Sharp Money Moving Rays vs. Astros ALDS Game 5 Betting Odds

Sharp Money Moving Rays vs. Astros ALDS Game 5 Betting Odds article feature image

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Gerrit Cole.

  • The over/under for tonights Rays-Astros ALDS Game 5 are on the move, due to action from professional bettors.
  • Using The Action Network's betting tools, we detail how sharps are this matchup, which features Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA) on the mound for Houston and Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78 ERA) starting for Tampa Bay.

Wednesday’s Game 5 between the Cardinals and Braves was over within 10 minutes, while the other took 10 innings. Tonight, we have the chance to see more elimination-game craziness as the Astros, once thought to be a juggernaut, try to hold off the surging Rays.

Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole is a big favorite against the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow, as the Astros can be found between -275 and -290 across the market.

Perhaps the payout on the Rays is a tad bit too juicy for a pitcher of Glasnow’s caliber, as 55% of the bettors are taking their chances on the Rays at around +250.

Odds as of Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

There hasn’t been enough sharp activity to cause a market-wide move in either direction though, as some books have moved toward Houston, some toward Tampa and some remain at their opening line.

However, the Rays vs. Astros over/under reeks of sharp action. I can just smell it through my live odds page.

With two excellent pitchers on the mound, this total opened at 7 (o-120). It’s the third time this postseason we’ve seen a total of 7, with last night’s Nats-Dodgers debacle going over and the Tampa-Oakland Wild Card Game going under.

To my surprise, the public is actually on the over. Sixty-eight percent of folks expect there to be at least eight runs.

Perhaps they expect the Astros’ bats to do some damage because I find it hard to imagine that the public thinks Gerrit Cole, a man who has personally allowed five earned runs in his past 49.2 innings pitched, will be anything but excellent.

Let’s just take a closer look at Cole’s numbers since Sept. 1:

  • Seven starts, 6-0 record, 49.2 innings, 5 earned runs (0.91 ERA), 89 strikeouts (16.1 K/9), 8 walks (1.45 BB/9)

It’s possible his dominant streak comes to a Verlander-esque end tonight, but unlikely enough that big bettors are backing the under. Not to mention the fact that Glasnow had a 1.78 ERA and 0.89 WHIP (same as Cole) in 60.2 innings this season.

Just 32% of bets are on the under, but it’s actually getting 51% of the money. Big bettors aren’t necessarily sharp — they could just be rich fellas whose nickname is literally “Money” like Floyd Mayweather  — but most bettors who consistently put down large sums of cash are usually more successful than the small-stakes hobbyists. If they weren’t, they’d be broke.

This discrepancy can help explain why the total has gone from 7 (o-120) to 7 (u-120) — the old juice reversal. Books are likely hesitant to drop it down to 6.5, which is a number we haven’t seen in MLB since a May series between the Diamondbacks and Giants.

Totals that low are a rarity these days, likely because they’re unwarranted.

Since the start of the 2017 season, the over is 34-22 in games with totals of 6.5 or lower, cashing by an average of 2.16 runs per Bet Labs. With that in mind, we’ll likely need another wave of sharp action on the under to get books to make the jump down to 6.5.

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