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Sweeping up after a big weekend of action

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

June 11, 2018 05:01 PM

Sweeps Week(end)! Justify finishes off a sweep of Triple Crown races at the Belmont…Golden State takes out Cleveland in four to end the NBA season…and Houston, Arizona, and Toronto all steamroll opponents in MLB. That plus betting info for this week’s TV attractions…soccer’s World Cup and golf’s US Open…coming right now in VSiN City.

Belmont Blockbuster: Justify enters history books as 2018 Triple Crown winner

A huge crowd went home happy, if not significantly richer Saturday when favored Justify won the 2018 Belmont to complete his historic Triple Crown campaign. 

Justify paid $3.60 to win, $3.50 to place, and $2.80 to show for each $2 bet. Longshot Gronkowski closed hard for second, paying $13.80 to place and $7.00 to show. Kentucky Derby disappointment Hofburg finished third, paying $3.70 to show.  

*Click here to read Ron Flatter’s Saturday evening recap of the big race.

*Click here to read Ron Flatter’s Sunday article looking ahead to what’s next for the chestnut super-horse

*Click here to read an article posted by the New York Post Sunday afternoon that alleges an “alliance” might have taken place that helped make it easier for Justify to hit the finish line first. You can be sure that claims in that article will be discussed on VsiN programming Monday. 

Justify became horse #13 in history to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Just the second in the last 40 years. 

We don’t cover horse racing in VSiN City beyond the Triple Crown events. But Ron Flatter keeps you on top of the sport year-round on his weekly podcast.

NBA Finals: Golden State coasts to another championship, amid complaints that the Warriors are “ruining” pro basketball 

Did critics say that about the Green Bay Packers during the Lombardi years? Or the Pittsburgh Steelers when Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls? Did Brazil ruin international soccer when Pele thrilled the world? 

You can debate that amongst yourselves. We’re here to talk about sports betting! Here’s how Golden State made it 4-0 against the money lines and 3-1 ATS in the NBA Finals by finishing off Cleveland. 

Golden State (-4.5) 108, Cleveland 85 

2-point Pct: Golden State 52%, Cleveland 37%

3-pointers: Golden State 14/38, Cleveland 8/27

Free Throws: Golden State 16/16, Cleveland 17/25

Rebounds: Golden State 44, Cleveland 44

Turnovers: Golden State 8, Cleveland 11

Pace: 88.2 (for the series, 90.5, 93.9, 93.8, 88.2)

When Golden State gets serious, it shows up on defense. You can see that above with stingy numbers on two-point and three-point defense. Of course, Cleveland lost its will to fight in the first half, and had already packed it in a canvas bag by the fourth quarter. 

And Cleveland lost the best of LeBron James after Game 1 when he said he injured his hand punching a whiteboard (after a blown opportunity to steal the series opener as a 13-point underdog). After that overtime heartbreaker, Cleveland lost the rest of the series 340-290. Fifty point differential over three games.

Any handicapping lessons from the series? 

*Golden State often blows off first halves before getting serious in the third quarter. Warriors won the third quarter 25-13 in the finale (after taking that stanza 31-23 in G3). Sam Panayotovich of VSiN encouraged us to pay attention to that angle early in the series. Golden State ended the playoffs either 15-5-1 ATS or 16-5 ATS in third quarters depending on the 3Q line backers bet in G1. Worth remembering next season in big games if there isn’t much personnel turnover.

*If playoff teams are playing at a slower pace than is publicly realized, the market may not “catch down” to lower scoring production before a series ends. Both the Eastern and Western finals were Under heavy. We would have had three Unders in four games in the championship round if not for overtime in the opener. Scoreboard sums landed on 214, 225, 212, and 193 in regulation against Over/Unders of 218, 217, 216, and 216.5. 

That’s it for NBA coverage until the summer league gets rolling in a few weeks. We’ll parse are coverage depending on developments. Lonzo Ball’s play in Las Vegas last summer created quite a buzz. We’ll do our best to take you to where the buzz is!

MLB: Sweeps for Houston, Arizona, and Toronto in weekend baseball

We’ll be expanding our baseball coverage now that the NBA and NHL playoffs have ended. A quick extra section today continues our sweep theme. Three teams swept their weekend series…including two current division leaders. Two of the three swept FOUR-game challenges. 

Diamondbacks sweep three from Rockies

Arizona (even) beat Colorado 9-4

Arizona (plus 125) beat Colorado 12-7

Arizona (plus 140) beat Colorado 8-3

This was a huge series in the NL West race. Arizona’s bats recently reawakened against inferior pitching. Enthusiastic bats at altitude can create some scoreboard fireworks. Arizona scored 9, 12, and 8 runs to move six games over the .500 mark at 35-29. The recently flailing Rockies (who have struggled on offense all season when you adjust for ballpark impact) are back below .500 at 32-33. That’s a 3.5 game lead for Arizona over Colorado. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants now sit between them, tied for second place with 33-32 records.  

Astros sweep four from Rangers

Houston (-185) beat Texas 5-2

Houston (-185) beat Texas 7-3

Houston (-175) beat Texas 4-3

Houston (-190) beat Texas 8-7

Defending World Series champion Houston wasn’t very happy about going 4-7 its prior 11 games against the likes of Boston, Cleveland and the NY Yankees. The schedule softened, and the Astros reminded everyone they can still crush cupcakes. That’s a combined 24-15 scoreboard win on the road to move to 42-25 for the season. Houston is in a virtual tie with Seattle for first place in the AL West, three-thousandths of a percentage point behind the Mariners. Texas falls to 27-41, and has a bleak outlook for the rest of the season because the other four teams in its division all currently have winning records. 

Blue Jays sweep four from Orioles

Toronto (-120) beat Baltimore 5-4

Toronto (-180) beat Baltimore 5-1

Toronto (-110) beat Baltimore 4-3

Toronto (-135) beat Baltimore 13-3

Toronto is too far from the playoff picture for this to be an “important” result. But it’s a reminder that Baltimore is awful this season…and may not be particularly motivated to improve now that “building for the future” is a more widely-accepted strategy. The Orioles were outscored 27-11 by the Jays. Baltimore falls to 19-45 with a roster devoid of talent. Toronto is only 30-35 after these four victories. 

MLB: No losing weeks for the “Magnificent Seven” 

Our sweep theme must end here, as none of the “Magnificent Seven” baseball teams we’ve been monitoring all season was able to sweep the week. Those are the seven teams the market projected to win at least 90 games this season. 

Houston got close with a 5-1 record. The Yankees carried a 5-1 record for the week into Sunday night’s loss to the NY Mets on ESPN. Worth noting that none of the M7 had a losing straight up record last week. All are either in GREAT shape to make the playoffs, or are at least positioned to make a run after a disappointing start (LA Dodgers). 

Current records entering the new week…

NY Yankees 42-19…plus 10.5 units after a 5-2 week

Boston 44-22…plus 10 units after a 3-3 week

Houston: 42-25…plus 2 units after a 5-1 week

Washington: 36-27…minus 2.5 units after a 3-2 week

Chicago Cubs: 37-25…minus 2 units after a 4-2 week

Cleveland: 34-29…minus 7 units after a 4-1 week

LA Dodgers: 33-32…minus 20.5 units after a 4-2 week

Now three teams in the black after Houston’s hot week. Washington and Chicago can get back there just by kicking things up a notch. 

Magnificent 7 Head-to-Head This Week

Washington (36-27) at the NY Yankees (42-19) 

This is a short two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bronx. There are no M7 matchups this weekend. 

Teams with Winning Records Squaring Off

Early Week

Chicago Cubs (37-25) at Milwaukee (39-26) (starts Monday)

LA Angels (37-29) at Seattle (42-24) (starts Monday)

Houston (42-25) at Oakland (34-32) (starts Tuesday)

Will be great to see the Cubs and Brewers go at it, as those are the two most serious threats in the NL Central (though St. Louis is knocking at the door). Bad news recently for the Angels regarding their Japanese import. Seattle must keep playing great to hang with Houston. 

Weekend (all begin Friday)

Philadelphia (33-30) at Milwaukee (39-26)

Chicago Cubs (37-25) at St. Louis (35-28)

LA Angels (37-29) at Oakland (34-32)

Boston (44-22) at Seattle (41-24)

Important testers for all involved. No margin for error with the Phils, Cards, and A’s considering where they currently stand in competitive divisions. Boston/Seattle could be a playoff preview…even a Wildcard preview despite those stellar season-to-date records. 

MLB: Sunday Unders trend continues

Updating a trend we’ve been following for several weeks now. Sunday night’s 2-0 yawner for the Mets made it nine Unders out of 15 games yesterday. That brings us to this through the last six Sundays…

Sunday Totals Records

May 6: 4-10-1 to the Under

May 13: 5-10 to the Under

May 20: 6-9 to the Under

May 27: 7-8 to the Under

June 3: 5-9 to the Under (one postponement)

June 10: 6-9 to the Under

Adds up to 33-55-1 to the Under the last month and a half. If you’re new to this angle (that sharps have taken advantage of over many years)…the theory is that a lot of offenses go into hacking mode on get-away days (with a plane to catch) or rest starters in a day-game-after-a-night-game scenario in a way that the market hasn’t fully accounted for. Some offenses make contact and post numbers anyway. Hopefully many of you have at least backed off some Over considerations on Sundays.  

World Cup: It starts Thursday! Betting coverage all week here in VSiN City

Last week we unveiled our first estimate of “market” Power Ratings for the 2018 World Cup that begins Thursday in Russia. We went group-by-group in that report to help you visualize the opening fortnight. Today, we zoom back to show you the big picture. 

2.7: Germany, Brazil

2.5: France

2.4: Spain, Argentina

2.3: Belgium

2.1: England

2.0: Portugal

1.9: Columbia, Uruguay, Croatia

1.7: Denmark, Poland

1.6: Mexico

1.5: Russia (counts home field edge), Switzerland, Sweden, Senegal

1.4: Peru, Serbia

1.3: Nigeria

1.2: Iceland, Costa Rica, South Korea, Japan

1.1: Egypt, Morocco

1.0: Australia

0.9: Iran

0.8: Tunisia

0.3: Saudi Arabia, Panama

That’s called a “goal supremacy” ranking. The difference between teams reflect fractions of goals that correspond to early market prices. Russia’s favored by about 1.2 goals over Saudi Arabia Thursday, so we make sure they’re 1.2 goals apart on the chart. Spain’s favored by about 0.4 goals over Portugal in the event’s first marquee matchup Friday. They’re 0.4 goals apart. 

How did we build the chart for the full field? We found global prices for all the action in group play (every team plays three times), and did our best to put the puzzle pieces together in a way that corresponds fairly accurately to futures prices. 

To be clear, these aren’t “VSiN City’s” rankings of the teams. This is our assessment of how “the market” is ranking the teams. We’ll adjust through the event as lines adjust. 

For you, they can help put upsets in context (if any happen), help map out potential matchups in the knockout round…and even help pick out which games to watch on TV (“honey, I’ve got to watch Morocco play Iran, look at how close they are in the market Power Ratings.”)

More coverage throughout the week. Our Wednesday tutorial will explain “three-way” lines (bet Team A, Team B, or a draw), which you’ll be seeing a lot of in group play. 

U.S. Open Golf: It also starts Thursday…what a week!

You might as well just call in sick now for Thursday and Friday because you’re going to be catching the flu Wednesday night. Not only does soccer’s World Cup start Thursday, but so does the U.S. Open golf tournament. 

Jeff Sherman of the Westgate tweeted odds Sunday evening after Dustin Johnson won the FedEx St. Jude Classic (holing out from the fairway for eagle on the final hole even though he had locked up a win!).

US Open Prices (Westgate)

9/1: Dustin Johnson (10% win equivalent)

12/1: Rory McIlroy (8%)

14/1: Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler (7% apiece)

16/1: Justin Spieth, Jason Day (6% apiece)

18/1: Tiger Woods (5%)

20/1: Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka (5% apiece)

25/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson (4% apiece)

30/1: Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood (3% apiece)

40/1: Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, Bryson DeChambeau (2% apiece)

Quick addition shows that the top 18 golfers gobble up 89% of the win likelihood. Remember that sports books create a universe larger than 100% to represent a house edge. A total of 156 challengers will begin play Thursday at Shinnecock Hills in New York. 

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