Another win gets everything back on track in May, as we move to 2-1 in the season’s second month. Thursday brings us to Tampa Bay, the site of the Orioles vs. the Rays and the next free play. David Price takes on Ubaldo Jimenez in a game where the home side is the defined favorite and the total is just 7.5 runs.
There’s a lot to like about Tampa Bay in this game. The Rays are the better side with the dominant pitcher going in their home ballpark. There’s a lot of juice to drink on the money line, but it very well may be worthy of a straight play. But I’m going to stick to small favorites and underdogs here (as is usually a pretty solid strategy when it comes to handicapping and betting baseball).
It’s often tough to want to lay the 1.5 run line with a team playing at home. Tampa Bay is getting +130 money when it surrenders the 1.5 runs, but there’s a distinct chance that the Rays take a 1-run lead into the 9th inning and end up winning the game by that margin after only batting eight times to Baltimore’s nine. And no bettor likes to lose a game like that.
It’s a handy tool to know how to synthesize a -1 line in baseball without having it readily available and calculated. It’s very easy to do. If you want to lay -1 with Tampa Bay you have to first make a bet on the -1.5 run line and then you need to make a bet on the money line that would win back your money if the run line loses. So for this game, Tampa Bay -1.5 is +130. A 1 unit bet would win 1.30 units. The Rays are -167 straight-up, though. So a bet of 1.67 units would profit 1 if you bet the Rays to just win the game. That means that if Tampa Bay wins by a single run, you are winning one bet, losing one bet, but pushing your money. However, a Rays loss means a net loss of -2.67, while a Rays win by 2+ runs nets a positive 2.30. Risk divided by reward comes out to a -116 price, which is the cost of a Tampa Bay -1 line. This lets you take Tampa Bay at a smaller price while eliminating any chance of losing a bet in which the Rays win. It’s a useful tool to understand and it will be the play tomorrow. Price pitches well and Ubaldo gives up his normal three or four runs. Rays win at the Trop.
Free Pick: Tampa Bay -1 (-116)
2014 YTD: 12-5 +5.90