With Wednesday's NBA games being postponed, NHL playoff action took center stage and filled the void. Favorites went 2-0 with the Flyers (-111) taking down the Islanders 4-3 in overtime and the Avalanche (-150) edging the Stars 6-4. In the third and final game, the Lightning destroyed the Bruins 7-1. Tampa Bay closed as a pick'em.
Despite the big favorite day, dogs still lead the 2nd round of the playoffs with a 4-3 record (including three pick'ems, all of which are from the Bruins-Lightning series). For those who like high scoring games, the 2nd round has been a godsend. Overs went 3-0 on Wednesday and are now 7-3 this round.
When betting NHL, it's important to remember that contrarian value is pretty much meaningless. This is due to the fact that there is really no public to bet against in hockey. Unlike other major sports, the ticket counts aren't very high and there isn't enough casual betting bias to take advantage of and go against. As a result, following and identifying sharp line moves is much more meaningful. Take the Avs, for example. Colorado opened at -135 and got bet up to -150. This was a clear indication that respected money had come down in their favor. They ended up winning 6-4.
Today, we have 2 NHL games and 12 MLB games. We also have 3 NBA games scheduled, though they seem unlikely to be played. In the meantime, let's discuss a pair of MLB matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 12 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 12:25 p.m ET to offer a market update.
6:37 p.m. ET: Oakland Athletics (22-10) at Texas Rangers (11-19)
After dropping the series opener 3-2, the Athletics have won two straight against the Rangers 10-3 and 3-1. Oakland will look to finish off Texas by winning the series finale and take three out of four tonight. The Athletics will start Chris Bassitt (2-1, 2.97 ERA) while the Rangers counter with Jordan Lyles (1-3, 9.25 ERA). This line opened with Oakland listed as a big -173 road favorite and Texas a + 162 dog. Oftentimes, value-minded sharps see value in a dog at home with a plus money payout. However, it looks like Pros and Joes aren't outthinking this one and will continue to ride the streaking A's. Steam has pushed Oakland up to -182 and it appears the line could creep even higher. The A's are 21-8 as favorites this season and the Rangers are 6-12 as a dog. Road favorites are cashing at roughly a 62% clip this year.
7:10 p.m. ET: Minnesota Twins (20-12) at Detroit Tigers (13-16)
On paper, this AL Central matchup looks like an easy layup. The Twins have a far better record and a big starting pitcher advantage. Minnesota will send out Randy Dobnak (5-1, 1.78 ERA) against Detroit's Matthew Boyd (0-4, 8.48 ERA). This line opened with the Twins listed as heavy -170 road favorites and the Tigers a + 155 home dog. Despite more than two-thirds of bets rushing to the window to lay the minus price with Minnesota, this line has actually tumbled to Twins -155, Tigers + 145. This signals sharp reverse line movement on Detroit. The Tigers have value as a divisional dog with a high total and are riding some momentum having just taken two of three from the Cubs. The Twins are 12-3 at home this season but just 8-9 on the road.