Opening Day!

Today is opening day and it’s not even April.  We count this game as being in April however.  Cubs play the Marlins in Miami.  It appears MLB has it figured out that these northern cities can be pretty cold this time of the season.  No one wants to watch or play in a baseball game when it’s below freezing.

Vegas never misses an opportunity to bet on anything and the Ouija board is running right out of the gate.  Since we won’t have any useful data to evaluate players the Ouija board is all we can look at.  Here are today’s lines for the Cubbies.

DATE 03_29 12:40_PM CHN MIA
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.661 ] < 0.677 > 
STARTAWAY 0.00(NA) Jon_Lester_CHN
LINEHOME MIA [ 0.353 ] < 0.345 > 
STARTHOME 0.00(NA) Jose_Ureña_MIA
CHN 92 70 MIA 77 85

Each baseball game consists of two lines, one for each team.  Above are the probabilities you would need in order to break even.  If you add both lines they exceed 1 because the house plays both sides and the excess is their cut.  The house can’t lose in the long run.

The number in [] is the starting guess Vegas made, the number in <> is the current line.  These will vary somewhat between bookies but we’re not here to arbitrage.  At 0.677  you need to risk $200 to win $100 today.  That is a very big premium to pay — especially since we don’t know anything about any player in the regular season.

Career wise Jon Lester is solid.  Here are his career numbers.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2006 -0.4 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2007 -0.1 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2008 5.5 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +034+
2009 4.4 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +052+
2010 3.9 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +064+
2011 2.0 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +164+
2012 -3.8 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH -027-
2013 0.6 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2014 4.0 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +010+
2014 2.4 Jon_Lester_OAK PITCH +010+
2015 2.8 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH +090+
2016 8.0 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH +004+
2017 0.0 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH XXXXX
Total 29.3

Best year was with the World Champion Chicago Cubs and worst year was 2012 with the Red Sox.   Very above average career.  Soon we’ll do a series in April to put the 29.3 value into context.   If you rank MLB on career numbers Lester is around the top.  His playoff numbers are extremely high which will probably propel him into the HOF one day.

Edit: His second best year was with BOS/OAK in 2014.  Those two numbers added together make his seasonal number.  He was ranked #10 that year and #4 in 2016.

Who is Jose Urena?

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2015 -1.8 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH -138-
2016 -3.8 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH -029-
2017 2.1 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH +162+
Total -3.5

An overall below average career but he pitched very well last season ranking in the top 200 at 162.  Cubs may have an edge on starters but not sure about a 2-1 edge.

According to the DeltaWAA chart using team wins and losses from last year the Cubs should be around 0.639 advantage.  I’m not so sure that’s a valid measure  for this new season.

tl;dr Cubs line a clear discard.  Really don’t know anything about anyone to bet the MIA line either.  Happy new baseball season!