Editor’s note: Shortly after this article was published, the Braves scratched Kevin Gausman. The analysis below is no longer relevant.
Betting Odds: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates
- Atlanta Braves Moneyline: +116 (Kevin Gausman)
- Pittsburgh Pirates Moneyline: -126 (Chris Archer)
- Over/under: 7.5
- First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
>> All odds as of 2:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
The Braves and Pirates are trending in opposite directions entering this three-game series at PNC.
Atlanta was just swept in a four-game series by the Rockies, a series in which the Braves were outscored 25-13. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, just rattled off two straight wins against the best team in the National League.
That sets us up for a perfect storm of factors that, when combined, create a very profitable betting system.
Right off the bat, a team being favored over an opponent with a worse record should set off an alarm.
The Pirates are 63-62 to the Braves’ 68-55 record, which makes the visitors seem like an easy choice to an uneducated bettor, and is likely the reason for the 67% of bets behind Atlanta.
This game also fits the “they’re due” narrative that casual bettors love. With both teams entering this series on streaks, a square bettor is going to operate under the assumption that the opposite of the streak is more likely to happen tonight — which isn’t true.
Moving right along, this is a non-divisional matchup. While it’s a minor factor, that does help the favorite.
Divisional games tend to be closer — which is why divisional underdogs can be so profitable — which means the favorite tends to perform better against non-division opponents.
And finally, sharps are on the Buccos. Despite the fact that only a third of bets are behind them, the Pirates have moved from -117 to -126 at Pinnacle behind 43% of moneyline dollars.
Putting all of these filters together creates a system that has gone 97-41 since 2005, winning 38 units for a 27.8% return on investment. It’s also 4-1 on the season, and 34-9 over the past three years.
I know it seems like an incredibly specific system that is overloaded with too much random nonsense, but each individual factor is actually a slightly profitable long-term betting strategy on its own.
This game just happens to be an opportunity to take advantage of all of them at once.
The bet: Pirates -126
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.