Weekly MLB Underdog Report
by Matt Foust - 08/22/2008
Yes, we are back after a few weeks off and we're ready to check in on the dogs. This will be our ninth week of evaluation and it will be interesting to see what changes recent trades, injuries and minor league call-ups produce in the next few weeks. I think we'll probably start to see home underdog percentages fade as home dogs are usually poor teams anyway and they get even worse toward the end of the season. They typically dump players at the deadline and bring in some prominent minor leaguers to get some time in the big leagues. That trend may have started this week.
There were 93 games on the docket this week (8/15-8/21) and line dogs pulled out just 31 wins for a lousy 33 percent. Home dogs were even worse. There were 30 opportunities for home underdogs to snag wins and they only managed to garner nine (30 percent). Road dogs fared slightly better, winning 22 times in 63 chances for a 35 percent win percentage.
Dog(s) of the Week:
The dog of the week award goes to the Colorado Rockies. It was last year around this time that Colorado decided to start putting things together, and they may be doing it again. However, they do have some major ground to make up as they are nine games back of the first place Diamondbacks. They at least started down that road by winning three out of four as a dog this week and taking two out of three against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The Rockies first win as a dog occurred on the Aug. 16 in Washington. Yes, the Nationals were actually favored in a game. This extraordinary event transpired only as a result of the newly signed Livan Hernandez getting absolutely shelled in his Rockies debut. Colorado went on to pound the Nationals by a score of 13-6 as a +136 dog.
The Rockies scored their biggest upsets in LA, though. Ubaldo Jimenez bested the Dodgers Hiroki Kuroda as a +125 hound (final score, 8-3) Then on the 20th Colorado's struggling ace Jeff Francis turned in a nice performance and got the better of the Dodgers Chad Billingsley as a +182 underdog. Keep an eye on Francis; he is likely to get some favorable lines at least the next few starts and if he is healthy, he could be a good play.
A Look Ahead:
The most intriguing series this weekend, as far as dogs are concerned, is probably the tilt between the Marlins and Diamondbacks in Arizona. The Marlins have faded some of late while Arizona has been red hot. This fact will probably get the Fish some favorable lines over the weekend even though they probably have the better pitchers going. Florida avoids Brandon Webb and Dan Haren while they send some of their best young hurlers to the mound in Sanchez, Nolasco, and Volstad.
The odds, with the exception of tonight, will probably be close to even money or slightly over for Florida, but I like them in this situation. If the Marlins are a dog on Saturday, Sunday or both, they will certainly represent good value.