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BETTER BETTOR

Caesar's better bettor: Cardinals' World Series-winning odds are about 20-1; Pujols favored to reach 700

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World Series Parade

Fans cheer for Cardinals players in front of Busch Stadium during the World Series victory parade on Sunday, October 30, 2011 in St. Louis.

At many betting shops the Cardinals opened the season at odds of about 25-1 to win the World Series, ranking about seventh on average among all MLB teams in the prices.

Now, with the regular season down to the nitty-gritty and the Cards significantly ahead in the National League Central Division, their Series-winning odds have been lowered at the three St. Louis-area legal sportsbooks. As of Friday afternoon, the numbers ranged from 20-1 in East St. Louis (DraftKings at Casino Queen) and Alton (Argosy), with the price at 17-1 in Collinsville (FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing). The Dodgers were the favorite at all three (DraftKings had the best price, +360), followed by the Astros, Mets, Yankees then Redbirds.

The Cards’ odds to win the NL pennant fluctuated little between the area books. They were 9-1 at Argosy and DraftKings, while the number at FanDuel was 8½-1. The Dodgers were the favorite at all of them (DraftKings had the best price, +170), followed by the Mets, Braves then Cards.

Pujols power

An interesting prop bet about Albert Pujols’ quest to reach 700 career home runs this season has been floating around at some of the books, with odds posted on whether he will reach the milestone or fall short.

On Aug. 24, when he was seven shy despite a recent hot streak, the online site SportsBetting.ag (not licensed in Missouri or Illinois) had the odds of him reaching 700 at a fat 9-1. Betting that he wouldn’t get there was the huge favorite then, at -2000 ($2,000 would have had to be risked to try to win $100).

The script has changed considerably now, as going into Friday’s game he was just three short of the milestone with 18 to go.

Some of the area books are on the prop now, but wagers must be made before the Cardinals’ game starts.

On Thursday afternoon, DraftKings had “yes” on reaching 700 at -165 ($165 risk required to win $100) with “no” at +130 ($130 profit on a $100 risk). At FanDuel, “yes” was -201 and “no” at +168. After Pujols went homerless Thursday night for the third consecutive game, the price as of Friday afternoon at FanDuel had dropped to -188 for him reaching 700 and to +152 for him not getting there. Pujols odds were not posted at the time at DraftKings or Argosy.

Where available, they certainly will change significantly after he homered Friday.

No gold mine betting Goldschmidt

Some books have odds on the National League MVP race and at Argosy the Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt was the overwhelming favorite — a whopping -3335. That means a successful $100 bet would reap a profit of a measly $3. Teammate Nolan Arenado was the second favorite, and the gap was huge. Arenado was at +3500, so a $100 bet on him would generate a $3,500 profit if he wins.

At DraftKings, Goldschmidt was at -2500 — a winning $100 bet there would be worth a scintillating $4 profit. Arenado was +3500 there as well. No NL odds for the MVP were posted at FanDuel.Eying the TigersMissouri is playing Abilene Christian, an FCS team, on Saturday and as of Friday afternoon there was no line available on that football game at the area books.

However, WynnBet posted a line that had Mizzou favored by 31½ points, with an over/under of 56½. That book is legal in nine states, the closest to St. Louis being Indiana and Tennessee.

Tough time

We got off to a rough start last week, going 1-3 in our picks and losing five units based on our ranking of selections (they can range from one • to five •••••).

There were some bad beats, as we had over 64.5 points in the Tennessee-Pittsburgh game. There were 41 points scored in the first half, but Pitt’s QB was injured and didn’t return after the intermission. Then his backup was hobbled for much of the fourth quarter. Scoring slowed and fell short of the total despite the game going into overtime.

We also had the over (52) in the Chargers-Raiders game Sunday and though the teams marched up and down the field, three interceptions thrown by Vegas’ Derrick Carr kept the total well under despite both teams averaging at least 5.5 yards per play.

But enough hindsight. If you don’t have the stomach — or more importantly, proper bankroll allocation — to endure such instances you have no business betting. Those kind of situations pop up frequently, and there’s a long way to go in the football season.

Weekend picks

It’s time to bounce back (odds are the most favorable that were available Friday afternoon among the three area sportsbooks):

Mississippi State at Louisiana State, 5 p.m. Saturday: QB Will Rogers, who threw four TD passes last week against Arizona, leads the Bulldogs’ high-powered passing attack that should feast on an LSU secondary that gave up 7.9 yards per pass to Florida State recently. MSU team total over 27.5 points (DraftKings, FanDuel). ••

Fresno State at Southern California, 9:30 p.m. Saturday: The Trojans have turned on the offense under new coach Lincoln Riley, surpassing 500 yards in both their games and averaging 53½ points per outing. They have been especially potent in the first half, averaging 33 points then. USC’s defense isn’t nearly as strong as the offense, as it gave up 441 yards and four TDs last week to Stanford. Now Fresno brings a potent attack into this matchup, led by pro-prospect QB Jake Haener. We look for fireworks here, especially early. Over 36.5 for the first half (Argosy). ••Also, over 72 for the full game (DraftKings) ••

Dolphins at Ravens, noon Sunday: Miami knocked off New England last week, but the Pats are far from their once-lofty status. Plus, the Dolphins were at home. Now they go on the road for a stiff test against a sturdy defense and on the other side will have to contend with QB Lamar Jackson, who is focused in a contract year. Ravens -3.5 (all three books) ••

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