MLB Betting Notes: Phillies vs. Diamondbacks aka the Inexplicable NLCS Preview
Remember when we all openly mocked Gabe Kapler, wondering if we should bet on him to be the first manager fired in 2018? Well, the joke is on us, as the Phillies have jumped out to a 14-8 start. They certainly look like they’ll contend for at least a wild-card spot this fall.
After suffering just their second home loss (9-2) of the season Tuesday night, the Phils will look to get back on track against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. We knew the Snakes were a solid group, but they may just run away with the NL West. Strange times indeed.
Washington Nationals (-152) at San Francisco Giants (+142) | O/U: 7
Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
3:45 p.m. ET
Shark Watch: Since 2013, Samardzija is just 6-15 on the moneyline as a home underdog with the Giants and the White Sox. That includes a 3-12 mark in games with a closing total of 8 or less. — Evan Abrams
Given some of the market perception Evan touched on above, I actually think Samardzija will be one of the most undervalued pitchers in the betting market this season. Even though Shark’s surface numbers from last year don’t look that strong, his underlying metrics painted a prettier picture. He struck out an impressive 8.88 batters per nine innings, while only walking 1.39. Accordingly, his 3.61 FIP suggests his 4.42 ERA was out of whack. The Notre Dame product simply struggled keeping the ball in the park in 2017. However, I expect his 13.8% home run-to-flyball rate and 1.30 homers per nine to regress toward his career marks of 11.5% and 1.05, respectively. — Michael Leboff
Little Giants: The Giants’ 2-3-4 hitters (Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Evan Longoria) have struggled mightily in their careers against Max Scherzer. They have combined to go 8-for-51 (.157) with 22 K’s against the Nationals ace. — Evan Abrams
The Mad Man: At 13.1 dimes, or $13,100 to a normal person, Scherzer will be the first pitcher in the 2018 season to surpass the $13k barrier on DraftKings. However, he won’t hold the record long, as Clayton Kershaw will cost you a casual 14 thou on the late slate. This is not all that uncommon, though, as it will be the 252nd time since 2014 that a pitcher has been given a $13,000 or higher price tag. Historically, the investment has paid off, as they have averaged a plus/minus of +2.00. — Mark Gallant
Arizona Diamondbacks (+102) at Philadelphia Phillies (-112) | O/U: 7
Zack Greinke (2-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04 ERA)
7:05 p.m. ET
Brotherly Love: Greinke enjoys pitching against the Phillies. Over his career, Greinke has an 8-1 record with a 2.48 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 10 starts against Philadelphia. The 34-year-old has also pitched very well at Citizens Bank Park, going 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in five starts. The Phillies have had a fair amount of roster turnover in recent years, but their current hitters are still just 6-for-33 lifetime vs. the Arizona ace.
In Control: Greinke — who has only issued two walks over four starts — is one of only five pitchers in all of baseball to own a K:BB ratio of at least 10 so far this season. He finished seventh overall among qualified starting pitchers in that category last season. — Stuckey
Zack’s Stacks: Greinke spent his first seven seasons in the big leagues playing for the Royals, prior to being traded to the Brewers in 2011. Since that deal, Greinke has been the most profitable pitcher in all of baseball at +35 units (146-70). He has especially excelled out of the gates, posting a career 48-21 (69.6%) record in starts before May. — Evan Abrams
This looks like a great spot to back Greinke, whose swing-and-miss stuff should play against a Philadelphia squad that has a high propensity to strike out — especially against righties. In fact, Philly has struck out in 31.6% (182 of 576) of its at-bats against right-handed pitchers in 2018 — the highest rate in MLB. (The Snakes actually have the third-highest rate against righties, which will come into play against Arrieta.)
Consequently, Fantasy Labs predicts a high K day for the veteran, who strikes out nearly 10 batters per nine. In fact, he’s currently in the 99th percentile of strikeout predictions on the site, per their trends tool. Historically, the nearly 1,000 pitchers rated in the 95th percentile or higher have fared very well, posting an average plus/minus of +3.20 DraftKings points — with a consistency of 61.6%. — Mark Gallant