MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Rays-Red Sox, 2 Other Thursday Games

MLB Sharp Report: Pros Betting Rays-Red Sox, 2 Other Thursday Games article feature image

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michael Brosseau and Matt Duffy

  • Wiseguys are getting down on three MLB on Thursday, headlined by Rays-Red Sox (7:10 p.m. ET).
  • Sharps are also betting Blue Jays-Orioles (7:05 p.m. ET) and Padres-Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET).
  • Using the tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network. We analyze how pros are betting each game.

Wiseguys bounced back with a profitable night on Wednesday, cashing both of their unders without a sweat (Cubs-Cardinals and Brewers-Athletics) en route to a 2-1 night.

Football is in the air and much of the gambling universe will be focused on the Hall of Fame Game tonight between the Broncos and Falcons (8 p.m. ET). But sharps aren’t abandoning baseball. They’re grinding bases to the bitter end. No days off.

After analyzing Thursday’s short 10-game schedule using the betting tools available at Sports Insights and The Action Network, I’ve identified sharp action coming down on a three MLB games.

>> All odds as of 1:30 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.

Toronto Blue Jays (43-67) at Baltimore Orioles (36-71) 

7:05 p.m. ET | Trent Thornton (3-7, 5.36 ERA) vs. Asher Wojciechowski (2-3, 3.60 ERA) 

Of all the Thursday games, this one is by far the ugliest. The public sees two American League East cellar dwellers going head-to-head. Average Joes are wary of the Orioles at home with the better starting pitcher. But the Blue Jays have a superior win-loss record and have played well as of late, winning four of their past five. Gotta go with the Jays, right?

This game opened with Toronto listed as a short -118 road favorite and Baltimore a +108 dog. Currently 60% of bets are backing the Jays, indicating moderate public support. However, we’ve seen this line fall bigly away from Toronto (-118 to -103) and toward Baltimore (+108 to -107).

What caused this massive movement toward the Orioles? Sharp money, of course.

Using our Sports Insights Bet Signals, we’ve tracked a pair of steam moves on BAL at +107 and +100. The Orioles are only receiving 40% of bets but 79% of dollars as well. This overload of smart money from respected pro bettors caused massive reverse line movement in favor of the home team. We haven’t seen any conflicting Jays moves (or buyback), which means their support is almost purely public.

The O’s also find themselves in a profitable historical spot. So far this season, unpopular favorites (receiving less than 50% of bets) have gone 136-100 (58%), winning +9.02 units. Conference favorites with high totals (9 or higher) have performed even better, going 502-300 (63%), winning +41.54 units.

Despite Toronto having a 7-game advantage in the win column, the Jays have actually been a less profitable team to bet on this season. The Jays gone lost -14.19 units compared to Baltimore’s -9.09. This speaks to public perception and the value of buying low on unpopular teams like the O’s.

It doesn’t hurt that Brian O’Nora is behind the plate tonight. Since 2005, home teams have won at a 55.4% clip and produced +12.52 units won with O’Nora calling balls and strikes.

Sharp angle: Orioles (moved from +108 to -107)

Tampa Bay Rays (62-48) at Boston Red Sox (59-50) 

7:10 p.m. ET | Brendan McKay (1-1, 3.72 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (10-5, 4.18 ERA)

The Rays cashed bigly for contrarians and sportsbooks in the first two games of this sneaky big AL East series. Tampa won the opener 6-5, cashing as +121 dogs with only 38% of bets. Last night the Rays won 8-5, cashing a +114 dogs with only 31% of bets.

Tonight, the public says there’s no way the Sox can lose again at home and get swept in the three-game series. But wiseguys aren’t falling victim to the Gambler’s Fallacy. They’re back on the Rays train.

Boston opened as a -150 home favorite and Tampa a +138 dog. Currently 65% of bets are backing the Sox, yet we’ve seen Boston tumble all the way down to -125.

Why would the bookmakers drop the Sox’ price when the public is already all over them? Because they took in big smart money on the Rays, which created liability for the house and forced them to adjust the line in Tampa’s favor.

Wiseguys got down hard on the Rays three separate times, crushing TB at +130, +127 and +120. The fact that sharps kept hitting Tampa even though the payout shrunk speaks volumes. This means they still see value even though the number tumbled. We haven’t seen any conflicting smart money moves on the Red Sox.

The Rays also match several profitable Bet Labs historical systems. They’re a divisional dog with a super high total (11). Divisional dogs bark louder than non-divisional dogs due to the built in familiarity. And high totals benefit dogs as the higher expected runs scored leads to more variance and levels the playing field.

Since 2005, dogs receiving less than 50% of bets with at least 20 cents of reverse line movement in games with high totals (8.5 or more) have won +107.16 units with a 10.2% ROI.

Sharp angle: Rays (moved from +138 to +116)

San Diego Padres (50-57) at Los Angeles Dodgers (71-39) 

10:10 p.m. ET | Joey Lucchesi (6-5, 4.12 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.92 ERA) 

Even since he broke into the Bigs in 2008, Clayton Kershaw has been a cash cow for under bettors. According to our Bet Labs software, the under has gone 178-143 (56%) with Kershaw on the mound, winning +24.60 units with a 7.4% ROI.

Tonight, the public sees a low total in a juiced ball season and says “I know Kershaw is great, but give me the over.” Fine by the sharps, they’ll gladly back a rare contrarian under with a future Hall of Famer on the mound.

This NL West total opened at 7.5. Early public over betting (60%) has caused bookmakers to briefly adjust the line up to 8 at various points throughout the day. Anytime the 8 has been available, sharps have crushed it (we’ve tracked a pair of steam and reverse line moves on the Under 8). This influx of smart money has caused the total to fall back down to 7.5

This under also matches a top Bet Labs system: Betting Against the Public on an Under Streak. Since 2005, when the under is receiving less than 50% of bets and the home team has gone under in 2, 3 or 4 straight games the under has gone 2,009-1,716 (54%), winning an astounding +202.02 units ($100 bettor would have won $20,202.

In other words, when a team keeps going under the public says they’re “due” for a high scoring game. But in reality, it’s been profitable to buy low and continue to back the under.

Sharp angle: Under (moved from 8 to 7.5)

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