Entering Monday's action, it appears that home-field advantage doesn't count for much in the 2012 Major League Baseball playoffs. That's because six of the first eight postseason games were won by the road team, and that has been a boon for the book in MLB betting.
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It started with Friday's one-game wild-card playoffs. Baltimore, in the postseason for the first time in 15 years, was a +195 dog at Texas (-225) and took barely 37 percent of the action in the 5-1 upset. The Rangers, who were World Series favorites at the book most of the season, took more than 75 percent of the run-line action (minus-1.5 at -120). Rangers star Josh Hamilton was a non-factor in the game by going 0-for-4 and it was a big win for the book on Hamilton under 2.5 combined hits, runs and RBIs.
Entering that game, the Orioles were 7/1 long shots to win the AL pennant and the book is exposed at that number. Texas was 9/4, tied with the Yankees as the favorites.
The National League wild-card playoff featured St. Louis at Atlanta, a game the Braves lost 6-3 possibly due to a completely blown infield-fly rule call as the Braves were attempting to rally in the eighth inning. It turned out to be the final game for retiring Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer. Because Kris Medlen was on the mound and the Braves had won an MLB-record 23 straight of his starts, Atlanta was a -167 favorite and took more than 61 percent of the lean. At minus-1.5 runs (+125), the Braves took more than 67 percent of the betting. The over seven runs also was a win for the book with less than 40 percent of the action there.
One of the book's top player props wins of the week was on Chipper in that game. He was paired against the Cardinals' Matt Holliday for most combined hits, runs and RBIs. Holliday hit a solo homer off Medlen in the sixth inning to give St. Louis a 4-2 lead and finished with two hits, two runs and that lone RBI. Jones was 1-for-5 with no runs or RBIs, and he took the majority lean on this prop.
The only team to hold serve at home in the first two games of the Division Series was the Detroit Tigers against Oakland. And bettors' top game result of last week was the Tigers' 3-1 victory over the A's in Game 1 on Saturday. As usual when ace Justin Verlander is on the mound, the Tigers were big favorites, this time at -187. And Detroit took more than 70 percent of the action there. At minus-1.5 runs (+110), the Tigers took almost 77 percent. Bettors also hit on the under 7.5 runs with more than 57 percent of the lean. Verlander going over seven strikeouts (had 11) was one of bettors' top player prop wins of the week.
The Tigers' strong start has moved them to the AL pennant favorites at 6/5 and co-World Series favorites with Cincinnati at 11/4. Detroit entered the playoffs at 13/2 to win the Fall Classic and the book is exposed there. The National League team the book was most exposed on for the pennant entering the postseason was San Francisco at 13/4 (now 16/1).
The Giants' season could end as soon as Tuesday in Cincinnati, as could Oakland's as they host the Tigers trying to avoid elimination. There will be live play-by-play betting on both games, as there will on every postseason game. The Reds are -140 opening favorites as they start Homer Bailey, who had the final no-hitter in MLB this season, against Ryan Vogelsong. Oakland is a -135 favorite to extend its season behind Brett Anderson, who hasn't pitched since leaving a Sept. 19 loss to Detroit early with a strained oblique. He's opposed by Anibal Sanchez.
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