Pricing Tribe Still Hard
DIRECT FROM NEVADA
With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich
CLEVELAND INDIANS STILL PLAYING BETTER THAN MARKET PRICES
Even though the Cleveland Indians just dropped two of three games to the resurgent Boston Red Sox (who have climbed back into the championship picture after a horrible start to the season), the Tribe are still playing better than oddsmakers are pricing them.
That 1-2 series with Boston came on the heels of a 3-0 sweep over Cincinnati in Interleague play. So, we're talking about a 4-2 mark the last six games for Cleveland...and a profit of about +17 units for the season entering this weekend's trip to Tampa Bay.
I talked about the troubles that oddsmakers were having pricing the Tribe a few weeks ago. Cleveland was about to start a series of challenging games that would likely determine whether their initial hot start to the season was just a team playing over its head...or whether the Indians were truly a threat to win the AL Central. Let's review what's happened since then.
- 3-3 California Trip
Cleveland split six games in Oakland and Anaheim. Playing .500 ball may not sound like much. But, remember, these are ROAD games. Very few teams in either league are playing better than .500 ball on the road. And, Cleveland was favored just once in the six-pack. So, they went 3-3 playing mostly as a underdog, which is betting value indeed.
- 2-2 Homestand (Tampa Bay and Seattle)
No harm no foul here. Cleveland split out evenly against the betting lines in this small stretch. Dropping two of three to Tampa Bay is no crime. You're supposed to be Seattle. Remember that it's possible to be worse than the likes of Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay, but still be best in the AL Central! That's important to remember in the coming days as we pin down how good Cleveland is in the big picture.
- 2-2 Road Trip (Kansas City and Chicago White Sox)
Same story here. The games were near pick-em, and the Indians split. That made them 4-4 over eight games, and 11-11 over 22 games. That represented cooling off from the earlier stretch. But, to me, it was reasonably impressive. If you go 5-5 in 10 road games, that's just not a strike against you. Cleveland had turned from a hot team in to a value grinder. That still makes you money.
- 4-2 Homestand (Cincinnati and Boston)
Hey, the Reds are contenders in the National League...and they're Cleveland's in-state rival. Sweeping them is VERY impressive. Dropping a home series to Boston isn't the end of the world because Boston now rates very high in everyone's team Power Ratings.
That brings us to 30-17 for the year, with a team that's at least a legitimate pennant threat in their division even if they're not as good as the AL East powers.
I want to point out the numbers of two starting pitchers for you. Cleveland is one of those teams that can fall off your radar if you're not paying close attention. They're not on TV much. They've been a losing team lately. So far, they're getting ace caliber production from these two pitchers:
- JUSTIN MASTERSON has an ERA of 2.50 and is averaging almost 7 innings per start. That's HUGE because an ace who goes that deep into a game is getting you to your best relievers. He has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 51-21 and a strong WHIP of 1.17 (walks and hits allowed per inning). Masterson is starting to be priced with respect, so be sure you're getting value if you back him.
- JOSH TOMLIN has an ERA of 2.41 and is averaging about 6.3 innings per start. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 30-10, which is more control but less raw fury than Masterson brings to the mound. Tomlin has a scary-good WHIP of 0.82 thus far. Tomlin isn't yet getting priced like a star because the market loves the high strikeout guys. Looks like opponents and the market have been underestimating him.
This is one of many baseball stories I'll try to stay on top of for you as we start to transition from basketball to full-time baseball through the summer. I'll still let you know what the sharps are thinking in the NBA playoffs. We're down to the last handful of games in that sport. As YOU start to focus exclusively on baseball, be sure you're giving the proper respect to the Indians.
I've been ahead of the curve with several teams this year in the bases. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS here at the website with your credit card. Be sure you take care of business early when there are day games (which is the case Thursday in several cities, and Friday at Wrigley Field). I've got great rates for longer term packages. If you have any questions, call my office at 1-877-822-2276.
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