Analyze This: The Price of Playing Playoff Faves
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | October 12, 2012
A 162-game season is a grind. It’s a long and sometimes sleep-inducing grind. However, in the Majors the playoffs are surprisingly quicker than any other, filled with plenty of upsets and late-game heroics.
You could even argue that the MLB playoffs are second only to NCAA March Madness in unpredictability, so imagine our surprise when we checked our MLB numbers in the Bovada Sportsbook for the last seven days. Bettors denied the parody of the MLB postseason, and they paid for it.
October 5 is when the playoffs kicked and that’s when the bets started rolling in for the Texas Rangers, playing host to the Baltimore Orioles in MLB’s new one-game American League Wild Card game. Seventy-five percent bet on the Rangers at home versus the -1.5 (-120) runline, another 62 percent took the -225 moneyline. The first inning was a wash, as both offenses put a run on the board. Despite giving up the early run Rangers starter Yu Darvish was solid in his playoff start, the Japanese product went five innings and only gave up two runs. Unfortunately, the usually juiced Texas bats went to sleep, their struggles ended their postseason with a 5-1 loss.
The second Oct. 5 matchup was the National League Wild Card game and the Atlanta Braves were understandably the favorite versus the St. Louis Cardinals. They clinched their playoff spot in late September, and won eight of 10 to do it, while the Cardinals had a fight to the finish to earn their chance to play in October. Sixty-seven percent took the Braves on the -1.5 (+125) runline, 62 percent bet the -157 moneyline.
Atlanta jumped ahead early with a two-run homerun from catcher David Ross in the 2nd inning, after that, it was all St. Louis. Three runs in the 4th inning, a homer in the 6th and another two RBI in the 7th put the Cards ahead for good. Atlanta did make a late run, but a questionable infield fly rule dashed their chances at a comeback. Unfortunately, as we learned in that ugly Green Bay Packers loss to the Seattle Seahawks, bad calls don’t void wagers.
It was more of the same on October 6th. With San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain at home bettors stayed away from the Cincinnati Reds: 88 percent took the -1.5 (+175) runline while 61 percent bet on the -128 moneyline. But despite having the better ace on the mound Cincy earned the 5-2 victory.
However, it wasn’t all bad for bettors in the MLB playoffs. Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander, a favorite of bettors all season, came through once again. Seventy-seven percent bet the -1.5 (+ 110) runline; -187 took the moneyline hoping for another Verlander gem, and they got it. Verlander went seven innings, giving up just one run with 11 strikeouts, ensuring we’ll have heavy action on him if he gets another start this postseason.
Bettors learned the hard way in the MLB playoffs that it only takes a couple of bad pitches and a couple of runs to create an upset. We’ll see if there’s more balanced action next week.