Happy Fade the Public Friday! You may have heard me use this phrase before, but believe it or not, there is a relatively sound theory behind it. Fridays are often a great day to go contrarian because the public is wrapping up their work week and getting ready for the weekend. As a result, they are more apt to place a bet or two tonight, whether it's getting together with friends to sweat a game or just hanging out at home and putting a few bucks down on a nationally televised matchup. Also, recreational bettors get paid on Fridays, which means their pockets are heavier than usual with "fun" money. What does this all mean for bettors? It means that a typical Friday night game takes in far greater action than a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night game. As a result, the ticket counts are higher, the handles are bigger and there is more public bias to bet against. More often than not, the public will lean on favorites and overs, which provides additional value to go against the grain and sweat dogs and unders. Hence, the phrase "Fade the Public Friday."
Today, we have a loaded betting slate filled with 15 MLB games, 7 NBA games and 5 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Friday's action, including the top line moves, systems plays and sharp contrarian bets, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I will also be joining Patrick Meagher and Michael Lombardi on The Lombardi Line at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss a trio of MLB games receiving notable sharp action today...
7:10 p.m. ET: Kansas City Royals (10-7) at Detroit Tigers (7-12)
These AL Central foes are trending in completely opposite directions. The Royals are 6-3 over their last nine games while the Tigers are just 1-6 over their last seven. In tonight's series opener, Kansas City starts veteran lefty Mike Minor (1-1, 5.17 ERA) while the Tigers counter with young top pick Casey Mize (1-1, 3.38 ERA). This line opened with Kansas City listed as a modest -130 road favorite. Right off the bat, this opening number speaks volumes. If Kansas City is playing better and has a far superior record, why aren't they a heavier favorite? The public is rushing to the window to lay the chalk with the Royals, yet we've seen Kansas City fall from -130 to -115. This signals some sharp reverse line movement on the Tigers (+ 120 to + 105), with pros buying low on Detroit at home. The Tigers have value as a divisional dog (61-65, 48.4%, + 19 units this season) and a dog with a line move in their favor (47%, + 9 units). The total is 8. Both of these teams have been profitable to the under this season, with Kansas City 10-6-1 to the under and Detroit 12-7. Divisional unders are are 66-56 (54%) this season.
8:15 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Reds (9-9) at St. Louis Cardinals (8-10)
Both of these NL Central rivals have struggled as of late. The Reds have lost four straight and just got swept at home by the Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have lost three of their last four and just lost two straight against the Nationals. In tonight's series opener, the Reds trot out ace Sonny Gray (0-0, 4.15 ERA) while the Cardinals start lefty Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0, 9.00 ERA). This line opened with Cincinnati listed as a short -120 road favorite and the Cardinals a + 110 home dog. Respected money has come down on the Cardinals getting plus money at home, dropping St. Louis from + 110 to -102. Essentially, sharp money on the Cards has turned this game into a pick'em. St. Louis has value as a divisional dog and a dog with a line move in their favor. Sharps also seem to be leaning on a higher-scoring game here. The total is a low 7.5 but the over is juiced up to -115 or -120 depending on the book. The Reds have been one of the best over teams in baseball this season, going 13-5 to the over. The over is 9-8-1 in Cardinals games.
8:40 p.m. ET: Philadelphia Phillies (9-9) at Colorado Rockies (6-12)
This NL non-division showdown is the first of a three-game set. The Phillies just dropped two of three at home to the Giants while the Rockies just swept a short two-game series at home against the Astros. In tonight's opener, the Phillies give the ball to Vince Velasquez (0-0. 9.00 ERA) while the Rockies counter with ace German Marquez (1-1, 3.57 ERA). This line opened with Colorado listed as a -130 home favorite and the Phillies a + 120 road dog. Sharps have pounced on the opportunity to get Philadelphia at plus money against the team with the worst record in the National League. In the process, the Phillies have fallen from + 120 to + 105. Philadelphia matches several profitable betting systems this season, including a dog off a win (13% ROI), a dog with a line move in their favor (8% ROI) and a road dog (20% ROI). Also, "Sweet Spot" dogs + 140 or less are 134-133 (50.2%), good for a 17% ROI and + 44 units won. The Phillies are also a dog with a high total (10.5). Historically, high totals have benefited dogs as the more expected runs scored leads to move variance and upset opportunities.