The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres were supposed to be perhaps the two best teams in baseball, battling for the same NL West division title.
Neither are in first place.
The biggest surprise so far this season might be the San Francisco Giants. They're leading the NL West at 23-14. Bettors know.
According to Covers.com, the Giants have been the most profitable team in MLB betting this season. They would have profited $826 for any bettor putting $100 on them every game on the moneyline, far ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays at $640.
The Giants, with talented Kevin Gausman on the mound Friday, are -200 favorites over the Pittsburgh Pirates at BetMGM. The secret is out a bit on the Giants, so is it too late to keep profiting on them?
Are the Giants for real?
The problem with figuring out a team has already been hot is answering if it's sustainable. Oddsmakers adjust. BetMGM isn't going to keep letting people pound the Giants at great spreads.
The Giants' hot start looks mostly sustainable. Their plus-33 run differential aligns with their record. It's a good offense, led by the surprisingly resurgent Buster Posey. The Giants are 10th in wOBA (weighted on-base percentage) and OPS, two good catch-all indicators of offensive strength. San Francisco doesn't strike out much and walks at a good rate. It all checks out.
The biggest push has been from some starters who have been salvaged. Gausman, Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani have all been amazing, with WHIPs under 0.90. Johnny Cueto was great early in the season before an injury. Any of them have been great bets this season. The Giants have a team ERA of 3.27 and while it might regress a bit, their xFIP (expected field independent pitching, which eliminates a lot of luck factors on defense) is 3.81, eighth best. in MLB.
If there's one figure to keep an eye on, it's home-road splits. The Giants are an unsustainable 14-4 at home and 9-10 on the road, which is worth noting on nights they're not in San Francisco.
The Giants might keep winning games, and the only issue could be the spreads.
Giants' biggest spread of the season
Friday is the first time the Giants have been a +200 or more favorite all season. Part of the reason they have been so profitable for bettors is they have been underdogs in 17 games already this season (via Vegas Insider's team log).
Betting on baseball is different than basketball or football because much of it has to do with finding value on the moneyline instead of a point spread. A team like the Giants can be a fantastic profit as a +120 underdog but they need to win a lot of games to be profitable at near -200.
Don't get too crazy on the Giants if the lines will continue to be high, but it still seems -200 is a worthwhile play against a 15-22 Pirates team. San Francisco's foundation for success doesn't seem like a fluke.
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