Looking at Pitchers; Vegas Embraces Penguins, Blackhawks; Looking at Hitters; Vegas Adjusts MLB Odds

homer bailey


Baseball props – Handicapping the pitchers

Recommended plays by our fantasy experts

The Reds’ Homer Bailey looks like a solid OVER bet on win-total prop posted in Las Vegas.

By: Matthew Lutovsky www.linesmakers.sportingnews.com   


What’s tougher – hitting a curveball or hitting a season-long bet on a guy who throws a curveball?

Pitchers can be maddening to try to predict, mainly because there are so many factors out of their control that can ruin a season (and a bet) by mid-May. But just because you can’t predict injuries or run support doesn’t mean you can’t find some value in the pitcher props recently released by the LVH SuperBook.

The staff at Fantasy Source, The Linemakers’ partner here at Sporting News, is here to help.

Here’s a statistical breakdown and some recommended plays on pitcher props for the 2014 MLB season.


There’s been a league-wide pitching resurgence over the last several seasons, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to wins by individual pitchers. Since the start of the 2009 season, only once has a pitcher topped 21 victories (Justin Verlander with 24 in 2011).

There have been six instances of pitchers winning exactly 21 games in that span, including Max Scherzer last year, but it’s tough to recommend betting the OVER here, based simply on recent trends. The UNDER is the much safer play, and it’s plus-money to boot.


Pitchers have hit this OVER just four times in the past five seasons, but last year’s strikeout king, Yu Darvish, posted 277 Ks – the most since Randy Johnson in 2004 (290). If you take this OVER, you’re basically betting on Darvish to stay healthy, plus giving yourself a few possible outs with Stephen Strasburg (average of 194 Ks the past two years despite throwing fewer than 184 innings both seasons), Scherzer (240 Ks last year) and maybe Verlander (two seasons of 250-plus Ks since ’09).

Darvish seems likely to top 250 Ks if he stays healthy, but there is better value on the UNDER.

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Homer Bailey (11.5). Bailey won only 11 games last year after posting 13 victories in 2012, but don’t let those numbers worry you too much. The 27-year-old righty has made at least 32 starts in each of the past two seasons, and the Reds have won at least 90 games in each of the past two years. With Bailey showing big improvements last year (more Ks, fewer homers) and netting a huge contract extension this offseason, he seems due to start picking up more wins. The OVER looks good here.

James Shields (13.5). Shields has made at least 31 starts in seven straight seasons and won at least 13 games in four straight campaigns. Last year, he notched 13 victories despite getting fewer than four runs of support per game (22nd fewest). Even more noteworthy is that Shields actually tied with Clayton Kershaw for the league lead in quality starts (at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs allowed) last season with 27. With the Royals expected to be playoff contenders this year, the durable Shields has a good shot to hit this OVER.

David Price (15.0). Price has been all-or-nothing the past four years when it comes to wins, twice getting at least 19 and twice being held below 13. The talent is certainly there for the former Cy Young award winner, but a nagging triceps injury limited him to just 27 starts last year. Even a two-week DL stint – or a trade, which is a definite possibility – will make it tough for Price to get to 16 wins. Take the UNDER.


pens vs blkhawks

Stanley Cup odds – Penguins, Blackhawks look good to Las Vegas

Red Wings, Canucks struggle

Olympic hero T.J. Oshie and the St. Louis Blues have emerged as a Stanley Cup favorite.

By: Ben Valentine www.linesmakers.sportingnews.com  

As the NHL turns toward its stretch run following the Olympic break, we look at how odds to win the Stanley Cup have changed since the season got underway last fall.

Handicappers pegged the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins as the teams to beat back at the start of the season, and those teams proven as good as advertised. The Blackhawks’ number has undergone small adjustments throughout the year, but as of February 24 at the LVH SuperBook, Chicago’s Stanley Cup odds are 9-to-2. That’s the exact number Chicago had on the eve of the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins were 5-to-1 when the season began and have seen a slight adjustment over the course of the season to 9-to-2.

Chicago and Pittsburgh are joined on the top of the oddsboard by the St. Louis Blues. Owners of the league’s best goal differential and the second-most points in the NHL, St. Louis was considered a contender when the season began — sixth choice at 14-to-1. Bettors who backed them at that number have every right to be smiling at the moment, as St. Louis sits as 5-to-2 co-favorites to hoist the Cup this season.

Perhaps an even better bet right now is the Anaheim Ducks. Before the season began, they were available at at the LVH at 25-to-1. Today, with the Ducks owning the most points in the NHL, that number is all the way down to 5-to-1.

Two 60-to-1 teams, which placed them near the bottom of the oddsboard in October, also look like solid investments at the moment. The Colorado Avalanche, comfortably in playoff position with 79 points (just five behind the Blues and Blackhawks) are 20-to-1 with the season set to resume. In the East, the Tampa Bay Lightning not only have surprised with the third-most points in the conference to date, they’ve have done it while missing star Steven Stamkos (broken leg) for much of the year. Tampa is 25-to-1.

The disappointments

There are quite a few teams that haven’t quite lived up to expectations. But some of those teams, like the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, seem likely to get into the playoffs and at least have a shot at catching fire and rewarding their preseason backers this spring.

If you went in on the Detroit Red Wings at 14-to-1 or the Vancouver Canucks at 16-to-1, things are not looking so good. The Red Wings hold the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but lead three teams by just one point. Two more teams sit just three points behind. To make matters worse, Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg has undergone surgery for a herniated disc in his back, which was aggravated at the Olympics. He may not return this season.

The Canucks would not even be in the playoffs if the season ended today, trailing Dallas by one point for the last wild-card spot in the West. But at least the Canucks will get a reinforcement in the form of captain Henrik Sedin, who has been hampered by a rib injury since January.

There are also teams that are nearly finished. If you bet on the New York Islanders at 40-to-1 to breakthrough after making the playoffs last year, you appear to be are out of luck. The Islanders are near certain to miss the playoffs and have lost their best player, John Tavares, for the season after he went down with a knee injury at the Olympics.

Long shots in the hunt

As things stand today, the Dallas Stars are not likely to win the Stanley Cup. But they are currently in the last wild-card spot in their conference. The Stars have 100-to-1 odds, the highest number of any team currently in playoff position.

Teams that are just out of the postseason with high numbers include the Ottawa Senators (100-to-1 and one point back in the East), the Washington Capitals (75-to-1 and one point back in the East), the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes (each at 100-to-1 and each three points back in the East), the Phoenix Coyotes (75-to-1, tied on points with Dallas) and the Winnipeg Jets (100-to-1, two points back in the West).

If you’re feeling especially daring, the Nashville Predators are 300-to-1. They are four points back of that last spot and have four teams ahead of them. However, the Predators may get goalie Pekka Rinne back from injury soon. Rinne has not played since October, and his return would be a big boost for the Predators in their hunt for the postseason.


Odds to start the season in parentheses, all odds from LVH

BLACKHAWKS 9-2 (9-2)

PENGUINS 9-2 (5-1)

BLUES 9-2 (14-1)

DUCKS 5-1 (25-1)

BRUINS 8-1 (8-1)

SHARKS 8-1 (16-1)

KINGS 15-1 (10-1)

RANGERS 20-1 (10-1)

AVALANCHE 20-1 (60-1)

LIGHTNING 25-1 (60-1)

CANADIENS 30-1 (25-1)

FLYERS 30-1 (30-1)

BLUE JACKETS 30-1 (40-1)

RED WINGS 50-1 (14-1)

MAPLE LEAFS 50-1 (25-1)

WILD 50-1 (30-1)

CANUCKS 60-1 (16-1)

COYOTES 75-1 (40-1)

CAPITALS 75-1 (40-1)

SENATORS 100-1 (25-1)

STARS 100-1 (40-1)

DEVILS 100-1 (60-1)

HURRICANES 100-1 (60-1)

JETS 100-1 (60-1)

PREDATORS 300-1 (60-1)

ISLANDERS 1000-1 (40-1)

PANTHERS 1000-1 (100-1)

OILERS 9999-1 (30-1)

SABRES 9999-1 (100-1)

FLAMES 9999-1 (500-1)


PENGUINS 3-2 (5-2)

BRUINS 11-4 (4-1)

RANGERS 8-1 (5-1)

LIGHTNING 8-1 (30-1)

CANADIENS 12-1 (12-1)

FLYERS 12-1 (15-1)

BLUE JACKETS 12-1 (20-1)

RED WINGS 22-1 (7-1)

MAPLE LEAFS 22-1 (12-1)

CAPITALS 28-1 (20-1)

SENATORS 40-1 (12-1)

DEVILS 40-1 (30-1)

HURRICANES 40-1 (30-1)

ISLANDERS 400-1 (20-1)

PANTHERS 400-1 (50-1)

SABRES 4000-1 (50-1)


BLACKHAWKS 5-2 (11-5)

BLUES 5-2 (13-2)

DUCKS 3-1 (11-1)

SHARKS 9-2 (7-1)

KINGS 8-1 (9-2)

AVALANCHE 12-1 (18-1)

WILD 27-1 (13-1)

CANUCKS 35-1 (7-1)

COYOTES 40-1 (18-1)

STARS 60-1 (18-1)

JETS 60-1 (25-1)

PREDATORS 150-1 (25-1)

OILERS 5000-1 (13-1)

FLAMES 5000-1 (230-1)



chris davis

Baseball props – Handicapping the hitters

Sporting News’ fantasy experts chime in

Fantasy Source projects the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera to go OVER his home run total posted in Las Vegas.

By: Bill Bender www.linesmakers.sportingnews.com

Baseball is a long game with a long season.

There are unique opportunities for bettors to play the long game, too. The LVH SuperBook released its props for hitters, and the game here is finding the best bets for total regular-season hits and home runs.

Fantasy Source, The Linemakers’ partners here at Sporting News, offers our take on the hitter-based props based on our full-season projections for 2014.

TOTAL REGULAR-SEASON HOME RUNS (all over/under bets at -110)

Chris Davis (36.5). Easy bet, right? Some bettors might be saying, “He hit 53 last season. This is a slam dunk.” Be careful. Davis had 33 homers in 2012, and last year’s breakout is the first time he’s had more than 36 HRs in a single season. He also had just 16 HRs after the All-Star break. Fantasy Source projects Davis to hit 42, but even we concede that might be too high. UNDER may be the sneaky-good play.

Miguel Cabrera (35.5). Fantasy Source projects Cabrera to hit 45 homers, and he has 44 HRs each of the last two seasons. It’s still risky given Prince Fielder is no longer there to protect Cabrera, and he hit just 30 HRs without Fielder in 2011. Still, we’ll give a slight lean toward the OVER.

Jay Bruce (29.5). Stick with track record. Bruce has at least 30 home runs each of the last three seasons, and he averages close to 18 HRs per season at Great American Ballpark in that three-year stretch. Given Bruce’s career AB/HR ratio (18.5), he’s a good bet to hit the OVER. Fantasy Source projects Bruce for 32 HRs.

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Dustin Pedoria (163.5). Pedroia had 193 hits last season, and he’s had at least 163 hits in six of the last seven seasons. The only way Pedroia doesn’t hit this number is if he’s injured, and he’s had just three DL stints in those last seven years. Fantasy Source projects Pedroia for 189 hits. OVER is the play here.

Buster Posey (162.5). The number feels high. Posey is a great catcher, and bettors with a penchant for OVERs might lean on his name value and .308 career batting average. Posey, however, has reached that total only one time in four seasons. Fantasy Source projects 159 hits for Posey. Take the UNDER with the catcher.



baseball scoreboard

MLB odds – Vegas adjusts 2014 futures prices

A peek at updated numbers   Follow The Linemakers on Twitter   Chris Davis is a co-favorite to win the 2014 home run race, but his Orioles still aren’t getting much respect.

By: Craig Williams     www.linemakers.sportingnews.com

Most of the significant free agents have been signed, including Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez by the Baltimore Orioles within the last week, and spring training has begun, making it a good time to dig into the LVH SuperBook’s updated MLB odds for 2014.

Despite adding Cruz’s power bat and Jimenez’s power arm, the O’s have actually seen their World Series price stretch from 30-to-1 at the beginning of the month to 40-to-1 currently. The Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore’s AL East rival, made a big move in the other direction over the same time period, from 16-to-1 to 12-to-1.

A pair of AL West teams — the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels — have moved up the oddsboard since early February as well, both from 18-to-1 to 15-to-1. They’re joined at the same number by the defending division champion Oakland A’s, whose price was shortened from 16-to-1.

Several teams saw adjustments in their division title odds without seeing a corresponding change in their World Series price. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the 5-to-1 World Series favorite, are 5-to-14 to win the NL West, shortened slightly from 1-to-3. The Detroit Tigers, second on the World Series oddsboard at 7-to-1, saw their AL Central price move from 1-to-3 to 4-to-11.

In the same division, the the Kansas City Royals’ win total has been increased from 79.5 to 82, and the Cleveland Indians have moved from 80 to 80.5. Even though the Indians’ new number is a very modest bump, the win-total increases suggest that the AL Central-favorite Tigers may have to deal with plenty of resistance en route to an expected division crown. Last week’s division odds and win totals can be seen here.

Home run race

The LVH has also updated its 2014 home run title odds. We took an in-depth look at the prices earlier this month, and there are several changes worth noting.

The Orioles’ Chris Davis, tied at 7-to-1 with Miguel Cabrera, was moved up from his previous price of 12-to-1. He is the reigning home run champ, swatting an MLB-best 53 round-trippers in 2013.

One of the biggest movers is Jose Abreu, down to 40-to-1 from 100-to-1. His scouting report cites significant power, but Sporting News’ Fantasy Source staff projects him for only 24 homers in 2014. Forecasting the transition from foreign professional leagues into Major League baseball is a difficult task, making him a risky play at his current price.

A trio of lefties is emerging as interesting plays. Mark Teixeira is actually a switch-hitter, but will do the majority of his damage aiming for the short right-field porch in Yankee Stadium. He’s coming off an injury-marred season, but he’s healthy now and young enough (34 in April) to put together another good power season. At 75-to-1, in a deep lineup and a great ballpark, the profit potential is enticing.

In Cincinnati, Joey Votto looks like a must-bet at 100-to-1. He may have been a bit too patient in 2013 at the expense of power, but he flirted with 40 dingers in 2010 (37 in 150 games), and will probably fall well short of the 135 free passes he earned. He also plays his home games in a bandbox. Votto’s teammate, Jay Bruce, isn’t as attractive at 30-to-1, but he’s up from 25-to-1. He’s yet to show the prodigious power that his scouting reports forecast, but heading into his prime (27 in April), Bruce could take a step forward in that department.



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