MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Cubs-Dodgers, 2 Other Thursday Games

MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Cubs-Dodgers, 2 Other Thursday Games article feature image

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

  • Sharps are betting three games on tonight's MLB slate: Angels-Rays (7:10 p,m. ET), Tigers-Royals (8:05 p.m. ET) and Cubs-Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET).
  • Sports Insights' Bet Signals and Action Network betting market percentages reveal which bets the pros are making.

Wiseguys split their two Wednesday plays, cashing the Brewers-Astros over but losing the Orioles moneyline. With the Stanley Cup Final now over, there is one less sport to captivate the attention of the action-thirsty betting public. Sharps hope this brings more recreational money over to the MLB market, leading to an increased contrarian edge for pro bettors.

After analyzing Thursday’s short 11-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 2:10 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.

Los Angeles Angels (33-35) @ Tampa Bay Rays (41-26)  

7:05 p.m. ET | Tyler Skaggs (4-6, 4.96 ERA) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (5-2, 4.32 ERA)

When betting over/unders, one of the biggest and oldest mistakes that casual bettors make is adding up the ERA’s (earned run average) of both starting pitchers and comparing it to the total for the game.

For example, these two starters have a combined ERA of 9.28. Tonight’s total is 9. So pound the over, right?

If only it were that easy.

After opening at 8.5, heavy public betting (71% of bets) forced oddsmakers to adjust the total up to 9. That’s when wiseguys capitalized on an extra half run of inflated line value and got down hard on the under 9, triggering a pair of steam and reverse line moves across the market.

Some books are back down to 8.5 while others are hanging 9 with a juiced up under -115 (which means they’re likely to fall back down to 8.5 as well). In other words, all of the liability is on the under despite heavy over betting.

According to our Bet Labs database, Tropicana Field is one of the best under stadiums due to its closed dome, which provides ideal conditions for pitchers and bad sight lines for hitters (plus the ball doesn’t travel well indoors).

When the total is 8.5 or higher at the Trop, the under has won 55% of the time (+34.35 units) since 2005.

Sharp angle: Under (9)

Detroit Tigers (25-39) @ Kansas City Royals (21-46) 

8:05 p.m. ET | Matt Boyd (5-4, 3.08 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (4-6, 5.90 ERA)

One look at this AL Central pitching matchup and Average Joes see all they need to know. Death, taxes and Homer Bailey overs.

Sportsbooks know this longstanding public bias and will shade the total toward the over, knowing the public will hammer Bailey overs no matter what. As a result, value-driven wiseguys can buy low on an artificially inflated under.

This total opened at 9. Currently 65% of bets are taking the over, but 69% of dollars are taking the under. This is a classic example of a Pro vs. Joe bet split, with casual five-dollar bets taking the over but big dime ($1000) wagers from respected pros betting the under.

We’ve also seen this line fall from 9 down to 8.5 thanks to four separate steam and reverse line moves on the under.

The under also fits a profitable Bet Labs historical system. Since 2005, when the total is between 8 and 10, the under is receiving less than 50% of bets and the home team is on an under streak (2-4 straight games), the under has won 54% of the time with 200.25 units won.

In other words, the public sees a team going under a lot recently and says “they’re due for an over.” But in reality, buying low on an under streak is a profitable bet.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 9 to 8.5)

Chicago Cubs (38-29) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (45-23)

10:10 p.m. ET | Jon Lester (5-4, 3.56 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (5-1, 3.14 ERA)

This marquee pitching matchup between two elite and historic franchises is by far the most heavily bet game of the night. Value-minded wiseguys are zigging while the public zags and targeting a rare contrarian over play.

The total opened at a low 7.5. Because two aces are going head-to-head, the public says it has to be a low-scoring game. However, despite 60% of bets taking the under, we’ve actually seen this total rise to 8. Also, the over 8 is being juiced to -115, which means books still have liability on the over despite already adjusting the total up a half run.

What caused this line to rise if the public is betting the under?

Sharp money, of course.

Currently 40% of bets are taking the over, yet it accounts for a whopping 80% of dollars, signaling big smart money on a higher scoring game.

We’ve also tracked six different steam and reverse line moves on the over, making it the top bet signal play of the night. We haven’t seen a single conflicting under move (or buyback).

The wind is blowing out to straightaway center at 4-7 mph, another edge to the over.

This “contrarian over with RLM” spot has been a big moneymaker for wiseguys historically. Since 2005, when the over is getting less than 45% of bets and rises at least a half run, the over has won 54.7% of the time, winning 51.54 units with an 8% return on investment.

Sharp angle: Over (moved from 7.5 to 8)

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