The New York Yankees could not lose, the Philadelphia Phillies could not play and the New York Mets could not find consistency.
That’s the summary of New Jersey online bettors’ favorite teams after an adventurous first full week of MLB’s return to play.
The Yankees were 5-0, the Mets 2-5 and the pandemic-detained Phillies were 0-0. And all three have hefty schedules this week.
For NJ sports betting fans, here’s what to know heading into this week’s busy MLB betting schedule.
Doubleheaders shaved to seven innings
Remember Friday’s forecast of several more doubleheaders coming into play because of the massive postponements?
The MLB went one step further Sunday, launching its first-ever twin bill with two seven-inning games between the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers.
It also announced that all doubleheaders this year will be shortened to seven innings.
That’s doubleheader light, like drinking beer from a smaller bottle. It’s been done in the minor leagues for years.
For bettors, this presents a quagmire, taking the key eighth inning out of play. This is the inning in which many bullpens collapse (like the Mets did Friday in Atlanta, giving up a four-run lead and the game).
It will also be hard for teams to wait out a star hurler who throws a lot of pitches and thus get into the bullpen.
Over-under bets will have a similar dilemma. It won’t be enough to simply prorate the runs total.
Not normal times for MLB
The purists won’t like this setup, nor, presumably, will the cardboard cutouts disguised as live fans. But if a team is looking at three doubleheaders in three days, this may be the only solution for finishing the season.
Presumably, we won’t have to contend with this when normal baseball returns, hopefully, next season. There’s a lot of money that would normally be left on the table with seven-inning doubleheaders.
But these are not normal times.
Bettors will ultimately get a feel for how different teams approach the new length. Some clubs may allow starters to go the distance in the first game and preserve the bullpen for the second end.
Some teams will need to win all the time and may use their closers in each game.
It adds up to uncertainty, taking gamblers back to a central wagering theme. If data and your gut feeling unearth an angle, plunge. If not, pass.
Yankees are on a serious hot streak
The Yankees were money, going 5-0 both on the moneyline and covering the 1.5 run mark as they dismantled the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox.
They had one of the most perfect baseball weeks in the two-year history of legalized baseball wagering.
The Yankees continue to be a beloved machine to their backers.
They are delivering like clockwork, even as the numbers are prohibitive.
One often has to deliver at least a two-leg parlay to get even money or better. The 1.5 runs line at least produces a playable line.
The Yankees paid respectably on a Wednesday parlay with Joe Happ -255 and the over-under runs line of 11 standing at +100 at FanDuel. Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, the Yankees pushed across three runs and returned a parlay of +140.
Grand slam shuts down offense
You’ve heard baseball managers say that the worst thing to happen to a rally is a big home run right in the middle of it. That resets the stage, lets pitchers start over and reduces some of the intensity for batters.
Bettors saw that — twice — with the Yankees last week. They hit grand slams in Wednesday’s game against the Orioles and Saturday’s matchup with the Red Sox. And then their offenses went to sleep.
On Wednesday, Luke Voit launched a “grand salami,” putting the Yankees up 5-0 in the top of the first inning. The over-under was 11 at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the bettors thought they were cruising, especially after Baltimore made it 5-4 in the second inning.
But the Yankees were not heard from again until the ninth.
By then, they were losing 6-5, and they had fallen out of rhythm. But this great offense rallied for three runs, won the game 8-6 and covered the over-under.
When it happened three days later against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees jumped out to another 5-0 lead as Gio Urshela delivered his first-ever grand slam. The over-under was 11.5, but this was a great start.
And that’s where it stopped. The Yankees did not do another thing and won the game 5-2, but the under prevailed.
New York Mets: Zig, zag and sag
The New York Mets had a crazy pattern that defied expectations.
They won twice at Fenway Park as road dogs. And then they lost twice as home favorites to the same team. They followed with a repeat of the Choke Hangover, which prolonged a skid now standing at five.
It happened for the second time in a week Friday when the Mets squandered a six-run lead, including a four-run pad in the eighth inning, against the Braves. They were about to provide their bettors at DraftKings a nice return as a small dog. And then the roof caved in.
They surrendered five eighth-inning runs, lost 11-10 and got creamed 7-1 on Saturday, even as some big bettors weighed in on them at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Mets only had 42% of the tickets but 61% of the money as some of their big backers wagered.
As Yankee great and former Mets manager Yogi Berra once said, “It was déjà vu all over again.” The Mets had been one strike away from beating the Braves in the second game of the year last weekend. They surrendered a game-tying homer, lost in extra innings and got pasted 14-1 the following day.
Fragile teams reveal a lot about their character after a bad-beat type of loss. The Mets are showing an absence of toughness.
Betting variables: Trust your gut
Your edge develops from watching several games, sensing a pattern and playing into it.
Here was one for me from last week.
The San Francisco Giants rallied from a deficit to defeat the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night on a walk-off homer from Mike Yastrzemski. The body language of the players indicated they’d struck emotional gold.
For the next three nights at DraftKings or FanDuel, I rode the Giants on the over as their bats came alive. I also parlayed them to win the games outright.
I put $5 on a Giants victory and the over 8 on Friday against the Texas Rangers at DraftKings. It returned more than $20 when the Giants won 9-2.
Same thing Saturday when the Giants triumphed 7-3 as a -121 pick and the over-under being 8.5 runs at -112. The parlay returned nearly +250.
On Sunday, I took the Rangers and felt like a traitor after the Giants had been good to me. But the Rangers triumphed 9-5.
The lesson? There are certain teams you somehow get a feel for, maybe for a short time, perhaps a long stretch. For some reason, you are in sync with them.
Betting more money at those times will probably determine your outcome for the season.