MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/2: Oakland’s Lefty Khrush and Chris Sale
D. Ross Cameron, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Khris Davis
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps to find edges in betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and first 5 (F5) innings.
- He analyzes the April 2 slate of baseball games with his model below.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
To be clear, the final score in that Cleveland-Chicago game yesterday had no business going over the total of 7.5.
Regardless of the poor weather (which did suppress a few flyballs short of the wall), Mike Clevinger was utterly dominant (7 IP, 1 H, 3BB, 12K), prancing around like Seattle Slew.
That Cleveland rotation has five right-handed thoroughbreds, but its bullpen leaves a lot to be desired. Neither the Indians’ nor the White Sox bullpen could throw strikes (6 walks and a hit batsman in a combined 2.2 innings), taking turns giving the game away to one another.
It won’t stop me from cashing the ticket, but it felt like the wrong side to be on, even having the best of the number by five cents.
The Model rolled along on full-game moneylines, going 3-1, only missing on Detroit. The Athletics demolished the Red Sox while hitting four home runs, including “Khrush” Davis’s fifth of the season:
Per Elias Sports Bureau, Red Sox starting pitchers have allowed 11 home runs through the first five games of the 2019 season, tied with the 1955 Braves and 1978 Blue Jays for the most through five games in MLB history.
Oakland’s Lineup vs. Chris Sale
The A’s are a fun team to bet on because they have a terrific bullpen, play sound team defense, and they hit moonshot home runs.
They position their infielders extremely well, cleaning up balls through the middle that many major league clubs still fail to optimize for. The organization also seems to take pride in scouting defensive tools.
Matt Chapman is arguably the best defender in the game of baseball, and young outfielder “Razor” Ramón Laureano is beginning to make a name for himself too; saving 4 defensive runs in 47 games last year, with great range and an unbelievable throwing arm for a center fielder:
I’m relatively certain that Xander Bogaerts got in there safely, but you can’t take anything away from the throw: 96 MPH on a line, placed perfectly, after releasing slightly off-balance because of an awkward second hop from the hit.
The A’s also recruit popup generating veterans like Mike Fiers (starting today) and Marco Estrada for their rotation to help to take advantage of the cavernous outfield space and foul ground territory in Oakland Coliseum.
Lastly, they can straight up bash left-handed pitchers, going nine-deep now with the platoon advantage against southpaws.
Chris Sale’s career wOBA (weighted on-base average) split is .236 against lefties, but .282 against righties. That equates to roughly a 2.51 expected ERA against lefties, but a 3.58 expected ERA against righties.
I still project Boston to win this game 53.7% of the time, but also took the A’s at Open (+160), nearly an 8% edge, and I continue to see value on anything down to +135 (3.75% edge).
On Deck for Tuesday 4/2
I raised the edge display parameters in the sheet to 7% for the first five innings (F5) market only.
The model was spitting out far too many F5 totals, and I was only playing the edges with the highest margins. We will continue to refine and improve the process as we go.
Washington-Philadelphia Over 7 and NY Yankees-Detroit Over 8 are close to being edge plays today, but both have received sharp action and I won’t be on any totals for Tuesday.
Full-game moneyline recommendations contain the usual suspects (Baltimore, Detroit, Miami), alongside Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Oakland — each at home.
With their shaky bullpen, the Miami play has a bigger edge in the F5 market (8.17% vs. 4.54% at +115 odds), so I’ll play that F5 moneyline only.
Baltimore’s edge was small at +185, and the line quickly moved down 20 cents. I no longer see actionable value there, even on the red-hot O’s.
I also think that Brad Keller and the Royals are in a good contrarian spot at home tonight against Jose Berrios and the Twins.
My Bets & Potential Picks for April 2
Thus far, I have locked in:
- Cincinnati (+103) Game ML
- Detroit (+210) Game ML
- Kansas City (+120) Game ML
- Miami (+115) F5 ML
- Oakland (at +160, +158, +150) Game ML; Play it down to +135 – Favorite Bet
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/2: Moneylines & Over/Unders
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover full game and First 5 moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below.