We’ve taken the last two weeks off in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we spent spring break with the kids and, well, doing some spring cleaning.
If you follow me on Twitter @ViewFromVegas or my daily betting recaps that are posted in VSiN’s daily newsletter (shameless plug: the newsletter is a must-read for any sports bettor as it gives a great overview of the sports betting landscape and everything we’re doing at VSiN), you know that I’ve still been keeping up on everything in the world of sports despite being on vacation. Just like I’m sure you do as well.
I almost returned last week when Bill Adee sent out a message early in the week asking for “what we’ve learned so far in the baseball season,” but I didn’t feel I had anything worth sharing. Then underdogs went 10-6 straight up last Tuesday with one game (A’s-Diamondbacks) closing pick-’em. That was followed by dogs going 11-3 SU on Wednesday for a two-day run of 21-9 for 70 percent! Even more impressively, that made favorites and dogs 84-84 SU on the season with six games closing pick-’em. I always try to remind readers that they might see slightly different ATS betting results elsewhere but that mine are compiled from the average closing lines at the nine Vegas books on the Don Best screen (Circa, South Point, Westgate, BetMGM, Wynn, William Hill, Station Casinos, Golden Nugget and Treasure Island). Regardless, it’s amazing that dogs were winning half the games a few weeks into the season.
But it didn’t end there.
After faves went 6-4 on Thursday, faves/dogs split 6-6 on Friday and faves went 9-6 on Sunday to take a 105-100 lead. Dogs went 9-5 on Sunday and then 5-2 on Monday (with the only two winning chalks being the Cardinals -108 at the Nationals and the Giants -109 at the Phillies as both were very early pick-’ems) to actually take the season lead at 114-112 with nine PKs. Again, you might see slightly different figures out there, but if you’re with me and my dog-or-pass philosophy, you’re loving all this parity and you’re probably ahead on the baseball season. If you’re playing chalk, you’re only ahead if you’re hitting at a very high percentage.
This seems like a good time to offer a primer for reading between the lines of my daily betting recaps.
I’ve posted these for years while wearing my “journalist” hat for most of the major team sports (especially during the playoffs) as they’re usually indicative of how bettors are doing against the sportsbooks since the public still tends to bet favorites and Overs while the books usually need the dogs and Unders. In addition, while wearing my “handicapper” hat, I know readers love to see which trends are hot and which are not. An ancillary reason is to show the trends the books haven’t adjusted enough to yet and where we can hopefully take advantage before they adjust; they can also help bettors avoid plays where they’re bucking a strong trend.
However, this is where my big BUT comes in: I try to warn readers that we need to be cautious when following these trends because the books are bound to adjust and in nearly every season (or postseason) the trends will regress to the mean and end up around .500.
For instance, while we’re on baseball, Unders were at 122-106-7 (53.5 percent) through Monday. MLB went with a deadened ball this season, and it has resulted in slightly more Unders, but you’d be up very little if blindly betting them. With the weather warming up, we’ll probably see that move closer to 50/50 through the rest of the spring and summer, though also expect oddsmakers to start shading totals higher, so you might be paying a little extra if jumping on the Overs.
We’ve already seen this evening out of the trends in the NBA and NHL. I long ago dropped posting the SU results in those sports as favorites have pulled away to win more than 60 percent, but NBA favorites are leading by only 425-414-9 ATS (50.7 percent) with 11 games closing pick-’em. Totals wagering is also pretty much a coin flip in the two sports with NBA Overs leading just 430-423-6 (50.4 percent) and NHL Unders leading 341-320-30 (51.6 percent).
So while I’ll continue to bet MLB dogs, I know they’re not going to be above .500 the whole season as oddsmakers will surely adjust and take away some of our value. However, as long as we’re getting plus money, we don’t have to hit 50 percent to make money. The key is, as always, to be selective and shop for the best numbers.
For those looking for actual “takes,” we don’t have lines for Wednesday’s games as of this writing, but I’d take these teams if they’re installed as dogs: Giants at Phillies, Brewers at Padres, Blue Jays at Red Sox, Rays at Royals and Braves at Yankees.