Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor
Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics, 10:05 p.m. ET
- Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer) -185
- Oakland Athletics (Paul Blackburn) +155
- Over/Under: 8
Bet to Watch
On paper, the Cleveland Indians look legit. The Tribe have a commanding eight-game lead in the AL Central, largest in baseball, and are playoff locks according to FanGraphs (98.6%).
But the team’s record is being propped up by a weak division. The Indians have played 38 of 79 games against the AL Central. In those matchups the team is 25-13 (65.7%) compared to 19-22 (46.3%) in all other games.
Cleveland has been a public team all season. The Indians have received 50% or more of moneyline tickets in 66 of 79 games. But they’ve burned casual bettors. Despite being nine games over .500, the team has cost $100 bettors $865. Most of that damage was in the aforementioned non-division games: 19-22, -$779.
It doesn’t appear that recreational gamblers have picked up on Indians’ struggles outside the AL Central. Nearly 70% of moneyline tickets are on Cleveland as favorites in Oakland on Friday night (10:05 p.m. ET). The line has moved from Tribe -170 to -185, but no bet signals (steam moves or reverse line movement) have been triggered to indicate that square action is causing the shift.
Another trend points to taking the Athletics as home underdogs. Oakland just completed a 10-game road trip, went 8-2, and will be playing its first game in front of the home crowd in nearly two weeks. Historically, teams in their first game at home after a long road trip get a boost.
According to Bet Labs, teams that that played their previous seven or more games on the road and then return home as underdogs of +120 or greater have gone 158-167 (48.6%) since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,224 following this system.
The public likes the Indians, but all the signs point to the A’s.
The pick: Athletics +155