By Dan Behringer for LVSportsBiz.com
In the groove of betting Major League Baseball?
Of course you are. The NBA Finals is the books, the NHL Stanley Cup Final is playing out with games on odd days and the UFC is confined to weekends.
But every day, Major League Baseball is up on the board. Every day, there are sides, totals, three- and five-run inning lines, reverse run lines and alternate run lines. Every day, you can find team totals, and hitting and pitching props, and props for frustrated sluggers battering the water cooler after a strikeout. Okay, okay one of those might be a stretch.
So where are the winning tickets being cashed? At TeamRankings.com, the New York Yankees are perched at the top of the leaderboard. They have a 49-17 win-loss record. Their 74.2 win percentage is 10 percentage points above the second-place New York Met despite a 10-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. They are winning games by an average margin of 2.2 runs. Of course, the betting line reflects their winning ways. They don’t go off cheaply.
The Mets are followed by the Dodgers. Houston and San Diego round out the top five.
At the bottom, the Oakland (eventually Las Vegas?) A’s are 23-45 for a win percentage of 33.8. They are losing games by an average margin of 1.4 runs. Only Washington, one notch above them is losing games by a wider average margin, 1.6 runs.
However, the A’s had a rare taste of success on Sunday, defeating the Kansas City Royals, 4-0, as +135 home ‘dogs.
“His stuff today was exactly who he’s been described as,” manager A’s manager Mark Kotsay said to the AP of starter Jared Koenig, who got his first win for the A’s. “He didn’t strike anyone out but he got through 5 2/3 with a lot of contact and a good defense behind him.”
If you’ve not had success so far this season, take heart. The average team will play nearly 100 games before the regular season grinds to a halt.
— Fight for the Stanley Cup: After two home wins by the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final, they are the overwhelming betting favorite to win it all. At Covers.com, they are anywhere from -275 to -285. The Lightning are in the +225 to +230 range.
Tampa Bay reclaims home ice for Game 3 on Monday. They are generally around -110 with the total at 6.
“I think having the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup in the building, trumps everything,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m not a believer in: ‘They’ve played a lot of hockey.’ Isn’t that what you want to do? I’d rather be playing hockey than having a five-month summer every year.”
Betting angle courtesy of VegasInsider.com: The under is 7-0 in the past seven games for the Lightning when playing on a day of rest, and 5-0 in the past five on home ice.
— Can’t beat the number: The Las Vegas Aces are winning — but not covering for bettors. On Tuesday, the Aces beat the Dallas Wings, 92-84 but failed to cover -9.
On Sunday, oddsmakers made the Aces a -15.5 point favorite vs. the Minnesota Lynx. The Aces failed to cover as -10.5 point favorites vs. the Lynx back on May 19 in a 93-87 win. And Sunday was like déjà vu all over again. Led by A’ja Wilson’s 25 points, the Aces escaped with a 96-95 win, but covering 15.5 points was never seriously in play.
“We need to be in these types of situations,” coach Becky Hammon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That’s how you become battle-tested.”
The Aces improved in the win column to 13-2 but stumbled on the against-the-spread mark and fell to 9-6.
They next face the Chicago Sky on Tuesday.
— U.S. Open finish: Las Vegan Collin Morikawa, who was as high as +3000 to win the U.S. Open and around +130 in some spots to finish in the top 20 tied for fifth place with Rory McIlroy at -2.
“I don’t know if I found something. I think it just taught me that just go play golf,” Morikawa told CBS Sports after Sunday’s conclusion.
CBS Sports noted that Morikawa, now at the ripe old age of 25, has two wins, two top-five finishes and another top-10 result in 11 Major appearances. He will now defend his title at The Open Championship at St. Andrews.
— Eyes on next year’s prize: Like Steph Curry & Co. to repeat in 2022-2023 as NBA champions? The Golden State Warriors, who lead all teams with a combined payroll and luxury tax of $348 million, are +460 to win next year’s title, according to Covers.com, which cited odds from FanDuel. Next in line are the Boston Celtics at +650 and the Brooklyn Nets at +700. The Milwaukee Bucks are +750.
— Laugher of the week: If you play over 9 runs in the Detroit-Texas game on Friday, you were able to enjoy an offensive explosion. The Tigers scored early and often. The Rangers chipped in too. A Detroit 14, Texas 7 final score was enough to comfortably send the total over by 12 runs.