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The strong get stronger in MLB playoff chase

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

Today's VSiN City newsletter is sponsored by, your most trusted proxy service and source for info on Las Vegas football contests.

Weekend reviews from MLB and CFL, plus the South Point sports book is waiving house rules for early bets prior to a date change in the Oklahoma State/Tulsa college football game.

National League Review: Wildcard favorites hold strong, as Cubs continue their surge

This could have been a weekend where things got much more interesting in the National League playoff picture. Instead, they got much more solidified as chasers who needed to win didn’t, and leaders held firm.

NL Divisional Leaders (ranked by games over .500)

  • LA Dodgers plus 43 (swept San Francisco)
  • Washington plus 21 (dropped series to Colorado, but with worst pitchers)
  • Chicago Cubs plus 8 (took 2 of 3 from Milwaukee)

The Cubs expanded their lead to 2.5 games over Milwaukee in the only competitive divisional race, and are 13-3 since the All-Star Break. They’re the best team in the NL Central talent-wise, and are finally playing that way. Milwaukee is 3-11 its last 14 games.

NL Wildcard Contenders (top two earn playoff spots)

  • Arizona plus 15 (split 4-game series in St. Louis)
  • Colorado plus 14 (won 2 of 3 at Washington)
  • Milwaukee plus 3 (lost 2 of 3 to Cubs)
  • St. Louis -1 (split 4-game series with Arizona)
  • Pittsburgh -3 (lost 2 of 3 to San Diego!)

Some handicappers believe that “playoff style” in baseball means “Unders” in terms of totals betting. Managers emphasize their best bullpen arms. Offenses either get nervous or play for small innings. Doesn’t always work out that way. But it sure did in the series played by those Wildcard contenders. Arizona/St. Louis went 1-3 to the Under. Rockies/Nats and Pirates/Padres went 1-2 to the Under. All three games in Cubs/Brewers stayed Under (where “series” scoring managed just 7-5 in favor of the Cubs even with a couple of extra innings). That’s 3-10 to the Under in the games with the most at stake. 

Back to the Wildcard race itself…if Colorado plays .500 ball the rest of the season, they’d finish at 88-74. And there’s no guarantee they won’t play better! But, let’s say Colorado finishes at 88-74.

To reach 88-74...

  • Milwaukee would have to go 33-22
  • St. Louis would have to go 36-21
  • Pittsburgh would have to go 37-20

For any of those NL Central teams to earn a Wildcard, they would need either Colorado or Arizona to play losing baseball for a little more than two months AND play at .600 or better themselves. So even though everyone still has a lot of baseball left, all three of those trailers wasted critical opportunities to better position-themselves this past weekend. St. Louis didn’t hurt Arizona when they had a chance. If Pittsburgh can’t beat the Padres, lotsa luck chasing down teams much better than the Padres. 

None of the Wildcard contenders are in action Monday. Beginning Tuesday

  • Arizona visits the Chicago Cubs (great series!)
  • Colorado hosts the NY Mets
  • St. Louis visits Milwaukee (loser falls further behind the 8-ball)
  • Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati

We’ll look at pitching matchups and early lines for you in AZ/Chicago and St. Louis/Milwaukee in Tuesday’s report. 

Before we leave the National League, a quick note that the Los Angeles Dodgers solidified their spot as the most profitable betting team in baseball…at plus 27 units for the season…after rallying from 1-0 down in the ninth, and 2-1 down in the eleventh inning Sunday night in their 3-2 win over San Francisco. 

The LA Dodgers are now...

  • 8-0 their last 8 games
  • 15-2 since the All-Star Break
  • 21-2 their last 23 games
  • 35-5 their last 40 games
  • 41-6 their last 47 games

If you’re thinking that it’s tough to lay -250, or -300 with the Dodgers right now…that 47-game record would break even at just under -700.

American League Review: Yanks and Royals the big winners

Though the AL playoff picture remains a lot more convoluted than we just saw in the senior circuit, the NY Yankees and Kansas City Royals now have a much firmer grip on positions in the brackets.

  • The NY Yankees took three of four from Tampa Bay, moving into first place in the AL East (with three of four games staying Under).
  • Kansas City took two of three on the road at Boston, staying within one game of Cleveland and staying clear of Tampa Bay in the Wildcard fight (with two of three games staying Under). 

Using our shorthand (games relative to .500)

  • AL East: NY Yankees plus 9, Boston plus 8, Tampa Bay plus 2, Baltimore -4
  • AL Central: Cleveland plus 9, Kansas City plus 7, Minnesota -3

While Houston can stay in snooze-mode for weeks in the West, we may have a couple of very exciting races in the East and Central. 

The Wildcard race is close to narrowing down because teams still below .500 may not have the horses to even scare the current frontrunners.

AL Wildcard race

Boston plus 8

Kansas City plus 7

Tampa Bay plus 2

Seattle even

Minnesota -3

Baltimore -4

LA Angels -4

Texas -4

No day off for drama in the AL. Here’s a quick look at Monday’s early lines for important head-to-head games. Favorites are listed first. We noted the two games that had very quick line Sunday night line moves of at least 10 cents. 


  • Kansas City moved from -130 to -140 at Baltimore (Duffy vs. Jimenez)
  • Cleveland opened at -135 at Boston (Clevinger vs. Fister)
  • Texas dropped from -135 down to -120 at home vs. Seattle (Hernandez vs. Hamels)
  • Houston opened -155 at home vs. Tampa Bay (Cobb vs. Morton)

A great week for baseball lovers. Important series are just hours away. This weekend will bring the Chicago Cubs at Washington in the NL, and the NY Yankees at Cleveland in the AL.

Sports Betting News: South Point to honor early bets after date change in Oklahoma State/Tulsa 

South Point sports book director Chris Andrews made it clear on Twitter this past weekend that the South Point was going to honor early bets in the Oklahoma State/Tulsa college football game for bettors who contact the sports book immediately.

The matchup was originally scheduled for Saturday September 2 (game 199-200 in the Nevada Rotation). It was moved back to Thursday August 31 for national television coverage on FoxSports1, as announced several days after Andrews posted Week 1 openers on May 25. 

Though, general sports book policy is to simply refund money on a date change, then let bettors come in again. This particular matchup was unique because the summer opener of Oklahoma State -10 was bet all the way up to -17. Sharp early action beat the market, but would have forfeited those positions because of the subsequent date change. 

Andrews on Twitter Saturday:

“Date change on Tulsa-Okla State. House rules: no action. However some bet the opening number and have WAY the best of it. Those with great numbers can have action but THEY HAVE TO LET US KNOW SOON. Come to counter or call the sports book.”

Many of those early bettors have contacted the South Point to take advantage of Chris waiving the house rules. If you’re reading this, and were one of the bettors who got Oklahoma State at the South Point when the lines first went up, please contact the sports book to lock in your prior price. Otherwise, your bet will be set aside for a refund because of the date change.

CFL Review: Even in a league full of parity, you can have a 60-1 final score!

Yes…things got really nasty when “worst” traveled on the road to play “best” this past weekend in Canadian Football League action. We’ll save that one for last as we review key stats from all four Week 6 matchups in schedule order. 

Week 6 Stat Summaries 

Winnipeg (-3.5) beat Montreal 41-40

  • Total Yards: Montreal 495, Winnipeg 417
  • Yards-per-Play: Montreal 8.5, Winnipeg 6.6
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Montreal 14%, Winnipeg 14%
  • New Records: Montreal 2-4, Winnipeg 3-2
  • Against the spread: Montreal 3-3, Winnipeg 3-2

Crazy ending. You may have heard Jonathan Von Tobel and Matt Youmans talk about it Saturday on “The Green Zone.” Montreal led 40-28 with less than 50 seconds to go in the game. Winnipeg scored a TD, recovered the onside kick, and scored another TD against a clearly exhausted Montreal defense to steal the victory. Montreal still gets the money at plus 3.5 (but not on the money line). Montreal has the best running game in the CFL, and managed 183 yards on the ground here. You can see that Winnipeg was outplayed clearly in the yardage stats. Montreal has won total yardage the last two weeks (both on the road) 493-420 and 495-417, yet has an 0-2 record to show for it thanks partly to a 3-0 loss in interception count. Not the end of the world for the Alouettes, who are still just a game out of first place in the woeful East with that 2-4 record. 

Edmonton (-2.5) beat British Columbia 37-26

  • Total Yards: B. Columbia 319, Edmonton 462
  • Yards-per-Play: B. Columbia 6.6, Edmonton 8.9
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: B. Columbia 8%, Edmonton 17%
  • New Records: B. Columbia 4-2, Edmonton 4-1
  • Against the spread: B. Columbia 3-3, Edmonton 2-3

BC put much tighter reins on temporary starting quarterback Travis Lulay this week. They were hoping to cut down on mistakes after a sloppy 28-43-2 passing performance against Winnipeg. Well, they cut down on incomplete passes but not interceptions! Lulay was 22-26-2 in the air, with only two balls hitting the ground. Big game for the hosts…who had monster numbers in yardage while only throwing nine incomplete passes themselves. Edmonton’s played its best football against BC this season, going 2-0, winning 30-27 on the road and 37-26 at home, and winning YPP 8.8 to 5.8 and 8.9 to 6.6. 

Saskatchewan (-3) beat Toronto 38-27

  • Total Yards: Toronto 396, Saskatchewan 435
  • Yards-per-Play: Toronto 6.7, Saskatchewan 7.6
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Toronto 19%, Saskatchewan 23%
  • New Records: Toronto 3-3, Saskatchewan 2-4
  • Against the spread: Toronto 2-4, Saskatchewan 3-2

Can be tough to evaluate the games where teams lower on the Power Ratings scale go head-to-head. Sloppiness that can decide who makes the most of their yardage doesn’t show up in a boxscore. Just as easily could have been a game within arm’s reach of the pointspread given those numbers. Toronto stays in first place in the East because Montreal lost and Ottawa had a bye. 

Calgary (-13) beat Hamilton 60-1

  • Total Yards: Hamilton 286, Calgary 496
  • Yards-per-Play: Hamilton 5.5, Calgary 8.7
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Hamilton 31%, Calgary 12%
  • New Records: Hamilton 0-5, Calgary 4-1-1
  • Against the spread: Hamilton 1-4, Calgary 3-3

Here it is…SIXTY TO ONE! It was 39-1 at the half! You were probably expecting more than 500 yards for Calgary. You’ll recall that Hamilton had helped hide their prior ineptitude by scoring some special teams and defensive touchdowns. Here, Calgary got two of those to help expand the blowout. Plus, Calgary could move the ball easily on the ground, racking up 188 rushing yards.

We’ve talked all season about Hamilton being a special kind of horrible that wasn’t being reflected in the futures prices or the game point spreads. Looked like the market might have caught up with that spread near two touchdowns. Nope. Important to remember that this one really wasn’t all that different from some of Hamilton’s other debacles. 

Humbled Hamilton

  • Outgained 524-232 and 8.7 to 4.5 on YPP by Toronto
  • Outgained 466-206 and 7.5 to 4.6 on YPP by Saskatchewan
  • Outgained 507-424 and 9.2 to 5.6 by BC’s backup quarterback
  • Outgained 391-313 and 6.9 to 6.0 by Edmonton
  • Outgained 496-286 and 8.7 to 5.5 by Calgary

We’ve talked a lot about the relative parity in this league through the season. It’s really hard to be THIS bad in a league where relatively generic skill sets are so plentiful. Hamilton is a mess!

The three worst performances in that “percentage of plays that are incompletions” stat we kinda/sort invented last week were: Hamilton 31%, Saskatchewan 23%, and Toronto 19%. 

Week six busted the league’s prior market tendencies. Favorites went 3-1 ATS, while all four games went Over the market total. That brings us to…

  • Underdogs: 16-9 ATS
  • Totals: 12-13 to the Under 

Updating composite offshore odds to win the Grey Cup…

Offshore Odds to Win the Grey Cup

Calgary 5/2

Edmonton 7/2

British Columbia 5/1

Toronto 8/1

Winnipeg 9/1

Montreal 9/1

Ottawa 11/1

Hamilton 12/1

Saskatchewan 14/1

These are starting to look more realistic, with Hamilton falling into double digits about a month too late. Saskatchewan can understandably rate below Hamilton because it will be extremely difficult for the Rough Riders to make it through the brutal West…while Hamilton can rally from 0-5 in the much easier East. Calgary and Edmonton rose more clear of the field with this week’s victories. We’ll update the Power Ratings Tuesday once the Week 7 lines have had a chance to settle. 

The Week 7 schedule…

  • Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET): Calgary at Toronto 
  • Friday (7 p.m. ET): Winnipeg at Ottawa
  • Friday (9:30 p.m. ET): Hamilton at Edmonton (ESPN2)
  • Saturday (7 p.m. ET): Saskatchewan at British Columbia 

Yes, the worst game of the weekend is the one on ESPN2. No way they could have guessed that when the TV schedule was being set. Calgary at Toronto is a battle of first-place teams, and the East team will have home field advantage. Calgary lost at Montreal, and tied at Ottawa…so that could be a great game. Winnipeg at Ottawa should be fun too. 

Busy weekend! And, now the NFL is ready to join the fun. The NFL Hall of Fame game from Canton is set for Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Andrews was first on the board in Las Vegas with an opener of Dallas by 1, with a total of 34. We’ll talk more about the pro/public betting angles on that game through the week. 

Don’t forget that our free drawing for an entry into the Westgate SuperContest will be held Aug. 19. You must be a registered subscriber to be eligible for the drawing (if you’re receiving this via email, you’re in the drawing!). For those of you reading today on the home page of the VSiN website, click here to subscribe and be eligible for that prize worth $1,500. Another great perk, subscribers receive a link to the daily South Point betting sheets. It’s like we fill your “briefcase” every morning sports betting info you can’t get anywhere else!

You can follow us on twitter by clicking here. If you have any comments or questions about the VSiN City newsletter or our daily programming, please drop us a note, or post a comment below in the Facebook widget. 

If you were away over the weekend, please get caught up in the NFL with Matt Youmans, and on the main event from UFC 214 with Brett Lawson

We’ll see you again in August. That’s tomorrow! The summer is flying by and it’s about to get even busier with the NFL kickoff. Thanks for spending time with us today in VSiN City.

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