Action Report: Sharp Bettors Targeting the Red Sox and Cardinals for Wednesday

Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox (photo credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to the SharpSide Action Report for Wednesday, September 4, 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 three games we’ve identified for Tuesday are the Miami Marlins at the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Minnesota Twins at the Boston Red Sox, and the San Francisco Giants at the St. Louis Cardinals.

Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates

Marlins Pitcher: Robert Dugger
Pirates Pitcher: Trevor Williams

Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at 7:05 p.m. ET
PNC Park
Pittsburgh, PA

The Miami Marlins opened Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh as +165 underdogs and have moved to +155 even with most bettors placing their moneyline bets on the Pirates. The Marlins actually moved up to +175 right off the bat, but the line has since corrected strongly in their favor. There’s a mismatch in perception here with the Pirates being the better team throughout the season, but this is simply one of those cases where the money line probably overstates the win expectancy to a small degree.

Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams has mostly been on the receiving end of sharp money in 2019, but against the lowly Marlins the consensus on him has flipped. Williams is basically just an average pitcher with nothing spectacular in his game, but bettors seem to be latching onto him on Wednesday nonetheless.

Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox

Twins Pitcher: Jose Berrios
Red Sox Pitcher: Eduardo Rodriguez

Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at 7:10 p.m. ET
Fenway Park
Boston, MA

The Boston Red Sox opened Wednesday night’s home game against the Minnesota Twins as -130 favorites, and with the public mostly split, they’ve moved up to -150. Even though they aren’t really a contrarian bet, it’s still clear that sharp bettors are targeting the Red Sox in this spot. The total hasn’t budged for this game and the bets are relatively split on the over and under, indicating that sharp bettors are taking a stand on the Red Sox across the board.

There’s definitely a narrative working against Boston at the moment, with the Twins surging and extending their lead over the Indians in the AL Central, and the Red Sox falling almost entirely out of the playoff race in recent weeks. Twins’ starter Jose Berrios also seems to be generally overvalued, with a 3.57 ERA that’s only loosely supported by his peripherals. It’s not a huge effect, but the line movement towards the Red Sox in this game is definitely significant.

San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals

Giants Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner
Cardinals Pitcher: Michael Wacha

Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at 7:45 p.m. ET
Busch Stadium
St. Louis, MO

The St. Louis Cardinals are the second home favorite of the night (after the Red Sox) seeing relevant line movement in their direction. The Cardinals opened Wednesday night’s home game against the San Francisco Giants as -120 favorites and have moved up to -125, even with bettors actually preferring the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. The bias here is clearly about Bumgarner, with a disproportionate number of bets coming in on the under for this game as well. The total has been rising incrementally, and it indicates that the major variable is sharp money towards the Cardinals offense.

Bumgarner, like Williams mentioned above, has actually been the focus of sharp bettors throughout the 2019 season. He’s not as good as he once was, but he was getting pretty unlucky earlier in the year and was generally undervalued by the betting public. More recently, however, Bumgarner has benefited from a combination of better luck and better matchups. His 3.62 ERA is now ahead of his underlying metrics, and that could be what’s driving the excessive sentiment on his side.

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