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Tuley's Takes: MLB 1st Innings Plus British Open

It’s the dog days of summer, but we’re busier than ever at the Tuley’s Takes home office as we’re working on college and pro previews for our upcoming betting guides here at VSiN and signing up people for the big football contests at the Westgate, Golden Nugget and Circa.

And we’re also betting baseball nearly every day with the 1st Inning Yes/No wagers that we wrote about in the June 5 issue of Point Spread Weekly, so I wanted to touch on that topic again before we get into full-on football mode. And I’ll close with my Takes in the British Open, the last golf major of the year.

So, let’s begin . . .

My name is Dave — and I’m a crack addict (pause for all my fellow addicts to say, “Hello, Dave.”).

To be clear, I’ve never actually tried the real crack; what I’m talking about is the quick, intense high of betting 1st Inning Yes/No wagers on whether there will be a score in the opening frame of a game and which are usually decided in 15-20 minutes. Our gateway drug was the NHL 1st Period Over/Under 1.5 goals that we crushed from January until the first week of the playoffs in April as those lasted about 45 minutes at most and were often Over in much shorter time.

So, when that thrill ended, we looked for the equivalent in baseball. Bets on the first five innings take waaaaay too long (who has an hour and a half to sweat a bet?), so 1st Inning bets were the answer.

Unfortunately, 1st Inning Yes/ No bets haven’t been the ATM that NHL 1st Period bets were. I’ve discussed the reasons before. The main reason is that there aren’t any automatic bets like there were in the NHL. Looking at the chart, you see that not a single team is hitting 60 percent with the 1st Inning Yes as we’re approaching the 100-game mark of the 162-game schedule. At a similar spot in the NHL schedule, the Chicago Blackhawks were both 40-10 (80 percent) with the 1st Period Over and the rest of the #FollowtheMoney5/6/7 (whatever group you preferred) were hitting in the upper 60’s with the Dallas Stars, the top 1st Period Under team by far, hitting around 70 percent most of the second half of the season.

It was lazy handicapping — but it worked — to just continue betting the top-performing teams on a daily basis. No matter how high, the oddsmakers jacked up the vig, the #FollowtheMoney teams continued to earn.

Baseball’s 1st Inning Yes/No bets offered no such easy fix, but I attacked them by taking the average of each team’s “Yes Pct.” and comparing to the hit rates needed to break-even with the vig charged on a given game. For instance, we all know 52.3 percent is needed to beat -110, so if two teams were hitting around 57 percent (which would have a fair price of -130) and the vig was only around -115 or -120, I’d have a play to put in my parlays.

Yes, I’m parlaying these just like I did with the NHL 1st Period Overs with the intent of profiting more if they’re hot while limiting my investment when they’re cold. Now, I normally am a proponent of straight betting (and it’s the best way to bet overall), but I do believe this is the exception, though as I said it hasn’t been a profitable as the NHL. In fact, if it wasn’t for one lucky day a few weeks ago when I hit four 3-team parlays in the same day for a 40-unit score (a four-team “round robin” by 3’s – and, no, unfortunately I didn’t add the four-teamer or I’d up another 19 units), I’d actually be down overall with these wagers. I’ve had a lot of other winning days the past six weeks, but also a lot of 0-4 and 1-3 days that have kept the bankroll on an up-and-down rollercoaster. But, I’m addicted and keep coming back for more.

Anyway, I will say that I’ve been betting my strongest opinions straight lately instead of relying on lesser plays to complete parlays.

For instance, if you saw the NY Post or VSiN newsletter on Sunday, I gave out the Blue JaysYankees 1st Inning No (it was 115 at Circa) and had also cashed that bet on Friday and Saturday at 135 and 150, respectively, as I felt the oddsmakers were jacking up the juice on the Yes because everyone was looking to bet on anything to do with the Yankees’ high-powered offense scoring. The Blue Jays & Yankees were hitting only a combined 53.4 percent with the Yes, which should be around -115, but oddsmakers had it jacked up to -155 in the series opener. Similarly, everyone knows about offense-friendly Coors Field, but the Rockies and Giants have both had more 1st Inning No’s this season, so while the fair price would have been more like No -105, I got 185 and 200 in Monday’s doubleheader and cashed 200 in the nightcap. And then cashed with the No at 200 again on Tuesday night.

But enough about the past, let’s look at the series that are completing this Wednesday and Thursday as well as trying to project some 1st Inning Yes/No bets for the weekend:

Wednesday

Giants-Rockies 1st Inning No: Let’s give it one more try Wednesday. Again, these are No teams overall, so any plus-price is a value play and likely to get another juicy price.

Braves-Brewers 1st Inning Yes: Both have been solid Yes teams all year and average 56.8 percent, yet the prices have been reasonable this series, cashing at -120 on Tuesday.

Mets-Twins 1st Inning No: The Twins are still one of the best No teams and this should be around pick ‘em (the teams averaged 50.8 percent with the Yes entering Tuesday), yet I got 130. It lost, but I’ll fire back again.

Weekend Series

A’s-Twins 1st Inning No: We’ll look to come back on the No with the Twins over the weekend (this series starts Thursday) as both teams are in the top 3 No teams. Oddsmakers are definitely shading these 1st Inning bets to the Yes, so I’m assuming we’ll get a fair price and maybe even plus-money.

Rangers-Astros 1st Inning Yes: These teams came through for me in a VSiN newsletter play last Thursday in their standalone game last Thursday (albeit at -145). With the move to the more pitcher-friendly Minute Maid Park on Friday, hopefully we’ll only have to lay some shorter prices with these two Yes teams (average 55.5 percent).

Red Sox-Orioles 1st Inning Yes: The O’s have been the best Yes team so far this season. The Red Sox were the second-best No team back when we wrote our June 5 column, but are actually 22-13 (62.8 percent) with the Yes since then. However, I’ll probably pass if it gets juiced at -150 or higher.

Good luck with however you decide to play these.

TULEY’S TAKES ON BRITISH OPEN

We’re used to waiting until August for the final golf major of the year, but with the PGA Championship moved up to May this year, this weekend’s British Open (sorry, I still prefer that to “The Open,” which sounds so pretentious) wraps up the major schedule for 2019.

The majors have been good to me in recent years, but I’m 0-for-12 with my value picks posted here in PSW. Now, it would be tempting to take a bunch of players in the 20-1 range to try and squeak out a profit for the year, but that’s not how I bet. I’m going with what I feel are value plays and am not afraid to go 0-for-16 (I think this goes back to my horse racing roots in that we’re playing to win, not break even).

Here’s my fearless foursome (odds from the Westgate SuperBook as of late Tuesday):

Francesco Molinari (20/1)

The defending British Open champ, so trust his links game. This would just eke out a profit, but I give him the best chance in regard to odds among the top contenders.

Bryson DeChambeau (40/1)

Have already bet him several times in majors and come up empty, but he’s going to break through soon.

Jordan Spieth (40/1)

He’s not what he once was, but he’s a mere two years removed from winning The Open in 2017 and don’t forget he was tied after 52 holes last year before shooting a 76. So, he obviously gets up for The Open and this is more than a fair price.

Gary Woodland (60/1)

Who says the U.S. Open champ can’t also win the British Open? He’s still being dismissed at 60/1, so I’ll take the overlay.

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