Massachusetts moves to legalize sports betting; MLB Sharp Action on Braves-Mets, Yankees-Nats

Massachusetts sports bettors got an unexpected surprise on Friday. According to MassLive, a proposal to legalize sports betting in the Commonwealth is being "fast tracked" in the state legislature. It is expected to move forward in the coming days as part of a $372 million economic development bill that includes funding for jobs, schools, child care and other important initiatives. 

Political analyst Tony Cignoli says the bill has a good shot at passing because "there are things in that larger piece of legislation that those legislators want, things for their district that's important to them ... they wind up voting for the sports betting piece too as a necessary vehicle for them to get what they need in that package."

Earlier this week, heavy hitters within the state argued in favor of Massachusetts legalizing betting, including representatives from the Red Sox, Celtics, DraftKings, FanDuel and MGM. The state is facing a massive budget crunch due to coronavirus and desperate for the additional tax revenue that sports betting would bring. 

If the bill passes, Massachusetts would become the 23rd state to legalize sports betting (plus Washington D.C.). The bill would put the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in charge of overseeing and regulating the industry. Bettors would need to be 21. Wagers could be placed in person at casinos, race tracks and slots parlors as well as full mobile betting. According to Daniel Wallach, Massachusetts could become the first "untethered" online betting state, which means mobile sportsbooks wouldn't need to be tied to a retail establishment. 

The current legislative session ends on July 31, so state lawmakers have roughly one week to get it done. Fingers crossed....

Now let's turn our attention to a couple of Saturday MLB games taking in notable sharp action. Remember, the sports betting market is fluid and constantly changing due to action coming in. Stay up to date with the latest odds by visiting our odds pages. (You can see Nevada odds here and odds from other states here.) 

4:10 p.m. ET: Atlanta Braves (0-1) at New York Mets (1-0)

The Mets edged the Braves 1-0 on Friday thanks to a solo homer by Yoenis Cespedes, his first since 2018. New York was in a classic sharp spot. Despite a majority of bets taking Atlanta, the line moved further toward the Mets (-140 to -170). This was a clear example of a "fade the trendy dog" reverse line move.

In today's matchup, sharps are siding with Max Fried (17-6, 4.02 ERA) and the Braves to bounce back against Steven Matz (11-10, 4.21 ERA) and the Mets. The line opened with New York listed as a short -110 favorite and Atlanta an even money (+ 100) dog. However, the line has since flipped to Atlanta -110, signaling pro action coming on the Braves. 

7:15 p.m. ET: New York Yankees (1-0) at Washington Nationals (0-1)

Following an off day for both teams, the Yankees and Nationals face off for the second game of this three game set. New York won the series opener 4-1 in six innings as a -170 favorite on Thursday. Tonight the Yankees send lefty James Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA in 2019) to the mound to face Nats co-ace Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA). 

This line opened with New York listed as a short -120 road favorite and the Nats a + 110 home dog. Heavy smart money has come in on the Yankees, quickly pushing the Bronx Bombers up to -125 or even -130 at some books. The total opened at 8.5 with even -110 juice on both sides and has quickly moved to 8.5 under -115, signaling some under liability. Washington's best player Juan Soto remains out with coronavirus. 

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