Indians look to close out World Series as Game 6 underdogs at home

Leave a comment

The good news for Cleveland Indians fans is that almost 80 percent of MLB teams that come home with a 3-2 series lead do win – but the bad news is it might take another loss to produce a big betting payoff.

Ahead of Game 6 at Progressive Field, Cleveland is set at -230 in the series prices, while the rallying Chicago Cubs are listed at +190 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

For Tuesday’s game itself, which has a pitching matchup of Chicago RHP Jake Arrieta and Cleveland RHP Josh Tomlin, the Cubs are listed at -143 to win with the Indians the +133 underdogs. The total for the game is set at seven runs.

A Cubs win that forces a Game 7 would cause the odds to shift – but Cleveland would still have their ace Corey Kluber, with his 0.89 postseason era, taking the ball. Kyle Hendricks is the Cubs’ scheduled starter for Game 7.

In MLB postseason history, 69 of 81 teams that took a 3-1 series lead went on to finish the job, so missing the first chance to clinch hasn’t been a big deal. Also, 55.3 percent of teams which have come home for Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead have immediately closed it out.

Cleveland is 6-4 in Tomlin’s last 10 home starts, but that does not reflect the scintillating 1.71 earned run average he has posted since September 1, when he junked his cut fastball and started relying on his curveball.

The righty is working on three days’ rest for only the second time in his career, the other instance having come in 2010. That might not pose a problem since Tomlin is relying on his curveball, and only threw 58 pitches during his start last Friday in Game 3.

With the off-day after a loss, manager Terry Francona should have a fully stocked bullpen. Lefty relief ace Andrew Miller, who has been near-untouchable in the playoffs, has had two days off since throwing 27 pitches in Game 4.

The Cubs are 5-5 in their last 10 road games as a favorite with Arrieta as their starting pitcher.

Arrieta was credited with the Game 2 win in Cleveland after allowing one run and two hits over 5.2 innings.

Arrieta is clearly not at his best, with a 4.30 ERA in eight starts since September 1. However, if he gets touched up for an early run or two, the Cubs hitters – 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant, SS Addison Russell and others – will have the benefit of seeing Tomlin for the second time.

No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

Value in 2018 MLB Pennant Odds Ranges Beyond Astros, Yankees, Dodgers

Leave a comment

Only three teams have won consecutive pennants in the last 16 Major League Baseball seasons, which should be a nudge to look beyond the teams about to unfurl flags celebrating 2017 success.

Three weeks out from Opening Day, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are +275 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 American League pennant  and the Los Angeles Dodgers have the National League’s top prop at +225, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Astros have a strong chance to repeat as AL champions thanks to the prospect of having a full season of both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the starting rotation, which should upgrade a pitching staff that had just the 11th-best earned-run average in MLB in 2017. The hype over the Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton show has pushed the Yankees’ price below 3-to-1, but a wait-and-see approach should be taken with New York, since both sluggers could regress.

The Cleveland Indians (+325) and Boston Red Sox (+600) round out the top of the AL board. The Minnesota Twins (+1800), who have quietly improved and play in a shallow AL Central division, could be a surprise.

Over in the National League, the Dodgers still look scary at bat and on the mound and could benefit from getting a push in the NL West, where the San Francisco Giants (+1000), Arizona Diamondbacks (+1200) and Colorado Rockies (+1800) have no time for tanking. Iron sharpens iron, after all.

The Washington Nationals (+350) and Chicago Cubs (+375) likely won’t face such a deep group of challengers in their respective divisions, the NL East and NL Central. Since the Nationals are in a now-or-never situation with one-time MVP Bryce Harper due to become a free agent, there is some appeal in putting a bet down just to tap into that urgency in Washington. The Cubs should field a playoff-calibre team, but whether they ever re-capture their 2016 postseason magic remains to be seen.

It’s probably best to fade the St. Louis Cardinals (+900) and the aforementioned Giants, whose prices on the 2018 National League pennant odds owe more to history or recent success than the outlook on the field in 2018. Bettors seeking a sleeper have a far greater return by taking, say, Colorado, which has an exciting lineup built around third baseman Nolan Arenado and made the 2017 playoffs with the second-youngest pitching staff in all of MLB.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Dodgers head into spring training as World Series betting favorite

Getty Images
Leave a comment

While trading for Giancarlo Stanton gives the New York Yankees a pair of 50-home run hitters in their lineup, the sharps still believe pitching and depth are the name of the game in World Series futures.

Coming off a seven-game loss in the 2017 Fall Classic, the Los Angeles Dodgers are +500 favorites on the 2018 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. As spring training gets underway in Arizona and Florida, there’s a big three at the top of the board, with the aforementioned Yankees (+550) and the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros (+550) offering a just slightly higher price than the Dodgers.

Major League Baseball has gone 17 consecutive seasons without a repeat champion and only three teams (2008-09 Philadelphia Phillies, 2010-11 Texas Rangers and 2014-15 Kansas City Royals) have made back-to-back World Series appearances. It’s possible the game is overdue for a change.

Both Houston and Los Angeles had more than 100 regular-season wins in 2017 despite the fact the best pitchers on either staff, the Astros’ Justin Verlander (late August trade) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (injury), weren’t around for the full season. However, both teams still have a young core.

Adding Stanton as a big bat to go with Aaron Judge means the Yankees’ price has dropped by half from an opening +1100, days after the World Series. However, with TV analyst-turned-skipper Aaron Boone as a rookie manager, the Yankees will be trying to become only the fifth team to win the World Series with a first-year manager. Only one of the previous four – the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks – has come since the wild-card era began.

The Washington Nationals (+800), Cleveland Indians (+850), Boston Red Sox (+1000) and Chicago Cubs (+1000) are the only other teams at 10/1 or less. Considering its success over the last two seasons, Cleveland could be undervalued. Wariness about Washington stemming from its failure to advance past the NLDS is understandable, but the Nationals are in a do-or-done scenario with superstar rightfielder Bryce Harper in his contract year.

Adding Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher-outfielder, has brought the Los Angeles Angels’ price down to +2800, from an opening +5000. Expecting one player to have that much impact in his first season stateside seems like a tall order.

The deep sleeper might be the Colorado Rockies (+5000), who have one of MLB’s most productive infields with third baseman Nolan Arenado, second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Trevor Story. Colorado’s prospects are contingent on either wrestling the NL West title from the Dodgers or winning the “best of one” wild-card series.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.