Brew City Sports
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Packers Extend . . . Ban Johnson?
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
2011 MLB Gambling
It's taken me a while to post this, so some of the lines may have moved a bit. Instead of analyzing every team, I'm giving five bets I like this year (odds courtesy of Pinnacle Sports). Four of these bets are world series champion bets. In the case that the odds given are more than two times greater (i.e. 50:1 for WS vs. >25:1 for League Champion) for the team to win their league, take the league bet in lieu of these. As always, these are not the teams I think are the best in baseball. These are the teams that I think have the best chance to win given their odds. So while I believe the Phillies have the best chance of winning the World Series, I wouldn't bet on them because they are at 3:1 odds. There is not enough reward. So here are five bets I like:
Dodgers at 50:1 to win World Series
The Dodgers play in a tough division, and they play in a division with the defending WS champion Giants. Gamblers no doubt are overlooking the team's potential. At 50:1, the Dodgers are playing with more favorable than 6:1 odds of making the postseason. With the pitching and defense this team has, I would say it makes the postseason one out of every three seasons (meaning they should be at 24:1). If Matt Kemp can rebound from a bad 2010 season and Andre Ethier can hit like he did while healthy in 2010, they have just enough offense to push perhaps the best run-preventing team in the league into the postseason.
Houston Astros under 71.5 wins
I'm a bigger fan of postseason bets just because they are more fun, and you don't keep your money tied up for 7 months on a 50/50 bet. But this bet stood out to me because of not only how bad I think the Astros are now but because of how bad I think they will develop to be by the end of the season. This team should have lost almost 100 games last year, and that's when it employed Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. I don't trust Brett Myers's health, and an injury anywhere in the rotation means Ryan Rowland-Smith is starting every 5th game. In fact, he may already be in the rotation. The Astros have a tough interleague schedule (Tex. 6, Tor. 3, Bos. 3, Tam. 3), and the rest of the division is up this year. They also don't get to play themselves. They have very little upgrades in the upper minors, and, even if they did, there isn't much reason to push those guys up this year. By August, they will be trying to give as much playing time as possible to the young guys already on the roster, guys like Brett Wallace and Jason Castro. If you saw them last year, you'll realize that's not going to help in the short term. Also, this team has Bill Hall.
Detroit Tigers at 35:1 to win World Series
I'm struggling to find any real difference between the White Sox, Twins and Tigers at the top of the AL Central. For whatever reason, the Tigers' odds at 35:1 are higher than the White Sox at 30:1 and Twins at 25:1. So I'll take the Tigers. I like how the Tigers go for broke with their prospects every season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver contributing meaningfully by season's end. I also like how the Tigers' first baseman is doing his best Babe Ruth impression, while competing first basemen in the division are doing their best Corey Koskie impressions. Power pitchers have a higher ceiling, and the Tigers are loaded on that front. So I like their ceiling, philosophy and odds.
Oakland A's at 35:1 to win World Series
I find the A's to be perpetually underrated. They have a fantastic defense and pitching combo. Combined with their home ballpark, they should allow the fewest runs in the AL. While I don't think their offense is anywhere near good, the AL West is a fight among only 3 competing teams. One of those teams, the Angels, is overrated. The Rangers are legitimately better than the A's and are also a young team, but I'm leery of how top-heavy the Rangers' team is and how injury-prone many of those top players are. The Rangers' rotation is also very risky. So, the A's are a lot closer to the Rangers than people think. On paper they're not as sexy, but when things shake out the A's have a good chance of being ahead. Regardless, 35:1 odds are great because the A's should make the playoffs more than once out of every four years.
Atlanta Braves at 25:1 to win World Series
I'm going against my general trend here in that I generally do not promote betting on a team to win the Wild Card. To win the Wild Card, the team must beat 13 other teams. To win the division, you must beat 4 other teams. So, the odds are tough, especially with the NL having a lot of competition this year for the WC (I could see 7 teams legitimately competing for the spot). But the Braves overcome these odds because I believe they are the second best team in the NL and good enough to give the Phillies a run at the division, though ultimately it's hard to imagine the Phils not winning. The Braves are loaded with young, star-level talent. The lineup is fierce with the addition of Dan Uggla and another year of growth for Jason Hayward. The rotation is good, deep, and could be remarkable with the addition of some pitching prospects, such as Julio Teheran, considered by many to be the best pitching prospect in the minors. The Braves are in such a position of strength with pitching depth that they can add an impact bat in LF or 1B, if necessary, through trade as the season wears on. Remember, pitching prospects, hell, even middling pitchers, can get you a really good bat in July. They also have enough live young arms that Teheran and others could be vital bullpen cogs come playoff time. I really like this team despite the fact they are behind the Phillies and have only 25:1 odds.