is where you can see some of your best “plus money” even if the ace’s team dwells in the basement of the standings. That is the case in tonight’s matchup of AL Central foes, as the Indians send reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee (4-6, 2.92 ERA) up against fellow southpaw Clayton Richard (2-1, 4.33) for the White Sox. Cleveland has the AL’s worst record despite an offense that ranks third in majors in runs scored. A big part of that has been its disastrous bullpen (5.54 ERA), which paves the way for the Indians MLB-worst 5.25 team ERA. With those kind of results, Cliff Lee needs to pitch deep into games to give his team a chance, and he averages just under seven innings per start. The South Siders from Chicago have been one of the league’s best teams over the last two weeks, winning 10 of their last 14 games. It has been a combination of improved hitting and great pitching from their starters. The starters’ ERA during the 14-game stretch is 2.73, and the offense has averaged almost six runs per game during the same stretch.
The Indians and Lee are drawing a very slight advantage in the moneyline betting percentages (53% to 47%), but a look at the other numbers shows that the public still likes Cleveland’s ace. The Indians are drawing 82% of runline bets and 68% of parlay wagers. The line has strayed some since an opening at Olympic of Cleveland -210 even with the betting percentages as they are. The Indians are currently -189 favorites, so there looks to be some money behind the South Siders. We’ll take the hot team going against the public.
Chicago White Sox +180
Games to Watch (24-23, +10.16 units)
Pittsburgh Pirates + 117
Chicago White Sox +180
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’ll be back Tuesday with the new edition of the Sports Marketwatch – MLB Edition.
Enjoy the games!
The Team at SportsInsights.com