Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Betting Pick: Trust a Rookie Against Baseball’s Best Team?

Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Betting Pick: Trust a Rookie Against Baseball’s Best Team? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Duplantier

  • The Dodgers are a very popular favorite against the Diamondbacks this afternoon (3:40 p.m. ET).
  • History suggests that the betting market's reaction to this line might be indicative of some value.

This afternoon in Phoneix, Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers will take on a guy you’ve never heard of and the Diamondbacks.

Jon Duplantier will be making his second career start for Arizona against an LA team that’s been not-so-bad to this point. The Dodgers’ .694 win percentage puts them on pace for 112 wins this year. Decent.

At an opener of -160, the public has been happy to hammer away at Los Angeles, as 81% of moneyline tickets have landed on the road side. Interestingly, though, the Dodgers are now down to the -155/-157 range.

That reverse line movement — plus a few more factors — actually make this look like a potentially profitable spot for those brave enough to back the Snakes.

For starters, Arizona is a divisional dog. Why is that important? Well, as is the case in just about every sport, the familiarity that comes from playing divisional opponents so frequently creates generally closer final scores. That creates value on the plus-money side.

Believe it or not, simply betting on underdogs in divisional games would’ve turned a profit since 2005. As for non-divisional dogs … not so much.

But when the divisional dog is also an unpopular side (less than 30% of bets) and the line doesn’t move toward the opponent, the return on investment shoots up from a measly 0.1% — especially in matchups that are being bet more than the average game on that slate (this one leads all of today’s MLB games at the time of writing).

With all those inputs factored in, teams fitting the strategy have gone 765-909 since ’05. Obviously, that’s not a winning record, but since each bet comes on an underdog, that clip has been +173.3 units over the timeframe, good for a 10.3% ROI.

What’s more? The D-backs’ 19% backing has generated 44% of actual money wagered on the matchup. That discrepancy means bigger bets — the ones more likely to be made by sharps — are landing on the home team.

Because the money percentage is under 50%, it also means that sportsbooks and those big, sharp bettors are on the same side — or at least not against one another. Anytime I can team up with oddsmakers and sharps to go against the public, sign me up.

Our money percentage data doesn’t go back as far as the rest of our Bet Labs numbers, but for what it’s worth, filtering the above record to show only teams that have a higher money than bet percentage (by at least 10 percentage points) while keeping that money percentage under 50% actual creates a system with a winning record — on underdogs.

We end up with a 52-49 (51.5%) record since the 2016 season, good for 28.0 units and a nice 27.7% ROI.

I understand that by this point we’ve gotten pretty picky. I don’t honestly think the D-backs have a 51.5% chance to win this game. The takeaway here, though, is that there are a lot of signs pointing toward value on Arizona this afternoon.

The pick: D-backs +146

How would you rate this article?