Kentucky Derby futures: Revisiting Vegas odds on extended timeline

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The road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve has, due to a global public health crisis, stretched out another four months and widened considerably. With the Derby rescheduled to Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs, the pool of potential contenders to make the 20-horse starting gate now welcomes late-developing types to join the select few that have already won major preps and earned qualifying points.

The bookmakers at William Hill continue to take fixed-odds future wagers on Derby 146, and as in years past in this blog we’ll take a periodic look at William Hill’s future-book odds and profile some of the contenders. In addition to the Vegas odds, Churchill Downs is holding their fourth Future Wager pool from April 3-5.

The pool opens with “All Others” favored at 5-2 odds, while Nadal and Tiz the Law lead the 23 individual horses at 6-1 opening odds. Churchill’s Derby Future Wager runs from noon April 3 through 6 p.m. ET on April 5.

As reported by Marty McGee in Daily Racing Form, Churchill Downs officials told the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that the company would probably offer two more Future Wager pools in July and August leading up to the rescheduled Derby on Sept. 5.

March 29 William Hill Odds Leaders to Win the 2020 Kentucky Derby:

1) Tiz the Law (7-2)

2) Authentic (9-2)

3) Charlatan (7-1)

4) Nadal (8-1)

5) Maxfield (9-1)

6) Honor A. P. (10-1)

6) Sole Volante (10-1)

Notable Changes: 

Tiz the Law, already the Kentucky Derby favorite in most future books for several weeks prior to his commanding win in last Saturday’s Curlin Florida Derby, saw his odds drop from 5-1 to 7-2 in William Hill’s March 29 sheet. If the run for the roses was held as originally scheduled on May 2, those odds would be acceptable and probably close to what he’d go off at when the gates opened. With the Derby bumped back to late summer, however, they’re dicey to say the least. That’s disappointing to contemplate, because Barclay Tagg and Sackatoga Stable could not have done a better job preparing Tiz the Law for the first Saturday in May and plotting his prep schedule. Tagg told the media that an ambitious summer campaign of Preakness Stakes-Belmont Stakes-Travers Stakes would be an ideal path to the Sept. 5 Derby, but it’s an open question at this point whether any – or all – of those races will go off as scheduled. No matter what, Tiz the Law has the look of a colt who will only get better as he matures and gains racing experience, and it will be exciting to watch him do so in the coming months.

Florida Derby runner-up Shivaree debuts on William Hill’s sheet at 100-1 odds despite picking up 40 qualifying Kentucky Derby points with his game effort. Trainer Ralph Nicks admitted after the Florida Derby that his connections were not sure if the Florida-bred Awesome of Course colt could get the Florida Derby’s 1 1/8-mile distance, and visually it was evident in deep stretch that jockey Emisael Jaramillo was all out in urging his mount to hold on for second, which he did. It seems a more likely scenario at this point to see Shivaree win a race on Gulfstream Park’s Summit of Speed card this September, or travel in late summer to compete in the H. Allan Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga, than it does to see him starting in the Kentucky Derby.

Wells Bayou, impressive winner of the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 21, saw his odds drop from 125-1 to 20-1 on William Hill’s March 29 sheet. He shapes up as a major player in the May 2 Arkansas Derby if his connections stick with that plan, since he’s already proven to have an affinity for Oaklawn Park’s track with an allowance win and a good second to Silver Prospector in the Southwest Stakes.

Todd Pletcher-trained Money Moves dropped from 125-1 to 60-1 odds on William Hill’s latest sheet after an eye-catching 2 ¾-length score in a competitive allowance-optional claiming race going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park on March 28. He improved to 2-for-2 in his young career after winning a six-furlong Gulfstream maiden in the slop by 1 ¼ lengths Feb. 15 (boosting his Equibase Speed Figure from 87 to 96) and should have no problem taking the next step and trying two turns.

Money Moves is a son of good stamina sire Candy Ride, and while his dam, by Kentucky Derby runner-up Proud Citizen, was a pure sprinter who earned over $300,000 and won three stakes races, he has more heft deeper in the bloodline. He is from the family of Grade 1 Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book, champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Caledonia Road, and Grade 1-winnng turf miler Data Link (recent Gotham Stakes third-place finisher Attachment Rate is also a relative). Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs are still racing as of April 2, but stakes options in the coming weeks are scarce. Nevertheless, there’s suddenly a lot more time for this colt, who was a $975,000 purchase as a juvenile, to develop.

Two to watch:

The four-month delay of the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 has given future-book players a chance to re-calibrate their bearings and take a second look at 3-year-olds who may have not accomplished much as of early April but have shown enough potential to warrant longshot consideration for the “First Saturday in September.” Here’s a couple that stand out at triple-digit odds via William Hill:

Mystic Guide: This Godolphin homebred debuts on William Hill’s latest sheet at 100-1 odds, and get ’em while you can. He looked the part of a graded stakes-winning racehorse in only his second career start on the March 21 Louisiana Derby undercard at Fair Grounds, sitting a stalking trip in the 1 1/16-mile race and effortlessly pulling clear to a five-length win that earned a 99 Equibase Speed Figure. This son of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper stretched out after finishing third in a six-furlong maiden on Feb. 14 and should relish even more real estate based on his pedigree. Mystic Guide’s dam, Music Note, by A.P. Indy, was one of the best fillies racing from 2007-’09, winning seven of 12 starts, including four Grade 1s, and earning more than $1.6 million while finishing second by a head in the 1 ¼-mile Alabama Stakes in 2008 and third in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (now Distaff) in both 2008 and 2009. It will be interesting to see where Mystic Guide surfaces next given the dwindling number of tracks operating. As trainer Michael Stidham told Horse Racing Nation, “We thought we’d have no chance to make May 2. Obviously things have changed. “

Roman Empire: Another Todd Pletcher trainee, Roman Empire sits at 150-1 after romping by 8 ¾ lengths in a one-turn-mile maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28, his second career start and first on dirt. He basically paired his Equibase Speed Figures when making the switch (88 in his third-place debut, 86 in his win) and that number range will obviously need to improve, but there’s plenty of time for that. This colt is by Belmont winner Empire Maker and his female family includes top-class stamina horses Eddington (a millionaire who hit the board in the Preakness Stakes and Travers Stakes) and European Group 1 winner Miserden.

Pletcher is renowned for gearing up his 3-year-olds each spring with the first Saturday in May in mind (recall how horses such as Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017 peaked like clockwork in the Kentucky Derby), but this year is obviously different. Roman Empire, like Money Moves, will be one to keep close tabs on while taking a fresh look at this crop of 3-year-olds during an elongated Triple Crown season.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook

MLB picks and predictions for Opening Day

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It was a long and scary road, but we finally get MLB betting back on Thursday, July 23. Opening Day of the pandemic-shortened 60-game baseball schedule is headlined by a pair of matchups, with the New York Yankees visiting the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers rekindling their rivalry with the San Francisco Giants.

Like we do each MLB season (COVID-19 or not), we’ll be taking a swing at today’s baseball odds and giving our best MLB picks and predictions. Up first: Opening Day 2020.

MLB picks for today

New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was supposed to miss the start of the season back in the spring, but the delay to the 2020 campaign allowed the outfielder to heal up from broken ribs and return to his longball-launching self.

Judge looked great in New York’s warmup games, albeit for a limited number of at-bats. He went 3-for-7 with all three hits leaving the ballpark. And he wasn’t alone, with the Yankees’ other power bats providing plenty of pop around him in the order. He’ll get a chance to go yard again on Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Aaron Judge home run (+210)

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Giants are no strangers to Clayton Kershaw, who has long dominated the Dodgers’ divisional foes. In 49 career appearances against San Francisco, The Claw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA and has allowed just 0.71 hits per innings pitched in those starts.

The Giants don’t pose much of an offensive threat, averaging 8.22 hits per game in 2019. San Francisco has managed 45 total hits in its last eight starts against Kershaw – an average of 0.86 hits per inning faced. Given the Dodgers’ ace looked ready for work in his tune-up efforts, we could see him go seven innings or more on Thursday, panning out to a little over six hits for San Fran.

PREDICTION: Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)

Mookie Betts has reportedly landed a whale of a contract extension with the Dodgers after joining the ballclub this offseason via a trade with the Boston Red Sox. And what better way to lock down that deal than an impressive effort on Opening Day.

Betts recorded 313 total bases in 2019 (30th) and 353 in 2018 (fourth). He’s been swinging well in training sessions this offseason: in 27 at-bats during the spring/summer schedule, he has 13 total bases, including two doubles and a home run, while hitting leadoff during Summer Camp. We like that to continue into Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)

Top MLB consensus for today

Want to know who today’s biggest MLB betting and consensus bets are right now? Check out our top MLB consensus picks.

Opening Day betting card

  • Aaron Judge home run (+210)
  • Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)
  • Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)