Action Report: Sharp Money On the Phillies, Brewers Left Without Yelich

Zach Eflin of the Philadelphia Phillies (photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to the SharpSide Action Report for Wednesday, September 11, 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 two games we’ve identified for Wednesday are the Atlanta Braves at the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Milwaukee Brewers at the Miami Marlins. These two games appear to have much more significant information than any of the other today, hence the change from the usual three or four game breakdowns.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Braves Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel
Phillies Pitcher: Zach Eflin

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at 7:05 p.m. ET
Citizens Bank Park
Philadelphia, PA

Dallas Keuchel is set to start for the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night, which means that we’re once again looking at significant action from sharp bettors. The Braves opened this game against the Philadelphia Phillies as -135 road favorites, and the line has held mostly in check despite around 80% of bettors (via Sports Insights) taking the Braves side. This volume of action would figure to move the line significantly in the Braves direction (which is what we saw in last night’s game) but the presence of sharp money on the Phillies seems to be preventing that effect.

Keuchel has been an enigma in relation to the betting odds in 2019. It’s rare to see a good pitcher being so heavily targeted by line movement on such a regular basis, but Keuchel’s stats have been strange on their own merits. The 4.51 FIP and 3.89 xFIP to go with his 3.47 ERA show some apparent luck, as does his 81.7% strand rate, but his 24% HR/FB rate is unsustainably high (even bad pitchers usually only give up home runs on 12-15% of the fly balls they allow to be put in play). Kuechel is significantly unlucky in this regard, but for whatever reason, sharp bettors still seem to have a much more pessimistic view of him than casual bettors do.

Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins

Brewers Pitcher: Zach Davies
Marlins Pitcher: Pablo Lopez

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at 7:10 p.m. ET
Marlins Park
Miami, FL

The Milwaukee Brewers suffered a devastating blow on Tuesday night as their best player and the 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich fractured his kneecap after fouling a ball off of himself. Yelich was quickly ruled out for the rest of the season, and the Brewers are going to have an incredibly difficult time filling the void that he’s leaving behind. For Wednesday’s game, they opened -160 road favorites over the Miami Marlins, but the line has already dropped below -140. Yelich’s injury obviously has a lot to do with this, but it’s not the only relevant variable.

Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies continues to be one of the most overrated starters in the MLB, with a 3.69 ERA that isn’t even remotely supported by his peripherals. Davies has benefited from an unusually low BABIP and an “ability” to strand runners, and his run prevention should deteriorate as those metrics continue to normalize. On the other side of the game, Marlins starter Pablo Lopez is probably one of the more underrated starters in the MLB (4.75 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.10 xFIP) and he’s been especially good at home this year (2.68 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 3.67 xFIP). Yelich being out is still the biggest impact here, but the Marlins were clearly undervalued even before he got hurt.

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