Major League Baseball

From the Betting Window: Tuesday’s Plays Plus Betting Tickets vs. Money Wagered

Sunday’s Results: I didn’t touch Monday’s slate but the weekend was fantastic. After a 3-0 Saturday where all three plays hit relatively easily, I also went 3-0 on Sunday. The Braves needed extra innings to beat the Mets, but they came through after a wild finish, while the Reds-Nationals under hit comfortably in a 2-1 Washington victory.

The miracle win came from the Rockies-Brewers matchup, as the two teams combined for four runs in the ninth inning to help push the score over the betting total. The Brewers scored three of those four runs themselves in the bottom of the ninth, capped off by a wild pitch that tied the score at 4-4 (and thus guaranteeing the score to go over the 8.5 total).

Hey, bad beats will come at some point. We’ll take all the miracle wins that we can get. Onto Tuesday’s plays, with a brief explanation about money vs. bet ticket percentages…

Cubs (-160) at Royals (+145), 8:15 p.m. CT

There inevitably are a few games every night where the betting tickets don’t match up with the money being wagered on that contest. This is useful because it can be an indication of which side (or total) sharp bettors are taking. This isn’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to making predictions, but again, it can be a useful tool.

Let me explain with a live example from Tuesday night. At websites like The Action Network (which is a subscription-based site), it shows that over 50% of betting tickets for tonight’s Cubs-Royals game are on the over. That said, over 70% of the money wagered on the total is on the under. That’s a large discrepancy.

Why is this important? Because it’s an indication that while public bettors (I like to call them “Joe Public”) are placing more bets on the over, the big money is actually coming in on the under. Who usually makes big bets? The guys that know what they’re doing. While they won’t win every time, it’s advantageous in the long run to be on the side that most sharps are on. (Side note: This data will change so make sure you’re still checking it leading up to first pitch.)

I too like the under, which has dropped from 9.5 all the way down to 8.5 at the majority of sports books (another indication that sharp players forced oddsmakers to adjust the line). I just checked the lineups and Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber are all playing for the Cubs, indicating the line movement didn’t have anything to do with an injury.

The under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings between these two teams, who combined for just four runs on Monday night. The Royals own one of the worst offenses in baseball and Kauffman Stadium is far from being a hitter’s park.

Prediction: Cubs/Royals under 8.5

Reds (+130) at Mets (-140), 7:10 p.m. CT

Even though the Mets couldn’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag at times, I love the over in their matchup with the Reds tonight. Sal Romano sports a 5.12 ERA in 21 starts this year, doesn’t strike many batters out (16.1%) and gives up plenty of hard contact (36.2%).

Meanwhile, there are few starters with worse numbers than Romano but hello, Jason Vargas! In his 11 starts this season, his ERA is 8.23 (that’s not a misprint). He’s a fly-ball pitcher that allows hard contact (36.7%) and while the Reds haven’t fared well against left-handed pitching this year, tonight should be the exception.

If you read my previous two columns, you know I like to use umpire data to help make predictions. Ben May is behind home plate tonight at Citi Field and in his last five games behind the dish, the over is a perfect 5-0. Again, the Mets have a weak offense and the Reds struggle against lefties but we have two struggling starters with an ‘over’ umpire behind the plate. I’ll take my chances.

Prediction: Reds/Mets over 8.5

Twins (+220) at Indians (-240), 7:10 p.m. CT

The pitching matchup tonight in Cleveland pits Adalberto Mejia versus Carlos Carrasco. One might view Mejia’s 2.60 ERA as reason to take the under but I see plenty of value in the over. Mejia’s 4.31 FIP and 5.36 xFIP indicate that he’s past due for some negative regression. He also draws a horrible matchup against a loaded Indians lineup that put 10 runs on the board last night.

On the other side is Carrasco, who has had a solid season but he’s also better on the road than at home. The Twins have generated plenty of hard contact (38%) against right-handed pitching and the over is 4-1 in Carrasco’s last five home starts versus Minnesota. This is a sneaky over play tonight.

Prediction: Twins/Indians over 8.5

Prediction Records

MLB: 6-0 (+$600.00)*

*Based on projected $100.00 wagers

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