If you live in Florida and like to bet on sports, yesterday was about as good a day as you could ask for.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the news broke that Florida Governor Ron Desantis had signed a sports gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe to bring legalized betting to the Sunshine state. The deal will now move to the Florida legislature for final approval, with a special session set for May 17 to debate the issue. If approved, Florida will become the biggest domino to fall in the push to legalize sports betting in America. Florida has countless pro and college teams and also boasts the third biggest population in the country (roughly 21.5 million people reside in Florida). Only California (39.5 million) and Texas (29 million) are larger. Florida would overtake New York as the biggest state to offer legalized betting. If the deal passes, Florida would become the 28th state to legalize betting.
Now we turn our attention to Saturday, where the weekend kicks off with 15 MLB games, 8 NBA games and 11 NHL games, plus UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal. For extensive Saturday betting analysis be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and updating the top lines moves and late sharp action across all the major sports. We'll also be joined by our good friend Thomas Gable at The Borgata in Atlantic City.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for several Saturday MLB games...
2:10 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Pirates (9-11) at Minnesota Twins (7-11)
The Twins took care of business in Friday night's series opener, blanking Pittsburgh 2-0 as -150 home favorites. Today, the Pirates trot out veteran righty Trevor Cahill (0-2, 9.69 ERA) and the Twins start one of their co-aces Michael Pineda (1-0, 1.00 ERA). This line opened with Minnesota listed as a hefty -190 home favorite. Pros take one look at the starting pitcher mismatch and aren't outsmarting themselves. We've seen wiseguy money rush to the window to lay the chalk with the Twins, pushing Minnesota up from -190 to -205. Historically, favorites have dominated Interleague Play as the lack of familiarity disproportionately favors the "better team." So far this season, Interleague favorites are 18-13 (58.1%). We've also seen teams receiving 10-cents of steam in their favor in a non-division game go 40-31 (56.3%) this season. Big favorites -200 or more off a win are 12-3 (80%). The Twins will rely on their superior bats in this one. Minnesota is hitting .253, which ranks 4th-best in MLB. The Pirates are hitting .233, which ranks 14th.
2:15 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Reds (9-10) at St. Louis Cardinals (9-10)
The Cardinals fought off a late Reds to win last night's series opener 5-4, cashing as slight -108 home favorites. In this afternoon's rematch, Cincinnati hands the ball to veteran lefty Wade Miley (2-1, 2.25 ERA) while St. Louis counters with righty John Gant (0-2, 3.21 ERA). This line opened at a pick'em with both sides listed at -105. Sharps have pounced on the Cardinals at home, driving St. Louis up from -105 to -120. The Cardinals have value as a team coming off a win receiving 15-cents of steam or more in their favor (28-21, 57.1% this season). The Cardinals are also a favorite with a low total (8). Historically, low totals have benefited favorites as the fewer amount of expected runs scored makes it more likely to come from the "better" team. The total opened at 8.5 and pros jumped on the under with the hook. driving the line down to 8. Weather could play a role in this one. The forecast calls for mid 50s with possibly some rain and wind blowing from left-center at 5-10 MPH.
6:10 p.m. ET: New York Yankees (8-11) at Cleveland Indians (8-10)
The Yankees have taken the first two games of this series, winning 6-3 as + 100 dogs and 5-3 as -155 favorites. Tonight we have two of the best pitchers in baseball facing off as the Yankees start ace Gerrit Cole (2-1, 1.82 ERA) and the Indians counter with reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber (2-1, 2.45 ERA). This line opened at a virtual pick'em with both sides listed at -105. Respected money has come down on the streaking Yankees, who started off a miserable 5-10 but have since gone 3-1 over their last four. We've seen New York move from -105 to -120. The Yankees have value as a team receiving 10-cents of steam or more in a non-division game (40-31, 56.3% this season). New York is also a favorite with a very low total (6.5), which plays to their advantage. Although this total is very low, some books are juicing up the under to -115, signaling under liability. Both teams have been profitable to the under this season, with the Yankees 12-7 to the under and the Indians 11-7.