Zerillo’s Dodgers-Mets Betting Guide: Back Buehler or Wheeler on Sunday Night Baseball?
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Walker Buehler
Betting Odds: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets
Probable starters: Walker Buehler (13-3, 3.14 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (11-7, 4.21 ERA)
- Dodgers odds: -145
- Mets odds: +125
- Over/Under: 8
- First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET on ESPN
All odds above as of 2 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
The Mets and Dodgers have split the first two games of this three-game set, and the favorite came through in both games.
Los Angeles won, 9-2, on Friday behind Clayton Kershaw, while the Mets got their revenge, 3-0, on Saturday, with their ace Jacob deGrom on the mound.
Both teams still have something to play for.
The Mets are three games back of the Cubs (and a game behind Milwaukee) for the second NL Wild Card spot, while the Dodgers are trying to catch the Astros and Yankees for home-field advantage in a potential World Series matchup.
Where can you find betting value in this pivotal edition of Sunday Night Baseball?
Wheeler has regressed some after what looked like a full breakout in 2018.
His FIP (3.62) has moved toward his career average (3.75) after peaking at 3.25 in 2018.
Wheeler’s fastball velocity has increased over 2018, from 95.9 mph to 96.7 mph (fourth-fastest in baseball), but his swinging-strike rate remains in average territory.
He succeeds by generating called strikes and limiting hard contact, and he ranked in the 96th percentile in both exit velocity and hard-hit rate in 2018.
But Wheeler is down to the 87th percentile in exit velocity, and the 77th percentile in hard-hit rate this year. That being said, he’s still a capable mid-rotation starter.
Wheeler’s best pitch is his slider, which is the second-fastest slider in baseball (91.3 mph), behind only his teammate, Jacob deGrom (92.5 mph):
Buehler is undoubtedly the better pitcher, and he has been on a dominant run since the start of July, with a 2.73 ERA, 2.78 FIP, and 97 strikeouts in fewer than 70 innings pitched.
He ranks just below Wheeler in fastball velocity (96.6 mph) and compliments his big fastball with a dominant cutter:
Walker Buehler, 97mph Fastball and 94mph Cutter, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/zMOaJ0fIHS
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 15, 2018
Buehler also throws a slider at 86.8 mph, almost as a changeup to the cutter.
Walker Buehler, Nasty 84mph Slider. 😨 pic.twitter.com/sTuppEP5HT
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 10, 2019
The question with Buehler comes down to his home/road splits. His road xFIP over the past two seasons has been 3.47 and 3.60. At home, it’s 3.00 and 2.89.
Same deal with FIP: 3.37 and 3.14 on the road, compared to 2.76 and 2.54 at home.
It could be an anomaly within a small sample — or Buehler might truly prefer the friendly confines of Dodger Stadium.
Since the All-Star Break, the Dodgers bullpen ranks fourth in FIP, third in xFIP and third in K-BB%. By the same metrics, the Mets rank 10th, seventh and seventh.
The Mets bullpen should have all hands on deck for tonight, though Jeurys Familia has pitched twice in the past four days.
The Dodgers bullpen is a little worse for the wear.
Joe Kelly has pitched in both games in this series, and three times in four days. Adam Kolarek has also recorded an out for three of the past four days, and the Dodgers likely don’t want to burn out their lefty specialist before the postseason. Julio Urias has pitched two out of the past three days, but Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen have each had a couple of days off.
I’d give the Mets a very slight edge in the late innings on Sunday.
Umpire and Weather Report
Data per Sports Insights
Trends to Know
As you can see above, plate umpire Victor Carapazza leans toward the under.
Oddly, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the most profitable days to bet the under with Carapazza behind the dish.
The under is 78-47-6 (62.4%, +$2,637, 20.1% ROI) in those contests.
Carapazza has worked three Sunday night games this season, and each has gone under the game total.
I projected the Mets as a +124 underdog in this game, so I see slight line value on their side, and I set the over/under at 7.4, so I still see minor value on the total too.
The Mets opened as a +120 underdog, and their line has stayed within 10 cents of that number despite more than 75% of the moneyline tickets and 80% of the moneyline cash backing the road favorite.
There is some sharp liability on the Mets, otherwise the price would have adjusted more toward the Dodgers. It’s Mets or pass for me here, but I might wait until closer to first pitch to lock in a play to see if you can get an even better price.
Some sharp action has come in on the over, and I will personally stay away from the total.