The hottest current trends in sports betting are baseball favorites and NFL preseason Unders.
If you’ve been following my nightly recaps on Twitter @ViewFromVegas, in the VSiN daily newsletter or on any number of our live programs, you know the gap between the haves and have-nots has been widening in MLB, with the chalk dominating almost nightly.
MLB favorites usually plateau about 57-59 percent. After faves got off to a bad start, it was a slow grind as they finally climbed to 58 percent by the All-Star break. But that was nothing compared with the recent run: Faves were 147-65 (69.3 percent, excluding pick-’ems and pushes) in August through Monday. That came after faves and ’dogs split 21-21 over the last three days of July, including ’dogs going 9-6 on July 31. After faves went 11-4 on Aug. 1, they split 4-4 on Aug. 2 and went just 8-7 on Aug. 3. But then they went 124-50 (71.3 percent) over the next 13 days.
And, yes, just like during the great NHL First-Period Over run of 2019, yours truly, Mr. ’Dog-or-Pass, has been playing favorites — though I justify it by betting them on the -1.5 run line and turning them into ’dogs at plus money, or parlaying them.
Popular favorites to parlay have been the Giants, Dodgers, Padres (until recently), Rays, Red Sox and White Sox. But it has actually been more profitable to bet straight or in parlays on whichever teams are playing against the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Orioles and Rangers.
This also ties in closely with what I wrote this summer about betting teams on winning streaks and fading teams on losing streaks. Entering Tuesday’s action, the Cubs and Orioles had lost 12 games in a row, with the Nationals on a seven-game skid. The winning streaks haven’t been as long nor do they consistently include the same teams like we see on the losing side.
We’ll keep pounding away on and against these teams as long as it works, especially when we see so many blowouts where we’re not afraid to lay the -1.5 runs on the chalk.
In NFL preseason Week 1, Unders went 13-3 (81.3 percent) and improved to 14-3 (82.3 percent), including the Hall of Fame Game the previous week.
It was an incredible run watching game after game stay under the closing total, highlighted by a 9-1 mark Saturday.
However, I believe this is a case of “let the bettor beware,” as I see less chance of this trend continuing compared with the MLB chalk trend. For one thing, in recent years preseason Overs were all the rage. This appears to be a cyclical thing. In fact, bettors jumping on the trend Sunday already zigged when they should have zagged as the Colts-Panthers’ Over/Under was pounded down to 32.5 points and the game went Over in the Colts’ come-from-behind, 21-18 victory.
The fact that we saw an inordinate number of offensive starters, especially quarterbacks, sit out last week certainly led to lower scores. I’m not so sure we’ll see that again in preseason Week 2 since it’s the next-to-last preseason game with the reduction this year from four games to three. So this could be the dress rehearsal when we see more starters play longer.
In addition, it doesn’t appear the Under barrage has deterred oddsmakers from setting higher totals this week.
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