MLB Baseball Betting: Studs and Duds
by Trevor Whenham - 4/23/2013
It seems like Opening Day was just yesterday, but we are already about 20 games into the baseball season. There is a very long way to go, but we are far enough into the season that it’s time to check in on the teams that are treating bettors well, and those that are putting bettors’ money in a pile and burning it up:
If you had told me before the season started that the Rockies would have the best record in baseball on April 23, I would have been certain that you were drunk at the time. Yet here they sit at 13-5. Needless to say, they are rewarding bettors handsomely — they are the most profitable team in baseball at this point. It’s too early to get really excited, though. They have only played one major contender — the Giants — and they were swept in three games. Things get tougher going forward, so we’ll have a good sense of whether the team is for real or if this is just a mirage. I strongly suspect the latter.
This one is less surprising. Most people liked this team heading into the season because of their strong rotation and excellent bullpen. So far the pitching has indeed been great, and that has led to plenty of wins. They were producing even more profits before dropping their last three to Pittsburgh. There is room to improve still because the bats just aren’t as alive as they need to be right now.
Boston Red Sox
It was easy to be down on the Red Sox heading into the season. They hadn’t improved in the offseason in obvious ways, they were lousy last year, and their division was deeper than it had been in a long time. At this point, though, they have a surprising two-game lead in the AL East. They have scored the second most runs in the American League and have allowed the third fewest runs. That doesn’t seem sustainable, but for now it is a recipe for success.
Chicago White Sox
The Pale Hose have been about as bad as you would expect this year — they sit at 7-12. There is no money to be made betting on them and not much betting against them because opponents are so often strong favorites. Where they have really been impressive this year, though, is at going “under” the total. They have played 18 games and have only gone “over” four times. It’s not hard to figure out why — 24 teams have scored more runs, and their pitching has been fairly solid.
The Marlins are an incredibly lousy 4-15 this year, so they aren’t making bettors any money — unless they are betting against them. That makes them the least profitable team in baseball. The only thing that has stopped them from burning up even more money is that no one in the world expected them to be anything other than lousy. In other words, betting against these guys consistently is pretty much the easiest possible money you could make. It’s not like they are going to get significantly better in a hurry, either.
The story is much the same for the Cubs as it is for the Marlins, though the Cubs aren’t in quite as bad shape. They are an underwhelming team with problems all over the field, and they aren’t going to compete against good teams consistently all year. They will likely perform somewhat better than their current 5-13 record, but not much.
I feel like a broken record here. This is a ridiculously bad team that is playing ridiculously bad baseball as expected. They have been great to bet against so far and should continue to be reasonably attractive in the longer term. It would take a miracle for this team to turn things around.
Finally our trend is broken here. The Angels were built to be a serious contender. They practically spend more on payroll per day than the Astros pay in a month. So far, though, things just aren’t working out as they were supposed to. They are second in the league in batting average, but it isn’t turning into runs — they are just 15th in runs scored. While the batting has been somewhat disappointing, the pitching has been an absolute disaster. Jered Weaver’s injury hasn’t helped, but the rotation has just been lousy. It’s as if Joe Blanton is tossing the balls underhanded to hitters. Things will get better at some point — they showed some real life by sweeping the Tigers over the weekend — but for now it’s better not to risk your money on this squad.
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