Baseball Home Dogs
The only thing better than cashing a winning ticket is cashing a winning ticket on an underdog. Especially in baseball. Home dogs offer outstanding betting value. You have to understand that daily baseball lines are based primarily on the starting pitchers. A good handicapper knows that starting pitchers are only one SMALL piece of the puzzle when attempting to predict the outcome of a game.
In baseball, one needs to look at quality starts, recent play, injuries, health, home/road play, bullpen availability, streaks and even how a team has fared against the starter in the past. Health has been a huge factor with the Boston Red Sox the last few weeks, getting swept at Seattle and Oakland without star hitters Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek. They were also a good play under the total on that 9-game road trip, with so many offensive players hurting.
The breakdown of how a team plays all season at home and on the road can be another key factor when assessing whether there is value on a home dog. Look at Tampa Bay dmv handicap placard , last in the AL East, but a very good team at home for the second year in a row. The Devil Rays have a winning record at home!
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Two of the winning pitchers were Shields and Fossum. Fossum was up against Kevin Millwood, so at first glance you might think the Rangers have a big edge on the mound. But don’t forget Tampa Bay has a winning record at home AND was going for the sweep! The week before, Fossum was a +150 home dog to Cleveland and C.C. Sabathia but got the money in a 6-5 win.
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Imagine an elderly person who has been confined to the first floor of his house, sleeping in the living room instead of his room in the second floor. His weak bones cannot take the flight of stairs anymore and going up and down tires him too much. Imagine a person with a heart ailment who cannot do too many strenuous activities like taking the stairs. Imagine a handicapped soldier who used to be strong and able but now has difficulties reaching the top floor. Home lifts have changed the lives of these people by allowing them to do what they used to.
A game I gave out this week using similar angles was when the Red Sox were finishing up their long (and lousy) road trip in Oakland as a favorite! I wrote, “Can’t pass up the chance to get the best second half team in baseball as a home underdog. Boston is in disarray with Manny out of the lineup and Ortiz hurting. This offense is in a severe slump. Over the last eight games they are scoring just 2.1 runs per game. Oakland on the other hand is scoring 6.3 runs per game over the same span.
Pitching wise the A’s have permitted just 13 runs in the last six games and that was against the talented offenses of Toronto and Texas. Despite pitching well in his last start we are not ready to buy into a renewed Josh Beckett. He still has a 7.64 ERA in his last three starts and the Red Sox have dropped 4 of his last 5 appearances. He has an 8.71 career ERA vs Oakland. Kirk Saarloos on the other hand has allowed 2 earned runs or less in 5 of his last 7 starts. Oakland has won 4 of his last 6 appearances. Play Oakland!”
Oakland as a home dog made no sense to the trained eye. Not surprisingly, Boston mustered only one run in the loss, which put Oakland on a 23-5 run over the last 28 games! 22-5 and they are a home dog? Again, look far beyond the starting pitchers when examining baseball. And be sure and take two close looks every time you see a home dog!