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No crying in baseball unless you are betting on AL vs. NL

By Newsletter staff
VSiN.com

More National League stunners in Interleague play as big dogs San Diego (plus 220) and San Francisco (plus 170) shock Cleveland and Detroit amid a 4-1 Senior Circuit Stampede! And speaking of “stampede,” it’s time for this week’s Canadian Football League previews on a busy Thursday in VSiN City.

MLB: The tide really has turned as the National League continues to pound the Americans
Earlier this week, we talked about how the National League had engineered a dramatic turnaround recently in Interleague play. That trend become more pronounced Wednesday.

  • San Diego plus 220 beat Cleveland 6-2
  • San Francisco plus 170 beat Detroit 5-4
  • The Chicago Cubs -170 beat Tampa Bay 7-3
  • Milwaukee -145 beat Baltimore 4-0

(The AL won with league power Houston over Atlanta)

Those underdog paybacks really juiced the record. A 4-1 mark is more like 5.9-1.0 thanks to the Padres and Giants. 

And that follows up on the prior NL run…

Beginning Friday, June 23

  • San Diego took two of three from Detroit
  • The LA Dodgers split four with the LA Angels
  • Philadelphia swept two in Seattle as huge underdogs
  • Pittsburgh took two of three from Tampa Bay
  • Atlanta swept three at Oakland
  • Milwaukee has now swept three from Baltimore
  • Chicago Cubs split two with Tampa Bay
  • Atlanta dropped a two-game series against powerful Houston

(Pending, SD is up 2-0 on Cleveland, SF is 1-1 with Detroit; both series have one game to go)

The American League hasn’t won a series except for Houston over Atlanta since June 23, and is already guaranteed to lose the three-game SD/Cleveland series in shocking fashion.

MLB: Indians, Tigers not the only big favorites to lose Wednesday
Baseball is providing a helpful reminder this week that trying to get creative with big baseball favorites is likely to cause frustration.

In Wednesday’s rotation order…

  • The NY Yankees -185 lost to Toronto 7-6
  • Minnesota -165 lost to the LA Angels 2-1
  • Detroit -200 lost to San Francisco 5-4
  • Cleveland -250 lost to San Diego 6-2

Not all the big favorites lost Wednesday. But certainly enough to spike a lot of two and three-team parlays…and enough to spoil the day for anyone laying -1.5 runs with all the big favorites to make the vigorish seem cheaper (it’s not, because runs are worth money!). 

This gives us a chance to touch on something we didn’t discuss during our earlier tutorials on betting the run line. It’s pretty easy to figure the percentage value of runs that you’re “giving back to the market” when you lay -1.5 runs. 

  • If the Over/Under is 7, one run represents 14% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 7.5, one run represents 13% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 8, one run represents 12.5% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 8.5, one run represents 12% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 9, one run represents 11% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 9.5, one run represents 10.5% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 10, one run represents 10% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 10.5, one run represents 9.5% of projected scoring
  • If the Over/Under is 11, one run represents 9% of projected scoring

Runs are obviously “more valuable” in likely pitcher’s duels than they are in likely slugfests (basic economics, things are more expensive when they’re scarce, cheaper when they’re more plentiful). The market has always known this, and prices against the public accordingly. 

You can see how this combines poorly with the “home favorite” dynamic that may have bettors giving away the bottom of the ninth too. Though it seems that laying -1.5 runs with a big home favorite makes things cheaper, you’re actually giving away something in the range of 10-14% of that game’s likely scoring with the chance that you’ll ALSO forfeit 11% of your opportunities to score enough to win by two or more. 

Taking big favorites on the run line may make them seem less scary, but you’ve worsened your winning prospects. Sportsbooks are taking advantage of your fear of big moneylines. 

MLB: Astros score 26 runs in two games in Atlanta, continuing road explosions
If the New England Patriots scored 50 points per game in all their road games over a couple of months…or the Golden Warriors popped 140 points in most of their road games, you’d think people would notice. 

The Houston Astros continued their amazing road scoring the last two nights in Atlanta, earning victories of 16-4 and 10-4. And it’s barely causing a ripple in the media.

In road games played since May 29, Houston has scored (in order):
16-7-17-7-6-7-7-7-5-6-4-8-5-12-3-5-8-16-10

Seriously, they’ve scored SIXTEEN in a game more times than they’ve scored 2, 1, or 0!!! And as many times as they’ve scored from 0-4 combined. 

In their last 19 away from home, Houston’s offense is averaging 8.2 runs per game. 

(Quick update on another baseball story we’ve been following, before we switch to football. Wednesday marked 13 consecutive days where betting Overs in the National League would have juiced out or lost money. What had been an “Over” league in early action has reversed form in dramatic fashion the past two weeks.)

College Football: Comparing Futures to our “market” Power Ratings
Now that we’ve completed our project to build “market” Power Ratings from the South Point’s “Game of the Year” point spreads, it’s time to compare those to current futures prices to win the National Championship.

Let’s start at the top of the heap, where we already have what might appear to be a conflict.

Odds to Win Championship

  • Alabama 5/2 (power-rated around 88-89)
  • Ohio State 6/1 (power-rated in the 90-91 range)

Why would Alabama be the early favorite to win the National Championship if Ohio State is seen as the slightly superior team in early market pricing? Granting that futures prices are more prone to public whims than GOY lines, it’s probably because Ohio State is seen as having the tougher gauntlet of “lose-able” games. 

Let’s expand the futures list out to teams who are priced at 25/1 or better. If you’ve been doing some summer prep work already for the coming season, you’ll see three definite opponents for Ohio State, and a fourth likely one. 

Teams currently at 25/1 or better at the South Point

  • Alabama 5/2
  • Ohio State 6/1
  • Florida State 6/1
  • USC 8/1
  • LSU 10/1
  • Oklahoma 10/1
  • Penn State 12/1
  • Clemson 12/1
  • Louisville 12/1
  • Michigan 17/1
  • Auburn 20/1
  • Wisconsin 25/1
  • Washington 25/1

Ohio State will definitely have to play Oklahoma, Penn State, and Michigan, and then will likely face Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game because the Badgers are the class of the much weaker West division. That’s four toughies, before we even talk about OSU having to win the national semifinals and finals to earn the trophy. 

Alabama also has three locked in games during the regular season (Florida State, LSU, and Auburn), but the SEC Championship will come against an opponent not currently priced at 25/1 or better). 

That one extra toughie is enough to drop Ohio State's championship odds behind Alabama in the eyes of the market. 

Now, let’s re-run the futures list with our estimated “market” Power Ratings…

South Point Odds (estimated “market” rating)

  • Alabama 5/2 (88-89)
  • Ohio State 6/1 (90-91)
  • Florida State 6/1 (83)
  • USC 8/1 (85-86)
  • LSU 10/1 (82)
  • Oklahoma 10/1 (85-86)
  • Penn State 12/1 (85-86)
  • Clemson 12/1 (84)
  • Louisville 12/1 (82)
  • Michigan 17/1 (82)
  • Auburn 20/1 (80)
  • Wisconsin 25/1 (85-86)
  • Washington 25/1 (87)

Some notes…

  • Florida State seems to be too high at first glance. But, winning the ACC is easier than winning the SEC or Big 10 at the moment. Plus, if Florida State ends the regular season as a “one-loss” team, and that one loss was a decent effort in the season opener vs. Alabama…it’s not that big a strike against them in terms of Final Four qualification. 
  • USC wasn’t priced like a top four team in the Games of the Year, but is getting that kind of respect here. Why? First of all, there’s a lot of local betting interest in Las Vegas for USC, and the South Point prices against that. Also, USC has a manageable non-conference slate, and is in the weaker division of the Pac 12. The Trojans don’t have ANY regular season opponents listed in the lucky 13 currently priced at 25/1 or better. They would likely face Washington in the Pac 12 finals, representing their only test against an elite before the Final Four. USC has a better chance to run the table than the other teams joining it around 85 on the scale.
  • LSU is higher on the futures list than its Power Rating would suggest. They have an easy non-conference schedule, before facing only Alabama and Auburn from the list.
  • Down at the bottom, Washington and Wisconsin provide a conundrum. Both have been priced with a lot of respect in the settled GOY pointspreads, and neither has a tough schedule. Washington currently isn’t slated to face anyone at 25/1 or better during the regular season (though Stanford and Oregon could ultimately climb up there). Wisconsin has a home game against Michigan for its only regular season game from the list. 

Let’s see if that resolves itself in the coming days. Perhaps key market influences will start betting Washington and Wiscy to go the distance after more study on their schedules. Or, maybe the respect they’re getting in the game-to-game pointspreads will start to fade. 

Canadian Football: Week 3 kicks off Thursday night with BC at Montreal
A new week of CFL action begins Thursday evening. Here are quick previews for this weekend’s quartet.

Thursday: British Columbia (-2.5, total of 48) at Montreal
One of those games where some market influences like the favorite -2.5, but others love the dog plus 3…and sportsbooks have to decide how to manage their risk. Statheads will be able to make a good case for BC -2.5 because it’s a clean (few penalties) grinding team (outgained Toronto last week 374-324 on 6.5 to 5.5 yards-per-play) that is facing a projected league doormat that has trouble keeping its offense on the field (just 48 and 42 plays run per game so far for the Alouettes). But, trend lovers know that CFL dogs are a perfect 8-0 ATS so far…and it might take awhile for true differences between teams to fully manifest. 

Friday: Calgary (-3.5, total of 56) at Winnipeg)
The best game of the weekend according to the estimated “market” Power Ratings we posted the other day. Calgary is the Grey Cup favorite…and Winnipeg is a talented threat. To this point, Calgary is playing like a New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons type team…scoring a bunch of points but struggling to keep opponents out of the end zone in shootouts. Winnipeg missed Week 1 with a bye, then finally started pouring on some points after halftime in Saskatchewan last week (30 points after the break in regulation and OT). Seems like another shootout is most likely. 

Friday: Toronto at Ottawa (-5, total of 56)
Ottawa had the misfortune to play its first two games against Calgary…the league favorites. Now they step way down in class vs. a Toronto team that will blow-and-go against the unprepared, but should get bullied by quality. We don’t want to lock into that perception after just two games. But, wide-open football often settles into that dynamic…and Marc Trestman is the man in charge of the Argos. Tough to know how to rate Ottawa’s defense so far because it’s only faced a juggernaut. If Ottawa’s soft, the back door could be open late in a shootout. If Ottawa’s actually a true co-favorite to win the league with Calgary (a statistical dead heat in the twinbill), this line is too low.  

Saturday: Hamilton at Saskatchewan (-1.5, total of 53)
Ugliest game of the week matches a rusty visitor off a bye who looked awful in their opener, and a host who’s projected to be worst in the league. Nothing you can sink your teeth into. Hamilton lost yards-per-play at Toronto 8.7 to 4.5 (!!!), while Saskatchewan lost that stat 6.9 to 6.2 at Montreal, and 6.7 to 6.2 to Winnipeg. 

We’ll pick up CFL coverage again Monday with boxscore summaries. Look for additional CFL chatter on our VSiN gameday programming.  

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Back tomorrow to finish off another week in a very fast-moving summer.

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