Andrews: Inside the betting action for the Braves-Astros World Series

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Sharps continue to be more impressed than the mainstream media with the Atlanta Braves. The surprise winners of the National League entered the playoffs with the worst win-loss record of any qualifier. But, they’ve been drawing support from informed money round by round.

That really came to a head last week. Money lines dropped daily late in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As we discussed at the time, the Dodgers draw a lot of public betting sentiment here in Las Vegas. And, Dodger Blue found itself in a perpetual must-win scenario after losing the first two games in Atlanta. That combination should lead to exorbitant game-day prices on the Dodgers. “Great” teams are supposed to win “must-win” games! Yet, money lines continued to drop from their openers through the week because sharps kept betting the Braves. 

Sharp support was rewarded with a 4-2 series victory for Atlanta. 

This dynamic set up quite a challenge for oddsmakers posting their opening prices to win the World Series for a few reasons:

  • The media would hype the Astros as a juggernaut with a chip on its shoulder, the Braves as a luck-box pretender from a weak division that can’t keep playing over its head. 
  • Recreational bettors love betting favorites anyway and spend too much time listening to pundits. The public will look for ways to bet the Astros.
  • Sharps have been betting Atlanta like a legitimate championship contender. Their money talks! And we listen. 

What series price would thread THAT needle? 

 

Odds to win World Series

Open/Current: Houston -140, Atlanta + 130

First numbers up in the market may have adjusted too far toward the sharps. I saw as low as Houston -125/Atlanta + 105 here in Vegas. That was immediately bet up. At the South Point, I opened Houston -140/Atlanta + 130 (my bosses still want dime lines on series prices!). I thought that would position us with sharps against public support for the favorite. So far I’m getting decent two-way action at those odds. I haven’t adjusted yet.

Tuesday night’s opener in Houston has already drawn betting interest. That will escalate between now and first pitch. Charlie Morton will start for Atlanta. Framber Valdez gets the nod for Houston. (Note that all baseball bets are now “action” at the South Point and many other sports books. You get the team at the listed price regardless of starting pitcher.)

 

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 26

Open: Houston -135, Atlanta + 125

Current: Houston -127, Atlanta + 117

Sharp support for Atlanta out of the gate. Wise guys bet early. Recreational bettors usually wait until game day. Pros were happy to take Atlanta + 125 in the opener. They slowed down once their return dropped below + 120. 

Other betting options for Game 1…

Run Line: Atlanta + 1.5 runs (-170), Houston -1.5 runs (+ 150)

Over/Under: 8.5 runs (Under -125, Over + 105)

That’s a big return for Houston to win by two runs or more. By itself, that tells you how competitive this series could be. The market is currently projecting a nail biter for the tone-setting series opener. 

Best of luck to all of you betting the World Series. I’m planning to tweet afternoon price updates through the Fall Classic @andrewssports. I’ll do my best to let you know the price points for sharps in each game. Remember that professional bettors are focused on prices much more than teams. They could easily like the Astros -120 but the Braves + 130. You should be thinking along the same lines.  

Don’t fall in love with a team. Look for value. Everyone betting the Dodgers at any price last week can tell you all about that. Sharps, on the other hand, provide a clinic in “value betting” every time they reach for their wallets. 

Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.

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