Reviewing the Closer Position for All 30 MLB Teams

Arizona Diamondbacks 2017

Since there are no actual games until Friday, we will take
a brief look at each team’s situation at closer. Some are obvious,
some not. The All-Star break
is a good time to take a look at your team in general and determine
what categories, other than saves, you may need help in. Enjoy the
next couple of days of freedom.

Arizona Diamondbacks: There is no denying that
the ratios for Fernando Rodney are ugly. No one
likes to see a 5.58 ERA and 1.34 WHIP but Fantasy owners do like to
see 22 saves out of 27 chances. Is Rodney pretty? No, but he gets
the job done more often than not, and more importantly, there is no
one currently on the team who is ready to close. Rodney is safe.

Atlanta Braves: Jim Johnson
looks to be running out of fuel, as he has blown two of his last
three save chances to see his ERA rise to 4.23. It’s likely that
the Braves will trade Johnson to a contender before the deadline on
7/31, and that contender won’t use him as a closer but more likely
as a setup man. If you want to extract some value from Johnson in a
deal, that time is now; but the time has probably passed already.
With Arodys Vizcaino on the disabled list,
Mauricio Cabrera could be in line for a few saves
in August and September.

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Add These Former All-Stars During All-Star Break

Mike Napoli

The All-Star break can be an unusual time for Fantasy owners. After checking your lineup, box scores, and the waiver wire day in and day out for the past three months, there are no games to watch and no scores to check for the next few days.

If you’re like me, you’ll use the time wisely and, just like a real GM, use the All-Star break to reevaluate your roster, refresh your perspective on your lineup, and try to make that under-the-radar move that can shift your squad into championship contention. With the trade deadline (Fantasy and otherwise) now just weeks away, you can get those trade talks moving in the coming days, or simply find that diamond in the rough that remains on the waiver wire.

Mike Napoli hit 18 homers in the first half putting him on pace for a new career high, despite career lows in batting average, OBP, and OPS. Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire

With the Midsummer Classic in mind, I’ve found five former All-Stars that could be difference-makers down the stretch. Some are already where they need to be, and others are likely to be aided by a trade prior to the July 31 trade deadline, but these former All-Stars make worthy additions following this week’s All-Star festivities.

Nab Napoli for Post-Break Power Boost

When a veteran like Mike Napoli is sitting at career lows in batting average (.194), OBP (.273), and OPS (.710) at the All-Star Break, that’s the kind of guy I want to buy in on. Despite those putrid numbers and striking out in nearly one-third of his at-bats (32.5 percent), the 2012 All-Star has still racked up 18 home runs in the first half.

Napoli’s power production certainly hasn’t disappointed, as he’s on pace to quietly eclipse the career-high of 34 homers he set just last season. The 35-year-old also has a .215 BABIP meaning his average and counting stats are bound to course correct after the All-Star Break as well. His powers numbers alone make the former All-Star worth adding in AL-only and mixed leagues, so grab Napoli before another savvy owners notices the undervalued commodity sitting on the waiver wire.

Plan to Make A Play for Pence

Another player hitting way below his career averages is three-time All-Star Hunter Pence. After a terribly slow start, Pence put up a solid June in which he hit .310 with two homers, 14 RBIs, and 12 runs scored in 24 games. Expect stats closer to that rather than the three homers, 16 RBIs, and 14 runs he scored in April and May combined.

Pence is too good a baseball player to continue putting up numbers like that, and he already jacked another homer and put up five more RBIs in just eight July games coming into the All-Star Break. Look for a power surge in the second half, as Pence’s .660 OPS is way below his career number of .802. As long as the former All-Star stays healthy, he should be a useful asset in NL-only and deep mixed leagues following the break.

Knuckleballer Should be Solid Second-Half Streamer

R.A. Dickey has been pitching like an All-Star since mid-June. Over his last four starts, the 2012 All-Star has allowed one run or fewer while lowering his season ERA from 5.35 to 4.23 and his WHIP from 1.51 to 1.34. In those outings, Dickey also struck out 23 batters in 27 innings and picked up two wins (both at home).

And that’s where you need to consider using Dickey — whenever he starts at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. So far this season, the knuckleballer is 5-1 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP at his new home ballpark. Streaming Dickey in home starts in the second half is where the veteran’s value lies, so keep an eye on where he lines up coming out of the All-Star Break.

Trade Could Put Former Closer In Line for Saves

Sean Doolittle is the kind of relief pitcher that catches my eye this time of year. He has everything I covet in a reliever, except that he doesn’t get save opportunities — something that could change very soon. Doolittle currently owns a 3.54 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and strikes out close to 13 batters per nine. The 2014 All-Star also walks less than one per nine (0.89 BB/9), making him the perfect closer-in-waiting candidate for the A’s, and Fantasy owners.

With Oakland sitting in the cellar of the AL West, Billy Beane will most definitely be selling at the trade deadline and current A’s closer Santiago Casilla is a name being floated in trade talks. If and when Casilla gets shipped, Doolittle has proven to be comfortable in the closer’s role, converting 36 out of 50 save chances in his career, including three out of four this season. If you have a need for saves, make a speculative add of Doolittle as he could be thrust into the ninth-inning role before too long.

Prado Primed for Post All-Star Surge

Martin Prado makes for the perfect MLB trade deadline acquisition. He can play multiple positions, hit for average, and won’t hurt you no matter where you insert him into the lineup. It’s those same attributes that make me like him from a Fantasy perspective.

You might be thinking how can you tout a guy batting .262 with two homers, 12 runs scored, and 12 RBIs in just 33 games? The answer is simple. It’s because Prado is better than those numbers suggest, as he proven with his career .292 average, .341 OBP, and .763 OPS.

The 2010 All-Star is a typical high-floor, low-ceiling waiver grab that should get a nice bump in his counting stats, if and when he gets traded. Prado will be a veteran upgrade with versatility for whatever MLB team he moves to at the trade deadline and he could do the same for your Fantasy squad. Monitor where Prado ends up, and if it’s the Yankees or Red Sox, that should be enough to merit adding him to your roster.

Use these next few days to analyze and over-analyze who’s worthy of an add, but be sure to consider these former All-Stars as they’re all in solid situations to contribute coming out of the All-Star Break.

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Yoenis Cespedes Could Be Primed for a Big Second Half

Let’s take a look at some players who are due for a surge or a decline in round trippers in the season’s second half in today’s Buy Low, Sell High.

Yoenis Cespedes NYM – BUY LOW

Cespedes has had a solid season at the plate so far (116 wRC+), but there’s reason to think that he could be in line for a major power outburst. Due to the hamstring injury that hampered him earlier in the season, Cespedes has played in just 42 games this year. He’s hit nine homers so far; not bad given the number of games played. However, given Cespedes’ low HR/FB rate, he could be due for a sharp increase in homers. His 13.2 percent HR/FB rate is almost seven percentage points lower than his xHR/FB rate of 19.9 percent (according to FanGraphs). Cespedes’ 41.6 percent hard-hit rate and 36.8 percent pull should lead to a higher number of his fly balls leaving the yard. When you factor in his monstrous 56 percent fly-ball rate, a positive regression in HR/FB rate should lead to 20 plus homers for Cespedes after the break. If you’re looking for monstrous second half upside for a less than exorbitant cost, making a play for Cespedes would be a wise move.

George Springer HOU – SELL HIGH

yoenis cespedes

If he can stay healthy, Yoenis Cespedes could be in for a big second half.
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire

Springer is an All-Star Game starter and one of the key cogs in an Astros team that sits atop the AL with 60 wins and a ridiculous run differential. He has blasted 27 home runs so far this season, second in all of baseball to Aaron Judge. Given that his career high is 29 in 2016, many would likely expect him to slow down at least a tad in the second half. Springer’s incredibly high 31.4 percent HR/FB rate is one concrete reason to support that notion. While Springer does have the benefit of the short porch in left at Minute Maid Park and does have sky-high hard hit and pull percentages, it does seem that his HR/FB rate will have to dip eventually. Also, his .310 batting average is helped greatly by a .339 BABIP and likely won’t be able to stay that high through the second half given his 22 percent K-rate. All in all, Springer is one of the elite outfielders in baseball, largely thanks to his power. If that power falls off a tad, his value will diminish. Consider trading him for a huge return before any potential decline.

Kyle Seager SEA – BUY LOW

Seager is stuck in the middle of a mediocre season, putting up just a 93 wRC+ so far in 86 games. He’s hit just 10 home runs so far, and is on pace for less than 20, which would be a career low for a full season. This can mostly be attested to a minuscule 7.8 percent HR/FB rate, another full season career low. He isn’t pulling the ball as much this season, which is a factor in that number dipping, but it isn’t the full explanation. If Seager gets a positive regression in that area, he could be in line for a monster second half power-wise given his career-high 48.3 percent fly ball rate. More balls leaving the yard in the second half will cure just about all of Seager’s ills. Making a move for him before they start to do so could lead to a huge payoff.

Keon Broxton MIL – SELL HIGH

Broxton is the classic all-or-nothing hitter, racking up 14 home runs while striking out more than 36 percent of the time this season. However, there is reason to believe that some of the “all” could be less prevalent in the second half of the season. Broxton has posted a 25.5 percent HR/FB rate, which is high, but also nearly identical to the number he put up in 75 major league games a year ago. However, his pull percentage is down from 40 percent to 33.5 percent, while his hard-hit rate has dipped from 43.3 percent to 32.9 percent this season. If his HR/FB rate doesn’t stay up, Broxton can become a big-time negative rather quickly, even given his stolen base ability. Getting something of value for Broxton now would be a wise move. If not, you could be dropping him for nothing later.

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The post Yoenis Cespedes Could Be Primed for a Big Second Half appeared first on RotoExperts.

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Big MLB Favorites Cash Entering the All-Star Break

There’s been a consistent trend in MLB over the years where big favorites take care of business in the final game before the All-Star break. There are a few different theories on why this could be, such as good teams being more motivated to enter the break on a high note, and/or star pitchers getting the last start for solid teams. For example, historically Cole Hamels has the best record when entering the All-Star break at 5-0 for + 3.04 units.

When looking back at all the data I wanted to distinguish two things– “bigger” favorites (-135 or higher) and teams that weren’t too publicly bet (<70% of tickets). To little surprise, these teams have compiled a 40-10 record for +15.5 units while turning a profit in 9 of the 12 seasons. Here’s a look at the betting graph via our Bet Labs software.

Of course a 50-game sample size isn’t enough to make a firm statement about– but these big favorites have consistently come through for bettors entering the All-Star break for over 10+ years, and it doesn’t matter what sort of criteria you look at– whether the teams are playing divisional opponents (21-5) or non-divisional (19-5), or if the team is playing home (33-9) or away (7-1).

Looking at Sunday’s slate of games, there’s a few teams putting their stud SP out there like the Rangers (Darvish), Dodgers (Kershaw) and Indians (Kluber). You can check out the lines and betting %’s for these games to see if they fit the criteria with a Premium or Pro membership.

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Home Run Derby Betting Odds

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 11: Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins competes during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at PETCO Park on July 11, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Marlins Park is set to become a launch pad for Major League Baseball’s 2017 match up of best sluggers when it hosts the Home Run Derby this coming Monday. For bettors and sports fans alike, the derby is a beacon of light that offers a reprieve from the monotony of the dog days of summer and this year’s edition is no exception.

The electrifying event will be headlined by two rookie sensations as well as last year’s champ and hometown hero Giancarlo Stanton. He and Aaron Judge are the favorites to win the derby with everyone else on the list sitting well back of the two bombers.

Here’s a brief analysis of all the competitors and what their odds are to win the 2017 Home Run Derby

Smashing the previous record for home runs at the derby, Stanton went a little overkill last year by launching 62 balls over the fence at Petco Park to take the title. Every time he connected with a ball the crowd audibly gasped at the sheer power exuded by the slugger and with this year’s event taking place in front of Stanton’s home crowd, expect the atmosphere to be that much better.

The Marlins right-fielder had the 20 hardest-hit balls of the night in 2016 but should expect a stiffer challenge in that department from the most powerful hitter in baseball.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+165 23 410 Feet

As the big-league leader in home runs, Aaron Judge is expected to do big things in his first derby. The six-foot-seven-inch right-fielder has converted close to 40 percent of his fly balls into home runs in his first full season as a big-leaguer and is on pace to destroy Mark McGwire’s record for HRs as a rookie.

Judge seems like the perfect fit for this competition. His enormous frame leads to easy power and with a .331 average through 290 at-bats this season, he can just flat out hit the baseball.

If Judge and Stanton meet in the final of the derby like they’re favored to do, duck and cover – these two monsters will be hitting some serious bombs.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+175 29 415 Feet

The NL’s counterpunch to Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger is writing a story similar to the one being not so delicately penned by the Bronx Bomber. Four years Judge’s junior, the Dodgers left-fielder broke Gary Sanchez’s record by becoming the fastest player in major-league history to reach 21 home runs.

Bellinger is lined up to meet Judge in the semifinals of what is gearing up to be an explosive must-watch event.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+900 24 403 Feet

This Dominican powerhouse is a pure stinky slugger. He’s had trouble with strikeouts during his three-year career but with a .277 average in 78 games in 2017, he’s working around the K’s and should be the dark horse in this year’s derby. Sano has unbelievable pull power when he makes solid contact so expect him to put on a show in this format.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+1000 20 414 Feet

Possibly the best hitter in the competition, Moustakas might not have the tools to keep up with the likes of Judge, Stanton, Bellinger and Sano in this one. The Royal has the shortest average home run distance of all the contestants and his +1400 odds don’t inspire confidence either.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+1400 25 398 Feet

Did I just say someone with +1400 odds couldn’t win this thing? I take it back. Gary Sanchez has been tearing the leather off the baseball since he lit the league on fire last season with 20 home runs in his first 71 games and he doesn’t just hit them out, he sends them packing with no return ticket.

Although he’s hit just 13 this year in limited action, the Yankees catcher has what it takes to challenge the top guys. He and Kendrys Morales are the only two players in baseball with a minimum of 10 home runs to have their shots average a distance of over 421 feet.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+1400 13 422 Feet

Another hometown guy, Bour might be another one who’s outmatched in this contest. He faces the unenviable task of taking on Aaron Judge in the first round of what would be a massive upset if he were able to move on. What does the Magic 8 Ball say? Outcome not likely.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+1400 19 398 Feet

Although his stats are a little padded by Coors Field, Blackmon could win this by sheer will. The Rockie is one of the most competitive and serious men in baseball and I doubt he’s going to have any fun at this event if he doesn’t win the whole damn thing. He will, however, probably have to beat Bellinger, Judge and Stanton if he’s to realize his Home Run Derby aspirations – +2000 is about right.

Odds to Win 2017 Home Runs Average HR Distance
+2000 19 411 Feet

Odds as of July 6 BetOnline
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) +165
Aaron Judge (NYY) +175
Cody Bellinger (LAD) +900
Miguel Sano (MIN) +1000
Mike Moustakas (KC) +1400
Gary Sanchez (NYY) +1400
Justin Bour (MIA) +1400
Charlie Blackmon (COL) +2000

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2017 Home Run Derby Odds

With the field of eight set, odds have been released for next week’s home run derby in Miami. The defending champion, Giancarlo Stanton, will look to defend his crown at his home field, while the second coming of Babe Ruth, Aaron Judge, will try to knock him off the throne. Stanton and Judge are the one and two seeds, respectively, so they wouldn’t face off unless they both reach the finals.

The @TMobile #HRDerby bracket is out.

Get ready for some POWER.

— MLB (@MLB) July 5, 2017

If you haven’t watched in recent years, note that the derby is no longer the classic 10-out format that it used to be. It is now a timed event with bonus time awarded for long home runs. This has led to more swings and more dingers, which should seemingly favor a more physically fit player.

Player July 7
July 6
(Paddy Power)
Giancarlo Stanton +165 +120
Aaron Judge +195 +163
Miguel Sano +800 +1400
Cody Bellinger +900 +900
Mike Moustakas +1400 +1400
Justin Bour +1400 +1600
Gary Sanchez +1400 +2000
Charlie Blackmon +2000 +1200

It should come as no surprise that Stanton and Judge are at the top of the list, but the gap between them and the rest of the field is astonishing. These two have been known to bash mammoth homers, and should get some additional time that their opponents won’t have.

Setting a good pace is also important because if these guys over-exert themselves in the early rounds, they can get tired out by the finals. Most of you will remember Josh Hamilton’s performance in the home run derby in old Yankee Stadium, but people forget that he didn’t even win that year. Despite hitting 28 homers in the first round, he lost 5-3 in the finals to Justin Morneau.

Given the unpredictability of the event, I would advise that you take anyone/everyone other than Stanton and Judge. All of them can hit home runs and the odds should be much tighter than they are. This reminds me of the Slam Dunk Contest in which Aaron Gordon was -150, Derrick Jones Jr. was +115, and Glenn Robinson III was +1200. Of course, Robinson took home the title. While that event is a little more fluky, both should be considered more of a gimmick than an actual event where the best man or team generally wins.

Here are odds on 1st round matchups and prop bets:

Stanton -380 vs. Sanchez +260
Judge -305 vs. Bour +225
Bellinger -160 vs. Blackmon +120
Sano -135 vs. Moustakas -105

Longest home run: Over 499.5 feet (-350), Under 499.5 feet (+250)
Most home runs: Over 46.5 (+150), Under 46.5 (-190)

Feel free to comment with any thoughts or contact us with any questions by emailing

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Mid-Season World Series Futures Review

With three months of baseball in the books, we have a pretty good idea of how good each team is. Some haven’t lived up to expectations (cough, cough, CUBS, cough…) while others like the Diamondbacks are playing better than anyone imagined they could.

You may think your team is a lock to win the World Series, but what really matters is what the experts think. Oddsmakers, for one,  are experts. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be able to make millions of dollars off of stupid bettors every year.

Statisticians, like the folks at Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus, are also experts. They know more about baseball than just about anyone out there and have statistical models to predict how likely it is that each team will win the World Series.

Since we are right around the half-way point of the season, I felt that it would be a good time to take a look at how World Series futures odds compared to the data at Fangraphs and BP. Through this exercise, we can see which teams are being overvalued and undervalued by the books — the latter, of course, are the teams you should consider betting on.

In the table below, you will find the odds from three different sportsbooks with the accompanying implied probabilities (IP).  The final two columns are the probabilities from Fangraphs and BP. 

Team Bookmaker odds
IP BetOnline odds
IP 5Dimes odds
IP Fangraphs WS %
Baseball Prospectus WS %
Arizona 1250 7.4% 1000 9.1% 1400 6.7% 2.40% 4.2%
Atlanta 10500 0.9% 10000 1.0% 15000 0.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Baltimore 8000 1.2% 6600 1.5% 6600 1.5% 0.2% 0.0%
Boston 670 13.0% 750 11.8% 675 12.9% 12.4% 7.0%
Chicago Cubs 745 11.8% 700 12.5% 730 12.0% 8.8% 6.3%
Chicago White Sox 35000 0.3% 50000 0.2% 50000 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Cincinnati 45000 0.2% 35000 0.3% 50000 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Cleveland 625 13.8% 700 12.5% 730 12.0% 16.8% 14.5%
Colorado 2700 3.6% 1400 6.7% 1800 5.3% 0.7% 1.7%
Detroit 11500 0.9% 10000 1.0% 10000 1.0% 0.2% 0.1%
Houston 375 21.1% 500 16.7% 450 18.2% 16.7% 18.1%
Kansas City 6700 1.5% 4000 2.4% 6600 1.5% 0.3% 0.2%
Los Angeles Angels 13000 0.8% 8000 1.2% 8000 1.2% 0.6% 0.1%
Los Angeles Dodgers 410 19.6% 400 20.0% 505 16.5% 20.2% 23.5%
Miami 30000 0.3% 20000 0.5% 25000 0.4% 0.0% 0.0%
Milwaukee 5700 1.7% 6600 1.5% 3350 2.9% 0.2% 1.2%
Minnesota 8500 1.2% 5000 2.0% 6600 1.5% 0.1% 0.4%
New York Mets 9000 1.1% 5000 2.0% 8000 1.2% 0.5% 0.2%
New York Yankees 1350 6.9% 850 10.5% 1400 6.7% 3.2% 6.1%
Oakland 100000 0.1% 50000 0.2% 50000 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Philadelphia 200000 0.0% 500000 0.0% 500000 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh 7500 1.3% 15000 0.7% 10000 1.0% 0.1% 0.1%
St. Louis 3300 2.9% 6000 1.6% 5000 2.0% 1.4% 1.2%
San Diego 150000 0.1% 300000 0.0% 250000 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
San Francisco 25000 0.4% 100000 0.1% 200000 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Seattle 6500 1.5% 5000 2.0% 5000 2.0% 0.5% 0.7%
Tampa Bay 6000 1.6% 5000 2.0% 6600 1.5% 0.5% 1.5%
Texas 7000 1.4% 5000 2.0% 6600 1.5% 0.4% 0.7%
Toronto 6000 1.6% 5000 2.0% 5000 2.0% 1.1% 0.0%
Washington 635 13.6% 750 11.8% 625 13.8% 12.5% 12.0%

You should note that the percentages add up to 100% at Fangraphs and BP, while they add up to about 120% at the sportsbooks. This is because of the theoretical hold percentages…essentially the books need to make money so they provide lesser payouts than they should.

Both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus feel that the odds overwhelmingly point to six teams, one from each division (Dodgers, Astros, Indians, Nationals, Red Sox, Cubs), to win the World Series. Baseball Prospectus has a little more faith in the handful of teams after the top six, but both websites feel that about half the league has essentially no chance of winning it all.

The sportsbooks aren’t going to write off the teams in the middle of the pack, though. They can’t just give payouts of +10000 or higher to 20 teams. As a result, every team with greater than a 10/1 payout has no value at this moment.

Now, I’m not going to blame you for taking a flyer on the D-Backs, Yankees, or Rockies if you are a fan, but there are better ways to spend (lose) your money.

Based on the chart, there are essentially only two teams you should be making a World Series bet on at this time — the Dodgers and Indians. Los Angeles is a pretty sizable World Series favorite in the eyes of baseball experts, but oddsmakers have failed to recognize them for the powerhouse that they are. 5Dimes’ +505 payout equates to a 16.5% implied probability — 3.7% lower than Fangraphs and 7% lower than Baseball Prospectus.

The Indians have scuffled a bit this season, but are still considered a top-three team in the majors by the two baseball websites. At 5Dimes, the +730 payout suggests that they will win about 12% of the time, which is 4.8% lower than what Fangraphs thinks and 2.5% lower than what BP thinks.

Among the most overvalued teams are the Cubs and Rockies. The Cubs are certainly expected to be there due to their performance last season. The Rockies started off great, but are amidst a terrible stretch. It could be a situation in which the books haven’t adjust their odds accordingly, whereas the baseball sites, on the other hand, do so every day.

Below are the most undervalued and overvalued teams according to each website. They don’t agree on a few teams, but are pretty close for the most part on the rest of the league.

Top 3 Value Picks per Fangraphs

  1. Indians (5Dimes) +4.8%
  2. Dodgers (5Dimes) +3.7%
  3. Nationals (BetOnline) +0.7%

Worst 3 Picks per Fangraphs

  1. Yankees (BetOnline) -7.3%
  2. D-Backs (BetOnline) -6.7%
  3. Rockies (BetOnline) -6.0%

Top 3 Value Picks per Baseball Prospectus

  1. Dodgers (5Dimes) +7.0%
  2. Indians (5Dimes) +2.5%
  3. Astros (BetOnline) +1.4%

Worst 3 Picks per Baseball Prospectus

  1. Cubs (BetOnline) -6.2%
  2. Red Sox (Bookmaker) -6.0%
  3. Rockies (BetOnline) -5.0%

Be sure to check back throughout the season at our World Series Odds article for updates.

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Cy Young Showdown: Arrieta vs. Scherzer

Tonight in Washington, the scuffling World Series champion Cubs take on the high powered Nationals, who already have a stranglehold on the NL East. More importantly, the past two NL Cy Young winners are facing off, which is a rarity.

Tonight’s Arrieta vs Scherzer match up is 1st time the last 2 Cy Young winners face off since Webb vs Peavy in 2008. #Cubs

— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 27, 2017

How are bettors treating this pitcher’s duel?

The first thing to note is that the Nationals are currently -175, while the Cubs are +161. Over the past two seasons, this is an unheard of line for the Cubbies. They’ve only closed as underdogs 21 times since the start of 2016 and have never closed higher than +145 (in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw). If this line holds up, it will be the largest dog they have been since August 2015, when they closed at +218 (also in Los Angeles against Kershaw).

It isn’t that surprising, though. Scherzer is pitching like he wants more hardware in his trophy case while Arrieta is far from his 2015 level of dominance. Also, the Nationals lineup is basically playing like Murderer’s Row and almost every Cub hitter isn’t living up to expectations. Add all of these ingredients up and you see why the Cubs are +161.

At the moment, bettors have a case of the recency bias and are heavily leaning on the Nats. They are currently getting 69% of bets and 85% of dollars, which explains how the Nationals have gone from -168 to -175 since opening.

If we look a bit closer, it appears that some sharper bettors are on the Cubs…or at least they were earlier. This morning, a profitable reverse line movement triggered by 5Dimes helped move the Cubs line from +152 to +143. Since then, the line has crawled all the way back to where we sit right now.

If we look at the book-by-book betting breakdown, the “sharper” books like 5Dimes and BetDSI are much more evenly split than the square books, which are seeing tons of bets on the Nationals.

Many of bettors and baseball fans have been waiting for the Cubs to turn a corner this season. Beating perhaps the best pitcher in the game right now would certainly be a step in the right direction.

If you want to see percentage of dollars, bet signals, and best bets (currently up over 40 units this season), and more, consider trying out our pro membership.

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