Action Report: Breaking Down Baseball’s Betting Line Movement for Thursday

Baseball on field
(photo: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to the SharpSide Action Report for Thursday, September 5, 2019, focused on baseball betting odds from around the MLB.

In this column, we’ll take a look at the day’s betting line movement in hopes of providing valuable insight as to where sharp money is flowing so that sports bettors can be better equipped to make winning sports betting decisions.

The four games we’ve identified for Tuesday are the Miami Marlins at the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Texas Rangers at the Baltimore Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays at the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Washington Nationals at the Atlanta Braves.

Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates

Marlins Pitcher: Elieser Hernandez
Pirates Pitcher: Dario Agrazal

Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 7:05 p.m. ET
PNC Park
Pittsburgh, PA

The Miami Marlins lost Wednesday night’s game in Pittsburgh with sharp bettors on their side, but the loss doesn’t seem to be a deterrent from the same effects taking place again on Thursday. The Marlins opened as underdogs at +140, but have moved to +130 even with the majority of bets coming in on the Pittsburgh Pirates. The total has dropped slightly, but it’s clear that the most relevant movement pertains to the Marlins.

Thursday’s Pirates starter Dario Agrazal is a fairly typical source of misguided public money, with a 4.50 ERA, 6.09 FIP, and 6.25 xFIP. Even against the Marlins, Agrazal is probably a bad enough MLB pitcher that there shouldn’t be much reason for optimism. On the other side of the game, Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez has been a regularly undervalued commodity in 2019, and the mismatch in perception of these starting pitchers seems to be driving most of the line movement.

Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles

Rangers Pitcher: Kolby Allard
Orioles Pitcher: John Means

Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 7:05 p.m. ET
Camden Yards
Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Orioles starter John Means has been on the opposite end of sharp action for most of his 2019 starts, but the effect has flipped for Thursday night’s home game against the Texas Rangers. The Orioles opened this one as this one as -115 favorites, but even with bettors leaning towards the Rangers, they’ve moved up to -125. The total has also been falling, indicating that more of the pro-Orioles sentiment have to do with Means.

Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

Blue Jays Pitcher: Trent Thornton
Rays Pitcher: Austin Pruitt

Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 7:10 p.m. ET
Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL

The Toronto Blue Jays opened Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays as +200 underdogs, but a huge surge of sharp money has moved them all the way down to +165. The total has been falling slightly, but the line movement in this game is mostly just about the Blue Jays chances to win in general.

Rays starter Austin Pruitt isn’t your typical overvalued pitcher (his ERA doesn’t outpace his underlying stats) and Jays starter Trent Thornton isn’t undervalued for any reason either. This line seems to have been set in the wrong spot mostly just because the Rays are a much better team, and the standings bias has skewed the public in Tampa Bay’s direction maybe just for that reason alone.

Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Nationals Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg
Braves Pitcher: Max Fried

Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 7:20 p.m. ET
SunTrust Park
Atlanta, GA

The Nationals and Braves square off for a key divisional series that begins Thursday night, but the moneyline for this high-profile game doesn’t seem to have much relevant movement. The key variable here is the total, which has been steadily climbing (from around 9 to around almost 9.5) despite most bettors dramatically preferring the under. There’s a large amount of recency bias in this game, with Strasburg and Fried each coming off of perhaps their best starts of the 2019 season, but sharp bettors aren’t buying that they’ll be able to keep it going in a game featuring two prolific offenses.

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