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The Sharp Report – June 24, 2014

Odrisamer Despaigne

Odrisamer Despaigne was called up from the minor leagues to start for the San Diego Padres on Monday night. It was certainly a big night for the 27 year old, as you can imagine, but also a huge night for sports bettors with an angle.

Odrisamer Despaigne doesn’t roll off of a person’s tongue quite as easily as John Smith, but announcers needed to learn to pronounce it correctly with a quickness since it was the name of the starting pitcher making his major league debut for the San Diego Padres on Monday night.

It is very hard to predict how a pitcher is going to react to the lights, crowd, and pressure of their first start in the major leagues; yet that is exactly what we as handicappers are asked to do. Most of the time, a starting pitcher making his debut in the majors is going to be a heavy underdog, and rightfully so. There are other times when a first time starter is a heavy underdog when they shouldn’t be, such was the case on Monday night when multiple sharp groups hammered the Padres (+160) a few hours before game time and got one over on the books.

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

6/24 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.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Colorado Rockies (Under 10.5)
Key Line Move @ 9:00 am EST

Detroit Tigers vs Texas Rangers (TEX ML)
Key Line Move @ 9:41 am EST

6/23 Recap:

Early Moves:

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Tampa Bay Rays (Under 7.5) – Loss
Key Line Move @ 8:16 am EST

As is usually the case with a line opening at 7.5, it bounced around most of the day between 7.5 and 7 as sharps would hit the under and then the public would hit the over like a game of ping pong. The sharp angle on the under was relatively straight forward here, as you had two pitchers facing off who have not been giving up many runs lately. The Pirates sent Edinson Volquez to the mound who had allowed three or fewer runs in five of his last six starts coming in to this game. The Rays sent Alex Cobb to the mound who has been the master of losing games despite only allowing one or to runs to cross the plate. Neither of the starters get much run support and both have shut down stuff, so this under 7.5 was a move made early in the morning and also whenever it showed up throughout the day.

Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs (Over 7) – Push
Key Line Move @ 10:25 am EST

This move was hit by just about every sharp group out there, opening at 7 and closing in some sports books at 8.5! Very rarely do you see a baseball total raise or lower by a full run and a half. The public was 67% on the under here and the line still moved that much, this happened for two reasons: 1) The wind shifted and was blowing straight out to center field at 10 MPH and 2) There was a lot of well respected money on the over. On paper this game looked like under to me and my group, but it was a no play due to the weather conditions.

Late Moves:

Chicago White Sox vs Baltimore Orioles (Under 7.5) – Loss
Key Line Move @ 5:30 pm EST

Here is that key number of 7.5 again, sharp money was on both sides but most books had settled on 7 by late afternoon with the public coming in on the under 7.5.  My group was all over this one, we even released it early because we felt it was a risk to go to 7 and possibly even 6.5. In easily the best pitching match-up of the night, the White Sox sent Chris Sale to the mound to face off against Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles. Baltimore came into this game high off of putting a thumping on Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees on Sunday, making it a perfect let down situation, especially against a pitcher like Chris Sale who came into the game with an ERA just above two. The White Sox have been losing tight games of late, as their offense just can’t get into a rhythm right now, facing a great pitcher like Chen didn’t seem like the place where they would find their stride and put up 4 or more runs. We saw this game as 3-2 or 3-1 with either team having a shot of coming out on top, this was by far our favorite play and a lot of other groups agreed as well.

San Diego Padres vs San Francisco Giants (SD ML) – Win
Key Line Move @ 8:05 pm EST

Easily my favorite move of the night, I was possibly a little too excited when I saw groups hitting this a few hours before game time.

Late Sunday night there was word that Andrew Cashner was scratched from his scheduled Monday night start, and in his place the Padres were promoting Odrisamer Despaigne from Triple A to make his major league debut. All at once every handicapper had to research and figure out who this guy was, and what kind of shot he had against Matt Cain and the Giants. On paper Despaigne was not impressive in five starts at the Triple A level, you had to dig a little deeper to see his stats at the Double A level to see why the Padres were promoting him at all. Matt Cain’s struggles against the Padres lifetime and his struggles over the past month in general are well documented.

When we sat back and considered all of this information, it became clear that it was no coincidence that Despaigne’s first career start was scheduled for this game against this pitcher. It seemed that the Padres’ executives were confident that they had the Giants’ and Matt Cain’s number, and that they could send just about anybody to the mound and get the win on Monday night. General Managers do this all the time, they want to put their players in a position to succeed. This was the angle that we needed in order to be confident enough to make a move on this first time starter, and it is my guess that it is the same angle that made other groups move on the San Diego Padres in this spot as well. A lot of people moved all at once on this as the line dropped from +160 to +140 by game time. Every once in a while Las Vegas messes up, it is our job to take advantage.

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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