I’d never recommend using betting lines for actual betting, but the Las Vegas odds do provide a clear picture of which teams are the favorites and which teams are the underdogs. And that can be valuable come playoff time, when every player on every team loves to say stuff like “no one thought we would win” and “we shocked the world” and all that.
For tonight’s Wild Card playoff games both home teams are favored, and by sizable margins.
Kris Medlen and the Braves are -170 favorites over Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals, which means you’d have to risk $170 to win $100 and Atlanta must win at least 63 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.
Yu Darvish and the Rangers are -190 favorites over Joe Saunders and the Orioles, which means you’d have to risk $190 to win $100 and Texas must win at least 66 percent of the time for that to be a profitable bet.
Now, those aren’t huge favorites because during the regular season there are regularly teams with -250 or even -275 lines and sometimes it goes as high as -300, but the Braves and Rangers are definitely expected to win tonight.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.