MLB Wagering: Kudos to Kershaw Bettors

Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw has been a godsend for MLB bettors

Here's a look back at the best and worst bets of the first three months of the 2017 season.

Best runline team 

Houston Astros: 51-35

The runline, for novice baseball bettors, is just like a puckline in hockey. It’s a way to bet baseball games with a spread rather than a moneyline. The runline is always + or -1.5 runs.

It should come as no surprise that the best team in baseball is also the best runline bet. The Astros own the best road record in the majors, which plays a big part in their 51-35 runline record. The few games the ‘Stros are not favored normally happen away from Minute Maid Park.

It helps too when Houston’s starters at the backend of the rotation are winning at a handsome clip.

Worst runline team 

*Chicago Cubs: 32-53

A .500 record in baseball isn’t anything to get too worried or too excited about. It’s a lot like favored rice crackers in the snack tree. It’s fine.

The problem with the Cubbies is that they’re coming off a coming off a 103-win season. A .500 record for this team would be like Ryan Gosling dating a 7. OK, she’s not ugly but you’re Ryan effing Gosling! What the hell are you doing with a 7?

Oddsmakers favor the team frequently because of the high expectations and the talent on the roster. The Cubs are still among the top favorites to win the World Series at 10/1 despite their mediocre first half.   

Best Over team

*New York Mets: 48-25-10
The Tampa Rays have cashed more Over tickets (51) but the high number of pushes keeps the Mets as the most profitable Over bet. 

New York’s whole identity from 2016 has flip-flopped a year later. Last season the Mets allowed the third fewest runs and only four teams touched home plate less often than the Mets.

This season, the Mets own the third worst team ERA at 4.92 and their offense is middle of the pack. Oddsmakers have adjusted but if you were betting the Over with the Mets in the first two months of the season, you were winning at a 73.8 percent rate.

Best Under team

*Cleveland Indians: 30-49-5

You’d think the Indians would be a good Over team in 2017 with the addition of professional ball-blaster Edwin Encarnacion and a healthy Michael Brantley in the lineup. 

The club’s offense is on par with last year’s run produced per game, but that’s just not good enough to stay in elite company with 2017’s jacked home run rate.

Last season, the average MLB team scored 4.5 runs per game. This year, that number has climbed to 4.7.

Best money team

*Houston Astros: $1960

Moneyline, as we all know, helps us measure how profitable a given team is based on $100 wagers on each of the club’s games. So, if you bet $100 on the ‘Stros in each of their games you be up $1960 or 19.6 units.

Same reasoning here for the Astros as there was for their runline record. They own the best record in the majors, they win games with their fourth and fifth starters and they’re winning 76 percent of their road games.

Worst money team

*San Francisco Giants: -$2179

It doesn’t help playing in a division with three teams playing .570 or better. It also doesn’t help when you’re most effective starting pitcher is Johnny Cueto.

The Giants blog McCovey Chronicles asked an excellent question: Who would be the Giants All-Star selection this year if Buster Posey wasn’t on the team? 
Search me. This team stinks.

Best money starting pitcher

*Clayton Kershaw: $1160

Just a reminder: Clayton Kershaw is really fricken’ good. The Dodgers are 16-2 in games he’s taken the hill including that gem on Tuesday when threw seven shutout innings with 11 strikeouts against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

If Kershaw is too expensive for your taste, consider Jason Vargas. He might be the pitching story of the first half of the season for bettors. 

The journeyman hurler is putting together his finest season in his 14th year in the bigs. The Kansas City Royals are 13-4 in his 17 starts and up 10.8 units.

Worst money starting pitcher

*Jerad Eickhoff: -$1053

It could have been any Philadelphia Phillies starter, really. Eickhoff just has the… honor(?) of being the Phils ace of the rotation. He’s come back down to earth after a breakout year in 2016. He carries a 4.93 ERA and the Phillies are just 2-12 in his 14 starts this season.


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