Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 4:00 PM
The All-Star Break is when the media recaps the first half of the baseball season to get you ready for the second half. I should do the same from a sharp perspective, talking about how the Wise Guys have performed so far this season.
I’d have to say, there are a lot of smiling faces out there. Sharps have done well, generally beating the market to new developments. The most recent was probably betting on the Cincinnati Reds more than anyone expected just as the team caught fire. Pro bettors, who focus on personnel rather than trends and angles as a general rule, have done a good job of recognizing when lineups or rosters would perform better than the market expected.
Whenever you heard squares (the public) or betting media asking “why are the sharps betting THIS team or THIS pitcher,” the answer would often prove self-evident in short order. I’m not suggesting sharps were right about everything. But, you don’t have to be in this field. You have to be right enough to make a living. Win five times out of every nine at pick-em lines. Win enough dogs to cover any losses on favorites on money lines. If you’re right about three teams improving, and wrong about two…that still works out okay.
It’s not a game of “perfect,” it’s a game of being ahead of the market more often than not. The sharps aren’t gloating. But, they’re smiling.
For the public, it depends on which teams they fell in love with. Anyone backing the Red Sox has made a fortune this season. Yankees fans were doing very well until the past week or so. But, Dodgers fans may have busted out early. Indians fans are disappointed. It’s been no harm no foul for Cubs fans after a recent run back to the top of the division. You can’t really categorize “all” squares because square Red Sox fans are sitting very pretty right now.
Bettors who like parlaying big favorites have run into trouble because they just don’t sweep enough nights to make that strategy work. One favorite going down kills your parlays. Houston even lost to Detroit on the final Sunday of the first half.
On Over/Unders…sharps were on top of the trend back toward lower scoring very soon. Some old-school sharps got hurt last year when a change in ball construction temporarily juiced scoring. Looks like we’re back to the old balls. So, the old-school guys have had some amazing weeks. Took longer for the quants to adjust because last year’s stats loom so large over any new season. But, that was resolved by the end of April. Totals sharps are also smiling.
There’s not much to report on reaction to futures prices so far. Sharps tend not to be those because the returns are so much worse than true odds. There’s just no reason to bet the Houston Astros right now to win the American League or World Championship because the price will be close to the same come October. Or, you can just bet Houston series by series, re-investing your winnings along the way for a similar or better return.
I am hearing that some guys are looking at Hail Mary’s on teams like Oakland who have a chance to score a return at high current prices. Most of those don’t pan out. Even those that get close, like the Las Vegas Golden Knights in hockey or Croatia in the World Cup, usually just break your hearts at the end.
But, you know what, if you only hit 2 out of 100, of the 100/1 shots, you’ve come out ahead! Still, sharps bet for value…and this isn’t a sport that often offers real value on longshots on the futures.
Looking ahead, I can’t really tell you what the sharps will be doing once play resumes. They’re not going to divulge that information in advance. You have to read the tea leaves…which is actually pretty easy to do in baseball.
*Look at how the lines move off the openers (almost always from sharp money)
*Look at how offshore lines move overnight (same)
*Look at “buy backs” in the final 30 minutes before a game starts whenever the public has steamed a favorite. Sharps don’t buy back every opportunity. You’ll often find that the Wise Guys keep focusing on the same dogs when out of sync with squares. That gives you a hint about which lineups they respect the most.
There’s something you can do when baseball resumes across the whole sport Friday. There is one game Thursday…so you might as well monitor Cards/Cubs too.
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Thanks for reading. See you again at the end of the week. Pretty soon we’ll start taking a more serious look at early betting options in college and pro football. The grind never ends. But, if you love sports betting, that means your opportunities never end.