7/10/2009 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
Tuesday turned out to be a nice little foray into the NL Central, as Marketwatch hit both of its picks. Aaron Harang didn’t come out particularly sharp against the Phillies, though. If you told me that any starter gave up eleven walks+hits as well two home runs in the first five innings, I wouldn’t like his chances. However, Harang battled and got himself out of jam after jam, leaving with the game tied 3-3. For once, the Reds’ bullpen did its job admirably, and the middle of their lineup was able to touch-up closer Brad Lidge and secure a 4-3 victory. In our other featured game, Adam Wainwright pitched a gem, throwing 8.1 innings of scoreless baseball with nine strikeouts. The Cardinals took the game 5-0 to move into a first-place tie for the division.
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: 29-24, 54.7%, +16.18 units
Sports MarketWatch – MLB Games to Watch
Seattle Mariners +105 over Texas Rangers
The Rangers are streaking into the All-Star Break, happy to have their slugging centerfielder Josh Hamilton back and winners of seven of their last nine games. The Mariners, only 3.5 games back of the first-place Rangers, have recently taken two out of three at the Dodgers and Red Sox. Both are legitimate surprises this year, in an AL West that has dominated by the Angels for the majority of the decade. And even though the Rangers’ resurgence has had a lot to do with leading the majors in home runs, they have shown some unexpected consistency out of their young starting pitchers. One of those, Scott Feldman, will match up tonight against Seattle’s young closer-turned-starter, Brandon Morrow. Morrow has three or four legitimate plus-pitches, but his control simply wasn’t there early on and forced him out of the closer role. Since returning to the rotation, his stamina has increased. With two solid, high-pressure performances under his belt last week at Boston and at New York, he may be ready to break out.
Texas opened as -130 favorites at CRIS and has received 79% of moneyline bets, despite being on the road and losing the first game of the series. They’re also garnering 81% of runline wagers and 89% of parlay bets, so you’d expect the line to have grown tremendously. Instead, it has done just the opposite, shrinking to Texas -115 at CRIS and even lower across the sports marketplace. This reverse line movement is likely due to some sharp action on Seattle. Specifically, we’ve seen a Smart Money play at Matchbook (+1.47 Units Won) as well a Steam Move triggered by Pinnacle, one of our old faithfuls at +42.7 Units Won! Even with only small plus-money, we’re buying the Seattle kid’s continued progress and an ever-tightening AL West.
Oakland Athletics +151 over Tampa Bay Rays
The Athletics made a splash this offseason by signing big-name left fielder Matt Holliday, but it hasn’t exactly translated to victories, as they sit in last place in the AL West and 11.5 games out of first place. The Rays, too, have been a bit of a disappointment, starting the season very slowly after last year’s trip to the World Series. They’ve been very hot and cold of late, with consecutive winning streaks of three and seven and losing streaks of three and four games since mid-June. Again, both of tonight’s starting pitchers have been mild surprises. Tampa’s Jeff Niemann has dropped his ERA nearly a full run from last season, and Oakland rookie Vin Mazzaro began his major league career with 13.2 scoreless innings. If Mazzaro can keep some of the slumping Rays cold – Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena have hit .159 and .208 respectively over the last two weeks – the A’s will have a chance to steal this one at Tropicana.
The Rays opened at -160 at both Pinnacle and CRIS. They are getting an astounding 86% of moneyline bets, as well as over 90% of parlay and runline wagers, but those stubborn bookmakers haven’t moved the line up to encourage bets on Oakland. Instead, the overwhelming support for Tampa Bay has seen the line shrink, down to -156 at Pinnacle and even lower at a few other books. We suspect that it’s due to the Smart Money that’s falling on the Athletics at CRIS (+9.25 Units Won). CRIS has been a perennial stalwart for us in the Smart Money category, and we always feel good picking one of our most dependable performers.
Oakland Athletics +151 (Sportsbook.com)
Games to Watch (29-24, +16.18 units)
Oakland Athletics +151 (Sportsbook.com)
Seattle Mariners +105 (Carib)
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