Our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, explains a few angles within that he will be looking to employ as the regular season wraps up. Here he writes why he will fade winning teams down the home stretch.
With four teams having their postseason tickets cashed with two weeks left to go in the season, there exists a few ways in which MLB bettors can profit from the remaining schedule. Let’s analyze who’s who and the phenomena that is sure to take place. First, let’s look at the teams that are in and their remaining strength of schedule:
Cleveland Indians: Remaining Series – Angels, Mariners, Twins, White Sox (.481 combined opponent winning percentage)
Houston Astros: Remaining Series – White Sox, Angels, Rangers, Red Sox (.494 combined opponent winning percentage)
Washington Nationals: Remaining Series – Braves, Mets, Phillies, Pirates (.432 combined opponent winning percentage)
Los Angeles Dodgers: Remaining Series – Phillies, Giants, Padres, Rockies (.442 combined opponent winning percentage)
These teams will be heavy favorites in most, if not all, of these games. I’m seeing some outliers with the Houston/Boston and Los Angeles/Colorado series to end the year.
My thesis here is that these four teams will underperform the MLB odds that will be listed for them against these weaker opponents. We will have a few extra days of rest for offensive starters, which will affect their starting lineups. I am also expecting the pitching staffs of these 4 teams to fluctuate as we head into the playoffs. Extra rest for important bullpen arms, or at least pitching to a schedule regardless of matchups, will be a detriment to the overall performance of the team. Starters will be given extra rest coming down the stretch, with some starters skipped altogether with September call-ups getting a look. This happens every year at this time.
From a betting angle, I will be looking to use the underdog run line to cash in on this activity. Lining up the bullpens and resting arms will be especially significant late in games, which could allow an inferior team to hang around or bounce back late. A pitcher like Cleveland’s Andrew Miller for instance, who just came off of the DL last week, will likely be given regular appearances to get back into shape. A wise bettor can assume that he will be unavailable for two days in a row for the Indians, and that goes the same for most other important bullpen arms and closers.
The other thing I will be looking at is that these 4 teams will probably see a few minor-league starters getting their first appearances in the big leagues. The element of surprise will be with those starters, at least the first few times through the rotation, so first 5 inning lines could have extra value for underdogs and the Under in those situations as well.Join The Conversation With Other MLB Bettors on SBR's Forum