MLB Expert Predictions for Monday: Eric Lauer’s Dominance vs. Dodgers
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eric Lauer
- Our experts give out their favorite plays for Monday's MLB slate including Rockies vs. Braves (3:10 p.m. ET) and Dodgers at Padres (10:10 p.m. ET).
Sean Zerillo: Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies
Julio Teheran (8-8, 3.53 ERA) vs. Tim Melville (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
- Braves Moneyline: -151
- Rockies Moneyline: 139
- Over/Under: 13.5
- First pitch: 3:10 p.m. ET
The Rockies are 14-28 since the All-Star break, with a -80 run differential, and they might regret extending Charlie Blackmon (6 years, $108 million) and Nolan Arenado (eight years, $260 million) as they enter a potential down period.
Colorado’s pitching has completely fallen apart in 2019, beset by injuries and regression, and a rotation filled with former first-round selections simply isn’t enough on its own to carry their staff.
On Monday, they will turn to Tim Melville, a 29-year-old journeyman with a 5.42 ERA in Triple-A this season.
But despite opening as a +130 underdog, and taking around 25% of the moneyline tickets and cash, the Rockies line has only inflated to around +140 – as a result of three professional reverse line and steam moves as tracked by Sports Insights.
Melville’s fastball velocity (89.2 mph) is five mph below his 2017 average. He began the season with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League, before getting signed by the Rockies in May.
But the total in this game is extremely high, and the Rockies can still out-slug this Braves offense; regardless of the pitching matchup.
I had the Rockies projected as a +120 underdog in this game and would bet them down to +130.
The PICK: Colorado Rockies Moneyline
Danny Donahue: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals
Homer Bailey (11-8, 5.06 ERA) vs. Brad Keller (7-13, 3.95 ERA)
- Athletics Moneyline: -148
- Royals Moneyline: +138
- Over/Under: 9.5
- First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET
I recently made some kind of remark in one of these picky-type posts that Homer Bailey had entered pre-2018 Browns status. In other words, he was being faded by the public in basically every single start, and oftentimes sharp bettors were the only ones behind him. I should’ve been more clear, I guess, that those pros-vs.-Joes matchups were reserved for games in which he didn’t face a trash team.
Tonight he’s getting an impressive 74% of bets against the Royals, but his line has fallen a bit from its opener. One possible reason for the reverse line move would be the amount of money his backers are actually betting. The 74% of Oakland tickets have generated only 63% of actual dollars — a decent indication that sharps are on the other side.
What’s especially intriguing about that bet-vs.-dollar split (to me, at least), is that while it’s a significant discrepancy, the 63% of money on Oakland is still enough to have sportsbooks rooting for the Royals. Anytime I can be on the same side as both sharps and sportsbooks, I’m definitely intrigued.
And what’s putting my faith in the Royals over the top tonight is that they’re a bad team coming off a win. That generally provides value as the public mistakenly believes that they’ll be due for a loss tonight, even though last night’s outcome shouldn’t bear any weight on tonight’s.
Combining the two strategies into one system creates a pretty profitable spot, winning 47.7 units for a 20.0% ROI since 2005.
The PICK: Royals +138
John Ewing: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Dustin May (1-2, 4.26 ERA) vs. Eric Lauer (6-8, 4.47 ERA)
- Dodgers Moneyline: -144
- Padres Moneyline: +130
- Over/Under: 8.5
- First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
The Dodgers don’t strikeout much ranking 22nd in the majors in whiffs (1,092). But against lefties, the team swings and misses more often. When facing southpaws, LA ranks 6th in the big leagues with 374 Ks.
On Monday, the Dodgers will face lefty Eric Lauer. In six career starts against the Dodgers, Lauer is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 35 strikeouts.
Lauer’s strikeout total for tonight is 4.5 Ks. According to the FantasyLabs prop tool, Lauer is projected to have 5.5 Ks. The 1.1 K difference between the projections and odds is the largest on the slate.
Against a lineup susceptible to striking out against lefties and a high projection, look for Lauer to go over his strikeout total.
The PICK: Lauer over 4.5 Ks