Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the dog days of summer. We are a quite unfortunate 56 days until my Rice Owls kick off the college football season down under against Stanford—a game in which I will be hammering the under for obvious reasons. (Kidding aside, there are legitimate reasons to take the under in this game no matter what the line is, it would have to be verrrrry low for me to stay away – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. More on that in August)
While all MLB games count the same in the win-loss record, there’s no denying that the June-August sludge of the MLB season can be tough to get excited about, especially with NBA-hangover and the football season not for a couple of months. The good news for us Houstonians is that heading into the All-Star Break, we have a very, very good baseball team in both the win-loss column and in quite a few key wagering statistics. Me and my wallet are both counting on these trends to continue through to the All-Star Break.
The Houston Astros are the third most profitable team in the MLB behind the D-Backs and Rockies.
In other words, if you did nothing but bet the Astros money line for every single game so far this season, your book would be up big for the 2017 season. To be exact, a $100 wager on every Astros money line this season would have left one with $1,314 in net winnings so far – which is a fantastic return. I should point out that the Astros are actually net losers at home from a wagering perspective, while the road money won is an outstanding $1,477.
The Stros are 25-17 at home but more often than not are heavy favorites on the money line in Minute Maid, which obviously takes away from overall return. Houston’s league best 29-9 road record paired with jucier away money lines are the drivers which have led them to be the second most profitable road team to bet behind…gasp, the Twins (!!), who are somehow 4 games over .500 this season with a -45 run differential. I expect them to revert to the mean hard in the second half of the season while the Astros continue their trend as a strong road team.
Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, Jr. are both top 10 guys for Pitcher Money Won
Dallas Keuchel + $636
Lance McCullers, Jr. + $512
Similar to the concept outlined above, Pitcher Money Won assumes a $100 bet on the starting pitcher’s team money line each time they start, and accumulates all of the gambling outcomes of those games. Pretty remarkable considering both of these guys have spent time on the DL this year. I look for Keuchel to remain in Cy Young form after he returns from his neck injury, while McCullers, Jr. seems to have overcome his pitching struggles on the road from previous seasons. If you ever see a line of -180 or less with one of these guys pitching, do yourself a favor and throw down on the ‘Stros.
I Might be Biased Pick of the Week
In the I Might be Biased Pick of the Week each week, I will provide a (winning) pick involving one of our beloved Houston teams. Nothing goes better with a hometown win than a little extra fluff in the wallet. We’re all in this together.
Astros series vs. Yankees -155 (Astros must win 2 of 3 in the June 30 – July 2 series)
You didn’t really think I was going to write a column about how good the Astros have been this season gambling wise and not give an Astros pick did you? While I will be backing the Astros in tonight’s game at -175 with McCullers Jr. on the bump, I like the series price a little better against the Yankees with slightly more favorable odds. The Yankees are throwing Michael Pineda, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino in this series, all of whom are very gettable by this Astros lineup. Throw in the recent trends (8-2 over the last 10 games for Houston, 4-6 for New York), and I’m feeling very good about it. The only thing that gives me pause is the (quite realistic) possibility of Aaron Judge going berserk in one of the league’s more hitter friendly ballparks—let’s just hope the Judge doesn’t crush our souls this weekend.
Safer than the US T Bill
This is the part of the column where we make some money. Hometown bias aside, let’s make some solid picks for the upcoming week/weekend. I’m not going to cop out here and give some ridiculous favorite at -2000+ odds—the goal here is to give winners first, but ones that have some decent value.
Manny Pacquiao by decision -110
I’m worried that this fight may be kind of a dud to watch—I don’t think Jeff Horn has any chance whatsoever and Manny Pacquiao hasn’t knocked somebody out since he TKO’d Miguel Cotto in 2009, so I’m thinking our money is safe on Pac Man by decision in this fight. There’s also about a 50% chance that I parlay Manny -600 with every bet I make this weekend…
Other Picks I Like
Friday, June 30
D-Backs vs. Rockies -140
Robbie Ray is a top 5 guy in pitcher money won so far this season, and the D-Backs offense is firing on all cylinders this season, especially at home.
Pirates vs. Giants -120
The Giants, generally a public favorite team, have been abysmal this season and I’m a supporter of betting against them until further notice. I’m looking for Gerrit Cole to make a strong start at home this evening.
Saturday, July 1
United States vs Ghana Under 2.5 Goals -110
There have been exactly 3 goals scored between these two teams in each of their last three matches dating back to 2006, but I’m betting that this trend will be bucked on Saturday. Both teams have played in quite a few low scoring international friendlies as of late.