Big MLB favorites cut down to size


A stock market collapse for baseball’s “Magnificent 7!” Only the Boston Red Sox made money last week…other powers fell often as big favorites. Plus a full recap the CFL weekend and early lines for Thursday’s NFL Hall of Fame game right now in VSiN City.

MLB: Chalk carnage…particularly if you love parlaying favorites!
So much for elite talent kicking things up a notch for the pennant races after the All-Star Break. Bettors lost BIG if they were asking championship contenders to win…to bounce back from a loss with a win…or win in tandem with other contenders in multi-team parlays.  


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As the season began, we used Brent Musburger’s “Magnificent 7” label to isolate the seven teams projected to win at least 90 games in market Regular Season Win Totals. We’ve been monitoring them ever since. This was the worst week by a mile for the group as a composite. 

In short…

Boston made about 2 units
LA Dodgers broke about even
Washington lost about 2 units
Chicago Cubs lost about 1.5 units
Cleveland lost about 3.5 units
NY Yankees lost about 4 units
Houston lost about 8 units

That’s a net loss around 17 units in one week based on the prices uses in its standings. Only one team was in the black…and it wasn’t by much. Most important, previous market stalwarts (particularly earlier in the season) Houston and the NY Yankees really hit a wall. The Yanks lost around -400 (more in places) just in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader with Kansas City. Houston was SWEPT at home by Texas at prices of -260, -295, and -210. 

Let’s update the full season records in our usual fashion…

Current records entering the new week…
Boston 74-33…plus 24.5 units after a 4-2 week
NY Yankees 67-37…plus 3.5 units after a 4-3 week
Chicago Cubs 61-44…plus 1.5 units after a 3-4 week
Houston 67-40…minus 6.5 units after a 1-4 week
Cleveland 57-47…minus 15.5 units after a 3-3 week
LA Dodgers 59-47…minus 16 units after a 4-3 week
Washington 52-53…minus 20.5 units after a 3-4 week

Boston is still an amazing market story. The Red Sox were projected to be very good…yet are still cashing tickets left and right all season against high hurdles. That’s the only betting success story in the M7 despite the Yanks being 30 games over .500, and Houston 27 games over .500. Now three teams worse than 15 units down with Cleveland dropping a few more games.  

Huge week ahead…with these much-anticipated meetings amongst the Magnificent 7…

Magnificent 7 Head to Head: 
New York Yankees (67-37) at Boston (74-33) (Thursday-Sunday)
Houston (67-40) at the Los Angeles Dodgers (59-47) (Friday-Sunday)

Yes…a replay of the 2017 World Series will highlight end-of-the-week broadcasts. Before that, a renewal of baseball’s best rivalry. And, frankly, a quick oasis of quality in the schedules of both AL East powers that will be AL Central heavy for a sustained period. The Yankees better be ready.

Several marquee matchups on the horizon matching teams that enter the week with winning records. 

Early Week Series Matching Winning Teams (first three start Monday)
Milwaukee (61-47) at the LA Dodgers (59-47) 
Houston (67-40) at Seattle (62-43)
Philadelphia (58-47) at Boston (74-33)
Chicago Cubs (61-44) at Pittsburgh (55-52) (starts Tuesday)
Colorado (57-47) at St. Louis (53-52) (starts Tuesday)

Seattle could REALLY make the AL West race interesting by extending Houston’s slump. Mariners are just four games back entering that series. 

Late Week Series Matching Winning Teams (all start Friday)
St. Louis (53-52) at Pittsburgh (55-52) 
Colorado (57-47) at Milwaukee (61-47) 
LA Angels (54-53) at Cleveland (57-47) 

Milwaukee’s had a very challenging stretch lately. Colorado just won’t go away. Rockies begin the new week just one game behind the first place Dodgers in the NL West. That leads us to the next topic. 

MLB Interleague: National League expands edge as Colorado sweeps Oakland!
Considering context, it had to be one of the biggest shockers…oh…in the history of the planet.

The Houston Astros and Oakland A’s have fantastic offenses this season. That’s partially hidden because they play home games in great pitchers’ parks. On the ROAD, these teams can really rake. 

This past week, both were on the road at COLORADO, where altitude inflates scoring to an extreme degree. That’s about as great a harmonic convergence you could have for offensive fireworks shows. The Houston and Oakland offenses swinging their bats a mile high. 

Colorado’s pitching staff had some other ideas. Through nine innings of those five games, the Astros (first two) and A’s (last three) could only score 2-2-1-1-2. That’s seven combined runs in regulation over 45 innings (the Astros did score six runs in the top of the tenth of their series opener). 

Colorado’s surprising sweep of Oakland expanded the National League’s edge in Interleague play to 113-92. That’s 21 games over .500 from the league that usually gets squashed across league lines. And this sweep shows it’s not just the Central divisions where things are out of whack. The AL East with Boston and the NY Yankees is only one game over .500 vs. the NL East, while the AL West with Houston, Seattle and Oakland is only one game over .500 vs. the NL West. 

AL East leads NL East 38-37
NL Central leads the pathetic AL Central 47-24
AL West leads NL West 30-29

This reversal of fortune (since 2003) made itself clear early in the season, and continues to catch the market by surprise as we approach August. 

CFL: Calgary still undefeated, Hamilton looking more like a pretender
We ended last week with the disappointing news that Johnny Manziel didn’t take any snaps for the Montreal Alouettes. Fun story to monitor, but one that’s irrelevant in the championship chase. Three weekend results shed some more light on who might or might not be around when it’s time to win the Grey Cup. 

As usual, we’ll run the box scores in schedule order. 

Winnipeg (-10) 40, Toronto 14 
Total Yardage: Toronto 393, Winnipeg 366
Yards-per-Play: Toronto 7.0, Winnipeg 7.3
Rushing Yards: Toronto 157, Winnipeg 92
Passing Stats: Toronto 20-31-3-236, Winnipeg 21-30-1-274
Turnovers: Toronto 5, Winnipeg 1

Well, we know Winnipeg is a lot better than Toronto! They played each other two weeks in a row. Winnipeg won scoreboard 78-34. Last week’s game was a statistical rout that was dead even in turnovers. This was close to even in stats, but a turnover rout for the hosts. Toronto lost the ball NINE times in the two games. So, the James Franklin experiment at quarterback isn’t going as well as hoped. And if Montreal wasn’t so bad, people would be making jokes about how quickly things went south for the Argos. 

Toronto also lost to Calgary 41-7. So, a debacle vs. quality since prior starting quarterback Ricky Ray was injured. Argos fall to 1-5. Winnipeg is 4-3 in the much tougher West.

Ottawa (plus 6) 21, Hamilton 15 
Total Yardage: Ottawa 338, Hamilton 383
Yards-per-Play: Ottawa 6.0, Hamilton 7.8
Rushing Yards: Ottawa 65, Hamilton 31
Passing Stats: Ottawa 24-36-0-273, Hamilton 26-38-1-352
Turnovers: Ottawa 2, Hamilton 2

Hamilton started the season impressively, with the performance of Jeremiah Masoli making Manziel expendable. Since a good three quarters at league power Calgary, a road upset of Edmonton, and a home blowout of Winnipeg…it’s looked like this…

Hamilton (-6.5) lost at Saskatchewan 18-13
Hamilton (-10) lost to Saskatchewan 31-20
Hamilton (-6) lost to Ottawa 21-15

Masoli caught the CFL by surprise initially. Big numbers. But, now he’s just racking up yardage in the middle of the field before NOT finding the end zone. That’s 13-20-15 on the scoreboard the last three games. No touchdowns vs. Ottawa. Tiger-Cats have missed the market by 11.5, 21, and 12 points in those outings. Two Unders by 20 and 17 points. One game barely snuck over because of two non-offensive touchdowns.  

Hamilton is now 2-4 on the season. Ottawa leads the weak East with a 4-2 mark (4-0 when not playing Calgary). 

Calgary (-7.5) 34, Saskatchewan 22
Total Yardage: Calgary 242, Saskatchewan 247
Yards-per-Play: Calgary 6.2, Saskatchewan 4.4
Rushing Yards: Calgary 55, Saskatchewan 100
Passing Stats: Calgary 18-24-1-187, Saskatchewan 19-30-0-147
Turnovers: Calgary 3, Saskatchewan 4

Calgary jumped ahead 24-0 in the first quarter, which is the main reason their stats are so unimpressive. Stampeders spent most of the game sitting on a big lead. 

A lot of turnover slop in recent weeks. Six teams lost the ball four times or more this week or last. Calgary got complacent with a lead here. 

Saskatchewan has had anemic passing numbers by CFL standards since losing Zach Collaros to injury way back in Week Two. Here are the team passing lines…


After four picks immediately following the loss of Collaros, super-conservative. At least the picks stopped. 

Calgary remains unbeaten at 6-0. Saskatchewan is 3-3. 

A quick review of our estimate of “market” Power Ratings based on this past weekend’s point spreads…

86: Calgary
84: Hamilton
83: Edmonton, Winnipeg
81: Ottawa
78: British Columbia
77: Saskatchewan
76: Toronto 
70: Montreal

We keep expecting Hamilton to sink, and it hasn’t been happening. Maybe this week. 

Industry Notes: NBC’s coverage of the Haskell incorporated sports betting references
If you watched Sunday afternoon’s coverage of “The Haskell” from Monmouth Park on NBC, you got an early look at how the topic of sports betting will be incorporated into event broadcasts from this point forward. 

*The Haskell was called “The Haskell Invitational Stakes.”

*NBC referenced legal sports betting at Monmouth

*When promoting its upcoming coverage of British Premier League soccer, NBC seamlessly inserted futures prices from William Hill into the promo. 

Get ready for a lot of THAT! Stuff being called the “ something-or-other” as global websites or regional apps start promoting events. And a quick look at futures prices during game promos. NBC will open the season with the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles in a Thursday nighter. Maybe we’ll see Super Bowl odds or NFC odds for both teams in promos that run during this coming Thursday’s Hall of Fame game featuring the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens.

(And Al Michaels won’t have to talk like he’s winking at us.)

A brave new world continues to evolve before our eyes. VSiN is proud to be at the forefront of global coverage. 

NFL: Speaking of the Hall of Fame Game, South Point has Baltimore -1, total of 34
You can bet the 2018 preseason! Odds are up for this week’s exhibition opener. The South Point (our home base in Las Vegas) has Baltimore as a one-point favorite over Chicago, with an Over/Under of 34. Other stores are shaded more toward the Ravens, with Baltimore laying -1.5 at a few spots. 

Generally speaking, you should respect steam (line movement) in August because it’s tied to developing knowledge about planned personnel rotations. Occasionally, a public bandwagon effect that should be ignored will arise in a national TV game. Just remember that sports books are quick to move in August when “respected” money bets. 

The rest of the NFL begins next week. Here’s the NFL Network’s schedule of live telecasts for the first full week of action.

Thursday August 9: Cleveland at the NY Giants (7 p.m. ET)
Thursday August 9: Dallas at San Francisco (10 p.m. ET)
Friday August 10: Atlanta at the NY Jets (7:30 p.m. ET)
Friday August 10: Detroit at Oakland (10:30 p.m. ET) 
Saturday August 11: Minnesota at Denver (9 p.m. ET)

We hope you’re already enjoying our College Football Betting Guide. Its NFL partner will be ready for publication before the regular season begins. 

See you again Tuesday morning. 

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