MLB Betting Notes: Harvey, Ohtani, Kershaw in the Sunday Spotlight
Raise your hand if you had Clayton Kershaw starting the season 0-2, or Shohei Ohtani hitting three homers in the first four games his MLB career, or Matt Harvey tossing a one-hitter.
Put your hands down, liars.
The big questions for Sunday: Will Dodgers offense finally provide Kershaw with some run support? Will Ohtani’s hot streak carry over to the mound? Will Harvey’s bounce-back season continue? We’ve got the answers.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-190) @ San Francisco Giants (+170) | O/U: 8
4:05 p.m. ET
Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 2.25 ERA) vs. Ty Blach (1-1, 5.79 ERA)
Zero panic: Kershaw hasn’t started a season 0-2 since 2009, so I think it’s probably safe to say that he’s just not very good anymore. In all seriousness, he’s still a +160 favorite to win the NL Cy Young at Westgate, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into a record that matters only in fantasy (yes, I have him on my fantasy team). — Danny Donahue
Money vs. San Fran: Kershaw has made 20 career starts on the road against the Giants, he owns a 1.31 ERA with opposing batters hitting .176 against him. The Dodgers are 14-6 on the moneyline those 20 starts (+4.3 units), including winning six of their past seven on the road. — Evan Abrams
Forever chalk: Kershaw has been favored in every regular-season road start since July 2012. The Dodgers are 53-22 (71%) straight-up in those games. — John Ewing
Contrarian spot? Only 22% of bettors braved Ty Blach and the Giants in Blach vs. Kershaw Round 1, but they were rewarded handsomely with a payout of +250 or higher. I can almost guarantee the Giants will see fewer than 30% of bets again this time around because there’s no way Blach can beat Kershaw two times in a row, right? Right??? — Mark Gallant
Oakland Athletics (+152) @ Los Angeles Angels (-169) | O/U: 9
4:07 p.m. ET
Kendall Graveman (0-1, 8.10 ERA) vs. Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
In Ohtani We Trust: Well, Ohtani is starting to make me look like a big dumb-dumb, as I was not optimistic on him whatsoever entering the season. I guess spring training stats don’t matter, as Ohtani is wheeling and dealing in the early going.
His first start against these same A’s was impressive. He worked primarily with three pitches: a fastball, slider and splitter, while also working in a few curveballs. While the fastball that peaked at triple digits was impressive, his splitter was perhaps even more so. He threw it 24 times, got 16 swings, and 10 whiffs. Only three of them were put into play and all resulted in outs. — Mark Gallant
In three home games, Ohtani is 6-for-13 (.461 batting average) with a homer in each. According to STATS, Babe Ruth was the last AL player to homer in three straight games in the same season he started a game as a pitcher. — John Ewing
The Angels’ Other Hitters: Ohtani may be getting a little extra run support in this game against the Athletics. Both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols have raked against Kendall Graveman in their careers (combined 24-63 (.381), 6 HR, 15 RBI). Graveman has allowed more than two HR to just one player in his big-league career: Albert Pujols. — Evan Abrams
New York Mets (+146) @ Washington Nationals (-162) | O/U: 8
8:08 p.m. ET
Matt Harvey (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Buying the Bounce Back? The Dark Knight has had an interesting career. From 2012-15, he posted a 2.53 ERA, struck out more than a batter per inning, and had a WHIP of exactly 1.00. In 2016 and 2017, he had an ERA of 5.78 (holy Christ), struck out fewer than seven batters per nine innings, and had a WHIP of 1.58 (holy Christ again).
His first start of the year was a throwback to his glory days. Though he only went five innings, he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five. I can almost promise that Harvey won’t return to his pre-Tommy John days, as he’s throwing several MPH slower than he did in his prime, but I’d hope he can be better than the disaster that has been his past two seasons. Unfortunately for Harvey, one team that has feasted on him since his return is the Nationals. In five starts vs. them over the past two years, he’s averaged a DraftKings Plus/Minus of -11.53 and has not topped 10 fantasy points once. — Mark Gallant
The Late Knight? The Mets are 48-57 (-17.7 units) when Harvey starts in his career, including the postseason. Since his first start in 2012, no Mets starter has lost bettors more money than Harvey (Steven Matz was next closest entering Saturday at -8.5 units). Mets starters are 238-239 on the moneyline when the game is played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday since 2012 (including postseason). During that span, Harvey is 18-32 (36%, -17.3 units) when starting either of those three days, versus 30-25 on the moneyline when he starts on any other day. — Evan Abrams
Photo: Wendell Cruz, USA Today Sports