By Greg Dempson
Weather permitting, the first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 ET in the rubber match of this series. When it comes to baseball, the sports books are at the mercy of the money line as well as taking or laying + or –1.5 runs with the exception being offered at numerous off shore books when you can lay – 1 run.
The books begins with each teams’ starting pitcher, but definitely not restricted to who’s the starting pitcher for team “A,” vs. team “B.” They also factor in scenarios that might go unnoticed by a gambler, something that might seem insignificant….such as….whether a catcher who would normally catch a teams’ knuckleball starter, potentially be unavailable, (this would not result in significant line move,) but if you bet the under and then found out via the broadcasting announcer or color man that the replacement catcher had more passed balls than a……well, you get my point! Books also factor in a designated hitter, in or out, what’s the teams depth in that position, the strength of a teams’ bullpen, if tonight’s starter for the favorite has been lasting 5 innings or less, Vegas, and the off shore books are aware of these situations. If you’ll pardon my pun, a local bookie as well as the major books try and cover all the bases!
I almost always bet listed pitchers, with one exception, if a book allows action wagers and I like the game to go over the total, I’ll step up to the plate with an action wager. If a teams’ third or fourth starter is scratched your chances won’t decrease if a lesser pitcher takes the mound, after all you’re betting on the over.
Things do not always go as planned and a good example was opening day when Santana of the Twins was the starter against Tillman for the Orioles. I knew that Tillman had a miserable spring training with an EAR of 9.40+ plus his ERA last year was 4.40. Both listed pitchers started, (so it’s game on….and my bet was live,) however, a lengthy rain delay, saw the game resume, both starters were in the showers in their respective dressing rooms, as neither starter returned.
Baseball is a numbers game, it’s a long season and one of two major sports where you can win less than 50% and still make a profit. Playing dogs or small favorites will serve you well. Umpires, wind in vs. wind out can also be misleading at times based on the stadium. Heat and humidity in the warm months can factor into a game going over or under just as spring baseball can and does affect the ability of not only pitchers but hitters as well.
· Houston sends right hander Mike Fiers to the mound, last season he went 7–10 with an ERA of 3.69. Fiers was traded from the Brewers to the Astros at the trade deadline last season. He hasn’t started vs. the Yankees and I’m aware of his capabilities as he has very good control striking out 408 batters in 404 innings. He didn’t pitch well in spring training as he allowed 12 earned runs in 22 innings.
· The Yankees start rightie Nathan Eovaldi, he went 14–3 last season, due in part to solid run support, as his ERA was 4.20. When facing the Astros, (in 60 plate appearances,) Eovaldi has limited Houston to a batting average of .173 while striking out 12. His best start last season was at home vs. the Astros when he pitched 8 scoreless innings in a 1–0 victory. Eovaldi, who is a Houston native, was 5-1 at home last season with an ERA of 3.22 in 13 starts.
· The Yankees are 8–2 in Eovaldi’s last 10 starts while the Astros are 1–4 in Fiers’ last five starts.
· The Astros are 21–44 in their last 65 road games.
Astros vs Yankee Pick
My Every Edge offering for this Thursday afternoon contest is a play on the New York Yankees at –116 on the money line, available at 8:00 ET this morning at various off-shore books.