The first week of the MLB season is in the books and that means it's time to unveil a new weekly feature here at Doc Sports. Each week during the regular season, we'll provide to you updates of which teams during the past seven days have been the biggest boons and scourges of bettors. In other words, who's making money and who's losing money.
Additionally, we'll look at any league-wide betting trends from the past week that may be noteworthy. The biggest nugget from opening week was the fact road teams went 46-40 (53.5%) overall and road favorites cashed at a healthy 67.6% clip (46-40).
To follow is a closer look at the biggest winners and losers from Week 1. Note all stats and betting info is through Sunday's games.
Baltimore Orioles (5-0, +5.2 units)
The Orioles were considered by many to be, at best, a fringe playoff contender because of their suspect starting rotation. Well, that group went a combined 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA opening week. Baltimore swept three from winless Minnesota to open the season and followed by beating Tampa Bay twice, both times as an underdog. The Orioles boast plenty of firepower, but it's interesting to see they rank 18th in runs scored despite having MLB's second-best team batting average (.298). That would seem to bode well moving forward. The lack of runs has led to the "under" cashing in all five of Baltimore's games.
The Orioles have also been without star center fielder Adam Jones since last Wednesday because of a sore rib cage, and he remains day-to-day. This week the Orioles hit the road and play Boston for three beginning Monday and then a four-game set at Texas starting Thursday.
Cincinnati Reds (5-1, +4.2 units)
After losing All-Stars Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman from a team that won just 67 games a year ago, not much was expected of the Reds this season. But what do you know, the Reds swept Philadelphia and then took two of three from the Pirates. Led by 24-year-old third baseman Eugenio Suarez (.435 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBIs), the Reds rank ninth in MLB in runs scored (31) while boasting a heady .782 OPS. In addition, a pitching staff filled with obscure names has posted the league's sixth-best ERA (2.67).
Suarez does appear to be the truth at third base for the Reds, and they still feature slugging first baseman Joey Votto in the middle of the lineup. This club figures to continue to score runs. However, will it be enough to overcome the shortcomings that will inevitably occur on the mound? That's the question for bettors moving forward with this club.
This week the Reds hit the road for the first time for a three-game set against the Cubs and a three-game series in St. Louis.
Chicago Cubs (5-1, +3.8 units)
The Cubs were a clear-cut favorite to win the National League entering the season, and they showed why opening week. First, they went on the road and outscored the Angels by a combined 15-1 in two victories then they took three of four in Arizona, which included a shellacking of former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. Chicago, which sports a league-high +4.5 averaging scoring margin, has been excellent in all phases. At the plate, the Cubs rank second in MLB in both on-base percentage (.379) and runs scored (42). Meanwhile, opponents are batting a league-low .184 against a pitching staff that's posted a 2.52 ERA . This is as complete a team as there is in the majors.
The only negative for the Cubs opening week was the loss of slugging left fielder Kyle Schwarber to a season-ending ACL tear.
This week Chicago returns home for a three-game set against Cincinnati followed by a three-game weekend series against Colorado.
Other notable money makers the week of April 4-10: Kansas City Royals (4-1, +3.0 units), San Francisco Giants (5-2, +2.7 units), Detroit Tigers (3-1, +2.4 units), Chicago White Sox (4-2, +2.0 units).
Minnesota Twins (0-6, -6.0 units)
It was a brutal opening week for the Twins, capped off by an extra-inning loss to the Royals in which they blew a two-run ninth inning lead and then coughed up the winning run in the 10th on a wild pitch, of all things. That's how things have gone for Manager Paul Molitor's club thus far.
Outside of Kyle Gibson, the starting staff performed admirably enough opening week; but it has been done no favors by a pop-gun offense and dreadful bullpen.
The Twins scored a grand total of 12 runs opening week, tying with the Angels for the league low. Perennial All-Star Joe Mauer batted .400, but other than him just one other everyday player hit above the Mendoza line-shortstop Eduardo Escobar (.348). Youngsters Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano were suppose to bolster the offense but both have been abysmal. Buxton (.158, 0 HR, 1 RBI) has started so poorly that Molitor felt compelled to give him Saturday night off in order to clear his head and regroup.
As for the bullpen, here's all you need to know: closer Glen Perkins has a 13.50 ERA in two appearances and top set-up man Kevin Jepsen is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA.
These are dreary days in the Twin Cities. The good news is Minnesota opens its home schedule this week. They'll take on the White Sox for three starting Monday then host the Angels for a three-game weekend series.
Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5, -4.0 units)
The Diamondbacks made a splash this offseason by adding Greinke and All-Star Shelby Miller to the starting rotation, but things have yet to go according to plan. The troubles for Arizona actually started the last day of spring training when budding star A.J. Pollock was lost to a broken forearm. Then, on Opening Day, Greinke (0-2, 9.90 ERA) made his introduction to Arizona fans by getting shelled for seven runs by Colorado.
It's the entire pitching staff and its abysmal 6.57 ERA that's been headache for the Diamondbacks. Hitters have batted a robust .290 against Arizona pitching so far. That simply will not get it done, especially given the resources devoted this offseason to shoring up the pitching staff.
This week Arizona hits the road for the first time for a three-game set against the Dodgers and three more against the Padres.
Atlanta Braves (0-5, -5.0 Units)
The Braves have been outscored by an average of 4.2 runs per game in its winless start to the season, which is by far the worst in MLB. After dropping two to the Nationals to open the season, Atlanta was swept in three straight by the Cardinals at Turner Field while being outscored by a total of 18 runs.
Now granted, those were two very good teams the young Braves opened with. But not being competitive in the slightest is a concern. Atlanta's pitching has posted the league's third-worst ERA at 6.65 and its .198 team-batting average is MLB's second worst.
This week the Braves hit the road for four more against the Nationals followed by a three-game set against the Marlins.
Other notable money losers the week of April 4-10: Seattle Mariners (2-4, -3.3 units), New York Mets (2-3, -3.2 units), Houston Astros (2-4, -2.9 units), Tampa Bay (2-4, -2.55 units), L.A. Angels (2-4, -2.55 units).
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