- The Rockies have won six straight games, and public bettors are backing them as an underdog again on Saturday.
- But the Diamondbacks are in a rare contrarian favorite spot, which has offered tons of value to bettors since 2005.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
- Rockies (Kyle Freeland): +137
- D-backs (Zack Godley): -152
- Over/under: 8
- First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
If you’ve read Josh Appelbaum’s guide to betting baseball (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend you do), you already know that baseball is different than any other sport when it comes to gambling. As a moneyline sport with consistent winning strategies and a high volume of plays in a given season, baseball bettors have to be willing to do two things:
- Be patient.
I understand that in most cases, I’m more likely to lose my bet than I am to win it. But because I’m usually taking plus-money payouts and hopefully beating the closing line, I should come out on top in the end.
That method of betting means there’s generally not much to differentiate one sharp play from another, making it tough to pick out which plays are stronger than others — hence the importance of flat-betting — and quite frankly, that can be pretty boring.
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There are, however, plays that come up every so often that are a bit different from the standard underdog bets, and in my opinion have a more intriguing theory behind them.
One of those plays is the contrarian favorite, and it applies to Rockies-Diamondbacks tonight.
If you’ve read any of these articles in the past, you probably already know how this goes, but I love the theory so much I’ll say it again.
When oddsmakers offer a good team at a high payout, they aren’t doing it to be nice to you. They want you to think you’re being clever by taking that plus-money spot, and tonight, that spot belongs to the Rockies.
Colorado comes into tonight’s matchup winners of its past six games, a streak that has moved the Rockies just a half-game behind the D-backs in the NL West. Despite that, they’re a fairly big underdog tonight in Arizona.
As a result, 58% of bettors are rolling with the hot hand, but the Rockies have moved all the way from +111 to their +137, which means the D-backs fit all of the following criteria:
- They’re a favorite of -145 or more.
- They’ve received less than 45% of bets.
- They’ve had a line move of more than 10 cents in their favor.
Since 2005, teams fitting this relatively simple model have gone 150-61, winning more than 31 units for a 14.8% return on investment.
The D-backs also have drawn 80% of dollars despite the minority backing, another indication that Arizona, while a favorite, is in fact the sharp play tonight.
The pick: Diamondbacks -152