Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM
Friday's Best Bet
Friday MLB Betting Preview (10:10 p.m. ET)
San Francisco vs San Diego
The San Francisco Giants have been the toast of many in the MLB market, as their 17-4 SU record since June 30th propelled them right back into the Wildcard race in the NL, and has management in the awkward position of deciding on the team's future in the next few days. For months, that decision was expected to be easy: sell off your aging assets to contenders for huge future hauls and begin to look forward to 2020 and beyond. This Giants team has been one of the older ones in the league for a few years now and the results just haven't been there since claiming three World Series titles earlier in decade.
But in manager Bruce Bochy's final season before retirement, those older players decided to band together and fight to try and save their season and it's effectively what they've done. They enter action tonight sitting 3.5 games out of a Wildcard spot, and have made life really difficult for the front office. With the hard trade deadline this year, coming next week, there is no time left to sit on a decision, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them wait on how the team does this weekend in San Diego before determining the route to take.
From the outside, and for the long-term health of the franchise, the decision still appears to be an easier one; sell, but when nostalgia, pride, respect, and personal relationships come into play for what many of those long-tenured Giants have done for the organization and city, you can understand why the path is quite murky at the moment.
Can the Giants go into San Diego tonight (and this weekend) and continue to win to convince management that they deserve one more crack at making a run?
MLB Odds: San Francisco (+130) vs San Diego (-140); Total set at 8
What path San Francisco brass decide to take over the coming days is highly intriguing in it's own right for sure, and while you know those guys would never wishfully hope the team starts dropping games, if that were to happen it would make life easier and allow them to save some face. The reality is, San Francisco has been on a great run and have been cashing tickets – many of them as big underdogs – left and right for bettors that for many bettors that love to ride streaks (hot or cold) they've basically become a blind bet nightly. That type of handicapping can lead to plenty of trouble though when things eventually turn, as runs never last forever.
The Giants are in a decent spot tonight in the sense that they catch the Padres back at home after a long nine-game road trip that ended with a dud of an effort in a 9 am body clock start time against the Mets. The 4-0 loss San Diego suffered on Thursday capped a 3-6 SU record for the Padres during the trip, as they were only able to manage a single win against each one of their three opponents (Marlins, Cubs, Mets). With a 3-9 SU record since coming back from the All-Star break, there is no debate as to win team comes into the series with the better recent form, and as +130 underdogs again tonight, the Giants are going to get plenty of support once again.
In fact, current betting percentage numbers at VegasInsider.com have Giants action coming in at about a 55% clip just before lunch. As the day goes on it's easy to expect more Giants action rolling in for a variety of reasons (better current form, riding hot streaks, playing like a team with their season on the line etc), and by the time first pitch is thrown, San Fran will probably be firmly entrenched in that public underdog role.
That's never a good spot to be in long-term, but what might be even more significant then that is the fact that this line actually opened up in the -130 range on San Diego, was bet up close to -150, before seeing some resistance and some buy-back on the Giants. Early moves like that are important to be aware of, and given the full context of tonight's game, it's one I believe you've got to agree with.
Remember, on the one hand, this veteran Giants team has played such great baseball to put management in a tough spot regarding the future direction of the franchise, but at the same time, the big picture isn't all that bright still.
The Giants still have to leapfrog at minimum four other NL rivals to get into a Wildcard position and that's probably not as likely as it may seem at the moment. The euphoria of Giants backers cashing tickets and riding this run tends to skew things, but are you really lead to believe that they'll be able to pass teams like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Washington, Arizona, and possibly one of the Cubs or Cardinals? Furthermore, let's say they manage to do all that and get into the playoffs, does Giants brass really believe they'll be able to run through the playoff gauntlet in the NL that features teams like the Dodgers, Braves and a couple of those teams mentioned earlier? You are what your record says you are, and while it's largely been a case of two extremes for the Giants, they are simply just a team one-game over the .500 mark right now.
That's why I believe the easy decision is to sell for them in the coming days, and rather then being reactive to that news like most of the market will be after the fact, I'm looking to fade the Giants in these coming days while their prices are still inflated a touch. The fact that this line moved 10-20 cents right off the bat supports that, and if/when the Giants do sell off guys, I know you'll here plenty of discussion from bettors about why they should be faded as they are a deflated bunch and narratives of that ilk.
Being proactive rather than reactive in this industry is the better approach to take long-term though, and with market sentiment quite low on the Padres right now, there is some inherent value baked into their line as well; hence the opening jump.
After getting swept at home by this Giants team at the beginning of July too, there is a situational angle to take up in support of the Padres in terms of exacting some measure of revenge, and against a starter like Samardzija who's allowed 5 runs/game on average and has been really quite bad when he's off, the only way to take this game is by backing the home side.
Best Bet: San Diego ML