As we close in on the first full week of spring training games, now is a great time to see how early MLB futures movement is shaking out. It's important to remember that futures odds are incredibly sharp and a great way to compare the relative strength of one club to another. They allow you view each team through the prism of the oddsmakers. Sure, books will shade numbers toward popular teams they know the public will lean on, but these numbers are also very accurate because there is so much liability on the house to get them right. If books hang an overpriced number, they will get hit by value-driven wiseguys and could get cleaned out if that team comes through. By following futures line movement, you can get a glimpse into which teams the pros are targeting.
Here are the latest World Series futures at Circa Sports
Yankees, Dodgers + 300
Astros + 700
Braves + 1300
Twins + 1800
Nationals + 2000
Mets, Phillies, Athletics, Rays + 2500
Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Angels + 3000
White Sox + 3500
Here are the biggest changes in futures odds since Jan. 15
-Dodgers + 550 to + 300 (added Mookie Betts and David Price)
-Nationals + 2200 to + 2000
-Angels + 3500 to + 3000
-Indians + 4000 to + 3500
-Astros + 650 to + 700 (post cheating scandal)
-Red Sox + 3500 to + 5000 (traded away Betts and Price)
-Phillies + 1800 to + 2500
-Cubs + 2200 to + 3000
-Cardinals + 2500 to + 3000
-Reds + 2500 to + 3000
-Padres + 3000 to + 4500
Wednesday's action features a whopping 51 College Basketball games, 9 NBA games and 3 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum
. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Now let's discuss a four-pack of games across the hardwood and the ice that are receiving sharp action from professional bettors.
7 p.m. ET: Virginia (19-7) at Virginia Tech (15-2)
This ACC battle features two unranked in-state rivals trending in opposite directions. Virginia is peaking at the right time, winning four in a row and seven of their last eight. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is in a tailspin, losing two straight and seven of their last eight. The Cavs are 11-5 in conference play while the Hokies are 6-10. Plus, Virginia crushed VaTech 65-39 on Jan. 4. Sounds like Virginia all day, right? This line opened with the Cavs listed as short 3.5-point road favorites. Despite the public rushing to the window to back UVA, this line has remained frozen at 3.5 or even dipped to 3 at some shops, signaling sharps buying low on the Hokies + 3.5 at home. Ken Pom has this as a 1-point win for Virginia (55-54).
9 p.m. ET: Maryland (22-5, ranked 9th) at Minnesota (13-13)
This looks like a complete mismatch on paper. Maryland has the far better record, a high ranking and has won nine of its last 10 games. On the flip side, Minnesota is an unranked .500 club that has lost five of its last seven. So why on Earth did this line open with Minnesota listed as a 1-point home favorite. The public sees the gift of the century with Maryland and is hammering the Terps to the tune of three-out-of-four bets. However, despite this lopsided betting the line hasn't budged off of 1, signaling liability on the home favorite. Remember, if it looks too good to be true it almost always is. The Gophers are the ultimate fade the trendy dog play as contrarian favorites in what will be one of the most heavily bet games of the night. Big Ten home favorites are 67-19 straight up (78%) and 44-37 ATS (54%) this season.
10:30 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Penguins (37-18-6) at Los Angeles Kings (22-35-6)
Sharps will be staying up late to burn the midnight oil and sweat the Penguins in this one. Pittsburgh is + 33 in goals for/goals against while the Kings are -47. The Pens are 15-12-2 on the road compared to the Kings 13-13-2 at home. This line opened with Pittsburgh listed as a -170 road favorite. The line has already risen to -180 overnight. The Pens match several profitable betting systems. Non-division road favorites are 112-76 this season (60%). Favorites with 3 or 4 days of rest against teams who missed the playoffs the previous season are 32-23 (58%) this season and 63.6% since 2005, according to Bet Labs Sports. Also, late season favorites (game 60 and beyond) who made the playoffs the previous year playing teams who did not are 18-12 (60%) this season and 64% since 2005. The Pens are also in a buy-low bounce back spot having lost three straight.
10:30 p.m. ET: Edmonton Oilers (33-22-7) at Vegas Golden Knights (34-22-8)
Here's another late night West Coast showdown offering tons of value. The Oilers are + 6 in goals for/goals against while Vegas is + 17. The Knights are 19-10-4 at home and have gone 7-2-1 in their last time while the Oilers are 18-12-1 on the road and are 5-4-1 in their last time. While these discrepancies aren't hugely pronounced, the key advantage for Vegas here is a prime rest vs tired spot. Edmonton is on the second left of a back-to-back while Vegas hasn't played since Sunday. Teams with 3 days of rest vs back-to-back teams are 36-24 (60%) this year and 59% since 2005. Vegas would also match the late season playoff teams vs non-playoff team system (64% since 2005). After opening as -200 favorites, the Knights have already shot up to -210.