Yankees’ Under streak ends at 14! Plus, more from the diamonds (Cubs win!) and the soccer pitch (can Croatia upset Argentina?) as MLB and World Cup coverage continues in VSiN City.
MLB: After two weeks of Unders, the Yankees finally played an OVER in 7-5 win vs. Seattle
Fans in the Bronx were happy to see some runs scored as the Yanks rallied from an early 5-0 deficit…then thrilled when Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead NYY to a 7-5 victory over Seattle Wednesday night.
While every win is notable in a tight pennant race (even in June), this result was important because it finally brought a 14-game Under streak to an end. The market had settled on 10 as the Over/Under before game time. At 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth, the Over was already assured.
Let’s start with the game stats, then recap the streak...
NY Yankees (-210) 7, Seattle 5
Total Bases Plus Walks: Seattle 15, New York 22
Starting Pitchers: Hernandez 5 IP, 1 ER, Loaisiga 3.2 IP, 3 ER
Bullpen: Seattle 3.2 IP, 5 ER, New York 5.1 IP, 2 ER
This could have been another Under! If you’re new to the site, dividing Total Bases Plus Walks by four gets you a surprisingly accurate estimate for runs scored (right on the money when you look at full MLB numbers over large samples). This was basically a 5-4 win for the Yankees with some breaks in how the bases clustered.
Clean win despite a shaky start for Loaisiga. Felix Hernandez was burned by his bullpen. Seattle did hold its own in recent battles with Boston and Houston, but is not passing this week’s test in the Bronx.
Aroldis Chapman threw a scoreless ninth for the Yanks in a tie. That positioned him to get the win. Now 3-0 on the year with 21 saves.
New York moves to 49-22 on the season (on pace for 112-50 at that win rate) in its AL East race with Boston. Seattle falls to 46-28, and dropped a game further behind Houston who beat Tampa Bay 5-1.
With the streak officially over, let’s marvel at the fortnight of Unders that began June 4 with a loss to Detroit…
Detroit 4, NYY 2 (Under 10)
NYY 7, Toronto 2 (Under 9.5)
NYY 3, Toronto 0 (Under 9.5)
NYY 4, NY Mets 1 (Under 7)
NYY 4, NY Mets 3 (Under 8.5)
NY Mets 2, NYY 0 (Under 7)
NYY 3, Washington 0 (Under 9)
Washington 5, NYY 4 (Under 9.5)
NYY 4, Tampa Bay 3 (Under 8.5)
NYY 5, Tampa Bay 0 (Under 9)
NYY 4, Tampa Bay 1 (Under 8)
Tampa Bay 3, NYY 1 (Under 9.5)
NYY 4, Washington 2 (Under 9)
NYY 7, Seattle 2 (Under 9.5)
Congrats to any of you who made some money within that streak. All good things must come to an end. And, our “It’s not Under til it’s Over” t-shirt also works with streaks.
Also in Wednesday baseball…
Chicago Cubs (even) 4, Los Angeles Dodgers 0
Total Bases Plus Walks: Los Angeles 12, Chicago 20
Starting Pitchers: Stripling 6 IP, 3 ER, Lester 7 IP, 0 ER
Bullpen: Los Angeles 2 IP, 1 ER, Chicago 2 IP, 0 ER
Wasted opportunities, as what could have been a 5-3 win for the Cubs only finished 4-0. Right team won.
If you’ve only been casually following baseball lately, or you stopped paying attention to the Dodgers after their early slump…you may have been surprised that Ross Stripling was laying chalk on the road to Jon Lester. Lester’s having a great season!
So is Stripling. His ERA is still a guady 1.99 for the season, on a WHIP of 1.04. The Dodgers had won his prior six starts by a combined score of 31-8. Stripling falls to 6-2 for the season with the loss. Lester is now 9-2, with an ERA of 2.09 and a WHIP of 1.09. Chicago is 12-3 in Lester’s 15 starts this season. If Chicago makes its expected run to a divisional title and possible top seed in the NL, Lester will very much be in Cy Young discussions. (Note that Chicago’s run differential is now plus 99 this season, well clear of the main NL market favorites to play in October.)
Chicago is now 42-29, in a virtual tie with Milwaukee atop the NL Central (Brewers were rained out in Pittsburgh). Dodgers fall to 38-35, two games behind Arizona in the NL West.
World Cup Soccer: Wednesday favorites all win 1-0 yawners, Thursday brings potential thrillers
In yesterday’s report, we were concerned that Wednesday’s slate would represent the most one-sided single day of group play in history. Turned out to be one of the most boring days, even though all three underdogs kept their games closer than expected. None of the dogs could score a goal! But, all three covered steep goal lines in 1-0 losses.
Taking them in the order they were played…
Portugal 1, Morocco 0
Total Shots: Portugal 10, Morocco 16
Shots on Goal: Portugal 2, Morocco 4
Corner Kicks: Portugal 5, Morocco 7
Possession Pct: Portugal 46%, Morocco 54%
Estimated Goals: Portugal 1.4, Morocco 0.9
Great effort for Morocco, who was playing for survival after losing to Iran on an own-goal. It actually won our “shots on goal plus corner kicks” hybrid indicator stat by an 11-7 count. First time an “inferior” team in a matchup has performed that well in this year’s event. Portugal was in an obvious letdown spot off the big tie with Spain. Though, it’s worth noting that Michael Caley’s “estimated goals” calculation had Portugal winning by half a goal even with the lesser overall stats. Portugal created more dangerous chances. (You can see those for every game by following Michael on twitter @Caley_graphics.) Morocco was officially eliminated with the loss.
Uruguay 1, Saudi Arabia 0
Total Shots: Uruguay 13, Saudi Arabia 8
Shots on Goal: Uruguay 4, Saudi Arabia 3
Corner Kicks: Uruguay 3, Saudi Arabia 4
Possession Pct: Uruguay 47%, Saudi Arabia 53%
Estimated Goals: Uruguay 1.3, Saudi Arabia 0.6
Disappointing stats for Uruguay considering how badly Saudi Arabia played in its opener. This was a 7-all tie in “shots on goal plus corners,” which was a stat the Saudis lost 13-2 to Russia. And, it’s not like Uruguay was in a letdown spot (like Portugal) coming off a 1-0 win over Egypt. Many pundits picked Uruguay as a sleeper to go deep, or even win. Not seeing that form yet against a very easy schedule. Though, in fairness, estimated goals show 3.0 to 1.0 for a two-game sum…and a team must be creating quality chances to win that stat by so much. Uruguay and Russia are both knockout qualifiers from Group A. They’ll play head-to-head Monday to determine bracket slots. Russia would get the nod in a tie because of a huge edge in goal differential.
Spain 1, Iran 0
Total Shots: Iran 5, Spain 17
Shots on Goal: Iran 0, Spain 3
Corner Kicks: Iran 2, Spain 6
Possession Pct: Iran 32%, Spain 68%
Estimated Goals: Iran 0.6, Spain 1.6
Some one-sided stats…but probably not as one-sided as handicappers expecting more of a bounce back off a surprising tie would have liked. Spain was favored by 1.8 goals. Two many low percentage attempts from distance.
The finales for Spain and Portugal in Group B will be interesting. Both enter with four points on a win and a tie, with identical scoring totals. If both win by the same scores Monday, they’d have seven points and identical goal counts…which would lead to “fair play” points being the tie-breaker to determine slots in the knockouts. Of course, if Portugal gets upset by Iran…then Iran would go through because of its fortunate win over Morocco. And, heaven forbid, if Spain is upset by Morocco (ending with four points), Iran would have a chance to chase them down too.
Time for our Thursday snapshots. Potential for true thrills in this card because highly regarded France and Argentina could be challenged hard by Peru and Croatia. Three-way odds are from the Westgate by way of the soccer odds page on our site.
*Denmark -0.4 goals over Australia
Three-way: Denmark -110, Australia plus 250, draw plus 225
Money line: Denmark -208, Australia plus 186
This line has dropped in recent betting, possibly because Australia earned respect in a tight loss to France (just 0.6 to 0.2 in estimated goals), while Denmark could be in a flat spot after winning a high energy game over Peru. Denmark is the money line favorite. But, you have to lay chalk offshore to get Australia plus half a goal.
*France -0.8 goals over Peru
Three-way: France -250, Peru plus 500, draw plus 325
Money line: France -500, Peru plus 350
This line was more than a goal earlier this week. Action on the dog has brought it down three-tenths of a goal. Peru is staring elimination in the face, so should bring peak energy again. France better not get complacent.
*Argentina -0.4 goals over Croatia
Three-way: Argentina -115, Croatia plus 255, draw plus 230
Money line: Argentina -196, Croatia plus 177
The two best teams in Group D. And, a seemingly vulnerable favorite lined up against a popular dark horse dog. Probably too much is being made of the “Messi can’t make penalty kicks any more” drama. But, that might be what keeps Argentina a notch below the other powers head-to-head. Croatia has been preparing for this challenge since the draw was announced. Don’t forget that Croatia would be happy with a tie, with a win in hand over Nigeria already (3 points) compared to Argentina’s surprising tie against Iceland (1 point).
We’ve updated our goal supremacy “market” Power Ratings based on the new lines for Thursday. We’ll keep tweaking these throughout the event.
Group A: Uruguay 1.9, Russia 1.7, Egypt 1.2, Saudi Arabia -0.1
Group B: Spain 2.5, Portugal 2.0, Morocco 1.2. Iran 0.7
Group C: France 2.5, Denmark 1.7, Peru 1.7, Australia 1.3
Group D: Argentina 2.4, Croatia 2.0, Iceland 1.3, Nigeria 1.2
Group E: Brazil 2.8, Switzerland 1.6, Serbia 1.4, Costa Rica 0.9
Group F: Germany 2.7, Mexico 1.8, Sweden 1.4, South Korea 0.9
Group G: Belgium 2.3, England 2.1, Tunisia 0.7, Panama 0.2
Group H: Columbia 2.0, Poland 1.8, Senegal 1.6, Japan 1.2
World Cup Soccer: Early look at the Knockout brackets
We’re a long way from knowing for sure who will be playing whom once the knockouts begin. But it’s not that hard to imagine the maybes. So many bad teams are automatic scratches that “probably” is easy to start penciling in.
We’ve arranged these in bracket order. So, the winner of the top quarter will play the winner of the second quarter in the semifinals.
1A (Russia or Uruguay) vs. 2B (Portugal or Spain)
1C (France) vs. 2D (Croatia or Argentina)
If this were the Big Dance, you could think of this as France’s “regional.” Well, if they get upset by Peru we’ll have to rethink that. But this was where the French were expected to go…and they were expected to be the favorite to advance to the semi’s over the likes of Croatia, Uruguay, and Portugal. Now, there’s a chance that Spain and/or Argentina could stumble down to second place in their groups, causing a big headache. And, Russia is playing so well that the hosts may be a headache many hadn’t anticipated. Very interesting to see how this develops. Might be a “quadrant of death” come next week.
1E (Brazil) vs. 2F (Germany or Mexico)
1G (Belgium or England) vs. 2H (????)
Mexico’s upset of Germany threw a big monkey wrench into this section (Brazil’s “regional”). We could have Brazil vs. Germany, the pre-tournament virtual co-favorites meeting in the Round of 16. We put in question marks for Group H because that’s the foursome where two dogs (Japan and Senegal) knocked off two favorites (Colombia and Poland) a couple of days ago. Anything could happen there.
A fascinating development…the WINNER of Group G (Belgium or England) gets stuck in Brazil’s quadrant, possibly with Germany…while the RUNNER-UP of Group G goes to a much friendlier quadrant. You’ll see in a moment that we should have put “much” in all caps rather than italics. Wouldn’t not be a shock to see Belgium and England getting cute in their head-to-head group finale that both may prefer to lose (assuming they both win vs. Tunisia and Panama in the meantime).
1B (Spain or Portugal) vs. 2A (Uruguay or Russia)
1D (Argentina or Croatia) vs. 2C (probably Denmark)
The markets still expect Spain and Argentina to win their groups as the powers in this regional. A chance for both round of 16 games to be very interesting, possibly launching a spoiler into the Elite Eight. There’s also room for this to get messy if Croatia upsets the Argentines and Spain wins less impressively than Portugal. Pay attention to futures prices late Thursday if Croatia springs an upset. That would create a softer pathway to go deep. Sharps usually don’t bet those. But, Croatia’s return is so high now that this route could garner betting interest.
1F (Mexico or Germany) vs. 2E (Switzerland or Serbia)
1H (????) vs. 2G (England or Belgium)
Wow, what was supposed to be Germany’s “regional” will be wide open if the defending World Champs can’t rally past Mexico in the group standings after that upset loss. You can see why England or Belgium would prefer to finish second in their group. The first game knockout could be against Senegal or Japan (or hobbled Colombia or disappointing Poland), followed by a relative gift in the quarterfinals (compared to what could have happened). Do you want to play Brazil in the Elite Eight, or the winner of Mexico/Switzerland?
Will check on these periodically as more information is learned, and more positions locked in. We know many of you are betting futures, and are betting team or player props that will be influenced by team pathways.
Before we let you go, a quick note that the Congressional hearing scheduled for Tuesday that we alerted you about last evening has already been postponed. Not that anything happening in DC involving our field was going to go quickly!
See you Friday.
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