MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Athletics-Astros, 2 Other Monday Games

MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Athletics-Astros, 2 Other Monday Games article feature image

Houston Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos (28) celebrates first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10). Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

  • Professional bettors are getting down on three games tonight, headlined by Athletics-Astros (8:10 p.m. ET).
  • Wiseguys are also getting down on Cardinals-Pirates (7:05 p.m. ET) and Marlins-White Sox (8:10 p.m. ET).
  • Using the tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, we analyze how pros are betting each game.

Death, taxes and regression in sports betting. In the end, everything comes back to earth.

In April, May and June overs absolutely dominated, posting a 552-589 record (48.4%) and losing -65.91 units. But so far in July, unders have bounced back in a big way, going 121-105 (53.5%), +10.63 units.

Books were crushed by public overs cashing at a historic rate, so what did they do? They adjusted the totals higher (known as shading), providing increased value to buy low on unders at an inflated price. Sharps hope this is a sign of things to come the rest of the way.

After analyzing Monday’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.

St. Louis Cardinals (51-47) at Pittsburgh Pirates (46-52) 

7:05 p.m. ET | Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 2.80 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16 ERA)

Sharps and squares (recreational bettors who bet for fun) aren’t always on opposite sides of a game. Sure, professional bettors love to bet against the public in order to capitalize on bias, place themselves on the side of the house and take advantage of mispriced or inflated/deflated numbers, but pros won’t stubbornly lay off a game or go the other way just out of public spite.

If wiseguys identify an edge, they get down hard. It doesn’t matter if the public is with them or not.

This NL Central matchup is a perfect example.

The total opened at 10. Currently 65% of bets are taking the under and we’ve seen the line fall from 10 to 9.5. Some books are even showing 9. The fall to 9 is key because, in a vacuum, 65% of bets might be enough to drop a total a half-run. However, a full-run move is almost exclusively due to wiseguys, not public bettors.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we’ve tracked four separate steam and reverse line moves on the under. The first came at Under 10 right when the line opened, then we saw three more big moves on the Under 9.5. Even better, we haven’t seen any conflicting moves (or buyback) on the over.

Reading between the lines, sharps are telling you the hook on the under 9.5 is crucial.

Books showing Under 9.5 are juicing the under to 9.5 Under -120, which means the entire market has liability on the under and it may fall to 9 across the board before first-pitch.

A cherry on top for wiseguys on the under: Mike Estabrook is behind the plate. Since 2005, the under has hit at a 57.1% clip and produced +28.22 units won with Estabrook calling balls and strikes.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 10 to 9.5)

Oakland Athletics (57-43) at Houston Astros (64-37)

8:10 p.m. ET | Home Bailey (8-6, 4.69 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA) 

This sneaky big AL West matchup opened with an over/under of 9. Average Joes see the Oakland starter and that’s all they need to know. Houston will score 10 runs off Homer Bailey and cash the over on its own!

But sharps are buying low on a contrarian under in a rare high total game with Gerrit Cole on the mound.

Currently 61% of bets are taking the over, yet we’ve seen the line remain frozen at 9 (with heavy under 9 juice -125). Some books have even touched 8.5. This one-sided liability speaks volumes. The books are telling you that they could care less about $5 bets taking the over. It’s those big wagers from pro players on the under that instill fear.

Wiseguys steamed the Under 9 twice across the market. The under is receiving only 39% of bets but 55% of dollars, further evidence of smart money sweating a low-scoring game.

The roof is closed in Houston, which provides another edge to the under (perfect pitching conditions and the ball doesn’t travel for hitters). According to our Bet Labs database, the under has cashed at a 54% clip and won +80.7 units in closed-roof stadiums when the total is 8.5 or higher.

This under also matches the highly profitable Bet Against the Public on Under Streak system. When the total is between 8 and 10, the under is getting less than 50% of bets and the home team has gone under the total in two to four straight games, the under has won an absurd +203.52 units since 2005.

Sharp angle: Under (line freeze at 9)

Miami Marlins (36-61) at Chicago White Sox (44-52) 

8:10 p.m. ET | Trevor Richards (3-11, 4.24 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (4-9, 5.86 ERA) 

One of the biggest mistakes casual bettors make is betting a game strictly based on won-loss records. There’s so much more that goes into betting a game, with dozens of other factors to consider. If it was as easy as just taking the team with the better record, sportsbooks would go bankrupt and Average Joes would all be millionaires.

Take this under-the-radar Interleague showdown for example.

Chicago has a better record, enjoys home-field advantage at a short price and also faces a pitcher with a 3-11 record. Sounds like a layup, right?

However, a closer look at numbers tells a different story. Chicago and Miami have identical run differentials (-98 runs), meaning they are the definition of evenly matched. So you know which side sharps are taking. The undervalued Fish, of course.

This game is all about line movement. The White Sox opened as -138 home favorites (with Miami a +118 dog). Nearly 70% of bets are backing Chicago, yet we’ve seen this line plummet away from the ChiSox (-138 to -110) and toward the Marlins (+118 to +100).

Why would the bookmakers drop the line to give Average Joes a better number on Chicago? No, they’re not being nice out of the kindness of their hearts. The house got hit with smart Marlins money from respected pro bettors, forcing the books to adjust the line in favor of the road dogs so they could limit their risk and entice buyback on the South Siders.

We’ve tracked five separate steam and reverse line moves on Miami, which means sharps are united on the Fish and the Chicago support is purely public.

Two added bonuses for sharps sweating the Fish:

  1. Miami is a road dog with a high total, a profitable spot since 2005, and a National League team in Interleague play.
  2. AL teams dominated Interleague Play from 2005 to 2017, but over the past two seasons NL teams have won +21.54 units.

Sharp angle: Marlins (moved from +118 to +100)

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