@FastMoneyLabs' Best Bet - 7/26

Tampa Bay Rays (52-44) at Baltimore Orioles (48-48)

I hate writing about the same bet multiple times in a month, but the facts are still the facts: (1) the Baltimore Orioles are still the best Against-the-Spread (ATS) team in MLB, and (2) they’re still being disrespected by oddsmakers.

Looking at ATS results, also referred to as ‘Run Line’ (synonymous with ATS), the Orioles are 62-34 (64.6%) through 96 games. Factoring in odds, betting Baltimore to cover the spread every night has returned +21.9 units of profit with +17.49% ROI.

Looking at home games, Baltimore ATS performance is even better. They’re 32-14 (69.6%) with +18.85 units of profit and +33.13% ROI. To put that in context, the 2nd ranked Home ATS team is generating only +18.25% ROI (LA Dodgers).

The Birds’ ATS magic will most definitely be tested tonight at Camden Yards. They’re up against Rays’ ace Shane McClanahan, and Tampa Bay is 12-6 straight up when he starts. Looking at box scores from those games reveals that 2 of those wins came by just 1 run, though. And one of the 1-run wins was vs. the Orioles.

If the O’s can plate 2-3 runs off McClanahan, I like their chances to cover the +1.5 spread with Spenser Watkins pitching tonight. The Rays literally knocked him out of the Big Leagues in their last matchup on May 22nd. It doesn’t take much imagination to think that experience left a bad taste in his mouth. Watkins failed to record a single out that night and allowed 3 runs in the 1st inning. Baltimore immediately sent him packing to AAA. What happened next is history.

He went on to dominate 3 consecutive AAA starts and earn the call back up to the MLB club on June 25th. Since then, he’s limited opponents to 1 or less earned run in all 4 of his starts. The Orioles are 3-1 straight up and 4-0 ATS when he starts since June 25th.

Do I believe Tampa Bay is the rightful favorite to win with McClanahan on the hill? That is probably correct. Do I like Baltimore’s chances to keep this thing close, though, with Watkins pitching at home? Definitely. Any time Baltimore’s run line is priced in a reasonable range, there’s a good chance $FML is considering a bet. Today I pulled the trigger.

The Pick: Orioles +1.5 (-105) vs. Rays
odds via Bet365

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