Will Joe Girardi Make the Yankees a Good Bet in 2008?

Matthew FoustCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

Boston fans can start screaming now, but everybody knows that the New York Yankees are the flagship of professional baseball. It’s hard to argue with the Yankees history, both recent and past (26 World Championships, 39 AL Pennants, and a current 13 season playoff streak).

However, all of the pageantry and lore of the franchise hasn’t necessarily made the Yankees a great bet, especially in recent seasons. In fact, it has been much the opposite. Last year the Yankees were a negative money line bet at home, on the road, against right hand pitchers, and against lefties.

So while Joe Girardi has his work cut out for him in not disappointing a spoiled fan base, handicappers have some work to do as well in figuring out if Girardi can turn the Yankees into a good 2008 bet.

In order for Girardi to do what Joe Torre could not, he will have to some how get his squad to come through even more frequently in those games where the Yankees are laying tremendous odds. With some of the lines New York had last season, it was almost impossible for them to be a good team to wager on – at least on the money line. It was not uncommon for the Yankees to have money line odds of -180, -200, or even -220 last year, particularly during their post All-Star break surge. Lose a few of those and your record against the line can look bad in a hurry.

To be fair, and realistic, the only way for Torre to have made his team a better team to wager on, in regard to the money line, would have been to slow the tremendous offensive production his team was churning out. What manager wants to do that? There was a perception last year, especially with the general betting public, that the Yankees averaged about 45 runs per game.

The odds makers took advantage of this and Yankees money line bettors frequently paid the price. So, in order to accommodate the betting public, look for Girardi to keep A-Rod, Robinson Cano, and Bobby Abreu to about 100 games apiece in 2008 (tongue firmly in cheek).

However, all is not lost with this team. Just don’t fall prey to the following misconceptions and the Yankees may turn into a reliable bet, regardless of how Girardi performs his managerial duties. First, the Yankees don’t win every game (gasp). Second, they don’t average 45, 20, or even eight runs per game. Third, New York is not always OVER against the total. And finally, avoid betting on the Yankees or anybody else when you have to lay odds of -200 or more.

Also, learn when and where the Yankees possess value as a team to bet on. A good place to start looking is in division play. The number of games between opponents is conducive to establishing trends and angles for the astute bettor to examine.

In the case of the Yankees, and with many teams where the bettor has to lay ridiculous odds, take advantage of the run line. Last season in division play if New York won the game, 67 percent of the time they won by two or more runs. In home division games this percentage increased to 76 percent. Further, against Tampa Bay, it rose to 90 percent. So take your chances here, you may lose more games (or you may not) but your bankroll will be far better off and the Yankees will appreciate getting out of your personal loss column too.