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Tuleys Takes: MLB 1st Innings Plus NBA, NHL

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

We’re excited here at the Tuley’s Takes home office with the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals tied up at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively, but first I want to talk about MLB 1st Inning Yes/No wagers.

Regular readers will certainly recall how much fun we had with NHL 1st Period Over/Unders the last three months of the regular season. I personally racked up 56 units of profits (thanks to parlaying the best teams on a nearly daily basis) and was then up another 8.5 units after the first week of the playoffs before giving back those profits as things dried up. It was a great run and I continue hearing from readers/followers who were along for all or part of the fun.

The big allure – besides the money! – was the near instant gratification as most bets were decided in less than half an hour. One time on “Follow the Money” with Pauly Howard and Mitch Moss, we joked about “what are we going to do when hockey season is over?” Well, the logical answer was betting whether or not there would be score in the 1st inning of baseball games as these bets are usually decided in less than 20 minutes and can literally be over in mere seconds if the leadoff man hits a homer!

I didn’t jump in right away when baseball started the last week of March. For one thing, I was still rolling with NHL 1st Period bets in addition to March Madness, followed by the start of the NHL & NBA playoffs, the NFL Draft along with NFL Over/Under season win totals, Week 1 lines and Week 2-16 lines, the Triple Crown, etc. I was casually following along and knew the Rays started hot with the “Yes” in 1st innings and also heard from a friend in San Francisco that the Giants were cashing the “Yes” like crazy in the month of May. Still, I wanted to have a bigger sample size from all the MLB teams before seeing if we could find any playable (and parlayable) angles.

With one third of the regular season completed this past week, I wanted to look at how all the teams were performing so far with 1st Inning Yes/No bets, similar to the chart we used for NHL 1st Period Over/Unders (at this point, I need to give a tip of the ole ball cap to @TheRecDegen on Twitter for helping me run a query at killersports.com to generate the chart below with games played through Monday).

The bad news is that there’s no automatic bets like we had when the Blackhawks and Lightning were both hitting at 80% on 1st Period Overs and the Stars were around 70% with 1st Period Unders. Even when books really started jacking up the juice, those teams and the rest of the #FollowtheMoney6 were still playable.

With MLB, the Rays and the Orioles are the only teams hitting better than .600 with the “Yes” and no teams are that consistent with the “No” as the Marlins are at just .561, the Red Sox at .559 and the Twin and Cardinals both at .552. The good news is that the juice we’re seeing on 1st Inning Yes/No wagers isn’t as prohibitive as we were seeing in the NHL. Most people know you need to hit .523 to beat -110 but it takes .550 to beat -120, so those four “No” teams are profitable if they can maintain those hit percentages (note: .600 is profitable at odds lower than -150).

Bettor beware: I’m going to recommend some plays for this week based on what we’re seeing from the chart (and comparing or estimating the odds we’ll see in the marketplace), but I do want to stress that there are a few things that have me less confident than when we jumped in on NHL 1st Periods. The main thing is that I really believed that those should have been at Over/Under 2 goals and we had a big advantage going Over 1.5, even with the high juice. From a more fundamental handicapping angle, the beauty of a lot of the NHL Over teams (with the Blackhawks being the prime example) was that if they were rushing forward to try and score goals, a lot of times that made those teams open to counter-attacks and aided in all those Overs. Baseball is obviously played differently with all players not on the field at the same time (maybe here is where I point out that we’d welcome help in seeing if those first two columns of the chart is useful in separating how often teams cash the 1st Inning “Yes” when they score themselves or by giving up runs to their opponents). Having said all that . . .

Tuley

Team Y=number of games team scored in 1st inning; Opp.

Y=number of games opponent scored in 1st inning; All

Yes=combined number of games with score in 1st inning;

Games=team’s total number of games; all stats through MLB games of Monday, June 3, 2019.

Let’s look at the practical matter of this week’s schedule and I’ll propose how I’m going to attack these bets. Feel free to bet straight if you feel that’s the best way to go, but I’m going to go with the parlay approach like I did in the NHL to hopefully maximize my profits if this experiment is also a success (and also to limit my losses if it doesn’t). Note: I’m using Tuesday’s odds from Circa Sports to estimate what my plays could pay, but we’re certainly aware that these could change due to different pitchers, etc., so keep in mind that “estimate” is the operative word and adjust accordingly The Rays, the top “Yes” team, are playing the Tigers, which is more of a “No” team, but that just helps get a better price. The “Yes” was 105 at Circa on Tuesday (and cashed!). As mentioned earlier, the Orioles are the only other team hitting 60% on the “Yes,” but I’m passing on their series with the Rangers as the vig was -150 at Circa on Tuesday). Instead, for my other “Yes” play, I like the Astros-Mariners as they’ve both been “Yes” teams (including Monday night’s series opener!) and we’re laying a reasonable -125. Both these series continue on Wednesday and Thursday, so put me down for the 2-team parlay each day with RaysTigers 1st Inning Yes/Astros-Mariners 1st Inning Yes. If we get around the 105/-125 odds those days, that pays 269, so we need to just hit the parlay one of the days for a tidy profit.

Moving to the “No” teams, I’m going to throw you a curveball here. I’m passing on the Marlins because they’re playing a “Yes” team in the Brewers (and priced appropriately). Like I said, no teams are hitting a high percentage anyway, and what I think I’ve found is two teams that have been better with the “Yes,” but I feel the market is overpricing them, The Royals are the third-best “Yes” team. They’re playing the Red Sox (the No. 2 “No” team) with the “No” favored at -120 and I think that’s the way to go. I’m also going to fade the Cubs, another team that’s been a “Yes” most of the season, in the rest of their series against the Rockies. The “No” opened -130 on Wednesday morning and the Red SoxRoyals 1st Inning No/Rockies-Cubs 1st Inning No at -120/-130 would pay 224, so again we’d just need to hit either Wednesday or Thursday to come out ahead (and, of course, really be doing well if we hit both days).

Like I said before, this isn’t as straight-forward as we had with NHL 1 st Periods. You might like other plays in this week’s matchups than my choices (and I’m very likely to alter some of my plays in the coming days, especially if I think oddsmakers are overadjusting in one direction of another), so try reading between the lines and we’ll see how this all shakes out over the next week.

The weekend is a little hard to project without having any early-series prices for comparison sake, but based on the matchups I’m going to pass on the Rays as they’re playing the Red Sox and instead go with the Orioles against the Astros (both “Yes” teams so far this season) parlayed with the White Sox-Royals. For my “No” parlay, I’m going to pass for now as no matchups jump out at me. Instead, I’m planning a “Tuley’s Takes” Extra! on VSiN.com for Friday on the Belmont Stakes and I’ll add a “No” parlay if I find one with playable odds.

TULEY’S TAKES ON NBA FINALS

Since last week’s Point Spread Weekly, we’ve had only two games played in the NBA Finals (I’m getting fed up with these 3-day gaps between games) with the Raptors winning the opener at home last Thursday and then the Warriors rebounding with the win in Game 2 on Sunday. The series moves to Oakland for Wednesday night’s Game 3. The line had settled at Warriors -6 before Tuesday when Kevin Durant was declared out (not that I think it surprised anyone). The line started to dip before the official announcement to 5.5 and then 5 and was trending toward 4.5 as of late Tuesday afternoon. I grabbed the Raptors 6 when I saw several books move to 5.5 and I still think the Raptors are the right side but obviously hope anyone following along doesn’t wait too long. I also hope many of you took my advice last week when the series price was still Raptors 250, though it’s only slightly lower now. Personally, I did end up selling my $100 ticket on the Raptors to win the NBA title at 18-1 for $550 on PropSwap. I decided to lock in a profit (and the buyer got fair odds of 2.45-1). I still have my 14-1 ticket on the Raptors to win this series in 6 like I predicted last week. As for the rest of the series, I expect I’ll also be taking the Raptors plus the points in Game 4 on Friday. I’ll probably pass on Game 5 back in Toronto unless the Raptors end up being home underdogs (possible if Durant does indeed return) but be back on them as road dogs in Game 6 next Monday.

TULEY’S TAKES ON NHL STANLEY CUP FINALS

I still like the Blues to win the Cup and I’m happy to be holding my Blues 250 ticket that was bought after passing on them in Game 1. I love how they’ve fought back to even the series and the fact they’ve actually outplayed the Bruins at even-strength. The only time they get in trouble is going against Boston’s No. 1-ranked power play. Anyway, I’m passing on Thursday’s Game 5 as I already have action with the series ticket. In Sunday’s Game 6, I might look to the Under. Overs were 3-1 through the first four games (thanks to the empty-net goal late in Game 4), but we could see things tighten up the deeper we go into the series Again, we’ll see if we have a Game 7 to preview for next week’s PSW.

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