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How to find value horses at the racetrack

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It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So is wagering value.

As much as ascertaining value is a key element in handicapping a race, it’s as subjective as any other part of trying to pick a winner.

What could be an overlay to one bettor just might be seen as an underlay by another.

There might not be a clear-cut answer, yet that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Value is too important to be pushed into the background during a day at the races.

Value should play a lead role in your handicapping repertoire since it allows you to wager more efficiently and effectively by focusing your bets on horses that offer an enticing risk/reward ratio.

As much as the pursuit of winners is paramount, there are times when backing a horse at low odds does not make sense. Maybe that horse is the most logical winner, but if you view it as only marginally better than a couple of other main contenders, then taking an odds-on price on it is way too risky.

In that case, Plan B might be a better option. Even if you believe the 6-5 favorite is the most likely winner of the race, if you view a 10-1 shot as being close to the chalk in terms of ability, it’s obvious that backing the horse at longer odds makes more sense – especially in the long run when the percentages will ultimately work in your favor.

Look at it this way. If your top choice at 6-5 wins 30% of the time, your return off 10 win bets will somewhere in the neighborhood of $13. Now if your 10-1 shot wins just 15% of the time, your return off 10 bets will be $33.

That’s basically how value works.

While some might interpret value as simply betting on longshots, it is more precisely betting on a horse whose odds are higher than they should be. Some horses who are priced at 40-1 can be underlays. They might actually deserve to be 100-1. Meanwhile, if you believe a horse should be the 3-1 or 4-1 second choice, but it’s actually 10-1 and the sixth option in the wagering, then you should try to put value to work for you.

Equally reflective of the way value works, there might be a time when a 6-5 favorite actually offers some value. Not a lot, but some. Those occasions are the times when you believe that 6-5 choice is so much better than its rivals that 1-2 odds seem a better fit.

Best of all, value rests with you. You’re the one deciding who should be 6-5 and who deserves to be 10-1. While the morning line might seem like a big help, in the end it’s your belief in the differences between each horse in the field that dictates whether the odds on the tote board are askew and you should try to capitalize on it.

Yes, value is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

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)