Selecting a horse to upset Bob Baffert’s Charlatan in Arkansas Derby

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The biggest race in North America on the first Saturday in May this year isn’t the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, which has been moved to the Sept. 5, the first Saturday of that month.

Instead, we have a very good pair of big races in the form of split divisions of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, which occurred after 22 horses were entered to run in the race (two have since scratched, one from east division). Each division offers a $500,000 purse and 100 points to the winner via the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying series, with 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third-place finisher and 20 to the fourth-place finisher. Watch the Arkansas Derby on NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app on Saturday, May 2 from 6-8 p.m. ET.

Before the Arkansas Derby, tune into NBC from 3-6 p.m. ET for a special Kentucky Derby broadcast, which includes The First Saturday In May: American Pharoah’s Run to the Triple Crown, a look back at American Pharoah’s 2015 Derby win en route to his historic Triple Crown, and The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a socially distant, computer-simulated edition of the Run for the Roses that pits all 13 Triple Crown winners against each other. The broadcast can also be streamed on and on the NBC Sports app.

Stay healthy at home with NBC Sports’ Derby Party Pack, featuring recipes for traditional Kentucky Derby foods and cocktails, printable decorations, at-home fashion tips, kids crafts and more:

Click here to download NBC Sports’ Derby Party Pack

Leading the first division of the Arkansas Derby is Charlatan, who is undefeated and untested in two races to date. Both wins were earned leading from start to finish and this colt should have an easy lead once again in this race as there aren’t any other horses likely to take him on in the early stages for fear of costing themselves a chance at success, or at least some Kentucky Derby points. Charlatan earned a career-best 108 Equibase Speed Figure winning his most recent race, which is the best figure earned by any horse in the field, and he could improve off the effort in his third career start. However, Charlatan is stretching out to a mile and an eighth distance as well as running in a stakes race for the first time, while others have experience at the distance and/or at this level.

Anneau d’Or is one of those horses as he was the runner-up by a head in the Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, earning a 106 Equibase Speed Figure. He subsequently finished second by a neck one month later in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity to prove his Breeders’ Cup effort was no fluke, and then took two months off and finished ninth in the second division of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford on Feb. 15 when he tried blinkers for the first time. With that equipment removed for Arkansas Derby, it’s very possible Anneau d’Or can return to his form of last fall, and if he does that might be good enough to win this race. One more thing Anneau d’Or may have going for him is his pedigree for this distance – his sire is Medaglia d’Oro, and he is out of a Tapit mare. Per a STATS Race Lens pedigree query, sons and daughters of Medaglia d’Oro have the most wins in dirt route stakes races at distances of 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 miles compared with any other sire who has entrants in the Arkansas Derby field.

Gouverneur Morris is proven at the level based on his runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity last October. After skipping the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November to prepare for his 3-year-old campaign, Gouverneur Morris returned to win at a mile and 40 yards in February. One month later in the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby, Gouverneur Morris finished fourth of nine and boosted his top Equibase Speed Figure to 104. Although Constitution, the sire of Gouverneur Morris, has not had many horses run to date, one of those is the undisputed leader of the division That horse, Tiz the Law, won the Florida Derby impressively. Gouverneur Morris is making his third start off a layoff and is on a pattern for an even better effort, which could be good enough to win this division of the Arkansas Derby.

Win Contenders:

Anneau d’Or


Gouverneur Morris

The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is: Basin (96); Crypto Cash (93); Jungle Runner (85); Mo Mosa (92); My Friends Beer (89); Winning Impression (89); and Wrecking Crew (100).

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)