The Sharp Report – June 21, 2014

Fade Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg is always the main attraction at Nationals Park when he takes the mound, no one would dare bet against him at home, right? Right?!

As I am writing this article I have the Braves / Nationals game on in the background. It is currently the bottom of the 12th inning, the Nationals needed two runs in the bottom of the 9th to force the game into extra innings. I really don’t know why so many sharps moved on this game the way they did this morning, but I will get into that in more detail later in the article.

I remember being at Steven Strasburg’s Major League debut against the Pirates like it was yesterday, I was able to con my way into seats right on first base somehow, it was unlike anything that I had ever experienced and is something that I probably never will again. The hype around the game was incredible; there wasn’t enough space on the field for all of the media to do their pre-game shows, players barely had enough room to warm up. Strasburg took the mound and did not disappoint, I believe he struck out 13 or 14 batters before leaving the game due to a pitch count.

I sit here writing this, remembering that day, and can’t believe that he would ever be looked at as fade material by sharps on his home field.

Please refer to my first post in this series for a list of recommended sites to aid you in your handicapping.

6/21 Early Moves:

Here are some lines that were hit by sharp groups early enough this morning to make this report. I have not had time to research games myself, so I am not recommending that you try to find these numbers and tail the plays at this time. These are listed to show you what has happened so far this morning, always do your own research on these before following along.

New York Mets vs Miami Marlins (Under 8)
Key Line Move @ 7:45 am EST

San Francisco Giants vs Arizona Diamondbacks (Under 9)
Key Line Move @ 8:20 am EST

6/20 Recap:

Early Moves:

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Chicago Cubs (Over 7.5) – Win
Key Line Move @ 10:15 am EST

This game jumped almost a full point to 8.5 in some books, the sharps came heavy on this one. The Pirates sent Charlie Morton to the mound, who has been great of late, the problem is he has an Achilles heel, he can’t pitch at Wrigley Field. Morton is 1-3 with an ERA near 6 coming into Friday’s game. The Cubs sent Edwin Jackson to the mound, who doesn’t pitch poorly against the Pirates as a team, just against Andrew McCutchen. With the wind blowing out, this game has all the makings of an afternoon 9 to 10 run game in Chicago.

Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals (ATL ML) – Win
Key Line Move @ 1:45 am EST

This move was the surprise of the day for me, I never expected to see groups move against Strasburg at home, but the Braves line got all the way down to +130 in some books. I’m sure there have been games where Strasburg was going against another ace and the lines were similar, but on Friday he was up against Mike Minor who had allowed eleven hits in each of his previous two starts and opponents hit nearly .300 against him. Strasburg hasn’t exactly been himself lately, and has struggled against Atlanta historically, but at home against Mike Minor I can’t see why this line got hit as hard as it did. I don’t want to say “the fix was in”, but I have seen strange situations like this before, and they almost always end up going the way of the big move.

Late Moves:

Detroit Tigers vs Cleveland Indians (Under 8.5) – Loss
Key Line Move @ 5:30 pm EST

The Tigers’ Rick Porcello is winless in his last three starts, despite pitching decently, and has a good record against the Indians at 8-3 and an ERA at 3.53. Cleveland sent Corey Kluber to the mound, who is in the same boat as Porcello in that they both are winless recently despite not pitching particularly poorly. The sharp groups are looking for both pitchers to come in Friday night with a chip on their shoulder, trying to get into the win column.

Milwaukee Brewers vs Colorado Rockies (Over 10.5) – Win
Key Line Move @ 8:10 pm EST

Just about every group hit this one in unison thirty minutes prior to the first pitch. The books had no chance in this game, they should have just left the total off the board all together and saved themselves a lot of money. Those who have been reading know my rule about betting the Rockies over at home, and it looks like everyone is adapting the same strategy for good reason. Friday night there was an amazing 70% of the public’s money on the over. Colorado, who was no hit by Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night, will be looking to make up for lost runs against a slumping Marco Estrada, it could get ugly.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres (Over 6.5) – Win
Key Line Move @ 8:40 pm EST

Another late night move that I am kicking myself for not hopping on myself. The reason that I didn’t is, in most cases lines as low as 6 or 6.5 tend to go under. You usually only see these low numbers for marquee match-ups, ace vs ace pitcher’s duel. The Dan Haren vs Ian Kennedy match-up is great don’t get me wrong, but not worth the low 6.5 total. Haren has allowed a home run in his last seven outings, put a guy or two on base and you are halfway to this total already. Ian Kennedy came into the game having lost his last two starts, where he let up a combined eight runs in only twelve innings.

If you see a late move on a low total like this again, be sure to tail it, I am upset that I didn’t pull the trigger on it myself.

Chris Sharp is a professional sports handicapper and daily contributor to BettingSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @CSharp_Picks and on his web site IvyLeaguePicks.com.
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