Dog days for Nationals

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

As you recover from hot dog hangovers (we’re looking at you Joey Chestnut and Greg Peterson), a review of holiday baseball plus a look at potential “rolling parlay” payoffs in the World Cup. Back to the grindstone in VSiN City!

MLB Wednesday: Red Sox and Yankees win again in Interleague battles

The free fall of the Washington Nationals shows no signs of slowing down. They had that one scoring explosion against Philadelphia last week. Otherwise, depressing loss after depressing loss. Fittingly, we begin our July 4 baseball coverage in the nation’s capital. 

Boston (-130) 3, Washington 0 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Boston 14, Washington 7

Starting Pitchers: Rodriguez 6 IP, 0 ER, Fedde 1 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Boston 3 IP, 0 ER, Washington 8 IP, 2 ER

Both teams played like they had a picnic to get to with this very early start time. Washington couldn’t afford such a no-show. The Nats reportedly had a players-only meeting after the game to discuss the recent slide. Nats now 1-8 their last nine games, and 5-17 their last 22. Most importantly, they’ve fallen below the .500 mark on the season. Not something you want to see in the morning newspaper as you approach the All-Star Break. With a 42-43 record, Washington must close 48-29 to finish 90-72…and that might not be enough depending on how well the Atlanta Braves maintain their composure. 

Note that Erick Fedde left the game with shoulder stiffness in the top of the second inning. More bad news for the Nats…who don’t get a day off to rest the bullpen before beginning a series with Miami Thursday night. 

NY Yankees (-215) 6, Atlanta 2 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Atlanta 17, New York 21

Starting Pitchers: Teheran 5 IP, 5 ER, Sabathia 6 IP, 2 ER

Bullpen: Atlanta 3 IP, 1 ER, New York 3 IP, 0 ER

Yankees and Under, yada yada yada. C.C. Sabathia has put together a couple of strong outings after a shaky stretch. If he starts carrying a big load too consistently, we’re looking at 105-110 wins for the Bronx Bombers. 

Yankees games are now 5-23 to the Under their last 28 outings. Atlanta drops two of three at the Stadium, but still picks up a game on Washington in the NL East standings. Philadelphia is on the doorstep now, just 1.5 games back. 

MLB Wednesday: Holiday fireworks after the games…because it sure wasn’t happening on the scoreboard!

A lot of getaway spots on the holiday schedule, with only five teams playing in the same city Wednesday and Thursday (Washington, Milwaukee, Arizona, the LA Angels, and Seattle). That may have been part of why so many low-scoring games raced to conclusion up and down the card. Interesting that the Angels and Mariners played an Over against each other without a plane to catch. 

We won’t touch them all…but some numbers and notes from Wednesday action…picking up where we left off in Interleague play…

*Miami (plus 130) beat Tampa Bay 3-0. We’re including this because it’s another Under in a Rays game. Those are 4-16-1 to the Under the last 21. And that stellar pitching continues with the new rotation strategy even though this was a loss. This is GOING to be a big story because more losing teams will start experimenting with an approach that’s actually very likely to work in a payroll friendly way. Miami is nip and tuck with the NY Mets in the NL East…which is pretty amazing because everyone thought the Marlins were going to tank their way to about 50-112, and the Mets started the season 12-2. Miami takes two of three from Tampa Bay after taking two of three from the Mets. 

*The Chicago Cubs (-235) beat Detroit 5-2. Tigers are now 2-13 their last 15 games after making a temporary run toward the top of the woeful AL Central. Detroit falls to 1-9 in interleague play, and the AL Central as a whole is 21-42. If this is the season the NL finally beats the AL, it will be because the AL Central is so awful. 

*Philadelphia (-210) beat Baltimore 4-1. Baltimore has now lost nine of 10, and was horrible before that. O’s fall to 24-61 (which still gives them a shot at 100 wins if they finish 76-1). Phillies have won six of their last seven, and are 11-3 their last 14 when not facing the Yankees juggernaut. 

*Oakland (-165) beat San Diego 4-2. We haven’t talked about the A’s much recently because their home night games end so late, and because they’ve been well behind Houston and Seattle in the AL West race. Should Seattle falter, Oakland is best positioned to chase them down from behind. A’s are 8-1 their last nine, and are 43-29 after starting the season 5-10. That’s more than a two-month run of quality play. Just 1-8 against the Astros though. 

*Milwaukee (-115) beat Minnesota 3-2. Another loss for the Twins. Cleveland has built a huge lead in the AL Central by slowly walking forward as the other four teams raced backwards. We already talked about the Tigers recent slump. Minnesota has lost six in a row, and is 2-11 its last 13 games. Brewers now have the best record in the National League at 51-35. Just a bit over .500 the rest of the way will get them to 90-72 (39-37). Might not be enough to beat the Cubs for the Central crown…but a Wildcard would be fairly likely with that mark. 

*NY Mets (plus 160) beat Toronto 6-3. Another good game for the underrated Mets “road” offense. We talked about that after Tuesday’s loss. Here, the bullpen didn’t blow a big lead. If you focus on “road only” stats, you largely take ball park influences out of the mix. Like cleaning your windshield.  

*Cincinnati (-180) beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4. Resurgent Reds take two of three in the series, though the loss was as a big favorite. Pitching will be a concern if you’re trying to bet the team for value moving forward. Overs? Reds’ games are 9-2-2 to the Over their last 13.

A potential playoff preview in the National League begins Thursday night when the Atlanta Braves visit the Milwaukee Brewers to start a four-game set. 

Wimbledon: Wozniacki waves goodbye as another contender falls 

Volatile Caroline Wozniacki was the only upset victim from the board of betting favorites in Wednesday action at Wimbledon. Not much of an impact on other prices. Though, the price of Serena Williams continues to shrink. Karolina Pliskova is a new member on the list of contenders at less than 15/1 on the Betfair exchange. 

Here are the latest odds on the ladies side (click here to get live numbers as you read)…

Serena Williams: risk $1 to win $3.90, risk $4 to win $1 that she won’t win

Garbine Muguruza: risk $1 to win $7.10, risk $7.30 to win $1 that she won’t win

Simona Halep: risk $1 to win $7.20, risk $8 to win $1 that she won’t win

Angelique Kerber: risk $1 to win $7.80, risk $8 to win $1 that she won’t win

Madison Keys: risk $1 to win $11, risk $12 to win $1 that she won’t win

Karolina Pliskova: risk $1 to win $14.50, risk $16 to win $1 that she won’t win

Wednesday night prices on the men (click here for live numbers)… 

Roger Federer: risk $1 to win $15, risk $1.54 to win $1 that he won’t win

Marin Cilic: risk $1 to win $6.80, risk $7 to win $1 that he won’t win

Rafael Nadal: risk $1 to win $7, risk $7.20 to win $1 that he won’t win

Novak Djokovic: risk $1 to win $7, risk $7.20 to win $1 that he won’t win

Be sure to watch VSiN broadcasts Thursday morning for the latest from the lawns. 

World Cup Soccer: Guessing “rolling parlay” returns for all eight quarterfinalists 

Because the World Cup is taking a couple of days off in advance of the quarterfinals that begin Friday, we have time to flesh out a betting theme we’ve been discussing throughout the event. 

You regulars know that you usually get larger returns on your money if you string together money line bets on a particular team rather than betting them on futures prices to win a championship. With favorites, you squeeze out some value. With longshots, you’re usually MUCH better off (as we discussed regarding Mexico earlier this week). 

Any futures bet placed right now is, in essence, a three-team parlay involving that team in three-consecutive outings. If you think Brazil’s going to win…it’s Brazil-Brazil-Brazil in a three-teamer. If you think Croatia is great sleeper, betting it to win is the same as betting Croatia-Croatia-Croatia in a three-teamer. 

Went through and guessed approximate money lines for each team’s pathway if they ran into the toughest set of opponents based on current Power Ratings. Brazil’s toughest path is Belgium/France/England. That would create the best possible return for any betting strategy because Brazil would be an even bigger favorite (meaning less return) if it runs into Uruguay and…say…Russia in the last two games because of upsets. Then, I took those guesses over to the parlay calculator at to simulate what would happen if…

You bet “team x” on the money line to win its quarterfinal

You re-invested your stake and profit on “team x” to win its semifinal

You reinvested it all on “team x” to win the World Cup final

Admittedly, after using the actual quarterfinal numbers from respected offshore sites, everything after that is a guess. Many of you will have better informed guesses than me. Please feel free to pencil those in on your own and run the numbers. 

Here’s a look at all eight teams, ranked in order of likelihood to run the table.

Brazil: Pays 1.34 to 1, on guesses of…

-190 vs. Belgium, -190 vs. France, -230 vs. England

This is actually less than the commonly available futures price of 9/4 (2.25 to 1). Maybe the market things Brazil won’t be as big a favorite vs. France and England as they are vs. Belgium. But, Belgium has been getting a lot of market respect during the tourney. Frankly, 9/4 just isn’t that bad a return if you think the best team in the tournament is going to win out vs. the most likely trio. And, it’s a GREAT return if you’re thinking upsets might wreak havoc elsewhere in the bracket. Doesn't mean Brazil is a shoe-in to win.  

France: Pays 4.4 to 1, on guesses of…

-250 vs. Uruguay, plus 160 vs. Brazil, -130 vs. England

This is close to the widely available 4/1 futures price on France. If you want to bet once instead of going back to the counter three times to squeeze out some extra dimes, hard to argue against that. That futures price will fall if Brazil is upset by Belgium. 

England: Pays 5.18 to 1, on guesses of…

-250 vs. Sweden, -130 vs. Croatia, plus 190 vs. Brazil

England is also commonly 4/1, so the rolling parlay is a bit better. 

Belgium: Pays 7.8 to 1, on guesses of…

Plus 160 vs. Brazil, -110 vs. France, -130 vs. England

Remember when Belgium and England played that game nobody should have been trying to win? Now you see what was at stake. By LOSING, England gets Sweden and Croatia before worrying about Brazil…Belgium has to clear Brazil and France just to reach the final. The futures price of 5/1 for Belgium is understating the degree of difficulty. 

Croatia: Pays 8.13 to 1, on guesses of…

-180 vs. Russia, plus 110 vs. England, plus 210 vs. Brazil

Croatia is only 6/1 on many futures prices…which doesn’t give them much credit for surviving a hostile crowd THEN probably dealing with England and Brazil. 

Russia: Pays 38.28 to 1, on guesses of…

Plus 165 vs. Croatia, plus 220 vs. England, plus 375 vs. Brazil

Seeing a lot of 20/1 or so for the hosts. That’s WAY below what a three-team underdog parlay should pay that would probably include wins over England and Brazil. If you think home cooking will be involved in the lower half of the brackets, the rolling parlay is the way to go.  

Uruguay: Pays 42.55 to 1, on guesses of…

Plus 230 vs. France, plus 350 vs. Brazil, plus 200 vs. England

Uruguay was a popular sleeper choice among pundits before the tournament began because of a friendly schedule. The team hasn’t lost yet…so oddsmakers considering futures adjustments aren’t comfortable offering better prices. Yet…Uruguay is probably looking at FRANCE, BRAZIL, AND ENGLAND in succession! How could that pay off in the neighborhood of 14/1? Even if it’s France, Belgium, and Croatia after upsets…those countries are getting enough market respect that the rolling parlay is clearly the way to go.  

Sweden: Pays 46 to 1, on guesses of…

Plus 220 vs. England, plus 200 vs. Croatia, plus 400 vs. Brazil

As tough as it is to imagine the Swedes running the table, futures prices understate the degree of difficulty. Even on the softer side of the bracket. 

A quick reminder of the schedule, with our estimated “market” Power Ratings on a goal supremacy scale in parenthesis…

France (2.5) vs. Uruguay (2.1)…Friday 10 a.m. ET

Brazil (2.8) vs. Belgium (2.5)…Friday 2 p.m. ET

England (2.3) vs. Sweden (1.7)…Saturday 10 a.m. ET

Croatia (2.2) vs. Russia (1.9)…Saturday 2 p.m. ET

We’ll update odds in all four of those games in our week-ender Friday. Don’t forget to watch “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” Thursday afternoon on VSiN. It’s the only World Cup broadcast covering the big event from a sports betting perspective.

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