This article is part of our MLB Betting series.
Previous day: 2-2, +0.76 RWBucks
Season: 20-27, -5.72 RWBucks
More than 20 years ago, a middle-aged writer plunked down $1,000 to enter a satellite event at the World Series of Poker. A week later, James McManus had a sixth-place finish, a quarter-million dollars, and a spot in the history of the poker boom. His article for Harper's on the experience, and subsequent book, were essential reading for budding amateurs just learning this heretofore obscure poker variant called "Texas hold 'em," one that would take over the world just a few short years later.
A line from the article has stuck with me for two decades. After the event, McManus was consoling poker legend T.J. Cloutier, who had finished second. Cloutier had some words of advice for the amateur "There's a lot of luck in poker," said Cloutier, "and if you're gonna play this game you better get used to that."
On Monday, my betting night hung in the balance, with a win in, two losses likely, and the Phillies clinging to a 2-1 lead in St. Louis. The Cards had already plated a run in the ninth, had the tying run on second, and Nolan Arenado at the plate, facing Hector Neris. Arenado turned on a first-pitch fastball, and he thought he got it. The fans behind the plate thought he got it. Neris, I think, thought he got it.
He didn't get it. Odubel Herrera hauled it in two steps shy of the wall, and the Phillies held on. I went 2-2 and plus instead of 1-3 and minus.
The difference between a win and a loss was luck. From a skill standpoint, there's just no difference between hitting a baseball two feet shy of the wall and two feet past it. It's a fraction of an inch on the barrel, a gust of wind, a slightly deadened ball from the 2021 batch instead of a leftover 2020 ball.
There's a lotta luck in sports betting. If you're gonna play this game you better get used to that.
I guess I'm just going to go back to the same well with a different bucket. It's warmed up a bit in Baltimore, but my real reasoning here is just not believing Bruce Zimmermann, kind of John Means Lite, can hold down the Yankees, whose on-contact performance remains far, far below expectations. I wavered between this and the game total of 10, settling on this to avoid the Yankees bullpen in a 6-3/7-2 type game. 1.5 RWBucks.
I am all-in on the Maxaissance, as the future Hall of Fame righty looks for a fourth straight quality start. The Blue Jays have not hit right-handers well to start the season. Dunedin games have featured more than nine runs a clip; however, that's inflated by a 15-spot and a couple of runs via the ghost runner rules. I'm sticking to one bet a game here, but the Nationals at -121 wouldn't be a bad addition to your card. 1 RWBuck.
A frustrating lack of power and poor performance with runners in scoring position have undercut the Mets' run scoring. I'm still backing a lineup with this many lefty hitters who get on base, especially against average or below right-handed starters. 1.5 RWBucks.