MLB Betting Notes: Severino, Strasburg and deGrom Toe the Rubber
Aces wild on Friday night in MLB, as we will see quite a few marquee names on the mound. It seems like we don’t appreciate Stephen Strasburg and Jacob deGrom as much as we should. Maybe it’s a result of sharing the attention with another legit ace on their respective staffs, but let’s take some time to appreciate how good each has pitched to start their career.
You could simply admire their career career ERA’s (deGrom 2.96, Strasburg 3.07) or take a look at the number of starts they have allowed 1 run or fewer. Per Baseball Reference, here is the list of the fewest starts allowing 1 or 0 runs in a pitcher’s first 112 games:
Decent company. That means deGrom, who has started 112 games, has allowed 1 run or fewer in just under 43% of all starts. Spectacular.
In today’s MLB betting guide, we will examine the following three matchups:
- Diamondbacks (Godley) at Nationals (Strasburg) -160 | O/U: 7 | 7:05 p.m. ET
- Yankees (Severino) at Angels (Heaney) +129 | O/U: 8 | 10:07 p.m. ET
- Mets (deGrom) at Padres (Richard) +144 | O/U: 7 | 10:10 p.m. ET
Let’s dive in.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals -160 | O/U: 7
Zack Godley (3-1, 3.09 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA)
7:05 p.m. ET
April Ace: Since 2014, Strasburg is 31-17 on the moneyline in the first two months of the season (May or earlier). He’s also excelled early in the season against teams with winning records, going 13-3 on the moneyline. Strasburg won each of those games by a whopping 2.9 runs on average. — Evan Abrams
Strasburg loves pitching at Nationals Park, where he owns a 31-17 record with a 2.89 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 101 career starts. Over the course of those 617.1 innings in Washington, the San Diego State grad has only allowed opponents to hit .171. Impressive splits. — Stuckey
Godley-zilla: If I asked 100 baseball fans to name the best “Zack G.” on the Diamondbacks, I’d bet at least 95 would tell me Zack Greinke. Perhaps that’s true, but you could also build a solid case for Zack Godley, who broke out last season. He did so thanks to a deadly curveball that hitters have trouble picking up, as he has a very similar arm slot on his fastball.
This will be Godley’s first start against a non-division opponent this year, which is really where he thrived last season. Arizona went 9-5 on the moneyline (+3.73 units) in those 2017 starts, while Godley averaged a DraftKings plus/minus of +6. In comparison, he only averaged +2 against teams within the division. — Mark Gallant
Over, Under: Washington scored 15 runs on Wednesday in a victory over San Francisco in a game that easily soared over the total of 7. Since 2005, the under is 111-81-17 (58%) when a team plays at home the game after scoring 15 runs. — John Ewing
New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels +129 | O/U: 8
Luis Severino (4-1, 2.32 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (0-1, 9.64 ERA)
10:07 p.m. ET
Toe-to-Toe: Severino is clearly the polestar of this pitching matchup, but I think we might just see a big start from Heaney, whose ERA looks ugly on the surface. But looks can deceive. As you might expect, he 26-year-old southpaw has been a little rough around the edges as he comes back from a laundry list of injury issues, but take a look at some of his underlying metrics.
- 13 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 9.1 innings
- Impressive 3.02 xFIP (a regressed version of independent pitching)
- Very unlucky .417 BABIP (batting average on balls in play)
Each of those metrics suggest his ERA will come down significantly. Heaney may not go deep into the game, but a few solid starts are headed his way in the near future. — Michael Leboff
Speaking of Severino, he comes in off back-to-back gems (13.0 innings 1 ER 4 H 14 K 3 BB) and clearly favors pitching on the road — as you’d expect for any right-handed pitcher having to deal with the short porch in right field at Yankees Stadium. In his career, the Yankees ace has started an almost equal amount of games at home (30) and on the road (28), but his 3.04 road ERA sparkles in comparison to his 3.89 career home ERA. Look no further than that bandbox he pitches in as to why: he has allowed 30 homers in the Bronx, compared to only 12 on the road.
Severino did get lit up in his only career start against the Angels — last June in New York. He allowed 6 runs (5 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in just 6.0 innings, but don’t read too much into a one game sample size. Current Angels hitters are just 11-46 (.239) lifetime vs. Severino. — Stuckey
New Series, New You: The Yankees have won six straight, while the Angels come in off a loss at Houston on Wednesday. Since 2005, it has been profitable to fade teams on an extended winning streak in the first game of a series against an opponent coming off a loss. A $100 bettor would have went 96-90 for a profit of $1,920. — John Ewing
As John mentioned, the Yankees enter this game having won six games in a row. Since 2005, New York has faced the Angels six times when on a winning streak of at least three games. The Yanks are just 1-5 on the moneyline, losing 4.3 units in this spot. — Evan Abrams
Luck Box: Two Bronx Bombers have been getting lucky in DFS, which usually means it’s time to fade, fade, fade. Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton both possess recent batted ball luck scores of -75 or worse, per Fantasy Labs. That essentially means they’ve recently scored significantly more points than their batted balls suggest. Historically, players between -75 and -99 have posted an average DraftKings plus/minus of -0.70. — Mark Gallant
New York Mets at San Diego Padres +144 | O/U: 7
Jacob deGrom (2-0, 2.53 ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (0-1, 5.67 ERA)
10:10 p.m. ET
Rating Richard: Clayton Richard, a ground-baller at heart, is one of a handful to master the art of inducing worm-burners. Last season, he finished with a 2.45 GO-AO (ratio of outs made on the ground compared to in the air) — the second highest among all starters (Marcus Stroman 2.55.) That measure has decreased this year to 2.00, but that’s still top-6 in MLB.
Anywho, the Mets have the league’s lowest ground ball percentage, which doesn’t bode well for Richard. Ground ball pitchers perform best against ground ball hitters, but struggle against fly ball hitters. If you take a look at his performance splits on DraftKings based on opponent ground ball to fly ball ratio, you will notice he excels against teams with a ratio of 55% or higher. The Mets sit at 50%. — Mark Gallant
While the Mets don’t hit many ground balls, as Mark mentioned, they have struggled mightily against left-handed pitching this season. New York has a slugging percentage of just .313 against southpaws in 2018 — the second worst in all of baseball. In fact, they have only hit a league-low one home run (in 160 ABs) against lefties this year. Richard has to love those splits.
Richard has one of the best pick-off moves in the game. In 2017, he picked off six runners, while only allowing four stolen bases in 14 attempts.
The Mets simply don’t run much — their .35 steals per game ranks 24th in MLB — but they better stay alert when on first.
For whatever reason, the Padres offense hates giving Richard any help. In 2017, the Michigan grad had the fewest average runs of support (3.3) among all qualified starters. That hasn’t improved much this year, as he has received just 3.4 runs of support per game. — Stuckey
Stopper: Jacob deGrom is 24-6-9 on the first five inning moneyline as a favorite following a Mets loss, winning by an average of 2.2 runs per game. Since May of last season, deGrom is 11-1-1 in this situation, with a 3.5-run average margin of victory. — Evan Abrams
Sorry, Fathers: Jacob deGrom has faced the Padres four times in his career. He owns a 1.93 ERA and a .188 batting average against in those starts, with a 27:4 K:B ratio. — Evan Abrams
Road-weary: The Mets will play their seventh straight road game tonight. Historically, favorites have not fared well in this spot, especially against opponents that have won less than 40% of their games. Since 2005, teams in this situation have gone 167-162, costing a $100 bettor $4,260. — John Ewing