Guest Content: Sports Betting Slant
Some of you may recall Matt Meiselman from our sporadic Thursday Daily  Fantasy podcasts. Matt's strength is incorporating Vegas info into DFS picks. Now that sports betting is legal in New Jersey, Matt is joining us with some classic sports betting analysis.

Take it away Matt:

LINE MOVERS

REDS (-140) at Marlins

Reds have moved from -130 to -140 with about 50% of moneyline bets

Wei-Yen Chen has some of the most dramatic home/road splits this season that you’ll ever see, but some portion of sharp bettors isn’t buying it. It’s sensible to some extent that the flyball heavy Chen would have more success in the larger park that Miami provides, but a 1.77/9.29 home/road ERA split just isn’t remotely sustainable. FIP gives Chen more credit at home (3.18 to 6.58) but the xFIP difference is under a run-and-a-half (4.11 to 5.55). The opposing pitcher, Luis Castillo, also remains one of the more underrated arms in baseball.

PHILLIES (+125) at Braves

Phillies have moved from +130 to +125 with only 25% of moneyline bets

There’s plenty of bias in this matchup, mainly that the Braves have pulled comfortably ahead in the NL East and the Phillies have been lacking in recent form. Nick Pivetta’s ERA also underrates him, as his 4.67 mark comes with a 3.43 SIERA. The public seems to be valuing this is a favorable spot for the Braves, while sharp bettors see the underlying skill in Pivetta and are taking advantage of an inflated number.

GIANTS (-160) vs Cardinals

Giants have moved from -140 to -160 with just over half of moneyline bets

“Madison Bumgarner vs Jon Gant” might feel like advantage-San Francisco, but Bumgarner isn’t the pitcher he once was (7.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 this year) and the Cardinals offense is significantly better than the Posey-less and McCutchen-less Giants offense. It’s not a ton of bias towards the Giants, as the betting breakdown is evenly split, but it looks like the initial line priced Bumgarner much closer to his 3.14 ERA than to his 4.49 SIERA.

VALUE SPOTS

The 3 teams highlighted above may provide some value, but here are a couple more games to look at where the lines haven’t moved (yet).

RANGERS (+115) vs Mariners

Rangers bullpen game vs Erasmo Ramirez probably feels like a toss up, but Vegas is giving the Mariners a lot more credit than that, making them -125 favorites. There’s public bias towards Seattle here with nearly ¾ of the bet tickets, perhaps because they’re coming off an impressive 9-0 win against Dallas Keuchel and the Astros, and perhaps because the Rangers are coming off of an abysmal home series against the Rays. Whatever the reason, this line is at least a little inflated and the Rangers make for an interesting contrarian home underdog.

PIRATES (+125) vs Brewers

This game is another example of standings bias swaying the public, as the Brewers are a playoff team and the Pirates certainly are not. Even though the Brewers are clearly the better squad, this line simply over-accounts for the differences in talent, especially with a pitching matchup that looks pretty even.

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