MLB Handicapping: Time to "Sell" on the Rockies
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 7/21/2009
Mid-season managerial changes in baseball are generally about proving a point. Very rarely do they actually result in the kind of rebirth that the Colorado Rockies are experiencing under interim manager Jim Tracy.
The former Dodgers and Pirates manager has the Rockies winning at a break-neck pace and defying all the odds in the hotly contested NL West.
A recent 10-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks put the Rockies at 4-1 since the all-star break and gave them sole possession of first place in the Wild Card race, something that seemed impossible over a month ago.
The question for bettors have who have yet to jump on the Rockies pay train -- is it time to buy or sell this team?
One thing we know is that this team is capable of stringing wins together for extended periods of time even as the pressure mounts. A lot of the same players were around in 2007 when the Rockies went on the greatest winning stretch perhaps in modern baseball history.
With absolutely no margin for error Colorado closed the regular season with 14 of 15 wins, needing every single one of them, to sneak into the playoffs as the Wild Card team. In the playoffs they promptly swept the Phillies in three games and swept the Diamondbacks in four games. That made it 21 of 22 wins during the most important part of the season going up against the toughest competition.
Jim Tracy has overseen a 31-10 record from his Rockies since June 4. The winning streak has as much to do with the new attitude Tracy brought to the clubhouse as it does the bats that have awoken and the pitching anchored by baseball's unlikely leader in pitching wins, Jason Marquis.
It's apparent that the Rockies are playing some of the best baseball in the majors right now but the oddsmakers are aware of that too. Just as you were taught in your very first economics class it smarter to sell high than buy high and obviously the Rockies are about as high as they can be right now.
Anybody who jumped aboard the Rockies bandwagon in early June has a nice sized bankroll right now. It took Las Vegas awhile to start recognizing these Rockies. During the initial 11-game winning streak that started this 31-10 run the Rockies were underdogs for the first eight wins.
They cashed in on some high money lines including +160 against the Astros, +162 against the Cardinals and +166 against the Brewers. After those eight wins the lines quickly adjusted. The Rockies found themselves favored for eight of the next nine games and recently Colorado backers have been getting used to seeing lines from -140 all the way to -210.
With the oddsmakers catching on to the Rockies finally it will be hard to turn a profit by continuing to back them no matter how hot they got. Again, as is the case in most baseball betting situations, using the run line to bolster the payout will be a losing proposition in the long run. In the Rockies last nine wins four have come by a lone run.
If you are looking game to game betting for the Rockies, they are strongest against righties (37-28) and weakest playing within their division (17-22). As was the case in years past, playing away from Coors Field is not hurting the Rockies this year, they are five games over .500 at home and four games over .500 on the road.
I would not expect this hot streak to just evaporate over night but in the long run with the prices being what they are now, there may be no better time than now to start looking to bet against this latest Rockies hot streak.
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