Daily Line Movement Report 5/16/17

(7:00 games)

Updated 6:00 pm EST

Nationals at Pirates

Stephen Strasburg / Chad Kuhl

Pirates have dropped from +145 to +135 despite receiving just 19% of moneyline bets

Total has jumped from 8 (u -115) to 8.5 with 79% over bets

Two key injuries in this game: Gregory Polanco and Daniel Murphy. Polanco’s absence was likely factored into the opening line as his status has been in question since Sunday. Murphy, however, is simply getting a day of rest. His absence almost certainly triggered this sharp movement on the Pirates, and his absence is even more of a boost for a Pirates due to the anemic ability of his replacement, Wilmer Difo. Nonetheless, this is likely a game that would have seen sharp action anyway, simply because the Nationals are a road favorite receiving heavy public action.

As for the total, the jump would seem to have something due to with the heavy public betting, but perhaps there’s also some sharp money sprinkled in that sees Strasburg as overrated (his strikeouts are way down this year), and it could be the same logic that’s causing the non-Murphy component of the Pirates’ line move.

Orioles at Tigers

Wade Miley / Matt Boyd

Tigers have moved from +105 to -110 despite receiving 44% of moneyline bets

Total has jumped from 9 (o -115) to 9.5 (o -120) with 66% of over bets

The logic here is simple: Wade Miley is overrated. He has a 2.45 ERA, but 3.70 FIP, and 3.78 xFIP. He also was much worse last year than even those advanced metrics suggest, so we’re probably talking about a pitcher who’s above average at best, and below average at worst. Wade Miley is probably average.

While this alone would probably cause sharp movement on both the Tigers and the over, there’s also some additional insight to be had about the Tigers offense. They’re an offense that’s almost certainly underachieved, playing without Miguel Cabrera for a prolonged stretch, and without J.D. Martinez for just about the entirety of this season. And both players are healthy now. Add on the fact that the Tigers run out a lineup of all right handed batters (Miley is a lefty) and these line movements make a ton of sense.

Astros at Marlins

Dallas Keuchel / Tom Koehler

Marlins have dropped from +155 to +150 despite receiving just 19% of moneyline bets

Total has dropped from 8 to 7.5 (o -115) with 40 % of under bets

George Springer is sitting out due to a foot injury, which is probably the sole explanation for both line moves. Jake Marisnick will fill in, and he’s an inferior hitter to Springer but also a superior fielder, hence the movement to the under.

Dallas Keuchel might be a bit overrated by his current ERA (1.69) and the standard road-favorite-public effect could be a little bit responsible for the line move. But this is mostly about Springer.

Cardinals at Cubs

Bronson Arroyo / John Lackey

The Cubs have moved from -190 to -195 with 71% of moneyline bets

The Total has dropped from 12 to 11.5 with 47% of under bets

This is probably the most difficult game to understand of the day. 12 is a crazy-high total for a non-Colorado game, so it sort of makes sense that the total would drop. But you usually see heavy action on the over in games with totals like this, so it’s surprising at the same time.

The Cubs offense might actually be underrated at this point. Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo, most notably, have been struggling, and Ben Zobrist (back) and Jason Heyward (finger) are both sitting this one out. It’s a depleted-but-still-very-good Cubs lineup. And they’re facing Bronson Arroyo who’s just about as terrible as any pitcher in baseball. And Arroyo gives up fly balls. And the wind is blowing out.

The wind is the biggest factor here. Estimates suggest it could be blowing out to center at anywhere from 15–30 MPH.

Another thing to consider is the inconsistency of John Lackey, who at times this season has been reasonably considered both underrated and overrated. Figuring out what to expect from him is a challenge.

What this boils down to is a lot of push and pull. A lot of factors going in opposite directions. My best guess is that the sharps are split about what to do with this game.

Phillies at Rangers

Jared Eickhoff / Yu Darvish

Phillies remain at +162 with 25% of moneyline bets

Total has risen from 8.5 to 8.5 (o -120) with 66% over bets

There’s not much going on here, besides the fact that both starting pitchers have been worse than expected this year. Some sharp money on the Phillies is likely keeping this line from moving more in the Rangers favor (Sports Insights is showing a sharp indicator on the Phillies). The Rangers are a little more banged than usual though, as they’ve already been playing without Adrian Beltre this season, but they won’t have Carlos Gomez or Shin-Soo Choo for this game either.

There are strong winds blowing in for this game, but the sub-expected pitching by both Eickhoff and Darvish has the total rising anyway. That, along with strong public action on the over.

Rockies at Twins

Kyle Freeland / Phil Hughes

Twins have moved from +102 to -117 despite receiving just 39% of moneyline bets

Total has risen from 9 (u -120) to 9.5 (o -115) with 61% of over bets

Both of these moves are primarily about Kyle Freeland. Freeland has a 2.93 ERA, and he’s part of a Rockies starting rotation that has become a mainstream narrative for exceeding expectations to this point in the season. A lot of this success can surely be attributed to luck, however, and Freeland is no exception. His 3.54 FIP and 4.18 xFIP suggest regression, as do his absurdly low swinging strike percentage (6.0%), low strikeout rate (5.85 K/9), and high walk rate (4.05 BB/9). Freeland might be an intriguing prospect, but he’s not a good pitcher yet, and the sharps know it.

With that in mind, you’d probably expect the public to be betting down the total, but the fact that Phil Hughes is starting for the Twins is likely having the opposite effect. Hughes is simply not a good pitcher. The wind is expected to be blowing out to center as well.

Red Sox at Cardinals

Eduardo Rodriguez / Lance Lynn

Red Sox have moved from +105 to -102 with 48% of moneyline bets

Total remains at 8 with 61% over bets

With minimal action on the total, the focus here is the Red Sox. And we likely have a pitching matchup with misguided public perceptions. Lance Lynn has a 2.75 ERA, but by all accounts has been nowhere near that caliber of pitcher this season. Eduardo Rodriguez has a similar gap between his ERA and FIP/xFIP, but he’s much less of a household name and likely isn’t seeing the same public response to his miniscule early season ERA (2.80).

Rodriguez is an up and coming prospect, but he’s likely already a better pitcher than Lynn, and he’s posting an outstanding 14.4% swinging strike rate. With that in mind, you might expect the sharps to be more heavily moving the line in favor of the Red Sox, but with Hanley Ramirez sitting out for this National League game, the expectations for the Boston offense are likely a bit tempered.

Mets at Diamondbacks

Tommy Milone / Zack Greinke

Mets remain at +153 despite receiving just 21% of moneyline bets

Total remains at 9 with 61% of over bets

Much like the Cubs game, there is likely a lot of push-pull here. Tommy Milone is a below average pitcher and Zack Greinke has been phenomenal. Greinke’s near no-hitter in his last start, coupled with Milone’s sub-par ability, coupled with the Mets depleted lineup would seem to strongly move the line in the Diamondbacks direction. But the Diamondbacks are missing some key players as well, most notably AJ Pollock, and Jake Lamb seems likely to be rested in this game as well.

Given all of this, you’d expect to see some sharp action on the under, but given the hitter-friendly environment in Arizona and the recent struggles of the Mets bullpen, it’s probably hard for sharp bettors to be too confident about a low scoring game in this one.

White Sox at Angels

Derek Holland / J.C. Ramirez

Angels have moved from -166 to -169 with 44% of moneyline bets

Total has dropped from 8 (u -120) to 7.5 (o -120) despite 34% of under bets

Derek Holland is severely overrated (by his ERA) and J.C. Ramirez is probably a bit underrated. But there’s just not a lot here to impact the line much one way or the other. No significant injuries to report.

Brewers at Padres

Jimmy Nelson / Clayton Richard

Padres have moved from +101 to -111 despite receiving just 32% of moneyline bets

Total has dropped from 7.5 (o -120) to 7.5 despite 24% of under bets

Eric Thames and Travis Shaw are both questionable for this game. Jimmy Nelson is probably a target for sharp bettors to go against, but this move is likely all about the status of Thames and Shaw.

Athletics at Mariners

Andrew Triggs / Chase De Jong

Athletics remain at -107 with 68% of moneyline bets

Total has jumped from 8 to 9 (u -115) with 65% over bets

The total jump is probably occurring for two main reasons: Robinson Cano is expected to return to the Mariners lineup, and the two starting pitchers are simply worse than what the opening total accounted for. Andrew Triggs has a 2.21 ERA, and he’s probably overrated, so the Cano news is probably balancing action on both sides. But both effects positively impact the total.

Dodgers at Giants

Rich Hill / Ty Blach

Dodgers have moved from -155 to -164 with 57 % of moneyline bets

Total remains at 7.5 (o -115) with 62% of over bets

Basically nothing to report here. Vegas, the sharps, the public, and everyone else, all seem to be in agreement on the return of Rich Hill.