MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Rays-Athletics, 2 Other Friday Games

MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Rays-Athletics, 2 Other Friday Games article feature image

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oakland Athletics left fielder Robbie Grossman (8) is congratulated by third baseman Matt Chapman (26).

  • Wiseguys are getting down on 3 MLB games tonight, headlined by Braves-Nationals (7:05 p.m. ET).
  • Sharps are also betting Marlins-Phillies (7:05 p.m. ET) and Rays-Athletics (10:07 p.m. ET).
  • Using the tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network. we analyze how pros are betting each game.

Wiseguys split their two Thursday plays, winning the Yankees moneyline, but losing the Marlins-Cardinals Under. Overall, it was a good night for contrarian bettors, as dogs went 7-5 (+4.7 units) and teams receiving less than 40% of bets went 6-3 (+5.64 units).

Now it’s on to Fade the Public Friday, which is historically the best day of the week for pro bettors. Average Joes are finishing their work weeks (and getting their latest paychecks), which means they are more apt to get down on games. This leads to high ticket counts and a market flooded with recreational money, providing an increased edge for sharp bettors.

After analyzing Friday’s 15-game schedule using the betting tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, I’ve identified sharp action coming down on a trio of MLB games.

>> All odds as of 2 p.m. ET.  Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets.

Betting Terms to Know

Steam Move: Sudden, drastic and uniform line movement across the market caused by an overload of sharp action from respected players.

Reverse Line Movement (RLM): When the betting line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages. It’s a top smart money indicator.

Line Freeze: When one side is getting heavy betting, but the line won’t budge, indicating sharp liability on the other side.

Juice: The tax or commission that bettors must pay sportsbooks in order for them to accept your wager. A -115 juice means a bettor would have to wager $115 to win $100.

Miami Marlins (27-46) @ Philadelphia Phillies (39-35)

7:05 p.m. ET | Sandy Alcantara (3-6, 3.73 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.89 ERA) 

Casual bettors love rooting for hits, homers and high scoring games, which is why they always gravitate toward overs. Both the Marlins and Phillies went over their respective totals last night, so Average Joes have no problem sweating the over in tonight’s series opener in Philly.

Not the sharps. They’re once again zigging while the public zags.

This total opened at 8.5. Currently 60% of bets are taking the over, yet we’ve seen the total fall to 8. Why would the oddsmakers drop the line to make it easier for recreational bettors to cash their over?

If it looks too good to be true, it almost always is.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we noticed pro bettors hammer the Under 8.5. We’ve also tracked 70% of dollars on the under. This overload of sharp action from respected players created big liability for the books, forcing them to adjust the line down a half run.

An added bonus for under bettors: the wind is blowing in from left-center at 8-12 MPH, which wiseguys hope turns first row homers into warning track outs.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 8.5 to 8)

Atlanta Braves (44-31) @ Washington Nationals (36-38) 

7:05 p.m. ET | Dallas Keuchel (no record) vs. Stephen Strasburg (7-4, 3.75 ERA) 

We’re seeing a classic Pros vs. Joes disagreement in this NL East showdown in the nation’s capital.

The public sees an easy win with a far better Braves team getting plus money as a juicy road dog.  But sharps are fading Keuchel’s debut and buying low on a red-hot Nats team (won four straight) at home with one of their two aces on the mound.

This game opened with Washington listed as a -136 home favorite and Atlanta a +126 underdog. Currently 60% of bets are backing the Braves, yet the line has moved further toward the Nats (-136 to 145).

Normally, books will adjust the line toward the popular side in order to limit their risk and balance their money. Anytime you see the line move toward the unpopular side, that’s a clear sign that smart money has taken a side (this is referred to as reverse line movement).

We saw wiseguys crush Washington at -135 and again at -143, triggering a pair of steam and reverse line moves. We haven’t seen any conflicting plays (or buyback) on the Braves.

This fade the trendy dog spot is a favorite of the sharps. According to our Bet Labs database, favorites receiving less than 50% of bets have gone 101-64 (61.2%), winning +17.09 units with a 10.4% return on investment (ROI).

Sharp angle: Nationals (moved from -136 to -145)

Tampa Bay Rays (43-32) at Oakland Athletics (40-36)

10:07 p.m. ET | Andrew Kittredge (0-0, 5.39 ERA) vs. Tanner Anderson (0-1, 3.27 ERA)

The Rays are cold as ice lately. They held a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th last night, only to get walked off by the Athletics 5-4, marking their 4th loss in a row. To make matters worse, rumors are swirling that Tampa could bolt for Montreal.

Recency bias says fade Tampa. But wiseguys are buying on bad news and backing the Rays in an undervalued bounce back spot.

This game opened with Oakland listed as a -115 home favorite and the Rays a +105 dog. Currently 60% of bets are backing the Athletics, yet the line has completely flipped toward Tampa (+105 to -109).

This is a classic reverse line move play, with wiseguys getting down hard on Tampa and turning them from a dog to a favorite despite the majority of bets backing the A’s.

We tracked a big steam move on TB +102 as soon as the line opened and we haven’t seen any moves on OAK, which means their support is purely public.

An added bonus for sharps sweating the Rays: non-division road favorites have gone 140-88 (61.4%) this season, winning +16.2 units with a 7.1% ROI.

Sharp angle: Rays (moved from +105 to -109)

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