Happy Kentucky Derby Saturday! In addition to the biggest horse racing event of the year, bettors also have a loaded slate featuring 15 MLB games, 10 NBA games and 15 NHL games to choose from today, plus UFC Fight Night: Reyes vs Prochazka.
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 Xpressbet expert Millie Ball and 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.
4:07 p.m. ET: Baltimore Orioles (12-14) at Oakland Athletics (16-11)
The Orioles came up huge for dog bettors on Friday night, upsetting the Athletics 3-2 in the series opener as + 120 road dogs. In tonight's rematch, Baltimore starts veteran righty Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.26 ERA) while Oakland gives the ball to young lefty Jesus Luzardo (1-2, 5.40 ERA). This line opened with the Athletics listed as a hefty -170 home favorite and the Orioles a + 160 road dog. Sharps seem to like Oakland to bounce back with a win today and we've seen the A's get steamed up from -170 to -180. Some books are inching closer to -190. Non-division home favorites receiving 10-cents of steam or more in their favor are 34-24 (59%) this season). The Orioles are just 3-6 against lefties this season. Oakland is 11-5 as a favorite. The total is 8 with some juice to the over (-115). The forecast calls for mid 60s with 10-15 MPH winds blowing out to right center.
6:35 p.m. ET: St. Louis Cardinals (14-12) at Pittsburgh Pirates (12-13)
The Cardinals cruised past the Pirates 7-3 last night, cashing as + 105 road dogs. In tonight's second game of the three game series, the Cardinals hand the ball to young ace Jack Flaherty (4-0, 3.18 ERA) and the Pirates counter with veteran righty Trevor Cahill (1-2, 7.11 ERA). This line opened with the Cardinals listed as modest -125 road favorites and the Pirates a + 115 home dog. Respected money sees an edge with this starting pitcher matchup and has promptly steamed St. Louis, driving the Cardinals from -125 to -135. St. Louis also has value as a favorite with a low total (7). Historically, low totals have benefited favorites as the fewer amount of expected runs scored is more likely to come from the "better" team. The Cardinals are + 9 in run differential this season. The Pirates are -16. St. Louis is a perfect 5-0 in games started by Flaherty this season.
9:10 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Angels (12-12) at Seattle Mariners (15-12)
The Mariners took the first game of the series last night 7-4, upsetting the Angels at home as + 138 dogs. In tonight's rematch, the Angels trot out Griffin Canning (1-2, 8.40 ERA) and the Mariners rebuttal with Ljay Newsome (1-0, 1.69 ERA). This line opened with the Angels listed as a -140 road favorite and the Mariners a + 130 home dog. The public is biased toward Mike Trout and the Halos and is rushing to the window to lay the chalk in a "bounce back" game. However, despite this lopsided support, we've seen the Angels fall from -140 to -130. This signals some sharp reverse line movement backing the Mariners as a plus-money home dog. Seattle has value as a dog off a win and a divisional dog (45.5% win rate but + 14 units this season). Historically, dogs have performed better playing divisional opponents as opposed to non-division opponents because the built-in familiarity levels the playing field and leads to more upsets.