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Astros, Diamondbacks remain hot heading into July

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

July 3, 2017 12:01 AM

From the world of sports betting…Astros and D-backs stay hot…Canadian football dog lovers earn Newfound-money…plus Aussie-Aussie-Aussie-Oy-oh-boy in boxing. 

MLB: Astros and Diamondbacks stay hot by winning marquee weekend series
Both the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks dropped their series openers Friday night to the New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies respectively. But each came back to win Saturday and Sunday to earn series victories. Not only did those victories continue hot streaks for the winners (who currently rank #1 and #2 in money won for backers this season with profits near 20 units), but they continued recent collapses for the losers…

  • Houston is now 27-12 its last 39 games
  • NYY is now 5-14 its last 19 games
  • Arizona is now 31-13 its last 44 games
  • Colorado is now 1-10 its last 11 games

If the season ended today, both the Yankees and Rockies would still make the playoffs. But, things are a lot dicier now for the Bronx Bombers because they’ve fallen back to a very crowded pack. Fully SEVEN teams are within four games of the AL Wildcard…with only two spots available. Colorado currently sits in the final NL Wildcard spot, holding a six-game lead over the Chicago Cubs.

Other hot streaks of note with Sunday’s action in the books…

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are 20-4 their last 24
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are 18-5 their last 23 on the -1.5 run line
  • Boston is 6-1 its last 7 and 18-10 its last 28
  • Cleveland is 4-1 its last 5, and 13-6 its last 19
  • Atlanta is 10-4 their last 14, and 29-21 its last 50

Other cold runs…

  • Toronto has lost 5 in a row and is 2-8 its last 10
  • Oakland has lost 5 in a row

MLB: Updating the possible humidor angle in Arizona
Last Tuesday we talked about the possibility that Arizona had made the rumored move toward using baseballs that had been stored in a humidor in hopes of normalizing their high scoring home park.

In fact, Diamondback officials said late last week that major-league baseball wouldn't allow them to use the humidor until 2018.

That said, the homestand is now over, and it was the lowest scoring to this point in the season. (Games went 3-6-1 to the Under.)

We can now throw in the “sixth” homestand to our prior chart. Note the we go from low-to-high in each set to more easily visualize the scoring impact (median in parenthesis)…

  • First homestand: 5-10-11-(12)-12-13-14 (average 11.0)
  • Second homestand: 2-4-8-8-(12-13)-13-13-16-18 (average 10.7)
  • Third homestand: 3-7-8-9-(9)-10-10-10-15 (average 9.0)
  • Fourth homestand: 6-(9)-14 (average 9.7)
  • Fifth homestand: 5-11-(12-12)-14-18 (average 12.0)
  • Sixth homestand: 3-7-7-7-(7-8)-9-11-11-14 (average 8.4)

So, we have the lowest median and the lowest average. Heck, we can stack those two categories while we’re at it. Going from low-to-high, note that this most recent homestand is the furthest left on both lines…

  • Averages: 8.4, 9.0, 9.7, 10.7, 11, 12.0
  • Medians: 7.5, 9, 9, 12, 12, 12.5

Not overwhelming evidence because it’s just one 10-game sampling. But if Arizona did start using balls stored in a humidor, that’s the kind of reduction you’d see based on what happened when Colorado first switched many years ago. The average for that just-completed homestand is more than a run below the average of the six homestands overall (9.6). The median was 17% below the prior low. 

We’ll pick up this storyline again after the All-Star Break, while keeping an eye on the short three-game set vs. Cincinnati this coming weekend just before the break. 

MLB: Market totals caught up to “juiced balls” awhile back
There’s been a lot of recent publicity about the world of analytics confirming that a change in ball construction is behind the big increase in scoring this season…but not too much about the fact that the betting market actually caught up to that awhile back. 

It may have seemed that games were flying Over “all over the place” at one point. During the last 10 days, here’s the breakdown by leagues…

  • Friday June 23: NL 2-4-1 to the Under, AL 3-4 to the Under
  • Saturday June 24: NL 3-4 to the Under, AL 2-5 to the Under
  • Sunday June 25: NL 3-4 to the Under, AL 3-4 to the Under
  • Monday June 26: NL 2-2, AL 2-1 to the Over
  • Tuesday: NL 2-3-1 to the Under, AL 2-4-1 to the Under
  • Wednesday: NL 2-4 to the Under, AL 3-3
  • Thursday: NL 2-2-1, AL 1-5 to the Under
  • Friday: NL 2-3-2 to the Under, AL 4-2 to the Over
  • Saturday: NL 2-5 to the Under, AL 5-2-2 to the Over
  • Sunday: NL 2-4-1 to the Under, AL 4-3 to the Over

The National League didn’t have a single day that had more Overs than Unders during that stretch. The American League just had an Over weekend, but is still Under over the last 10 days. (If you’re wondering, Interleague games were 5-9-1 to the Under in that 10-day stretch.)

This isn’t a time to be forcing Over bets just because you’re now convinced there really is something up with the ball. The market’s been convinced for a bit, and now charges you a premium to root for high scoring games. If anything, the NL market may have over-adjusted… charging you 11/10 while also posting inflated numbers. 

Boxing: Jeff Horn vs. Manny Pacqui-how did he lose that decision?!
There was definitely some fishy judging in this past Saturday night’s high profile boxing bout between Manny Pacquiao and native Aussie Jeff Horn in Brisbane on ESPN. 

Just after the controversial decision was rendered, the WBO posted the official judges’ scorecards on twitter. The results were REALLY odd considering that Pacquiao was a prohibitive -700 betting favorite (Horn plus 450), AND Pacquiao was landing more punches in a way that was impossible to miss. (ESPN’s final tally had it 182-92 for punches landed, almost exactly a 2-1 ratio).

  • Round 1: Unanimous for Horn
  • Round 2: Horn 2-1
  • Round 3: Unanimous for Pacquiao
  • Round 4: Unanimous for Horn
  • Round 5: Horn 2-1
  • Round 6: Unanimous for Horn
  • Round 7: Unanimous for Horn

Through the first seven rounds, the judges had it 6-1 for Horn (with four unanimous rounds for the challenger) in a sport where the betting favorite and/or bigger name usually gets the benefit of the doubt if it’s close. 

  • Round 8: Pacquiao 2-1
  • Round 9: Unanimous for Pacquiao (ref almost stopped fight)
  • Round 10: Pacquiao 2-1
  • Round 11: Horn 2-1
  • Round 12: Horn 2-1

Pacquiao did come on strong in rounds 8-10, nearly earning a TKO. But Horn was given the last two rounds in close fashion. Ultimately, the judges had eight rounds for Horn, just four for Pacquiao. Matt Youmans told listeners on “The Green Zone” Sunday that he had it 7-5 for Pacquiao during live viewing…then watched a replay later and still had it 7-5 for Pacquiao.

In a sport with such a checkered past, handicapping and betting has always included a combination of the questions:

  • Who’s the better fighter?
  • If something fishy happens, who does that favor? 

Dog bettors who took a shot on the latter were rewarded. Maybe the judges were prioritizing “punches that didn’t land.” Horn dominated that category 85% to 68%. 

Canadian Football: Underdogs still perfect at 8-0 ATS after two weeks
It’s not a trend that’s likely to go on much longer, as the betting markets will eventually get a read on the CFL. But, dog lovers are certainly celebrating out of the gate. Puppies cashed all four tickets for the second straight week. 

Through the summer, we’re going to dig through boxscores in hopes of finding helpful handicapping information. If you’re watching some of the games on the ESPN family of networks (or north of the border on TSN), this should add some helpful context. At the very least, it will get us in gear for the NFL and college football seasons that will be here before you know it. 

Week 2 Stat Summaries

Calgary (-8) beat Ottawa 43-39

  • Total Yards: Ottawa 478, Calgary 395
  • Yards-per-Play: Ottawa 8.5, Calgary 7.9

First a housekeeping note. The boxscores at the TSN website aren’t always as clean as a whistle. Sometimes their posted yards-per-play lines up perfectly with yardage-divided-by-plays. Sometimes they’re off a little bit. Moving forward we’re just going to manually divide that ourselves to get a YPP mark. Also, we’ve seen at least three lost fumbles on TV that didn’t show up as turnovers in the next day’s boxscore. So, for now, we’re not going to post turnover counts until we see that cleaned up.

The final score overstated the case just a bit here because Ottawa had a punt return TD, while Calgary had a fumble return TD and a punt return TD (in a game that didn’t register any “fumbles lost” in the boxscore!). Better to think of this a fairly close match to the 31-31 tie in Week One. Weird that Calgary was favored within arm’s reach of a TD in both games…yet not much separated the teams in terms of moving up and down the field. Ottawa’s playing much better than 0-1-1 in the standings would suggest, considering they were in a virtual dead heat with the preseason Grey Cup favorites. 

British Columbia (plus 1) beat Toronto 28-15

  • Total Yards: British Columbia 374, Toronto 324
  • Yards-per-Play: British Columbia 6.7, Toronto 5.7

This result was much more in line with the point spreads back in Week One, when BC was getting respect vs. Edmonton while Toronto was getting more than a field goal at home vs. Hamilton. The second game of the Trestman era with the Argos was much uglier than the first. Toronto didn’t score its only TD until the fourth quarter. They rushed for just 22 yards (after a poor 39 in their opener). Strong grinding effort from the visitor. Toronto may end up being one of those teams that can run away from the unprepared (or tired, or disinterested), but will be chewed up by good, focused teams who know what they’re doing. Pass-heavy attacks are prone to that at all levels of football.

Edmonton (-9) beat Montreal 23-19

  • Total Yards: Montreal 272, Edmonton 366
  • Yards-per-Play: Montreal 6.5, Edmonton 5.5

Least productive yardage combo of the season, with only 638 total yards from the two teams. That’s poor in this league. A striking stat so far for the Alouettes, they only ran 42 plays from scrimmage in this game, 48 in the opener vs. likely league doormat Saskatchewan. Offenses are typically in the high 50’s or low 60’s. The passing offense has two of the worst four games played so far this season, with just 166 yards in the air here, 233 in the opener. The market was really dis-respecting Montreal with that pointspread. If you look at the offensive travails, you can see their point. Edmonton didn’t do enough to take advantage the week after its road upset of BC. 

Winnipeg (plus 1) beat Saskatchewan 43-40 in overtime

  • Total Yards: Winnipeg 395, Saskatchewan 382
  • Yards-per-Play: Winnipeg 6.7, Saskatchewan 6.2

Weird score/yardage combo. This game didn’t have any non-offensive touchdowns, yet both teams broke 40 in overtime despite not reaching 400 total yards. That suggests each is lousy at keeping opponents out of the end zone. Hard to judge Winnipeg too harshly since this was their season opener after everyone else got a head start. Saskatchewan is being priced like doormats in context. They only rushed for 20 yards at home against a rusty opponent. Very bad sign. We’ll need to see more from the Blue Bombers to get a better read. 

Let’s update composite offshore odds to win the Grey Cup…

Offshore Odds to Win the Grey Cup

  • Calgary 3/1
  • Edmonton 4/1
  • British Columbia 5/1
  • Winnipeg 13/2
  • Ottawa 15/2
  • Hamilton 8/1
  • Montreal 8/1
  • Toronto 10/1
  • Saskatchewan 12/1

If you’re new to the CFL, you probably don’t have the divisional alignments etched into your brain yet. The first four teams listed there are all from the West division in this very unbalanced league. 

This week’s schedule…

  • Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET): British Columbia at Montreal (ESPNews)
  • Friday (8:30 p.m. ET): Calgary at Winnipeg 
  • Saturday (8 p.m. ET): Toronto at Ottawa 
  • Saturday (10 p.m. ET): Hamilton at Saskatchewan (ESPN2)
  • (Bye: Edmonton)

Saskatchewan gets its second straight home game against a potentially rusty bye team. Big matchup according to the futures prices when Calgary visits Winnipeg. Very tough early schedule for the Stampeders. Ottawa will be anxious to get its first win against the volatile but inconsistent Argos.  

Las Vegas: SuperContest entry starts with Brent Musburger, and a Vegas resident wins a golf major
A couple of quick notes before we call it a day. The Westgate SuperContest officially started taking entries this past Saturday morning. And the first entrant was VSIN’s own Brent Musburger! For a few moments, Brent was all alone atop the leaderboard of the most prestigious handicapping contest in the world. (Actually, he was in first AND second place because he posted two entries at $1,500 each). 

Read all about Brent’s experience here. And, be on the lookout for more announcements regarding the SuperContest in coming weeks. It will be a lot of fun listening to Brent discuss this big handicapping challenge all through the NFL season.

Also, Vegas resident Danielle Kang won the women’s PGA Championship this past weekend. Her first win on tour was a major. (Here’s a clip of Kang talking about the benefits of living in Las Vegas).

See you again Tuesday when we resume our college football market “Power Rating” project. Last week we discussed the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac 12. Tuesday it’s the ACC, where defending National Champion Clemson must reload. Wednesday it’s the Big 12. We’ll look at settled “Game of the Year” point spreads to construct an estimate of how “the market” has teams rated. On Thursday, we’ll bring futures prices into play in the Power 5 conferences to add more context. 

If you’re reading this on our website home page, remember that free subscriptions also get you access to the daily betting sheets at the South Point. Click here to take advantage. You can follow us on twitter by clicking here for programming updates and special snippets throughout the day. If you have any questions or comments about VSiN programming or our VSiN City newsletter, please drop us a note.

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